A To Z Challenge – R

april-challenge

U R here.  U R lost, but U R here.  U R outstanding in your field, and that’s where you should be – out standing in a field.  In case you hadn’t guessed, in this post, I’m gonna talk about Pirates – aRRRgh….no I’m not, just about the letter

letter-r

REMEMBRANCE, REFLECTION, REMINISCING

During my work career, there were several times when I was not employed. Because of my learning disabilities and restricted education, when I was employed, it often could not be charitably described as ‘gainfully.’

With careful financial planning and saving however, we have been able to see and do some interesting and enjoyable things. Did you know that you can spend an entire week at a Red Roof Inn, or Microtel mini-suite for the cost of one day at a posh hotel, if you don’t need to be fawned over?

We can’t afford to fly, and rent a car when we arrive. All trips have been by car, including three Le Mans trips to Florida with my brother.  2400 kilometers (1500 miles) in 24 hours.  I have swum in, and enjoyed the magnificence of the Atlantic Ocean, and the beauty of the beaches, at Clearwater Florida, just after a storm, down at the tip, at Key West, on a warm, sunny day, Daytona Beach, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., where I found some singing sand.

When the wife and I were stronger and more mobile, we walked much of historically preserved Old Charleston, and visited Fort Sumter, seeing frolicking dolphins and fishing pelicans. We have driven the Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachians, and the Shenandoahs, where we took a hundred-mile trip along the Top Of The World on the Skyline Drive, seeing Stony Man Mountain.

We’ve gone down into the Skyline Caverns, and later, the Luray Caverns.  We stopped to tour the awesome Lewis Ginter Gardens.  We even trekked into the Middle Of Nowhere, Ohio, to find the only slightly lost John Erickson, and we did it all on a shoestring budget.

Of course we took photos, at first, the old, printed type. Later we used a digital camera, and ignored the pix on the computer.  Lately, as both the bodies and the wallet grow weaker, we have the memories of better days to keep us warm and happy, with our REMEMBRANCE, REFLECTION, REMINISCING.   😀

On Top Of The World

Hans Haus

Hi!  This is Archon, your friendly tour guide/travel agent.  If you’ve been reading my stuff long enough, you’ll know that you’re all invited to Oktoberfest, Kitchener’s beer-bash bacchanalia, beginning Oct. 9, 2015.  That’s a long way off though.  If the Eastern section of the U. S. is accessible to you, and you have some free time and are looking for somewhere scenic to go this summer, I have a suggestion for you.

Skyline map

SKYLINE DRIVE 

Skyline trail

Skyline Drive is a part of the Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia.  It is a glorious 105-mile drive along the tops of the mountains.  There is a reasonable day-trip fee to enter the park.  The Drive is a twisty little two-lane paved road that dodges around this side of this mountain, and then swings around that side of that mountain.  The speed limit is 30 MPH, and nobody rushes it.  The views are magnificent.

Skyline panorama

We took the trip several years ago.  Like the Interstates, once you’re on, you’re committed.  There are only three access roads, one at each end, and one about halfway.  There are several pull-off places where you can park and enjoy the views – a couple with a westerly view, and a couple facing east.

Skyline outlook

At one of the outlook spots, I wandered over to the other side of the road, wondering if I could see any of the opposite vista through the trees.  I encountered several graves, with monument stones set flat to the earth.  I briefly wondered what money or political pull it took to be buried in a National Park.  A glance at the burial dates – late 19th/early 20th century – revealed that these were the resting places of Mountain Folk, people who had lived here, hunted and fished, lived and died, and were buried as close to their God as they could get, long before the Government created this Park.

Skyline Cabin

If you want to do more than a day’s drive-through, there are a couple of lodges, and a couple of sets of cabins that you can rent.  They are extremely popular, so you might have to reserve for next year, or even beyond.

Stony Man

At about the ¾ mark, heading south, is Stony Man Mountain, featured in a set of books I used to read.  I’m glad those arrows hang in midair, or I might have missed it.  Finally pulling off the Drive, we headed west to drive back north up the valley between the two chains of mountains.  We decided that we would pull in somewhere to get food and drink.  I’ve often heard that you should never eat at a place called “Mom’s.”  Apparently many others had also heard this admonition.  Mom’s was closed and boarded up.  The Cracker Barrel in the next town was an acceptable alternative.

Moms 1

Moms 2

We came down from the north, and stayed in Front Royal VA, a small city featured in another series of my books. You can go from high to low, because there are also several caves and caverns in the area, that can be toured.  Just south of Front Royal, near the park access road, is Skyline Caverns.

Skyline caverns

It’s a 2.1 mile underground walk in an almost figure-eight, except the cross point doesn’t touch.  Long before it was opened up, a portion of the roof collapsed, creating a vacuum, and crystals found nowhere else on earth.

Skyline crystals

Among several other caves in the area is Luray Caverns.  This is a 2.2 mile stroll in a helix.  At one point along the edge of a large grotto, there are three levels of the path, 10/12 feet above each other.  An organ was hauled down and assembled, and a caver with perfect pitch wandered the place for days, tapping stalactites with a mallet to hear the note each gave off.  Then little rubber hammers with actuators were attached, and connected to the organ.  Nowadays they have been disconnected to prevent damage, and what you hear is a recording of the final performance, still, it’s awesome.

Luray organ

I’d never heard of Skyline Drive until my plant supervisor told me about it.  I’m not so much interested in any compensation from these sites or the area tourist bureau.  I will be more pleased if only one or two of my readers are the back-to-Earth types who can enjoy what we have experienced.  Happy holidaying!  😀

#456

Aaahh – They Got Me!

versatile-blogger2They almost missed me.  Here it is, awards season again, and once again I’ve been unfairly passed over.  Not a word from my adoring public.  I didn’t get one of those strange, un-named statues (?) that look like an op-art angel made of gold ribbon, at the amalgamated Canadian Screen Awards show, watched by all 12 people who give a damn.  Surely I’ve had a better story arc than that hit Canadian show….tee-hee-hee  Hold on a sec – I’ve gotta Wiki to find out what Canada considers a hit.

Nothing at the AMA show, even though I can sing better than that Carly Rae Jepsen kid, when the drugs and her ego wear off.  I’m gorgeous!  You deserve me!  Call me, maybe, if you get off on that child pornography charge.

I didn’t get a Golden Globe, although I saw a bunch of golden globes as I surfed by, on my way to a TV program that required both of my brain cells to be awake and functioning.  My buddy Seth MacFarlane woke the crowd at the Oscars up by singing about them.  We Saw Your Boobs!

I thought that the judges at the Oscars were a little nit-picky.  Apparently you actually have to be filmed doing something to get a statue.  My portrayal of a curmudgeonly old fart was much better than Clint Eastwood’s in Gran Torino, and I wander around talking to empty furniture all the time.

When I published my 100th post, four of them had been for various well-deserved blogging awards.  Soon to reach the 200 mark, I hadn’t been inflicted with another award.  I feared that perhaps I’d lost my mind touch, but then realized that, as awesome as you guys are, you were just too busy to render proper obeisance.

Edward Hotspur was out, spreading Technicolor Unicorn piss, Fairy dust and attitude.  Some of it settled as far as www.benzeknees.wordpress.com up in the Great White North.  Benze was using it to melt the ice, and get some traction, in her driveway, when a bit of it blew my way.  That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a gently used Versatile Blogger Award.

As usual, there’s a bunch of rules, and, as usual, because I’m lazy, and much like Mary, Mary – quite contrary – I’ll follow them, or not, as I see fit.  First, I’ve linked above.  Click to visit a nice lady with some interesting things to say.  Second, I want to thank Benze for having the good taste to honor me as I deserve.  Third, I’ve picked up a copy of the Award and displayed it at the top of this post.  If the wife and I can figure out how to do the insert-widget thing, I’m going to dress the place up a bit, by displaying some of these on the sideboard.

Next, I’m supposed to pass this award on to 15(!!??) other worthy bloggers, and comment on their site to let them know that they also can have a big bowl of this worship, with ice cream on it.  Ain’t gonna happen!!  Somebody convinced the dinosaurs to do that, and see what happened to them, extinct.  I should know.  I watched it happen.

If you’re on my blog-roll, and you want a copy of this pretty little picture and an excuse for a post, feel free to grab one.  I’ll testify in court for you.  If you’re not on my blog-roll, but still feel that you are deserving….I saw Nothinggg!  NNothingg!

Now I’m supposed to reveal seven facts about myself.  They’re supposed to be interesting; but I didn’t read anything that said they have to be true, so here goes.

I can still tie my own shoelaces, but I wear boots most of the time, so that I don’t have to bother.

My GPS co-ordinates put me as near as Damn It, to halfway from the equator to the North Pole.

Why is a mouse when it spins?  The answer, of course is, the higher, the fewer.

I would hate to be blind.  The eyesight is normal for my age, and requires glasses for close work.  I love reading and word puzzles and watch a fair amount of TV, much of it non-series.  However, I have always loved the dark, played in places as a kid where I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.  I’ve been down in two Virginia caves, in one of which, the guide turned off the lights, and I experienced total darkness.  Aside from the waste of electricity, and the money to pay for it, my house always looks dark.  I put little 7-watt nightlights in each room, which cast just enough light to get safely from place to place, and only turn on lights where and when they’re needed.  I drive past houses at night which look like the Vegas strip, lights on outside, and in every room.  Are they insecure?

I walked to Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West when I was there, and observed/studied it.  I didn’t go in.  I’m not sure tourists are permitted to go in, or if there’s a fee.  I did see several of his famous six-toed cats, and even managed to stoke one for a second or two.  They’re not feral, but they roam free, and are somewhat leery of strangers.

While I’ve been harassed a number of times in my life by police officers with nothing better to do than flex their legal muscles, I’ve never been arrested or charged with anything.  Some of my readers may find that interesting.  I did have an RCMP officer fingerprint me when I applied for a Security Guard licence.

If you’ve been counting my facts, because you know you can’t count on me, you know that this is the seventh.  I’ve run out of time and space, and want to thank you all very much for coming to this awards show.  Next time, try to dress a little better.