Monday, September 25, 2017

Oversized Breakfast of the Week - September

I've lost five of the eight pounds my trip to Michigan to see family netted me so I rewarded myself with a morning trip to Kuka's Burritos in Muleshoe, TX.

The Combo breakfast burrito! 

I probably won't need much of a lunch.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

'Tis the Season...

One of the things I will NEVER miss about Texas is the little insect Plecia Nearctica, better known as Love Bugs.  Not once but TWICE a year (Spring and late Summer) the bugs do their "Love" thing and all sorts of disgusting hi-jinks ensue:

That's not snow on my windshield.

Did I mention the bug's guts are slightly acidic making removal from your vehicle after more than a couple hours really difficult?

The Mini wasn't spared either.

At times they sounded like raindrops they were hitting the windshield so frequently....ugh!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Campground Review: Arrowhead Lake Park Johnston City, IL

On my way "down" to Houston to inspect suspected water damage to my storage unit I stopped a night at Arrowhead Park in Johnston City, IL (Pop. 3543) that is in the very southern tip of Illinois.  The city maintains Arrowhead Park and within the park is a 66 site RV campground called Arrowhead Lake Campground.

The campground abuts 30 acre Arrowhead Lake.

I usually like to stay more than one day before reviewing a campground but I did a lot of hiking on the nature trail that encircles the lake and also looked at a good deal of the park so here goes!

The trail runs about 2.2 miles around the lake.

I can't vouch for other times of the year but I was amazed that there were virtually no bugs on my hikes through the woods on the Nature Trail around the lake.

The campground from the path on the other side of the lake.

Here's Arrowhead Lake's data sheet:

Hookups:                                             Water, 20, 30, 50 amp                                                
Fire ring:                                              Yes                                                                 
Water Access:                                     Yes (lake)                                                       
Fresh Water:                                        Yes                                         
Trash Service:                                      Yes                                                     
Toilets:                                                Yes (flush)                                                                 
Showers:                                             Yes                                                                 
Dump station:                                      Yes                                                     
WiFi:                                                   No                                                      
Level sites:                                          Yes                                                     
Laundry:                                              No                                                                  
Store:                                                  No                                                      
Pool:                                                   No                                                      
Shade:                                                Yes                                                     
Verizon reception:                               4G, 3 bars                                                       
Internet reception:                               3 bars                                      
Cost:                                                 $18 / night Discounts for seniors and veterans

The campsites at Arrowhead Lake were well spaced and quite a few of the sites looked to be occupied by long-term guests.  The campground was extremely quiet, especially after dark.

Knowing I was leaving the next morning I didn't unhitch from the pickup.

There was one small cabin for rent at the park which would be great for car travelers, I didn't inquire about the nightly cost.

The rental unit came with front porch chairs.

Across from the main office where you check in were the bathrooms and showers, I peeked inside and the bathrooms and showers were very clean.

Spotless on the inside.

Arrowhead Lake Campground is open year around although it warns that water service is cut-off in months where freezing takes place,  Most full-timers I know would be in Florida or Arizona by then but it could be useful as a just passing through stop in winter months.

The staff was very friendly and the park was extremely well-kept.  The utter quiet at night earns the park bonus points too, as does the reasonable $18 / night cost!  I'll be adding Arrowhead Lake Campground to my list of places to stay on my way to and from Michigan.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Back to Katy

So I've kept a storage unit in Katy ever since I sold my home.  There were some items I had that were too sentimental to give away like I did most of my possessions, pictures my Mom had given me, photos of my daughter when she was little, a couple guitars, you know the kind of stuff I'm talking about.  With the hurricane hitting Katy I had called the manager of my unit and asked if the units had flooded, fearing the worst, but she said the unit hadn't flooded but my block, D Block, had been "inundated."  On a subsequent phone call she explained the water had come in through the roof, thus the differentiation from flood damage. The storage manager advised me to check out my storage locker as soon as possible to see if insurance claims had to be filed.  I drove from Michigan down to the Escapees RV park in Livingston, TX (there wasn't RV parking much closer to Houston due to all the evacuees moving there) and this morning I drove in to Katy storage unit was completely dry, no damage at all.  At least I got to pick up an old buddy:

My old "axe"!  I've got room for it now in the Mini.

I did stay in a couple RV parks on the way to Texas I'll review soon, from here I'm thinking get to Colorado before it gets too cold.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Entertainment Upgrade

Readers of the blog will recall that I have been maintaining a "grandfathered" 40 gig / month data plan with Verizon because my usual method of viewing TV was to stream it over the Internet because I typically wasn't close to cities with over the air broadcasting.  While this worked fine for me it had two drawbacks, it was expensive and data limited, especially towards the end of my billing period.  My Verizon bill was $230 a month!  That was two lines, my phone and my MyFi internet modem.  When I finally paid off my truck (yay!) the Verizon bill was my biggest monthly expense (not counting gas for the truck).  So I made the decision to get a Dish satellite account and at the same time give up my 40 gig data deal with Verizon and go with their unlimited data plan.

R2D2's little brother.

My Dish monthly subscription is $68.  Dropping my huge data plan with Verizon cut my monthly phone bill to $115 so if my math is correct I'm going to save $47 a month.  So I'll be paying less, and getting 120 channels on Dish including The Big 10 Network (go Spartans!) and ESPN, so the quality (and quantity) of my sports viewing will massively increase.  The cool thing about the Dish receiver is that it's virtually idiot proof.  You set it on it's tripod, go inside and turn on the set top box and TV and it asks you what state you're in, after you input the state the receiver automatically aims itself at the 3 satellites in the southern sky and within about 10 minutes you're watching HD TV!

The Mini's counter extension seems like it was made for the Dish box!

After four and a half years of carefully rationing my monthly data pool on only my "must see" TV programs it feels a little strange to watch TV whenever I feel like it.  I'll try to get used to it.

Thanks for reading!