Saturday, April 30, 2016

Road Rage at Olive Garden

We made a trip into Humble yesterday for "supplies" - one stop at Barnes and Noble, and another at Olive Garden for salad dressing.
The B&N stop went well, but traffic on FM1960 was horrible - it always is, but this was much worse than usual.  There was a wreck on our side that had been pulled off into a parking lot, but oncoming traffic was much worse.  We had to wait through two lights to turn left because of people on the other side blocking the intersection when the light changed.
Once in the parking lot, I was turning left into a parking spot - I had plenty of room - when an oncoming pickup truck accelerated, laid on his horn, and blew past us screaming obscenities.  I'm not sure what she had in mind, but Honey was climbing out of the truck until I convinced her that the guy had kept going.
I got out to head into Olive Garden when I saw an elderly fellow sitting in the back door of a minivan laughing uncontrollably.  "Friend of yours?" he asked.  "Did you wave back?"

Friday, April 29, 2016

I LOVE Pullrite

We pull our 5th wheel with a Pullrite Superglide hitch.  It uses cams to move to the rear when going around corners - a necessity with a short bed truck - and it does it automatically, making it almost idiot-proof.  It is heavy - mine weighs 180 lbs. - but every part of it is American made.
After eight years and 40,000 miles or so of trouble-free service, we have had two problems this spring.  I mentioned the first back in March, a small plastic block that actually mounts on the trailer broke and they replaced it for free.
Yesterday, I was greasing the hitch and noticed that it had a serious list to starboard.  It turns out that one side had broken off of the rocker plate spring.  I called Pulliam Industries and the young lady who took my call said "Give me your address, and I'll put one in the mail."
You just can't beat that kind of service.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


I was in a dismal mood, all ready to write a doom and gloom editorial for today's blog.  Then, I came across this bit of advice:
 It's a 2,400 year old mosaic from Antiocheia, and the inscription translates as "Be cheerful, enjoy your life."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dishwasher Again

My frustration level is nearing the breaking point.  The parts I ordered for the dishwasher last weekend showed to be in stock when I ordered them on line.  Today, they both show as back-ordered.
I expected to get them today, but now they say it will be at least another week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Shampooing the carpet in our 5th wheel this morning - just one more way to show that what we do isn't "camping" anymore.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Where Are the Astros

AL West

Many. if not most, sports gurus had picked the Houston Astros to win the American League - possibly the World Series - this year.
So far, it ain't so good.
I realize it is still very early, but our home town heroes are stinkin' up the joint.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Another Dishwasher Update

That dishwasher detergent we ordered on line is even better than I had hoped it would be.  It's actually removing water stains on glasses that had been building up for years.
Unfortunately, what with all the cleaning I did on the dishwasher, it has developed a leak!  It's a little leak, and it doesn't do it every cycle, but it is definitely too much to live with.
I ordered a couple of gaskets today that should solve the problem.  Now we just have to wait until they arrive.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


I've seen this photo on Facebook several times over the past couple of years.  Interesting as it may be, it just ain't true.  
Although many states do severely limit what you can do with captured rainwater, Colorado is the only state where it might be illegal --- and they currently have legislation in process that would allow it there.  Texas actually encourages the practice.
If you really care, you can read details of each state's laws HERE>

Friday, April 22, 2016

Rain - part 5

It's over - no rain on the horizon.  
As floodwaters recede, cleanup is underway.  There are no official estimates of loss yet, but it will be in the billions of dollars.
Grateful that we had no damage, no loss, and only minor inconvenience.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rain - part 4

There is a line of thunderstorms - the leading edge of a cool front - somewhere between here and Austin and headed our way.  That is supposed to be the last rain here for a while.
Meanwhile, local news channels continue to offer almost continuous coverage of flooding all day long.  Channel 11 has not shown national news all week.  
I do understand their priorities, and yes, there are thousands of folks suffering various degrees of loss, from total devastation to minor inconvenience, but I am ready to hear about something - anything - else.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rain - part 3

Hardly any rain yesterday, and most of the water in our yard drained off, but we ain't out of the woods yet.  Heavy thunderstorms are expected today, and we can already hear thunder in the distance.
The road we took to the doctor on Monday morning has been impassable for the last 36 hours.  The East Fork of the San Jacinto River is over the road and was still rising yesterday afternoon. 
Our first stop on our upcoming vacation was to be Stephen  F. Austin State Park.  Their website this morning says that they will be closed due to flooding for at least the next ten days.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rain part 2

Local news teams were on the air all day yesterday covering the flooding in and around Houston, and there were lots of stories to tell.
I saw folks go into flood waters to rescue people, horses, dogs and one armadillo.  
A channel 13 reporter dropped his mike in mid-report to wade out and save a man who had driven into high water.  It was interesting that the windshield wipers on the guy's minivan kept working as the vehicle submerged, and you could still see the tail lights when the vehicle was completely covered by water.
I think the picture that will come to represent the April 18 flooding will be this one:
Apartment residents in the Greenspoint area were getting out any way they could - floating their kids and belongings out on air mattresses and kiddie pools.  This guy brought his wife and kids out in their refrigerator.
Hey, it worked!

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Bit of Rain

We've had an interesting morning so far.  
Parts of Harris County had as much as 20 inches of rain overnight, and we had between 4 and 5.
Honey had an eye appointment this morning, the first one of the day, so even though we suspected that they would be closed, we made the trip.  We drove through several high water spots, never more than a few inches deep, and were diverted onto the freeway via what is usually an exit ramp.  We made it to the doctor's office, but she did not - in fact only one employee made it in.  She was able to reschedule Honey's appointment, and we headed for home.
Made it home fine, and we're high and dry, but there's more rain in the forecast through Wednesday or possibly Thursday.  It's going to cause a lot of damage.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


I don't have anything against Wrens - we like birds, and keep bird feeders in the back yard year round - but Wrens seem to delight in making my life complicated. 
You may remember the post from 2012 about the nest in our gas grill.  Their next-favorite  place to build a nest is in the pin box of our 5th wheel.
 It provides a nice enclosed area with limited access, just the sort of space Wrens love.
As I was cleaning up our trailer last week, I noticed a pair of Wrens paying too much attention to the pin box.  When I looked, I didn't see a nest, but they kept flying in there, so the next day, I reached all the way to the front and pulled out a big glob of leaves and pine needles.
I was too late.  
The nest contained three baby birds that already had most of their adult plumage. I stuck the nest back in and am hoping the birds leave on their own before we get ready to leave on our next trip.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Million Dollar Picture

Colorado's Million Dollar Highway is arguably one of the most beautiful - and frightening - stretches of roadway in the United States.  The part of US 550 between Silverton and Ouray, it follows the Umcompagre River through the mountains and over Red Mountain Pass.  It features switchbacks that will let you check your own tail lights, and thousand foot drop-offs with no guard rails.
A recent trip report on featured this picture, proving the writer shares my own warped sense of humor.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Please Wash

Over the years, I have probably seen thousands of dirty trucks and vans with "Please Wash Me" scraped in the dust or mud.  
Today, I saw

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Just Another Day

Spent the day doing very ordinary stuff.  
It all started out with a trip to the Chiropractor, then to Palais Royal, where I bought some shoes and Honey got a couple blouses.  From there, we went to SAS in Humble, where Honey also got a new pair of shoes, then a stop at the hardware store on the way home.
Later, when the mail came, I got the new LED lights for the vanity in the 5th wheel. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Well, That Was Quick

I mentioned last week that Chrysler called me and kept me on the phone while they made an appointment to get the Takata air bag replaced on our truck.
Today was the day.  
I was told to be at the dealership at 7 a.m. and that the process would take a couple hours.  When I arrived, I was told that their mechanics didn't start work until eight, and that their computers were down.  That didn't sound promising, but I went in and sat down in their lounge.
I hadn't read more than a dozen pages in the book I brought when the service manager came and told me they were through.  One of their mechanics had come in early, and decided to do the job while they were waiting for their network to come back up.  They asked me to sign a work order so they could bill Chrysler when they had internet access, and I was out the door and on the way home by 7:33.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Boston Baked Beans

For several years now, I have been taking a vitamin with Lutein on the advice of my Optometrist.  Recently, Honey was advised to take them too, but with a twist.  Her Ophthalmologist suggested a vitamin with AREDS-2, which contains lutein along with some other stuff to make it work better.
I ordered some for each of us, and the pills in the bottle caused a major flashback!  They look just like Boston Baked Beans, a candy that was a staple at the movie theater when I was a kid.
I never was a big fan of Boston Baked Beans - I was more of a Jr. Mints sort of guy - but my best elementary school pal, Val Jahnke, couldn't get through a Saturday Fun Club at the old Garden Oaks Theater without a box.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Back in 2010, I wrote about the orchid that our daughter Cheryl gave Honey years ago for Mothers Day.  Well it's blooming again, along with another she gave her several years later.

Cheryl gave her one in the middle last year, and we're watching it closely.  It has a shoot coming in that may just be another root, but could be a developing bloom stalk on it, too.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dishwasher Update

My posts on the last day of March and the first day of April were about cleaning up the dishwasher.  Honey said I shared too much information, but the problems we were having eventually affect anyone who is washing dishes with the new non-phosphate dishwasher detergents that are all you can find in the stores.
Well, here is an update - actually two.
  1. I did eventually get the dishwasher clean as new.
  2. You can still get dishwasher detergent that contains phospates, and it actually CLEANS dishes.

 I found this stuff on line at a place called Worldwide Janitor.  Its main ingredient is Sodium Tripolyphosphate, 20-30% by weight.  The smallest order is a 25 pound bucket, but even with shipping it costs about the same, maybe a bit less, than Cascade from Walmart or the grocery store.  
We have only been using it for a few days, but the difference in our dishes is amazing.

Friday, April 8, 2016

On Top of Everest

I spent most of yesterday on top of Everest - our Everest brand 5th wheel - scrubbing the top as part of an overall cleaning.  
That's 333 square feet of surface area, give or take, not counting the tops of the slide-outs, the cowlings on the air conditioners, etc.  
I scrub the top with a soft brush on an extendable pole, and a mixture of a little detergent and a lot of Clorox.  It's not exactly a full day's work, but it's as much as I want to do in a day.
Today I start on the sides.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Satellite 2

Winegard finally did call me back yesterday, but the results were less than I had hoped for.  They told me that they had discontinued manufacture of my old fold-up dish several years ago, and no longer stocked replacement parts.  They referred the call to tech service, and when they called me back, they confirmed that there was no comparable part from a later model.
There are fold-up dishes available from other manufacturers, but from what I could see online, I wasn't impressed, so I ended up ordering a tripod mounted dish like the one above.  There were several listings for this one on EBay, and the price ranged all over the place - mostly in the $80 range, but as high as $100.  I ordered the least expensive one at $59, and got a confirmation that it had shipped a few hours later.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


We use a fold-up satellite dish like the one above when traveling.  Last year, one of the tabs on the slide that positions the dish broke off.  It still works, but it needs to be replaced.
I was able to locate a parts diagram and a part number for what I need, and called Winegard to order the part.  After being forwarded to the right department, I got a recording saying all agents were helping other customers, and to leave a name and number for a call back.
I did, but so far they haven't.  So I'm trying to decide how long to wait before I call again. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Guess They''re Serious

There has been a lot in the news about the TAKATA Airbag recall.  Our 2007 Dodge Ram pickup is one of the vehicles included, and we got a notice in the mail a while back.
I hadn't done anything about it, but yesterday, I got a call from a lady at Chrysler.  She kept me on the line while we made an appointment to get the thing fixed.  When she couldn't get the response she wanted from the first dealer she tried, she came back on line and asked me where I would like to take the truck.
We settled on Martin Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Cleveland, Texas, and I have an appointment for one week from today.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Rain Delay

With temps in the upper 40s and rain in the forecast, the New York Yankees have cancelled their season opener against the Houston Astros. 
If the game would have been here, the Minute Maid Park forecast is for clear skies and a high near 80.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sometimes Wright Is Wrong

We are bacon eaters.  
Our bacon of choice is Wright thick cut - there just isn't anything out there that compares.
Sometimes things go wrong, and this morning was one of those times.  I opened a new package for breakfast, and the bacon was rancid.
Luckily, I still have the receipt.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Getting There From Here

Two Weeks Ago, I posted a column about Google Maps, pointing out that they were suggesting a route that didn't exist.  
Well, things change.  
That route does exist today - Section G, the portion of Hwy 99 between I-45 and I-69 (US 59) opened earlier this week.  It is free through tomorrow, then tolls will apply beginning Monday.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A-D-A Part Two

I had promised yesterday to tell you today how I cleaned our dishwasher - APRIL FOOLS!
Actually, the joke isn't on you, it's on me.  
After hours of cleaning and more rinses than I can count, dishes are still coming out filmy with a fine dusting of grit.  
Believe it or not, that's progress!  
The stuff on the dishes is the residual of stuff that was caked on the interior of the dishwasher when I started.  The dishwasher itself looks almost new, but over a half dozen (I actually have lost count)  rinses have failed to remove it all from the system.  
I suspect that there is still stuff being released each cycle and it will eventually return to normal, but meanwhile, we may have to rinse and hand dry everything we remove from the dishwasher.