Category Archives: Travel

We’re Gonna Go Fishing And….???

My old friend Bobby Everhart and I took a quick 4-day run to Emerald Isle, NC for some pier fishing. Early October, in a normal year, would have been a perfect time for catching coolers of spots and sea mullets, both great food fish.

However, these are not normal years and the air temps were in the high 80s and the water temps near summer norms. The result was, we went, we fished, we caught a few dinks, we ate good restaurant seafood, we did a little sightseeing, and we had a wonderful time retelling old stories and making a couple of new ones. 

Was That A Jaguarundi?

Going back to 2001 Sebastian Inlet along Florida’s East Coast has been a favorite saltwater fishing destination for me. It is arguably the best fishing locales in the Eastern United States.

The inlet connects the waters of the Atlantic with the waters of the very large Indian River. It is a very narrow man-made inlet and with every tide change, large numbers of sea creatures move back and forth between the sound and the ocean.

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Go West Young Man. Jiminy Cricket, No Thanks!

Maybe you saw a video on the news of the recent grasshopper invasion of Las Vegas (see below). Back in the 1960s, I had the fortune, good or otherwise, of experiencing such a thing in person. I can’t remember if it was grasshoppers or crickets but, as I learned later, such infestations are not uncommon in America’s West.

I was coming back to Ohio from California and had stopped for the night in a cheap motel in either Texas or Oklahoma. The entrance to my room had an actual screen door on it and when I had packed and was ready to leave I opened the main door and the screen door was alive with crawling insects. I literally held my breath long enough to run for the car and in doing so several hundred made it into the passenger compartment with me.

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Road Trip on the Mennonite Trail

Some years ago we woke to find ourselves in the midst of a growing population of old-order Mennonites and Amish folks. The Mennonites arrived first and located around the Rainsboro and Bainbridge areas. The Amish began arriving maybe fifteen years later and settled in the area between Petersburg and Leesburg. I don’t know about the growth of the Mennonite community but the Amish community has experienced amazing growth and it continues to expand.

The basis of their economies remains agriculture but many have side businesses to supplement their farm incomes. Seeing this as a draw for tourism I started a website called the AME Trail (Amish-Mennonite-English) and it features the many small businesses these community members have started. Unfortunately, I have not kept the site current but it still presents a good idea of what all can be found.

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Wheat Ridge & Murphin Ridge Roads

One of the earliest Mennonite and Amish settlements in South Central Ohio was atop Wheat Ridge in Adams County. The area has developed into a major tourist draw for urban populations in the area with the biggest attractions being Miller’s Grocery, Bakery, Furniture, and all things store on Wheat Ridge Rd. Maybe the next biggest is the Murphin Ridge Inn and Restaurant on Murphine Ridge Rd. It’s on the pricy side but proves that if you know how to cook, “they will come.”

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The Not So Happy History Of Our Early Home Videos

Brownie 8mm movie camera.

Some of you may recall that at one time the only option we mortals had for home movies was an 8mm silent camera. Other than being the only option, the product sucked. All the neighborhood kids running round in blurry, grainy, flickering black and white globs of motion and dust.

Then came Super 8mm cameras and the quality became… I haven’t a clue. Other than costing more money I can’t say much more without Googling.

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Super Bowl 38 In A Cowboy Bar

On Sunday, February 1, 2004, Danny Masters and I rolled into Ruidoso, New Mexico and stopped for a beer in what could only be described as a cowboy bar. I was probably the only one in the place not wearing cowboy boots and Wranglers. Even Danny was sporting a pair of boots, jeans, and a snap button western shirt. Adding to the cowboy image was a genuine king-size Marlboro dangling from his lips. The only clue he wasn’t a true son of the West was the one size fits all ball cap with KY embroidered on the front.
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Threre’s One Under Every Rock!

Back in 2004, I was in the Big Bend area of SW Texas. That area is about as unwelcoming as a place as is yet it has a kind of beauty unlike anything found here in Southern Ohio. I was watching a video taken from the veranda of an old abandoned ghost town mansion that was being used as a two-room B&B. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular and even during the day, the light changes the color and shapes of the hills and canyons. Every day is different as is every moment of every day. Except for the heat that veranda would be a wonderful place to sip a cold one and watch it all unfold.

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A Little Murals, A Little Travel, & a Little More

There seems to be a movement afoot throughout America. A manic movement to decorate old brick walls with colorful, artistic, and/or historical murals. Possibly the earliest I noticed were huge murals along Cincinnati’s Central Ave. More recently we have visited the historical flood wall artworks of Portsmouth which have become a major visitor draw. The most common visit I’m aware of is to tour the flood walls and then have supper at the Scioto Ribber.

Wilmington has a growing crop of excellent murals in its business district and several years ago Greenfield’s Community Market adorned its east wall with a trio of mostly historical murals. Not sure it’s a mural but I like what the Zint’s do with the Corner Pharmacy wall. The first murals I recall in Greenfield were those painted by Eddie Tipton back in the 1970s. I remember those being more folk art like and I believe most of have faded into the pages of time.

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Be On Your WAZE

Just returned from a short fishing trip to Pensacola, FL and several times I thought about what my father would say if he were here today and exposed to the travel technology that exist.

I suppose the majority of smartphones are GPS ready and can make use of Google Maps. I began the trip by telling my phone to navigate to Pensacola Beach and within seconds it told me to take a right turn at the top of my driveway. Every turn thereafter was given me in advance along with the mile remaining and the estimated arrival time for my destination.

Someplace below Nashville I needed gas so I started an app called GasBuddy and it revealed where gasoline was the cheapest and provided a map. Next was time to find a good motel price so I activated the Travel Coupon app and it told me there an a reasonably priced motel at exit 46.

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Dayton & The Golden Boys

We celebrated our thirty-seventh anniversary back in July but weren’t able to do anything special. Then our daughter called with news about a rock ‘n roll show in Dayton featuring Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Fabian. I asked Janet if she was interested and she was. So, I got decent tickets, made a motel reservation and on the 6th of August we headed north.

The concert was held at the Rose Music Center in Hubert Heights and it is a fantastic venue. It seats about 4200 people, all under a roof, plenty of parking, easy access, good amenities, etc. The only negative was sitting on the east side of the venue. This event began at 7 pm and half way through the setting sun dropped below the

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Busted for rum running! Advice for cruisers.

While cruises can be an economic form of vacationing the cost of alcoholic beverages are marked up to the max. If you’re a drinker the pressure is on to smuggle some hooch aboard. Most cruise lines permit each passenger to bring aboard a single bottle of wine and whatever soft drinks they can carry. Beer and hard liquor is banned, however.

We took a cruise in 2014 and I sneaked some Scotch on board by transferring it to a couple of 20 oz brown plastic root beer bottles buried in my checked luggage. Worked with no problem and I was able to enjoy my daily Scotch on the rocks with no problem and minimum expense.

rum runnerOn our most recent cruise I did the same thing but didn’t check any luggage. Instead we carried everything on the ship. When they           x-rayed my suitcase, however, they saw the outline of two pop bottles and asked me to open the bag. They reached for one of the bottles and tested if the seal had been broken, it had been of course. I was then informed that plastic bottles were no longer

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A Yellowstone Tale

My friend Justin Johnson and his faithful sidekick Nikki are currently touring Yellowstone National Park. Looking at some of their posted photos on Facebook brought back memories of the trip we took back in the early 1990s.

justin & nikki at falls
Justin & Nikki

Yellowstone being such a special place we decided to invest in a small video camera to record the experience. So, on the way we stopped at Circuit City in Cincinnati and spent close to $1000 on a camera and a couple of spare tapes. Our son sat in the back of our van and  learned the art of video photography as we plowed our way west.

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Scotland the Beautiful

I’m not Scottish but I do enjoy the occasional wee bit of their whiskey. Back in the 1960s I had the excellent fortune of spending three months in Scotland, courtesy of the US Navy and I totally fell in love with the land and the people. We were the first American war ship to enter the harbor of Greenock, Scotland since the end of WWII and we were greeted as saviors. The hospitality and warmth of those people will always be appreciated and never forgotten.

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A Cruise Vacation

St Martin (4)
NCL Getaway in St. Maarten

Ocean cruising, once a vacation option for the wealthier, has become an enormously popular and affordable vacation option for the masses. My wife and I had discounted ever taking a cruise because of the mistaken idea that it required formalities such as dressing up each evening for supper and/or renting a tuxedo.

In 2002, however, the McClain Alumni Association hosted an all-class Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival ship Sensation. It was a wonderful experience from which we decided cruising was something we’d enjoy doing more of. We just returned from our eighth cruise and have a ninth scheduled for next spring. Thus far we’ve been on Carnival six times, Royal Caribbean once, and Norwegian once and here’s a few notes on what we’ve concluded:

  • The best deals are for those who have a bag packed and can walk out the door at a moment’s notice.

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