Saturday, July 22, 2017

Random Beauty

I accidentally clicked something in Windows 10, I really don't know what it was, and when my computer goes into screen saver mode, it shows random photos from the over 40,000 digital images on my computer.  It is really very wonderful, reminding me of the great adventures of the past, inspiring me for the adventures of the future.  

What inspires you to travel? 

Friday, July 21, 2017

I Interrupt my regularly Scheduled Fun for a Short Random Rant

So the White House replaced the Communications Director today, Spicer is out, no big surprise he couldn't lie well enough to work in this administration.  I listened to the New Guy's introduction while doing my daily penance on the elliptical machine, I won't bother learning his name - he won't be around that long.  

He said "I am a team player, I have played team sports all of my life, well when I was growing up."  Which is it, all of his life, or when he was growing up?  The press is going to eat this guy alive, his imprecise use the language will get him ripped to shreds.  I would have known 15 minutes into an interview that he was not the right person for the job, at this time, in this administration, with a press core already tasting blood in the water.  

More horse exhaust in the White House.     

West Side Market - Still as Great As Ever

On my short list of things I wanted to do in Cleveland was visit the West Side Market.  We had been there a couple of times a decade or so ago, and I wanted to see how it was doing.  It is doing great.  Since out last visit the market has better parking, just as many vendors and lots of interesting offering.  

The main market hall if permanent vendors, a lot of meat specialty providers, a couple of cheese vendors and several bakeries. There is a very authentic diner in one corner (nice lunch.)  There is an enclosed outer market with primarily fruit and vegetable vendors - more fresh and seasonal stuff. 

Some day, I would like to live near a place like this and shop in it everyday for fresh ingredients.  

Where is your favorite market?  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Who Will Notice this Posting?

I am kind of hoping that a couple of fellow bloggers will notice this posting.  

First is Spo, aka Michael.  I found a diner named in his honor, undoubtedly featuring favorites from his recently compiled recipe collection.  If you are ever looking for an escape from the desert, this place literally has your name on it.   

The second blogger I was thinking about is Blobby when we rode the Rapid out to Shaker Square, unless I have misread the clues, this is near his gayborhood.  

When J, aka sweetie bear, was growing up his family lived further east in the burbs, a special treat was driving in, parking and taking the Shaker Rapid into downtown.  

Have you visited places that made you think of other bloggers?  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hilton Cleveland

Opened just a year ago at a cost of $272,000,000 the Hilton Cleveland is spectacular.  It's prime location on Lakeside affords expansive views of Lake Erie.  The hotels 600 rooms are spread of 32 floors, with a spectacular view from the hotel bar on the 32nd floor, complete with an open air deck overlooking the lake.  The hotel adjoins the underground convention center.  It is an easy walk to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ballpark and the Terminal Tower entertainment area.  

When we returned to our room Sunday night, a Goodyear Airship (actually a Zeppelin owned and operated by Goodyear) was hovering near the hotel.  

The hotel is new, modern, and comfortable.  Definitely worth the stay.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

No Mistake By the Lake

I bought a pin that says, "I liked Cleveland, before it was cool" and I did.  J is from that area, we have visited many times.  This trip we stayed downtown, something we had done a couple of times 10-12 years ago.  I like urban centers, and like many Cleveland's had not done well from the 1970's through about 2000. In fact in the 1980's Cleveland was referred to as the mistake by the lake.  

There has been an explosion in redevelopment and new construction, there are many fun restaurants and small shops. There is a nice casino.  We took a boat tour, had lunch in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, wandered around and watched the street life of an alive city.  It was fun.  There will be several more postings, I took a ton of pictures.  

Have you been to Cleveland?  

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Little Simple Magic

This was taken from my terrace, on the 3rd floor, while waiting for the Independence Day Parade to pass by.  
What is it?  How did I do that? 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Somewhat Playing by the Rules - the Sunday Five

Gee, that does not look like a mobility scooter to me.  It looks like someone is playing fast and loose with the rules.  We all do in some way, hence this weeks Sunday five. 

1: Have you ever parked in a no parking zone?
2: Have you ever not put money in the parking meter - risking a ticket? 
3: Have you ever driven the wrong way down a one-way street? 
4: Used someone's handicap parking permit, when that person was not in the car with you? 
5: Have you ever passed a car in a no passing zone?

My answers: 
1: Have you ever parked in a no parking zone? - Nope
2: Have you ever not put money in the parking meter - risking a ticket? - Yes - I have paid a handful of parking tickets over the years. 
3: Have you ever driven the wrong way down a one-way street? - once or twice. 
4: Used someone's handicap parking permit, when that person was not in the car with you? - Yes. 
5: Have you ever passed a car in a no passing zone?  Once a very-very long time ago.  There was someone driving about 10 miles and hour, I pulled over to go around and realized that the motorcycle behind me had flashing blue lights on it - I paid the ticket and I have never done that again.  

Your answers? 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Newport Shore

J directed my onto what is billed as the 10-mile drive, a drive around the waterfront of the island that Newport, Rhode Island is on.  Most of my beach experiences have been on sandy coasts, I am always amazed at rocky coasts.  This is definitely rocky. It was a wonderful relaxing drive.  

Rocky coast or sandy beach for you? 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Marble House - Upstairs Downstairs

Marble House was built as a summer cottage in Newport by one of the Vanderbilts.  At her insistence the budget was unlimited, she spent $11,000,000 in the late 1800's, put the house in her name, and threw her husband out a couple of years later and married her younger lover.  Oh, and the "cottage" was built for the six week summer season, never intended to be lived in year around. 

I am always impressed by the grand houses.  I think of the grand parties and entertaining that could take place.  While the elaborate upstairs are elegant, I am more fascinated by the working parts of the house.  If there is reincarnation, I was the butler in one of these places in a previous life.  

Would you be more comfortable upstairs or downstairs?  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Transportation of the future?

The GoCycle is a folding, rechargeable electric bike.  I have rented electric bikes a couple of times and my experience is that they are a nice ride.  You pedal and ride them like a normal bike, the electric motor extends your range, adds a little speed and smooths out the hills.  This one is being marketed to yacht owners - and priced accordingly at $4,500 in the Ship Store in the Newport boatyard. 

I wonder if I could fit a nice cargo box like this on the GoCyle? 

Have you ridden an electric bike? 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I parked next to this at dinner one evening, it is Bentley SUV, base price in the USA $229,100.  I question what Bentley was thinking when they came up with this idea, probably that there are enough people willing to pay that much for something this ugly, that they can make money on it.  

It looks a bit like a porn star, who went off the diet for a decade.  Still nicely upholstered, but a bit large in the hips. The front is simply large, the back side is huge and lacks lines or styling.  The interior looked like a nice place to spend the day.  

It is a head turner, but not necessarily in a good way.  If I had that kind of money to spend, I'd buy 2 or 3 of something else instead of one of these.  

Would you keep it if it was given to you? 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


I can still remember the first time I indulged, the clumsiness, feeling and finding my way, not knowing quite what to do with it, but trying as hard as I could,  the sweetness of finding the meaty core and sinking my teeth into a lobster for the first time.  I kind of like lobster.  I seldom order it, it can be rather expensive.  We had a quick lunch at the Newport Lobster Shack, actually my first "food truck" experience, the food is cooked in a mobile kitchen.  It was very good.  

Out on the lobster docks we passed many barrels of "bait."  Salted fish and the fermenting whole fish.  Be glad the smell-a-blogger on that first barrel.  You can take my word for it, or go smell for yourself.  

Have you ever cooked a live lobster? 

When I was a teenager, my grandmother and I picked up live lobsters to take home to cook.  I was getting all strange about it and she just chucked them and said to "act my age."   

Monday, July 10, 2017


Relics have a connection to the past.  In religion, relics have a connection to a spiritual leader. Saints were frequently broken up into parts, with a fragment ending up here and there.  A connection to something or someone distant by time, or geography.   

We all have relics in our lives.  I have the bronze elephant paperweight that my Grandmother Godfrey had on her desk, that came from her mother's desk before her.  I have two tools on my desk at work, a beekeepers hive tool - symbolic of the work my parents did, and a micrometer from J's father's tool box.  Both of our fathers worked in precision machining, both used micrometers. J's father died before I came into his life, yet I feel a connection to him - through the tool he used in his daily life.  

What relics are in your life?   

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Sunday Five - Air Travel

We recently returned from a trip to Rhode Island, Americas tiniest state.  Getting there was uneventful, coming home was an adventure in modern air travel.  Hence this weeks five questions about air travel. 

1:  Do you normally get Pre-Check or not? 
2: Do you ever encounter a security person at the airport with a sense of humor? 
3: Have you ever been spontaneously upgraded to first class? 
4: Have you ever had a flight diverted to another airport because of weather? 
5: When you easy 50 minute flight, turns into nearly 4 hours on the plane, what do you say to the flight crew when leaving the plane? 

My answers
1: I signed up and paid the fee for Global Entry so I qualify for TSA Pre-Check - the expedited airport security and for the automated express lane at customs and immigration.  
2: As I was shoving my carry on into the ex-ray machine in Providence the security officer asked me if I had anything metal in my my pockets, or water bottles or soft-drinks in my carry on, I said, no; then she asked if I had an small animals, you know like kittens, or squires or hamster in my carry on?  I said, no, I don't think I have ever been asked that before.  She said, I wanted to see if you were paying attention and you wouldn't believe what people leave in their bags.  
3: Jay and I were sitting at the gate talking and the airline agent walked over and asked if we were sitting near one another - we checked, we were across the aisle from one another.  She said "I need to move a few people around, if you don't mind I will move you to better seats." She came back a couple minutes later with seats in row two of first class.  
4:  Yup, glad we were in first class, we flew 250 south west of DC and sat at an airport for two hours.   
5: Thank you, see you again on my next trip!  I have been surprised at the number of times I have had the same cabin crew, they remember if you are not nice to them.  

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Rental Cars

Renting cars, is a bit like prostitution, you charge someone to use it, give it a quick wash, and charge the next person to use it.  I swear some of the cars I have rented have been used for the worlds oldest profession - and I sometimes think they are pimped by the same people.  

I have paid nearly $100 a day for rental cars, and I have rented cars for less than $10 per day - on that one the taxes were more than the rental fee.  

I worry about rental cars, worry that I will mess one up.  The worst I have ever had was a rock breaking a windshield in Montana.  I have a policy with one of my credit cards that provides $0-deductible coverage on any car I rent on that card for a flat fee of $20. So I always decline the insurance.  

I learned the hard way, that the pre-paid fuel option is a bad deal, they charge you for a full tank of fuel, unless you return the car running on empty, you paid too much.  I have once returned a car without filling it.  There was a traffic backup going into one the airports in Hawaii, and we were afraid if we filled the car we would miss the check in for our flight.  The rental company was thankfully quite fair, they only charged me for 1/4 of a tank at their double the price price.

I have rented cars in France twice. France - outside of Paris, is fun and easy to drive in.  The car above I rented in Iceland.  A great way to get around, even if it was a bit expensive.  

I have learned to stick with companies I know, mostly Thrifty / Dollar  and Alamo.  I think they are all owned by the same people anymore.  I have used Enterprise a few times.  When I traveled for AARP, they had a corporate account with National - always nice cars - but seldom the best price. I have rented from Hertz, but usually their price is the highest.  

What is your tip for the best rental car deal? 

Friday, July 07, 2017


I wonder what sheep would say if they could talk?  Would they tell about their lives, the pastures?  Would the criticize the way we treat them?  Would they want to travel more, or graze away a lifetime in the pastures of their birth?  Are they happy?  Frightened?  

A few years after Richard Nixon retired, he was sitting in a park, watching the fish in a pond.  A friend of mine sat down next to him and watched.  Richard turned to him and asked, I wonder if fish ever blink?  

If you could talk to the animals, who would you ask what? 

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Your Mother Forgot to Cook the Cabbage

I come from a coleslaw family, J comes from a cooked cabbage family.  I had never had cooked cabbage until I met him, the first time he cooked for me he made stuffed cabbage - delicious but a bit complicated to make. More than once when we were visiting my family, J remarked, "your mother might be slipping, she forgot to cook the cabbage."  

For you cooked or not cooked? 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Summer Thoughts

I like the long, sunny, warm days.  I always have.   I am reminded of lazy summer days, when school was out, when the teachers let the fools out.  I admire countries like France and Italy that take a month off in the summer. Not the same as summer break from school, but close.  Time to disconnect and experience changes in attitudes.  

How is your summer? 

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Independence Day

241 Years Ago Today, the United States of America declared it's independence from Great Briton. Some days in the past year I have wanted to say, oops, sorry, that was a bad idea, we would welcome the old Queen back.  It is never a good idea to upset old Queens.  

This is a good day to declare our independence from the the things that bother us while we are traveling.  

  • Silly discount airline rules - I will not book basic economy - ever. 
  • Bulky carry on luggage - I will check a bag and let someone else be the baggage handler (I get free checked bags with American and Delta.)  
  • Overpriced hotel breakfasts. In most places breakfast is the most economical meal of the day, but not at most big hotels.  They have gotten the idea of the $29.95 all you can eat buffet breakfast as being a good idea.  It isn't - and I won't.  
  • Long airport security lines, TSA Pre-check or I am not interested in flying. 
What do you vow to change about travel?