Makeup Se . . . er . . . Makeup Blog . . .

Yesterday we left the rig about 10 am, heading down to the Clear Lake area to visit our son Chris.

And leaving the park we came across a trail ride, coming in to camp after a weekend ride.

Trail Ride 1

Trail Ride 2

This is the Colorado River Trail Riders Group, and they do regular weekend trail rides out through the countryside. It looks like they have a lot of fun. Before the start of the Houston Rodeo every year, they may spend a couple of weeks on the road.

Getting into Columbus, we stopped at the Jack in the Box for a quick breakfast. But it wasn’t quick, and more importantly it wasn’t very good. Normally we really like the breakfasts there but this was an exception. It took over 10 minutes to get our Supreme Croissant breakfast sandwiches. So we figured since it was after 10:30, they were making them from scratch. If that was so, then they made them fresh and them put them in the fridge for a while, because when they finally came out, they were lukewarm at best. And that was being generous.

The only positive was that the coffee was good.

Getting into Webster, our first stop was one of our favorites, Floyd’s Cajun Seafood. But it wasn’t for us. Our son Chris had stomach surgery last week, and is still on liquid meals. And what he really wanted was some of Floyd’s famous Crab Bisque. So we picked up a large order and headed over to his house.

Then after spending an hour or so with Chris, we headed over to a client/friend’s house to repair their wireless printer setup. They had recently changed Internet providers from Comcast to Verizon and this disrupted the network that the printers worked on.

Getting this fixed, Jan and I headed over to Pearland about 6pm to meet our friend’s Bonnie and Richard for dinner at Los Cuco’s. a Mexican restaurant that we like in the area. Then, after a nice, leisurely meal, we headed over to Bonnie and Richard’s for coffee and dessert, and more conversation. So by the time we got home, it was almost midnight. A long, but nice day. But, thus, no blog.

Unlike yesterday, today was pretty much a lay-about, easy day. Jan read her Kindle and napped, and I did computer stuff.

Later in the afternoon, I noticed that the AC wasn’t working very well. Today was the first day it got hot enough to really use the AC, so I hadn’t noticed it before.

My first thought was to check the filters on both units and that turned out to be the cause. Both were pretty clogged, and in thinking, I realized I hadn’t cleaned them since last fall when we were gate guarding, so it was about time. But in my defense, we really haven’t used them much this past winter

And cleaning them with the vacuum took care of the problem. I’ll have to put them on my maintenance list to look at more often.

For dinner, I fixed our version of Skyline Chili’s Chili Five Ways, which is made with spaghetti, Skyline Chili, Beans, Shredded Cheese, and Onions.

Skyline Chili Ways

Chili Five Ways - Homemade

Actually, Jan has hers Four Ways, because she doesn’t like onions on hers. We also added Ground Habanero for a little spiciness.

Also, FWIW, if you sprinkle Oyster Crackers on top, it becomes Chili Six Ways. Never had it that way.

On the Landon front, Brandi’s boss gave Landon this puppet show. It’s up in his room and he loves it.

Landon's Puppet Show 1

Landon's Puppet Show 3

He spends a lot of time putting on his own shows.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a quiet and laidback as today. But you never know.

Thought for the Day:

My whimsical litany of satyric prose and avarice pontification of wisdom demonstrates my concinnity.


Class Discussion . . .

We left early and got home late, so no blog today.

Instead, we’ll have class discussion.

Topic: Rhode Island is neither a road, nor an island.

Discuss among yourselves.


All Landon, all the time . . .

Or so we wish.

After yesterday’s thunderstorms and hail, today was just perfect, with a high of 75 and a nice breeze all day.. Mister spent most of the day outside on his leash, curled up in one of our chairs, basking in the sun, and coming in only when the guy mowing the grass came onto our site.

When Mister’s outside on his leash, we leave the screen door open so he came come in whenever he wants. He won’t go to the bathroom outside, so he comes in for that, or to eat or get a drink of water. He just comes up the steps and into the rig as far as his leash will reach, and then waits for one of us to unhook him, and then comes back to the door when he’s ready to be hooked back up again and go back out. He just runs to the door and waits for me to put his leash back on. Smart Cat.

Brandi and Lowell had talked about coming out to visit today, but we didn’t know if that was still on since Brandi’s been sick. But she felt well enough, and said they’d be out about 3:30 or so. So I headed down to the office to get them signed in as a guest.

They did show up about 3:30 and Landon had a blast, checking out the river and trees behind the coach, and was even pretty good about letting us take his picture.

Landon at Rig 1

Landon at Rig 2

Landon at Rig 3

Landon at Rig 4

Landon at Rig 5

Landon at Rig 6

Landon at Rig 7

Landon was really fascinated with Mister. He wasn’t used to being around a ‘nice’ cat. They have a cat at home named Mooshe, otherwise known as ‘The Cat From Hell’. Mooshe would just as soon scratch your eyes out as hiss at you. She only just tolerates Brandi, and hates everyone else.

So Landon at first was scared to even pet Mister, much less play with him. But after a while they were running around the rig, chasing the ball Landon was throwing. But after a while Mister got tired and just laid down and went to sleep on the floor at the front of the coach. Landon would kind of poke at him, but Mister wouldn’t move. He was done.

About 5pm we all headed back into Columbus to have dinner at Los Cabos Mexican Grill, a place we ate at a couple of weeks ago when we were here. And once again we all really enjoyed it.

Jan had a chicken breast stuffed with shrimp, tomatoes, cilantro, and onions, topped with butter wine sauce made of mushrooms, tomatoes, jalapeños and onions. Said was one of the best things she’s ever eaten.

One thing we both enjoy is their specially-made extra-spicy salsa. Not only is it very hot, but it has a really smoky chipotle taste. And this time they gave us a big enough bowl to have some to take home.

Tomorrow we’re heading down to Clear Lake to visit Chris and his family, and also make a quick client visit. Then on the way home, we’ll stop off to have dinner with a former coworker of Jan’s.


Thought for the Day:

29 percent of Americans believe that "cloud computing" involves an actual cloud. And 51% believe that bad weather could interfere with their ‘cloud computing’.


Short Sheeted and Vacuum Packed . . .

Since there was a 60% chance of rain today,  we decided to delay our wildflower tour up to the Brenham and Hempstead area, and just stay in.

Jan also decided today was a good day to change the sheets on our bed, not my favorite thing to do, but then again, she knows where I sleep. She repeated how much she likes these microfiber 1500 thread count Striped QUEEN Sateen Sheet Sets that we got a couple of months ago on Amazon. They come in about a dozen colors and are really soft. And they’ve very inexpensive and have held up well too.

A little later I packed away our winter stuff in some Space Bags and used our small vacuum to compress them.

Space Bags 1

Space Bags 2

Space Bags 3

This keeps them clean and fresh, and in a smaller package when we store them away under the bed until next winter.

Later, after checking the UPS tracking, I went down to the office to pick up an Amazon package that had come in. While I was there, I checked and found Lynette and Gregg McHenry had arrived just a little earlier, so on the way back to the rig, I stopped off to see if they were interested in dinner tonight. And lucky for us, they were.

So about 5 pm we headed up to the ‘A’ section to pick them up. I had thought about asking Roy and Vicki Hill next door to go with us, but they were already gone.

Our destination was Peters BBQ, a few miles up the Ellinger. We’ve eaten here a number of times, but tonight was really special. I had forgotten that Friday night was buffet night, more specifically, Seafood Buffet night.

Well, actually it was Everything Buffet night. So besides the great selection of sides and desserts I mentioned a few days ago, it’s All You Can Eat Fried Catfish, Fried Shrimp, Salmon Patties, Fried Frog legs, French Fries, and Hushpuppies. Plus it’s also All You Can Eat BBQ, like Brisket, Ribs, Sausage, and Chicken. Did I mention Frog legs?

And all this is $11.99, or $10.99 for us old folks. A really great deal for a really great meal.

And when we got there, we found out why Roy and Vicki Hall weren’t at home when I was going over to ask them to go to dinner with us. They were at Peters when we got there.  We could have had a Gate Guard Services gate guarding convention since we’ve all worked for them, though in different areas.

Toward the end of our meal, cellphone alarms started going off in the restaurant. It was a weather alert for bad thunderstorms moving into our area, so we packed up and headed home.

And got there just about 10 minutes before the squall line moved in bring heavy rain, a lot of wind, and about 5 minutes of pea-sized hail.

You never know about Texas weather.

Thought for the Day:

Think space is empty?

Here’s a graphical depiction of all the satellites in orbit around the earth. Makes the movie ‘Gravity’ a lot more real.

Earth Sats


Fans and Hawks . . .

One of the things I got yesterday at Harbor Freight Tools was a set of drill bits with 1/4 shanks.

HFT Drill bits

This lets me use them in my regular drill, and also my WORX Power Screw Driver that I find myself using more and more. Small and still very powerful.

WORX Screwdriver

Around 11 am I put in a call to Fantastic Vent to order another motor/fan combination for our bathroom vent fan.

Fantastic Vent Fan and Motor

New Vent Fan

I really like the look of the clear plastic blades. They let a lot more light in, and supposedly, they’re made of tougher plastic than the old one. When I replaced the front one a couple of days ago, I notice the old blades were very brittle and could be easily snapped with your fingers.

The other thing I noticed was that the motor on the new one is much more powerful and moves a lot more air on HIGH.

Hopefully it will come in sometime next week.

When we arrived this past Monday, our neighbor pointed out a Red-tailed Hawk nest across the river from us. And there’s some activity going on in there. You can see a head sticking up.

Colorado River Red-Tailed Hawk Nest 1

Unfortunately it’s at the far end of my 72X lens so I doubt I’ll get much more. But I have seen one flying back to the nest.

The weather today was pretty cruddy. Solid overcast all day, with rain on and off, but it still made it up to 72°, which means it was just sticky all day. In fact after dark the humidity was so high that it kept triggering the rain sensor on our vent fans, making them open and close. So finally we just bit the bullet and turned the AC’s on.

Don’t know what’s on the agenda for tomorrow. We’ll have to see how the weather holds out.

Thought for the Day:

Borrowed from Sherry, our son-in-law’s sister.

Never mistake my silence for weakness.
No one plans a murder out loud.


A Asian Two’fer, for real this time . . .

Jan and I left the rig this morning about 9:45, heading down south to the Clear Lake area. Jan had one last doctor appointment to take care of, and I had some shopping to do.

But first it was lunch at King Food. We had intended to eat there last week, but at the last minute, Jan changed her mind and we ended up at Twin Peaks. But today there was no last minute change. And it was as delicious as usual. We’re really going to miss this place when we leave the area.

I dropped Jan off at the doctor’s and then headed down the road to spend some time perusing the aisles of the newly-opened Harbor Freight Tools, one of the places, that along with Fry’s Electronics, I can spend a lot of time just wandering up and down the rows.

And of course I found a few things I just had to have.

Next up, I stopped off to get the truck washed. And of course, within 15 minutes of that, it started to rain.

Then I drove over to Wal-Mart for a few things, then I stopped by an O’Reilly’s Auto Parts for a couple of light bulbs.

By now it was time to pick up Jan and head back up to the Katy area. We were hoping to have dinner with Brandi, Lowell, and Landon, but Brandi was still under the weather coming off her flu, so we just got together with Lowell and Landon. We all met right down the road from their house at our new favorite Vietnamese place, Little V’s Vietnamese Bistro. And as usual it was really, really good.

Little V’s is a family-owned place that really goes all out. Everything’s just a little different, and much better. They even make all their own sauces from scratch. And even their Spring Rolls are different. Rather than using the thicker, sticky, translucent wrapper, they use one that’s thinner and not as chewy. And they’re made fresh to order.

Even more, they’re so dedicated to their food, that a different family member sleeps in the restaurant every night so that at 2amthey can start making the stock used in their Pho dishes.

After getting our Landon and Lowell hugs, and after a quick stop for a going-home cappuccino, we got back to the rig a little after 7pm.

We’ve go more bad weather on the way so we’ll see how things go tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

"Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves." – Lord George Byron


Up on the Roof !

(Cue the Drifters)

Today was a work-around-the-rig day. First I touched up some caulking in the shower to patch a small leak. Then it was up on the roof.

Today was the day to replace the fan and fan motor in our front Fantastic Vent fan.

Roof Vent Repair 1

First I removed the MaxxAir Vent Cover and then the retaining bracket that controls the lid cover. That gave me access to the fan motor itself.

Roof Vent Repair 2

I was able to use my WORX Power Screw Driver for all this, and it really comes in handy. It has a revolving cylinder holding a number of different types and sizes of bits. So I don’t have to bring as many tools up on the roof.

WORX Screwdriver 2


Taking out the four screws holding the fan motor in place, and after clipping the wires, I removed the old fan unit and set it aside.

Roof Vent Repair 3


The new fan came with crimp spade connectors, so I installed one set on the cut-off ends on the fan chassis.

Roof Vent Repair 4


Note that I used real ‘crimpers’. Some people try to use pliers or diagonal cutters (back when I started in electronics, we called them ‘dykes’. I don’t think we can do that any more.), but you will never get a good connection that way.

Roof Vent Repair Crimpers


So here’s the finished install with the excess wire tied out of the way.

Roof Vent Repair 5


And here it is all buttoned up and ready to go.

Roof Vent Repair 6


When I was putting the MaxxAir cover back on, I noticed a crack in it. Some of these plastics don’t take to glue very well, so I’ll use a piece of Eternabond to seal it up.

Roof Vent Repair 8


Another plastic that is not easily patched are these RV engine coolant tanks made from polypropylene. A new tank costs from $100 to $600! , depending on your rig. A new one for my rig was $130

So I decided to try Eternabond. Wal-Mart sells these packages that are perfect for small repairs.



And it worked great. Five years later and still no leaks.

Coolant Tank Enterabond Repair

Sometime in the next few days, I’ll install the new dome lift motor on the other vent fan.

Later I met our next site neighbors, Roy and Vicky Hall, who turned out to be gate guards who worked for Gate Guard Services just like us, and we know a lot of the same people. Small world.

About 4pm Jan and I headed up to Peters’ BBQ in Ellinger for dinner. Along the way I stopped to get some photos of the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes along the way.

Colorado River Bluebonnets 1

Colorado River Bluebonnets 2

Colorado River Bluebonnets 3

Colorado River Bluebonnets 4

Colorado River Bluebonnets 5

Colorado River Bluebonnets 9

Colorado River Bluebonnets 6

Colorado River Bluebonnets 7

Colorado River Bluebonnets 8

Hopefully all the rain we’ve had this year will mean a good year for wildflowers.

We really enjoy Peters’ BBQ and try to eat here a couple of times whenever we’re in the area.

Peter's BBQ

Peter's BBQ 1

Besides the delicious BBQ, one of the things we really liked is their ‘sides’ available on a buffet table. Everything is really good.

Peters BBQ Sides 1

Peters BBQ Sides 2

And they’ve also got really good desserts, including Banana Pudding, Jello, Chocolate Pudding, Peach Cobbler, and a soft serve ice cream machine.

Really great!

Coming back from Peters’ we came over a hill and found this herd of bison.

Colorado River Bison 1

Colorado River Bison 2

We’ve driven this road many times and have never seen them before. You never know what’s over the next hill here in Texas.

And speaking of that, coming over the hill coming back into the park, we found a herd of deer blocking our path.

The rest quickly moved off the roadway.

Colorado River Deer 1

Colorado River Deer 2

Colorado River Deer 3

Colorado River Deer 4

Tomorrow we’re heading back down to Clear Lake for some things, and of course, lunch at King Food.

Thought for the Day:

The problem with today’s schools:

The parents are afraid of the kids. The administrators are afraid of the parents. The teachers are afraid of the administrators, and the kids ain’t afraid of anybody.


Save the Date (and the Time) . . .

The Date: May 15

The Time: 10:00 AM

The Event: My seminar on Gate Guarding for Fun? & Profit at the 54th Escapade in Goshen, IN from May 12th to May 17th

Hope to see you there.


Well, as I suspected, the Tractor Supply shear pin sheared after about a second when we tried to bring in the slide before hitting the road this morning. But, luckily, it proved to be pretty easy to crank it in manually as Jan was bringing it in with the motor.

Slide Manual Drive

About 15 minutes after we were finished with the slide, Dave Evans showed up to see if we needed any help with it. I told him that his timing was perfect: He got there just in time to miss the work, but early enough to show his concern and get credit. LOL

Plus the breakfast casserole that his wife Janice brought over yesterday made for a delicious breakfast this morning. Thanks again, Janice.

The next problem occurred when I brought the levelers up. Visually they were completely retracted, but the lights on the control panel said they were still down. Normally this means the hydraulic reservoir is low on fluid, and that proved to be the case this time too. I always keep a couple of quarts of ATF on hand just for that purpose. So a few minutes later we were ready to go. We pulled out a little before 11, hooked up the toad by the Activity Center, and were on our way.

Being a Monday midday, traffic was pretty light. We headed south on I-45, then took the Houston Tollway for 18 miles and then got on I-10W. 65 miles later we turned off on to SR71, and a few minutes later we were at the Colorado River Thousand Trails.

It was an easy trip, and for an added bonus, after passing through Brookshire, we started seeing more and more Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes all along the highway, and a really big patch where we turned off SR71 toward the park. Hopefully it will be a good year for them.

Due to the warmer weather, and the easy-popping, weak 30 amp breaker we had here last time, we upgraded to 50 amp this time. After checking in at the office, we got parked and set up, and using the same manual/electrical combo we used this morning, Jan and I got the slide out with no problems.

A little later I called American Coach and told them that I had received the incorrect shear pin. After a little work, they finally found what I think is the correct one. Unfortunately they only had one in stock, but they did say they would send it out free because of my receiving the wrong one before. Hopefully it will be here by the end of the week.

Our daughter Brandi called about 4 to let us know she’s got the flu, diagnosed and everything. Luckily (for us) we haven’t seen her since last Wednesday so we should be outside the window of opportunity.

Dodged bullet there.


Thought for the Day:

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. – Albert Einstein


They sent the wrong %#@$*%^ parts . . .

We were promised heavy rain and thunderstorms, but except for a few minutes of light sprinkles, it didn’t show up. That make it a little easier to get back on my slide problem. So about noon I headed outside to give it another shot.

The first thing I did was to release the motor brake so I can move the slide manually. You just pull it down until it clicks. This brake is what keeps the slide retracted while we’re traveling.

Slide Motor Brake

This is how the slide can be moved manually.

Slide Manual Drive

After a lot of trial and error I managed to get the shear pin holes in the shaft and spur gear lined up and was then able to use a pin punch to knock out the rest of the pin.

Slide Spur Gear Shear Pin Hole

So now all I needed to do was hammer in the replacement pin, and I was all done, right?


They sent the wrong %#@$*%^ pins!

When I first looked at the pins that American Coach sent me, they did look a little big. But I figured once I got the old one out, the new one would fit. But it was definitely too big.

About this time, Janice Evans showed up with a breakfast casserole for us to have tomorrow morning before we leave to go back  the Colorado River Thousand Trails for another two weeks. Thanks, Janice.

Since we were heading out about 1:30 for Wal-Mart, I decided to check the Tractor Supply Store that’s right down the Interstate. So after dropping Jan off to get her hair cut, I drove down there to see what they had.

But unfortunately, they didn’t have exactly what I needed. I found a close one, but it’s a little small and may not be strong enough. I did check to see if they had any bolts that looked like they could work, but didn’t find anything. The pin is only 9/64” and I couldn’t find any Grade 8 or Grade 5 bolts that small.

Getting back to Jan, we picked up some stuff there, and then, just to taunt Nick, we drove across the street to have dinner at Culver’s, one of Nick’s favorite places, and of course, one of ours too.

We’ve eaten at a number of Culver’s. but never in this area. It’s always been up in the IN/IL area. Didn’t realize that they were spreading down here. But we’re glad to see them.

Jan had a Mushroom and Cheddar Butterburger, and I had a double Bacon Cheese Deluxe Butterburger. Really, really good.

Culver's Betterburger

On the way home we made a quick stop at the Lane Bryant store in the Outlet Mall. Back home I installed the new pin, but I’ll be surprised if it works.

While I was doing this, Lynette and Gregg McHenry dropped off a jar of hot sauce he’d made.. Later I tasted it  and it’s really, really good. Thanks Gregg and Lynette.

Gregg McHenry's Hot Sauce

Depending on how long it takes to get the slide in tomorrow morning, we hope to head out around 10am, but we’ll see how it goes.

Thought for the Day:

"Liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals" – Sam Adams


Now It’s Three in a Row . . .

Many of you have been doing your Amazon shopping through our blog, and your support is much appreciated. Thanks.

Shop Amazon

I was up about 10am and kind of moped around, delaying going outside and working on the slide, and then I was saved by the bell, or at least by the phone call.

Our son and daughter-in-law, Chris & Linda were in the area checking out the bluebonnets, and looking at some property, and were going to come by and visit for a while.

Wow, dodged a bullet.

Chris and Linda

We had a great time, and even better, by the time they left, I could justify it being too late to start on the slide before we headed out for dinner.

A good visit, and a good excuse. It’s a Two’fer!

About 4 pm we drove over to Jan and Dave Evans’ site to pick them up for dinner, and then we went by Lynette and Gregg McHenry’s so they could follow us.

We were heading to Cilantro’s Mexican Grill, a Mexican (obviously) restaurant over in Willis, right off the Interstate, and near the Kroger Marketplace that I mentioned the other day.

And, yes, that means we’ve had Mexican food three days in a row. Not really a record for us, though. When our kids were young, we once had dinner at the same Mexican restaurant 7 days in a row. It was that good.

Jan had the Cilantro Jalapeno Chicken,

Cilantro Jalapeno Chicken

and I had the Combo Fajitas once again.

Cilantro Combo Fajitas

I lost track of what the other couples had, but we had a good time, and spent almost 3 hours talking and laughing.

Later, Jan and I both agreed that had we not had dinner the two previous nights at El Bosque, we would have been really impressed with Cilantro’s. But in comparison, it wasn’t quite up to snuff. It was good, just not as good as El Bosque.

Tomorrow I’ll take another look at the slide, and start getting ready to travel on Monday.

Thought for the Day:

The Pleasure You Get From Life Is Equal To The Attitude You Put Into It.