20221203 – Goodbye National Parks, back to Savannah, Orlando then home.






Saturday

Set off down to Savannah. Just over two hours drive, in an Americans mindset hardly worth getting in the car for. We’ve been there before but it’s a lovely city and a convenient stopping-off place on our way back to Orlando.

Stop off at a moonshine factory and I am tempted into buying a jar of traditional moonshine.

Wow, it’s hot, in the 80’s and the suns out.

Yeah, tea tonight consists of a Tacobell Spicy Supreme Burrito, at last. Pretty awesome, I’ve saved the recipe. Wendy has a Panera bread sandwich and soup. How bizarre can the Panera Bread menu get with a Grilled Mac and cheese sandwich – perverts.

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Quercus virginiana, also known as the southern live oak, is an evergreen oak tree endemic to the Southeastern United States.

Although live oaks retain their leaves nearly year-round, they are not true evergreens. Live oaks drop their leaves immediately before new leaves emerge in the spring. Occasionally, senescing leaves may turn yellow or contain brown spots in the winter, leading to the mistaken belief that the tree has oak wilt, whose symptoms typically occur in the summer.[7] A live oak’s defoliation may occur sooner in marginal climates or in dry or cold winters.[8]


Sunday

Pretty good breakfast. I finally succumb to biscuits and gravy. Looks pretty gruesome but is quite tasty. I think the gravy has mushrooms in it.

Cloudy day mid sixties

We’ve been here back in 2015 (what an awesome road trip that was) and our memory is of a lovely relaxing city that can be enjoyed on foot. Catch the hop on off trolley tour to get a good overview and some history. Have a coffee at the slowest coffee shop in the World. Then hop off at Forrest Gumps form – they’ve moved it a museum not even a plaque or an imitation to replace it. Have a walk around the market district and then back to the car. Take photos but as it’s mostly cloudy we’ve rescued our photos from 2015 and imported a few. After lunch the sun brightens the place up.

Finally head off to explore Tybee Island. I wonder if the Einstein who run tourism there ever question why the place is deserted in December. I’m sure weather is one factor and out of season another but $7 to park for 2 hours anywhere is ridiculous. We would have had a stroll around and at least a coffee but at that extortionate price they can go hug a parking meter.

Tea tonight is a lemon ricotta mixed berry crepes from IHOP, tempted to have the French toast, and some Jalepeno Humous. It’s an alcohol free night.

Monday

Warm and sunny. Back into shorts and tee shirt as we drive down to Orlando. 4 hours past so many familiar places.

Sign on the road side “Jesus saves, liberals withdraw”. Also great to see in one state, can’t remember which, “litter fine maximum $25,000”. Now that’s just about right.

Spanish Moss, Street, Savannah, Georgia, America

Fairly easy drive back into Florida and then the traffic light Center off the universe, Orlando.

Florida’s motto is “In god we trust” should be replaced by “Dangerous Dickhead Drivers”. This has to be the worst state I’ve ever driven in, especially Orlando. As for Orlando it has to be the traffic light capital of the World. People can die of old age waiting at the traffic lights.

Road with Live Oak trees lining it.

Hotel is a home 2 suite, great recommendation Phil, our 2nd one. Very comfortable,5 star, so far. Sadly the girl on reception has all the personality of a grizzly with tooth ache, not a smile but at least she didn’t snarl.

Wendy’s orgasmic as there’s an Aldi next door and I’m so excited as there’s a cheesecake factory in walking distance and there’s even pavements to walk on.

Walk to Cheesecake Factory. 17:00 and there’s already a 15 minute wait, just hate this ludicrous aspect of American life. Why do people wait so readily.

Wot still no Toblerone Cheesecake.

Well it looks like another dessert tea for me as my entre consist of a Key Lime Cheesecake and take home a Cinnabon Cheesecake for tomorrows dessert. Wendy has strict instructions not to touch it, unlike the Toblerone Cheesecake she stole from me.

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Sunrise on Spanish Moss in Savannah, Georgia

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is an epiphytic flowering plant that often grows upon large trees in tropical and subtropical climates. It is native to much of Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Central America, South America, the Southern United States, and West Indies.

Most known in the United States, it commonly is found on the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) in the lowlands, swamps, and marshes of the mid-Atlantic and southeastern states, from the coast of southeastern Virginia to Florida and west to southern Arkansas and Texas.


Tuesday

Breakfast not bad.

We’ve decided to have a relaxing day before the ordeal of two airports, Orlando and Manchester. So a lazy day, starts with a very lazy morning and then after lunch we take the car to be cleaned and Wendy saunters around Walmart, dithering with her choice of sweets etc for the kids Advent calendar – more weight to traipse home. What an exciting life we lead.

Wednesday

Lazy start to the day as we hang around for airport drop off of the car. Our flights been moved back 2 hours, bloody typical. Drop car off, it’s been so comfortable and easy to drive, Trip was about 4,500 miles. Then we have 4:45 minutes to hang around in the MCO lounge. Well at least TSA manages to pass 46 minutes away for us, how kind.

 

 
One of the more sociable receptionists has a great personality and even very kindly pays for Wendy’s washing powder because it cannot be put on our room bill. Then, when Wendy finds some money, she refuses to accept. How generous that a guy in the line for lounge access allows Wendy in as his free guest and saves her having to pay. Just two examples of the friendliness and generosity that makes America so great.


Thursday

 

 
Highlight of the trip has to be a proper traditional Thanksgiving with Kim, Phil and their family. It was awesome. They all made us feel so welcome and at home we never wanted to leave.

We didn’t have to say what we were thankful for but I think we have to be greedy and say there are at least two things we’re thankful for, so here goes:

1 Thankful for great friends Kim and Phil they made us so at home. We never understand how we’ve been so lucky to have them as friends.

2 Thankful for being able to spend so much time in the USA and for all our friends there. Americans are just so friendly.

Visited Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia on this trip. That’s 16 states in all, Oklahoma and Nebraska being two states we’d never been to before and to be fair we’d hardly seen anything of Kansas and Little Rock on our 2015 trip – http://blogs.4uand.me.uk/2015/09/20150902-georgia-and-the-deep-south/. That leaves us with 4 states left to visit (Wisconsin, Michigan, North and South Dakota – hard to justify the last two). Visited 4 more National Parks, all amazing, which leaves me with 26 left to visit.

My most memorable aspect of this trip is the nothingness of Oklahoma and the facts around “The Trail Of Tears”, the sheer brutality and cruelty to the Indian nations stands alongside slavery in the annals of America’s bad past. Dumping what was left of the Indian nations (The First Americans) onto desolate, nothingness, with the sop to their survival being a casino, fits in with my image of today’s Indian tribal lands.

 

 
On the downside, America seems to be infested with non-English speakers and generally crap service. Suspect this is mainly a by-product of the chronic labour shortage. For instance, the Cheesecake Factory had nearly 50% of their tables empty yet there was a 15-minute wait because they didn’t have the staff. Have to say our server was one of the best waiters we’ve encountered on this trip.

The American hotel industry is plagued with appalling management and apathy. Do hotel managers ever bother to read the reviews and do anything about the problems raised, I think not. I don’t think we’ve stayed in any hotel that didn’t have problems that competent management couldn’t have fixed. Problems range from the reception staff who shouldn’t be allowed within 5,000 feet of a customer; heating that doesn’t work; dilapidated fixtures and fittings; crap Wi-Fi; Breakfast not even fit to be served to a hungry rabid raccoon; Staff who fail to turn up; noisy rooms. And of course, they’ve all hopped on the Covid wagon, no daily room service “because of Covid”. They’d be better off being more honest and saying because “we can save money”.

Meanwhile looking at the depressing news back home do we really want to be going home. The countries up shit creek without a pound to pay the debt incurred with Covid etc., and these cretins want to inflict more misery on the rest of us. When will our government grow some gonads, pay the nurses their 17%, they deserve it after Covid and who’d do that job, then tell the rest of the greedy cretins to go forth and multiply, the countries in a mess and needs help. I think the whole country will be on strike, including Borderforce which on the surface sounds good as hopefully, it’ll stop the illegals, but of course, it will mean airport chaos over Christmas. No doubt they’ll make special arrangements for border force to help get the illegals into their 5-star accommodation as quickly and safely as possible and screw citizens using the airports. It’s simple if you don’t like your pay resign.

A couple of years from now the train drivers will be whining that their jobs are being replaced by computers that don’t go on strike and postal workers complaining that no one uses their snail mail services as private delivery companies do a better job. Well serves them right, remember the miners!

Well, that’s our American travels over with for the year. Now have 19 days at home before our next escape – Crete for New Year with Brett and Karine. 19 days how will I cope. Then we have a diabolical wait until the 1st of April until we can escape back to paradise – Park City, Utah. Hopefully, if our visa application is successful, it’ll be for 6 months in paradise and save us four flights, three TSA queues and six airports.

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20221126 – Goodbye Kim and Phil. Hello National Parks.






Saturday

Help Kim and Phil set up their outside Christmas decorations.

Then in the afternoon we have a drive out to Leipers Fork and yet another supermarket. Wendy’s discovered Publix.

Sunday

Drive down to the Carnton House to have a tour and discover some more about the battle of Franklin. Very interesting house tour. Kim and Phil stay home to fix the damage to their outside Christmas decorations that were wrought by the overnight winds.

Chinese takeaway for tea, along with more beer and wine.


trivia header

 
Franklin, TN  |  Nov 30, 1864

The scale of the Confederate charge at Franklin rivaled that of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. The action resulted in a disastrous defeat for the South and failed to prevent the Union army from advancing to Nashville.
HOW IT ENDED
Union victory. The devastating defeat of Gen. John Bell Hood’s Confederate troops in an ill-fated charge at Franklin, resulted in the loss of more than 6,000 Confederates, along with six generals and many other top commanders. The fighting force of the South’s Army of Tennessee was severely diminished, but Hood continued to chase victorious Union general John M. Schofield to Nashville.
IN CONTEXT
After the fall of Atlanta on September 1, 1864, Gen. John Bell Hood and his 30,000-man army raced into Tennessee, hoping to divert Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s attention by threatening his supply base at Nashville. Sherman did not take the bait, and instead dispatched Maj. Gen. John Schofield’s Army of the Ohio, 30,000 strong, to protect Nashville while the rest of Sherman’s army simply left their supply line behind and marched to the Atlantic coast, forcibly securing whatever they needed to sustain themselves from the Confederate citizens in their path. Twenty-five thousand Union soldiers under Maj. Gen. George Thomas were entrenched in Nashville. If Schofield could reach them before Hood, he would command a numerical advantage on the battlefield. Hood’s hopes for a successful campaign rested on defeating Schofield before the two forces joined.
After a missed opportunity at the Battle of Spring Hill on November 29, Hood pursued Schofield to the town of Franklin, where the Confederate general led an assault on November 30 that cost him 20 percent of his men and allowed Schofield to progress toward Nashville.

For more details go to https://boft.org/history and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvNMTpAlalk.


Monday

Say farewell to Kim and Phil. Great company. Great excursions. Great hosts. Awesome Thanksgiving and even get to experience putting up Christmas decorations first hand and America getting ready for the next main event, Christmas. Never stayed with anyone where we felt so at home. In fact it’s wonder we ever left.

We’re sorry to be leaving after such an awesome week.

It’s a short 90 minute drive then up to the Mammoth Caves National Park. After watching the almost obligatory video I’m booked on the two hour history tour which takes you underground into the longest cave system in the World – all 426 miles of it and still being explored to add more. It’s a great two mile underground exploration. Most of it’s fairly easy going but a lot of steps, over 500, and some low roofs. Then there’s Fat Man’s Misery a 50 yard stretch where you have to walk sideways, bent double through a very narrow passage – see photo – hence the title. Buy yet another NP hat for the collection.

Wendy stays on the surface and catches up on some Netflix she fell asleep through, she can’t do enclosed spaces.

Check into our Sleep Inn hotel. Nice hotel but noisy room, had to unplug the noisy air con and fridge, along with a crap breakfast.


trivia header

 
Mammoth Cave National Park is an American national park in west-central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world.

Since the 1972 unification of Mammoth Cave with the even-longer system under Flint Ridge to the north, the official name of the system has been the Mammoth–Flint Ridge Cave System. The park was established as a national park on July 1, 1941, a World Heritage Site on October 27, 1981, an international Biosphere Reserve on September 26, 1990 and an International Dark Sky Park on October 28, 2021.

The park’s 52,830 acres (21,380 ha) are located primarily in Edmonson County, with small areas extending eastward into Hart and Barren counties. The Green River runs through the park, with a tributary called the Nolin River feeding into the Green just inside the park. Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest known cave system with more than 420 miles (680 km) of surveyed passageways,[3][4] which is nearly twice as long as the second-longest cave system, Mexico’s Sac Actun underwater cave.


Tuesday

After a crap breakfast we set off on a 380 mile, 6 hour drive to Buckley in West Virginia – the Almost Heaven state. It’s just a long hard slog, fortunately the roads are pretty quiet and fairly scenic.

Drive along the Bluegrass Parkway with more distilleries than Muslims at a stoning. Pity we didn’t split this over two days and do a few famous distillery tours, but as I had to drive they would have been wasted on me.

Arrive at our Country Inn and Suites for a two night stay. Seems a nice enough hotel but air con isn’t working so they move us. Next room has a curtain hanging off the rails and no air con controls – no one told us that in this room they’re hidden behind the TV. Third time lucky and all seems ok.

Off to a Texas Steak house for tea where I finally get my ribs, all one pound of them. Then it’s back to the hotel for beer and wine.

Wednesday

Up early for a pretty good breakfast, rare in most of the hotels we’ve stayed in.

Then it’s off to explore The New River Gorge National Park. We start off by driving up to the the Sandstone Falls visitors centre. Alas it’s closed except at Weekends. Do the the Sandstone Falls drive tour. Then we’re off to Grandview for an awesome view down the gorge as the river horseshoes around a bend. Sadly it’s over cast and jus stopped raining. Half an hour later and the sun would have been out. Next stop is the Canyon Rim visitors centre – yeah, it’s open. Watch the video, explore the exhibits and buy another NP hat for my collection.

Do the Fayetteville audio driving tour down to the bottom of the gorge . Then take a leisurely drive back to the hotel over country back roads.

Subway for tea tonight.


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The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a unit of the United States National Park Service (NPS) designed to protect and maintain the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. Established in 1978 as a national river and redesignated in 2020, the park and preserve stretches for 53 miles (85 km) from just downstream of Hinton to Hawks Nest State Park near Ansted.

The park is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities. New River Gorge is home to some of the country’s best whitewater rafting, mainly from the Cunard put-in to the Fayette Station take-out, and is also one of the most popular climbing areas on the East Coast. The New River itself originates in North Carolina, flowing north through Virginia into the West Virginia mountains to the Kanawha River which continues to the Ohio River.


Thursday

A five hour drive down to Columbia for our next National Park encounter.

Drive through West Virginia (almost Heaven should be renamed All Them Roadworks), Virginia (Virginia is for Lovers should be renamed Virginia is for Lovers or Roadworks), North Carolina (First in Flight; First in Freedom) and South Carolina (The Palmetto State) all very picturesque, lovely scenery. The trees down here are just starting to turn so there’s some lovely autumnal colours and the leaves are dancing along the interstate.

Check into a Home 2 Suites, as recommended by Phil, seems great and so far one of the best hotels we’ve endured. Let’s see what breakfast is like.

Nip to Total Wines for some wine and Basil Haydn Toast bourbon. Then it’s Publix for coffee and Wendy’s lunch. Finally, it’s been a long time coming, I get to try another landmark in my Junk Food Pilgrimage as we go to a Sonic. Have to say the Sonic double cheeseburger supreme was well worth the wait. Next time need to try a Jumbo Hotdog.

 

 
Today’s woke fiasco. Another victim of the CANCEL culture.

Some lady of the royal household asks a black woman at a reception ‘Where are you from? Where are your people from?’, at least that’s the limited version of the questions in the press release I saw. Although the Times has a detailed list of the complete conversation – this I find bizarre. And now there’s an uproar of righteous indignation and a resignation. Bear in mind the women is in traditional African dress, has a record of accusing Charles and Camila of Domestic violence, has a anti-establishment Marxist agenda and amazingly has either recalled perfectly (yet she claims the rest of the evening was a blur) or she must have recorded the conversation (was this a setup).

Despite being born in Hackney, she went dressed like a Carry On Film version of the Jungle Book – lion’s teeth necklace, dreadlocks, beads and more leopard print than a Liverpool hen do. Obviously anyone meeting her would assume that her heritage is important to her as she’s proudly wearing it on her body.

Nigel Farage presents an interesting take on this event – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDWB3_45yPg. Spot on Nigel. OMG I must be racist.

Not forgetting that this person is head of a charity for Domestic Violence against BLACK Women. Not for violence against WOMEN, not for violence against PERSON (yes men also suffer domestic violence), how racist and sexist is that. And while we’re at it would an organisation for Domestic Violence against WHITE women be tolerated.

Finally an interesting view on being colourblind – https://www.prageru.com/video/should-we-be-colorblind

Well guess I must be racist as I can see no harm in what was asked. Sounds typical of what is in the Royal playbook to make conversation at these events. I’d not think anything of it if King Charles asked me ‘Where are you from? Where are your people from?’. If anything I’m disappointed in the royal family tossing 60+ years of loyal service to one side on the word of this friend of Megan’s without even an independent investigation.

Can you imagine a white person dressed as a Viking in Nairobi not being asked where they’re from?

OMG I’ve just been racially offended, twice today I’ve been asked “Where y’all from?”. How will I cope?

Oh well that’s me cancelled.


Friday

Breakfast has to be one of the best so far this trip.

Off to the last of our National Parks on this trip – Congaree.

Yes, the visitors centre is open, even if they don’t have any hats for sale. Take a 2 mile walk around the board walk with interpretative notes. The swamps are fascinating, with Bald Cypress knees sprouting out of the swamp surrounding the trees. Not exactly the most exhilarating NP but an important protection of the largest remnant of old-growth flood plain forests in the US. Over 35 million acres, 99%, of old-growth flood plain forests have been lost in the US. Most of this parks 27,000 acres is actually designated as wilderness.

Then we’re off to downtown Columbia to visit the state capitol building. Yes, another palatial exploitation of taxpayers dollars. This place is only in session for 100 days a year. There’s a free guided tour which starts with an interesting 15 minute film followed by a guided tour that then bores us into a catatonic zombie state as our guide repeats almost verbatim what the film has just said. Even with my memory I was able to remember the films content. Well at least it’s free and you get to see an interesting aspect of state

Wendy with Washington – not the first President of the USA, despite popular belief. In 2015, Samuel Huntington (1731-1796) of Norwich, Connecticut was officially recognized as the First President of the United States in Congress Assembled.

Fascinating, the placing of the ceremonial sword in the lower house and the mace in the upper house completes an electrical circuit to turn the lights on either side of the podium to indicate that the house or senate is now in session. I wonder if the official placing these items wears rubber gloves?

Tea tonight consists of a Stromboli and baked beans, all home cooked in our kitchenette, followed of course by some Carmenera.

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National Park is a 26,692.6-acre (41.7 sq mi; 108.0 km2) American national park in central South Carolina, 18 miles southeast of the state capital, Columbia. The park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. The lush trees growing in its floodplain forest are some of the tallest in the eastern United States, forming one of the highest temperate deciduous forest canopies remaining in the world. The Congaree River flows through the park. About 15,000 acres (23.4 sq mi; 60.7 km2) are designated as a wilderness area.

The park received its official designation in 2003 as the culmination of a grassroots campaign that began in 1969. With 145,929 visitors in 2018, it ranks as the United States’ 10th-least visited national park, just behind Nevada’s Great Basin National Park.

 

 
Bizarre, as coffee is the oh so dominant hot beverage here in the USA yet go into any supermarket to try to get a decent selection of coffee, no chance, and any single estate coffee is rarer than a bible seller in Tehran. Yes, I know I’m a coffee snob, but I do enjoy some quality coffee. As for tea well you’ve no chance, especially Assam. It says it all when you see Earl Greyer for sale.
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20221119 – Goodbye Kansa, Hello Missouri, Tennessee, Kim and Phil






Saturday

Another sub-freezing day as we set off to Kansas City. We’ve been there before, it’s just an overnight stop off on our way to St Louis and ultimately Franklin. Decide to take the backroads route to see some more of Nebraska, sadly not a lot to see.

Arrive after a relatively short 3 hour drive.

Checkin to hotel, the room is massive. Then it’s off to Walmart again. Who knows we might be bale to buy some forks to go with the knives. Yeah, this Walmart actually seems fork but can you believe there’s hardly any knives. Desperately needs some equitable stock redistribution across Kansa, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nebraska.

Subway for tea tonight. Mind you it’s a miracle we managed to order it, you’d think I was speaking Serbo Croat or some Latin dialect. Does nobody speak or understand English anymore.

 

 
I don’t think I’ll ever look at a cornflake in the same light again. The past few days have highlighted the superb effort required of farmers to grow corn in these desolate prairie states. First they have to buy the seeds; then till the soil; plant the seeds; look after the crop; harvest the corn; store it in silos; ship it to be processed into cornflakes, corn flower, popcorn, ethanol or any other byproduct of corn. All so that we can enjoy it. Good job. Thank you.

 

 
Why does no one in the US or the UK speak or understand English anymore? That’s what you get if you live in a kakistocracy, when you don’t insist on immigrants only being allowed in if they speak English.

It seems that there’s some sense left, at least in Oklahoma. The House passed Senate Bill 70 in a 42-24 vote on Monday. House members amended the bill to clearly state that the written test can be taken in Spanish or English, but the driving skills test is in English only.

Amazing in the UK you can only take the test in English, Welsh or British Sign Language. Apart from Welsh, it seems like there’s still a smidgen of common sense left. I’m sure the libtards and snowflakes will be in an apoleptic frenzy over that, no doubt they’ll organise a glue down protest.


Sunday

Leisurely start to the day then we’re off to visit Paul and Mel just outside St Louis. Seems we have two choices the 4 hour interstate route or the 6 hour route across the Ozarks plateau. The Ozarks routes very tempting but 6 hours driving is not, we’ll be arriving int he dark plus all that extra driving. Opt for the short route. Last 100 miles is pretty busy, by the time we get there I’ve had enough.

Pass on the Taco Bell as I’m tempted with a sausage ziti from the Italian restuaruant. It’s not a patch on mine or Wendy’s rendition.

 

 
DDSS (Daily Dose of Sublime Stupidity)

Joy, we’re in the room from hell. Lovely room but the 41Db constant humming keeps Wendy awake and even manages to wake me from my drunken stupor.

Turns out we’re next to the electrical room. Wouldn’t you think the hotel hotel designers would have the wit to place the Linen store between Electical room and a bedroom.

DDSS (Daily Dose of Sublime Stupidity)

Hotels really nice and a great breakfast, but you have to ask which dickhead of an interior designer thought a chaise lounge for one person was better that a simple settee for two. Anyone with a skerrick of intelligence would go for the settee rather than the trendy, avante guard, stupidity. To say nothing of the potential lost revenue that a bed settee would bring from a 4 adult room.


Monday

Museum

Great breakfast then drive over to Mel and Pauls. Great to se them and get to meet Carter.

We all set off to the City Museum which is an awesome children museum. It’s difficult describe, best to look at the pictures.

Museum

Then we’re off out for dinner. It’s going to be ribs, but alas the bar b cue place is closed. Off to Ruby Tuesdays. Alas the gods have it in for me as the Ribs have not been cooked yet. Never mind I’m sure we’ll come across a bar b cue place on our travels.

 

 
A recent rip to WholePayPacket supermarket resulted in a discussion at checkout on the abuse of the word organic and the rip off of Organic Foods as aggressively promoted by this store.

What did organic used to mean?

Organic chemistry referred originally and literally to the chemistry of substances that derived from living things, which at one time were thought to possess some vital spark that made it impossible to duplicate them outside the body. Nothing to do with chemicals or pesticides.

Meanwhile if you think Organic food is better or worth the extra rip off then watch this – https://www.prageru.com/video/is-organic-food-worth-the-cost


Tuesday

Another great breakfast, pancake, sausage and cimmamen roles.

10:00 we’re off down to Phil and Kims at Franklin, Tennessee. It’s a journey from hell, through Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Tennessee, too many roadworks and then we hit Nashville, it’s a nightmare. Memo to self, make sure you by pass big cities

Kim prepares a great dinner. Wendy’s so excited to be eating real food again and after so many days on the road it’s just awesome to be settled in a real home again for five days before we embark on our 2nd leg pf our road trip. Mark and Leleta joins us for dinner. Great food, wine Old Fashioned and bourbon, and awesome company.

Wednesday

Up and out for breakfast with Phil and Mark. Try a Southern special grilled chicken, eggs, potatoes and finally get to try biscuits and gravy. Actually very enjoyable I’ll be trying those again when we’re on the road.

Then Phil and I get despatched to Target and Public to pick up supplies ready for the big event tomorrow – Thanksgiving.

Wendy discovers there’s a few Public nearby so is orgasmic and can’t resist after we’ve been to the liquor store, it has the best selection of beers I’ve eve encountered in the USA, Hofbrau, Pauline, a rauchbier and even a Jever.I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Finally get a bottle of High West Bourbon to try.

An evening stroll to see the Christmas lights at Cheekwood Gardens, drinking hot chocolate laced with peppermint vodka and eating toasted Smores.

Then back home to watch “The Christmas Story” and try my latest High West offering of Boutbon. Alas the bourbon made me sleep through the last of the Film.


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Franklin is a city and county seat of Williamson County, Tennessee, United States. About 21 miles (34 km) south of Nashville, it is one of the principal cities of the Nashville metropolitan area and Middle Tennessee. As of 2020, its population was 83,454. It is the seventh-largest city in Tennessee.

The city developed on both sides of the Harpeth River, a tributary of the Cumberland River. In the 19th century, Franklin (as the county seat) was the trading and judicial center for primarily rural Williamson County and remained so well into the 20th century as the county remained rural and agricultural in nature.

Since 1980, areas of northern Franklin have been developed for residential and related businesses, in addition to modern service industries. The population has increased rapidly as growth moved in all directions from the core. Despite recent growth and development, Franklin is noted for its many older buildings and neighborhoods, which are protected by city ordinances.


Thursday

Thanksgiving day. Spend most of the morning and afternoon preparing for the 18 family and 2 Brits attending.

Then we get an all American experience, a first for us, as we buy a bag of ice.

At 16:00 everyone arrives and the eating, drinking and lively conversation commences. Food serving with so many is well organised, help yourself and lineup in Christian name sequence. There’s all the traditional dishes served around a 21lb turkey and then there’s a plethora of desserts. A great time was had by all.

Really getting into these Old Fashioned’s.When everyone’s left we settle down for a tad more wine and the modern version of A Christmas Story.

 

 
Thankful to Kim and Phil for sharing an awesome, traditional, thanksgiving with us. We’ve had a family thanksgiving in Texas, it was good, with giant thick steaks and all the trimmings, but alas no turkey. An awesome experience and memorable day here in Franklin, Tennessee.


Friday

Don’t let Phil use a blender.

Up and out for an hop on / off trolley tour of Franklin with Kim, Phil and their extended family from yesterdays Thanksgiving. We half filled the trolley and were the only ones on it. Interesting tour, but with a two hour wait between trolleys we didn’t bother hoping off. Amazed that a city the size of Franklin has such a tour but the Civil War battle of Franklin must bring in a lot of visitors.

Lunch at a pizza parlour.

In the afternoon we nip out to the shops. What for I haven’t a clue, probably just to feed Wendy’s need for a merchandising fix.

Quiet evening in. More Old Fashioned’s.

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20221112 – Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska






Saturday

Oklahoma at last. Only a few tribal Nations were indigenous to what is now the State of Oklahoma. All others were removed from homelands across the contiguous U.S. to Indian Territory, the trail of tears. What seems even more outrageous is that they moved some of the few indigenous tribes to make way for the influx. In 1907 Oklahoma became the 46th state to enter the union. The state’s name comes from two Choctaw words “Okla” and “Homma” meaning Red People.

Another long drive – 6 hours – to Oklahoma City.

Start the trip at the equivalent of spaghetti junction and the 10 year olds from Apple, those that can’t tie their own shoelaces and yet are allowed to write Apple’s software, strike again. Apple maps packs up just as you really need it. What a joyous way to start the day.

150 miles of nothingness, other than plastic bags hanging on trees, more Indian tribal
Lands and associated casinos than Muslims at a stoning. Apparently there are 39 tribal nations here in Oklahoma. As part of the trail of tears the American government shipped them all from East of the Mississippi river to a barren wasteland, the place we now call Oklahoma. But bless, they allowed them to have casinos on their tribal lands as compensation for all they had suffered. Even when I asked at the visitors centre if there was anything worth seeing on the way to Oklahoma City, she replied it’s a bit of a desert. Now I know why everyone laughed when we said we’re going to Oklahoma.

Love the speed signs “75 MPH no tolerance”. Then there’s the sign “Don’t hit our workers, $10,000 fine”. So a worker life or injury is ok for $10,000, bizarre.
Decide we’re finally going to try a Cracker Barrel for tea, those cheesecake pancake billboards have been tempting me for weeks now. We both try the taster plater, a cholesterol special, will we ever walk out of here, fortunately there’s a nurse sat at the next table. I have to leave room for the pancake so we both give up on the platter and consign half of it to a doggy box. Good old fashioned wholesome food and they now serve wine and that nats urine they call beer.

 

 
DDSS – Daily Dose of Sublime Stupidity

Credit card pin is locked out, apparently too many PIN attempts, yet contactless and Apple Pay still works. How’s that for security? You really couldn’t make this stupidity up.


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The U.S. state of Oklahoma has been popularly nicknamed the “Sooner State” since the 1920s.

Sooners is the name given to settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma before the official start of the Land Rush of 1889. The Unassigned Lands were a part of Indian Territory that, after a lobbying campaign, were to be opened to American settlement in 1889. President Benjamin Harrison officially proclaimed the Unassigned Lands open to settlement on April 22, 1889. As people lined up around the borders of the Oklahoma District, they waited for the official opening. It was not until noon that it officially was opened to settlement. The name derived from the “sooner clause” of Proclamation 288 — Opening to Settlement Certain Lands in the Indian Territory, which stated that anyone who entered and occupied the land prior to the opening time would be denied the right to claim land.

The designation “Sooner” initially had a very negative connotation. While “Boomers” were merely expressing “pioneer spirit” in their desire to take and settle formerly Indian territory, Sooners were essentially stealing from other white settlers by cheating on the claim requirements to get better land. However, these negative connotations rapidly cooled as time passed after 1889 and land claims were settled. By the time of statehood, Sooner had become an affectionate term for Oklahomans as a whole with a whiff of rebellion.


Sunday

First American Museum

The State capitols closed, all the benefits of the Bible Belt, so no tour not even a self guided one, so we’ve just added some imported pictures of it.

Oklahoma City seems a tad sparse for tourist attractions on a Sunday. The museum we wanted to visit is closed, well it is Sunday!

Opt for the First Americans Museum which given Oklahoma being the end of the Trail of Tears seems the most appropriate place to visit anyway. It’s not been opened long; amazing architecture, I’m sure King Charles would be amazed; great exhibits and presentation. Makes you appreciate how badly the Indians were treated. Interesting to note that the snowflakes and wokes responsible for the 1619 project overlook the Native Americans in their debates about U.S. history. Virginia Indians tell stories of settlers who would not have survived without their help during the long brutal winter of 1609-10. The natives, including the powerful family confederation of Powhatan and Pocahontas, taught the colonists how to plant food and even traded with them during the initial years of their relationship.

It’s also disturbing to realise that even after the cruelty and horrors of the 19th century Trail Of Tears, the American government were exercising eugenics in our lifetime with forced sterilization performed by the Indian Health Service in the 60s and 70s, the effects of which are still felt within tribes today.

It’s an awesome museum, one of the best I’ve ever been to.

Then it’s onto the The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. It’s also pretty impressive and lots of enjoyable exhibits.

Tea for me tonight is warmed up doggy bag from last night.


Monday

As it’s our first time in Oklahoma, and probably our last, I decided to drive to Wichita via the back roads and hope that we’ll get to see some of Oklahoma. Sadly it’s a lot of nothingness. What did we see along the way, cotton fields, old, rundown towns that make even Belthorn look attractive; nodding donkeys alongside solar panels, and overshadowed by windmills, the old being overtaken by the new. What’s with the snowploughs we keep seeing, Oklahoma will never make it as a ski resort. Then as we leave Oklahoma and head into Kansas it starts to snow, that probably explains why we’ve been seeing so many snowploughs. It chucks it down and being on back roads is not such a good idea in this weather. Thanks to the snow I lose my mobile connection, satnav, lane tracing assist, dynamic radar cruise control and pre-collision emergency breaking. Bloody hell I’m going to have to start driving the car using the steering wheel, accelerator and brakes. All these first world problems.

Bales of cotton.

Well it’s not our first time in Kansas but to be fair we only touched on it in Kansas city back in 2013 so it’ll be good to see more of it. On these back roads it seems very similar to Oklahoma. Lots of nothingness.

Cowboy museum jail

Tea tonight is a burrito from across the road. It’s like a subway for burritos where you select your own contents. Pretty good.

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Not paradise.

The Chisholm Trail was a trail used in the post-Civil War era to drive cattle overland from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads. The trail was established by Black Beaver, a Lenape guide and rancher, and his friend Jesse Chisholm, a Cherokee merchant. They collected and drove numerous cattle along the trail to Kansas, where they could be shipped east to achieve higher prices. The southern terminus was Red River Station, a trading post near the Red River along the northern border of Texas. The northern terminus was a trading post near Kansas City, Kansas. Chisholm owned both of these posts. In the years of the cattle drives, cowboys would drive large herds from ranches across Texas to the Red River Station and then north to Kansas City.


Tuesday

Wake to a freezing cold but blue sky day, overnight snow.

Have the best breakfast so far this trip, a really good choice.

Sadly there’s not really that much to see in Wichita. It would have been better if we could have gone to the state capital, Topeka, but alas it was too far.

Set off to see the Keeper of the Plains statue. In quite an impressive location, lovely park but oh so cold. The Chisholm trail seems to feature a lot around here.

Then drive down to Old Town but typical of most American cities Old Town’s there’s never really anything there, have a drive around.

Then we head to the Wichita and Sedgwick History museum. Only $5 in and to be fair quite interesting. Watched a film on Wichita’s aircraft industry. It seems that the brand new Cessna I had to buy for Stanley Shorrock came from here. Sadly when Shorrock’s were taken over it had to be sold along with a few others.

Wendy then gets her fix with a trip to a Walmart super centre for tonight’s tea. For me it’s a tinned chilli and a Cinnabon cake. Really getting into this American sugar kick with desserts.


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On a summer afternoon in 1968, songwriter Jimmy Webb was driving on a road in Oklahoma. There were no houses along the road, and no trees—just grass in every direction. Next to the road, there were telephone poles. The poles were in a straight line that went all the way to the horizon.
In the distance Jimmy saw a man on a ladder near the top of a telephone pole. He was a lineman. His job was to check the telephone lines to make sure they were OK. At that time, private companies did not own the telephone lines; county governments owned them. So the man was an employee of a county in Oklahoma—he was “a lineman for the county.”

As he got closer, Jimmy could see that the man had a phone in his hand, and he was
talking to someone. What was the man saying? Perhaps he was reporting that there was a problem on the line. Or perhaps he was reporting that the line was OK.
After he drove past the lineman, Jimmy couldn’t stop thinking about the work he did. It was a lonely job, Jimmy thought. What did the lineman think about all day? Maybe he thought about someone he loved. Maybe he thought about the weather. Maybe he worried that next winter a snowstorm could take down some wires. Or maybe he hoped for rain so that he could take a small vacation.

Jimmy wrote a song about the the lineman. Although he had seen him in Oklahoma, Jimmy imagined that the lineman lived in Kansas, near the city of Wichita. He called the song “Wichita Lineman.” The song became famous. It was a big hit for singer Glen Campbell.

Later Jimmy said, “This song is not just about a lineman. It is about anyone who can think about other things while they work—a truck driver, for example, or a farmworker. It is a song about an ordinary person who has extraordinary thoughts.”


Wednesday

Drive to Lincoln Nebraska, our first time in Nebraska, that’s another state off our list, only 4 more to visit to get a full house. It’s below freezing but clear blue skies.

Again a lot of nothingness as we say goodbye to rice in Oklahoma, then cotton in Kansas and now there’s corn fields as far as the eye can see. There’s a distinct lack of originality and imagination in this state as road names are either letters or numbers. Traffic cones are lined up on the sides of the highways, just waiting to be deployed and fulfill their purpose and destiny of traffic chaos.

It seems like we’ve said goodbye to the Chisholm trail and say hello to the Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clerk trail and the Mormon trail. Fence posts are littered with hawks rather than the plastic bags of Oklahoma and Kansas.

Thursday

It’s way below freezing today, so best to stay indoors.

Start with a tour of the Mormon Winter Quarters museum, as with all Mormon tours etc. it’s free and our personal guide is very informative. Never cease to be amazed at how those pioneers pulled those handcarts all the way to Salt Lake, men and women of steel.

Log cabin in the Mormon museum. Just look at those corner joints.

Then we go to the Spirit of Nebraska Wilderness and Pioneer Courage Park. The statues are amazing, but it’s oh so cold.

With a windchill of 19F / -7C time to try a root beer float from a traditional soda fountain at long last. Interesting choice as I don’t like root beer, but my great friend and guru Hal, rest his soul, always told me I really should try one. Hal, you were so right they are good.

Friday

Way below freezing again so the plan for the day is to stay indoors again.

First stop is the state capitol where we get a personalised tour. Very interesting although Wendy thinks he goes into too much detail. Wendy’s idea would be just a 5 minutes tour, running if necessary. For a state capitol it is a very unusual building with a 14 story tower that can be seen for miles around. The first floor is like a dismal dungeon from hell, expect a vampire to pop out any moment. The 2nd floor is very impressive with an amazing mosaic floor, wall murals and vaulted ceiling with murals. This capitol is unique in that it is the only – unicameral state – just a house and no senate, although the 49 representatives are called senators.

Then we set off to the history museum but give it a miss. Wendy’s had enough history for one trip, so we set off to the Pioneer Park where there’s allegedly a herd of buffalo and nature centre. The place is deserted and the “small herd” consists of 4 buffalo asleep on the prairie.

Call at a Hy-Val supermarket for some excitement., has to be one of the most impressive supermarkets in America we’ve been to. Wow, they sell Hofbrau original and get a Basil Haydn Red Wine Cask Finish Bourbon, that’s a new one to try.

Overall Lincoln has to be the most disappointing place we’ve been to, not help by the cold weather, I have to prise Wendy out of the car each time.

At long last I get to try IHOP’s Jaelapeno burger for tea. What an over priced disappointment that was. I think I’ll reserve any visit to IHOP for a sugar fix with there pancakes and french toast.

First wife giving a hand pulling the handcart. 2nd wife tagging along.



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Nattering again, old style.

Atop the 400 foot tower of the Nebraska State Capitol stands a figure casting the seeds of life to the winds….the Sower. The statue of the Sower, modeled after the traditional method of hand sowing grain for planting, is a symbol of the importance of Agriculture to the development of civilization. Agriculture is the foundation upon which Nebraskans have built a noble life.
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20221105 – Arkansas and Hot Springs National Park with no Civil War from the back seats of the car.






Saturday

Up early to take the kids to the airport. Then pick up a Turo Toyota Corolla, but sadly the USB port doesn’t work so the Car Play doesn’t work and that an essential for our 4,000 mile road trip. Pedro takes us to Toyota to try and get it fixed and after a 2.5 hour wait they confirm the USB is faulty and they’ll have to order a part which won’t arrive until Monday. As you can imagine I’m totally pissed off.

Pedro offers to let us have a Toyota Camry that is being returned tomorrow, for the same price as the Corolla, I ask him to drop it off for 08:00 tomorrow.

Use the corolla to get home.

It’s a very quiet night in with no rug rats running wild or at war with one another.

Sunday


Continuing our Turo saga Pedro drops off the Toyota Camry. Its a lovely car so much bigger and more comfy than the Corolla. It’s great to drive as it has adaptive convoy style cruise control and auto central lane control, makes driving so much more pleasant.

We set off on the first leg of our 4,000 mile road trip to visit Oklahoma, no idea why as everyone laughs when we mention it, also include Nebraska, two out six states we’ve never been to. Also include Hot Springs National Park, another first for us. First stop will be Tallahassee. We’ve been there before so it’s just an overnight stop. Hotel room is

Visited this last time we were here.


Some interesting food offerings on the way include Camel Jerky, Goat Jerky and Moonshine Jelly (that was really tempting). Then we come across the National Peanut Festival.

The hotel has an Applebees attached, so we risk it for dinner. Problem is not only is the hostess as rough as a badgers arse, the tables are sticky and even the floor is that sticky that it’s like wading through treacle. When the hostess finally deigns to welcome us she informs us that there’s a 30 minute wait – as you can probably imagine we vote with our feet.
Let’s try the Olive Garden, we can walk to it. There’s a 45 minute wait for a table and the car parks littered with patient Americans. Having just survived 17 days of Disney queues you’d think this would be a doddle, but we vote with our feet.

End up walking to MacDonalds where Wendy is proudly offered a luke warm tea with half and half, sacrilege and a sin punishable by a severe lecture on how to serve tea. Cold latte machine is not working, but by now we’re totally brassed off and would gladly eat a fur sandwich.

Get to start watching “House of the Dragon” on my iPad.

 

 

This is how it should be done.

What is it with the American obsession of restaurants and their “Wait to be Seated” and Hostesses who really don’t want to be disturbed by you or welcome you. Americans seems quite content with patiently waiting and being grateful for the privilege.


Monday

Up at the crack of sparrows, a legacy from the grandkids and Disney.

Civil Rights museum

Can you believe it there’s no breakfast. The staff haven’t turned up. Seems a regular event judging by some of the comments. A Great start to the day. So what are you going to do about it …. Nothing was the reply it’s only complementary. …. No we’ve paid for it in the price ! You will have to speak to the manager was her reply, ok we will speak to him …. Sorry you can’t he’s not in today . …. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

Phone him and leave a message asking for a full refund – punitive damages. Of course, being an incompetent waste of oxygen, he fails to return my call. Time to get onto Booking.com for a refund.

But every cloud has a silver lining. Call at IHOP for breakfast. First time there. Wow what a great junk food place it was, haute cuisine at its best. We’ll be going to a few more of these on this trip. Wendy was not so impressed, no appreciation of the finer things in life.

Set off to Birmingham Alabama. It’s another very pleasant 5 hour drive with no hold up and interesting and relatively quiet roads and inter-state. This Toyota Camry is great to drive. You can tell you’re in the bible belt when you see signs like “Go to church or the devil will get you” and just in case you need god there’s a church every two miles.

Hotel in Birmingham is a Best Western. Very comfortable and great suite. Let’s hope there’s breakfast.

Dinner consists of a Subway. Would have been a Taco Bell for me but web site decided it didn’t want to show me pictures of there food, so voted with my feet.

Tuesday

Up early and yes there’s breakfast. Not bad either, scrambled eggs and sausage. Pass on the biscuits and gravy, need to summon up the courage for that one morning as it seems the staple diet of all Americans.

We’ve been to Birmingham before but the Civil Rights museum was closed on Sundays and Mondays as tourists never go anywhere on a Monday. Museum is interesting and very well done, even if the staff are over officious, must have a toilet brush up their rectums and need to justify their existence. Do a civil rights walk around the landmarks. What a depressing run down area it’s in. It’s quite shocking to realise that all of the civil rights abuses, despite supreme court rulings, were carried out in our lifetime – unbelievable. And now we have the reaction to that era with the woke snowflakes whining, the cancel culture, DEI and 1619 project.

Decide to have a coffee whilst we plan what to do with the rest of the day. Try two cafes and neither of them sell coffee. Must be the only two un- American cafes in the country. Do they not realise this is America and coffee is the National drink.

That’s all soon over so what to do for the afternoon. Well we could go to the American Village, it had a great Oval Office and colonial style village with characters in period dress, but turns out we’ve been there back in 2013. We could go to Vulcan Park, but again we’ve been there and done that. Decide to go to the Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. Wendy has her picnic there, despite being consumed by NoSeeUmms. It’s interesting to explore the museum and view the ironworks etc.

Mongolian combo for tea tonight followed by quiet, alcohol free, evening in watching Netflix. It seems the hotels Wi-Fi overrides my DNS settings.

Moral of todays excursion is review my blog to see where we’ve been before – see http://blogs.4uand.me.uk/2013/05/20130429-wendy-in-the-oval-office/.

 

 
Why are American toilets designed for peeping Toms and perverts with there gaps around doors etc so anyone can see you on the throne? Surely a simple “Occupied” slider would be less intrusive.


Wednesday

Set off for our longest drive from Birmingham to Little Rock. That’s 4 states Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. A nightmare journey see rants below. Starts with low tyre pressure warning.

After +8 hours, and a terrifying drive on the interstates around Little Rock we finally get to our hotel.

Tea tonight is a trip to Wholefoods for soup and cheesecake.

Excitement mounts as we start watching the crown.

 

 
DDSS Daily Dose of Sublime Stupidity

What is it with American air pumps. Firstly you have to pay but there’s no pressure gauge to pump up to the right pressure. Instead there’s an obliging but ridiculous picture of how your tyres should look when at the right press, very scientific – unbelievable. How can you determine pressure with any accuracy. Instead Wendy sits in the car shouting out the pressure readings from the dashboard. What happens if you’re on your own or your car doesn’t have tyre pressure readout. Then to add insult to injury the nozzle lets out more air than it puts in, so actually fix one tyre but make another worse.

2nd Dose of DDSS

20 minute tailback. Why? Because some numpty road worker has left a “Right Lane Close Ahead” sign on the hard shoulder so everyone’s moving over causing a major traffic jam on the 2 lane interstate, when there is no lane closure. One guy has the right idea though as he skateboards down the hard shoulder – only in America.


Thursday

Yes, there’s breakfast.

Set off to Hot Springs National Park. It’s amazing who you bump into on road trips, this morning we hear from our friends Helen and George (who we met in Park City several years ago ) that they are staying in the area . Turns out that Helen and George are in the area so we agree to meet for lunch. What a coincidence. You just can’t go anywhere in this little country without dumping into folk you know.

We have a drive around the mountain in search of the Visitor centre. Most illusive. Turns out to be on the Main Street in one of the bath houses, times are hard, so no sign. Probably due to Covid, seems to be the main excuse for all forms of incompetence and inadequacy these days. Hot Springs National Park not a park like we imagined it’s actually a spa town where people came to take baths in the hot spring waters . Lots of very beautiful old buildings which housed the baths , it was interesting.

Visit the Visitor Centre and explore the bath house exhibit and top up with free spring water – cool. Then take a stroll along the Grand Promenade to see some of the hot springs.

Amazing people come along with containers to top up with free hot Spring water from the taps outside the visitor centre, a bit like Lourdes. Hot Springs NP is certainly different from most NP, it seems the whole town with its multiple old bath houses is the NP. Interesting, all from a different era.

Meet Helen and George and their friends. Have a long chin wag, must be 3 years since we’ve seen them so a lot to catch up on and a lot of the World to put right. Then we go to lunch at an Irish Pub. It was great to meet up with them and their friends Rita and John for Lunch in Hot Springs.

Drive up to the watch tower for awesome views over Arkansas and then take a drive back, along the back roads to avoid that demmic interstate. Visit a massive Kroger for some vitals then back to the hotel for a quiet night in watching the Crown – what party animals we are.


Friday

Explore Little Rock today. Start off with a tour of the State Capitol building. It’s empty so we’re left towander around with a self guided tour book.

Then it’s off to the Clinton Presidential Library. Greedy buggers charge for entry but despite being a democratic president it’s very interesting and well done. Never realised what a landslide victory he had.

It seems like Little Rock is named after some Little Rock’s on the side of the Mississippi River so off I go to see them, Wendy stays in the car, it’s too cold.

Came across this potential junk food, banana water pudding, in Kroger today so just had to try it. Even I have to admit it was just too creamy, sweet and sickly – gross.

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20221024 – More Park Trips. 17 days, will we survive.

Busy, busy, busy so no time for sick humour, religion or rants on this blog and an extended one to cover the rest of our time in the parks.


Monday

Up and out early, usual drill, this time we’re off the Universal Studios.

The parks not crowded, apparently Florida rug rats have gone back to school. Not long queues for the rides and there’s a great area for kids to play in with climbing frames and ball parks. Of course we have to do the ET ride.

The Bourne Identity stunt show is very impressive.

Back home by 16:30 for some pool time for the kids and some beer (Pilsner Urquell one of the very few decent beers sold in this brewers wasteland) and wine for the adults.

Tuesday

No parks today so we get a lie in. K&F are having a day at the mall – can you believe it?

No mall for Wendy, I’d rather spend a day in a supmarket with Wendy. Instead we take the grandkids to play crazy golf. Jasper loves it; Beatrix is ok but gets too hot; Esther has a meltdown for no apparent reason and throw her dummy in a swamp.

Then it’s an evening in with no alcohol and kids running riot.

 

 
Esther, just three years old and she takes an iPad to the toilet with her!


Wednesday

Up at the crack of sparrows yet again but Animal Kingdom doesn’t open until 09:00. Could have had a lie in.

Safari is the first and best ride of the day. Then have a good day around the park. Hot and humid. As always the kids enjoyed it.

Thursday

It’s Universal Islands of Adventure today. Hot and humid, draining. Wendy and I don’t do many rides as were tending the girls while the kids do the white knuckle rides. Take them to most of the kiddy rides and shows. Kids and grandkids enjoy it but for us it has to be the worst park and we’re not looking forward to a second visit. We finally escape by 16:00, totally drained. Then it’s the journey from hell home in rush hour traffic with the satnav taking on a hellish magical mystery tour.

Rug rats run riot after tea. A pity my hearing aids are working.

A quiet no alcohol evening in catching up with Outlander.

 

 
The traffic lights around here are a nightmare. You could die of old age just waiting for them to turn green. Traffic is just hell on earth. How do they cope with this daily hell. This has to be the worst city we’ve ever endured. Never again.


Friday

Usual crack of sparrows ordeal.

Off to Epcot for the day. Wendy and I are doing a leisurely stroll around the lands sans grandkids. It’s hot and humid. The rest meet up with Rachael and do their own thing with the kids.

Finish at lunch time for a change. Traffic is so much better. Then a leisurely afternoon while Wendy and Fiona go for a shopping trip in hell at Walmart – that’s what you get when you don’t wear your pyjamas to Walmart along with the crazy people.

Kurt, Jasper and I set off to the train station to catch a free train to a a basketball game. Traffic is the usual hell and just to make life even more miserable and difficult all the roads around the train station are closed off due to a Halloween street party. End up parking on a street.

It’s our first basketball game. Orlando Magic at the Amway Centre in Orlando. Certainly fast moving and not boring. Great stadium and junk food. Finally get a decent hot dog with all the trimmings and a soft pretzel, can’t believe how much salt there is on it. I love salt but I needed at least 10 of the $5.50 bottles of water – can you believe that price.

 

 
You’re probably wondering what’s this photo for? Well look closely and observe. Yes, both shoelaces are undone and he’s a teenager. Care to guess his occupation? Simple, he’s one of those 10 year old moronic programmers I keep ranting on about who has no common sense and is incapable of tying his own shoelaces. Beware, they shouldn’t be allowed out and certainly not allowed anywhere near a computer.


Saturday

Typhoon lagoon so chance for a lie in.

Hot an and sunny. Can’t cope with sun bathing sit in the shade. Wave pool is ok. And have couple of trips around the lazy river with the kids.

Quiet evening in after Wendy and Fiona Walmart yet again – the super market from hell.

Sunday

3 kids all to ourselves at islands of adventure today. Untold joy. We’re reporting Kurt to the RSPCG. We’re abused grandparents.

Kurt and Fiona get a free day to them selves to ride the white knuckle rides – Fiona birthday present.

I tackle the spider man rides with Jasper just about below my pewk point. Seus land is great for the kids. Then we catch the train over to universal studios. First ride is the Simpson ride with Jasper. Never again for me. Jasper loves it.

Birthday cake for Fiona and donuts for Jasper.

An alcohol free night and some more outlander.

Monday

Crack of sparrows start, then off to Hollywood studios. First stop Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, one of the best rides. Can you believe a 90 minute queue and then it breaks down so turns out 120 minute. Crap customer service with hardly any information on progress and didn’t even inform us when it had been fixed. Not even marks on the wall as to how many minutes from ride. But it is a great ride, well below my pewk point.

The park is heaving with folks, probably because it’s Halloween. Need to fit razor blades to the front of the push chairs, should at least sever the Achilles heels of anyone in the way. On top of the crowds it’s hot and humid, and the queues are horrendous, even for the kiddy rides and shows. Wendy and I settle down for a relaxing coffee while the rest go Mickeys shooting ride. By which time we’ve all had enough and escape at about 14:00.

Kids go trick and treating. Come back with all of two sweets and 25 cents, not exactly an unmitigated success. Mind you on the plus side we have no kids begging at our door.

When they finally get the kids and grandkids to bed we finish off the last of Outlander.

 

 
Outlander has to dispel any theory of American TV being prudish. More sex, nudity and gruesome violence.

Never thought I’d complain about sex scenes but 25% of an episode with a Claire in a languid sex scene, just too long. Then they add her daughter Bree to to the sex scenes and you’ve got the potential for 50% of an episode being taken up with lackadaisical sex scenes – boring – but at least they emphasise their best breast, the right side.


Tuesday

Well Kurt and Fiona need a rest from the parks, the parks, queues, heat and humidity drained them, no stamina. They’re spending a relaxing day at the house with the kids. Wendy and I, the geriatrics, take Jasper to Typhoon lagoon. Have a great time with him, wave surfing, lazy river and water slides. Surprising how exhausting it is but we survive.

Quiet night in. Well never really quiet with the kids around but we just laze around.

Wednesday

Magic kingdom today. Lazy morning, kids enjoy the pool.

Set off in the afternoon. Hot and heaving. Long wait times but kids get quiet a few rides in including Buzz Light year. Wendy and I resort to chai latte’s. Then after pirates of the Caribbean the heavens open up whilst we wait for the enchantment laser and firework show, pretty impressive show just a pity about the boat 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high made of gopher wood floating past. The things you do for kids.

End the night with a well deserved whiskey night cap – Basil Hayden Toast it’s awesome, very mellow.

Thursday

Another lazy morning, kids in the pool and Fiona gets her fix with a walk to Walmart.

After lunch we’re off to Hollywood studios to catch the first l performance of Fantasmic. Watch the Indiana Jones show followed by Mickey’s run away train ride. Then we join the queue for Fantasmic, can you believe the queue extends all the way back to the entrance to the park. What is even more disturbing if the number of adults with no kids who are in the queue, bizarre, must be mentally retarded. Kids must represent about 3% of the audience really in the minority. At least parents have a valid excuse for tolerating this abuse. We start queuing at 17:45 and get in the theatre about an hour later. Then it’s a further wait until the show starts at 20:00.

Friday

Kids chicken out today. No stamina again. So it’s a lazy morning for Wendy and I.

After lunch we take Jasper to typhoon lagoon again. Wendy has to sit out, no bikini, but Jasper and I have a great time in the wave pool, lazy river and on the slides. He’s never any trouble, full of laughter, joy and never shuts up. Loves telling jokes and riddles.

Panda express for tea with a quiet night in while the kids pack ready for leaving tomorrow.

 

 
Well it’s been an exhausting but awesome 17 days and we’ve survived it. How lucky can we be to get to spend such quality time with our kids and grandkids. To see their faces and joy as they meet the characters, enjoy the rides and the shows. To see Jasper skipping ahead with eager anticipation and happiness to get to the water slides will be a memory I’ll never forget. All very expensive but worth it. Such awesome memories.

 

 
Now for the rant. Yes, awesome to spend such great times with the kids but Disney has lost the plot. Rip off $20 per person per day to jump the queues, creating a second class standby customer; the queues were diabolical; parades and shows were all cut back. As for Orlando the traffic and delays at traffic lights were unbelievable. People could die of old age waiting for the traffic lights. Disney never again and Orlando never again, I think we’ve had the best of it in previous years rampant greed has taken over.
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20221017 – Disney here we come.







Monday

Yeah, up at the crack of sparrow ready to “go, go, on an adventure”. Off to Disney world for 17 days with the grandkids and then we have a 5 week road trip to recover.

Airport was amazingly quiet and efficient. Hardly any queues apart from the one caused by good old Virgin being too damn lazy to open up on time. Then we find that because we’re virgin silver we get free fast rack through security. Not aware of that, nor is it on their website, so we’ve paid £10 unnecessarily. Virgin Atlantic SNAFU strike again.

Can’t get in the ?? Lounge so have to settle for the ?? Lounge. Need to book at least 48 hours ahead – Dragon pass useless.

Flights on time. Greeted by flight manageress who suggest we move to the 3 bulk head seats to get even more legroom. All very comfortable with premium economy, as good as the upper class service just misses a bed. Being a flight to Orlando it’s like a flying kindergarten, are there any adults on board? Great flight.

Land on time to 29C and of course it’s humid. 2 minutes to clear immigration. Has to be a new record followed by all luggage within 5 minutes – Manchester airport take note, go learn how it’s done.

Pick the car up at Hertz. Pre-booked a 7 seater SUV, turns out to be a Nissan plastic piece of junk with a miniscule boot. Go to see why my presidents circle membership doesn’t give me a free upgrade to a bigger SUV. Turns out there’s a selection of 7 seaters in the free Presidents circle upgrade selection all with marginally bigger trunks. Still no suburban class but at least I get a state of the art Buick, very nice. Somewhat galling as I’d paid for 7 seater SUV when I could have just paid for a mid size, considerably less, and got the free Presidents circle upgrade.

Drive through the daily monsoon to our Airbnb. All very clean and comfortable but a lot smaller than the photos con you. Great bedrooms and more bathrooms than any mucky person can cope with. I think a 4 star but it’ll do.

Quick trip to Walmart for breakfast essentials including a well deserved wine.

 

 
Fortunately once they close those aircraft doors you leave all the Virgin Atlantic IT and customer services crap behind and you’re ensconced in a world of luxury and pampered with awesome service. What’s more it’s a delight to see how the cabin crew genuinely seem to enjoy their work, nothing too much trouble and always a kind word and a great smile. A credit to some great recruitment selection and awesome training. I’ll say it again, “sack their incompetent IT and customer services senior management and replace them with some cabin crew staff who really understand customer service”.

It’s the little things that matter. Like the air hostess (no doubt that’s no longer politically correct so I’ll take great delight in keeping it alive) who bought me a the last miniature Baron Ottard brandy that I’d been asking her about – a great brandy. Really appreciated that as I was on the wagon because I had to drive.


Tuesday

Walmart – I really applaud their employment of geriatrics (I’m one myself), but a little management and common sense wouldn’t go amiss. Why have an arthritic snail working on checkouts, surely there’s plenty of other faster employees and the snail could be gainfully employed in other less speed demanding areas.

After Walmart we add to the joy with. Visit to Publix and to Wendy’s delight Aldi.

Tea time I’m off to the airport to pick the kids up. Rush hour, it’s a nightmare, and Americans do love their traffic lights.

Kids are all tired after a long day starting at 03:00, but they’re here now and that’s all behind them.

 

 
Awesome as the grandkids run across the airport atrium to greet me. They’re so excited.


Wednesday

Woken at 06:30 by three excited grandchildren and so the magic begins.

Off out by 09:00 to start at the Magic Kingdom. You forget how many steps there are to get there. Drive; queue to pay $25 for car park; tram to transit centre; ferry boat to the entrance and then we’re there.

It’s iguana dropping out trees weather. I thought Florida was supposed to be warm. We all really screwed up on the clothing today, need to check weather forecasts and dress accordingly. Fortunately by 11:30 the suns out and it’s warm enough.

The park’s heaving and most rides have long wait times. All aggravated by the greed of Disney with their $20 a day lightning pass which makes queue times even longer for those without it.

After a long day we get home about 17:30. All very tired with feet ready to drop off after 6 hours on our feet walking and queueing, but we’ve all had a great time. Just a delight to see the kids faces and share in their excitement.

Thursday

Up at 06:00, out by 07:30 to pick up a free parking pass from P&K and then drive to Hollywood studios. New tactics are arrive early to get closer parking and early benefit of shorter queues.

Jasper, Beatrix, Fiona and Kurt do the slinky roller coaster, despite some heavy trepidation from Jasper. Wendy and I take Esther to the Woody ride, some great shooting from Esther.

Meet P&K and the rest of the kids at the diner. Then we’re off to explore the rest of the park together. P&K and I split off to do Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars. A 50 minute queue but what an awesome ride. Who dreams these up and a low peak limit. The kids and grandkids go off and do their own thing. Meet up again P&K and Kurt and Fiona do the Rocking roller coaster. A pretty full day and awesome day without too many meltdowns.


P&K come round for dinner and a pretty alcoholic evening. Starts with Prosecco, onto red wine and finished off with some Toast whiskey Basil Haydyn, a new offering, very quaffable. Great evening, great company and Kim and I manage to make a great impression on the whiskey. I retire to a sleep of the drunken just.

Friday

Beatrix has been sick in the night so we cancel Typhoon lagoon. How will Kurt cope with a deviation from his precision schedule?

By lunch time Beatrix has perked up and manages a splash in the pool along with Jasper and Esther.

Then we drive down to the boardwalk for a gentle stroll around the lagoon, pleasant and relaxing. Followed by a drive to Disney Springs and a rather stressful stroll around there. It’s heaving and will be avoided in future.

Drop Kims iPad off at Fort Wilderness then it’s home for tea and some refreshing beer and wine.

Saturday

Up at 06:00, out by 08:00 and drive to Epcot. A pretty full day at Epcot until 15:00, manage to do most of the rides, and then we have the joy of a trip to Publix. Yeah, shopping, just what you need after a full day of parks, heat, walking and queuing.

Home for a quick cup of tea, shower and change before setting off to dinner with Kim and Phil at their Winnebago. They also kindly invited the kids and grandkids, but he grandkids get so tired and grumpy that Fiona didn’t want to expose anyone to their meltdowns – Esther had been a nuclear reactor meltdown and nightmare today.

Have pizza, then sit and watch the parade of trick or treaters drive by in their decorated carts and then Phil takes us a drive around the awesome Halloween displays – see photos.

Great evening observing how the Americans do Halloween on a trailer park, as always in a big way. Enjoying yet another aspect of American culture. Incredible.

The pictures don’t really do it justice. You really have to see it to believe it. Yes, that’s a 100 stormtroopers and that’s Jurassic park complete with metal raptor cage and jeep.

A real pity the grandkids couldn’t join us as it would have been awesome for them to see and Phil was very kindly planning on hiring a cart to drive then around in, but they would have probably either been asleep or crankier than a bear with a sore head. Instead Wendy and I had the pleasure of a pleasant adult evening, with great company and no rug rats.

Sunday

Up at 06:00 for the usual drill and get to Epcot for 08:15. Wow, a new record, but worth the effort.

Do World showcase Plant Earth and then Kurt, Fiona and Jasper dash off to do Guardians of the Galaxy. I pass, sound too pewky for my tender constitution.

Then we manage Soaring , followed by a Frozen boat ride and photos with Elsa and Arnia. Wendy and I enjoy the big drumming in Japan and a stroll around Japan. Finally escape for a nice early departure followed by swimming at home.

Somehow K, F and Wendy manage to find an excuse to go to Walmart. Just for a few things, somehow it gets spun out for an hour. Moral of that is never go shopping with Wendy. I get left with the rug rats who gorge themselves out on Oreo’s and crackers. Moral of that is never leave the rug rats with me, I let them have what they want.

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20220923 – Sadly time to go home







Friday

Pretty lazy start to the day as my easy bike ride doesn’t start until 10:00 now that the weathers a tad cooler.

Very easy ride just over an hour, followed by coffee at the Windy Ridge cafe.

Wendy’s at the CC so it’s a relaxing afternoon for me followed by a power walk to meet wendy at 16:00.

After dinner on the deck with the usual deer, Mike picks Wendy up and they go to see Thriller at the Egyptian, along with Carol and Angela, all courtesy of our good friends Ruth and Mark. I pass on it, musicals are not my cup of tea, rather stay home and watch the paint dry. Actually golden opportunity to catch up on “Comey Rules” and some other stuff Wendy detests.

Can’t believe Thriller lasts for 3 hours. Fortunately they all enjoy it. Thanks to Ruth and Mark yet again.

 

 
The latest crazy snowflake fad from California:

California has become the latest state to provide its residents with an eco-friendly, if unorthodox, option for their remains after death: composting.

The process is officially called “natural organic reduction,” and involves “fostering gentle transformation into a nutrient-dense soil, which can then be returned to families or donated to conservation land,” the release explained.
Natural organic reduction is less harmful to the environment than the other two legal options (cremation and burial), according to the release. Burial can allow chemicals to leek into the soil, and cremation requires the burning of fossil fuels and releases carbon dioxide.

According to Recompose’s website, natural organic reduction works much like composting your vegetable scraps does. The body is placed in a vessel along with wood chips, alfalfa, and straw. Over a month, microbes work to break the body down into a cubic yard of soil, which can then be used in a loved one’s garden, or anywhere else.


Saturday

Off clay pigeon shooting with Mike. Wow, I finally seem to get it, 17 out of 25, my highest score yet.

After lunch Wendy and I meet up with Carol at the Deer Valley cafe for coffee and a chance to catch up.

In the evening Mike’s taking us out to dinner at the Blind Dog. We’re a tad sceptical but it turns out to be a great meal, awesome steak and they even have a Fonesca Bin 27 Port, along with great company. Would go there again.

 

 
“The US scrambled an F-15 jet to shoot down an Iranian drone that appeared to be heading towards US forces in Erbil, Iraq, on Wednesday, a US official told CNN.”

When Biden finally manages to find his way off the podium in the UN, learns to count to 3, stops trying to shake hands with invisible persons and stops calling out dead congresswomen, perhaps he will start to realise that Iran really means it when they say they want to kill the Great Satan and abandon negotiations on the Iran deal. They hate you; they can’t be trusted; they are just a bunch of islamic terrorists, when will he get it.


Sunday

Morning spent packing and loading final boxes to go into Mike’s garage lock up.

After lunch drive over to Mike’s for a short walk around his neighbourhood. Explore some of the local paths that Mike’s never been on. After coffee and Wendy pinching his chocolates we say our goodbyes until March next year.

Final Mexican takeaway from Chubasco’s. I have the Sopes but not as good as the ones in San Diego. Stick with the Burrito next year.

 

 
Latest pronouncement from the evil union:

“EU Proposes New Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine Annexation Plan”.

Hells bells, what more does Russia have to do before the EU throws everything at them. Surely on day 1 of the invasion the rest of the civilised world should have thrown every conceivable sanction at them. Pathetic as usual.


Monday

Joy, up at 04:00 for that awful drive down the mountain to SLC arirport. It’s bad enough in daylight but in the dark it’s even more daunting. Drop the Turo off at the economy parking lot. All seems to go very smoothly. Would definitely use Turo again but would go for a more luxurious model. This one was very basic and Wendy was uncomfortable on longer trips. Not impressed with a Honda Civic.

Manage to blag our way into the Delta lounge for free. I think she was overcome with the English accent and the cowboy hat.

TSA crap was fairly quick. You’d think after 21 years we would have got this crap sorted. Just think a 7th century barbaric rag head in a cave brings Western civilisation to this sorry state of affairs at airports.

Comfortable flight, exit row seats, to Atlanta. A few of the stewardess’s actually managed to crack an occasional smile.

Got delta lounge access in Atlanta. Great food and even managed to try a free Old Fashioned. Only had 40 minutes in there but next time I thinks we’ll have our dinner in there rather than airline food, even though the meal onboard wasn’t that bad.

Get settled into our Premium Economy seats. How do we know it’s a Virgin flight and not Delta” Simple the stewardess’s are all smiling, happy and obviously enjoy their job. Very comfortable flight. One sleeping tablet and a couple of wines do the trick, get a good 3 hours kip. Fall asleep with a glass of wine in my hand, thankfully rescued by Wendy, would hate to waste it.

Kurt picks us up. End of an awesome3 months in paradise. Just over 2 weeks and we’ll be back. This time Disney with the kids and grandkids.

 

 
Well I was going to have another Belgian Waffle, here in the Delta lounge, and then I saw a blobby that ginormous he couldn’t even get in one of the chairs. Helped me exercise restraint. Put me off ever eating again. Hope he’s not going to be sat next to me.

For 3 months now not a single upside down black bin liner with a slit in it perambulating around like a Dalek.


Tuesday

 

 
Our road trip plans for our next two adventures.

 

 
“Clarkson expects fans to believe him over Attenborough on climate – he really has lost the plot”

Jeremy Clarkson claims facts broadcast on Frozen Planet II are a ‘joke’, and viewers learn ‘nothing at all’ from the series.

Jeremy finished by saying the only way to make Sir David’s ‘half-arsed twaddle tolerable’ was by drinking a beer every time the emergency was mentioned.

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20220916 – Funeral of our Queen and Charles III finally takes his place







Friday

Up and out for 10:00 to lead an easy bike ride from Windy Ridge bakery, over Park Meadows – the killer hill – down Round Valley and Back along the Rail Trail.

Wendy’s at the CC.

A quiet afternoon in catching up on some reading – Hamilton.

Then it’s the final 3 episodes of 1883. An awesome cowboy series reminds me of my childhood when all that telly had to offer was black and white Western films or series. Makes you appreciate the American gun culture, where it came from and why it will never be eliminated. Great series looking forward to season 5 of Yellowstone and all that awesome scenery.

 

 

 

 


Saturday

Up early for a hike with Mark. Finally crack how to do an easy hike up Skid Row and along Prospector in under 8 miles. Come back down Jeep Trail which turns it into a 3.2 mile / 450 foot elevation well shaded hike. Added to my repertoire.

In the afternoon Wendy and I volunteered for the Hike For Hunger CCPC event up at the Canyons. Wendy made people sign waivers before being allowed on the Gondola – it is America after all. Then she dished out tee shirts to the participants. I was stamping hands to confirm the person was over 21 and could buy alcohol – politics and religion are a lethal combination of stupidity, especially here in Utah. My badge of office for this onerous task was made out of balloons, grapes and a wine glass. Had I known I would have asked for danger money. A fun afternoon with free ice cream – the best coconut ice cream I’ve ever had – along with popcorn, hot dogs and burgers.

Mike joined us on the plaza, can you believe it was the first time he’d ever been up to the canyons. Then Wendy and Mike called for a CHinese takeaway and I had a Mexican from Cafe Rio – not as good as Chubasco’s, tasty but too sloppy.

A Paulaner, Zinfandel and cognac evening watching “The Good Fight” which has truly lost the plot.

 

 
I know I’m getting boring as I say it yet again, how awesome is this place. A great walk with a friend, there’s a balloon festival going on and as I come back there’s a baseball game to stop and enjoy, if only I had the time.

 

 


Sunday

A lazy day with nothing planned. Wendy has the squatters, probably from some dodgy shrimp from the Chinese.

I got up at the crack of sparrows to go and see the Hot Air Balloon fiesta. It was pretty good with even more balloons than the one in Santa Fe. Yet another amazing feature of the paradise known as Park City.

Wendy was still in bed so I made my own bacon and scrambled eggs. Now that’s a first.

Lunchtime I finally conquered PC Hill and down into Round Valley. Sunny but not too hot.

An alcohol-free evening.

 

 


Monday

Start the day off leading an Easy Hike. Fortunately, it’s cool enough now for a 10:00 start so time for coffee and fake news.

Wendy’s at the CC for the day.

Quiet afternoon. Catch up on my blogs and some reading. Still slogging my way through Hamilton and a Quick Review On American Government.

Pick Wendy up from the CC. Get a brand new black Spyder jumper ($99 in the shops) for $10, but as we had a $10 voucher from the Hike From Hunger it cost us nothing. Amazing.

After ribs for tea on the deck, we watch the Queens funeral from beginning to end.

 

 
I barely remember, the street party we had for the Queen’s coronation. We had jelly, a real treat in those post-war days with rationing still in place, and you took your own spoon with coloured cotton around the handle so that you could identify it.

Wow, what an awesome funeral ceremony from beginning to end. A majestic farewell. We, as a Nation do these events brilliantly. Ancient tradition, pageantry, pomp and ceremony to be proud of, what other country has such traditions and can do it anywhere near as well. Not very often do I say it but it does make you proud to be British.

One very trivial aspect absolutely amazed me. The Navy marched under Wellington’s Arch while the Soldiers marched around the outside, clearly a long way around, yet when they came back together they were in line and in step. Awesome.

Such fantastic planning. Everything went perfectly. No mean feat given the scale of the event and the protocols to be observed.

Your Majesty, thank you for your lifelong service.

And now over to King Charles III. Long live the King.

 

 
I see Biden couldn’t be arsed to travel on the bus with other dignitaries. Well thankfully he ended up sitting at the back of the church, serves him right.


Tuesday

An exciting morning as we get our 4th Covid / 3rd booster vaccination. This is the bivalent BA4 and BA5 shot that I’m not sure we are guaranteed in the UK so gone for it here. And yes, it’s free courtesy of our friend’s tax dollars.

It’s a painless experience.

After lunch I go for an easy bike ride with Howard, just 6 miles down the Rail Trail and back.

Watch Outlander in the evening. It’s very bloodthirsty and pornographic. Can’t believe the American Prude Censor has let it go uncensored. There’s hope for this country yet.

As usual, Wendy’s as hot as a depot stove overnight. The typical start of her usual reaction to Covid or Flu jabs.

 

 

 

 


Wednesday

Lazy start to the day, followed by a stroll with Wendy up to the library to return my books – Hamilton now on my Kindle, only a quarter way through it.and then around lunchtime Mike and I take two bikes and 4 boxes of our stuff over to his lockup. It’s massive.

Wendy’s feeling awful, very tired and sickly, courtesy of the booster jab. She spends the afternoon asleep on the settee and doesn’t come for dinner at Windy Ridge with H&N. I go on my own. Have my last Pastrami Reuben but no way is it up to Feldman’s standard.

Home for a pilsner and some awesome Ciroc VS brandy – need to buy a bottle to take home.

 

 

 

 
Muslim publication says ‘Muslims should NOT sing the national anthem’

Faisal Bodi of the Islamic Human Rights Commission says the singing of the national anthem by Muslims is a demeaning act of servility and surrender and should be condemned.

Well if you want my opinion, and even if you don’t, here’s my two pennies’ worth.

Just typical. Well if they don’t want to integrate they should go to a 7th-century barbaric hell hole that has no National Anthem and can accommodate their needs. If you’re struggling with choice then I’m sure Afghanistan will welcome you with welcome arms. Why do people emigrate to a country and then try and turn it into the country they have left. Why not stay put.


Thursday

Christian Centre where Wendy volunteers.

Lazy start. Then I take Mike down to Salt Lake to pick up the new Subaru he’s bought his granddaughter.

Lazy afternoon and then we follow Mike over to his garage to store his Corvette and run him back home.

Beef stroganoff for tea along with an alcohol-free evening.

 

 
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20220909 – Hiking, Biking and having too much fun.







Friday

Thankfully a bit cooler today, mid 70’s, and there’s a breeze.

Off out for a bike ride with Howard up to Snowpark Lodge. The killer ride, it’s uphill all the way to Snowpark, I well remember when Bob led this ride 4 years ago. Will I survive? Miraculously I get to Snowpark and check my watch to see if I’m still alive. Fortunately it’s downhill all the way back and the good news is we’re off to the “No Name Saloon”. What a pair of boozers we must have seemed sat outside waiting for the pub to open.

Have a great Pastrami on rye at the “No Name Saloon”, too good to pass on.

On the way back I call in at the CC to see Wendy. Mike’s left us a present there and it turns out to be a giant Apple Fritter from the garage in Kamas, how awesome is that.

Then it’s a quiet afternoon in reading.

We’re off to TGIF and take Mike with us for his first TGIF. Lot’s of friends and acquaintances there but Wendy’s cold as the patio is in the shade.

Back home early, because it’s so cold, and we have the Moose family around our deck.

 

 

Another one of my junk food delights. Compared to France this country is a proper food haven.

How awesome is it to have a friend who will get up at the crack of sparrows to go and get a giant, wow is it big, apple fritter from the garage in Kamas, all because he knows it something I’ve been wanting to try. It’s the very same garage I called into yesterday and laughed when they said I’d have to be there around 06:00 to get one.

This place and the people here are awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Saturday

Off clay pigeon shooting with Mike and Maryann.

Then back home for a trip to Smiths.

Mark and Ruth come round for dinner on the patio, a very relaxing evening with ribs, wine and great company.

 

 

 

 


Sunday

Early (09:30) hike with Mark around that trail off Morning Star Drive to see if it’s any good for a easy hike. Apart from trespass (miserable gets – needs a mass trespass) sign it’s a rough and over grown hike not up to easy hike standards.

After lunch we drive over Guardsmen Pass to Brighton, down Big Cottonwood Canyon and then up Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Oktober Fest at Snowbird. It’s packed and inundated with food stalls. I think we’ll give it a pass in further years.

Dinner on the deck with the Deer and then a quiet alcohol free night in binging out on The Good Fight on Paramount Plus.

 

 

 

 
Let’s not forget what happened on that terrible day and lets not forget the so called region, Islam, that was behind it. Not a religion, but rather a 7th century barbaric vile ideology of hatred and ambitions of World domination. A religion of pieces and permanent offence. If you ever doubt what Islam strives for then look at life in Afghanistan to see their end goal. This could be coming to a town near you in the not too distant future if we don’t remain vigilant.

https://www.prageru.com/video/what-happened-on-9-11?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_5057195


Monday

Up early to lead a hike around Snowtop. My favourite hike, the views from the very top give an awesome 360 degree of PC and the mountains.

Wendy’s at the CC. Pick her up with the usual supply of food and cakes.

Hiking with this beautiful gentle wolf.

Mike pops round to drop off another of those awesome apple fritters. That’s my diet gone for a ball of chalk, I just can’t resist them.

An alcohol free night with the Good Fight and make a start on 1883.

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.prageru.com/video/a-short-history-of-slavery?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_5150422


Tuesday

Apple fritter for breakfast, a great way to start the day.

Rain is forecast and it’s a lot cooler so delay my bike ride with Mike until 10:30. We have a ride down to Cupola Cafe for a coffee, great down hill ride then it’s the long slog back up against the wind.

In the afternoon we pop round to Walgreens to book our free, 5th covid booster, courtesy of the American taxpayer. It’s the new bivalent one, whereas in England they are not using the bivalent vaccine yet.

Mike and Betti come round for dinner, complete with spätzle. Plenty of wine, some bourbon and finish the day off with that amazing baked cheesecake from Wholefoods, courtesy of the CC.

 

 
King Charle 3rd is obviously very much in the news. But being here in paradise hiking and biking got me thinking how much luckier I am than Charlie. He doesn’t get to spend all this amazing time here in paradise with friends hiking and biking. How lucky can we be.

 

 

 

 
Wacko:

The world’s only asparagus fortune teller believes King Charles III will hand over the crown to Prince William next year.

‘Asparamancer’ Jemima Packington predicted the Queen’s death when she saw a broken crown in her spears, and now thinks King Charles will abdicate in the next 12 months.


Wednesday

A rainy day. Nothing planned. We step out for a short walk around the neighbourhood and it immediately starts raining. Hunker down for the day with Kindle. Make some inroads into the 700+ pages of “Hamilton”.

An alcohol free night with “1883” and “The Good Fight”.


trivia header

 
Just love this statement of aggression:

“I’m looking for a reason? Do you want to be my reason?”.

 

 
Finally reach my target weight 175lbs. That was relatively easy with the diet. Worse bit is no alcohol. Wendy says I shouldn’t loose any more as I’ll look gaunt and old. But I am old.

 

 
Illegal Immigration:

https://www.prageru.com/video/who-cares-about-illegal-immigration?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_5053726

2 million illegals a year into the USA and we think we have problems with 30,000 a year.

Meanwhile we have to leave after 90 days. I think the government is frightened we’ll spend too much money.


Thursday

Lazy start then off bowling with Mike.

In the afternoon Wendy and I did a stroll down the rail trail.

Evening was more of 1883 and some Zinfandel and Bourbon to make up for all the alcohol free days.

 

 

 

 
I don’t believe it.

Thérèse Coffey, our new Health Secretary has been told to fix the NHS, but first she needs to fix the Department of Health’s grammar.

A style guide issued to civil servants working with the new health secretary warns them to keep briefings to two pages, shun jargon, and “avoid Oxford commas”. Department of Health staff are also told to “avoid jargon, legalistic or ‘policy wonk’ ” and “don’t copy and paste Word documents onto slides” in the new instructions.

Our NHS is totally screwed up and this zounderkite is obsessed with the use of Oxford commas, wasting her energy on this tripe rather than fixing the problems. Bear in mind 90% of the adult population haven’t a clue what the Oxford comma is.

Should be sacked for crass stupidity. Not fit to empty a bed pan.

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