Harper’s Day!

June 22nd was Harper’s day with us.  Lyn had a Dr appointment early in the morning and then we swung by and picked her up.   Once here, she watched a bit of TV and then Lyn took her up to Michael’s to select a craft!   We try to something different with each of them when they are out for the day.   Harper really likes crafts.

They came back with a Sand Art kit and we set up to do it on the coffee table in the Living Room.   Upon finishing the 1st (there were like 5 in the kit) she said that she wanted us to have it!  🙂

 

The kids always get to choose where they want lunch and Harper chose Firehouse Subs (same as Jack).   We drove into Pooler and had lunch then back to the house.   Back at the house, they finished the other sand art items and packed those up to take home.  An enjoyable day with Harper!!!

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Dog Days!

Ok, maybe Doggies Day is a better phrase!!    Yes, we now have a new dog…    It has been 2 months since Snuggles left us to be with Herbie and Jingles.   On Fathers Days (Yes, that was a Busy Day) Lyn had stopped by Petsmart to pick up bird seed and they had an adoption event going on by one of the local Rescue Orgs.   She really liked this one little dog.  Anyway, she came home with the seed and found it full of insects, so a little later she took it back to return it.

She stopped by and looked at the dogs again…   Big Mistake!!   🙂    She took little Maggie for a walk…    tried to call me but I was cooking…   and told them she wanted her!   (I called her back and she informed me she was already  doing the adoption papers)

Anyway, she is a 2 1/2 year old tiny little Shih Tzu that is the sweetest little thing.   Very mellow and loving, she is a real joy.   She needs to put a little weight on and we are getting her in Friday to our vet for a check up.   She is spayed, has her rabies shot and is Heartworm negative..

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Smoking Day!

Smoking as in Meat!!   Still Fathers day but this was planned for today.   We are running 3 different meats today.

French Dip:   Using an Eye of Round Roast, also smoking an Au Jus with beef base, water, onions and seasoning.   (This is what will eat today).

  1. French Dip:   Using an Eye of Round Roast, also smoking an Au Jus with beef base, water, onions and seasoning.   (This is what will eat today).  Seasoning is nothing more than kosher salt and course ground black pepper.
  2. Chicken Breasts:  Marinated over night in olive oil, red wine vinegar and cajun spice.  Before cooking, add some more cajun and Janes Krazy Salt.  We cut these into cubes and prepare a dinner salad with the chicken added to the salad.
  3. Country Ribs:  The are seasoned with an AP (all purpose mix) and then Killer Hogs BBQ rub.   Part way through they are placed in a pan with pineapple juice and BBQ sauce.

Based on cooking times and temps, we started off with the chicken in the morning as it requires about 210 smoke setting.   We cooked these until done and then pulled them off to rest.  We would keep one for eating later this week and freeze the other 2.  Photos show prepped, cooking and finished….

Next up we added the ribs.   The country ribs would be cooked on the grate about an hour and a half, then moved over to a pan and continue for approx another hour.  In the pan is a mixture of pineapple juice and barbecue sauce.  The pan will be covered until they are done to temp and then they will be brushed and placed back on the grate to caramelize.  These will be frozen in meal size packs, keeping one pack out to eat this week.

  

Lastly was the Roast….   Flipped it once at about 20 minutes, cooked until internal was 132 which is rare.   The Au Jus was in pan along side, covered and simmering.  Photos showed seasoned, cooked, sliced & served!

  

Another great cook day!!!

 

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Father’s Day!

1st, let me say Happy Fathers day to all those fathers (and those who assume the role) out there.

We had a nice day here.  Scott, Morgan and Jackson had gone to Atlanta for a show (Dan DTM) and we had their dog Finley.  Scott was going to come by and pick her up Sunday but first we all got together for breakfast.  The kids love “The Original Pancake House” in Savannah so we met them there.  The kids loved the chocolate chip pancakes!

Morgan’s parents (Lynn and David) were supposed to join us but something came up and they were unable to attend.   The kids gave me a card, we had a nice meal and a nice visit!

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1st Solo Boating Day…

June 13th was our 1st Solo day boating…   we had a 10:00 am Reservation and took a cooler with some drinks and lunch.  We headed south on the Wilmington River (on the ICW).  The ICW continued on a fork to the right (Skidaway River) which goes by the Isle of Hope.   We continued on the Wilmington, learning our way & navigating until approaching Wassaw Sound, which empties into the Atlantic.   I was not comfortable enough yet to enter the sound so we turned around and started heading back.   We anchored off of Skidaway Island and relaxed a bit and had lunch.  That was my 1st solo anchoring!

As we started back, I thought of jumping on the ICW at the Skidaway River for a bit but there was a boat running circles in the entry and I decided to just continue back.   Nervous about docking on my own but I did fine and we finished up, paid for fuel and headed home.   Very nice 1st excursion alone.

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Harper’s Dance Recital

Sunday June 11th was Harper’s Dance Recital.   It seems like each year the program gets better and this was the best by far.  It was again held at the Savannah Country Day school and they have an excellent Theater for the program.

Harper was in 3 programs and her cousin Laney was also in several.   We really had a nice time and the photos below were from Morgan.

Jackson, Will(Laney’s brother), Ella                                     Haper & Laney
Harper & Laney

 

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Savannah Bananas

Thursday the 8th of June, we went down to Grayson Stadium for the Savannah Bananas Baseball game.   They are a member of the Coastal Plain League which is a collegiate summer league, featuring top-notched college players from across the nation.

Ronald McDonald House Charities was a sponsor and offered tickets to it’s volunteers so Lyn got a set for us.   Scott, Morgan and the kids were also there as it was one of the games he purchased tickets for.

Though the home team lost, it was good entertainment and we enjoyed the evening out.

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Boating!

Boating, yes a new topic for us….   I have always had an interest in boats and enjoyed it when we had an opportunity but overall, there was just not enough time to do all the things I would like.  We were camping, working, lots of mc riding etc.

We have a camper and motorcycles but I also have more time since we are now retired and I am no longer doing long distance multi day rides.   Scott had approached me last year about maybe going in together on a boat club membership.  We looked into it but tabled it as he was into his house expansion.   Earlier this year, I asked him and he is not ready yet..

Well, we looked into it further and decided to go and join.  It is Freedom Boat Club and after a one time fee, you pay a monthly amount and have access and unlimited use to their fleet of boats.   Each location is independent and we met with the Savannah Club, toured the facility, reviewed the boats (currently 27) and determined this could work for us.

Basically, you reserve a boat, show up, climb aboard and go….   on return, dock the boat, fill up and pay for fuel used and go home!!   No cleaning, no maintenance, no repairs, no other fees (like ins, registration, slip, trailer etc.)

We had training yesterday (Tuesday) with a USCG captain on the boat, operation and navigation of the waterways.  That included class and on the water.   We have a boat reserved for this Friday and next Tuesday.

Sampling of their boats:

Freedom II

  • Hurricane SunDeck 188 OB
  • Deck Boat
  • 19′
  • 10 people

If a cruise with the family or a beach picnic is what you have in mind this is the boat for you. This is a very comfortable boat to do just about anything in.

  • Length: 19′ / 5.8m
  • Draft: 30″
  • Cabin: No
  • Fuel: Gas – 36 gallons
  • Passenger Capacity: 10
  • Engine: 150 hp Yamaha Four Stroke
  • Boat Options:
    ✓ AM/FM Stereo
    ✓ Bimini Top
    ✓ Depth Finder
    ✓ GPS
    ✓ Ladder – Bow
    ✓ Ladder – Stern
    ✓ Power Outlet Plug
    ✓ Ski Ring
    ✓ VHF
    —————————————-

Freedom III

  • Key West 203DFS Dual Console
  • Bowrider
  • 20′
  • 8 people

A great boat for fishing or cruising and has all the amenities for both. This is a very comfortable boat to do just about anything in.

  • Length: 20′ / 6.1m
  • Draft: 30″
  • Cabin: No
  • Fuel: Gas – 60 gallons
  • Passenger Capacity: 8
  • Engine: 150 hp Suzuki Four Stroke
  • Boat Options:
    ✓ AM/FM Stereo
    ✓ Bait Box
    ✓ Bimini Top
    ✓ Depth Finder
    ✓ Fish Finder
    ✓ GPS
    ✓ Ladder – Stern
    ✓ Livewell
    ✓ Power Outlet Plug
    ✓ Rodholder
    ✓ VHF
    ————————————————-

Freedom XV

  • Hurricane FunDeck 226 Party Deck
  • Deck Boat
  • 22′
  • 12 people

Looks like and has the room of a Pontoon Boat but it has a Deck Boat hull. Great for cruising around and sight seeing with a large group.

  • Length: 22′ / 6.7m
  • Draft: 30″
  • Cabin: No
  • Fuel: Gas – 27 gallons
  • Passenger Capacity: 12
  • Engine: 115 hp Yamaha Four Stroke
  • Boat Options:
    ✓ AM/FM Stereo
    ✓ Bimini Top
    ✓ Depth Finder
    ✓ GPS
    ✓ Ladder – Stern
    ✓ Power Outlet Plug
    ✓ Ski Ring
    ✓ VHF
    ————————————-

Freedom X

  • 2016 Key West 2020 Center Console-
  • Bowrider
  • 20′
  • 6 people

A great boat for fishing or cruising. This is a very comfortable boat to do just about anything in.

  • Length: 20′ / 6.1m
  • Draft: 12″
  • Cabin: No
  • Fuel: Gas – 60 gallons
  • Passenger Capacity: 6
  • Engine: 150 hp Suzuki Four Stroke
  • Boat Options:
    ✓ AM/FM Stereo
    ✓ Bait Box
    ✓ Bimini Top
    ✓ Depth Finder
    ✓ Fish Finder
    ✓ GPS
    ✓ Ladder – Stern
    ✓ Livewell
    ✓ Power Outlet Plug
    ✓ Rodholder
    ✓ VHF

    ——————————————————-

They have multiples of each boat and we can take any of them that we choose.

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Ella’s Day!

June 1st, we had Ella for the day.  Lyn picked her up and brought her here where she watched some TV.   Ella loves animals so we headed out for a drive through the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge where I normally go to photo gators.  It had been raining but we managed to see some (which she enjoyed) and also a few birds.

Leaving the refuge, we headed to lunch.  We let the kids (within reason) pick where they get to eat.  Ella chose Panda Express.   She loves it there and we had never been.

Turned out we enjoyed it so we all had a good time..

We went back to the house for the rest of the day until time to take her home…

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Radio Go-Kit

A Go-Kit or Go-Box is a Ham radio kit designed to be portable for set up anywhere.   They are very common for emergency communications where you can pack up and activate pretty much anywhere.

There are many ways to do it, some make wooden boxes, some used toolbox/tacklebox kits, some used customization rack cases (common for music) and some just pack the gear in a  tote.   I had used the tote but really wanted to build a ready to go kit.  With the tote, you had to unpack and then connect everything all up.   Then disassemble it all and pack back away.  I decided I wanted to do a professional job so decided to go with a Gator Box with Rack shelves, mount all equipment rigidly and wire everything up so you just connect the antennas, plug it in and you are on the air.

I had the basic radios but chose to sell my 450D HF rig and get an FT-891 HF.  Also needed to pick up a power meter and a tuner.   Here was my layout plan.

I ordered what I needed and waited for the case to arrive.

I then began fabrication….   started with mounting on the bottom shelf, then the 2nd shelf.  The 2nd shelf had stuff mounted on both the top and the bottom.

 

After I got everything mounted, I fit the 2 shelves into the case and then some minor tweaks to fit everything for operation.   Here is the final box…

Now it became time for wiring….   and then labeling all the wires…

    

I was very pleased with how this all turned out!

 

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Jackson’s Day!

On May 25th, we had Jackson for the day…      He wanted to go Bowling so we took him to Frames & Games in Pooler.   He typically bowls one game and then goes and plays some of the arcade games.  Today was no different and as usual he had a good time!   (So did we by the way..)

He also chooses his lunch spot and again, no surprise, he likes Firehouse Subs.

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Window Pass-Thru

I needed a way to pass through multiple coax cables to get them into the house from the radio antennas.   I had seen some commercial ones for sale and decided to build my own.   I used Cedar and ordered 5 bulkhead fittings to insert through.   The edge was wrapped in foam insulation and it turned out well.

 

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48 Hours to Nashville

Ok, so it was really 24 hours to Tulsa, but the actuality is we have 2 days of driving to get to Nashville.   Today, 5/15, we departed the motel in Mitchell SD around 5:00am and began our 2 day trek.  At this point we do not know whether we are staying in Nashville to see the sites or just stopping an continuing home.  Regardless the choice, we have 2 days driving to get near Nashville and 3 days driving to get home.

It was not a very scenic drive (at least compared to what we have been seeing) and we had difficulty finding a breakfast location so we delayed and had a late breakfast at an IHOP around 10:45.  We passed through the KC area around 12:30 and eventually stopped in the town of Kingdom City Missouri, approx 2.5 hours west of St Louis.  It was 3:20 and we are very tired.   Gonna relax, get in some dinner later and then make a decision on the next step of the trip.


Ok, decision made, we are both tired and we are going to pass on Nashville as we can get near Chattanooga tomorrow and have a shorter ride home on Wednesday!


5/16, we got up early and hit the road.   Made good time into St Louis and then made a wrong turn (mis-communication between me and the GPS) but the GPS got us back on track quite quickly.  It was somewhat the early part of Rush Hour so traffic was heavy but I have seen worse.

We crossed over into Illinois and once the traffic cleared a bit we began looking for a breakfast stop.  We found one in New Baden, at 7:40 am called Good Ole Days Restaurant!  Quaint place in a small town frequented by the locals!   Great place for breakfast!!!   We love finding these places.

 

Most of Illinois was farmland and flat, and we crossed into KY at Paducah…   Lush Green, very pretty and similar but rockier as we got in TN towards Chattanooga.   We stopped for the night in Jasper, just outside Chattanooga about 2:00 pm


Here we are, the last day of our Epic Adventure!  We spent the night in Kimball TN and got on the road about 5:00am.  We had clear sailing through Chattanooga and into GA until we approached Atlanta.   SLOWWWWWWW   Traffic…     Thats ok, better that than whizzing all around me at the speed of light!!!  It took over an hour and a half to get through it all.

We grabbed some breakfast on the other side, stopping at an IHOP before proceeding the rest of the way home.

It was around 1:30 when we arrived home….    we stopped on the way in and picked up Snuggles ashes….   as Lyn said, he needed to come home now!


Summary:

28 Days
6648.6 Miles
21.1 MPG Average
46 MPH Average
142:41:40 Total Driving Time

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Mount Rushmore Plus!

May 14th is the day we head over to Mt Rushmore.  We got off to a sluggish start as we slept in a bit later than intended.  No  Biggie, guess that we needed it huh??

It was only about an hour and 10 minutes to get there from Sturgis.   We passed through Rapid City and then the views opened up again as we climbed into the mountains…   Gorgeous and as we rounded one curve, I was presented with an amazing view!

We parked at the top of the lot (next to the entrance and went in.   Shortly after arrival, the visitor center and gift shop opened and Lyn visited these before we headed out.

 

We checked as we went through Keystone on the way down the mountain but there were no eateries open (out of season).   We decided to head on to our next destination and if nothing found on the way, there would be eateries in the the town of Wall, SD. Jack, a Ham Radio friend had told us we needed to stop at Wall Drugs as it was right on our route!  Wall Drug Store, often called simply “Wall Drug,” is a tourist attraction located in the town of Wall, South Dakota. It is a shopping mall consisting of a drug store, gift shop, restaurants and various other stores. Unlike a traditional shopping mall, all the stores at Wall Drug operate under a single entity instead of being individually run stores. The New York Times has described Wall Drug as “a sprawling tourist attraction of international renown [that] draws some two million annual visitors to this remote town.

We arrived around 9:45 am local time and were easily able to find street parking.  They have a HUGE free parking lot of the next block over if you need it.  We selected one of the Cafe’s and proceeded to get our breakfast, a very good meal.  After eating we browsed the streets and shops before hitting the road again.

    

It was not on our original plan but we had spotted signs for Badlands National Park nearby.   We decided to pay it a visit and oh were we glad that we did!  The scenery around the park and throughout was again, just Amazing!  We even had some special guests decide to block the roadways!  🙂  (On the way out we spotted some prairie dogs too!

Leaving here, we decided to try and make it all the way to Mitchell SD for the night and we achieved that by arriving here at 4:15.  The scenery from here out to Mitchell became more rolling to flat and nothing that was to impressive.   Tomorrow we begin a two day run to Nashville TN.

 

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Custer/Sturgis

Saturday, May 13th, we departed Livingston Montana for Sturgis SD.  As normal, when facing a long drive, I had trouble sleeping so we were up early.  Departing at 5:00 am, we filled up our coffee and hit the road.  Heading out on I-90, we had thought of stopping in Billings for breakfast but did not spot anything near the exits.

Our Scenic for the day was the Little Bighorn Battlefield Memorial and we arrived just before 8:00 am.  They opened at 8 so we proceeded in and checked in at the Visitor Center.  After looking around a bit, we watched a video about the park and the battle.  After picking up a couple souvenirs, we then drove the battle road and visited the monuments.  It was a solemn drive where so many died that day.

We had not had breakfast yet and as we exited he park, Lyn spotted the Custer Battlefield Trading Post and Cafe.  We stopped it and they served breakfast so we stayed to eat.  It was a really cute place and the food was good!  It was operated by all Native Americans, and actually on the Crow Reservation.

Our server asked where we were headed and mentioned Rte 212 as a nice scenic route that would also shave some time off our route.   You know we like getting off the Interstate so of course we took it, very nice route for sure.  It took us almost right in to Sturgis!

This was our destination for the day and we stumbled on a Best Western Motel that was perfect and priced right!

 

 

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