Brutal Heat

 Posted by at 1:00 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 152024
 

We’re experiencing a brutal heat wave here in west central Alabama. The high temperature yesterday was 88° with a heat index of 93, and according to the weatherman, it’s going to get worse. Next week it looks like daily temperatures will be close to the triple digits, and that doesn’t factor in the high  humidity!

I have used the time to get a lot of writing done, turning out just under 3,500 words in my new Tinder Street book on Thursday.

However, yesterday was not a writing day because I had a lot of other things to do. One was quite a bit of research on the Women Air Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II. These were the women that volunteered to fly airplanes from factories to military bases, test fly airplanes after they were repaired, and tow aerial targets for live fire gunnery practice. Last week I mentioned a great book called The Women With The Silver Wings about these brave Americans who battled not only the challenges of flying everything from fighter aircraft to huge bombers, but also a lot of prejudice from men who didn’t believe women belonged in the cockpits of airplanes. That wasn’t just the mindset of the military. At one time the government did not want women to be allowed to fly during their menstrual cycle because the loss of blood might make them lightheaded. It didn’t take long to shoot that idea down, fortunately.

We also had some deliveries arriving yesterday, including two tires for the Husqvarna riding lawnmower. I mentioned last week that we had a tire I couldn’t repair, and buying one locally was ungodly expensive. For what any of the local shops wanted for just a tire and then for mounting it on my rim, I was able to buy two tires already on rims from Amazon. Someone had suggested putting foam in the tires, but of all of the shops I talked to locally, only one had ever heard of it, but they didn’t do it.

Another delivery was a Gamma2 dog food storage container. It holds up to 50 pounds of dry dog food, but actually has a smaller footprint than the big bags of dog food I’ve been buying for Alli. And because it has a screw top lid, it keeps the food fresh, and ants and other critters from getting to it.

One problem we have purchasing online here is that Amazon sends everything they can by way of the post office. However, depending which mail carrier is on the job, sometimes they will not deliver anything large. For example, I ordered an aluminum alloy snake grabber, which weighs almost nothing, and it was supposed to come on Wednesday. But we had a different driver on Wednesday, and she will not bring anything that doesn’t fit in the mailbox. So I had to go to the post office to pick up the snake grabber. Our regular driver, who was on duty yesterday, brought the tires, which were in a big box and much heavier, and drove up the driveway to drop them off.

I got the snake grabber because this area is full of snakes, including venomous copperheads, cottonmouth water moccasins, and rattlers. So far, I haven’t seen anything dangerous on the property but I know they’re around and I want to be able to deal with them.

Like several German shepherds I have had, Alli is prone to carsickness. So occasionally I take her with me on short drives, stopping to let her out for a break before we come back home. I did that when I went to the post office, and she loves sitting in the passenger seat of the Pacifica, looking at the world going by. Unlike other dogs I have known, she doesn’t want the window down so she can stick her head out. I think maybe the noise of the wind scares her. I let her out to do some sniffing when I got to the post office, then put her back inside the van and turned off the engine and locked the doors with her in it. Then I used the remote starter on the key fob to turn it back on. That keeps the air conditioning running, but locks the gear shift so nobody can get in the van and drive away with it, and Alli can’t accidentally turn the knob to put it in gear. I wouldn’t do that for very long, especially in hot weather, but it was just a quick trip in and out, no more than two minutes total. She did fine going and coming, and I’m hoping as I continue taking her on short rides like that she will eventually build up more of a tolerance and not get sick.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a big one, a Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader with a 6.8” display, adjustable warm light, up to 10 weeks of battery life, and 20% faster page turns than previous models.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – A mind without a challenge is a dangerous thing.

Marblehead Lighthouse

 Posted by at 12:25 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 142024
 

Here’s another blog from our days as fulltime RVers.

Standing regally on a point of land at the entrance to Ohio’s Sandusky Bay, Marblehead Lighthouse has guided ships and sailors safely along the rocky shoreline of Lake Erie for nearly 185 years. Noted for its beauty by artists and photographers, this grand old structure is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes, its beacon shining since 1822. Today the lighthouse, still in service, is the focal point of Marblehead Lighthouse State Park.

Marblehead Lighthouse came into being after Congress recognized the need for navigational aids along the Great Lakes and appropriated $5,000 for its construction in 1819. At that time, it was only the second lighthouse to be built on the American side of Lake Erie. Throughout the entire Great Lakes region, only a handful of lighthouses existed.

William Kelly and a crew of two men began construction of the tower on an outcropping of limestone on the northern tip of the Marblehead Peninsula in 1821. Construction progressed rapidly, and the project was completed in just eleven weeks. The base of the 50-foot tall tower measured 25 feet in diameter, with five-foot thick walls; the top tapered to 12 feet in diameter with walls two feet thick. The lighthouse’s inner walls were made of clay brick, while the outer walls were constructed of limestone quarried nearby on the peninsula. This region of Ohio was noted for its limestone and would later supply the stone used to build another famous landmark, the Empire State Building, in New York City. The total cost for the project was $7,232.

Originally known as the Sandusky Bay Light until the name was changed in 1870, it was the only navigational aid in the Sandusky Bay region for many years. A Revolutionary War veteran, Benajah Wolcott, was appointed as the first lightkeeper. One of the first settlers on the peninsula, Wolcott and his family lived in a small limestone home on the Sandusky side of the peninsula. The home is the oldest known residence still standing in Ottawa County, Ohio. Today, the Keeper’s House serves as a museum for the Ottawa County Historical Society.

Each night, Wolcott’s duties required him to light the 13 whale oil lamps that provided the light, which was projected by 16-inch reflectors of cut glass. Wolcott also kept a record of ships that passed, noted weather conditions, and organized rescue efforts when needed.

When Wolcott died in 1832, after ten years of service, his wife Rachel took over his duties, making her the first female lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes. Thirteen more individuals would serve as keeper at Marblehead over the next century, including another woman, Johanne McGee, who held the post from 1896 to 1903.

In 1858, a Fresnel lens made of crystal and measuring five feet in diameter was installed in the lighthouse. The lens gave the beacon the equivalent of 330,000 candles. Another 15 feet was added to the lighthouse in 1903, bringing Marblehead to its present height of 65 feet. A rotating grandfather clock-like mechanism with weights in a large pipe in the center was installed to rotate the lantern, creating the appearance of a brilliant flash of light every 10 seconds. This system required the lighthouse keeper to crank the weights to the top of the weight mechanism every three hours through the night to keep the lantern turning. The lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1923.

A lifesaving station was built a half-mile west of the lighthouse in 1876. A local man named Lucien Clemons, who, with his two brothers, saved two sailors from death following a shipwreck off the peninsula on May 1, 1875, was named the first station commander. In 1880, the lighthouse keeper’s quarters was moved to a wooden frame home in a more convenient location next to the lighthouse.

During World War II the lighthouse became strategically important for national defense. The last civilian lighthouse keeper, Edward Herman, resigned in 1943 after ten years of service, and the United States Coast Guard assumed responsibility for the beacon. Marblehead’s beacon was automated in 1958, making the Coast Guard’s job easier. Time and Lake Erie’s harsh weather had taken their toll on the lighthouse, and the exterior of the tower was given a fresh coat of new stucco the same year.

In 1972 the Ohio Department of Natural Resources took over responsibility for the property surrounding the lighthouse. In January 1997, Marblehead’s tower and the small plot of land surrounding it were declared surplus property by the Coast Guard, and the state of Ohio took ownership of the Marblehead Lighthouse tower in 1998. The Coast Guard continues to operate and maintain the lighthouse beacon. Today a 300mm lens projects a green signal that flashes every six seconds, and is visible for eleven nautical miles. The distinctive green distinguishes the lighthouse signal from white lights coming from air beacons.

The Marblehead Lighthouse State Park is open daily from dawn to dusk. Tours of the lighthouse are held Monday through Friday, from 1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. from May through August. Tours are also held the second Saturday of the month from June through October. Sixty-seven spiral stairs lead to the top of the lighthouse, where visitors are treated to spectacular views of Sandusky Bay, Marblehead, and the Lake Erie Islands.

The Marblehead Lighthouse can be reached by taking State Route 2 to State Route 269 (the Lakeside-Marblehead exit) and following Route 269 until it ends at State Route 163. Turn right and drive through the Village of Marblehead to the tip of the peninsula. Just past the Russian Orthodox Church on the left, you’ll see the sign for the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. Parking is limited to automobiles only, there is no room for RVs to park at the lighthouse.

After 187 years, Marblehead’s faithful beacon continues to shine, protecting boaters from danger on Lake Erie’s unpredictable waters and along her rocky shores. The next time you visit northern Ohio, stop in at Marblehead and visit this historic lighthouse.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a big one, a Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader with a 6.8” display, adjustable warm light, up to 10 weeks of battery life, and 20% faster page turns than previous models.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – I got a new phone today. My old one failed the swimming test.

Calendar Challenged

 Posted by at 12:35 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 132024
 

I always tell people that I’m not short and fat, I’m  vertically challenged and horizontally enhanced. But it turns out I might also be calendar challenged, because today is Thursday. Which is the day I normally start our weekly free blog drawings. But in yesterday’s (Wednesday) blog, I said it was Thursday and started the new drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader a day early. Either you’re all calendar challenged, too, because nobody mentioned it, or it didn’t matter. Either way, it is what it is, and the drawing will still be on Sunday evening. Unless it’s Saturday or Monday. 😊

Yesterday we were back at the Spine Center for Terry to get nerve blocking shots in her neck. She says she’s not hurting as bad, so we’ll see how things go.

As for me, after I got the nerve block in my lower back on Monday I felt great! They hope to get 80% reduction in pain, and I would say it was well over 90%. However, during the evening I had a sneezing fit and I managed to throw out a rib. That hurts like hell! I guess I traded one kind of pain for another. It’s always something isn’t it?

After Terry’s procedure, we went to Los Tarascos Mexican restaurant in Northport. We have eaten at the one in Tuscaloosa a couple of times and really enjoyed it, but at this location we both agreed it wasn’t good enough that we want to go back again.

then we made a stop at Walmart to pick up a few things and fill the gas tank on the Pacifica, we came home, where Alli and the cats were happy to see us.

In other news, the other day Terry finished editing and proofreading six more chapters of my new Tinder Street book, and after I made her corrections, I sent them off to Judy and Roberta for them to go through. Since the weather is going to be in the 90s for at least the next week, with heat indexes close to 100°, I won’t be doing much outside. Hopefully I can use the time to get a lot more writing done.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a big one, a Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader with a 6.8” display, adjustable warm light, up to 10 weeks of battery life, and 20% faster page turns than previous models.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. Would somebody make up their mind!

Thought For The Day – Not my circus, not my monkeys. But I definitely know the clowns.

Jun 122024
 

Miss Terry always says she loves me because I make her laugh and I let her cry. It took me a long time to figure all that out, but then I realized that when I get out of the shower at night, she looks at me and laughs. And when she wakes up in the morning and I’m still there beside her in bed, she cries😊

We’ve definitely had our share of laughs over the years, and there’s not much I like more than putting a smile on my pretty lady’s face. Let me give you an example.

On Monday morning, Doctor Thomason at the Spine Center gave me a series of nerve blocking injections in my back, and I have to say, I felt amazing when I walked out of there. I still do, even after being on the tractor mowing for an hour or so yesterday afternoon. I know the nerve blocks are not a permanent solution to my back issues, but it sure is nice to be able to sit down or stand up, or do much of anything else without wincing in pain.

After we were done with that, we stopped for lunch at the Shrimp Shack in Tuscaloosa, and on the way home we needed to pick up some things at the grocery store. Terry has her share of back pain, too, as well as neck pain, and both were acting up. So while I was in the checkout line, she went out to wait in the van and get the air conditioning going to cool it down.

When I came out with the shopping cart I walked up to the back of our Chrysler Pacifica and opened the tailgate to start putting the groceries in. That’s when the man behind the wheel said, “Hello?” For a minute there I thought Terry had finally had enough of my nonsense and replaced me. Then I realized it wasn’t our van after all, but one that looked just like it.

Meanwhile, Terry was sitting behind the wheel of our van watching me in the rearview mirror one lane over, laughing so hard she had tears running down her cheeks. She said she honked the horn to get my attention, but there are always horns honking in parking lots, and who listens to them? It was a long walk from that man’s van to ours, feeling him staring at me all the way. I can’t imagine the story he told his friends and family when he got home.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a big one, a Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader with a 6.8” display, adjustable warm light, up to 10 weeks of battery life, and 20% faster page turns than previous models.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – When you truly don’t care what anyone thinks of you, you have reached a dangerously awesome level of freedom.

Jun 112024
 

In my last Newspaper Days blog, titled The Pecking Order, I wrote about a U.S. senator who paid us a visit when he was making a run for the presidency. While we didn’t hear from candidates for the highest office in the land every four years, local politicians did seek me out. But usually only at election time.

Being a small town newspaper publisher sometimes means you make enemies in high places, even if they are just local high places. Especially if you have a reputation for stepping on toes that need stepped on or reporting when some politician’s hand was caught in the cookie jar, or under his secretary’s skirt. Yeah, I was that kind of newspaper publisher. So it was no surprise to me that, for the most part, people in local and county government avoided me whenever possible.

Except for election time. I once wrote an editorial in my newspaper about how I sometimes felt like Cinderella wearing her glass slippers to the ball. Because even though the office of the accounting business that our mayor owned was next door to my newspaper, he seldom spoke a word to me, and if he saw me coming, he was always too busy to talk. Depending on what I had written in that week’s editorial, sometimes he ignored me completely.

In the same editorial, I said that more than one town councilman or county supervisor went the other way in the grocery store when they saw me coming down the aisle toward them with my cart, and the school superintendent refused to ever take my telephone calls.

All except during election years. During the last couple of months before the election, they all wanted to take me to dinner, invite me to lunch, or just drop by to chat. And, of course, those chats always revolved around what a good job they were doing and how my newspaper should support them in their bid for reelection. As I said in the editorial, I might be Cinderella right now, but come midnight on Election Day, I knew I would once again be the stepchild nobody wanted anything to do with.

But as I wrote back then, that was only a few weeks every two years and I could handle their pompous asses that long. The rest of the year, they left me alone, which gave me more time to concentrate on being a thorn in their sides. Or a pain in their posteriors.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. Thanks anyway, Home Depot, but there are some things I can do on my own..

Thought For The Day – A smart person knows what to say, a wise person knows whether to say it or not.

We Already Knew That

 Posted by at 12:38 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 102024
 

Thank you to the people who made blog comments, wrote on Facebook, or sent me e-mails hoping my eye was going to be okay and there was no serious damage to it after I poked it with the pair of scissors on Friday. By the time I woke up yesterday, it was still very red but not as sore. It just felt like I had some grit in my eye, and I kept putting drops in all day long. By evening it was still not perfect, but much better.

Three different people who wrote blamed Miss Terry for what happened and said she should know by now that I need adult supervision at all times. One actually said he believed there was probably a case for idiot neglect on her part.

We already knew that I need adult supervision, but in Terry’s defense, she can’t be everywhere all the time. Occasionally she needs to sleep or go to the bathroom, and just like having a pet monkey in the house, it doesn’t take me long to get into mischief. Did she say monkey or ape? Either way, you get my drift.

In other news, I wrote about 2,500 words in my new Tinder Street book yesterday and then printed out six or seven more chapters for Terry to edit and proofread before I send them off to Judy and Roberta to go through a second and third time.

When she wasn’t trying to keep the dog and cats from getting into trouble and hiding sharp things from me yesterday, Terry made some delicious roast beef pasties for dinner. They are another one of my favorite things that she whips up in the kitchen and acts like there’s nothing to it.

Today I have an appointment with Doctor Thomason at the Spine Center in Tuscaloosa to get nerve blocking injections in my back. I’ve had these before and they help for a short time, but they are not a long-term solution. However, Medicare says we have to jump through these hoops before they will authorize another RF ablation, which did help me before. I’ll take any relief I can get.

Congratulations Patty Richardson, winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of Callie And Natalie’s Dutch Family History by Darlene Miller. When nine-year-old Callie and her five-year-old sister Natalie go to Pella, Iowa with their grandmother they wear period dresses as they learn about their fourth, fifth, and sixth great-grandparents, who arrived in Pella in 1847. Other true Dutch stories are about more great-grandparents who immigrated in the early 1900s. Enjoy their experiences as they see, hear, and taste “all things Dutch” as they travel through Pella.

We had 44 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. I have two questions. Has this really become an  issue? And if so, why isn’t it an Olympic Event?

Thought For The Day – The best feeling is when someone appreciates everything about you that someone else took for granted.

I’m Not Just Anybody

 Posted by at 12:32 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 092024
 

My wife and children, and anybody who knows me well, never feel uncomfortable when I’m handling or using firearms. That’s probably because I grew up shooting, and basic gun safety was drilled into me from the time I could understand the English language. Between being a lifelong shooter and my time as a firearms instructor in the military and civilian life, I have fired more different weapons than I could ever remember and have literally put many tens of thousands of bullets downrange. Handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, I’ve used them all at one time or another.

However, when I bought my Kubota tractor, they all seemed concerned that I might inadvertently do something to harm myself. After all, tractors are dangerous pieces of machinery, and if you’re not careful, anybody could get into trouble with one.

And I know my kids and wife all shuddered when I bought a chainsaw. That’s probably just as dangerous as a tractor, if not more so. Anybody using a chainsaw has to be extremely careful, or they could wind up doing some serious damage to themselves.

But I’m not just anybody. Oh, no, not by a long shot. I would never (knock on wood) make a mistake that could get me hurt with power tools or on the tractor. Besides, I’m a simple man. If I’m going to do something to draw blood or send me to an ER, I’m going to keep it basic. And what’s more basic than a pair of scissors?

Years ago, when we were living the fulltime RV lifestyle, I got up one morning and noticed that my beard had a couple of wild hairs sticking out on the side, so I decided I would trim them. Getting a pair of scissors that Terry used for cutting fabric or something, I stood in front of the mirror and tried to get rid of those wild hairs. I don’t know what happened to them, but I sliced my earlobe nearly in half. Do you have any idea how much an earlobe bleeds? Trust me, it’s a lot.

Hoping not to sound like one of those hucksters on the late-night television commercials; But wait, there’s more! I don’t think it was more than a week or two later that I detected some stray beard hairs on the other side of my face. Yes, I repeated the process with the same scissors and got the same results. I don’t know what Terry did with those scissors, but I haven’t seen them since.

I don’t know if it’s because she got complacent, or maybe old age is slipping up on her and she’s just not as careful as she used to be. But now there’s another pair of scissors in the bathroom. They’re much smaller, but who needs big scissors to hurt themselves? Anybody could do that, and I’m not just anybody.

When I looked in the bathroom mirror the other morning, I noticed my eyebrows were getting so shaggy I looked like a sheepdog. Hey, I’ll get those little scissors and solve that problem right now. Do you have any idea how much it hurts when you poke your eyeball with a pair of scissors like that? If not, I hope you never do.

Fortunately, I didn’t stick myself hard enough to penetrate, but I’ve spent the last two days walking around looking like I have pink eye and putting drops in and a tea bag on my eye, trying to make it feel better.

I don’t know if I should believe Miss Terry when she tells me these are the new summer fashion trend and all the guys are wearing them. What do you think?

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an autographed copy of Callie And Natalie’s Dutch Family History by Darlene Miller. When nine-year-old Callie and her five-year-old sister Natalie go to Pella, Iowa with their grandmother they wear period dresses as they learn about their fourth, fifth, and sixth great-grandparents, who arrived in Pella in 1847. Other true Dutch stories are about more great-grandparents who immigrated in the early 1900s. Enjoy their experiences as they see, hear, and taste “all things Dutch” as they travel through Pella.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. That’s all right, I can’t say it or spell it either.

Thought For The Day – I don’t like making plans in advance because then the word premeditated gets thrown around the courtroom.

Jun 082024
 

Terry had an appointment in Tuscaloosa yesterday to get a CT scan of her spine from the lower back up to the neck to determine the best course of action to alleviate some of her pain. Once her doctor at the Spine Center reviews the images, we will know more.

A lot of late model cars come with two batteries. One is the big starting battery we’re all familiar with, and the other is a smaller battery that runs the stop/start system and the safety electronics. We replaced the main battery in the Chrysler Pacifica back in November, and yesterday we had to replace the smaller auxiliary battery. We had both done at the AutoZone in Northport. The employees were happy to do the installation for us both times at no charge, although I gave the young men $20 tips because I really appreciated it.

Then we went to the Pearl Garden Chinese restaurant for a late lunch before coming home. Once it cooled down later in the afternoon, I went out to the barn to do some mowing with the tractor, and Terry was going to use the riding mower for the side and back yards. However, she found that the tire that I fixed the day before was flat again. I thought maybe the plug I had put in it had failed, but then we found another hole in the side wall an inch or so away. I put a can of Fix-A-Flat in it and told Terry to drive it and do some mowing and see what happened.

It took me a couple of hours to do the back pasture, and by then Terry was finishing up, too. When she pulled the mower back into the barn, we discovered the tire was still leaking from a couple of other nearby places. I’ve heard the tires that come on these things are problematic and this seems to be so. With so many punctures in a small space, there’s no way to keep plugging them because eventually the sidewall is going to give out altogether. It’s time to just replace it and be done with it. Looking on Amazon, it seems like I can buy a pair of tires with the rims at a pretty good price. But I will check the Husqvarna dealer in Northport and see what they have first. I prefer to shop locally when I can, even if I have to pay a few dollars more.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Callie And Natalie’s Dutch Family History by Darlene Miller. When nine-year-old Callie and her five-year-old sister Natalie go to Pella, Iowa with their grandmother, they wear period dresses as they learn about their fourth, fifth, and sixth great-grandparents, who arrived in Pella in 1847. Other true Dutch stories are about more great-grandparents who immigrated in the early 1900s. Enjoy their experiences as they see, hear, and taste “all things Dutch” as they travel through Pella.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.  Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Lizards are just four-wheel-drive snakes.

A Stormy Night

 Posted by at 12:35 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 072024
 

In yesterday’s blog I told you we had storms two days in a row, and that as I wrote the blog about 11 PM the power was off. About midnight it came back on, and our generator automatically shut down like it’s supposed to. But then a couple of minutes after midnight the power went out again and the generator started back up. It was a little after 6 AM when the power finally came on and stayed on.

Fortunately, the storm system moved out of state and yesterday morning was bright and sunny, and the day was hot. During the afternoon I went out to the barn and plugged a tire on the Husqvarna riding mower that had gone flat. We need to mow but the grass was still too wet after two days of rain.

After I fixed the tire, I went back to the house and asked Terry to come out to the barn with me because I wanted to get under the bush hog and cut off the last of the twine from old hay bales I had gotten wrapped around the blades. I used the tractor’s bucket to tip the mower up on its side to give me room to get to the blades, and even though I was confident the bucket would hold it in place, I wanted Terry to be there just in case something went wrong. Fortunately, it didn’t, and it only took a couple of minutes for me to cut everything away.

We’ll have more heat for the rest of the week, and actually for the rest of the summer, but at least it’s not supposed to rain again until Sunday or Monday. Hopefully we can take advantage of it staying light in the evenings to get some mowing done.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Callie And Natalie’s Dutch Family History by Darlene Miller. When nine-year-old Callie and her five-year-old sister Natalie go to Pella, Iowa with their grandmother, they wear period dresses as they learn about their fourth, fifth, and sixth great-grandparents, who arrived in Pella in 1847. Other true Dutch stories are about more great-grandparents who immigrated in the early 1900s. Enjoy their experiences as they see, hear, and taste “all things Dutch” as they travel through Pella.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.  Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. Where are these people shopping?

Thought For The Day – The same people who are candy to our eyes can be poison to our hearts. Study their ingredients before feeding them to your soul.

Two Nights In A Row

 Posted by at 12:17 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 062024
 

Can you think of a better way to start the day then a stack of Miss Terry’s banana pecan pancakes? I sure can’t. They are delicious!

Except for a quick trip to Gordo after breakfast to mail off a book and pick up a prescription at CVS, I spent most of the day writing again. By the time I knocked off somewhere around 8 PM I had another 2,300 words or so done in my new Tinder Street book. I’m past the halfway point and still cranking away every day.

In yesterday’s blog, I told you about a storm knocking the power out in the evening and being glad we had our Generac whole house generator, because it kicked in and we were back up and running in a minute or so. I think the power was out for three or four hours. It was sometime after 11 PM when it came back on, and the generator automatically shut itself off.

Yesterday was a repeat performance. Sometime in the early evening we had another big storm, and once again the power went out. I got a text from Alabama Power saying that trees were down throughout the area and there were multiple outages. But again, the generator did its thing, and we wouldn’t have known about it except for the sound of it running. As I write this about 11 PM, we still don’t have power. The last text I got said it could be several hours yet. This generator wasn’t cheap, but Terry and I both agree it was well worth the investment.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Callie And Natalie’s Dutch Family History by Darlene Miller. When nine-year-old Callie and her five-year-old sister Natalie go to Pella, Iowa with their grandmother, they wear period dresses as they learn about their fourth, fifth, and sixth great-grandparents, who arrived in Pella in 1847. Other true Dutch stories are about more great-grandparents who immigrated in the early 1900s. Enjoy their experiences as they see, hear, and taste “all things Dutch” as they travel through Pella.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.  Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books and audiobooks to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. I’m not sure what to do here.

Thought For The Day – Understanding is deeper than knowledge. There may be many people who know you, but there are very few who understand you.

Storm? What Storm?

 Posted by at 12:35 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 052024
 

While we have been fortunate not to be hit with any of the terrible weather that Texas and the Midwest have been experiencing lately, for the next week or so we are supposed to have some thunderstorms. A big one came through yesterday evening, with driving rain and lots of thunder and lightning, knocking the power out for much of the area.

A couple of minutes after the power went out, our Generac generator kicked in and everything was back on again. It’s supposed to do so within a minute, but I expected a delay because someone from Thompson Gas was here earlier in the day to finish moving the propane gas line that had been hit while mowing grass a while back. I was pretty sure there would be some air in the line from that, and once the generator turned over a few times, it purged the air and started right up. After that, it was business as usual. Storm? What storm?

Something we are both thankful for is that Alli doesn’t seem to get upset during thunderstorms, just like she ignores it when people are shooting nearby. I know some dogs that totally freak out at noises like that, but she doesn’t pay it much mind. However, when the power kicks in and out, the doorbell rings and she goes ballistic. You would think I had Cujo in here on a dental floss leash. She does the same thing when someone comes to the door, but quiets right down once she knows they are welcome and not a problem. I guess you can’t ask for much more than that from a watchdog, can you?

Flash, the technician from Thompson Gas who came out yesterday, has been here before. Alli barked when he came to the door, but once she recognized him, they were buddies and she was bringing her toy for him to throw.

I spent most of the day writing, and by the time I knocked off for dinner, I had over 3,000 words in for the day in my new Tinder Street book. Because this one covers the World War II years, there is more violence than there is in other books in the series. I’ve tried to tone it down somewhat, but one can’t do justice writing about a war without having some bad things happen.

While I was doing that, Terry was busy cleaning the house (like it really needed it), because some friends from out of town may stop in for a visit sometime in the next week or so. Then she made a delicious dinner of chicken fajitas. So good.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

 Thought For The Day – There is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some people come into your life to test you, some to teach you, some to use you, and some to bring out the very best in you.

Jun 042024
 

Before we get to today’s blog, I want to wish our son Travis happy birthday. We love you very much, son, and we are very proud of you.

This being an election year, I think a lot of readers will enjoy this story from my days publishing small town newspapers.

You might think that a small town newspaper publisher’s world pretty much ended at the city limits, or no further than the county. And for the most part, you would be right. And I was always content with that. As one of my mentors in the business told me when I was first starting out, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than the other way around.

However, my world expanded every two years with statewide elections, when those running for state offices came around soliciting my newspaper’s endorsement for their campaigns. And occasionally, I heard from candidates seeking an office on the national level. Three times presidential candidates made sweeps through our area, hitting up the local media asking for support.

One such individual, who shall remain nameless, was a U.S. Senator who was running for president. His people called my office saying they would be in the area and asked if he could have some time while they were there. I didn’t really think much about the man one way or the other and I didn’t want to be bothered with him, or any politician, for that matter. I always remember, what my Mama told me when I was a kid, if you lie down with dogs, you’re going to get fleas. However, Jake Cavey, my editor, was a big fan of this particular candidate, and he was ecstatic when I assigned him the job of doing the interview. For two weeks, he was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.

When the big day came, said senator arrived, shaking everybody’s hand in the office and saying how glad he was to meet us. Since Jake didn’t have a private office, I told him to use mine for the interview. They went inside and closed the door and were in there an hour or so. When they were finished, they came out the door like a couple of drinking buddies, laughing and having a grand old time. The senator slapped Jake on the back and thanked him for his time, then nodded at a case hanging on my wall with my Army medals, saying, “As one old veteran to another, I know I have your endorsement, right, Jake? Jake replied, “Senator, you definitely have my vote, but those are Nick’s and he owns the newspaper. He’s the one who will make the final decision about who we will endorse.”

Now, Jake was a big guy, somewhere around 6’6” and close to 440 pounds as I recall, and the senator was average in height, or maybe a little less. But he shoved Jake out of the way so hard that he bounced off one of the light tables we used for laying out the newspaper to get to me, and began pumping my hand, and telling me how great it was to have the opportunity to see me and how much he knew that us veterans would be sticking together come election time. Then he and his entourage were gone as quickly as they arrived, never even bothering to say goodbye to Jake. Politicians. Go figure.

Jake was devastated! His hero had blown him off as soon as he found out he would not be the one making the decision on our newspaper’s endorsement. He walked around for the rest of the afternoon with a hangdog look on his face, and I really felt sorry for the big guy.

Trying to ease his pain a little bit, Melissa, my office manager, patted him on the back and said, “Don’t feel bad, Jake. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just about the pecking order, and everybody knows that Nick is a bigger pecker than you are!”

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Marriage is where two people who don’t have it all together learn that together they have it all.

She Sleeps Around

 Posted by at 1:15 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 032024
 

That might sound like a rude thing to say about somebody, but in the case of fulltime RVer and author Sue Ann Jaffarian, it’s true. She even used those words as the title for her latest book, I Sleep Around – The Humorous Memoir Of A Nomadic Writer.

Sue Ann is the prolific author of three mystery series, numerous short stories, and other novels. She is also a sought-after motivational speaker. After retiring from her career as a corporate paralegal, in 2019 she hit the road in a 20-foot-long Winnebago Travato Class B van, and she hasn’t looked back since. Traveling across the United States and Canada, she has found friendship, adventure, and experienced the occasional bump in the road, all of which she shares idaily in The Novel RV Journal on Patreon.

Besides her popular mystery series, the Odelia Grey series, the Ghost of Granny Apples series, and the Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries, Sue Ann recently began not one, but two new series: The Zelda Bowen series, featuring Zelda Bowen, a single woman searching for adventure and herself as she travels the country in an RV. The first book in this series is Finding Zelda. The second new series is the Dead Woman Driving serial novel, released in regularly launched episodes, featuring a woman on the run and living off the grid.

And as if that isn’t enough, today I Sleep Around is available as an e-book, paperback or in hardcover. In her newest book, Sue Ann talks about her decision to adopt a lifestyle so different than what she had ever known, the research that went into making that choice and bringing it to fruition, and her first two years on the road. She shares what it’s like to live in 100 square feet, learning to be comfortable going to the bathroom or showering in a vehicle with just sheet metal between herself and the outside world, and spending the night in Walmart parking lots, roadside rest areas, truck stops, small city parks and National Forest campgrounds. Along the way, she has experienced the joys of the total freedom a life on the road offers, as well as the times when things don’t go so well. Having lived as fulltime RVers ourselves for 18+ years, I can relate to much of what she writes about.

However, this is much more than a primer on the RV lifestyle, which Sue Ann does explain very well. It is a delightful adventure story about someone who wasn’t content to spend her golden years in a rocking chair when there was a whole wide world just outside her door, waiting to be explored. Whether you are a wannabe RVer, an armchair traveler, someone who dreams of one day running away to join the circus, or just want to get to know someone with Sue Ann’s wanderlust and thirst for adventure, order yourself a copy of I Sleep Around and go along for the ride. I promise, you’re going to have a great time.

Congratulations Robert Dunn, winner of our drawing for a Camping Journal & RV Travel Logbook donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

We had 25 entries this time around. Say tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Keep going… Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

A Productive Day

 Posted by at 12:44 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 022024
 

I was up earlier than normal yesterday because I had a busy day ahead of me. We had had rain and thunderstorms during the night, and when I took Alli outside, it was pleasant sitting on the front porch. After the requisite process of throwing balls for her to retrieve and her going potty, I fed her a turkey neck, her absolute favorite treat in the world.

Then I came inside and got ready to go to work. The Grand Canyon Writers chapter of Sisters in Crime had invited me to a Zoom interview for Mysteries & More Marketing Network meeting. Nicolette Lemmon, author of Write. Market. Succeed: An Author’s Marketing Playbook, conducted the interview, and she had a lot of excellent questions. I enjoyed it and hope the members found it interesting.

After I finished that and spent some time answering e-mails, I wrote another 2,800 words in The War Years, the sixth book in my Tinder Street series. That puts me somewhere around 51,000 words, so probably close to halfway through. Since my father and many of my uncles were World War II veterans, this part of the series is something close to my heart. While none of them ever talked much about their experiences, I picked up enough here and there over the years to know there’s a reason we call them the Greatest Generation. Of course, the book isn’t just about battles. A lot of it is about what was happening on the home front, from food rationing and shortages of everyday things, to the worries that families felt about their sons, brothers, and husbands serving their country in every corner of the world.

In the late afternoon I took a break and went outside with Alli and threw a toy for her. While I was out there, I stole some strawberries from Terry’s raised planter bed. They may be small, but they’re delicious. So was the great ham steak dinner she made, and the fresh peanut butter cookies right out of the oven for dessert. Life is good. 😊

Today is your last chance to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a Camping Journal & RV Travel Logbook donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Some people won’t admit their faults. I would, if I had any.

Not As Hot As Forecast

 Posted by at 12:25 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 012024
 

As often happens, the weatherman was wrong in the forecast for yesterday. He said it would be 88° but it didn’t get that hot, so I managed to get some mowing in during the afternoon.

It’s a never-ending task as fast as the grass grows around here. Terry was going to mow the grass in the front and side yard again, but the Husqvarna riding mower has a flat tire, so I need to find the leak and plug it.

When I was using the bush hog mower that attaches to the back of the tractor a while back, I ran over an area where someone had apparently left some old hay bales. They had decomposed, but the twine that held them together was still there and I wound up getting it tangled around the mower blades.

The mower is big and heavy and there’s no way to get under it sitting flat, so I used the bucket of the tractor to lift one side up and was able to reach underneath and cut away the bulk of the twine. There’s still some left that needs to be cut away, but I need Terry  to be out there with me and a jack stand in place before I crawl under the thing, just in case.

It had sprinkled off and on a few times while I was mowing, and once I stopped it started to come down heavier. That seems to be the forecast for the rest of the week, scattered showers and thunderstorms. I guess we’ll take it one day at a time. I’ve got plenty of writing to do to keep me busy if I can’t work outside.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a Camping Journal & RV Travel Logbook donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – To all the people that always said I’d never amount to anything because of my procrastination: Just you wait and see.

May 312024
 

The temperature and humidity have been up in the uncomfortable range for several days now, but yesterday I don’t think it got much above 80° and the humidity was not too bad. A perfect day to get some mowing and bush hogging done. So wouldn’t you know it? We both had doctor’s appointments in the middle of the afternoon and then needed to go to the grocery store. Today it’s only going to be about 88° which is more than I want to deal with, but if it cools down enough in the late afternoon or early evening, I still might get something done outside.

I’m not the only one with back issues. Terry also has some of her own. She was born with double scoliosis, though it was not found until she was almost 30, and she’s got arthritis in her back and neck. Yesterday, we both had appointments at the Spine Center in Tuscaloosa. It was our first time at this facility, which comes very well recommended, and we were each referred by our own doctors. The check-in went well, and in no time at all they took us to the back to ask a series of questions about our medical history and such. Then we got to meet Doctor Thomason, who impressed both of us because he’s one of those doctors that doesn’t talk over your head, and takes the time to listen to you and address concerns and answer your questions.

It looks like I’m headed for another set of RF nerve ablations like I had a few years ago in Florida. But, of course, before they can do that, we have to jump through all the hoops of nerve blocks and things like that, which we already agree will not solve the problem or ease the pain for very long, if at all, before Medicare will cover it.

Terry can’t have an MRI because of her Interstim implant, so they are scheduling her for a CT scan next week, then they will decide the best course of action for her.

We had not eaten all day, so when we left the doctor’s office we went to McAlister’s Deli for a late lunch/early dinner (linner). I usually order a Cuban sandwich and Terry orders a New Yorker, and then we each have half of both. However, when we got there, we found out that they no longer have the Cuban on their menu. That’s a bummer because I really like them. I’ll have to find another place locally where I can get one.

With our tummies full, we stopped at Publix and filled a shopping cart. Actually, because I live in the South, I guess I should call it a buggy, which is the Southern name for it. Does that make me bilingual? Last week I couldn’t spell linguist and today I is one. 😊

Be sure to enter ourtime for a latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a Camping Journal & RV Travel Logbook donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – I’m excited today to tell you that I completed the first item on my bucket list. I now have a bucket.

May 302024
 

We love exploring new places and seeing new sights but it seems that every time we visit someplace new, somebody tells us we missed something there that we really should have seen. Miss Terry tells them that we do that on purpose so we’ll have an excuse to go back. There are some places we’ve only visited once but really want to return to, and others we’ve been to many times but just can’t get enough of and go back time and time again. Here are our personal Top 15, in no particular order.

Florida Keys – If money were no object I could live in the Florida Keys. We love paddling our kayaks in the beautiful blue green waters, just hanging out under a palm tree watching the world go by, and did I mention all of the delicious seafood?

Fiver Jolly Roger waterfront 2

Port Townsend – Perched at the entrance to Puget Sound on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend is a beautiful and historic little town with a picturesque downtown area with fun shops to browse, stunning views of the water and mountains, and lots of events to keep you busy.

Gettysburg – I find it inconceivable that such a pretty place could have been the scene of so much suffering and death as this beautiful little town in the rolling hills of southern Pennsylvania. Even without all of the history, which we love, we’d still return to Gettysburg any chance we get.

Branson – We’ve been to Branson four or five times and never went to a show until our last visit. We just like the beautiful countryside and the friendly people, touring the Ralph Foster Museum on the campus of the College of the Ozarks, which has been called “The Smithsonian of the Ozarks” and the watersports on Table Rock Lake.

Oregon Coast – Mile for mile, there is no more beautiful place on earth than the wild and rugged Oregon coast. Friendly people, quaint towns, abundant seafood, lighthouses, and breathtaking views around every bend in the road. What more could you ask for?

Washington, D.C. – Our two visits were not nearly enough to see all there is to see in our nation’s capital. There are so many wonderful museums, monuments, and other attractions that nobody could cover them all in one trip.

US Capitol 2

Sault Ste. Marie – Our one and only three day visit to Sault Ste. Marie wasn’t nearly long enough. I could happily spend a week just watching the big freighters navigating their way into the narrow locks and then being raised or lowered over 21 feet in a matter of minutes. And if you get tired of that, there are plenty of things to see and do in town or nearby to keep you busy.

Saginaw coming in

Savannah – I can’t explain the hold this beautiful and historic city has on me, but no trip along the Georgia coast is complete without a stop in Savannah. I could spend days walking its tree shaded streets enjoying views of the old mansions in the Historic District, browsing the shops along the riverfront, and sitting on a bench in one of the city’s lovely squares people watching.

Live oaks

Tarpon Springs – Located on Florida’s Gulf coast, Tarpon Spring’s waterfront is a living postcard. From the sponge boats to the shops offering everything from clothes, jewelry and crafts, to the Greek restaurants and bakeries, plan a full day when you visit. And if you don’t get to it all, don’t worry. After one visit you’ll be back.

tarpon springs sponge boat.2

Avery Island – Located in southern Louisiana, you can smell the vinegar from the Tabasco factory the minute you get out of your car. The factory tour is interesting, but the 170-acre Jungle Gardens is amazing with its beautiful foliage, wildlife, and a centuries-old Buddha statue. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Boston – We’re usually not attracted to big cities, but Boston is an exception to the rule. There is so much history to be seen there, from Paul Revere’s home to the Freedom Trail to the old Granary Burying Ground and Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution, to name just a few of the city’s treasures. Not to mention great food, interesting ethnic neighborhoods, and a wonderful waterfront. As you can see, Boston is well worth a return visit.

St. Augustine – Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied European city in America, and you can feel the history everywhere you look. Throw in wonderful shops and restaurants, a beautiful lighthouse, and walking the beach at Anastasia State Park and you will wonder why you would ever leave, but know you’ll be back again.

Mackinac Island – When you step off the ferry at Mackinac Island you step back in time. If you want to get anyplace on this beautiful and historic island you have three choices – on foot, by bicycle, or by a horse-drawn carriage, because no motor vehicles are allowed except for emergency vehicles. But that’s okay because you will want to take your time as you browse the shops along the waterfront, visit historic Fort Mackinac, and marvel at the splendor of the Grand Hotel.

Beaufort – We spent a week in this friendly and historic little town on the South Carolina coast and knew that we would return again someday. Centuries-old, moss-draped live oak trees shade the sidewalks in the city’s historic district where pirates and seafarers once lived, there are awesome museums and memorable restaurants, and a fine beach and pier for fishing, kite flying, or just relaxing.

Maine – Terry lived in Maine twice when she was a kid during her father’s Air Force career, and in all of our years on the road we’ve only made it there once. But what we saw impressed us so much that returning is high on our bucket list. There are miles of rugged coastline to explore, wonderful little towns to visit, and lobsters to be eaten. Yes, we definitely need to get back to Maine

What are some of your favorite places that you return to over and over?

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a Camping Journal & RV Travel Logbook donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

Thought For The Day – I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

A Minor Fender Bender?

 Posted by at 12:25 am  Nick's Blog
May 292024
 

A couple of weeks ago, someone backed into our Ram pickup as we were leaving a parking lot. Since neither of us was going very fast, all we saw was some damage to the passenger side rear door and fender. It looked like a minor fender bender to me, and the other driver quickly admitted he was at fault, and told the police officer who responded the same thing. The next morning his insurance company was on the phone with me, making arrangements to get the truck repaired.

Yesterday was the earliest appointment we could get, and I dropped it off at the body shop in the morning. As I said, it didn’t look terribly damaged to me, but the estimator at the body shop said the whole door needed to be replaced, as well as the running board and the rear tire on that side. He said he would call me in the afternoon with an estimate for repairs and a timeline.

Sure enough, he called in the afternoon and said we’re looking at a little over $6,000 for the repair bill, and it could take as much as four weeks because they have to order a replacement door. I’m sure glad the other guy’s insurance company acknowledges their liability and is picking up the whole tab. They offered to give me a rental car, but we have the van and the Mustang, so I told them that wasn’t necessary. The body shop comes highly recommended, with a lot of good reviews, so I am hoping for the best results.

When we got home from dropping the truck off, Terry had to turn right around and leave for a dentist appointment. While she was there, she asked about an appointment to get her teeth cleaned. They had a cancellation later in the afternoon, so she came home for a while and then went back to have that done. While she was gone, I made the changes to the last few chapters in my new Tinder Street book that proofreader Judy Rinehimer suggested. When I was finished with that, I worked on the timeline for the next couple of years that the book will cover until Terry came home.

One of my favorite foods is fried chicken, and she made delicious fried chicken breasts along with baked potatoes and veggies for dinner. You can’t beat a meal like that, or a cook as pretty as Miss Terry.

So what else is going on? The other day we put some more soil and Black Kow in Terry’s three new raised planter beds, along with some other goodies to help things get off to a good start, and then she put the plants in them.

Once that was done, we put bedding straw on top of everything. It helps keep the moisture in and helps protect the young plants from the harshy sun while they get established.

Speaking of the sun, our granddaughter Destiny went fishing over the weekend and got a whopper of a sunburn. But she said they caught 30 fish, so it was worth it. I don’t think so. I’ve had some bad sunburns in my time, and there are not enough fish in the world to make it worth the pain.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – I’m giving my wife a bikini wax for the first time. Should I wake her up or let it be a surprise?

May 282024
 

For as long as I can remember the media has been accused of being dishonest, corrupt, and no more than a purveyor of lies. Especially when they report a story that offends a reader’s political or religious leanings. But the reality is that most small town newspapers have always strived to serve their communities by reporting local news fairly and truthfully. But I will admit that at least once, I fudged a bit. But only as an act of kindness. Let me tell you about it.

In this story, the names have been changed to protect the guilty, even though I am sure most of them are long gone by now. And Miss Terry says I have to be careful to clean it up a bit, so I don’t offend any sensitive readers. Okay, I’ll do my best. But please remember that my best is none too good, so don’t try to bring out the worst in me.

When I ran my weekly newspaper in the White Mountains of Arizona, I would go to the different police departments every week and get the reports on their latest activity. One day when I went to the Show Low Police Department, among the reports of DUI arrests and traffic accidents, and people busted for shoplifting and such, the watch commander, who was a friend of mine, said, “Okay Nick, this one is going to challenge your journalistic abilities.”

We had a mobile home retirement community in town where a lot of people from the Phoenix area came to spend their summers to escape the desert heat. One of the residents of this community was a gentleman in his 80s, who I will simply call George. George had been engaged to a woman in her late 70s who also had mobile homes down in Phoenix and in Show Low, and the engagement had lasted for several years.

However, George, being a typical man with a typical man’s ego, kept putting the wedding off because age had caught up with him and he was impotent. That all changed when a certain little blue pill hit the market. George bought himself some and he was raring to go. And raring to get married, too, as a matter of fact.

Thrilled that the long delayed nuptials were finally going to happen, George’s betrothed, who we will call Jane, went down to Phoenix with a friend of hers to select her bridal trousseau.

While she was gone, George got to wondering if those little blue pills actually worked, so he called his neighbor, Sally, a 65 year old retired nurse who was the local hottie. Bear with me, folks, I’m trying to get this cleaned up as I tell it! He told Sally he had taken a pill and wondered if it worked. And being a good neighbor, Sally came over to give him a helping hand, if you will.

According to Sally’s statement in the police report, they began making out on the couch. When George became aroused, they retired to the bedroom, where they proceeded to do what people do in the bedroom. I burst out laughing when the watch commander read the part where Sally said, “He mounted me, gave a mighty thrust, and expired.” That’s right, George died in the act. Hey, there are worse ways to go! I like to think that when he got to the pearly gates, Saint Peter gave him a high five and said, “Good for you, George!”

The watch commander asked if I could please figure out some way to report the story without being indelicate. Me, indelicate? Are you kidding? Delicate is my middle name.

In the newspaper article about his death, I wrote that George had been experiencing some discomfort and called a neighbor over to assist him and that soon after she got there, he passed away. Well, it was kind of true.

Back in my office, I had to share the story with Melissa, who was the office manager and also one of my best friends. Melissa had come to work for me when she was a college intern and never left.

After the newspaper came out, Jane came to our office to purchase several copies of that edition to send to George’s family and to have as a remembrance. She was a delightful little old lady and obviously suffering from her loss. She told Melissa, “I wanted to marry that man for over ten years, but he wouldn’t do it because he didn’t feel he was a whole man. Like that mattered at our age. Then those pills came out, and he thought it was okay to finally get married. I guess we’ll never know if they worked or not.”

Melissa told me afterward that she had to pee at the time, and she was standing behind the counter with her legs crossed, trying not to laugh or wet herself while she attempted to comfort the grieving woman. When Jane left, Melissa made a mad dash through the newsroom to the ladies restroom, and when she came out she poked her head in my office door and said, “You don’t pay me enough for this crap!”

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

 

Thought For The Day – I was popular once, but then my therapist took all of my imaginary friends away.

Memorial Day, 2024

 Posted by at 12:15 am  Nick's Blog
May 272024
 

It’s not about cookouts, or car races, or getting out of town for a three day weekend. It’s about much, much more.

It’s about this. American heroes who made the supreme sacrifice for their country. Young men and women who left their homes and families and never came back.

arlington graves

It’s about this. It’s about honoring those heroes. About remembering that we can sleep comfortably in our beds tonight, because they sleep here forever.

arlington tomb guards 7

It’s about remembering those who served. It’s about taking the time to thank a veteran. Because without him or her, there might not be us.

vietnam wall 2

They didn’t go because they wanted to. They went because they had to. Not because their number came up with some draft board. They went because that’s what Americans do. Their country needed them. Their country called. And they answered the call.

I’m heartened to see that while our country may be divided on a lot of issues these days, one thing that most of us agree on is that we appreciate our servicemen and women. It hasn’t always been that way.

To all of my brothers and sisters who wore the uniform, and to those who are still serving, thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Welcome home.

Congratulations Jim Spain, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake Honeymoon, the seventh book in my Big Lake Mystery series. We had 21 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 30 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

Thought For The Day – One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.