Nothing Much Going On Really

Well…another going on 2 weeks gone by and while I wish I could tell ya ‘bout all the cool Fun Stuff© we been doing the fact of the matter is that it’s mostly just been life.

The adults celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary on November 20…the destination for the evening after Connie slipped into something more comfortable was Che Tito’s Steakhouse down on Cleveland Avenue right before you cross the bridge southbound into Fort Myers. It’s an Argentinian Italian steakhouse…they thought it was a strange combination but as it turns out there’s a significant Italian immigration presence in Argentina so in addition to steaks the cuisine there has a lot of Italian. They arrived promptly for their 1800 reservation and seated themselves at the bar for dinner…because you meet a much better class of bum sitting at the bar doncha know…but the place was pretty deserted as it was Tuesday night. The bartender was a really friendly lady and opened a fresh bottle of Argentinian Malbec wine for the first two glasses…which she then finished for the second round…quite a generous pour.

After poring over the menu a bit…they decided on Proveleta for an appetizer…basically a plate of oven baked Provolone cheese with some marinara sauce on top and some really nice bread to smear it on. Quite tasty…but rich and filling. In fact it was so good that they considered just having a couple orders of empanadas before dessert…but since it was a steakhouse went for meat instead. Connie had a ribeye and Neil a skirt steak…both were grilled to perfection and topped with chimichurri sauce on top…that’s a combination of shallots, garlic, and jalapeño peppers mixed with wine vinegar, oregano, cilantro, and olive oil…it’s sort of like a really thick Italian dressing. Fried plantains came with both of them and although they gave it the old college try there were leftovers…but they made a great dinner the next day. Neil had the brilliant idea to get an order of tiramisu to go for later and they headed home. They considered stopping by American Legion post 336 for a cocktail but were too stuffed and tired so headed on home…followed a couple hours later by the aforementioned tiramisu…it was scrumptious and light but made a perfect ending to the day.

The following Saturday was the Iron Bowl where ‘Bama hosted Auburn…it was close at the half at 17-14 but pulled away with 5 scores in the second half. Next up was Georgia in the SEC Championship the following weekend…and the men in crimson iced the game in the fourth quarter with 2 scores…scoring the winning TD with just about a minute to play. It wasn’t over yet though…Georgia got to about the 45 yard line and a Hail Mary pass into the end zone to tie the game was knocked down as time expired. Another thrilling game…although both Neil and Connie would prefer not to have last minute heroics…they’re much happier with a 30 point win. With the win the Tide clinched the top seed in the upcoming playoffs and will face #4 see Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

Lessee…other exciting stuff. They got their teeth cleaned, Connie had Lunch with Friends out with 17 of the other ladies from the Elks Lodge, she sang with the choir at several funeral and memorial masses over at Saint Therese…and that’s about it.

Neil set up an appointment to get our slide topper and awning fabric replaced…went on a couple bike rides…made 2 (going on 3) trips down to the local bike shop to get some adjustments to his ride as it won’t stay in the small cog on the rear derailler correctly…the owner of the JRA (Just Riding Around) Bicycle Shop here has some parts on order for that.

Sunday December 2nd was Connie’s birthday…there was a scheduled Sarasota Orchestra concert at 1430 (they are season ticket holders) and afterwards they headed to Duval’s Fresh Local Seafood up in Sarasota. They had a complimentary glass of champagne for their anniversary and Connie had a complimentary glass of wine with her dinner…both are Duval’s traditions along with Scallops Rockefeller for Connie and Shrimp and Lobster spaghetti for Neil…the latter had a wine and lemon sauce with a metric buttload of garlic in it. They skipped dessert afterwards and had a couple of Chocolate Lava Cakes from the freezer later in the evening after they had driven back from Sarasota.

Can’t really say much more about goings on…the weather has been mostly hot requiring us to close up and put the A/C on but there have been a couple days where it was nice enough to open the windows and door…and even a couple of days that required wearing jeans instead of shorts…yeah, I know it’s tough and Neil in particular really doesn’t like it.

They’re working jointly on plans for next summer’s travel season…we’ll start off with heading from Fort Myers via Gulf Shores AL and across I-10 to Kerrville TX for the New Horizons Owners Group rally in early May…then north to Kansas City. From there we’ll follow US-50 west to the San Francisco Bay area, up to Oregon and then head eastwards on US-20. Depending on how the schedule works out…we’ll either stay on 20 all the way to Elkhart to get the rig bearings repacked or head south to Kansas City from Nebraska and continue eastwards on 50 from there…eventually we’ll get to the east coast on 50 before heading southwards via Richmond to see Alex and his parents as we head back to Florida.

With no Fun Stuff© photos to show ya…here’s a couple from our recent travels. All are from the north of the border in Canuckistan portion of the summer.

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D75 2237

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Ok, interesting things found on the net.

For the techie’s out there.

DeleteYourCookies

When you’ve just survived a grizzly bear attack but darn it you really need a smoothie.

BearAttackNeedSmoothie

Take that metric fans.

TwoKindsOfCountries

In view of the recent spate of E. coli infected romaine lettuce…I knew this day would come.

IKnewThisDayWouldCome

Neil’s thinking about installing one of these.

BarInTheShower

And finally…in case you’ve ever wondered about it…

GermanyIditarod

Cyas.

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Been Really Busy…

Sorry ‘bout no posting for 2 weeks…but we been kinda busy with life. 

First and foremost…I need to wish my staff (Connie and Neil) a happy 42nd wedding anniversary…it’s today and as Neil told her when they woke up this morning…it’s the Ultimate Anniversary…go back and read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (of 5 books) by Douglas Adams and you’ll get the reference…it’s on page 16. Neil says he would do it all over again…as does Connie…but I say they gotta stick together ‘cuz nobody else would put up with either of their idiosyncrasies and annoying little habits…and he’s got a lot more of those than she does. They’ve got a dinner out scheduled at Che Tito’s here in town…an Argentinian Italian place…apparently there’s a lot of Italian influence in their food as many Italians migrated there back in the day…who knew.

We had a quick trip up to Sarasota for a Sarasota Symphony Orchestra concert…and lots of setting up, cleaning, Elks stuff and the like to keep us busy. We ordered and received our new iPhones…decided to upgrade after 3 years as our batteries are starting to lose capacity to the point where we have to charge them to make it through a full day…and between that and the improved performance and new features we decided to upgrade. Apple has a program where you pay interest free spread over 24 months rather than pay all at once…and with the cost of new high end phones these days that makes paying for them easier…at about $97 per month for the two of them that won’t really affect our cash flow at all.

We broke down and went to the Elks Lodge monthly meeting the other day…guess I can’t really talk in detail about what went on but it was mostly to do with the lodge building structural needs and interior design stuff…there was also an initiation of new members at the same meeting…who thought that would be a good idea…so the meeting ran very long.

After considering our options during this last travel season…we frequently found that there was no Elks Lodge nearby most of our campgrounds but that there was almost always an American Legion post closer…so we spent the $40 to join the American Legion…that will give us more options for cheap brewskis along the way. Next season we’ll keep track…we also considered the Moose Lodge and the VFW as additional options…we’ll see after another season if joining one or more of those makes sense.

Neil got out and washed the rig and both Big and Little Red…had to break it up over 2 days as it got hot and was too much for him. He’s also been out on 4 or 5 bike rides…trying to get back up to feeling comfortable after long rides but after a summer of no riding he’s able to do about 10 and is pretty wiped afterwards…another half dozen or so and things should start to improve.

He also fixed our bedroom vent fan…the raising mechanism was worn out and although he received the parts when we visited the human kids back in late October he needed a coolish day to go up on the roof and take care of both that and several other roof related items…he likes to wait late enough in the morning so that the dew has evaporated as he hates to fall off the roof…but also needs a cool enough day so he doesn’t melt up there. Finally got that done yesterday along with reinstalling the wind sensor for our weather station, redoing the electrical connections to our satellite dish, and verifying that we need to replace both our awning fabric and all of our slide toppers…the awning is 7 years old and the seams are coming apart; he’s sewn them back up and covered with silicone but it’s time. The slide toppers are all a casualty of the many windy days up in Canada…their seams have also given way where they attach to the rig. He’ll coordinate with our local repairman Gordon and then order the parts…when the arrive we’ll pay Gordon for the installation…it takes two people and Neil will be the second person rather than pay another $75 an hour for him to bring a helper.

It’s been hot…we’ve had the A/C units on most of the time since our arrival…I think we’ve had the windows open all day and through the night maybe 3 or 4 days and another 3 or 4 where we opened up after dark and then closed up by noontime the next day as things got hot and sticky.

Let’s see…what else is happening. There are 2 eggs down in the nest laid by Harriet after she and M15 spruced up the nest for another nesting season…they were laid Nov 18 and Nov 19 so with the 34-36 day incubation period for bald eagles they should hatch somewhere between Dec 22 and Christmas.

EagleEggs

The adults are taking turns aerating, rolling, and incubating them although once incubation gets fully underway Harriet will be doing most of that while M15 takes a turn while she goes off to feed.

That’s about it…so see what Interesting Things were found on the net this week.

All wars should go this way.

AllWarsShouldGoThisWay

Santa is in trouble with EU.

BadSanta

For those who still wonder who shot JFK.

ConspiracyTheory

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 5 Comments

Home at Last

I figured I should catch ya’ll up with the last few days of our travel season now that things have settled down just slightly.

We finished up our visit with Alex and the human kids and headed out from Chesterfield VA early on Saturday Oct 27…after some thought about out tank levels Neil decided not to dump on the way out. In order to keep our tank indicators working properly…the black and gray tanks need to be flushed periodically with some cleaning stuff…we use a combination of a half tank of water, 3 gallons of white vinegar and a couple cups of Dawn degreasing dish soap. Then we travel…normally just a single day…to let the sloshing around clean the insides of the tanks before dumping and flushing at our destination. This time…we had 3 travel days but given the relatively small amount of water we use on travel days we just put 50 or so gallons of fresh onboard and left VA with black and gray tanks both about 30% full.

It was still cool when we left…our first overnight stop was at Bass Lake RV Park in Dillon SC…pretty much a parking lot near the freeway. Nice grass pull sites that were plenty big…we left the rig hitched up and went over to Mass at the local church before heading back home for dinner. Still cool on Sunday morning…we pressed on and by mid-day it was nice and warm as we got into Georgia…stopping the second night in Brunswick at the Coastal Georgia RV resort…it was actually really nice and would be a good place to stop for a few days if one were visiting the Brunswick GA area…but just another overnight for us.

Monday we headed out for the longest day of the trip…the first two being just about 275 miles each; but the leg to North Fort Myers was another 100 miles past there. We took our standard bypass from I-95 around the Jacksonville beltway area and then head south on US-301…a nice 4 lane road…to the Ocala FL area where we jumped on I-75 for the last 175 miles or so…arriving at Seminole Campground once again around 1430. We quickly got backed in and unhitched…then Neil dumped the now thoroughly scoured out black and gray tanks before flushing both with clean water.

We spent the remainder of the week with setup tasks…all the outside furniture and stuff needed to go out and we needed to give the inside of the rig a thorough cleaning. Adding in choir practice and bingo on Tuesday and various other setup tasks we stayed pretty busy though Saturday morning. We watched ‘Bama throttle LSU 29 to zip Saturday evening…then headed back to Sarasota 75 miles back up I-75 for our first Sarasota Symphony Orchestra concert of the season, then had dinner at Longhorn’s Steakhouse before heading back home.

This week…we’re pretty much running on our normal winter schedule…most days we have something scheduled but nothing really complicated and we deliberately schedule them spread out over the week to keep from having to work too hard. Neil’s got a list of things we need to accomplish before the holidays…then shortly after that we’ll start detailed planning for next year’s travel season. I gotta tell ya though…we’re really glad to be home again for the season. We’re always ready to go by the last few weeks of winter…and we’re always ready to be home the last few weeks of travel season, and the bearing issue and subsequent extra 1500 miles to Indiana and back and the loss of our 10 day vacation in Cedar Key at the end of the travel season really made October seem to drag for us. We pulled in and parked and Connie said “It’s good to be home”…Neil had to agree with her.

No photos today…Neil’s working on an end of the travel season post to summarize our travel season and I’ll put some photos in there ya haven’t seen yet though.

Let’s move on to interesting things found on the net.

Shipping ships shipping shipping ships.

ShippingShipShippingShippingShips

Screw the rules sez this dog.

ScrewThePolice

Lion Menu.

LionsMenu

The truth about action movies.

TruthAboutActionMoviesI had to look twice at this one.

HadToLookTwice

Cyas.

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Grandbaby Alex

When last we left our heroes…it was Wednesday afternoon in Elkhart…Rob told us that we needed to be ready to go into the bay at 0600 Thursday morning…wonderful. So we got up really early…again…and moved the rig into the bay…then headed off to do laundry. With getting all of our bearings and associated suspension parts replaced…it was going to be a 2 day job so we left the techs to work on things and after laundry and lunch provided by MORryde headed off to a hotel for the evening. We met up with Dan and Jeanine Sheridan in the customer lounge…they were also getting their rig worked on…and arranged to meet them at Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner where we had great conversation and great food before heading back to the hotel for the evening.

Friday we were again up fairly early and got back to MORryde about 0800 or so…our work was progressing nicely and after another day in the customer lounge and lunch we were done about 1600 Friday afternoon. At that point, Neil hitched up and moved the rig back into one of the parking spaces and hooked up power…there’s no water so we were using what we put into the tank on our arrival on the previous Monday. We went ahead and made reservations for our 3 day travel back to Richmond VA before having dinner and then an early bedtime as we scheduled an 0700 departure. There was snow and hail forecast for Elkhart by early afternoon…it happened after we left thankfully…so we wanted to be well on the way early.

By 1200 we were down to Columbus OH a hundred miles south and about 180 east of Elkhart then we continued on to Cambridge OH where we parked, ate dinner, went to be early and rinse and repeat for the next two days. Our second night stop was in Lexington VA…from Cambridge we departed I-70 for I-77 south until it’s intersection with I-64 then eastward on I-64 for most of the remainder of the trip. We didn’t depart Lexington until about 1000 as we only had 150 miles left to go…pulling into Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield VA about 1330 Monday…15 miles from the human kids house where we quickly setup in our reserved site 105.

Our original plan was to wait until Tuesday morning to head over…but Bryan called and offered to feed us so we went over for a couple hours for dinner…but we wuz whipped so we headed home early.

The rest of the week was pretty much the same…Alex has pre-K in the mornings so we slept late and headed over in the early afternoon for visit and dinner…the only exception was Wednesday when we spent almost all day running errands we needed to accomplish here in the Richmond area.

As I type this it’s Thursday afternoon…we’ll spend the rest of today and Friday doing the same…visit and dinner…before saying our “until next times” Friday evening and then departing as scheduled early Saturday morning for our 3 day trip back down to North Fort Myers. We’ll stop overnight in Dillon SC and Brunswick GA before arriving back at Seminole Campground site 101 on Monday afternoon. I probably won’t post again until after our arrival down there.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

A few weeks back we drove down the Kankamagus Highway in VT…while we didn’t get as good leaf pictures as we liked one of the blogs Neil follows the guy drove down this past weekend…here are a couple of shots of what we would have seen if we had been there 2 weeks later.

Kancamangus 1

Kancamagus2

Pretty cool, eh?

Do you know where your kids are…

DoYouKnowWhereYourKidsAre

These are skid marks in the snow from a car…how does this even happen.

HowDoesThisEvenHappen

And two guesses…what is this?

TacoBellOfCourse

It’s a Taco Belle of course.

Albanian computer virus.

AlbanianVirus

Cyas.

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DC Area and Elkhart IN

Just a quick post to keep all up to date…but really there’s not much to report.

After our few days in the Tunkhannock PA area…we hitched up Friday morning and made the 335 mile trip down to the Washington DC area, parking at our usual campground at Bull Run Regional Park in site 113…where amazingly enough we actually had satellite visibility for a change…where we were scheduled to attend the Cassaday and Company Annual Symposium on Saturday. Cassaday is our financial advisor and do an annual meeting for those investors…we were speaking on a panel about RVing full time for some of their clients who have questions. The session was well attended with about 50 people…including Steve Cassaday the owner of the company, and he actually had a couple of questions for the panel. After that we headed home for the evening as we were due to depart early Sunday morning.

Sunday and Monday were a drag…379 and 333 miles respectively…with a stop every 50 miles to check the torque on our bad axle. Neil put a second nut on top of the one that keeps coming loose and every 50 miles it was stop, pull the dust cap and second nut, check the torque, reinstall and torque the second nut and reattach the dust cap. We stopped overnight in Cambridge OH and arrived at the MORRyde factory in Elkhart IN about 1630 on Monday.

Tuesday morning we met with the service manager Rob Kolean…who confirmed what we already knew that they already had a full service schedule this week but he always makes room for emergencies. He told us it would probably be Thursday morning before we could start work…and after discussing our needs, current status of our suspension, and our rig’s mileage we came up with a plan for repair and replacement of both the failed wheel but to redo the other 5 axles as well to prevent this happening again next year. Our repairs would take 2 full days so with a planned estimated start on Thursday we headed off early Wednesday morning to Classy Chassis about 70 miles west in Valparaiso IN…we had a couple of minor issues with Big Red we needed to get taken care of…and given that Tom’s folks had experience with our truck build decided to take advantage of that.

We had lost power to our rig side and rear view cameras…Tom’s tech quickly isolated the problem to a bad fuse holder which he replaced. We were originally going to get our two 7 pin connectors where the trailer brake and light cable connects replaced…but Rob called and said he might be able to get us into the bay about 1100…so we just bought the parts and Neil will replace them when he gets a chance.

The 1100 start work thing didn’t actually happen…the folks in the bay we will b going into decided on some extra work…by the time that was done and they left it was almost 1600 so Rob will be moving us into the empty bay at 0600 tomorrow to start work. Unless they find some other problem…he’s going to assign enough techs to get us done by Friday afternoon.

So hopefully we will be fixed and out of here on Saturday morning…we’ve got a 3 day transit scheduled back to the Richmond area to visit grand baby Alex…it’s about the same number of miles (750 or so) that we did int 2 days getting here to Elkhart…so it should be a slightly more relaxed transit on the way back.

Gotta say though…the weather sucks here. It got all the way up to 47 today and is going to be below 32 tonight…we gotta get out of this place. When we leave…we’re heading south to Lexington KY and then east on I-64 to the Richmond area where we’ve got reservations starting Monday night.

That’s about it…sorry no pictures today because we’ve been transiting and have definitely not been doing any Fun Stuff© this week.

Cyas.

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CT, PA, Disasters…and Bananas

After our leaf peeping trip and CT state capital trip…we had one more day of Fun Stuff© scheduled for CT…we headed out to the Apple Harvest Festival in Southington just south of Hartford. It turned out to be not nearly as good as the festival we went to up at Mount Snowe…unfortunately it was big enough so that instead of all locally produced stuff and craftsmen it attracted a whole bunch of professional festival vendors who were selling mostly imported Chinese crap. There was still some good stuff…but not nearly as high a percentage. We spent a couple of hours wandering around looking at stuff…Connie bought several nice things…and we spent a pleasant 30 minutes at the Oktoberfest run by and out in front of the local Elks Lodge in Southington. There was even music at the Oktoberfest…if you can call what those two guys were doing music…we certainly didn’t.

Following that we headed home and spent the holiday (Columbus Day) at home in the rig…no reason to go out and fight with the crowds and traffic…Columbus Day is a bigger deal up here than we’re used to in the south.

And that was when the first disaster happened…a little fella named Hurricane Michael. Just like Harvey a couple of years back…he sprung directly to life in the Gulf of Mexico close to Yucatan instead of starting all the way over by the west coast of Africa and slowly making his way across the Atlantic. Nope…not ol’ Mike…he started as an Invest…that’s the technical term the weather weenies use before it’s even a tropical depression…then went from a depression to a storm to a hurricane in like 3 days…then intensified to almost a category 5 hurricane before making landfall today in the Panama Beach area on the FL panhandle. The drawback was that the storm is about 300 or 400 miles wide and passed within about 150 miles of our upcoming destination at the Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key…with predicted storm surges of 10-12 feet which would put the Tiki Bar under about 3-4 feet of water and trash all the campsite utility hookups as well. As I write this…the hurricane is ashore but we still don’t know whether the campground will even be open by the time we were supposed to be there on Oct 22. Our original plan was a wait and see attitude…we figured that after the storm we would get in touch with Maureen and Frank to make a decision depending on how trashed Cedar Key was by the storm.

Notice…I said our original plan…that changed Tuesday morning as we got ready to leave Thomaston. As you recall a few weeks back we had a failed axle bearing on our rig…which was fixed by MORRyde sending us a replacement part via FedEx. That arrived and Neil installed it including torquing it to the correct 150 ft-lbs of torque. Well…Tuesday morning as he was doing his outside stuff he decided to grab that wheel and see if it was still tight…the answer was no although not nearly as loose as it was before. He pulled the dust cap off and re-torqued the nut…with no grease coming out of the bearing so there’s no obvious damage at this point…but since the nut came loose with 3 travel days totaling about 400 miles total there’s clearly something else amiss. 

Neil called and talked to the MORRyde folks…they concurred with him that something is wrong and needs to be looked at…so the correct answer is to head to MORRyde and let their experts fix it since they build the suspension on our rig. 

After re-torquing the nut…and we’ll continue to do that every travel day until we get it fixed…we headed on down to our next stop in Tunkahannock PA just outside Scranton…arriving at Cozy Creek Campground after our 190 mile trip. We got set up in site 78…they originally told us to take 72 but there was somebody in it when we got back there…they then offered us 74 but it wouldn’t have satellite visibility so we agreed on 78 with them. Nice site…full hookups although a bit angled front to back…but nothing we couldn’t level around. After setup…very minimal since we’re only here for 3 nights…we headed out to Kelly’s Creekside Inn…a local dive bar where we had brews and dinner…a cheese quesadilla for Connie and a cheese steak for Neil…both were really good, the brews were cold, and the locals were friendly.

Wednesday we headed out about 0900 to go and visit the Steamtown National Historical Site…basically a train museum. We wandered around an hour or so…couldn’t really get very interested in them as they were just trains…and then headed off.

Ya thought I fergot ‘bout them bananas…right? Nosiree…I didna do it so here goes.

I’ll have to ‘splain it to ya a bit though…

Back in the 70s…there was this folk singer named Harry Chapin…his most famous song was “Cat’s in the Cradle”…he mostly couldn’t really sing much and his songs were typically ballad like…very similar to those done by Gordon Lightfoot of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” fame.

Back then he also had this song named “30,000 Pounds of Bananas”…ya guessed it, that’s where the reference comes in. Now most of you have probably never heard this song so let me give you a little background.

Way back on March 18, 1965 a 35 year old truck driver named Eugene P. Sesky was on his way to deliver a load of bananas to Scranton PA…he was returning from the piers in Weehawken NJ and was headed for the wholesale grocer block in Scranton PA…He was headed down PA-307 into town…this road drops 500 feet in less than 1.5 miles as it comes off the ridge into town…when his brakes failed. The song details his attempts to slow the truck down…but despite his efforts he was doing about 90 mph when he got to town. He knew that there was a gas station at the bottom of the hill…and he was mightily concerned not for his own life but for those of his fellow residents in Scranton. Hanging out on the truck’s running board…he yelled at people to get out of the way and eventually…according to local legend… deliberately crashed his truck at the corner of Music Street and South Irving Avenue a couple blocks before he would have crashed into the gas station resulting in a fireball and many dead folks. As it was…there were 15 injuries…and tragically Eugene was the only fatality.

The accident was cleaned up and mostly forgotten…until Harry Chapin…this was before he was famous…was traveling out of Scranton on a bus and heard the story being relayed by other passengers on the bus. Being a musician…and having a local hero…he naturally wrote a song about it, recorded it later, and went on with life.

But…the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.

Old Harry’s original recording was of the typical 3-4 minute variety that was designed for play on the radio…but he also liked to have what he called alternate endings to his songs…then his band used these alternate endings which made the entire song last 20 or 30 minutes…in live concerts. The primary reason for them was probably to extend the length of the song and hence lower the number of songs they needed to have on the program…but a lot of these longer versions of the songs actually made a lot more sense and provided a lot more humor.

In the much longer version that Neil heard way back then…the original ending talked about 30,000 pounds of scattered bananas…but I the much longer version there were a couple alternate endings. First up was one that went “Yes, we have no bananas, bananas in Scranton PA.” sung to the tune normally associated with the first phrase of that ending. According to the song…it was with some trepidation that he played it for the band…and their reaction was best summed by his brother John who said in his deep baritone voice “Harry, it sucks.”. So he want back to the drawing board and came up with another one…this one he said was a country-western version since the song already had a truck in it. This ending talks about a woman…presumably the widow…who because of her sorrow over the accident never eats bananas. Once again John’s reaction was “Harry, it sucks.”. So he went back…and there was a lot of talk about thinking about it and wondering how to end the song that he came up with the final ending which goes “I asked this old guy who saw the wreck what he say” and his reply…in your typical old man of the country voice was “Boy…it sure musta been something. Jus’ imagine…30,000 pounds of mashed bananas.”

Connie and Neil have been joking for going on 40something years now about “He was picking up speed, heading into Scranton PA”…so we decided to head in into downtown and see if there was some sort of memorial or marker at the spot. A quick check with Wikipedia revealed the coordinates to us…so off we went.

You can read the page about the song here…and hear it…but I’m not sure if the version linked to on that page has all the alternate endings in it. 

In any event…it’s actually a pretty great song for a live concert as there’s audience participation in it and back in those days involving the audience at concerts was the thing to do. And since Connie and Neil have been talking about it for 40something years…and since we were in Scranton PA…we just had to go see it.

OK, on to pictures.

The sand sculpture at the Apple Harvest Festival in Southington.

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The 790…the oldest at 115 years old…steam locomotive at Steamtown. There are probably going on 50 old locomotives and train cars here…and almost all of them are steam. A couple of the early diesel locomotives owned by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (DL&R) railroad are represented alone with a customized Pullman care that the president of the railroad used for his personal transportation are included…but it’s mostly old steam locomotives. There’s a whole numbering system for them…it has to do with the number of drive wheels and the number of non drive wheels and something else as I recall…but we’re not railroad geeks enough to know the difference. They also run train tourist tours around the local area…the first train of the day during the summer is steam but the rest are all steam locomotive powered.

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The round table where locomotives were switched between tracks. They rolled onto the center section when then revolved in train wheels to the track…or garage position…they needed to be in. The historical site is on the location of the old DL&T train yard…the station downtown is beautiful and is now the local Radisson hotel.

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Two of the old steam locomotives and a caboose from the early 1900s.

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They musta stole this from either the Roadrunner of Wiley Coyote.

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Looking up Moosic Street (PA-307 from the eastern side of South Irving. The hill beyond is where the truck was coming down…it’s a lot steeper than it looks in the image. Over Neil’s left shoulder behind him is the gas station that the driver crashed to prevent getting into the gas station. The house on the right is the one that the truck crashed into…when Neil got out to take the photo a guy in the yard asked him why he was there. Turns out he and his wife moved into the house a couple months after the accident and have lived there ever since. Nice couple…friendly and they said we weren’t the first ones to stop by and look. The corner of the house needed repair as well as the yard afterwards. The bananas…they were pretty much smashed right where he was standing for this shot.

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I grabbed the following image of the crash from the web and the corresponding view from google maps street view.

In this one…take note of the two windows to the left and dormer to the right as well as the tilted pole…also the house in the background with the 3 high windows and the lower ones along with the position of the two telephone poles.

Scr bananas

This image from street view was taken from about the position of Li’l Red in the photo above showing the corner of the house the truck bounced off of…you can see the same windows, dormers, and the high winds in the background house as well as the two poles. 

MoosicAndSouthIrving

While all of that probably matters to nobody but us…we’ve always liked that song and found the location interesting…strange how the neighborhood, houses and telephone poles have changed very little in the past 53 years.

Our second day of Fun Stuff© in northeast PA was a planned drive to see some leaves, take in the Nicholson Bridge which is a railroad aqueduct that was constructed by the DL&W back in 1915, and check out a couple of breweries and wineries.

Unfortunately…it pretty much rained all day so even though we didn’t leave until 1300 most of our afternoon was spent in and out of rain, fog, and drizzle…but we did get a few nice photos along the way.

This is the Nicholson Bridge…it’s the longest at 2,300 feet  and highest poured concrete railroad structure in the world according to the history…basically it was built to carry the DL&W from one ridge to the other side of the valley…or hollow…or holler as they’re known in these parts. This first shot isn’t the greatest…but we noticed a train headed across it and Neil grabbed this frame so you could have some scale of how big this thing is.

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After the train passed we went ‘round the corner on the road and found a spot to get a decent photo of the whole thing.

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We spotted a few nice leaves…but due to the lousy weather this was the bet shot we could get along our 70 or so mile drive.

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This was taken on the Adventure Portion of our drive today.

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Along the way we stopped at Endless Brewing where we sampled a couple of brews and then had a half pint each of their Maple Brown Ale…pretty tasty. The second brewery…Two Dogs and a Guy…was closed today due to a personal issue of some sort. Our final two stops were at Hidden Creek Winery and then Nimble Hill Vineyards…both had excellent wines but Hidden Creek’s were better and we brought home 6 bottles fro there and another pair from Nimble Hill.

We got back to the rig and made dinner…Neil cooked up some linguini and made a sauce out of baked winter squash, bacon, pecans, and cream…along with spices of course…and topping it all off with grated Parmesan…really yummy.

Interesting things found on the net.

I really can’t figure out how the illiterate folks will get any benefit from this sign.

IlliterateFreeHelp

How to make sure your co-workers really hate you.

MakeCoworkersHateYou

The Stairs of Death…imagine trying to walk down these when you’ve had too many wines or brewskis.

StairsOfDeath

So very, very true.

CatsDontText

I found the square root.

FoundTheSquareRoot

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Connecticut State Capital Day Trip

Before I get into the actual blog post here…Neil said he needs to take over the keyboard for a bit…feel free to skip a few paragraphs if you want.

Neil here…

I gotta tell ya…I’m really, really disappointed by this whole Supreme Court nomination nonsense.

Now let me tell you I’m not really a great fan of the president and I think I would have picked a nominee for SCOTUS with a little less potential baggage since Judge Kavanaugh was on both Ken Starr’s team that prosecuted President Clinton and on President Bush’s White House staff.

Now I understand that liberals would be against a conservative judge on SCOTUS…but the last time I checked any debate over a judicial nominee was about his or her qualifications and not about un-provable allegations.

Judge Kavanaugh has shown remarkably calm demeanor on the bench the past 12 years on the DC circuit…and understandably got pissed at the ongoing character assassination being conducted by the Democrats in the Senate.

I watched part of Dr. Ford’s testimony and she appeared reasonably credible…but I also watched Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony and he was equally as credible. The simple truth is that unless there is a witness to the contrary…any claim that she makes and any denial that he makes reduces to a simple he said/she said situation.

Dr. Ford, her attorneys, and the FBI have produced exactly zero evidence of any sort that corroborates her claim…affiliates from her husband and people who say she told them about it in the past few years aren’t evidence at all.

Senator Feinstein deliberately withheld Dr. Ford’s letter from the rest of the Judiciary Committee until the last minute simply because it was to the Democrat’s political advantage to do so. Her sole purpose…and that of all of her Democratic colleagues…was and is to delay the confirmation vote until after the mid-term elections in the hopes of taking control of the Senate. Sure…they’re pissed that Garland didn’t get a vote by the Republican majority senate during the last year of President Obama’s term…but there was some precedent for that and the Republican’s emphatically did not essentially make up un-provable accusations against him…they simply chose not to bring him to a vote. This was wrong in my opinion…elections have consequences…and he should have been given an up or down vote. The Democrats have a good reason to be irritated about that…but descending to the current charade will simply encourage the other side to respond in kind the next time there’s a Democratic President nominating a justice for SCOTUS.

Senator Hirono said last that week that we should believe Dr. Ford’s story and disbelieve Judge Kavanaugh’s denials simply because she is a woman and “women never lie about sexual assault. Excuse me? Remember Tawana Brawley and her rape allegations…and the Duke Lacrosse team case? Women do lie about sexual assault sometimes…and to demand that she be believed just because she is a woman is wrong.

Senator Hirono also said last week that “innocent until proven guilty”…doesn’t apply in this case. Excuse me? That principle of law has been in effect since the 3rd or 4th century in Rome…the burden of proof falls on the accuser.

So let’s talk about the evidence Dr. Ford claims exists.

Her story has changed 3 or 4 times.

She can’t remember where the party was, when it was, how she got there, or how she got home…and she admittedly  was drinking…but she’s 100% certain that it was Judge Kavanaugh who groped her.

She remembers witnesses who were there and gave their names…each of these witnesses has submitted statements under penalty of perjury that it either didn’t happen or that they have no knowledge of it and do not know Judge Kavanaugh.

The Democrats demanded…and received…an additional FBI inquiry. Last week…they were praising the integrity of the FBI. The FBI was tasked with investigating credible allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh. The FBI interviewed every person save one (who declined to be interviewed) who might have relevant first hand information. They did not interview either Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh as both of them had already testified under oath and had no further information to provide. I would have had the FBI interview both of them…but I can understand why they did not. The FBI investigation found no…zero…none…corroborating evidence to any of the allegations they investigated.

Now the Democrats have stated that the investigation was a sham and that the FBI intentionally ignored the facts to report what they were told to report. Excuse me? That is nothing other than political BS…the Democrats don’t like the outcome of the investigation…so naturally it’s a sham.

Sorry folks…even if you don’t like Judge Kavanaugh or his interpretations of the constitution…this entire circus has been nothing but a political stunt to ignore the results of the election in 2016 and get their way. As President Obama said…elections have consequences…and no matter how much the Democrats stamp their feet…they lost and the other side won.

“Activists” on the Democratic side have threatened the families and grandchildren of Republican Senators. Senators were hounded out of restaurants.

I would not be surprised if this entire circus hurts Democrats on Election Day in a few weeks…I’ve seen a lot of talk about a blue wave and a red wave…but I’ve also seen regular everyday people who admit they don’t like the President or Judge Kavanaugh who say they’re disgusted by the way this went down.

I would also not be surprised to see something similar the next time a Democratic President nominates a judge for SCOTUS…although I hope the Republicans will act like adults instead of kindergartner children…unfortunately with today’s tit for tat political payback environment I don’t hold out a lot of hope that they will.

Again…this screed is not about whether or not Judge Kavanagh should be on SCOTUS…it’s about the process and the complete lack of decorum, civility, and common decency Democrats have shown in it…and it’s about their demands that he’s guilty until proven innocent. That’s just wrong folks…plain wrong.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post…passing the keyboard over to Gunther. 

Ima back folks…

Lessee…what’s happened since my last post. We were originally going to go to the Connecticut state capital on Thursday…but decided to change and go Friday instead. With that we headed out about 1000 or so for the 25 mile trip over to Hartford…intentionally taking the back road. We spent an hour or so doing a self guided tour around and taking pictures…then headed over to Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ…the Connecticut entry on the Southern Living “Best BBQ in Each State” article we’ve been using. Our plan was to get takeout for dinner…but by the time we got to the counter everybody was pretty much starving…so we got takeout pulled pork and cornbread for dinner and also a half pound of beef brisket which we declared would be lunch on the way home.

I can report that the brisket was excellent…nay, outstanding…juicy, smokey, and tender…we didn’t even put any sauce on it. Unfortunately…the pork was a bit dry when we warmed it up for dinner…definitely not Good Eats. It was a bit better the next day when we made Nachos out of it.

On to the photos.

Looking up at the window in the ceiling of the east wing.

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The rotunda and underside of the dome.

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The Connecticut State Heroine…a school teacher who opened a school for black children before the Civil War.

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Some famous Connecticut resident named Nathan Hale.

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This is the Cannonball Tree…during the battle of Chicamauga in the Civil War it was struck by a cannonball fired by a Connecticut artillery battery…then after the war the tree was brought back to the state.

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This is the USS Hartford…the flagship of Admiral Farragut…he of the “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”. Carved by a one armed crewman who lost his arm during the battle after the war.

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We did spot one nicely colored tree out on the adjacent park.

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This is the best shot Neil could get of the capital building itself…simply no place to get a decent one.

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Interesting things found on the net.

Genius.

KeepAllTheCookies

Even more genius…how a husband gets out of shopping with his wife like a BOSS.

GetOutOfShopping

 

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments