Monthly Archives: May 2022

Last Day In Athens . . .

Today was our last full day here in Athens so we headed over to Huntsville for lunch and a Costco stop.

I knew that I was going to need gas before we leave here tomorrow, so I had been checking prices around Athens, with the cheapest being $4.22 at the local WalMart, with the highest being $4.49 at a number of places.

So I was interested to see if it was any better in Huntsville. And it wasn’t.

At first.

Every station we passed was higher than the ones in Athens, until we passed the Sam’s Club, which was $4.13. So I decided to stop there on the way back by. But when we got to the Costco, I found them matching Sam’s cost, so I filled up there.

Finishing up at Costco, and heading back toward Athens, we made our lunch stop at Rosie’s Cantina, a really great Mexican place where we’ve eaten for years. And it’s always delicious. Kind of reminds me of a Ninfa’s back in Houston,

Jan had a Chile Relleno with rice and beans,

while I tried their Beef and Spicy Sausage Fajitas with Charro Beans.

Really great as always, and enough leftover for a light dinner tonight.

Tomorrow we’re back on the road again, driving about a 100 miles south to Birmingham.

 

Gator Bait


May 31, 2009

Breakfast Buffet & A Lot of Gators…

Today we headed out about 9:30 am to have the breakfast buffet at Whistle Junction where we had lunch with Carol and Joe on Friday.

Then it was off to Jungle Adventures Nature Park, about 15 west of Titusville, on the way to Orlando.

Although we haven’t been here since 1997, we looked forward to going back.

Jungle Adventures Nature Park

Jungle Adventures Nature Park

A Sweet Mouthful

A Sweet Mouthful !!

They have a lot of animals here – Florida panthers, deer, coatamundis, lemurs, bears, spiders, lizards, scorpions, turtles, tortoises, and of course, hundreds of alligators, crocodiles, and caymans.

Is It Dinner Time Yet?

Is It Dinner Time Yet?

Just a Big Putty Tat!

Just a Big Putty Tat!

The trainer said he had raised this panther since he was about 3 weeks old. The cat came up and started rubbing his head all over the trainer, marking him as his property.

Duckweed-covered Gator

Duckweed-covered Gator

Feeding Time

Feeding Time

Feeding Time Too

Feeding Time Too

They sell you hotdogs to feed the baby gators. I just want to be sure they can tell the difference between the hot dogs and fingers.

Hot Dogs or Fingers!

Hot Dogs or Fingers!

Jan makes a new friend.

Jan Makes a New Friend!

Jan Makes a New Friend!

It’s hard to say who’s scaring who here.

Who's scaring who here?

Who’s scaring who here?

Jan wouldn’t hold this one!

A Real Handful!

A Real Handful!

We headed back to the coach about 2:30 pm after a great time.

A complete change of subject here. Jan and I are big Ice Road Truckers fans.  That’s the show on the History Channel that depicts the truck drivers driving supplies into northern Canada mining camps and oil exploration sites on ice roads that only exist in the wintertime.

During the rest of the year, the road isn’t there.  It’s open water!

Anyway, on tonight’s 3rd season premiere episode, we were surprised to see that instead of running in Canada this year, they’re running the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks, AK to Prudhoe Bay.

We’ve been on this road.  Or at least part of it.  We took a tour that takes you from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle, a trip of almost 200 miles. But this is not your average 200-mile trip.

Because of the bad roads and the hilly, curvy terrain, it takes about 16 hours roundtrip.  You leave at 6:30 am and return around 10:30 pm.

You stop for lunch going up and dinner coming back at the same place, the Yukon River Camp at the Yukon River Crossing.

Yukon River Camp

Yukon River Camp

Yukon River Crossing

Yukon River Crossing

Surprising the food was very, very good. They bring a chef up from the Lower 48 every year to work the season.

The Dalton Highway was built to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the pipeline parallels the highway for a good part of the way.

Yukon Pipeline

Yukon Pipeline

They have a marker at the Arctic Circle to get your picture taken.

The Arctic Circle

The Arctic Circle

This is Jan and I with our granddaughter Piper when she came up to visit us in Fairbanks last July.

At least when we did this trip it was in the summer, and not in January.

Anyway, the show is bringing back a lot of great memories.

 

It’s A Magazine, Not A Clip!


May 31, 2014

Crime Doesn’t Pay . . .

Today was going to be a daytrip day so I was up about 8:45, too early, since I didn’t get to sleep until about 3am.

Our first stop was the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, IN.

Indiana Welcome Center

Besides being a very nice Welcome Center, its real claim to fame is the fact that it houses the John Dillinger Museum. You’ve gotta like a place whose motto is “Crime Doesn’t Pay…But It Does Charge Admission”.

They have a really amazing amount of Dillinger memorabilia, including the wooden gun he carved from a broomstick for an earlier jail escape, and the pants he was wearing when he was killed.

He was killed in front of the Biograph Theater in Chicago after being ‘fingered’ by Anna Sage, the infamous ‘Lady in Red’. In reality, she actually wore an orange dress, but I guess ‘Lady in Orange’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

This is an example of Dillinger’s favorite escape vehicle, a 1933 Essex Terraplane 8, renowned for its power and speed.

Dillinger Car

They also had a very nice display of the many types of weapons that Dillinger and his gang liked to use.

Like Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber, who really did not say “I rob banks because that’s where the money is”, Dillinger and his cohorts DID rob police stations because that’s where the guns were.

Dillinger Guns

One of his real favorites was the .45 cal Thompson Submachine Gun, as displayed 2nd and 3rd from the top in this photo.

Strangely enough, it’s also Jan’s weapon of choice as well.

Jan And Her Thompson 2

Though Jan prefers the magazine-fed model, rather than the drum-fed, because it’s less likely to jam.

Dillinger Drum Mag

And while we’re being picky, this is not a Thompson ‘clip’. It is a Thompson Drum Magazine. Unclear about the difference between a Magazine and a Clip? This should make it clear.

Magazine_vs_Clip

But for what it’s worth, Willie Sutton also carried a Thompson on many of his bank robberies, because he said, “You can’t rob a bank on charm and personality,”

He further said that none of his weapons were ever loaded because “somebody might get hurt.”


Leaving the Welcome Center, we headed east to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Welcome Center to get our National Park Passports stamped and to look around.

About 5pm we headed back to Elkhart and had dinner once again at King Wha, a really good Chinese place. I’m gradually working my way up their hot sauce scale. This time they used two extra hot sauce amounts when cooking my Hunan Chicken. Next time I’m going for three.

Either they’ll run out of hot sauce, or my head will explode. We’ll see which one comes first.

 

I Never Did Learn


May 31, 2019

Bowing To The Inevitable . . .

This is one of those blogs that results from the intersection of  several recent events – Our recent time in London, and President Trump’s upcoming visit there.

The subject is bowing.

There’s been several articles about whether President Trump will/should bow to the Queen. For the record, he shouldn’t and won’t. And neither will the First Lady.

To start with, our President doesn’t defer to any other leader, and we’re no longer British subjects, anyway. There was that little dustup back in the late-1700’s that took care of that.

Last week as we were passing Buckingham Place, we saw a lot of fancy-dressed women wearing big hats, getting out of limos, and Jan wondered if Sam was among them.

London Total Tour Buckingham Palace

I’ve talked about Sam, though not by name, a couple of years ago in a long blog post called The Pixelization Of Memory. This part is about halfway down.

The whole idea started when we were visiting my old hometown in north Alabama a few years ago, and I mentioned to Jan, that I had been checking out people around us, wondering if I would run into one of the several old girlfriends that I had back then. But as I told Jan, I realized that I was looking for them like they looked back when they were 16 or so, not in their 60’s like they are now.

And that’s why Jan brought up Sam as we passed Buckingham Palace.

It all started here.

Beginning when I was 13 we lived in South America for a couple of years, mostly staying at a large old hotel that had both nightly guests, and also residents like us.

Turns out there was a very cute British girl, about 14, also living there. Soft red, curly hair and bright green eyes. Since we were the only English-speaking kids our age around, we naturally ended up hanging out together. She told me her name was Sam (Samantha) and that her father worked for the British government.

After we had been together for a month or so, one day she showed up to where we usually met on the large landscaped grounds, all dressed up for a party, frilly dress, hair piled up on her head, the works. A big change from the shorts and T-shirts she usually wore.

She told me her mother wanted to meet me for afternoon tea at 4pm. Told me in no uncertain terms that I was to dress nice, wear long pants and a nice shirt, and comb my hair. (Yes, I had hair back then)

And “DON’T BE LATE!”

As she left, I ask what suite she was in, and she said, “6th floor”. And when I ask what room, she smiled slightly, and said, “You’ll figure it out.” And I did.

When I got off the elevator, there was no hallway, just a vestibule and a set of ornate double doors with a pull rope for a doorbell.

A few seconds after I rang the bell, there stood a butler in full regalia, but young and very fit looking, and about 6’6” tall. Looking down at me, he said, “Ah, Master Gregory, right on time, thank you.”

Then, after he closed the door behind me, he said, “Please follow me. The DUCHESS and LADY Samantha are in the library.”

Wait, What?

When I followed Andrews into the library, I found Sam standing behind her mother who was sitting at a writing desk. And I could tell from the look on her face that she was terrified that I was going to screw this up. And knowing me, she had good reason to worry.

After Andrews introduce me, I blurted out, “I’ve never met a Duchess before. Am I supposed to bow, or curtsy?”

Sam blanched white as the proverbial sheet.

The Duchess looked at me very seriously, and said, “In this informal situation, neither is required. Then with a big smile she said, “But I would like to see your curtsy sometime.”

With that the ice was broken, and Sam started breathing again.

After that I was regularly invited for tea. The only time the Duchess ever got mad at me was when I made the mistake of referring to Sam as ‘Sam’ instead of Samantha in front of her.

Her eyes flashed and her voice got cold as she said, “Sa Man Tha”

Turns out that Sam’s stepfather was Consul General, and Sam would inherit her mother’s title someday, a title that had been in the family since the mid-1600’s. And with that title came, not one, not two, but three ancestral estates. But as Sam said, “Only one is really a castle.”

And if that’s not bad enough, it turned out that both Samantha and her mother were actually royalty, and in line for the throne, though in the double-digits position.

So, was Sam among those limo passengers at Buckingham? I’ll never know, and I don’t want to know. I prefer to remember her when she was 14.

And I never did learn how to curtsy . . . or bow.


Thought For The Day:

Apparently Yogi was wandering around Daytona Beach, FL looking for Boo Boo and his Pic-A-Nic basket, but decided to take a short nap in a hammock in someone’s yard.

Yogi Bear in Daytona

Those short naps are so refreshing.

   

   .

 

Why Is It Moody?

Jan and I drove down to Decatur about 11:30 to the Moody Crab to meet up with another old friend, Anne. And as I said in a previous blog, we once dated, once.

The Moody Crab turned out to be really good, with an extensive menu.

Jan and I both started out with a bowl of their Clam Chowder.

Very good and perfectly seasoned.

Jan then got the Fried Catfish Basket with Sweet Potato Fries,

while I got the Fried Oyster Po’boy with Cajun Fries.

Anne and Alan both got Boil Bags, Anne’s with Crab Legs,

while Alan got one with Crawfish and Shrimp.

I’ve actually known Anne since she was 12 or so, but back in 1967, I was dating her older sister, Jane, and she got grounded due to flunking a test, I think. So since I had already bought tickets to something, Jane suggested that I take Anne, who I think was about 15 then instead, and that it would be her very first date.

So as I said, I once dated Anne, once.

Now Anne previously has said she has no memory of this, so maybe I just imagined it. But I don’t think so.

I actually tracked Anne down a couple of years ago after my Aunt Virginia told me that Jane had died back in 2019, and I was really surprised, and wanted to find out more.

Getting our hugs and saying our goodbyes, Jan and I headed back up to Athens, with a quick detour by the new Buc-ee’s going up right outside town.

Those poles lined up in front from one side to the other are where the 120 gas pumps will be located.

Tomorrow we’re heading over to Huntsville for lunch and some shopping. Then on Wednesday we’ll be on our way down to Birmingham for one night.

 

American Coach Association Rally


May 30, 2010

ACA Rally – Day 4 . . .

Today, the last day of the rally, was a repeat of yesterday’s breakfast buffet, but this time with the addition of some very good cinnamon rolls that forced Jan and I to split one.

It twisted our arms, honest!

Outside the Energy Hall where everything happens, we’ve enjoyed seeing these beautiful cherry trees in bloom.

CherryTrees

After breakfast we came back to the coach and we just gelled.  The only real thing going on was a golf tournament, so it was time for a nap.

About 5:15 pm we headed back over to the Energy Hall for the final dinner of the rally, prime rib, no less.

PrimeRib

And the prime rib meal was just as good as our other meals, and once again there was wine on our tables.

PrimeRib 2

And here’s our table companions for the night, The Ernhardts, the Desimoes, the Emberts, and of course, my beautiful wife, Jan.

Note how happy everyone is, and how empty the wine bottles are. Of course there’s no connection there.

PrimeRib 3

Like last night, we had entertainment after dinner. This time it was Jack Jensen and Ted Jordan. They did everything from 50-60’s rock to country and patriotic.

ACAEntertainment

We even had a bit of ventriloquism with Ted and his simian friend, M. K. Shines. (Monkey Shines, get it. Well I guess it’s monkey humor)

ACAEntertainment 2

Everyone really enjoyed the music, especially the last song, “God Bless The USA”

About 8:30 things wrapped up and, saying our goodbyes, we headed back to the rig for the night.

Tomorrow, most rally attendees will probably be heading out, but we’re hanging around for a couple of days before we start back toward Austin for our daughter Brandi’s wedding on June 21st.

A complete change of subject here. A few weeks ago we spent several pleasant days in Klamath, CA visiting the Redwood forests in the area. Klamath is not a very big place. It’s basically just one main street with a few stores, a gas station, and a Post Office.

So it was really strange to find this story about a bizarre crime that took place there recently. Now I’m glad we didn’t stay any longer.


Likely Or Not


May 30, 2013

This is Likely the Place . . .

Really, it is.

We’re staying at the Likely Place Golf & RV Resort in Likely, CA. And a very nice place it is. Here’s the view out our front window.

Likely Place RV 1

We pulled out of the Tahoe Village park about 10:15 this morning, heading for Likely, CA tonight and the Bend OR Thousand Trails tomorrow.

As we passed the park office I saw a UPS truck so I stopped in to see if one of my packages had magically arrived this morning, but no such luck. Getting under way, we headed back over the mountain to meet up with US395 at Carson City. Although it’s only 27 miles over there, it takes about an hour to just get over there because of first having to drive the 10 miles of South Lake Tahoe, CA and Stateline, NV traffic. Then it’s the curvy climb up to 7100 feet to get over the mountain and back down to Carson City’s 4000 feet, and the Pac-Brake got a real workout coming back down.

Things went just fine until about 100 miles above Reno when we ran into about 20 miles of one lane road repair. They were using a machine to cut those rumble strip areas into the road on the center and edge stripes. So after we waited about 20 miles, we got to follow the pilot car for the 20 miles at about 30 miles an hour.

Whoopee!

Makes you really appreciate having your refrigerator and your bathroom with you where ever you go.

Otherwise the trip was pretty smooth, getting into the Likely Place Golf & RV Resort about 3:30, only about an hour late. And even better, our stay here at this Good Sam park was free.

When we were in Las Vegas, I bought something at Camping World and they offered me a deal to renew my Good Sam membership at a nice discount plus a coupon for a free night’s camping at a Good Sam park.

Likely Place RV 2

Likely Place RV 3

Although the park looks like it’s out in the middle of nowhere, it’s actually only about two miles off US395 on a very nice road. And if you don’t have a Good Sam coupon, it’s also a Passport America park at only $16 a night for full hookups. And of course, a very nice golf course, too.

Tomorrow we’ve got about 240 miles to get to Bend OR. And it should be a nice easy trip. Unless we hit more repair work.

 

The Price I Pay


May 30, 2014

Waiting for Change . . .

I spent most of this morning hobbling around and trying to stay off my feet, or specifically my right knee. Once it a while it goes out on me, and this time has been worse than most.

I’ve been banged up a lot in my life, but, between football, parachute jumps that didn’t quite go as planned, and a helicopter that decided not to fly anymore, my right knee and leg got it worse than the rest. So sometimes I pay the price of my wild and crazy youth.

Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be on the mend.


Jan’s sister, Debbie sent over this X-Ray of her granddaughter Ella.

Ella apparently decided to be her own piggybank, and recently made her first deposit.

A quarter.

Well, you have to start somewhere, I guess

Ella's X-Ray2

They’re still waiting for change.


I got several emails yesterday about my Photoshop (well, Paint Shop Pro) tutorial. And today I came across this illustration,

It had the heading “When you see the creepy thing, hit share.” Well, to save you the trouble, the ‘creepy thing’ is the disembodied hand on the right arm of the little girl.

Creepy Family Photo3

I figure she was crying in the original shot, so someone took her from another shot and put her in this one. Don’t know why they left the hand. Maybe thought no one would notice, or ran out of time.

Anyway, even without the spooky hand, you can tell this has been Photoshopped by looking at the blowup of the photo below.

The vertical bar in the center of the pic is a dead giveaway. You never really have abrupt transitions like this without some sort of anti-aliasing (the gradual transition of color from one pixel to another)

Creepy Family Photo6

Look at the pixels over the rest of the photo and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Still in Prescott AZ


May 30, 2015

Sausage and Crab . . .

Not much gets done around here on the weekends, so we weren’t expecting anything to happen. And it didn’t.

I worked on some web stuff while Jan mostly read. We did talk some about where we’re going next from here. Before the blowout we were supposed to be at the Horseshoe Lakes Thousand Trails in Indiana right now before heading over to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, Then it’s back to Houston via north Alabama and Gulf Shores toward the end of August. We always try to get back to Houston about then to be there for Landon’s birthday.

Later in the afternoon I checked my bank account that my $109 motel bill had morphed into a $244 bill, with 3 different charges, none of them for $109.

All 3 charges are pending, so they might be updated, But just in case I called the hotel to ask what was going. But the clerk was new and no help either. He said if I was still in town it might be quicker to come by later in the afternoon and talk to the manager. As it turned out it didn’t help either.

About 3:30 Jan and I headed out on another edition of our seeming goal to eat at every restaurant in Prescott. Or at least, every good one. And once again, relying on Yelp, we hit a real winner, The Iron Springs Café

Iron Springs Cafe 1

Housed in an old train depot that was originally built in 1894, the inside is open and friendly with a lot of train memorabilia. Sheldon would certainly like it.

Iron Springs Cafe 2

And the food certainly lives up to their reputation. While Jan started with a salad, I gave their Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo a try.

Iron Springs Cafe Gumbo

Chock full of chicken and sausage, as well as okra and peppers, this was a really good bowl of gumbo, and could hold its own in Louisiana.

Jan just had to check out their much-recommended Blue Crab Cakes with rice, Pico de Gallo, and a creamy Chipotle sauce.

Iron Springs Cafe Crab Cakes2

Jan’s a real Crab Cake aficionado, and she says these are as good as any she’s ever had.

Continuing on my sausage theme, I had the Sausage Bomber Sandwich.

Iron Springs Cafe Sausage Bomber

With Andouille sausage, cheese, grilled onions and grilled peppers, it was a real meal. So much so that we couldn’t even find room to split an order of their homemade bread pudding with rum-brandy sauce.

But there’s always next time.

Then it was off to the motel to try and straighten out my charges. And with no luck as it turned out. They couldn’t explain how these different charges came about, and said it must be a problem with my bank.

Yeah, right. My bank just made up charges under the name of the motel. So getting no real answers, I decided I’ll just wait until Monday and then check with my bank.

Tomorrow, probably more of the same.

 

It’s Wireless!


May 30, 2017

Wings and More . . .

It went down to 36° last night, but was up in the mid-70’s today. All in all, very nice.

About 5pm we headed out to meet Dave and Jeanne at the local Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. They had been doing Deadwood today, a destination for us in the next few days.

Jan and I went with the same order as last time, traditional wings, hers with Asian Zing, and mine with Mango Habanero, as well as an order of Potato Wedges.

Buffalo Wild Wings Rapid City 2

As we got to talking, it was almost scary how many likes we have in common besides RV’ing, like Dr. Who, murder and historical mysteries. drones, computers. and more.

As usual when RV’ers get together, we spent more time talking than we did eating, probably a good thing on my part. In fact we had been there almost 3 hours before we left. Had a really great time.

Dave and Jeanne Hecht

Hopefully we’ll be able to get together again before they leave on Saturday.

Jan has been nursing the remains of a migraine for a couple of days, so tomorrow is up for grabs. If she does feel better, then we’ll head out about 9am, first heading down to Bear Country USA, a drive-thru wildlife park down near Mt. Rushmore. Then it’s right next door to Reptile Gardens for a visit there.

For lunch we’ll then head back down to Hill City to get our German food fix at the Alpine Inn,  Then maybe back to the Dinosaur Museum nearby, before heading back home.

Supposedly I have an Amazon order coming into the park tomorrow afternoon. I ordered a Samsung Wireless Charger for my Galaxy S8+.

Wireless Charger

You plug it into a power source and then all you have to do just lay your phone on the circular pad. No connecting it up. And even better it charges faster than the regular way. And it should also work on Jan’s S5 too.

And it’s only about $17.


Thought For The Day:

You Had One Job_thumb

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