Bearizona and Las Vegas . . .

Today was a travel day, from Williams, AZ to the Thousand Trails RV Park in Las Vegas. But before I tell you about that, I wanted to recount our visit to Bearizona yesterday.

Bearizona is a drive-thru/walk-thru wildlife park that just opened last year, and new exhibits are being built even now.

Bearizona Entrance

Here’s my sweetie with the park mascot.

Jan and Her Little Bear Friend

These are American Burros who are apparently more interested in dinner than us.

American Burros

Next we had the American Bison or Buffalo.

Bison 1

This guy was only about 20 feet from the truck, and I think he was bigger than the truck.

Bison 2

These are Gray Wolves. When we pulled up to their area, they were just laying around under the trees until one of the park guys went by on his ATV. They all perked up and came running over to the road, I guess thinking they were going to be fed.

Wolves 1

Wolves 2

Wolves 3

In the next area, we had Dall Sheep. We saw a lot of these along the roads in Alaska.

Dall Sheep

And more sheep, this time Big Horn Sheep. We’ve seen these a number of times traveling out west.

Big Horn Sheep 2

Big Horn Sheep 1

This is the fabled White Buffalo. True albino buffalo are extremely rare, but I don’t know what these are. They could be leucistic, which means they would have blue eyes instead of the pink eyes of an albino, or they could be a buffalo/cow cross.

White Buffalo

Finally we saw bears, lots of bears. Black ones, brown ones, little ones, big ones. All around us.

Black Bear 1

Black Bear 2

Brown Bear 1

Brown Bear 2

But the cutest ones were the four 3 month old cubs. They were playing, falling, and wrestling like a bunch of puppies, into everything.

Bear Cubs 1

Bear Cubs 3

Bear Cubs 2

I even shot some video of them.

They even had a baby javelina, with his own bed.

Baby Javelina 1

He even has his own toy to play with. I wonder if the Big Horn Sheep have a toy javelina to play with?

Baby Javelina 3

Another one of those ‘so ugly they’re cute’ animals.

Baby Javelina 2

In the Petting Zoo area, Terry made a new friend. In fact, for a while we thought he was going to follow her home.

Terry and her new best friend

A baby fox.


But, beside the bear cubs, I think everyone’s favorite were the Bobcats. It was almost like they enjoyed posing for us.

Bobcat 1

They would sit on the rock for a while, take a break and wander off, and then come back and sit on the rock again.

Bobcat 5

Bobcat 2

Bobcat 3

Just beautiful animals.

Bobcat 4

We all had a great time at Bearizona and look forward to visiting it again next year to check out the new animals.

Bearizona is well worth your time if you’re in the area.

Now back to today.

We left the Canyon Gate RV Park in Williams about 9, heading for Las Vegas 213 miles away. The reason we left so early for such a short trip was that Nick had planned to stop at the Speedco about 15 miles outside of Kingman and get the oil changed in his rig. And I was going to check out the instant oil analysis service they offered.

But it didn’t quite work out that way. Despite Nick having called twice and being assured they worked on RV’s and could get him in and out quickly, when he pulled into the parking lot, he was basically told to get out, and that they only worked on big trucks driven by guys working for a living.

When Nick mentioned that their website says they service RV’s, the guy said he didn’t care, just move!

And then they seemed to go out of their way to make it difficult for us to get out of their parking lot. So much so, that I ended up damaging the left front corner of my rig getting out of a tight turn.

Even stranger, a flat bed tractor-trailer pulled in right before us, and after talking to the same guy, started to leave immediately. But then had to wait for Nick to move out of his way. In doing so, he told Nick “these guys are a bunch of a$$hole$”.

So either his truck wasn’t big enough, or he wasn’t working hard enough, I guess.

I know that plenty of RV’ers have used Speedco, but I never have, and now never will.

So, after this brief but unpleasant interlude, we were back on the road to Las Vegas, about 115 miles away.

We were a little worried about the high wind advisories we were seeing, warning of bad conditions crossing the new Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, but except for the occasional ‘interesting’ wind gust, the trip was smooth and the scenery was great.

Both Nick and Jan had worried about crossing the new bridge, but because the sides are high, and RV’s are supposed to stay in the left lane, you never realize that you are almost 900 feet about the Colorado River as you cross.

It’s really kind of disappointing.

We got into the Thousand Trails here in Vegas a little after 1 and got set up. Then about 3 we drove down to Boulder Station Casino to check out the buffet there.

And it was just as good as last year. As usual we sat around talking for a good while before heading home about 5 pm.

We’re going to be here for two weeks, and hopefully we’ll have as much fun as last year.

More tomorrow.



for the Day:

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Ingredients of Happy Fun Ball include an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

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Happy Fun Ball



Grand Canyon – Part II . . .

Here’s Part II of our Grand Canyon visit yesterday.

Today we visited the Bearizona Wildlife Park here in Williams, but I’ll save it for tomorrow’s blog since we’ll be traveling and won’t have much that is blog-worthy.

We walked further along the rim, just taking in the fantastic scenery.

Canyon Rock Face

This is a view of the legendary El Tovar Hotel looking back from Fred Harvey’s Lookout Studio.

El Tovar

More great views.

Canyon 10

Canyon Lookout 2

Around 1 pm we headed back around the rim to the Bright Angel Dining Room to have lunch. Unfortunately, the place was busy so we didn’t get a table by the window overlooking the canyon, but in consolation, the food was delicious.

Bright Angel Dining Rm

I had the BBQ Sampler Plate with chicken, ribs, and pulled pork, with two very tasty BBQ sauces, including a Prickly Pear Honey sauce.

Bright Angel Diner

Jan had a Pistachio Chicken Salad Sandwich on Ciabatta bread.

Bright Angel Diner 2

These people are heading down one of the many hiking trails. They start out along the rim,

Canyon Trail 1

then work their way thru the tunnel.

Canyon Trail 2

You can take the trail all the way to the bottom of the Canyon and on to the fabled Phantom Ranch

Canyon Trail 3

Phantom Ranch 1

The beginning of the bright green strip is where the Phantom Ranch is located.

Canyon Trail Full 2

Up close, it looks like this. It’s a 12 mile hike down here.

Phantom Ranch 2

And then another 4 miles along here, out to the edge of the bottom canyon.

Canyon Trail 14

I was really surprised Jan was able to do this. She has a real fear of heights so this was a feat for her. I’m really proud of her.

Canyon Rim Jan

I, on the other hand, am more like this guy. The higher, the scarier, the better. Jan calls it ‘riding that ragged edge”

I call it fun.

My Kind of Guy

Canyon 11

Canyon 12

Canyon 13

Heading back to the train depot, we took a quick detour into the El Tovar Hotel. While Jan was checking out the gift shop, I stuck my head in the main dining room. Talk about nice!

El Tovar Dining Room

Finally, about 3:15, we boarded our train car for the trip home.

Canyon Train Home

We pulled back into the Williams Train Depot about 5:45 and made our way back to the RV park a few minutes away.

And we had something great waiting for us. Terry had promised to have one of her great Mexican dinners waiting for us. Spicy Chicken Enchiladas, Roasted Shredded Pork Tacos, and Refried Beans. WOW!

The perfect end to a fantastic day!

More tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

"Government health care is like a hospital gown. You only think you’re covered".


Grand Canyon–Part 1 . . .

Our Grand Canyon day started early. Jan was up about 6:30, said she was too excited to sleep. I was up by 7:30, and we left the rig about 8:15 to make the 5 minute trip to the Grand Canyon Railway Station.

After we picked up our tickets, Jan checked out the gift shop while I checked out the steam engine that they used on the Grand Canyon trip until recently.

Canyon Steam Engine

We boarded our car about 9:15, and the train pulled out about 9:30 to make the 65 mile trip in about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Canyon Train Station

Our seats were in a First Class car, with an observation dome on top.

Canyon Coach

Along the way we came across this herd of horses on the move. Don’t know if they were startled by the train, or just running for the fun of it, but they paced the train for a few minutes.

Canyon Horse 1

Certainly makes you feel you’re out West.

Canyon Horse 2

The train snakes its way up to the canyon, so from our car, third from the end, we were often able to see the front of the train.

Canyon Curves

After our train arrived and we walked to the canyon rim at the Bright Angel area, our first view of the Grand Canyon was just spectacular.

Canyon First View

Everywhere you look you see colors and patterns as far as the eye can see.

Canyon Bottom

This photo shows the multi-mile hiking trail that takes you further out into the canyon.

Canyon Trail

I’ll let these next pictures speak for themselves.

Canyon 1

Canyon 2

Canyon 3

Canyon 4

Canyon 5

Looking over the edge of the canyon we saw this squirrel looking up at us. As soon as he saw us, he started climbing up the outside wall, heading our way.

Canyon Squirrel 1

It was obvious that he expected to be fed,

Canyon Squirrel 2

and despite the sign below, he was going to follow us until he was.

Squirrel Sign

Canyon Squirrel 3

And when we refused to put out, he headed down the wall looking for someone else.

Canyon Squirrel 4

The building at the left in this photo is the Lookout Studio, built by Fred Harvey to give a close up view of the canyon.

Canyon Lookout

Canyon 6

Canyon 9

Canyon 7

While I was out on one of the lookout points here, Jan stayed up top sitting on one of the low walls.Canyon 8

Suddenly another squirrel appeared, climbing up over the wall, and going directly to the trashcan. After pulling out several empty wrappers, he saw Jan sitting there and headed for her. He climbed right up on her lap, sat on her fanny pack, and put his little paws up to her.

Everyone around her marveled at this, but no one took a DARN photo.

Canyon Squirrel 5

That’s about it for today. I’ll have Part Two tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy’s vacant dead eyes.


Wigwams and Pie . . .

We left Show Low about 9:30 this morning heading 170 miles away to Williams, AZ to spend a few days seeing the Grand Canyon and other sights in the area.

Overall the trip was pretty uneventful, with some road construction on SR77 between Show Low and Holbrook and a lot of smoke around Flagstaff.

Holbrook, where we got on I-40W was on the old Route 66, and was also home to one of the 7 Wigwam Motels in the country. My family and I stayed here on a trip out west in 1963.



Built in 1950, it first closed in 1974, but the original owner’s family renovated and reopened it in 1988. And, in fact, the same family still operates it today.

It’s good to see it’s still around. There are only 3 of the original 7 still in existence.

After getting on I-40, our first stop was at the Flying J Truck Stop in Winslow, AZ. Nick wanted to fuel up with diesel and propane, and we all wanted to eat breakfast at the adjacent Denny’s.

We finally got back on the road about 1:30 for the hundred mile run to Williams, with Mister spending the whole trip catching rays in the front window.

Sometimes wide awake . . .

Miister 1

Sometimes dozing off . . .

Mister 2

And sometimes, just completely out of it.

Mister 3

Mister 4

Mister 5

Approaching the Flagstaff area we started seeing a lot of smoke in front of us. It turned out to be a Forest Service controlled burn. Although it wasn’t too bad, we did hit several thick patches and you could certainly smell it.

While passing through some of this, we were passed by Kenny Chesney’s tour bus. He’s got an upcoming gig in Vegas and travels in style. Must be nice to have someone to drive the RV for you.


Just as we were pulling into the Canyon Gate RV Park in Williams, our daughter Brandi called to check it and tell us that Landon’s daycare had called and said a little girl in his group had BIT him. We all figured that just as soon as he has some teeth, he’ll bite’r back.

After getting set up, everyone rested up, and then about 5:30 we all headed out for a drive around the area, and dinner.

And as it turned out, dinner was at the Pine Country Café, where we ate last year when we were through here. Our meal was good, but what we really came for were the pies.

They bake 44 different kinds of pie every day, but when a particular flavor is gone, it’s gone for the day.

Pine Country Pies

Jan had this huge slice of Coconut Cream, with enough left over to take home.

Pine Country Coconut Pie

And I had this delicious Strawberry Cream Cheese.

I didn’t have any left over.

Pine Country Strawberry Cream Cheese

Tomorrow Jan and I are taking the Grand Canyon Railway train trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It leaves about 9:30 and returns to Williams about 5:30 or so. Nick and Terry did this trip last year, so they’re going to sit this one out and rest up.

It’s supposed to get down to 29 degrees here tonight, but it’s just after midnight and it’s already 31.

So I think it might get colder. We’ll see.


Thought for the Day:

“… that he is incapable of staying on the river of a thought, and is constantly lured down tributaries from which he can never quite work his way back–you can see him batting the little paddles of his mind against the weeds, trying desperately to return to the river but not remembering where it is, or where it was going."


Riding the Winds of Change . . .

For a change, I got up before Jan, about 8:45, with Jan following about half an hour later. I got the coffee set up and got on the computer. Jan got up just in time for our daughter Brandi to call to tell us about Landon and his new toy.

Here’s some more shots of Landon enjoying his new Alphabet Train. Brandi says he doesn’t want to leave it, even to eat.

Landon 250

Landon 259

After lunch I went outside for a couple of more maintenance jobs. The backup camera on our toad had quit working and I wanted to take a look at it. After a little searching I found a bad connection on the wireless transmitter in the right taillight. A quick spray with CorrosionX fixed the problem.

Next I wanted to take another look at the leaking valve extension on the driver’s rear dual. I added some air and then replaced the extension with another type. We’ll see how it works.

Nick had loaned us his iPad so Jan could finish reading the murder mystery he’s written. After she finished she said it was REALLY good, and the ending was a complete twist. He’s getting it ready to put it up on Amazon’s Kindle service. Once word gets out it should be very popular.

Anyway, after Jan was finished with the iPad she left it on the sofa and Mister commandeered it as his pillow. I told Nick if he wants it back he’ll have to take it away from our 25 lb. cat who still has his claws. Doesn’t look like he’s going to let go anytime soon.

Mister's iPad

About 4 pm we heard from The Talk TV show. We had originally wanted to attend the taping on the 2nd of May. But it turns out, the entire week of the 2nd is dedicated to mothers and Mother’s Day, so they are only having mothers in the audience. They then ask if we could make a later date and suggested May 11th. We said that would be fine. And even better, that day has two tapings so we’ll get to see two shows instead of just one.

But this would mean that we would have to drive back down from Coarsegold since we plan on being there at that time. But it will make a nice overnight trip into LA.

About 4:15 we headed out with Nick and Terry to Native New Yorker to have our last dinner here in Show Low.

And that’s when everything changed.

We had been talking about when we were going to head up to Coarsegold and what route we were going to take, when Nick said those fateful words.

“Why don’t we go up to Las Vegas for a couple of weeks first?”

And that did it. Suddenly all our plans changed. As soon as we got back to the rigs we made reservations at the Thousand Trails park in Las Vegas and we were set.

So as it stands now, we’re leaving here tomorrow, heading about 170 miles over to Willaims, AZ for 3 nights so Jan and I can take the Grand Canyon Railway and visit the Bearizona Wildlife Park.

Then on Saturday we’ll head north to Sin City to try and succumb to as many temptations as we can handle.

And I think between Nick and I, we can handle a LOT!

We still plan on doing The Talk taping trip, just from Vegas instead of Coarsegold.

But of course, all this could change tomorrow.


Thought For The Day:

Comforting lies are not your friends. Painful truths are not your enemies


The King is Dead. Long Live the King.

First off, we have a new champion, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chili.

First we had the Naga Jolokia chilies, also known as Bhut Jolokia, or Ghost chilies. Known at the time as the hottest chili in the world, it rated at a hair over 1 million Scoville units. I’ve had hot wings made with these at the Cypress Creek Café in Wimberley, TX. They call them Devil’s Breath Wings.

But after years on the throne, the Ghost chili was overthrown by the Naga Viper, rated at about 1.38 million Scoville units.

And now, The King is Dead. Long Live the King. The Butch T comes in at almost 1.5 million units.

Trinidad Scorpion

But I guess they’ve got a ways to go.

Pure capsaicin tops out at about 16,000,000 Scoville units. Apparently exposure to that can stop your heart.

The weather here has been really great, with temps in the high 60’s and low 40’s with a lot of sun. But I’ll be glad to get somewhere with higher humidity soon.

Not 95% like in Houston, but not like the 20% here in Arizona, either.

I’m really tired of waking up with the inside of my mouth dry and cracked, and feeling like a place old spiders go to die.

About 10, while I was making coffee and Jan was heating up our muffins, our daughter Brandi called to say that Landon is crawling. Later she sent some video of him playing with the new toy that arrived in the mail today from the Easter Bunny.

Here’s a still shot from the video. He does seem pretty happy with it. I think we, uh, I mean the Easter Bunny done good.


Can hardly wait until we can Skype again next Sunday.

For lunch we had leftover pizza and chips. Really good after Jan added her own special touch of spices.

Then after lunch I went outside to do some rig maintenance before we hit the road on Wednesday.

First off, was to close the grey tank valve. Not really maintenance, but I want to have pretty of water built up when I dump.

Next I checked the engine oil level and added a quart of Rotella 15W-40HD. That’s doing real good, since it’s the first oil I had to add since my last oil change about 12,000 miles ago. Plus when we’re parked on concrete, I also look underneath the coach after a few days, to check for leaks. None found so far,

Then I checked my coolant level and topped off the reservoir. This took the last of the gallon I bought in Elkhart, IN last September. Time to get another jug.

About 2 pm I drove over to Pinetop to get some extra keys made for the rig door, and then while I was out, stopped off at an NAPA Auto Parts to pick up some more diesel antifreeze. NAPA is the only place besides truck stops where I’ve been about to find the stuff.

About 5pm we headed out to meet Nick and Terry, and Jim and Shar Lewis at Red Devil Pizza in Lakeside. We ate here last year and remembered it as being good, and it still was.

Jan had the Baked Penne and I had my old favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs. Very good, and much, much better than The Pizza Factory a few nights ago.

After a lot of good conversation, we headed back to the rig a little before 7. We had a great time getting to know Jim and Shar and hope we get to see them our next time through here.

That’s about it for today.


Thought for the Day:

"Love, sex, food, friendship, art, play, beauty and the simple pleasure of a cup of tea are all well and good, but never forget that God/the universe is determined to kill you by whatever means necessary."


Happy Easter ! . . .

    Happy Easter!


I was sleeping so good this morning I didn’t get up until about 10:30 and made coffee while Jan heated up muffins.

I worked on web stuff for a while and then went out and mounted a new rack on the side of my electrical bay to hang my dogbone power adapters so they don’t just have to lay on the bottom of the bay.

About 1 pm our son Chris called to say Hi and see how things were going.

I was also trying to help Nick with a clogged black tank valve, but after flushing and refilling it a few times, he finally got it to dump.

Certainly glad I didn’t have to lend a hand.

About 1:30 I made a run to Home Depot for some 4-40 screws and then on to Wal-Mart for cake flour, strawberries, and whipped cream.

She wanted to bake her world-famous pound cake for dessert tonight after Terry’s fantastic Mexican feast. So after a short nap, we headed next door about 5:45 for dinner with Nick and Terry.

And boy, was it good. Shredded Beef Tacos with homemade pico de gallo, chicken enchiladas, and of course, refried beans.

Terry's Mexican

Muy delicioso!

After that great dinner, we sat around for a while trying to make room for pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream, and trying to nail down our plans for the next few weeks.

We know we’re leaving here on the 27th, and heading over to Williams, AZ to take the Grand Canyon Railway day-long trip to the southern rim of the Canyon. While we’re there we also want to check out Bearizona, a drive-thru wildlife park in the area.

After that the plans start to get kind of hazy. We’re trying to get tickets to The Talk day-time talk show. If so, we’ll probably try to stay at the Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails near Acton, and then head up to Park of the Sierras Escapees park in Coarsegold, CA near Yosemite where we stayed last year.

If our tickets don’t come thru, we’ll probably head straight up to Coarsegold. But who knows?

It could all change tomorrow.

After all, that’s part of the fun, isn’t it.


Thought for the Day:

"If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way." – Mark Twain


Short, but Sweet . . .

Got up.

Had coffee and banana nut muffins for breakfast.

Watched Dr. Who marathon on BBCA.

Later, had leftover pizza for lunch.

Watched more Dr. Who marathon on BBCA.

Went to Radio Shack, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart.

Tried to watch more Dr. Who marathon on BBCA.

Talked to DirecTV again about my dying receiver/DVR.

Miss Terry fixed a delicious lasagna supper, topped off by Jan’s great lemon bars.

Came home.

Watched Dr. Who season premiere on BBCA.

Wrote blog.

Watched more Dr. Who marathon on BBCA.

Went to bed.

Fell asleep.

I’ve reposted some of our time at “The Rally” in Louisville, KY last July.


Thought for the Day:

After working for a university for ten years and observing a number of classes and professors, I often wondered whether the course material made the professors so mind-numbingly dull or whether they were dull to start with and gravitated to such course material.


The Rally – Early Bird Day 2

Originally posted on July 21, 2010

Today we decided to try another well-known restaurant here in the Louisville area, although in this case it’s actually in Indiana, which of course is just right across the Ohio River from Louisville. So we left about 11:15 am heading about 25 miles north and out in the country to the Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant.

Huber 1

The Huber family has owned this 200 acre farm since 1843, but the restaurant got its start in 1967 when the family begin advertising “Pick Your Own” fruits and vegetables. It turns out that the customers were hungry after picking in the fields, so the family began serving box lunches.

Then in 1983 they built the restaurant that began it all. Today it’s a tourist destination, with a petting zoo, gardens, rides, gift shops, and meeting halls for wedding receptions, reunions, and company picnics.

And the restaurant is great! Here’s my Country Platter Dinner.

Huber Meal

It had Fried Chicken, Country Ham, Corn, Cole Slaw, Chicken N Dumplings, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans. And It was “All You Can Eat”

Believe me, this was all I could eat. In fact I had to take some home.

And the grounds were very nice, too.

Huber 2

Huber 3

Huber 4

After a great meal, we got back to rig about 2 pm, and it seemed like a good time for a nap.

Then, about 3:30 pm we went over to look at the new RV’s on display. These next two photos are of 2010 American Eagle, the same one as our 1999 Eagle. This one lists for $580,000.00. Guess we’ll have to wait for that Mega-Millions winning ticket.

AmEagle 1

AmEagle 2

One of the other rigs we looked at was this Prevost from Parliament Coach in Florida.

Prevost 1

Prevost 2

Prevost 3

We really need a place to store our crystal glassware!

Prevost 4

And what’s even better, you can buy it today for half price, only $975,000. What a deal!

Prevost 5

Then about 6 pm we walked over to Freedom Hall to see the Monarchs, a 60’s rock and roll group. Two of the band are original members from when the band formed in 1960. They had a number of hits, including “Look Homeward, Angel”, which made it to #13 on the Billboard Chart. They toured with Dick Clark, The Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, Dion, and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, among others. I remember seeing them in Birmingham, AL in 1965 on the Dick Clark’s Cavalcade of Stars. And they still sound good.

Monarchs 1

Monarchs 2

After the concert we walked back across the parking lot to our truck, passing a display of old RV’s.

Old RVs 1

This one looks like the one from Lucy and Desi’s “The Long, Long, Trailer”.

Old Rvs 2

We got back to the rig about 9 pm and started planning our day tomorrow.

More then…


Bagels and BBQ . . .

My morning started about 10 am with a client phone call as soon as I got up. She was having problems with sending email. She could receive but not send. Turned out to be a corrupted message in her outbox. Deleting it fixed the problem.

Then a few minutes later, our daughter Brandi called to say Hi. She was on her way home early for Good Friday with a 3 day weekend to look forward to.

With all that taken care of, I made coffee and Jan toasted up a Jalapeno Cheese bagel and some of Miss Terry’s great homemade bread.

About 1:30 we all headed in two vehicles. Nick and Terry were going to the bank and the Post Office, and then we were meeting them at their friend Jim’s used bookstore in Lakeside called The Pinetop Book Exchange.

We first met Jim when we were here last year and love roaming through all his great used books. We spent over an hour picking out more books to read. Just what we need, more books. We’ve already got so many to read as it is.

About 3:30 we left Nick and Terry at the bookstore while Jan and I headed over the Wal-Mart. Jan wanted to get her hair done, and then we did some shopping.

At 5 pm we met Nick and Terry, and Jim and his wife Sharleen at Stolen Recipe BBQ in Lakeside. Probably the best BBQ we’ve had since we left Houston, or Famous Dave’s BBQ even.

After a great time getting to know Jim & Shar, we headed back toward the rig stopping at Home Depot and Walgreens on the way, getting home about 7:30.

I finally got back to work on the floor heaters, and finally figured out how to put them back together. So maybe I won’t have to take them apart and clean them for another 4 years.

I’ve repost some of our visit to Charleston, SC in 2009.


Thought for the Day:

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.” – Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged


Plantations and Peacocks…

Posted on June 18, 2009

Today we did the Charleston tourist thing.

We started out at 10:30 am with a bus tour out to the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Magnolia Plantation was established in 1676 by the Drayton family and is still owned by their descendants today.

The first house stood from 1676 till 1810 when it accidently burned down. The second house lasted until 1865 when it was burned to the ground by retreating Yankee troops.

The present house started out as a small cottage built on the old foundation and gradually added on to until the present day.

Magnolia Plantation House

Magnolia Plantation House

The plantation originally consisted of about 2200 acres. After the Civil War the family gradually sold off land to finance the rebuilding of the plantation. Today there is about 500 acres remaining.

And amazingly family members still live on the grounds, although not in the main house, which is open to the public.

After a 1 hour walking tour through the gardens and grounds, we had a 45 minute tram ride around the plantation itself.

We finished up with a 30 minute guided tour through the house itself.

Here are a few pictures.

They have a small petting zoo on site, including ‘white’ peacocks.

White Peacock

White Peacock

White Peacock 2

White Peacock 2



Live Oak

Live Oak

Resurrection Fern

Resurrection Fern

This metal frame is all that remains of the first greenhouse built in North American circa 1690.

First Greenhouse

First Greenhouse

The View from the back porch

The View from the back porch

Baby Gator catching some rays

Baby Gator catching some rays

Mama Gator

Mama Gator

Plantation Reflecting Pond

Plantation Reflecting Pond

After we returned to Charleston about 2:45 pm, we hopped on another tour bus for a 90 minute tour of downtown Charleston.

It was interesting to find out that although the town itself dates from 1670, the oldest houses only date from the early 1700′s. This is because of several accidental fires sweeping the city in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s, the Yankees burning part of the city in 1865, and then more recently, a devastating 7.5 earthquake in 1886.

And Hurricane Hugo in 1989 didn’t help things either.

There are only about 12 houses left from the 1700′s. Nothing earlier.

At the end of our tour it was almost 4:30 pm so we decided to have dinner at a nearby restaurant both tour drivers had mentioned called Jestine’s Kitchen.

This was good ole Southern cooking at it’s finest.

We started off with an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes and then Jan segued into the Fried Chicken with 3 cheese macaroni & cheese and green beans. I had the Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast with mashed potatoes and collard greens.

We then topped this off with Coconut Cream Pie for Jan and I dove into Blueberry/Peach Cobbler with ice cream.

Jan had so much chicken on her plate she brought half of it home, and we each brought home half of our desserts. Mmmmmm, leftovers!!!!!

After that we waddled back to the truck and headed home.

Tomorrow a Charleston Harbor tour is on the docket. We’ll see…


Pelonis and DirecTV . . .

This morning started for me about 10:15. Jan of course, gets up earlier. I made coffee and we split a bacon cheese bagel from the Fry’s in Cottonwood.

Our next onerous task was simply to gaze out the windows and enjoy the great view.

The Elk’s Lodge here in Show Low has a very nice RV park with the beautiful surroundings and full hookups for only $15/day.

Show Low Elks Lodge 1

And it also has just the perfect amount of trees, enough to provide some nice shade, but not too many to block the satellite dish.

Show Low Elks Lodge 2

Around 12 Jan heated up the last of the pizza from our visit to Crusty’s Pizza in Camp Verde this past Monday, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon working on client web stuff.

About 3 pm I decided an hour nap was in order. Then, after a very nice nap, I tackled a problem with our Pelonis floor heaters.

Pelonis HeaterThere was so much dust and cat hair accumulated over the last 4 years that it was causing them to overheat and shut down. So I wanted to take them apart and vacuum them out.

Easier said than done, however.

It quickly became obvious that these things were not designed to come apart. They seemed like a Chinese puzzle, but what I didn’t count on is that they were kind of spring loaded. When I got them apart to a certain point, they just exploded  into a bunch of pieces. So now I’ve got to get it all back together and hope I don’t have any pieces left over.

I hate it when that happens!

Then, a little before 5 pm our DirecTV started acting up. It was flashing a message telling me that one of the two tuners had lost the satellite signal. This happens occasionally when the wind blows the dish a little off aim. But before going outside to adjust it, I check the signal level on the DVR, and it said both tuners were 90% or above. It also was supposed to record Big Bang Theory starting at 5 but it didn’t.

I first tried resetting the DVR with the button, but after it came back up in about 5 minutes, it still was doing the same thing.

So I called DirecTV, got put straight though to Tech Support. After verifying my ID, he started sending commands to my DVR over the sat. link and having me tell him what I saw.

Then he sent some more data down to my set and had me run the System Setup using the new data. And this fixed the problem. As soon as the system came back up everything was working fine.

Great service from DirecTV.

Later Nick and Terry came over and we headed out for supper. We first tried Native New Yorker (yeah, I know we ate there yesterday, but it was really good), but they had a 45 minute wait. So we drove over to the Pizza Factory for an OK meal. Certainly not as good as Crusty’s or Da Boyz, but OK.

That’s it for today. Probably shopping and some errands tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer.