Daily Archives: July 27, 2020

Moose, BBQ, and BBQ Reviews . . .

First up, an interesting animation about how the solar system really works. Yes, the planets orbit the Sun, but in turn, the Sun actually orbits the center of mass of the solar system, which is not the center of the Sun.


OK, I’m confused. (Certainly wouldn’t be the first time)

Last week it was announced that Moderna, the big pharmaceutical company, was starting Stage 3 trials for their WuFlu vaccine. The talking head on TV said that it would involved 30,000 test subjects who, after receiving the vaccine, would be followed over the next TWO years to see if it is safe and effective.

But this article from U.S. News & World Report says that they’re hoping to have the vaccine available by the end of this year, this part of Operation Warp Speed, as it’s called.

So we;re supposed to start taking the vaccine by the end of the year, but we won’t know if it’s really safe and effective until sometime in 2022. And this from a company that has never marketed a vaccine before.

So what could possibly go wrong?

Oh yeah, that’s right. It could end up like the last time we rushed a vaccine to market in 1976 for the Swine Flu. After a panicked mass inoculation of about 25% of the U.S. population, the program was abruptly halted after 1 person died and over 400 people around the country developed the paralyzing Guillain-Barré syndrome, and caused devastating side effects to over 4000 more.

In fact it was such a scandal at the time that Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes did an entire segment on it in 1979.

I know I feel safer now.

How about you?

Or as Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at the Imperial College of London said, “It’s looking like it’s going to do what every pandemic in human history has done, which is burn through the susceptible population until it burns out.


More of our visit to Jackson, WY in 2011.

July 27, 2011

Three in One Day . . .

This morning, our last full day here in Jackson, started at Bubba’s BBQ for breakfast. When Jan saw Blueberry Pancakes on the menu last night, it was a given that we’d be here again.

Then we headed about 25 miles north to Moose Junction. First we wanted to get our National Park Passports stamped at the Park Visitors Center and we also asked a Ranger about the best places to find more moose.

He told us that there had been one by the bridge we just crossed up the road, and also along Moose-Wilson Rd. So it looks like our idea of driving the Teton Park Road and the Moose-Wilson Road might work out.

We first turned north on the Teton Park Rd. that runs for 20 miles before it connects back with US-89 right before Moran Junction. We had some great views along the way, including these shots along Jenny Lake,

Teton Park Rd 1

Teton Park Rd 2

and this photo at our closest point to Grand Teton.

Grand Teton

Along here we also did the 4 mile Jenny Lake Rd. loop, another good spot for wildlife, as evidenced by this sign. Since we’ve seen all three, I guess we’ve really been lucky.

GTNP Wildlife Sign

Reaching the main highway we decided to drive the 4 miles back to Pilgrim Creek where we saw the moose yesterday. And we hit the jackpot again.

What were probably the same two moose were back, and much more visible than yesterday.

GTNP Moose 6

One of them was down in the water along the bank, munching on all the green goodies. Moose like willows and aspens, and both were in abundance here.

GTNP Moose 7

Because he wasn’t in the trees like yesterday we got some great shots.

GTNP Moose 8

Here you can see the 2nd moose further up in the trees.

GTNP Moose 9

GTNP Moose 10

After a few minutes, the moose moved on to where we couldn’t really see them anymore. Jan had noticed some people only about 30 feet from the moose and said “Those people are much too close.” And then she said “I bet they’re getting some great pictures. I want to go over there.”

But luckily, the Ranger showed up a few minutes later and started yelling at people to get away.

We did move further along the creek where we could see the moose again. And in another episode of “Where’s Bullwinkle?”, this is what my camera showed at 1X.

GTNP Moose 11

And this is at 72X. Quite a difference.

GTNP Moose 12

After the moose finally disappeared into the brush, we headed back down US-89 and turned into Moose Junction again to this time take the Moose-Wilson Rd south back down to Jackson.

And as we came to the bridge the Ranger had mentioned before, we encountered a moose-jam.

He was back!

Moose Junction Moose 1

Moose Junction Moose 2

And this time only about 50 yards away, so we got some great photos.

Moose Junction Moose 3

Finally dragging Jan away from the moose, we drove back into Jackson and out the other side to Snow King Mountain Resort so we could take the Scenic Chairlift.

In the winter it’s a ski-lift to the top of Snow King Mountain so you can take one of the several runs down the mountain, but in the summer it’s just a great sight-seeing trip.

It’s a 1500 foot climb to the 7800 foot top, and so steep you would be hard-pressed to walk straight up. However there are an number of zigzag trails leading to the top for hikers and horseback rides from the nearby stables.

Snow King Mountain Ski-Lift 1

And the route up is lined with snow-making machines just waiting for the temperature to fall.

Snow King Mountain Snow Machine

Looking down at the ground under our feet, we saw a lot of shoes. Apparently losing them is almost a given.

Snow King Mountain Ski-Lift Shoe

For most of the trip we were about 50 to 70 feet off the ground. What’s kind of funny is that Jan has a fear of heights. It is very difficult for her to stand at a railing and look down. She had problems at both Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.

But she has absolutely no problem dangling from a ski-lift chair. Go figure!

Snow King Mountain Ski-Lift 2

Getting to the top we had great views of the mountains and out across the Park.

Snow King Mountain Top 1

Well worth the trip up.

Snow King Mountain Top 2

And the trip down was even better, with great views of Jackson and the Elk Refuge beyond. I was hoping to see one of the elk herds from up here, but no luck.

Snow King Mountain Ski-Lift 4

Snow King Mountain Ski-Lift 5

And we even have a memento of our trip to the top. Someone needs to show them something about color correction on their photos. Mine look better.

Snow King Mountain Ski-Lift

Leaving Snow King, we drove back into town to get gas for the trip home. One thing I’ve noticed here in Wyoming that I haven’t seen anywhere else is that the gas grades are different.

The price for unleaded was only $3.48, but instead of 87, 89, and 91 octane like everywhere else, the gas here in Wyoming all seems to be 85, 87, and 89 octane.

Anyone know why? My truck really doesn’t like 85 octane, especially at these high altitudes.

Next Jan wanted to shop one of the gift shops on the main street.

And which one did she pick?  Well, the Moose on the Loose, of course.

Jan found a moose tee-shirt she really liked, but when she went to pay for it, something strange happen. Both our Wells Fargo and Chase VISA debit cards were declined.  So I paid with cash.

I knew both accounts had plenty of money, and I had just used the Chase card to get gas a few minutes before, so after we left the store, I called Chase.

I got a nice young lady from India, not named Peggy luckily, who was very helpful. She said they log every transaction, even if they’re declined, and she showed the last one was the gas I had purchased. She didn’t show anything even coming thru, much less declined after that.

She said the store was probably having trouble with their merchant account, which would explain why both cards were declined.

Leaving the Loose Moose, we drove back to Bubba’s for supper.

Yeah, we ate there last night, and this morning, so let’s make it three in a row.

And here’s a little secret. We’ll probably eat breakfast there tomorrow on our way out of town. So there.

This is the sign of a good BBQ place, cords of oak wood stacked up next to the separate building housing their smoker.

Bubba's Wood

And when I peeked in the door, they were unloading the beef briskets and taking them into the restaurant.

Bubba's Brisket

And you wonder why we keep eating here.

After dinner we stopped off at a nearby Maverik for cappuccinos before heading back to the room for the night.

Tomorrow we’ll probably leave here about 9 am for the 177 mile trip back to Cody.

And if Jan has her way, we’ll probably be making a quick stop at Pilgrim Creek for another moose sighting.

Hopefully this will get it out of her system for a while.


Thought for the Day:

Everyone spreads a little joy. Some when they come, others when they go away.



On this day in 2013 we were leaving Sault Ste. Marie and heading down to Elkhart, IN.

July 27, 2013

Bridges and Parades . . .

Lucky for us the predicted all-night rain didn’t show up, so the grass under our rig had a chance to dry. And when it came time to back out of our site a little after 9am, we got out OK.

Before we left the Soo, we wanted to get some diesel, but taking the most direct way to the Interstate and our station took us up a steep hill with a traffic light at the bottom. If I could be sure that I could take the hill without stopping at the light, it wouldn’t be a problem. But if I got a red light it would be slow going up the hill, doable, but slow. Maybe that’s why the signs say ‘No Vehicles Over 5 Tons’. Could be.

So I had mapped out a new route that looked like it would work, and it did. The hill along that way was much shallower, and had no light at the bottom. The day was off to a good start.

And at the station it just got better. Diesel had dropped 2 cents a gallon since yesterday. The pumps were no-limit pump and pay, and had the big nozzles for a fast fill. It just kept getting better.

After topping off our tank, we got hitched up and got on I-75S heading for Manistee, MI, and the Little River Casino about 220 miles away. But then things started to go a little awry.

The heavily overcast skies started leaking all over our windshield, and pretty much kept it up all the rest of the trip. It never came down hard, but it did keep the wipers busy.

50 miles down the road and $14 from my wallet, we crossed the Mackinac Bridge, a first time for us. And it took us a while because we did it at 20mph.

Mackinac Bridge 1

Mackinac Bridge 2

The speed limit on the bridge is 45 mph, but it’s also 20 mph for Loaded Trucks. And then there’s the sign that says “Truck/Buses No Passing”. I always wonder about signs like this. I’m definitely not a truck, and I’m not a bus. But I am bus-like, or maybe bus-lite?, so where do I stand?

Anyway, I ended up behind a “Loaded Truck”, and there was so much traffic passing us at 45 (or faster) that I would have had a real problem getting out and around him. So there I stayed.

One thing I thought was funny is that apparently some people don’t like to drive on the open grating on the bridge deck. The way it’s built, the inside lane is grating, but the outside is concrete. A number of cars stayed with us behind the 20mph truck all the way across, but as soon as both lanes were concrete, they zipped out and around, and were gone.

A couple of miles off the bridge we turned west on US-31 to take the the scenic way down the lake. And it was really good that it was scenic because, between the rain, the numerous construction zones, the multiple small towns with 25mph speed limits, the parade, and the street fair, we had plenty of time to see it all.

One interesting note about US-31 is that it starts here in Michigan and runs south all the way down to Mobile, AL. And along the way it runs right through our family farm in Athens, AL. So we can say that we’ve been to both ends of US-31, just like we’ve been to both ends of US-1. It starts at the bottom of Key West, FL and runs all the way up to Fort Kent, ME where it dead ends at the US-Canadian border.

We arrived at the Little River Casino about 4pm, and for a change, had no problem finding the RV park there. Believe it or not, they actually had signs leading us to it.

Since we’d been parked for a week with no sewer connection, before we parked at our site, we stopped off at the dump station. Our site is 50 amp and water, again with no sewer, but we’ll have it tomorrow in Elkhart.

We had leftovers for supper, but we’re going to head over to the casino tomorrow morning for the breakfast buffet before we leave. YUM.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 220 mile trip to Elkhart where we’ll be for a week, checking out all our favorite restaurants and places. We’re really looking forward to being back in Elkhart again.

Thought for the Day:

“Make crime pay. Become a lawyer.” – Will Rogers

Finally, on this day in 2015 we’re at the Cherokee Landing Thousand Trails park east of Memphis.

July 27, 2015

And the Winner is . . .

Jan and I headed out about 1:15pm to see a movie and finish up our trifecta of famous Memphis BBQ places. Along the way we made a PO stop to drop off some letters right before we got to the theater, the same one where we saw Jurassic World the other day.

We were looking forward to seeing the Minions because we really liked both Despicable Me moves, and the Minions were part of some of the funniest bits. But although we both really liked this movie, it did not live up to the Despicable ones.

It’s like the Minions are great supporting actors, but can’t carry a film by themselves.

Recommended, but not Well Recommended.

But the popcorn was really good and fresh.

Leaving the movie, we made the 20 minute drive further into town to have dinner at The Bar-B-Q Shop, one of Food Network’s Top Five BBQ Restaurants in the US. Each one of the five specializes in a different type of BBQ. In The Bar-B-Q Shop’s case, it’s for the ribs.

So following that, I had the Ribs and Pork, with Beans and Cole Slaw,

BBQ Shop 1

while Jan went with the Ribs and Grilled Chicken Breast, also with the Beans and Cole Slaw.

BBQ Shop 2

We both got our ribs 1/2 and 1/2, that is, half wet with sauce, and half dry with rub sprinkled on.

So what do we think?

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve eaten at three high-rated BBQ places in the Memphis area.

Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous

Jim and Nick’s BBQ

and of course, today’s

The Bar-B-Q Shop.

And in all three, at least one of us had the same things.


Pulled Pork


Cole Slaw

So I’m going to rate each category.

First up, the ribs.

I’ll have to disagree with Food Network here.

The best ribs were at Rendezvous. The crust on them is delicious, and they just burst with flavor when you bite into them. These don’t need any sauce.

Second was Jim and Nick’s. These large, meaty spare ribs were moist and favorable, with a really good, tangy sauce.

Third was The Bar-B-Q Shop. These baby back ribs were very meaty, but the meat and the sauce and/or the rub, didn’t have a lot of flavor to me. Just bland, with a so-so sauce. We asked for some of their fabled ‘HOT” sauce, and again I was disappointed. Although it was hot, to me it had a chemical or plastic taste. Jan liked it though.

Next up, pulled pork.

Jim and Nick’s is the winner here. Very flavorful meat, firm, not mushy, with a good mix of lean and outside char. And of course, there’s their great sauce.

In second place is Rendezvous. Good flavor, but a little too finely chopped for my taste.

Coming up in last place again is The Bar-B-Q Shop. The chop was OK, but again like the ribs, not a lot of flavor,. I actually sprinkled some salt and pepper on it which helped a little.

Now for the Beans.

Once again, Rendezvous is in first place here. As said last Saturday after our visit, these are probably the best baked beans I’ve every eaten. The subtle taste of burnt caramel in the sauce puts these over the top.

Jim and Nick’s again slides into second place here with beans that are really done well, just a perfect balance of sauce, tanginess, and beans.

And again coming in third is The Bar-B-Q Shop. Again,, no real standout taste, . . . just beans.

And last up, Cole Slaw.

The winner here is Jim and Nick’s, but just by a nose. Very good, tangy flavor with a coarse cut that you can really bite into.

Coming in second here is The Bar-B-Q Shop. If the cole slaw had had the same coarse chop as Jim and Nick’s, it would have been a tie.

This time Rendezvous comes in third. Although very tasty, it was so finely chopped as to be almost mushy, like baby food.

There you have it. My take on Memphis BBQ, at least from the places we ate at. On the whole I was very disappointed with The Bar-B-Q Shop. I remember them being much better than this when we ate here 5 years ago. So I don’t know if they were having a bad night, or I was. Or as happens sometimes after a place gets a little fame, the quality starts to suffer.

I think Jan disagrees with me on some of these, so I’ll post her ratings tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading.”

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