Dancing with Irma

Irma was born off the coast of Africa.  As she grew is size and strength she immigrated illegally into the United States, other countries as well.  First coming to the Florida Keys then boldly going northwest into Florida.  She became a large and angry.  Not very friendly.

My wife and I originally intended to meet Irma, we live south of Tampa.  We stocked up on the recommended supplies.  Some of the shelves were empty but we were able to get what we needed.

Empty Store Shelves  Empty Store Shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the last minute and with great pressure from a daughter, we left before Irma came for a visit, not knowing where we were going to go so we headed north.   Another daughter provided us with the Waze app which helped us navigate traffic headed north and a son reserved a hotel for us in Fayetteville, NC.

On our trip north we saw dozens of utility truck convoys headed south.  Right near our hotel over a dozen trucks were stationed by FEMA to head south when they got the call.  When the call came, sometime on Sunday, September 10, they went to Fort Bragg to pick up trailers filled with water, food and other supplies.  One of the drivers I talked with was from Chicago.  Below is a picture of a truck from CT.

FEMA Truck

Emergency Trucks

Trucks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CT Truck

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Florida governor was giving updates every several hours days in advance of the storm.  He provided information of what was being done to help the people and what they should do to help themselves.  Based on what I heard and have seen, the state and federal governments were well coordinated in advance.  For example, during our exodus, every gas station we visited along US 75 and US 95 had all the gas we needed.  Some stations had short lines.

Because of rain in Georgia, problems around Savanna, and flooding in Jacksonville, FL, we are going to head back on Tuesday, September 12.  Early reports we have from our neighborhood are that there downed trees, one of them from our yard leaning against our neighbor’s house.  We were very blessed with the help of family and friends.

 

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How Sweet It IS!

Summer has many “food seasons.”  For example, in early summer there is strawberry season.  By mid summer tomatoes are coming into their own along with cucumbers. Late in the summer is sweet corn season.  In each of the “food seasons” there are celebrations  in some communities focused on the harvest of a particular food.  The annual Urbana (Illinois) Sweet Corn Festival is one such venue that draws people in from all around central Illinois and then some.  If you love sweet corn this is the place to be.

The machinery is right out of the history books.  A steam tractor supplies energy.  A cornhusker takes on the tedious work of cleaning thousands of ears of corn.

What you get is hot buttered sweet corn that is out of this world.

This is real butter.  Even if you are on a diet, one ear of corn is worth following off the wagon.

How Sweet It Is!

But the festival is more than corn.  There are street concerts, food trucks and activities for children.  The Urbana Sweet Corn Festival has something for everyone. If you are in the area next August, you may want to add this to your calendar for a fun weekend.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

My daughter and son-in-law gave us tickets for opening day of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and it was great.  There is so much to do, see, and experience.  Anyone traveling near Houston in early March should try to add this adventure to their travel itinerary.  There is something for all ages and at all times during the day and evening.

We started the afternoon at 4:00 pm walking the carnival. Here you relive your youth by winning a prize for your significant other, take some rides, be amused and of course, gorge yourself on just about anything you can think of to eat.

Funnel Cakes
Funnel Cakes
Turkey Legs
Turkey Legs

We watch small children ride sheep, “Mutton Bustin’.”  It was exciting to watch and a little scary for some of them.

Mutton Bustin'
Mutton Bustin’
Opening the Chute
Opening the Chute
Holding on for Dear Life
Holding on for Dear Life
Mutton Bustin' Survivors
Mutton Bustin’ Survivors

Walking into the concert, we had a nice view of the carnival.  My wife wearing cowboy (girl) boots which is normal footwear along with jeans and hat for the event.

Everyone is a Cowgirl/boy at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Everyone is a Cowgirl/boy at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pacifica Trip Diary – Day 2

Day 2: January 9, 2014

At about noon central time, Korean Air Flight 38 left Chicago, Illinois and I left the Arctic Vortex covering Canada and most of North America. The temperature was 9 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. That was a warm up from the -13 degrees and -38 degree windchill from a few days ago.

This is my first international flight (economy) on a non US airline and it was so much better. Let me count the ways.

  • Plenty of leg room.
  • Nice size media device with lots of entertainment options, each seat
  • Garment hanger, each seat.
  • SUB part, each seat.
  • Complimentary head phones, pillow, blanket, tooth paste and brush and slippers.
  • Wine, soft drinks, two meals and snacks provided.
  • Delightful crew.

I had to fly first or business lass on US airlines to get that kind of service.

About five hours into the flight we left Canadian air space and crossed into Alaska.  Next up is the International Date Line.  We crossed it about six hours and 45 minutes into the flight.  From here we entered Russian air space coming across the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.  Then we followed the Russian coast line along the Pacific to South Korea.  To avoid North Korea, we swung out into the ocean coming into South Korea.

We took off on time on the second leg of the trip, a nine hour flight from Inchon, South Korea to Brisbane, Australia.  This flight was equivalent to the red eye from our east to west coast.  This flight turned into day 3.

Octoberfest – Cincinnati

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is worth the visit. Since its beginning in 1975 it has grown to hosting over 500,000 people and is advertised as “America’s largest Octoberfest.” This year it was held on Friday September 19 through Sunday, September 21. There is plenty of German food consisting of bratwurst, sauerkraut, sausages, potato pancakes, soft pretzels, cream puffs, strudel, jumbo pickles German potato salad, Limburger cheese, pigtails, and pickled pigs feet. If the food is not to your taste, then perhaps you will want to try dancing in the street by participating in the annual Chicken Dance, recorded in the Guinness Book of Records in 1995-97. There is plenty of beer and other refreshments for children along with many vendors.

Picture of band

Picture of Ocktoberfest in Cincinnati

We had a great time visiting and enjoying the food, but when it came time for the Chicken Dance, my young teenage daughter did not want to be captured in the news doing any of those moves.

About a dozen years ago, Cincinnati celebrated its history as the “pork capital of the world” by commissioning the creation of pig statues. You may still find some in businesses and around Cincinnati. Look for them the next time you are there to celebrate Oktoberfest.

Picture of pig sculptureCincinnati2102913

Indiana Covered Bridge Festival

My wife and I took a vacation day to attend the Indiana Covered Bridge Festival in mid October 2013. The festival primarily covered three Indiana towns, Bridgeton, Mansfield, and Rockville. Each town had its own festival characteristics. Bridgeton was more like a tent city with few permanent structures and unpaved roads. Mansfield consisted of a combination of many tents and many more physical structures, including some historic buildings with about two paved roads. Rockville’s festival was integrated into a formal town with some tents that were interspersed on the sidewalks.

Picture of vendor stalls

Picture of large tent with vendors

Picture of vendors

Picture of horse

Mansfield and Bridgeton had covered bridges and grist mills. The Bridgeton Bridge had burned down as the result of arson but was rebuilt in 2006. It is no longer connected to the road that passes through town and now sits silently next to a new roadway bridge. The Bridgeton mill was the most interesting because you take the stairs to its three floors viewing the machinery on each level. It represented a time when the nation was becoming industrialized. The internal operation of the mill was made with wood, leather and metal components that I suspect were assembled on site.

Picture of Bridgeton Mill

Picture of red covered bridge

Picture of red covered bridge

Picture of front of Mansfield bridge

Picture of food vendorThe bridges and mills didn’t seem to be the focal point for most people. They were more interested in the dozens of eateries, and shopping. Some of the food was hearty fare including ham, beans, and corn bread. Another example was chicken soup with a side of mashed potatoes with gravy, and a role; how’s that for starch? Most of the rest of the food was typical of a carnival with staples of elephant ears, soft pretzels, ice cream, fudge, fried chicken and vegetables.

The shopping was interesting. Some of the products were made by hand. These items included hats, rugs, wooden signs, wood carved by chain saws into animal figures, potpourri, ceramics, and architectural wonders made of metal. Other products look like they came from companies dumping their inventories, like socks and work or garden gloves lined up in boxes by the dozens. Other vendors sold inexpensive costume jewelry, plastic puzzle lights and knock off perfumes and purses. Some of the more unusual items were animal hides and tools.

Take time to sample the local seasonal customs and celebrations they can be fun.