Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maryellen (Borden) Boone–August 3, 1922–October 29, 2012


025Gary’s mother passed away on Monday.  She was 90 years old.  She had some sort of seizure – a heart attack or a stroke – and expired before the nursing home where she lived could even arrange an ambulance to take her to a hospital.  We now are on our way back in the car from southern Alabama to Indiana for the funeral.





026As we reported in an earlier blog post, about a month ago we spent a week in Indiana visiting her each day at the nursing home.  We had all of the pictures from her home scanned and shared some pictures most days with her on the iPad.  She enjoyed looking at them and the memories they stirred in her.  She had said on an earlier visit that she would love to have a kitty sit on her lap that she could pet and we took Alley cat with us one day to her room.  We shared a peach pie we had made along with some ice cream.  We shared the stories of our travels with her and it stuck with her that we were going to visit the Louisville Slugger factory and museum.  Gary called her on Sunday, the day before she passed.  She asked if we had bought a baseball bat in Louisville.

436She grew up on a farm south of Peru, Indiana.  She married her high school sweetheart, George.  They were married for 57 years at the time of his death in 1999.  For 87 years, she always lived within five miles of where she first lived as a child.  She was a family farm wife.  She raised three children.  She worked in the fields as well as taking care of the house and vegetable and flower gardens (she was one of the premier gardeners of the County.).  She was a faithful member of the First Christian Church and was active in church, community and school-related activities.  She was famous for her chicken and noodles, as finely hand cut as any noodles could be.  She was also famous for her pound cake.  She managed alone the farm and home for 10 years after George’s death.  Failing health and a robbery in her home at club point forced her into retirement communities, first in assisted living and then a nursing home in the final three years of her life.  She was the last of an era.  All of her brothers, sisters and in laws and most of the neighborhood farmers and their wives preceded her in death.  She is survived by three children, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pensacola And Another Air Museum

100_4260It was just last month that we were in Dayton, Ohio and took in the Air Force Museum.  Well, come to find out that here on the Gulf Coast there is the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida.  As long as we were headed over that way for a few reasons, we took in the Navy’s air museum.  What are the differences in the planes?  The Navy has a lot more planes that have pontoons on them and many that have folding wings to take up less room on aircraft carriers.  There aren’t as many heavy lift planes either.


The Museum houses the plaques of the Naval Air Hall of Fame which included such famous inductees as John Glenn and former President George H. W. Bush.  The Pensacola Naval Air Station is the home of the flying troupe, The Blue Angels.  They will be performing a homecoming show next weekend and we might just journey back over there.



Pensacola Beach had yet more of this fantastic fine white sand and we have been loving this 80 to 85 degree weather which after two glorious weeks finally has given way to a windy cold front from the north.


Saturday, October 20, 2012


100_4254We are staying at Escapees Rainbow Plantation Campground in Summerdale, Alabama.  It is about 20 miles north from the Gulf Coast and about equal distance from Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida.   This is the second Escapees park we have stayed at.  Escapees is the organization of full-time RVing that we belong to and does our mail forwarding for us.  The park is a fairly mature one and has lots of well placed trees.  The only problem is that they are oak trees and it’s the time of the year when the acorns are falling.

One of the first days here we drove down to Gulf Shores to the beach.  The beach has the whitest, finest sand we have ever seen.  The Gulf’s water are still warm and the beach shows no ill effects at all of the BP oil spill.



There is a lot of cotton growing down in this region.  We saw some cotton last year in northern Mississippi, but there seems to be a lot more of it here in southern Alabama and it seems to be growing better here as well.  We are still a fascinated a bit with cotton growing as it was something we never saw in the north.


2012-10-17_16-54-35_932Now about the CUSSIN” --the people here are very friendly and polite. Lot’s of yes, Ma’ams and no Sirs.  We went to a restaurant one night and they had a list of rules on their menu.  It was mainly the usual stuff, no smoking, proper attire, no pets, etc.  But they had one rule we hadn’t seen before:  “Don’t teach the little ones any new words; keep the language clean, we are a family restaurant.  NO CUSSIN"’!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nashville And On To The Alabama Gulf Coast

100_4222Out next stop after Louisville was Nashville.  Our normal practice is to drive around 200 miles and stay for at least a week.  Why?  It is quite a bit a work to set up and then break down camp.  Also, it is very expensive to run the motor home down the road but only one day of driving amortized into a week’s stay makes it far more affordable.  Further, driving the motor home is a lot of work.  It’s not sports car steering with a single hand on the wheel knowing it is going to track right down the lane.  A big motor home doesn’t have precise steering.  It wanders a bit and has to be corrected and the driver’s focus must always be on the road or it will be on a lane line before you know it.  And it is tough on the kitty who has to ride in her little “house” so she can’t become a projectile under hard braking.

100_4226Gary does the campground planning checking three different sources for each upcoming campground to find the best blend of accessibility, features, and cost.  Overall, his campground planning and choices have been outstanding.  But Nashville was one destination where it just didn’t work out well.  He selected the State Fair Grounds for our stop.  We had stayed at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, North Carolina and it was a fine stay.  The Tennessee Fairgrounds Camp had a couple good recent reviews, was in a great location for exploring the city, and had full hookups.  But in reality it was nothing more than hookups on a crappy asphalt parking lot.  We just could not imagine staying there a week.  Moreover, we were wanting to get to some warm weather again.  So we decided to spend just one night at the Fairgrounds, made our one trip into the city, and split the next morning.  It took two more days and an overnight in a Walmart parking lot, but after three consecutive days of 200+ mile driving days, we now are here in the very south of Alabama about 20 miles from the Gulf Coast.  And it was 85 when we got there.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Churchill Downs/Kentucky Derby Museum

100_4191After eating a Hot Brown for lunch, we had to go somewhere to try to work off a few of those many calories.  We worked our way down to Churchill Downs.  On the way, we drove through the area known as Old Louisville.  The area is comprised largely of Victorian-style mansions and homes built in the late 1800s.  Many have been restored to their original glory and an area that had been decaying is now a very fashionable neighborhood.

100_4203Churchill Downs is a huge facility.  You always see the cameras at the Kentucky Derby focused on the “twin spires” as shown in our picture above, but that is actually a very small portion of the grandstands.  The Museum is a very interactive one with informative exhibits.  The displays of Derby Day hats is amazing.  And here is a jockey tuning up for the next Derby run.


Our pictures of the Louisville area are at:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Indiana Side of Louisville

100_4148We stayed on the Indiana side of the Ohio River while in Louisville not only for the campground but as there were a few things we wanted to do there.  We drove up to Madison one day and took in a few things along the way.  We first stopped at the Lee Bottom Flying Field in Hanover.  Why did we go to an airfield when we don’t have anything to do with flying?  Well, it’s because this airfield is somewhat famous on the workkamping/volunteering circuit.  They have an RV pad there with full hookups and each summer they take on an RVer at the site in exchange for mowing of the filed and other duties around the airfield.  It is a unique workkamping experience.  We know of one couple who volunteered there and truly enjoyed it.  The field is very close to the banks of the Ohio River and it is a beautiful if somewhat remote setting.  The descent down to the river was a bit scary even in our car.  It would be even more a fright in the motor home.

100_4154We drove on to Clifty Falls State Park.  The Park’s main feature is Clifty Canyon and rock formations and waterfalls, and of course hardwood trees that weren’t quite yet at peak color.  The water going over the falls was only a trickle but they had the potential to be quite spectacular.



100_4160Our final stop was the historic district of the town of Madison, a national historic landmark.  Madison is a town of only about 12,000 people but it is an annual stop of the unlimited hydroplane racing circuit.  The city owns it own hydroplane, Miss Madison.  An improbable victory by Miss Madison in the 1971 Gold Cup race held that year in Madison was the subject of the movie “Madison” starring Jim Cavizeil.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Another Local Delicacy– Louisville’s “Hot Brown”

100_4163As we have reported, we like to experience local delicacies in the areas where we travel.  Louisville offered up a very tasty one, but one that sits heavily in the pit of the stomach for the entire afternoon, the ”Hot Brown”.  We enjoyed ours at the place that originated the dish, The Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville.  Here is our picture of one.   The following history and recipe was taken from the Brown Hotel’s website. And if you would like to see the Man Versus Food segment on the Hot Brown, it is at:

In the 1920's, The Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Diners were growing rapidly bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. Exemplifying our unending dedication to serving our guests, The Hot Brown was born!

And now The Hot Brown - a Louisville tradition with worldwide appeal - has been featured in Southern Living Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, NBC's Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, as well as being included as a regular entry in many of the finest cookbooks.

The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe

Ingredients (Makes Two Hot Browns):

  • 2 oz. Whole Butter
  • 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
  • 16 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
  • 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
  • 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
  • Paprika
  • Parsley

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Louisville Slugger

100_4118What is the first thing we did in Louisville?  The Louisville Slugger Museum and factory tour, of course.  The whole complex takes up just about half a block in downtown Louisville, just a couple blocks from the Ohio River.  Although a relatively small operation, they make 1.8 million bats a year there.  Today’s wooden bats are made of ash and maple.  The trees are grown in Pennsylvania and New York.  Round billets are cut out of the tree and then the billets are cut down into bats.  Back in the day, the billets were hand machined on a lathe.  Cut after cut was made with various chisels and the dimensions were checked with calipers measured against a model of the bat being cut.  Today the bats are cut on a numerically controlled lathe and only one pass is necessary to achieve a perfect shape in a mere 30 seconds per bat.  Unfortunately we could not take pictures in the factory, but at least we could in the museum -- and ham it up a bit.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Couldn’t Squeeze These Oranges

100_4143We enjoyed our fresh squeezed orange juice so much in Florida last winter.  We were expecting thereafter to buy bags of oranges in grocery stores and continue squeezing our own.  But the price of whole oranges just doesn’t allow for that.  They are just too expensive.  So, much to our surprise and delight, we moved down to the Louisville, Kentucky area and what is plentiful and free, lying on the ground in many places in our campground?  Oranges!  But wait, these don’t seem to be sweet and full of juice.  Inside there is an oozy stickiness.  For these are Osage Oranges and are somewhat poisonous to eat.

100_4147We had researched these things a few years back.  We used to find them in Michigan and Indiana.  We hadn’t seen any on our travels to date.  We used to place them in the corners of the floors in our condo as they are a natural spider and insect repellent.  We just read as well that a naturally occurring substance in the Osage Orange is now approved for use as a mosquito repellent and may be as effective as the chemical DEET,

100_4146The Osage Orange tree is actually very versatile.  The tress are spread around from Texas up through the Plains and into the Midwest as they were used to form hedgerows, marking farm fields, and also in windbreaks.  They are very scraggly trees, but the wood in them is extremely dense and pack more BTUs than any other tree making them great for firewood.  And even though the wood is very dense, it is quite flexible and hunting bows used to be made from them.  Scraggly looking fence posts also were made from this tree as the wood is very rot resistant.


100_4145We are camped in Charlestown State Park on the north side of the Ohio River, a great location for exploring Louisville, Kentucky and Madison, Indiana.  There are about two hundred campsites here.  Our first night here only seven of them were occupied.  The park is fairly new having been formed from land donated to the State of Indiana that used to be a part of the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, the country’s largest smokeless powder plant at one time.  It is nice to have a 50 amp full hookup site on an asphalt pad in a State Park setting.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Back At “Kamp Kevin”

100_4084Last year when we started full timing, our first travel was to a service shop in Celina, Ohio for the installation of some equipment and some minor repairs and maintenance.  As we knew we were headed back to the Midwest, we scheduled ourselves in for some annual maintenance.  If you are ever in the Midwest, we highly recommend this shop.  Kevin is a former electrical engineer with American Coach and John was a technician at the American Coach Service Center.  They do a lot of electrical/electronics work but are fully capable of performing most any “house” RV work.  It is largely a word-of-mouth business – they don’t even have a web site, but they have coaches of all kinds rolling in there every day.  In January, Kevin works out of his motor home and service trailer at Quartzite, AZ and usually moves on to the Palm Springs, CA in February.

100_4094We didn’t have the installation of any equipment on our list this year,  But there was one item on the list that wound up costing us some serious money – “test the batteries”.  We knew they were 5 to 6 years old, which is beyond the typical usual life and that one of them in particular was boiling off quite a bit of water, so it wasn’t a surprise that they tested as “toast” and had to be replaced.  Here they are in all of their expensive glory.  If the dimensions are not apparent, they measure 11 inches wide and 21 inches deep and weigh around 125 pounds EACH.

0928121446Alley cat doesn’t like these service stops, especially when people are walking around on the roof of the motor home and using power tools.  She doesn’t get nearly her normal amount of sleep and doesn’t like being confined to the back of the motor home in the bedroom.  Her she is peeking under the sliding door wanting to come into the front of the motor home.  How can you resist that pose?

100_4100Gary does a lot of work on the motor home while it is in the shop.  Cruising America is a place that will allow an owner to be out in the shop and doing some work.  Gary also likes it that if he attempts a repair there and gets into trouble with it, he has expert backup at hand.  I took a little time and carved my first pumpkin of the season.  Very scaaaarry!

Monday, October 1, 2012

United States Air Force Museum

100_4081While we are in Ohio having some maintenance done to our motor home, we took the opportunity to explore a bit during the weekend.  We drove down to the Dayton, Ohio area and visited the Air Force Museum next to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  We had visited there 20 years ago or so and had some vague memories of it, but it was almost is if we went for the first time.  If all of our full timing memories turn as vague over time we will have to start over and do all our travels yet again.

100_4071The facility houses an amazing collection of military aircraft.  It spans over a hundred years of aircraft from a Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk type plane which was the first military aircraft to near fully modern “stealth” planes.


100_4057Gary spent the most time looking over this particular plane.  It is a B58 Hustler.  It was an intercontinental supersonic bomber of the 1960s.  Gary grew up near Bunker Hill AFB, which became Grissom AFB, and is now an Air Reserves Field.  The base was one of two in the country which hosted these planes.  Gary said they often flew over the skies of the local farms dropping “shredded tin foil” practicing radar avoidance measures.  He said it was also a bit worrisome seeing all the apparent nuclear bomb storage facilities at the base and knowing what a target the area would have been in a conflict.  He said he was happy when that plane was scrapped in favor of missiles and submarines and the base went from Strategic Air Command to Tactical Air Command status.

Speaking of nuclear bombs, the museum houses a number of nuclear bomb canisters.  It is a somewhat stark reminder that we still live in a world where mutual shared destruction is still a reality.



Our pictures from the Air Force Museum are at: