Monthly Archives: July 2020

A Four’fer . . .

Today’s date was apparently a busy day for us, so you get four blogs, count’em, four blogs tonight.


Here in 2010 we spent overnighted at the fairgrounds in Celina, OH on our way to Elkhart, IN

July 31, 2010

Chinese Food and a Big Fish…

We left Little Farm on the River RV Park in Rising Sun, IN a few minutes after 9 and headed north on US 127, arriving in Celina, OH about 12:15.

We drove into the Mercer County Fairgrounds and spent about 10 minutes driving around trying to find where to check-in. Finally saw a small sign in front of an RV parked over in one corner that said “Camp Host”.

Way to make it easy, guys..

We parked and got set up along the side of a barn with no problems, and settled in.

Mercer County Fairgrounds 1

This fairgrounds is a lot nicer than others we’ve stayed at, and makes for a pleasant stay. We were here last September for the Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally and really enjoyed it then too.

Mercer County Fairgrounds 2

Mercer County Fairgrounds 3

About 1 pm we headed out to China Wok Buffet, one of our top five Chinese restaurants, and it was as good as we remembered. After lunch we drove over to WalMart, and along the way we encountered “Big Bob”, “The World’s Largest Man-Made Bass”, a promotion gimmick for Grand Lake here in Celina.

Big Fish

Constructed in the 1800’s as a reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal which connected the Ohio River with Lake Erie, Grand Lake was once the largest man-made lake in the world. Strangely though it covers over 13,000 acres, it’s only 5 to 7 feet deep.

And in case you’re wondering, Owen Falls in Uganda is now the world’s largest man-made lake.

After getting back to the rig about 3 and having a short nap, I got the satellite set we could watch some TV.

Then about 6:45 we drove over to our other favorite restaurant here in Celina, La Carreta Mexican Restaurant. They make a great Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Jan really likes their Grilled Chicken dishes. The chips and salsa are really good too.

Tomorrow we travel about 155 miles further north to Elkhart, IN, where we’ll be for a month.

More tomorrow…

Thought For The Day:

After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed. – De La Lastra’s Law


On this day in 2011 we were in Cody, WY visiting our friends Al & Adrienne

July 31, 2011

The last time I was at 11,000 feet, I was on a plane . . .

We picked up Al and Adrienne about 9 am and then headed down the street to Peter’s Coffee for traveling food, coffee and muffins.

Hitting the road again, our trip took us back up into Montana on SR72 to Belfry (Yes, they have two belfries in town and the football team is called ‘The Bats’) about 50 miles north of Cody.

This was the route we came into Cody on a week or so ago, but luckily today we didn’t have to go far enough north to hit the 11 miles of one lane, gravel road construction we had to go through then.

At Belfry we took a left onto SR308 heading to Red Lodge, MT about 12 miles away. On the way we passed through the small town of Bearcreek, home of the worst coal mine disaster in Montana history.

On February 27, 1943, seventy-seven miners went down into the Smith Coal Mine. After an explosion later that morning, only three came out alive. And beside ending these seventy-four lives, the explosion also ended the local coal mining industry in Bearcreek.

Getting into Red Lodge, we took a bathroom break at the Visitors Center, and then did some shopping along the nice Main St. area.

Red Lodge 1

On one corner was this old bank that’s now a ladies boutique. Waiting for Jan I took a moment to read the plaque on the wall in front.

Red Lodge Bank 1

And, lo and behold, this was a famous bank. On September 18, 1897, the Sundance Kid, Kid Curry, and others of the Wild Bunch attempted “to make an unauthorized withdrawal from the Carbon County Bank.” The “withdrawal” went bad, and after an 80 mile chase, they were captured  and returned to Deadwood, SD, where they later escaped again.

Red Lodge Bank 2

Leaving town and heading south on the Beartooth Highway we came across this store selling furniture and art made from juniper trees,

Rocky Fork Juniper 1

including this neat elk, and even a moose.

Rocky Fork Juniper 2

Really very nice work.

Rocky Fork Juniper 3

It didn’t take long for us start encountering the fantastic scenery and multiple switchbacks that the Beartooth is famous for.

BearTooth 2

BearTooth 3

This map picture shows just one of many switchback sections that takes you from about 5000 feet to just over 11,000 feet.


Beartooth Switchbacks

BearTooth 5

The higher we got the more snow we saw. And looking at one of the snow fields I thought I saw movement, so zooming in with my camera I saw

BearTooth 4

this herd of Big Horn Sheep crossing the snow. This was above 9000 feet.

BearTooth 6

And we just kept getting higher and higher.

BearTooth 7

BearTooth 8

When we would think we couldn’t go any higher, we’d look up and see more switchbacks above us.

BearTooth 9

At one of the pullouts where we stopped to take in the view, we did see this marmot sunning himself on a rock.

BearTooth Marmot 1

Although they kind of look like a beaver or a big guinea pig, they’re actually a type of large ground squirrel.

Cute, though I hear they can be mean.

BearTooth Marmot 2

The views just kept getting better and better.

BearTooth 10

BearTooth 11

Finally we reached the namesake of the Beartooth Highway, the beartooth.

See it, it’s right at the tip of the red arrow.

BearTooth Bear Tooth 1a

Maybe this closeup will help.

BearTooth Bear Tooth 2

We came across a lot of pretty flowers along the way, some of which only grow at high altitudes,

BearTooth Flowers 2

BearTooth Flowers 3

like this Sky Pilot Flower, that only grows above 10,000 feet, and also has a slightly ‘skunky’ smell.

BearTooth Flowers 4

BearTooth Flowers 1

Reaching our 11,000 foot peak, we started back down, with of course, more switchbacks and hairpin turns.

BearTooth 12

BearTooth 13

After our 50 mile journey on the Beartooth, we reached SR296 and took a left onto the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.

BearTooth 14

BearTooth 15

BearTooth 16

BearTooth 17

This 45 mile section had its own set of switchbacks, although we didn’t get near as high as on the Beartooth.

BearTooth 18

BearTooth 19

BearTooth 20

BearTooth 21

BearTooth 22

Finally we merged back into SR120, about 17 miles north of Cody, and headed home, getting back about 4:30.

BearTooth 23

After dropping Al and Adrienne off at their rig, we all met back at Proud Cut Saloon and Steakhouse for dinner about 5:30.

The steaks were delicious, but more important Jan and I had our first chance to try Rocky Mountain Oysters when Al ordered them as an appetizer. If you don’t know what they are, don’t ask.

First off, they were good, nothing like real fried oysters, which Jan and I love (raw oysters, too). More like fried slices of roast beef.

Actually I think they just prove the old adage that pretty much anything battered and deep fried will taste good.

After a great meal, Al and Adrienne came back to the rig to check out Jan’s Amish rug, and then we talked a while.

Finally, after saying our goodbyes and getting in our last hugs, they headed back to their rig. Tomorrow we leave for Billings and we probably won’t see them again for a while.

After they left, I walked next door to visit with Jack Allen and Nell Dahl, who we had also met before.

They wanted to say hi, and find out more about using South Dakota as a residency. I had a great time getting to know them better, and talking about our travels.


Thought for the Day:

The Tripolitan Wars (The Barbary Pirates) taught our young republic vital lessons, among them: tyrants cannot be appeased, peace cannot be purchased and there is no substitute for victory.


In 2014 we were still in the Cincinnati area

July 31, 2014

Wanted: $1000 Reward . . .

Today was another tourist day for us. so we all headed out about 10:30 on our way south, to Georgetown, OH. to visit President U. S. Grant’s boyhood home and other sites. So after a quick stop at the Post Office in Wilmington, we headed down US 68 for Georgetown, about an hour away.

Grant's House

Grant’s boyhood home was built in 1823 by his father Jesse, and Grant lived here until he was 17, and left to attend West Point in 1839. And in a strange twist, going to West Point accidently changed Grant’s name.

His real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but realizing his initials on his trunk would HUG, he was afraid he would be teased, so he submitted his application under the name of Ulysses Hiram Grant. But the Senator who recommended him, mixed up his name even further, submitting it as Ulysses Simpson Grant.

When Grant got to West Point, he found out they didn’t  have an opening for Ulysses Hiram Grant, or even for Hiram Ulysses Grant, but they did have one for Ulysses Simpson Grant. So he decided his name was now U.S. Grant. Anything was better than HUG.

His father owned a tannery right across the street which is also still standing.

Grant's Tannery

It’s amazing how much of the original furniture is still in the house.

Grant's House Inside 1

Grant's House Inside 2

Our next stop was right down the road where Grant attended school from 2nd grade to the 8th grade

Grant's School House

And they’ve still got the desk he used.

Grant's Desk

And they also had this Wanted Poster for one of Jan’s ancestors. John Hunt Morgan of Morgan’s Raiders fame . . . or infamy, depending on which side you were on during The War of Northern Aggression.

Wanted Posted

Leaving Georgetown we headed further south down on the Ohio River to Ripley, OH, and the home of John Rankin, one of the leading Abolitionists during the period.

Rankin House

Rankin House View

Rankin’s house sat on a high hill overlooking the Ohio, and served as a beacon for slaves escaping from Kentucky right across the river. Rankin’s home was one of the first stops on the Underground Railroad, and it’s estimated over 2000 slaves passed through his hands on their way to freedom.

Leaving the Rankin house and heading back down the hill, we encountered something none of us had seen before: A blonde squirrel.

Blonde Squirrel

This photo was taken through the windshield so the coloring is a little off, but in the sunlight he seemed to be the color of a palomino horse. And like a palomino’s mane, his tail was much lighter than his body, almost white. The Internet has a lot of pictures of these, but no real explanation as to what they are. They’ve definitely not an albino of any type.

After stopping off at  Rankin’s gravesite in town, we made another cemetery stop up the road a ways to the grave of Rose Washington Riles, otherwise known as Aunt Jemima, or at least one of them. Apparently there have been 6 ‘official’ Aunt Jemima’s, and a bunch of regional ones. Reading online it’s a pretty convoluted story.

Heading west along the Ohio River, we stopped off at Point Pleasant, OH to check out Grant’s actual birthplace where he lived until the age of 1, when his parents moved to Georgetown

At that point we turned north, heading for Loveland, OH, on the eastern outskirts of Cincinnati, and after a quick stop at a Chase Bank we arrived at our dinner location, the Montgomery Inn. We had heard good things about their BBQ. And the menu said that every President since Gerald Ford had eaten there.

The ribs, their specialty, were pretty good, with a sauce that was different, but very good. However, the pulled pork was more like what we called ‘Chopped’ in Texas. And like we’ve encountered before up in this area, the Beef Brisket is more like Roast Beef with BBQ sauce on it, rather than the Brisket we get in Texas.

But the Ice Tea was really, really good. What can I say?

Our last tourist stop for the day was Loveland Castle, or Chateau Laroche. Unfortunately they were already closed, and good pictures were hard to come by, so I got these from their website

Loveland_Castle 3

Loveland_Castle 2

Construction was begun in 1929 by Boy Scout troop leader and World War I veteran Harry D. Andrews, who said this about the project:

“Chateau Laroche was built as an expression and reminder of the simple strength and rugged grandeur of the mighty men who lived when Knighthood was in flower. It was their knightly zeal for honor, valor and manly purity that lifted mankind out of the moral midnight of the dark ages, and started it towards a gray dawn of human hope.”

Apparently Andrews built the place pretty much by himself over the next 50 years, assisted by the Boy Scout troop he found, The Knights of the Golden Trail.

Reading about the castle and its builder on the Roadside America, Loveland Castle page, it kind of reminds me of Edward Leedskalnin, the guy who built the Coral Castle down in the Miami FL area.

Our last stop of the day was a nearby Barnes & Noble for a few magazines, before we finally headed home.

Another long, but fun day.


Thought for the Day:

According to an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA),.Special Agents at the IRS accidentally shot their firearms 11 times between 2009 and 2011, and at least three of the cases “may have resulted in property damage or personal injury.”

In fact, these 11 ‘accidents’ were 3 times the number that they intentionally fired their firearms in the field.

Don’t you feel safer now?


On this day in 2016 we were leaving the Colorado River Thousand Trails on our way to Alabama to visit our relatives in Athens.

July 31, 2016

Poche’s and Gumbo . . .

We had a 307 mile trip scheduled for today, to Poche’s Fish N Camp near Breaux Bridge, LA, so we wanted to get an early start.

So we were up about 6:30, and I was pulling out of our site a few minutes after 8am, with Jan following in the truck. Our first stop was the Brookshire Bros. Groceries gas station in Columbus for $2.03 diesel, about 80 gallons worth.

Diesel At Brookshire Bros

It was easy in and out, with plenty of room to hook up the truck after we were done. The only problem was a really slow pump, so by the time we were done and hitched up, it was a little before 9. But as it turned, we were still on schedule, since I wanted to be on the road by 9 anyway.

Our first stop was at the Buc-ee’s in Baytown, right on the way. We picked up couple of their Cranberry Nut muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast, a couple of Cream Cheese Kolaches for today’s lunch, and a couple of Cappuccino/Coffees for the road.

Our next stop was supposed to the rest area just getting into Louisiana, but it was being completely rebuilt so we keep moving, finally pulling over for a bathroom break on a wide shoulder.

We got into Poche’s Fish N Camp a little before 3pm after a smooth trip. It’s a Passport America park, so $20 for a $40 a night park. Pull-thru site, 50 FHU and a concrete pad. Very nice. And a very nice view, too.

Poche's Sunset 2

About 3:30 we drove into Breaux Bridge to have dinner at Pont Breaux, one of our favorite Cajun places. Under this name, and the previous one, Mulate’s, we’ve been eating here for almost 40 years.

Jan and I got our usual bowl of Seafood Gumbo,

Pont Breaux Gumbo

and then Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce for dessert.

Pont Breaux Bread Pudding

They have live music here, Cajun of course, and in fact the band was setting up just as we were ready to leave.

Mulates 3

Tomorrow’s trip is a little shorter, a 165 mile run to Bay St. Louis, MS, and the Hollywood Casino.

Jan said she’s feeling lucky.

Thought for the Day:

Life is not a fairy tale. If you lose you shoe at midnight, you’re not a princess, you’re drunk.

And Now . . . Goggles?

A couple of weeks ago during a online webinar, CDC Director Robert Redfield was talking about getting kids back to school as soon as possible. As part of this he said that school-age kids are dying from suicides and drug-doses at a much greater rate than from CoVid.

I think that the cost to our nation in continuing to keep these schools closed is substantial, and I’m hopeful that resources that are necessary can be made available. That’s obviously not… it’s way above my pay grade.

But there has been another cost that we’ve seen, particularly in high schools. We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from COVID. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose that are above excess that we had as background than we are seeing the deaths from COVID.

And he also stated that the death rate for school-age kids is 5 to 10x greater for seasonal flu than for CoVid.

But I think that’s important because what that means, actually, is the risk per 100,000, so far, you know, into the outbreak, six months into it, is, in fact, that we’re looking at about .1 per 100,000. So another way to say that, it’s one in a million. Now, I’m not trying to belittle that, I’m just trying to make sure we look at it proportional. Because if you do the same thing for influenza deaths for school-age children over the last five years, they’re anywhere from five to 10 times greater.

And if you’re thinking about not getting the supposed vaccination/shot when it becomes available, think again.

This recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine thinks that you should lose your job or be locked up in your home until you knuckle under.

In addition, state mandates should not be structured as compulsory vaccination (absolute requirements); instead, noncompliance should incur a penalty. Nevertheless, because of the infectiousness and dangerousness of the virus, relatively substantive penalties could be justified, including employment suspension or stay-at-home orders for persons in designated high-priority groups who refuse vaccination.

And now, according to the estimable Dr. Fauci, we should all start wearing goggles as well as a face mask, and maybe even a face shield too.

Can HazMat suits be far behind?


July 30, 2010

EnterTRAINment Junction…

We’re presently parked at the Little Farm on the River RV Park in Rising Sun, IN, about 25 miles from Cincinnati, OH.

This park is in the middle of a working farm that runs right down to the Ohio River and we’re surrounded by corn and soybean fields

Little Farm 1

Little Farm 2

Little Farm 3

Little Farm 4

About 10:00 am we headed into Cincinnati. Strangely enough, although Ohio is just across the river, we have to go through Kentucky to get there. Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky all come together right here in this corner of the country.

Our first destination was Quaker Steak and Lube, a hot wing place we first ate at in Buffalo, NY last year on our way back from Newfoundland. When we were there the big promotion was their “Atomic Wings”. These rate about 150,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale (a jalapeno rates between 2500 and 8000) and you have to sign a release before they will serve them to you. Jan and I got a sample order (5 wings) and we both thought they were pretty hot, hotter than anything we’ve eaten before. Jan could only eat one.

This time they have a new deal. “Triple Atomic Wings” with a 500,000 rating. Unfortunately they don’t offer a sampler of the Triples, and I didn’t want a whole order of 10, so we didn’t get to try them.

But Jan and I both agreed that either we had both lost a lot of taste buds, or these “Atomic Wings” today weren’t as hot as the ones we had last year. But they were good. We also had some regular Hot Wings and some Buckeye BBQ, which rates at about  5000.

One thing I really like about Quaker Steak is that their chicken pieces are a good bit bigger than either Hooter’s or Buffalo Wild Wings.

After lunch we stopped off for gas and car wash before heading over to the main course for the day, EnterTRAINment Junction. Yes, it’s spelled correctly.

EnterTRAINment Junction is a trained-themed attraction that has a railroad museum, and what I was really there for, the world’s largest indoor model railroad.

With over 25,000 sq. ft., 90 trains with more than1200 cars, 2 miles of track, and over 6000 handmade trees, it’s really something.

Train 1 Train 2 Train 3 Train 4 Train 5 Train 6 Train 7

I had a large HO layout when I was a kid, and if we weren’t living in the RV I might think about building another one. But in the meantime I still like reading about them, and visiting large layouts when possible. Last year I visited the Model Railroad Museum near Lancaster, PA, but this one is much bigger.

As I said, my layout was HO, which at the time was the smallest scale generally available at 1/87 real size. The trains we say today were G scale, or 1/22.5

Now there are two smaller scales than HO  N scale, at 1/160, and Z scale at 1/220. An locomotive in Z scale is less than 2 inches long.

We also enjoyed the American Railroad Museum, which had a lot of interesting displays and artifacts. One thing that I found funny was that when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific work crews approached their meeting from opposite directions, they passed each other by and kept on going for another 100 miles. They were getting paid by the mile and didn’t want to stop. Finally the Government stepped in and declared Promontory, Utah the meeting point.

Leaving the Junction we head back to the rig, but detoured through downtown Cincinnati to get some flavor of the city. It’s a very nice town with a lot of new big buildings going up.

I kept looking for the Flimm building, but never found it.

Getting back to the rig a little before 5 we decided it was nap time for an hour or so. Then about 6:30 we headed out for dinner at Skyline Chili, one of two chili-based restaurants in this area, the other being Goldstar Chili.

Everything is pretty much chili. Chili Dogs, chili burritos, salads with chili on them, and even chili spaghetti. And of course, all of it covered with grated cheese and onions.

And it was delicious. Hopefully we’ll get to try Goldstar some other time.

Tomorrow we head north about 135 miles to Celina, OH for the night before getting into Elkhart, IN on Sunday.

Thought For The Day:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye. – Miss Piggy

July 30, 2017

Smooth and Cool . . .

We took our time getting up and on the road this morning, not pulling out until about 10:30.

I think the spaces here at Capitol City RV Park here in Montgomery AL are some of the largest I’ve seen. At 85ft x 45ft, you could park a couple of RV’s in each site.

Capitol City RV Site

Though these are their ‘Premium’ sites, I was given a free upgrade when, noticing all the Auburn University stuff on the walls of the office, I told her I had gone to Auburn. Of course I didn’t tell her I had also gone to Auburn’s arch rival, University of Alabama too.

It took us about 10 minutes to get out on I-65N, heading towards Athens, AL, about 180 miles away.

Based on past trips through Birmingham, I was expecting the same really bad roads, especially coming into town from the south, but they’ve obviously been doing some work since we were through here last year. Nice and smooth.

And being Sunday, there was really no traffic to worry about, so we just cruised right through, with the only slowdowns being the many hills.

We pulled into the Northgate RV Park in Athens and were met by my cousin-in-law, Helen, at the park office. After getting in our hello’s and hugs, we got parked and set up about 2:45.

It’s always nice to have an RV Park in the family.

About 4pm Jan and I headed to have dinner at Catfish Cabin, our regular ‘first night here’ restaurant.

One of the best things about this place is that pretty much every thing is homemade. From the salad dressings,

Catfish Cabin Salad

to the Hushpuppies,

Catfish Cabin Hushpuppies 2

it’s all made in-house.

And all of their catfish, shrimp, and oysters, are all fresh, and then breaded and prepared at the restaurant. The only thing bought pre-prepared are the stuffed crabs like on my Combination Platter.

Catfish Cabin Combination Platter 2

Jan always gets the Cabin Platter, because she really likes the whole catfish on it.

Catfish Cabin Cabin Platter 2

Really delicious as always.

One thing we’re enjoying up here is the cooler weather, with highs in the mid-80’s, and lows in the low-60’s, temps we haven’t seen since Rapid City, SD back in May.


Tomorrow we’re making a daytrip back down to Birmingham to drive around, and then have dinner with our old friend’s Bill and Carol Alverson.

Bill and I both worked as broadcast engineers at WBIQ, Ch. 10, the local Alabama Public Television station back in the early 70’s, before we moved to Montgomery. We also both worked part-time at WENN, a black radio station in town, also as broadcast engineers.

So we’ll have a lot to catch up on.

Thought for the Day:

“Men are ruled…by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern.” G. K. Chesterton

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