1,000 Foot Ore Freighter, Soo Locks, MI

1,000 Foot Ore Freighter, Soo Locks, MI

Near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

Near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

Colorful Truck Sales, Weed, CA

Colorful Truck Sales, Weed, CA

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

Mackinac Bridge, MI

Mackinac Bridge, MI

Pelicans, Grays Harbor, WA

Pelicans, Grays Harbor, WA

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Two Long-Time Friends In One Day. . .

We were packed up and out of our hotel room this morning just before 11, only to drive just across the parking lot to the Prattville Longhorn Steakhouse where we were meeting Kathy Wilkes, a former co-worker of Jan’s before we moved to Houston in December of 1978.

They both worked in the Medical Records Dept. at Jackson Hospital down in Montgomery and we always get together when we’re in the area.


We had a great meal, and I told the manager my Ribeye was a lot better than the one I had at the Huntsville Longhorn’s this past Mother’s Day. And of course, the conversation was even better, talking and laughing for about an hour and a half

It’s really amazing that, with Bill & Carol up in Birmingham, Fred & Susan down in Montgomery, and Kathy here in Prattville, we’ve go 3 sets of friends that we’ve known for over 40 years.

Saying our good-byes and already planning next year, we got gas and coffee at the Raceway right down the road. Then it was back on I-65S for the 185 mile trip down to Fairhope AL where we’ll be for the next 6 nights.

Getting checked in to our favorite Key West Inn, we got in touch with Claudia, an even older long-time friend. I’ve known Claudia since we were 9 or 10. Our parents were close friends, and in fact, my father and hers were in business together.

So it’s always fun talking over old times and old places with her, and lucky for me, she and Jan have really hit it off.

Our dinner destination was Shanghai Cottage, a local favorite of ours, and a place that ranks right up there with our hallowed King Food back at home in Webster, especially since Shanghai has Green Tea Ice Cream for dessert.

Tomorrow, while Claudia is tied up with some church/family things, Jan and I are getting together with RV friends who are staying over at the Rainbow Plantation Escapees Park nearby in Summerdale.

Then on Monday, we’ll all head over to the Gulf Shores/Pensacola area for more fun and frolic. Can’t wait.

Thought For The Day:

Just so you know, after 3 sneezes, I’m not blessing you again. You need antihistamines, not blessings.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010 – Sea Lion Cave

2013 – Bears In South Lake Tahoe

2016 – Oh, You Doubters

2017 – The Columbia River Gorge

2018 – More On How Jan And I Got Together

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

May 18, 2009

Rainy Days and Great Food…

After bidding our friends goodbye yesterday afternoon, we had a somewhat quieter day today.

We headed back down to Key West to try out a little Mexican place on Duval St. that we had heard about called Old Town Mexican Café.

This was probably the best Mexican food we’ve had since we left Houston.  We’re going to try to go back before we leave.

On the way back to our RV we mailed some postcards and stopped by a Winn-Dixie for some Valencia oranges and fresh strawberries to have for supper.

Tomorrow I think we’ll drive back up the Keys toward Homestead and do some sightseeing.

May 18, 2010

Sea Lions and Sea Food…

Just what I wanted to see when I got up this morning – Rain.

Few things are more fun than trying to get ready to roll while you’re getting soaking wet.

But I guess it’s about time we saw some actual northwestern rainy weather. We’ve actually have very little rain since we hit the west coast.

Into every life, and all that.

We left Midway RV Park about 8 am, earlier than normal, because we wanted to stop and see the Sea Lion Cave just north of Florence, OR.

We got there about 10 am and found easy parking for our rig. But then we had a mad dash across the street to the entrance, trying to dodge cars zooming by on US101.

But it was all worth the trip. The cave was really great!

The Sea Lion Cave was discovered in 1880 and opened as a tourist attraction in 1932 when 101 was still only a gravel road.


And by the mid 50’s it was still going strong. Don’t you just love those car colors.


This pic, from the observation deck shows you the kind of weather we had today.


We had about a 100 yard walk along the trail leading to the elevator.

SeaLionView 1

We took the 200 foot elevator down to the sea lion cave and looked out into what is billed as the largest sea cave in the world.

And there were sea lions everywhere. Along the walls, on the rocks, in the water, all over.

SeaLionCave 1

SeaLionCave 2


SeaLionCave 3

The other end of the cave looks out over the cormorant rookery, and what is called “The Most Photographed Lighthouse in the World”, the Heceta Lighthouse.


SeaLionCave 4

Cormorant Rookery

Back on the surface, we looked out over the other side of the cave.

SeaLionCave 5

We arrived at Circle Creek RV Park just south of Seaside OR about 2:15 pm.

Around 3:30, after we got set up, we headed back down the road about 7 miles to eat at Mo’s Seafood, a place that was recommended.

And the recommendation was dead on.  It was great. Jan had a Seafood Platter with Clam Chowder, and I had a bowl of Oyster Stew and a Blackened Cod Fish Sandwich.  Hmmm, Hmmm, Good.

Tomorrow, we only have a 105 mile run to Westport, WA, so we’ll probably go out to breakfast and drive around a little before we leave.

We’ll be in Westport for 3 nights catching up with our friends, Al and Adrianne Cox, who we first met in Fairbanks, AK in 2008.

May 18, 2011

Just Another Dreary Day In Paradise . . .

Another cold, wet day greeted me when I got up about 10:15, but we fought back with a pot of hot snickernut/pecan coffee and the last of the blueberry muffins. But we still have a loaf of homemade bread left, so all is not lost.

The rest of the morning I spent working on client-internet stuff, and then about noon Jan heated up our left-over Italian from last night. It tasted SO much better after Jan added basil, oregano, and a little garlic salt.

A little before 5 we headed out to Oakhurst for dinner. We decided to check out Todd’s Cookhouse BBQ which turned out to be delicious. It’s the best meal we’ve had since we ate at the Chukchansi Casino last Sunday night after we got here.

It turns out that Todd Leaf, the owner, won a Kraft Food’s National BBQ Sauce contest in 1999 and Kraft bottled and sold millions of bottles of his sauce. In fact it was the fastest-selling sauce in Kraft history.

I had a great bowl of chicken & sausage gumbo along with a rib basket, while Jan had a BBQ sandwich. All great.

Coming home we once again stopped for a cappuccino, this time at a new place that Jan was happy to find had the Pumpkin Spice flavor.

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to clear so we plan on driving up to Yosemite National Park, about 20 miles north of here.

Last year when Jan and I drove through, it looked like this.

SnowDrive 1

SnowPeak 2

We don’t expect to see this much, if any snow tomorrow, but we’ll see.

May 18, 2013

A Bear for All Seasons . . .

After coffee drinking, Kindle reading, and Internet playing, Jan and I headed out for some sightseeing, dinner, and shopping.

We drove around for about an hour, crossing back into Nevada, past all the casinos that suddenly appear at the state line.

Driving further out along the road we came in on, we got a good view of the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Tahoe Views 1

Tahoe Views 2

Tahoe Views 3

Coming back through town we drove out on the other side for a while just to see what’s around.

Along the way, we came across The Bear’s Den.

Tahoe Bear's Den 1

This place has pretty much any type of carved bears you could want.

Tahoe Bear's Den 4

Big ones,

Tahoe Bear's Den 5

little ones,

Tahoe Bear's Den 2

and more.

Tahoe Bear's Den 3

By this time our tummies were rumbling, so we decided to try Passaretti’s Italian Restaurant, located right outside the park entrance. We’d noticed the last couple of days that the place was always busy every time we drove by. And we’ve found that a busy place is usually a good place to eat.

It was interesting to find this great hot rod sitting in the parking lot. I’d seen a sign about a car show while we were driving around, but this was the only car I’d seen that might be part of it. Turns out, it wasn’t.

Tahoe HotRod 1

I did notice that the right front tire was going flat, though.

Tahoe HotRod 2

As it turned out our meal was delicious. Jan found her favorite meat-filled ravioli on the menu, and I had my usual spaghetti marinara with meatballs.

We both started out with salads with their really great homemade dressings. We also had an order of their garlic bread with melted mozzarella on top, again really good.

And after our entrees, we had to top it off by sharing a piece of their homemade carrot cake since we’d seen it recommended online. It was delicious, but so big, that along with our meal, we could only eat half of it. So we’ll have the rest of it with coffee tomorrow. And we’ll definitely be coming back here again before we leave.

One other thing, when we got to Passaretti’s we found that there was a wedding dinner going on in the back of the restaurant. And as it turned out, the hot rod out front was what the bride and groom drove from the church to the restaurant. Unfortunately, the honeymoon had to be delayed for a while when they came back out and found the flat tire. The delay however, probably wasn’t a big disappointment, since the bride was already noticeably pregnant.

Leaving the restaurant, we stopped off at Raley’s for some groceries. On the way, I wanted to check out this service station that had been converted into an auto parts store and antique car lot.

Or so I thought.

Tahoe Runnel's Auto 1

Old Studebakers, old Oldsmobile’s,

Tahoe Runnel's Auto 2

And for some reason, a bunch of old Volvos.

Tahoe Runnel's Auto 3

You’ve really got to like old cars to like old Volvos, don’t you.

Tahoe Runnel's Auto 4

A little research told me the real story about this place.

It’s not an antique car lot. The cars are not for sale. They are parked there to be an deliberate eyesore.

The owner of the lot, apparently very rich, has, since 2007, been refusing to sell his auto parts place to the city. They want to build something else there, but he wants no part of it.

The city supposedly keeps trying to find any kind of violation to get him out. So in retaliation, he bought all these old, ugly cars and parked them on his lot, right along the main street through South Lake Tahoe.

Sounds like my kind of guy.

May 18, 2014

Burgers to Donuts . . .

It was really nice to sleep late this morning, for the first time since we left Houston a week ago. We didn’t really have anything on the agenda today, which is just the way we wanted it.

A while later we headed out to the Culver’s over by the Wal-Mart for a delicious lunch. Jan and I have decided that Culver’s is pretty much our favorite chain hamburger place, and the fries are really great too. Our other favorite chain is Five Guys. I like them a little better because of all the fixings you can add on.

But on the burger front, and combining the best of both worlds, here’s the latest fad.

Krispy_Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger

Yes, that’s a Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger. It’s apparently the latest in ‘Fair’ food. You know, the Deep Fried Twinkies and Snickers.

Of course, we’ve had other Krispy Kreme dishes. This is Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding from Lulu’s in Gulf Shores, AL.

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

Lulu is Jimmy Buffett’s sister, and has one of the best restaurants in that area.

Later that evening, after a nice nap, Jan put together a supper from our leftover Central BBQ using Lambert’s Throwed Rolls

May 18, 2015

We Checked First . . .

Well, we were up and ready to get ready to move this morning, but the call never came. Finally, a little after noon, I checked in with the service department and found out it wasn’t going to happen today. The body shop guy said he wanted to finish up a couple of small jobs so he would have room to move us over.

So hopefully tomorrow morning, at least tomorrow at all, since we’re going to leave for Illinois early (as in 6am) Wednesday morning.

Around 2pm we headed out for a late lunch and some shopping. Since we hadn’t had wings in a while, we drove over to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Prescott Valley. Getting to the parking lot however, we did check it over carefully for any biker gangs or bikes. You can’t be too careful these days, after all.

Jan ordered her wings with their Hot sauce, while I got my usual Mango Habanero. Mango Habanero used to be their 2nd hottest sauce, right behind Blazin’, with Jan’s Hot coming in 3rd.

But they’ve added a new sauce called Wild right after Blazin’, so now Mango Habanero is 3rd in heat, with Hot 4th. But I like my heat with a little sweet (like Jan!), so I stayed with the Mango.

The food was great, and we had plenty to bring home for dinner tomorrow.

Leaving Buffalo Wild Wings, we headed over to a nearby Wal-Mart to pick up some things, and also to get a new tire before our upcoming 3000 mile roundtrip. But as it turned out, this was the only Wal-Mart SuperCentert that we’ve encountered that didn’t have an auto service department. So no new tire.

I’ll have to try again tomorrow at another place.

Getting back to our area, we stopped off at the Fry’s for a couple of things that we couldn’t find at Wal-Mart.

Tomorrow we’ll start packing stuff to get ready to travel.

May 18, 2016

Oh, You Doubters . . .

While Jan enjoyed her Kindling, I spent most of the afternoon fighting my way through PayPal’s convoluted Business Account setup for a client. Just as you think you’ve covered everything, they pop up with something else they want. They’ve added a lot of requirements since I set up my Business Account.

Then when I finally finished with the setup, I had to design the default templates for the invoices that they will use to bill their clients through PayPal. That went much smoother, and now we just have to wait for PayPal to make the small deposits into the bank account that links to the PayPal account.

PayPal makes a couple of small deposits into your account, like $0.12 & $0.17. Then you have to tell them the date and amount of the deposits. This confirms to them that they are linked to the correct account, and that you really have access to it.

They used to just leave the few cents in your account, but I guess those dimes started to add up.  So now after they’re done, they pull the deposits back.

For you doubters out there who were snickering at yesterday’s blog where I mentioned that I was skinny and had hair when Jan and I met in 1967, here’s the proof.


This is me at Columbia Military Academy in 1965.


And this one was actually taken by Jan in Titusville in the summer of 1967. She carried it in her billfold for years which is why it’s kind of chewed up.

See, I told you.

And this is the beautiful long-legged redhead that I fell in love with.


****** SPOILER ALERT ******

In case you recorded the Castle finale and haven’t watched it yet, skip this.








Jan and I have been Castle fans since the first episode in 2009, and were disappointed to see it go off the air. And we’re still not sure how we feel about the final episode. We both kind of thought it had been cobbled together at the last minute, and it turns out we were right.

Stana Katic (Beckett) was already leaving, as was Tamala Jones (Lani), but it was hoped that the show would continue on with Castle, Alexis, Hayley, and Martha running the PI agency, as well as Ryan and Esposito helping out.

Thus the ante-penultimate scene of Castle and Beckett crawling to each other after they were shot. Then next season, Castle would wake up and find out that Beckett had died, and the series would proceed from there.

Apparently, the word on the street in Hollywood was that the series was going to be renewed. The ratings were still decent, and the writers were already outlining new scripts. But the producers filmed a short wrap-up scene just in case.

And it’s good they did, because last Thursday night, before the finale this past Monday, the network abruptly canceled the series with no warning. So it was a mad scramble to re-edit the show in time for the last episode.

We’re sorry to see it go.

May 18, 2017

Three States in Four Hours . . .

Finishing up on yesterday’s trip from Bend/Sunriver to Hermiston.

One reader asked why we were traveling with full waste tanks, and what we would do if we had to boondock along the way if our tanks were full. Well, there were several reasons for doing that.

1. Due to all the wet/snowy weather recently at the Bend/Sunriver TT, there was only one dump station available for use for the entire park, and people were complaining of 30-60 minutes waits to dump when everyone was leaving in the morning.

2. I wasn’t feeling very good and we were already running late anyway.

3. I use times like this as an excuse to clean my black tank. Before we headed out I dumped two big scoops of cheap, powdered laundry soap, a capful of Calgon water softener to help cut the grease, and several big squirts of Dawn in the toilet and flush it down.

Then all this sloshes around during the trip, breaking everything loose. And no, I don’t put a bag of ice in the tank. A 10# bag of ice in 40 gallons of room-temp liquid will be gone in just a few minutes.

Then when we get to the next park, I hook up to the sewer and dump the black tank. When it’s about finished, I connect the shore water hose to our rig’s built-in flush system and turn it on full blast. I have a clear 90° elbow in my system and I’m always amazed at how much more ‘stuff’ comes out as I’m doing this that didn’t come out by dumping alone. I do this once a month or so.

4. Although I said the tanks were full, and effectively they were, we still could have gone another day or so boondocking if necessary with no problems.

Despite my not feeling well, it actually was a very nice trip with a lot of great scenery along the way. The only downsides were a couple of really long climbs and the very gusty high winds swirling around through the canyons. You never knew which direction the next gust was going to come from.

I guess the high winds explains the miles of wind generators we saw along the way, all flailing around like pinwheels.

But finally at Biggs, OR, US97 dumped us down into the Columbia River Gorge and I-84E. And there we encountered one of those rarest of rarities. Something that some RV’ers brag about, like the size of the fish they caught, and none of their friends believe them.

It was a genuine tailwind.

I first noticed it when I looked at my Silverleaf display and saw I was getting over 30mpg, and we were running level at 60mph. Then a few minutes later I pulled over to take some photos and when I opened the door the wind pulled me out so hard it almost dumped me on my face in the dirt.

But we did have some spectacular views.

Columbia River Gorge 3

Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge 2

We never did figure out why this is planted this way. No sign of a house or anything else.

Columbia River Gorge 1

We pulled into the Pioneer RV Park in Hermiston about 3:30 and I got us set up in a nice long pull-thru so we didn’t have to unhitch. Then after we had our left-over Baldy’s BBQ for supper, I took some aspirin and went to bed for a few hours.

When I woke up about 8:30 I was feeling a lot better, but just washed out. Don’t know if I had some stomach bug, or what,  but Jan was just fine.

I did feel OK this morning, so I guess it’s passed, whatever it was.

After a nice night, we pulled out of the Pioneer RV Park in Hermiston a little after 10am and were quickly out on I-82 and heading north toward Coeur d’Alene about 205 miles away.

As several people had told us, Pioneer is a very nice park, $20 per night Passport American with 50amp full hookup pull-thrus, long enough that we didn’t have to unhitch the toad. Since we didn’t plan on going out for dinner, that worked fine.

And be sure to call ahead to let them know you’re coming. They’re either full, as they were last night, or almost full, every night.

Our trip today turned out to be a very smooth, very scenic trip with good roads the entire way, passing through 3 states, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho along the way.

I’m still kind of confused by this dump station located at one of the rest areas we stopped at along the way.

Dump Station Pathway

Guess you need a really long hose and a good pump.

We pulled into the Coeur d’Alene Elk’s Lodge about 2:30 and were quickly greeted by the on-site host and led to a nice grass-covered site, a pull-thru with 50amps and water, but no sewer.

Coeur d'alene Elks 1

Coeur d'alene Elks 2

But since we dumped last night at Pioneer, that won’t be a problem.

We plan on staying here two nights before heading on to Garrison, MT for a night, and then on to Billings, MT.

On our way here we had planned to have dinner at The Cedars, a high-end steakhouse that floats on the Spokane River. We last ate here in 2010 and it was really, really good. Well worth the high price.

But when I went on Yelp this afternoon to check their times, I was struck by all the bad reviews, leading to only a 3-1/2 star rating. Reading further, I found that they were now under new ownership, and things had gone downhill quickly after that – bad food, cold food, bad service, being seated an hour later after getting there 15 minutes early, and a 9” hair in the salad bar.

Considering that their Ribeye is almost $40, we quickly had second thoughts. Scrolling down the Yelp listings, I came across the Texas Roadhouse listing. Besides being only about 2 miles away, it had a higher rating than the Cedar’s.

So Texas Roadhouse it is.

We’ve never had a bad steak, or a bad meal, at Texas Roadhouse, and tonight was no exception.

Jan got her standard 12 oz. New York Strip while I got my go-to 16 oz. Ribeye.

Texas Roadhouse Ribeye 5

Great salads too, as well as great service. And Jan’s and my steak together were the same price as my Ribeye alone would have been at the Cedar’s.

A great choice. And a lot cheaper.

Coming home we got maybe the best car wash we’ve ever had, getting a lot of built-up dirt off.

Tomorrow we may head up to Sandpoint and drive around the area some. Plus Jan wants to eat at Tomato Street Italian Restaurant once again.

May 18, 2018

The Big Five Oh . . . Almost!

I put up the second solar-powered light at the office this afternoon, so I got to use my new ladder again

And the more I use it, the more I like it. It’s light enough that even extended to its 12 foot height, I can pick it up and move it around with no problems. And it only takes a couple of minutes to set it op and break it down.

Check it out here: OxGord Folding 11.5 foot Extension Ladder

A great deal for only $80.

About 4:45 Jan and I headed up to the Webster area to have dinner at the Outback Steakhouse at Baybrook Mall. We were meeting our son Chris, his wife Linda, our granddaughter Miss Piper and her boyfriend Conner. We were celebrating Chris’ Big Five Oh Birthday, but a day early since Chris has to work tomorrow.

Outback Birthday Group

Jan started out with Outback’s version of the Bleu Cheese Wedge Salad,

Outback Wedge Salad

while I got the House Salad with their Tangy Tomato Dressing.

Outback Salad 2

For the entrée Jan followed her usual pattern by ordering seafood, Grilled Tilapia with Lump Crab Topping, at a steakhouse.

Outback Tilapia with Crab Meat

For my part, I did stick with their strong suit and actually ordered a steak, an 11oz Center Cut Sirloin, along with the Grilled Asparagus.

Outback Sirloin

It’s been over a year  since we’ve eaten at an Outback, actually last April in Palmdale, CA, where we were staying at the Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails Park north of Los Angeles for a week.

For many years Outback was our go-to place for steaks, but over the years it’s been somewhat displaced by Longhorn, Saltgrass, and to a lesser extent, Texas Roadhouse. But Outback is always good.

I’ve mentioned before that Jan and I met in the summer of 1967 when we were both working at Florida Wonderland, an amusement park in Titusville, FL.

While Jan was one of the saloon girls at the Miss Kitty’s Soft Drink Saloon,

Florida Wonderland - Miss Kitty's Pleasure Palace

I was doing the animal acts at the Marine Life attraction across the street. I took care of all the animals and gave the tours to the visitors.

Florida Wonderland Marine Life 3

I discovered recently that there is a Facebook group about Florida Wonderland. And browsing through there last week I came across this photo.

Thor and Lori

That’s Lori on the left and Thor, the bigger one on the right, the two porpoises we had there. What’s unusual about this photo is that we didn’t put them together too often because Thor, the male, just would not leave Lori alone. And then when we did put them together it was hard to get them back in their own enclosures.

Lori was the most teachable and I spent a lot of time swimming in her pool teaching her new tricks. And seeing that photo really brings back memories.

May 18, 2020

A Bad Reaction . . .

Yesterday while we were at WalMart, Jan decided to get the second shot in the two shot pneumonia series. Bad Move.

Though she didn’t have any problems with the first shot a year ago, about 7:30 lst night she fell asleep on the sofa and then about 8:30 woke up with a terrible pain in her left arm, so bad that she said it was numb and she couldn’t move it.

Heart Attack, right?

Well, I immediately gave her 4 baby aspirin and then started checking her for symptoms. But she didn’t really have any.

No sweating, no chills, no nausea, no heartburn. I thought about getting out my blood pressure cuff and checking each arm, but then remembered my new Pulse Oximeter.

Pulse Oximeter

Putting it on the right hand, I got 70 bpm and 98% Oxygen. So no rapid heart rate. Then putting it on her left arm, I got 70 bpm and 97%.

OK, so no real heart attack symptoms. Sigh of relief.

Then about this time, Jan mentioned that this was the site of her pneumonia shot, and that it was hot and swollen. And going online, this problem is one of many side effects of the pneumonia shot.

She had a rough night on the sofa, but felt a little better this morning. But to help things along, I dug out some Tramadol tablets that I took last year for my sciatica and gave her one. And about 30 minutes later she was feeling much better. She took one more about 2:30, and didn’t need another one.

Just another reason I don’t like/get shots like this.

But she’s just about back to normal now.

Dodged a bullet.

Tomorrow I think we’re going to have dinner at Saltgrass for steak once again. Really looking forward to it.

May 18, 2021

No Sun, or Sunflowers . . .

After it rained heavily all morning, it was finally clear when we left the rig a little after noon, heading for Galveston and the Sunflower Café. We were meeting up with long-time friends, Peri and Jim Dean to have lunch there again.

We’ve known Jim and Peri since we first met them in Las Vegas in, I think, 2013, and we always get together whenever we’re close. And the last time was back around the first part of last December, also at Sunflower Café.

But Sunflower Café wasn’t in the cards for us today, as when we got there about 12:45 this afternoon, they were locked up tight, with no notice or announcement. So we decided to adjourn to the Mosquito Café right up the block, so I put in a call to Jim to give him the change of plans.

We’ve wanted to eat there for a while and this seemed like a good chance, but this wasn’t to be either. They were very crowded, probably because Sunflower was closed, and there seemed to be a long wait for tables. So changing plans again, we moved the whole operation a couple of blocks up the street to the Original Mexican Café, where we were seated immediately.

The Original Mexican Café is the longest continually operating restaurant on Galveston Island still at its original location, and that’s since 1916.

Original Mexican Cafe

And although we’ve eaten here a lot over the years, the last time was in December 2017, when Jan was very unhappy with her meal. So we haven’t been back.

Needless to say, Jan can hold a grudge.

And it looks like they’ve redeemed themselves in Jan’s eyes, since she said that her Chile Relleno was very good.

Original Mexican Cafe Chile Relleno

So I guess they’re back on her Nice list again.

Jim and I both had the Original Platter with a little bit of everything on two plates.

Original Mexican Cafe Original Combo 3

Original Mexican Cafe Original Combo 3a

Apparently, Jim and I both thought it was really good since we pretty much cleaned our plates.

I don’t remember what Peri had, but I assume she liked it as well, since I didn’t hear any complaints.

Original Mexican Cafe Jan, Peri and Jim Dean

And as usual, when we get together, we sat and talked for almost 4 hours before we headed home, and Jim and Peri went back to their rig at the State Park.

We had a great time and hopefully we’ll be able to do this again soon.

And Thursday we get to do the whole friends-get-together thing again, with Ed and Debi Hurlburt, and Janice and Dave Evans, this time up in Huntsville at the Farmhouse Café there.

Supposed to be really good, so we’re looking forward to it.

May 18, 2022

Saltgrass Again . . .

I spent most of today at work finishing up a few small problems with the new Shipping computer, mostly things that weren’t where they were supposed to be. Looks like all I’ve got to do now is the get the UPS remote station working right.

Tomorrow we’ve got another Saltgrass/Alvin Opry get-together. We just ate there two months ago, but it was so good that everyone wanted to go back.

May 18, 2023

Fun And Old Friends . . .

We had a great time getting together with Bill and Carol on our day trip down to Birmingham today.

But we didn’t get back until almost 10, and we’ve got to get up early tomorrow. So I’ll catch up tomorrow night.

Tomorrow we’re moving down to Prattville for a couple of days, getting together with some more old friends.




Stormy Weather . . .

After our hotel breakfast this morning, we checked in with our daughter Brandi after we saw news reports about all the storm damage in Houston last night.

Houston Storms 20240517

With over 900,000 homes without power due to downed power lines, and 4 to 5 people killed, we were concerned about her family’s safety. But being out in the Katy area, west of Houston, they had some tree limbs down, however that was about it for them.

But Houston proper was hit pretty hard with 100 mph winds doing a lot of damage.

And a lot of downtown office buildings had many windows blown out.

But the real long-term problem is going to be rebuilding the many transmission towers that were taken down by the high winds.

It’s going to be a while to get these repaired and electricity restored to the many homes now in the dark.

Since we had a great time and got home late, I’ll catch up with our visit with Fred and Susan in tomorrow’s blog.

And speaking of tomorrow, after getting together for lunch with one of Jan’s former hospital coworkers, we’ll make the 3 hour trip down to Fairhope where we’ll be for the next 6 nights.

Thought For The Day:

I really think I deserve an award, or at least public acclamation, for the amount of sarcastic comments I manage to keep to myself on a daily basis.

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2016 – How Jan and I Got Together

2022 – Mascot Sightings

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

May 17, 2009

Sponge Bob and Tarpon Frenzies…

After eating a great breakfast at the Geiger Key Marina Smokehouse Restaurant here at the RV park, we headed back down to Key West with our friends to spend some more time exploring.

The first thing we noticed was that there was a new addition to the scenery. Since we left last night, a Disney Cruise ship had docked right on the square.

Disney Magic Cruise Ship

After finding a place to park, we wandered some of the many gift shops before taking a tour of Key West on the Old Time Trolley.  It’s a 90 minute ride going past all of the major sites in Key West.  Our tour guide, Tim, was excellent and really kept us laughing.

We also came across what seems to be the original ‘Sponge Bob’, although his pants weren’t square.

Sponge Bob

After wandering thru more gift shops, we ate a late lunch at Alonzo’s Oyster Bar, right on the water at the Key West Marina. Once again the food was good and the scenery was great!

Right across the dock from us, a fishing boat had come in and was cleaning some of their catch, throwing the waste overboard.

This attracted a lot of gulls, and some very large tarpon, all of them fighting over the feast.

Gull Frenzy

Some of the tarpon seemed to be at least 6ft in length.

Tarpon Frenzy

But now it was time for us to head back to the RV park since our friends planned on heading back up to West Palm Beach, about 220 miles north.

We had a great time visiting together and will see them again in a few days when we stop over in West Palm on our way up north.

May 17, 2010

A Coos Bay Day…

Today was just pretty much a lazy, do-nothing day in Coos Bay. We slept in late and hung around the coach until almost noon.

I forgot to mention that yesterday at 12:32 pm on our trip up from Klamath we racked up 30,000 miles on our coach.  Not bad for only 2 – 1/2 years on the road and traveling from Alaska to Key West to Nova Scotia to San Diego. (Not in that order, of course)

I talked to our friend Allen Bode this morning. We met Allen and his wife Jan last year in Titusville, FL while we were both at the Manatee Hammock RV Park. They are out in this part of the country and we were hoping to make our schedules match up so we could get together. But it looks like we’ll have to try it later.

About 11:30 am we drove back over to the marina area to have lunch. We decided to try another seafood restaurant that was recommended to us, the Sea Basket. And it was just about as good as yesterday.

After lunch, we went by the Post Office to drop off some packages to our son Chris and our granddaughter Piper.

Then we stopped by Walmart to pick up some things and it was back to the rig for the night.

Tomorrow we’ll head further north to Seaside, OR. On the way we’ll stop about 60 miles up the road at the Sea Lion Caves. Hopefully, we’ll see some sea lions. We haven’t done too well on the whale front.

May 17, 2011

Great Muffins and So-So Pizza . . .

I woke up about 10 am to another cold, rainy, dreary day, pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same.

But Thursday is looking up. We’ll see.

I quickly made coffee in my nice, clean coffeemaker, anticipating some of the muffins that we got last night.

I mentioned my clean coffeemaker because I spent a good while yesterday running pots of CLR through it to clean out the calcium buildup. And then I had to run 6-8 pots of clean water through it to clean out the CLR.

At 11 we got to see ourselves on TV again on the The Talk. We were shown in the audience right when the hosts were introduced. We’ve got another shot at stardom on Friday the 20th, but we don’t know if we’ll be shown again.

Later Jan fixed us egg and cheese sandwiches for lunch that, along with Kettle Salt and Cracked Pepper Potato Chips, made for a great lunch.

About 5:30 we headed out for supper at a local Italian place called Di Cicco’s. Turned out to be so-so. Better than Pizza Factory, not near as good as Crusty’s Pizza in Camp Verde, AZ, or Da Boyz in Yuma.

We agreed that they don’t have oregano or basil in their kitchen, or at least they don’t use it.

On our way home we stopped off at a Chevron station to get a cappuccino as a nightcap.

That’s about it for today.

May 17, 2013

Good Coffee, Good Soup . . .

We really enjoyed the cool (actually more like cold) weather last night, With the temp in the mid 30’s, it was nice to have the windows cracked open a bit and the mattress pad heater cranked up. Really good sleeping weather,

And tonight it’s supposed to be 31 degrees. Nice.

With the cold weather, our morning coffee was especially good. Cinnamon Hazelnut. Hmm, Good!

Since the park office was closed when we got here yesterday, I went down there about 1pm to register and pay the $3 a night that staying at an Encore park costs us. Not bad for staying in South Lake Tahoe.

While I was out and about, I stopped off at a mini-mart to pick up some lottery tickets for tonight’s Mega-Millions and tomorrow night’s Powerball drawings. Right now the Powerball is over 600 million, and could be substantially higher by the time of the drawing.

I wonder how long it’s going to be until we get a $1 Billion prize.

As I mentioned yesterday, we’re parked in a nice wooded area, with a lot of Ponderosa pines surrounding us. The nearest rig is a couple of hundred feet away, so that’s nice.

Tahoe Village 1

Of course, all these trees wouldn’t be so nice if I couldn’t get a satellite signal, but it all worked out.

Tahoe Village 2

Before I left on my errands, I got a batch of soup going in the Crock-Pot. A couple of boxes of chicken stock, 3 or 4 frozen, previously poached, chicken breasts, a can of Rotel Hot Diced Tomatoes with Habaneros, a can of kidney beans, a couple of fresh, sliced-up jalapenos, and you’ve got the perfect meal for this kind of weather.

We’ve been checking out things to do in this area, and I brought back a few brochures from the park office. They do have another zip line for Jan to try, and someone recommended the paddleboat cruises on the lake. But most of the attractions here seem to revolve around snow skiing, water skiing, jet skis, golf, and gambling.

We also noticed that the Donner Pass area is only about 45 miles from here, so we’ll probably make a sightseeing trip over that way while we’re here.

Tomorrow?  Who knows?

May 17, 2014

Finally . . .

Jan and I were up at 6:30 this morning getting ready to make the 350 mile trip up to Elkhart for the first time since last July. But we had a last breakfast with Jan’s family here before we left the area.

We pulled out of the Timber Trails Campground out in Mulberry Grove about 7:30 to meet Jan’s sister Debbie, her husband Jim, and daughter Christian (Jan’s niece) at the Denny’s in Vandalia at 8am.

We’ve always enjoyed our visits here with Debbie and her family, and this one was no exception. And it was really nice to have one last get-together with at least part of the extended family.

But since we had a long day’s drive in front of us, we were back on the road by 9 heading north on I-70 where we got on I-57 in Effingham. Later, we got off I-57 onto US24 and then took that east until we headed north on US421.

US421 took us all the way up to the I-80/I-90 tollway, where we headed east to Elkhart. And $10.50 and 50 minutes we were pulling into the Elkhart RV Park, kind of our home away from home.

We were quickly steered to our site and Jan and I got connected and set up.  Then it was off down the road to have our first meal here at King Wha, our favorite local Chinese place. And it didn’t disappoint.

Getting back home, the long day and the change to EDT started to get to us, so we were in for the night.

May 17, 2015

Rethinking . . .

our Love of Twin Peaks

Most of you have probably heard about the big shoot-out at the Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco, TX. It seems members of possibly five different biker gangs opened fire in and around the restaurant, even spilling over into the parking lot of the restaurant next door. You can read more about it here at this link.

So far it seems like all of the 9 dead and almost 20 wounded, were bikers, and not patrons.

Regular blog readers know how much Jan and I like the food at Twin Peaks, and try to eat at one whenever we find one in the area. But now maybe we’ll check out the number of bikes in the parking lot before we eat at one again.

As far as our home here behind the service department of Affinity RV, things were pretty quiet today, even for a Sunday. We just read, watched TV, and did computer stuff.

We did start going over the list of things we want to take with us on our 1500 mile trip back to Vandalia, IL this coming Wednesday. We’ll do it in two 750 miles days, spending the night in Amarillo, TX on the way.

We had planned to be making this trip in the rig, but our blowout changed that. But since we didn’t want to miss the family reunion, a road trip it is.

Around 5pm I drove across the street for a few things at Fry’s, and then picked up dinner at the Taco Bell in the parking lot. We both like their new Steak Doubledilla meal, and wanted to have it again. It’s delicious and cheap.

Finishing up, Brandi sent over this photo of Landon.

Landon the Tiger

Don’t know the reason for the tiger makeup, (National Tiger Day, maybe) but he does look cute.

May 17, 2016

Where It All Started . . .

First off, Karma’s still doing OK. She’s actually moving a little slower than last night since the long-term time-release painkiller wore off. But she’s eating and drinking just fine.

My week of FAST WAVE Wi-Fi here at the park is over, and I did not renew. All I can really say is that the service is just sucky, and at about 2.5 Mbps, not any better than my 3G aircard. Plus it drops out a lot.

Now I know that most RV’ers are used to spotty, low-quality park Wi-Fi. But this is a brand-new, park-wide system just completed last month. They’ve got antennas all over the park, with one just 3 sites away, giving us 5 bars of signal. It’s really a shame that the actual service is not any better.

Compare this Wi-Fi at $15 a week to the free Wi-Fi at the Harris County Public Library yesterday, where we had 28+ Mbps. Too bad they don’t have RV hookups at the library.

Apparently, an era has ended in Las Vegas. No more free parking. At least at the MGM casinos. This includes the MGM Grand, Circus Circus, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, The Mirage, New York New York, Monte Carlo, and finally, The Bellagio. And the last one is the one that affects us.

Whenever we’re in Las Vegas, we drive down to the Strip one night, park in the Bellagio’s parking garage, and take in the famous fountains out in front.

Bellagio 1

Bellagio 5

Bellagio 7

But now if we do this, it’s going to cost us $10. Bummer.

Now the next question is, will this spread? I guess it could go either way. Either all the other casinos will match this so they all make more money, or the other casinos will use it as an advertising gimmick, I.e., Play here and get FREE Parking!

It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Recently I stumbled across this site that tracks Florida’s Lost Tourist Attractions. And one of the many listed here was Florida Wonderland.

Florida Wonderland Sign

Florida Wonderland was where Jan and I met July 5th, 1967. Jan lived in Titusville, and I had come down from Alabama for the summer to spend some time bumming around. I had relatives living in nearby Sanford, and while there, saw an ad in the Florida Today newspaper wanting someone to take care of the animals, and do the porpoise shows at the Marine Life part of Florida Wonderland.

Thor and Lori

The Marine Life facility was located across the street from Florida Wonderland and was right on the Indian River. In fact the two large ponds for the porpoises were fed by the river.

Besides the two porpoises, Thor and Lori, we had a 12 ft. alligator, two manatees, Bruce and Vivian, a very large tortoise, and a sea lion, as well as a few other smaller animals.

Marine Life Wonderland

The fish we used to feed the animals had to be kept iced down, and I didn’t have an ice machine over there, so I had to walk across the street to get ice several times a day.

And on my first afternoon, I walked across the parking lot to where the ice machine was, and encountered a beautiful long-legged redhead. And I was smitten from the start.

Jan was one of the saloon girls working at Miss Kitty’s Pleasure Palace, one of the attractions in the Dodge City western town area of the park.

Miss Kitty's Pleasure Palace

I was skinny and had hair back then, but even so, it took me about two weeks to get her to go out with me. She said later she thought I was just another stuck-up college kid, driving a red sports car. Glad I didn’t give up.

And now, this September 28th, we will have been married 49 years.

It’s been great!

May 17, 2017

On To Hermiston . . .

I had planned to be up at 7am so we could be on the road by 9, earlier than usual. But since we wanted to hopefully weigh the coach at the weigh station and then diesel up at the Fred Meyer’s in Bend.

But it didn’t quite work out that way, since I woke up feeling really under the weather. So I slept in until about 8:30 hoping to feel better by then. But though it really didn’t work out that way, we were still able to pull out of the park by 10am, only an hour late.

As we approached the weigh station I saw flashing red and blue lights so I was prepared to abort. But then I saw it was the Highway Patrol who had someone pulled over right at the entrance, so I pulled on in.

This weigh station only has a single platform so the front and rear wheels have to be weighed separately.  For the front I got 12,050 pounds, and 18,750 on the rear for a total of 30,800 pounds, comfortably below our Max GVWR of 32,000. And this total includes a full Fresh Water tank, a full Grey Tank, and a full Black Tank.

And me.

So that’s 834 + 500 + 350 pounds for a total of 1,684 pounds.

And me.

I just didn’t feel like fooling with backing up and doing a side to side weight. And we’ve never had more than 100 pounds difference between the two sides anyway.

So it was on to the Fred Meyer’s to take on some diesel, and unlike yesterday, it went very smoothly . . . and quickly.

I dumped my bottle of Diesel Kleen in the tank first and then the guy started the pump.

Actually pretty easy. Of course, they weren’t near as busy as yesterday.

Finished fueling up, we had to wander the parking lot for a few minutes until we found a place to hook up the toad. Or at least hook up the toad and then still be able to navigate out of the lot.

But finally we were back on US97N a little after 11am.

And I’m going to continue this tomorrow when I’m feeling better.

May 17, 2018

Business Is Booming . . .

I spent the morning and afternoon working on a couple of different things. First up I continued to sort through more stuff, separating things into ‘Stay In The Rig’ and ‘Go To The Storage Room’ piles.

Once I decided that I wasn’t going to be ready to take a load over to the storage room today, we drove over to Pho 20 to have dinner. As in the past, we started out by splitting the House Crunch Salad. Then Jan tried a new entry on the bill of fare, the Spicy Teriyaki Chicken, a hotter version of the regular one.

Pho 20 Spicy Chicken Teriakyi

Since I had my half of the salad, I lightened up with the White Chicken Meat Pho, but without the added veggies this time.

Pho 20 White Chicken Pho

And as in the past, the owner, Sherry, had left a present for us. She knows how much we both like Hot & Sour Soup, and although it’s not on the menu, she’ll make up a big batch and leave it in the freezer until we come in. Some good eating this weekend.

Now that I’ve got the last of the electronic parts in, I’ve come up with a way to mount the actuators on top of the valve bodies. I’m going to use U-Bolt clamps like these,

U-Bolt Clamps

to hold the actuators and stainless steel band clamps to secure everything to the valve body. At least that’s the plan, but we’ll see how it goes.

Our daughter Brandi looks to be having a really good time down in the Dominican Republic, along with her friend Chantelle.

Brandi and Chantelle at Punta Cana

From left to right, that’s Chantelle, Brandi, and a friend to be named later.

I did want to post some of the artwork done by my niece Stahlie. Actually she’s my first cousin once removed, but according to the genealogy sites, she’s still called my ‘niece’.

Stahlie Artwork

Stahlie New Art

A very talented young lady.

Stahlie Calvin 2

And beautiful, too.

When he’s not playing hockey, Landon’s playing soccer, just like his mother did.

Landon Soccer 2018

Lowell sent over his soccer team photos for 2018.

May 17, 2021

Satellites and Sunflowers . . .

This past Saturday evening SpaceX put another 52 Starlink satellites into orbit, less than the normal 60 since they had a couple of paying customer’s satellites onboard, taking up the space.

And I’m hoping that every launch puts us closer to getting our Starlink online. We’ve paid the $99 deposit, so now we’re just waiting for Starlink to tell us we’re ready to go in our area. Then we’ll pay the $499 for the equipment, and we’ll be ready to go.

And I’m really looking forward to getting speeds like this.

Glenn Reynolds Starlink Test

Yes, that’s over 300 Mbps, compared to what we have here at the RV park.

Petticoat Junction RVP Speed Test

That’s a big difference!

And at my client’s up in the Clear Lake area, we get between 50 and 60 Mbps, so Starlink is even 6 times faster than that.

For now!

Elon Musk says that as they get more and more satellites on orbit, they hope to get speeds up around 1 Gbps. That’s 1000 Mbps.

Since all these launch from SpaceX’s facility down at Boca Chica, Jan suggested we might take a trip down that way to try and see a launch sometime. We saw a Shuttle launch from the Cape in 2009, and I was at the STS-3 Shuttle landing at White Sands in 1982.

So it would be nice to add another one to the scrapbook.

Boca Chica is about 20 miles northeast of Brownsville right out on the Gulf of Mexico, and just south of South Padre Island by about 5 miles.

So we’ll have to see what we can put together, but almost certainly after we get back from our June vacation to Illinois and Alabama.

And since we’re on the subject of rockets, here’s what’s going in the Gaza area of Israel right now.

Israeli Gaza Rockets

On the right you can see the ballistic rockets that Hamas is launching into Israel. And on the left, you can see the interceptor rockets that Israel’s Iron Dome defense system has launched maneuvering to intercept them.

The term ‘ballistic’ means that once launched, the rockets follow a predictable path and don’t maneuver, making it possible to know where each rocket is going to land.

The Iron Dome system quickly knows whether an incoming rocket is going to land in a field, or out in the desert, and ignores those, only going after ones that look to be headed for populated areas.

The interceptors are very smart, smart enough to divide up the targets so they don’t all go after the same few rockets, and to re-target themselves to another rocket if necessary.

A really amazing system that’s said to stop over 90% of the incoming rockets.

Tomorrow we’re making the trip down to Galveston once again to meet up with Jim and Peri Dean for lunch at Sunflower Café, a really great breakfast/brunch/lunch place.

Really looking forward to seeing them again.

May 17, 2022

Mascot Sightings . . .

As I said in last night’s blog, today was a Twin Peaks, Kroger, Storage Room, Take 5 Oil Change kind of day.

Our usual TP server, Sylvia, was there, and besides her usual great service, she gave us her phone number so we can text her to see if she’s working on a day we want to come. If she’s not going to be there, she said she’ll tell us who to ask for.

We’ve seen a lot of mascots as we’ve traveled around the country –

Mermaids in Beaufort, SC,

Beaufort Mermaid Mascot 1

Javelinas in Sedona AZ,

Sedona Mascot Javelinas 2

Bears in Easthampton MA,

Easthampton MA Bears 4

Mackinac Island Moose,

Mackinac Moose Mascot

Seabrook TX Pelicans,

Seabrook Pelican Mascot 6

And Pearland TX Pears.

Pearland Pear Mascot

And now it looks like Dickinson TX, right down the road from us, has their version.

A Heron.

Dickinson Heron Mascot

We’ve only seen this one, so we don’t know for sure.

But we’ll keep our eyes open.

May 17, 2023

It Was That Good . . .

After our breakfast this morning Jan decided to catch up on laundry since it’s right next door here at the motel, while I did work stuff on the computer here in the room.

Then about 11:45 we headed down to Decatur to meet up with long-time friend, Anne (by long-time, I’ve known her since she was 13) and her friend Alan at The Railyard. Located in downtown Decatur, it’s a popular place for business people and workers to have lunch.

And the food was really good.

Jan had the Fish Tacos with Beans,

RailYard Fish Tacos

while Alan and I both had the BBQ Shrimp & Grits.

RailYard BBQ Shrimp and Grits

This is Shrimp & Grits, along with Pulled Pork. Jan asked me how it compared the Shrimp & Grits that I often get at Snooze. Told her it was apples and oranges. Both are really good, but the addition of the pulled pork makes these really different. But delicious.

Anne got a salad, and we all shared an order of the Maple-Glazed Carrots.

RailYard Maple Glazed Carrots

Note that I didn’t manage to get a photo until after said ‘sharing’. They were really good, and not over-cooked or mushy.

We were having such a good time laughing and talking that they pretty much had to run us out when they closed at 2pm. And because of this I forgot to get a photo of Anne and Alan, so here’s last years.

Moody Crab Anne and Alan

And we’re already planning for next year.

Getting our good-bye hugs, Jan and I headed on down US31 to Big Bob Gibson BBQ once again. Jan had decided that since she liked the one forkful of Peanut Butter that I gave her from my slice yesterday, she wanted her own piece. And of course, she wasn’t getting another slice unless I got one too. So we got two slices to go from the drive-thru to have later this evening.

Big Bob Gibson BBQ Peanut Butter Pie 20230517

And it was just as good as yesterday.

Then before heading home, we made a stop for a few things at a WalMart Neighborhood Market, I think our first time to visit one. And we also got gas there at $2.92/gal., the best price I’ve seen around here.

Tomorrow we’re making a daytrip down to Birmingham to have dinner with long-time friends, Bill and Carol. Bill and I worked together for the Alabama Educational Television Network from 1972 to 1975, as well as a local radio station, as Broadcast Engineers. Really looking forward to seeing them again.



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