Takin’ A Gander at Gators in the Okefenokee Outback

Jim’s right; I had never heard of Okefenokee or the Pogo comic strip. Hard to believe that even after 12 years together, 24/7, we still don’t know everything about each other.

Okefenokee wasn’t on our trip route, but when he told me about it, I knew that I liked the word; Okefenokee. It sticks in your brain like glue, like a mosquito to your skin, like swamp mud on your boots. Doubtful that we’d ever be in that part of the U.S. anytime in the next 100 years, we headed away from the Carolina coast, right into lower south east Georgia’s swampland.

We went looking for gators, and came back with our first adventure feature presentation …

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Ghosts and Glamour at Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery

bonavmercer_0007w.jpgWhen I was a little kid, my Mom would listen to her favorite oldies station, humming along to 1950s hits while she did housework. No doubt that many of those hits were written by Johnny Mercer.

My Dad says Mercer was the greatest songwriter of all time, penning countless songs for Broadway shows and movies. Mercer was also the co-founder of Capitol Records. He is buried in the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, so this week while we were in town, we went to pay our respects to the musical legend.

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Those Dems Can Play! VA Governors Jam Bluegrass at the Floyd Country Store

I’ve always wanted to visit Appalachia, and when I found out that we were within spittin’ distance to the Floyd Country Store music venue in Virginia, it was a given we’d make it to their legendary Friday Night Jamboree.

And what a lucky night for us; we were graced with the presence of the governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, and the past governor Mark Warner. They were there campaigning for local Dems, but they weren’t there just to give stump speeches; they actually play banjo, harmonica and guitar, and joined in with Blacksburg’s own Jugbusters!

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Lunch Formation, on the Double!

West Point ChapelIt was nineteen seventy something or other when I remember driving right onto the West Point campus and climbing on the rocks while my father enjoyed mother’s famous Swiss Miss and bourbon “Cappucino” from a Thermos while waiting for the Black Knights to sink Navy, or beat Colgate. (Real men fight wars not cavities!) We would walk the parade grounds, run freely around all the statues, or check out the huge links of the Great Chain used to keep the British Navy from sailing up the Hudson.

Dad’s alumni ring probably helped us gain backstage campus access back then, but he’d probably need a lot more than that now to go anywhere other than on the guided bus tour. If he were alive, that is. But he’s not, so I had just had to return to West Point and check on another memory from my Right Coast childhood. But thanks to security initiatives put in place since 9/11, the public is no longer given free range among the cadets and pleebs.

West Point Parade Grounds

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Stephen King’s Number One Faaayuuuun…

Having been an avid reader of nearly all the early Stephen King classics, our stay in Bangor, Maine would not be complete without a drive-by of the horror master’s manor. Surprisingly, it is easy to find, and very accessible. As to not disturb mister King, we rode by on our bicycles, took a quick photo and quickly fled the scene. Watch the movie of our …

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Playing Tourist and Paying Respect at Whitefish Point

At about the age of eleven, I remember being touched deeply by Gordon Lightfoot’s ballad, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The story of the 29 men that perished on that stormy early November night in 1975 just always touched a nerve for some reason. It still does. When we were in back in Duluth at the other side of Lake Superior, I started to …

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Beef Country and The Mashed Potato Tower

Wyoming steak and mashed potato towerWorked most of the day yesterday, finally developing our long-awaited road trip soundtrack page – complete with lyrics to classic travel tunes we’ve deemed appropriate for our trip, local radio stations that have stuck on our dial, and interesting internet radio streams.

But I couldn’t leave Devil’s Tower without a report of this awesome place I’ve always wanted to visit. OK, technically, I did leave since I’m writing this from our new home for the week at Whistler Gulch Campground in Deadwood South Dakota. But I digress…

Traveling across Wyoming, we saw numerous signs stressing that we were in cattle country. As if all the herds weren’t enough to indicate such. As a vegetarian, René was especially amused by the billboards boldy telling us to “Eat Beef!” Personally, I took it as a sign to seek out and grill a great big Wyoming steak. And of course, I would just have to do my best Richard Dreyfus impression by sculpting a replica of the Bear’s Lodge from my mashed potatoes.

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