Monday, November 28, 2011

The Journal Continues

Some humor from North Carolina:

More of Dick's Journal

Day 3

We started the day as we always do on the road, with a check of the motel's breakfast buffet. Finding the decaf decanter empty, I set off in search of the attendant while Nancy looked over the goodies. The room was filled with men in work clothes on the same mission. She asked one of the fellows where the plates and bowls were. No success. They did not speak English! (In the parking lot were seven trucks from the Asplundh tree trimmer company - these were the workers.) Determined that she could use sign language and mime as well as her son, she soon was pointed in the right direction.

Yesterday toward the end of the drive, we got out of the rain but overnight it caught up with us. It was a very light mist and the traffic was light so it wasn't a problem.

Nancy is becoming more adept with her phone. I'd make an observation or suggest a question as in "I wonder why - - " Out comes the phone and pretty soon an answer or comment. Two observations; 1) While the barns in Michigan are mostly red, from the middle of Ohio on, they are mainly white. We decided that in the southern climes, white barns would be cooler. I knew why our barns are red, red paint was cheaper. 2) While northern Ohio is cornfield - cornfield - cornfield - mosque, where the white barns start and proceeding south, the exits are church - adult entertainment or lingerie - church.

In Virginia we had our first experience with fog in the mountains. Visibility was severely limited. So what is the better option? Drive in the right lane and chance running up on extremely slow traffic or the left lane and chance being rear ended? We opted for the left with the plan to pull over if headlights were approaching from the rear. One note, it does not rain in the fog. We came down out of the mountains and entered North Carolina. The rain ended, the sun came out and the temp hit 75. We actually turned on the air. Tomorrow I wear shorts.

Now being an old goat, my philosophy has become to roll in the right lane a mile or two over, just keeping up with traffic. It worked for me earlier, in Ohio we went a couple of hours and only passed 2 or 3 vehicles. It wasn't working today, the limit was 65 and at 67 I couldn't keep anyone in sight. Not enjoying having the trucks breathing down our necks, we cranked it up to 72 and still had a few blow our doors off.

Nuvi started talking to us. "Severe traffic - recalculating" and then told us to keep doing what we were doing. We didn't see any severe traffic but we finally figured that she was looking for an alternative route. If she had suggested one we sure wouldn't have taken it. Talk about "Death by GPS"! After about an hour of this, we found the back up. About 15 to 20 miles of slow creep. There were periodic cop cars with flashers going in the median but not appearing to be accomplishing anything. Towards the end, we saw a cop talking to a young woman on the side whose car had been in a fender bender but I think that was the result, not the cause of the back up.

Anyway, the traffic cleared, the rain kept falling and we stopped on the outskirts of Charlotte, SC for lunch at Bubba's Barbecue. As usual I ate too much but it was sure good. There were some funny signs in the parking lot like "Don't read this under penalty of the law". I said "I'll bet there's a cache here." Out came the phone and the cache was found.

After lunch, back on the road and the traffic was even heavier. We were making the turn on the x-way in Columbia, 8 miles from the motel when the sky opened up and there was a deluge, we pulled off at the next exit and waited it out at McDonalds. There was a river flowing through the parking lot. It let up and we came on to our home for the night.

At the exit, there was a traffic light, we had to make a left. We waited more than 5 minutes and the light did not change for us. Finally, the car in front of us ran it. The semi behind pulled partially along side and shouted something indiscernible at Nancy. Well, I'm not going to get run over, to Hell with it! I ran the red light.

St Augustine tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Southern Trip Day 2

Dick's Travel Journal (continued)

Southern trip, Day 2

We spent a lot of time in the motel room looking for highlights of the
Michigan/Ohio State game. Nobody showed the TD that wasn't. A few didn't even mention it. Jim Branstatter was sure that it was was a TD and a flat out bad call. He
said that even if it wasn't a score, the spot should be inches, not on
the 1 yard line.

We got an early start. Apparently this area of Ohio is not on daylight
time. We got up and found that it was raining steadily all over the
State but TV showed that we might drive out of it in WV. Anyway, we
loaded the car and drove off.

Usually we fill up either first thing or the night before but we were only down an eighth of a tank and it was raining so we just drove off. Nancy loaded the address of the motel in Beckley WV into Nuvi. Apparently the Nuvi decided that it would not be a
good idea for us to drive through Columbus and so she picked a
different route for us. We discovered this when she sent us past the
Columbus exit and 3 exits later took us on a scenic tour of an
industrial area of Dayton. Stop signs, yield signs, traffic lights
left turns, right turns. traffic circles, just about everything at 35
MPH. Since it was still dark and raining we didn't see much. The most
interesting thing I saw was an old run down strip mall with The Love
Boutique at one end and the something or other Tabernacle World
Headquarters at the other. Since it was Sunday morning, both were

We were routed on US35 which is usually a divided highway but not
limited access. Although it was raining, once we got out of town,
except for the 55 mph speed limit, it was a fine drive. We made a
potty/coffee stop at a McDonalds where they had a rack of papers which
had the headline - Wolverine It's what's for dinner. It had a picture
of Brutus with a shotgun aiming at a maize and blue turkey with Hoke's
picture for its head. It's worth a giggle.

As time and the miles passed, both the rain and the traffic increased.
At the same time our gas gauge was dropping. When we got below a
quarter, I decided to stop and refuel regardless of the price.
Unfortunately, the exits were few and the gas stations were non
existent. We were down to about an eighth when the Gallipolis exit
came in view. It said there were stations there but none were visible
from the x-way. Of course I drove to the next exit. There was a
town/shopping area on the left but no discernible way to get there. In
front of us was the bridge over the Ohio River. There's got to be a town
over there. We cross the river and take the exit into Henderson, WV.
What a sad place. Not only is there no gas, there's no store. We
proceed on and ask Nuvi for help. She says most of the gas is behind
us but there is a General Store about 10 miles in the direction we are
traveling. We proceed. The road she wants us to take is up a mountain.
The low gas warning light comes on. Does AAA make road assistance
calls in West Virginia on Sunday morning? Finally, good sense
overcomes the driver. We turn around, drive back over the bridge into
Ohio, pull into a BP and pay $3.39. I put 12.976 gallons into a 13
gal. tank.

This has been a white knuckle day. We get some comfort food at the
Biscuit House and proceed to Beckley.

In the motel I called Dan. He says it was a TD.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

On The Road Again

Blog Break - I'm using Dick's Travel Journal

First night - Wapakoneta Ohio.

We pulled out of the drive at 9 AM. Drove with coffee/pit stops to
Williamston for lunch.

It's hunting season but we didn't see any
bambis on cars, only xmas trees. Did see a lot of deer by the side of
the road, 15 in Michigan, 4 more in Ohio. Gas ranged from $3.34 to
$2.99 here in the Buckeye State. It was $3.22 when we filled up in TC.

Traffic was not bad, setting the cruise to 75 let us lay back in the
right lane and just keep up with most traffic.

We were listening to the Michigan/Ohio State game on the road after lunch. We couldn't
find it on our new Sirius radio so we found it on an AM station out of
Detroit. On I96, when we scored, the guy driving the car in front of
us rolled down his window and shook his fist in the air.

The game was quite a series of ups and downs. Soon the station was
breaking up so we pulled into the Macland parking lot in Bluffton for
the last few minutes. It's a good thing we did because I might have
run off the road. We can't wait to see the replay of the TD that

The plan on this trip is to avoid Cincinnati and Atlanta so tomorrow
we drive through Columbus (Nancy suggests that I wear a different
shirt and hat) on our way to WV.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Season Tickets

We have decided that we won't be buying season tickets anymore because: 1. The stadium is so different; 2. Our seats have been changed; 3. It's uncomfortabl to access the new seats; 4. Our old seatmates are scattered, 5. Our parking situation has changed; 6. My mobility makes stadium access a challenge, 7. We had trouble this fall finding an apartment to rent for 5 weeks - our regular place was all booked up and we ended up at a most unsatisfactory place.

The shorter answer is no, we aren't going to the Big Game - we sold our tickets to Justin and will cheer from T.C.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Gobble.gobble. gobble!

We went to the Great Wolf Lodge for the Thanksgiving buffet. They do a very special buffet - one of the best we've seen. It was very extensive, and we both enjoyed it immensely. Saw Bev there.

We're leaving for Florida on Saturday, so we didn't want to do a turkey at home and have a lot of leftovers, even though we used to think that the leftovers were the best part! (Cold giblet dressing at 11:30 p.m., for instance.)

Dick wrote a little essay for the MiGO forum, and I liked it so much that I got permission to put it on my blog - he is such a good writer!

What are we thankful for in 2011? Well let’s start with our parents who experienced the Depression and taught their children the value of thrift and education. We are grateful also for the lessons we were taught by the wonderful teachers in the Traverse City Public Schools. We are grateful for the community and the time in which we grew up, where as children we were safe to explore and play as we wished as long as we got back home when the street lights came on. We are grateful to Hermie who, 60 years ago fixed us up on our first date and thus introduced us to our best friend.

We are grateful for the society in which we grew up which believed that education beyond HS should be affordable to everyone. When we were kids, the citizens of this state kept the cost of public colleges reasonable. We were able to pay for college with minimum wage summer and campus jobs. Because of a federal program, we were able to purchase a home in which to raise our family. Because of the actions and advice of our parents we were able to live frugally and invest in both our and our children's futures. Because of the success of our country through the years, we are able to enjoy a satisfying retirement.

We are grateful for our families, our children, brothers, nieces, and nephews. Grandchildren? We only have one, but if you have a spare 4 or 5 hours, we’ll explain to you why he’s the very best one there is. We are also grateful for our MiGO family. Geocaching has become a large part of our lives. It gives us an excuse and rationale for doing what have always been our favorite activities, going for a ride in the car and taking a walk in the woods. We treasure the many friends and acquaintances with whom we share this passion.

We are grateful that we live in Traverse City, one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been to, with health care second to none. It seems that every day we come across something that brings a smile to our faces and another bit of joy in our lives.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 11:11:11

Happy Veteran's Day.

When I was a kid, it was called Armistice Day because it was the day that saw cessation of hostilities between Germany and the Allies to end World War I. It was signed on 11/11/1918 at 11 a.m.

Today there was a geocaching flash mob. We met at the Veterans Memorial on 11th street. It was well attended - 30 - 35 people came. At 11 a.m. we observed 2 minutes of silence, at at 11:11 a.m. it was over. We passed out flags, and Charlie and Marty handed out red, white and blue beaded key chains. A little boy named Cooper was celebrating his 7th birthday, and one team was celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary! It was our first flash mob, and it was meaningful, successful and fun.

Afterwards most of us went over to Cuppa Joe for beverages. We sat with Tim and Susie and had a great time exchanging family news and events since we were together last. Somehow it seems that the four of us can talk forever!

The dermatologist was next on the agenda. I've had a bump on my hand that I thought was a wart, but it turned out to be a squamous cell carcinoma, the "good" kind of skin cancer - it doesn't spread. Now it has been removed, and I'm so glad I went. No wonder the Compound W didn't work!

Tim and Susie were out caching - we called them and said we were ready for lunch and met them at the Olive Garden for a super lunch and more fun than you can shake a stick at. A memorable day.