Up, up and away…

OCTOBER 15, 2016

MEET OUR FRIEND WAYNE.  We’ve been at the same RV park for quite a while. People come and go. Different rigs on different days. But whenmodel1 our “next door neighbor” Wayne arrived, we knew something was a little different. After initial pleasantries on arrival, we noticed that behind his good looking motorhome was a huge covered trailer. “What could be inside that thing?” I wondered to myself. I found out the next morning when I saw that, like rabbits from a hat, Wayne had extracted not only his tow-car, but model airplanes the likes of which I’d not ever seen.

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Categories: Alabama, Florida, People | 2 Comments

What’s next?

OCTOBER 13, 2016. Many of you have asked me, “Why are you still in Pensacola? We thought you’d have headed down the road by now.” We thought so too, but a couplewhatsnext things changed. First, I decided not to resist all my doctors’ pleas that I stay in town a little longer. They remain amazed at how I’ve recovered but most of them want me to complete the year so they can “fine-tune” their accomplishments with me. “Okay, doctors. You win. I’ll stay a little longer, but my reason has little to do with you. I feel great!”

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Categories: Alabama, Florida, Holidays | 3 Comments

My trip to San Diego…

OCTOBER 12, 2016. Mum’s been the word about our future plans. But that’s only because we hadn’t formulated them until now.san-diego We’ve made some decisions and plotted our course, so in short order I’ll let you know “what’s next.” And perhaps after you know where we’re headed you’ll have some suggestions for us. What to see and what’s not worth the effort. Which restaurants in an area are special. We’re “all ears.” We value your recommendations. Over the years we’ve followed your tips frequently and been glad we did. So please leave your ideas as comments to this or any other post. Or send me an email. I’ll respond to your thoughts right away. Read more »

Categories: Alabama, Animals, California, Florida, History, San Diego | 3 Comments

Two hundred thousand visitors!

TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND OF YOU GUYS! By day’s end tomorrow, more than 200,000 of you guys will have visited this blog since June of 2013. That’s impressive. That’s flattering. Thank you. Let’s talk a little bit about it…the milestone, that is.

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Two hundred thousand of you guys have been part of our Adventure so far. And we’re not done yet. Not even close!  

IT ALL BEGAN IN JUNE, 2013. We’d decided to embark on our “Great American Adventure” about 8 months earlier. We figured that folks would think we were nuts. “Who cares,” we decided. So we ran with it. As it turned out, not even one person thought we were nuts. In fact, quite to the contrary everyone with whom we shared our dream in those early months said something like, “Wow. I wish I could do that.” Or, “I’m hoping to do that some day, too.” We were amused but not surprised, because we’d already begun to “get it.” That this idea of ours, to begin our Great American Adventure was not unique to us. Rather, it was our demonstration of a feeling most of us experience at one time or another. “Let’s just go!” Let’s be gypsies. Let’s be kids again. So we did, and we have. The rest is living history. Because our Adventure is not yet complete, as those of you who follow my blog already know. Read more »

Categories: Misc | 4 Comments

The Many Faces of Pensacola Beach, Part II.

THE MANY FACES. About a week ago, I published a post called “The Many Faces of Pensacola Beach.”  There are a few more pictures I took that morning at the beach, so I decided to post them here as “The Many Faces of Pensacola Beach, Part II.” The theme continues to be something like, “Its easy to find beauty all around us, if we just take the time to look for it.” So, here goes…

 

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Top of a wooden fence post at the beach. Again, early morning is a good time to photograph landscape scenes. While the sun is still low in the sky, shadows are created in the photo images which make even the mundane quite extraordinary.

 

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An ordinary wooden fence plank has knots. When photographed close-up, they show more of Nature’s handy work.

 

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This is another picture of the knot on that same fence board. This piece of wood is pretty because it’s been washed and bleached by the sun, the wind and the salt-sea air.

 

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More bright light and dark shadows. This scene would be very ordinary at high-noon.

 

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Categories: Florida | 12 Comments

McGuire’s Irish Pub…

MC GUIRE’S IRISH PUB. “One of America’s Finest Steak Houses.” That’s what the ad says. But what my cousin Scott told me is this, “Greg, don’t get the ‘end cut’ prime rib. It is too smokey. Any other cut is fine.” That’s because what this pub’s famous for serving is not steaks. No, it’s their prime rib that put this joint on the map. And keeps it right there. This place does merit inclusion in my list of eateries.

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You can’t miss this place.

 

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Look at all the dollar bills!

 

ABOUT THE PLACE. The restaurant is celebrated for its atmosphere, boasting more than a million dollar bills hanging from the ceiling and the walls. It’s true. Hard to describe. But when prompted to “donate” my dollar, I was given a stapler and told to sign my name on the bill and,  “go for it.” So I did. So I guess the new total on the ceiling is one million one.

 

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I’ve been baking potatoes this way for years. I pierce the skin, rub it with oil and then apply lots of sea salt. Then, into the oven it goes. A remarkable improvement over the just baked potato.

 

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That’s a good size piece of prime rib if I’ve ever seen one. I ate about half.

 

MOLLY McGUIRE. The pub’s namesake is Molly McGuire Martin, of Stamping Ground, Kentucky.  Molly was the fourth of five girls. She is survived by three of her beloved sisters Lena, Edna and Jean. She was preceded in death by her beloved sister Evelyn. Molly was close to her sisters. Edna and Molly spent countless hours singing together. The girls were so talented that they were often called upon to perform at many public events in the close-knit town of Stamping Ground, Kentucky. It was this early beginning of performing in public that gave Molly her life-long passion for entertaining and singing. At the pub named after her in Pensacola, Florida.

 

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I’ll continue my story next time.

Categories: Eateries, Florida | 2 Comments

Not your average Joe…

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Chief Joseph R. Zeller, a veteran of World War II. I’m proud to have met him and listened to some of his stories. History, taught by one who has made it.  

IT’S THE PEOPLE. It’s the people I meet on our Great American Adventure. They are the ones who make our Journey special. The places and parks and cities and attractions are way fun. But it’s the people I want to meet. Here’s Joe Zeller, a retired Veteran of World War II.  Still a “regular guy” at age 96. I didn’t get his whole story, but I’ve decided to write a little about him and the emotions we shared this morning at breakfast.

MEET CHIEF JOE ZELLER. I met Joe this morning. In fact we had breakfast together. Joe is in town at a reunion, to celebrate his ship and his shipmates  And victory at the conclusion of World War II. There is a convention here, and Joe and his buddies comprise a small, elite group. They are men from “the  Greatest Generation.” Most have passed. I’m happy I was able to meet and talk with Joe. I’m honored to have had the chance to shake hands with a man who served our country during the War, even during a fire at sea, which is a sailor’s worst fear.

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Categories: Armed Forces, Florida, Texas | 4 Comments

The Many Faces of Pensacola Beach…

PENSACOLA BEACH. Anchored at the western tip of Florida, stretching miles along the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola Beach’s sugar-white sand beaches, and crystal clear waters draw beach lovers, fishing enthusiasts and environmentalists alike. The all-inclusive term “Pensacola Beach” is however a misnomer for the location of my visit today. Because it is but one of the beaches located on Santa Rosa Island, one of the longest barrier islands in the world. It includes natural beaches, local hangouts in densely occupied local hangouts and even an historic fort. On either side of it is the National Seashore.

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Our morning at the beach began at dark, as we awaited the day’s first color. Here’s how it began to appear at about 6 AM.

TODAY’S PHOTO-ESSAY. But despite all the different “places” called Pensacola Beach, my photo-essay today will focus on but one aspect of this natural coastline paradise. That’s the secluded shore where Florence and I arrived early on the morning of September 10th to capture these photos. Where we arrived before 6 AM and watched the beach awaken for another day. Where we saw dark turn into crimson and orange change to blue. Where the sand and the flowers became visible only as the morning progressed. Where in less than two hours we departed this peaceful shore and the wildlife now-moving about the wispy sea grass.

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Categories: Florida, Scenic Byways | 4 Comments

Hollywood’s Magic Castle…

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Craig Stone is the first professional magician I ever met. He’s one of the best. And when he points to his hat, all eyes are on him.

MY FRIEND CRAIG STONE. Craig Stone is a professional magician, one of the best. He looks the part. He’s a former client and a dear old friend. Together over the past thirty years we’ve laughed together on dozens of occasions. He’s worked for me and I’ve worked for him. He’s entertained my guests at birthday parties and office parties. I’ve referred him to others and he’s reciprocated. Now, I’ve represented more than a few magicians during my career. Each was fascinating. Some of their cases were more challenging than others, but without exception the magicians themselves were interesting, quick-witted and kindhearted. I like to cook and make people happy. Magicians perform tricks for a living, but their motivation is also to make people happy. To entertain them. So when Craig and I were recently chatting, our conversation became part of my Great American Adventure and I was reminded of a 1910-era Gothic Renaissance Chateau in the Hollywood Hills. It’s called the Magic Castle and Craig was my host during my first visit to this wonderful place. Today I’m going to entertain you with some information about this old house. I’m going to take you inside for a look around. And if you’re ever invited to visit, accept that invitation and get ready to hold your hat. Because the hat just might contain a rabbit. You’ll never forget your visit to the Magic Castle, whether it be to Franklin Avenue or right here on my blog. So here goes, let’s walk through the library and step inside the parlor.

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Categories: People, Special occasions | 1 Comment

The impact of hunger and food insecurity in America…

SOMETHING BOTHERS ME. Anyone who’s familiar with me and my blog knows one thing for sure. Greg is a guy who loves to cook. He loves to shop for farm to tableFightHunger ingredients, meet local farmers while doing so and share his love for food with an audience. But his passion is about lots more than that. He’s also very concerned about violence in America. He’s astounded on an almost daily basis at what he sees on TV. Rioting in Ferguson about the Micheal Brown shooting. The same thing in Baltimore after that nut case prosecutor Marilyn Mosley stirred up the troops. The TV reports just keep coming. The problem gets more and more severe with each passing day!

WHAT’S THE LINK BETWEEN FOOD AND RIOTING? I thought you’d never ask. But since you did, I’m ready to tell you what I perceive is the link and how I want to use my love of cooking to help calm things in America. It’s not gun control that will solve the problem. It’s not new legislation, crafted by insensitive politicians who don’t really “get it.” We’re already suffering the effects of too much legislation. No, in my view when we address the problem of hunger in America some of the problems reported every day on national TV will just go away. And it won’t take a penny of taxpayer dollars to accomplish this. Read more »

Categories: Eateries, Florida, Special occasions | 4 Comments

“Hello, Goodbye.”

HELLO, GOODBYE. One of the most enjoyable parts of being on an extended RV adventure is meeting people. One of the least enjoyable realities of being on anhello extended RV adventure is saying goodbye to people. “Hello, Goodbye!”  Here’s how the Beetles sang it: “You say yes, I say no / You say stop and I say go go go, oh no / You say goodbye and I say hello.”  It seems as if often when I’m just getting to know a fellow traveler, just learning about his thoughts and the reasons, just starting to hear about his hobbies, one of us will continue our adventure and head down the road again.

BILL GREEN AND I HIT IT OFF. It was late in the day when Bill and his wife pulled in to the RV site next to ours. The heat all day had been almost unbearable, and Florence and I were tired. We’d been busy with our new puppy, we were too tired to prepare dinner yet too grubby to go to a restaurant…you know the feeling. Only because it’s the right thing to do, sort of a ritual that RV travelers practice, that I walked “next door” and said hello to Bob. The protocol is that when someone arrives in the park to a site near yours, you say hello and offer to help. (I of course am good at the saying hello part, while Florence is the only one of us capable of actually helping with the park specific “hook-up” choices that need to be made.) Read more »

Categories: Florida, People | 18 Comments

And the winner is…

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Annie Skarie took the Gold. She wants Molly to meet Angel and Cody, her own dogs. “I wish we’d had a dog naming contest ourselves. Greg is a genius.” Well put Annie, well put!  

NAME THAT DOG CONTEST. Thanks to all of you who participated in “Name That Dog” contest here at Great American Adventure. Before our Maltipoo puppy arrived, we decided to get your help picking a name. Hence the contest. Lots of you entered. I received almost a hundred nominations. It’s finally time to announce the puppy’s name and reveal the identity of the winning contestant.

SUSPENSE.  Y’all have been on the edge of your seats! I get that. You’ve been ready to collect the prize money and get on with your lives. Ready to hire a babysitter and schedule your night at the movies. Because the winner of the contest will receive two theater tickets and a coupon for unlimited popcorn and drinks. In an age of budget cuts and staggering unemployment, such a valuable prize is rare indeed! I suppose that’s the reason we had so many celebrities competing for the prize. They ponied up dog names right alongside the rest of you folks. It became almost a Freudian struggle.

NAME ENTRIES. The sensitivity you displayed during the competition brought tears to my eyes. It wasn’t easy being the judge of your efforts, either. The pressure was measurable. Lots of you suggested cute names. Some proposed more serious ones. Many of you sensed my tendency to favor the whimsical. Finally, a few of your entries were suggestive of a coiffed poodle, perched atop a satin cushion in a quiet section of the bar in a fancy French bordello.  So we had lots of names to consider.

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Categories: Animals, Florida, People, Special occasions | 2 Comments

Pat’s Blueberry Farm…

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Pat’s selling season is coming to an end. But he still had some of the sweetest berries I’d ever tasted. Always prone to excess, I left with sufficient blueberries to grace enough cereal bowls for an entire Boy Scout Troop! 

LET’S STOP. IT’S RIGHT ON THE WAY HOME. Driving home the morning after our wonderful Table in a Kitchen experience, where we enjoyed a five course meal and had a chance to interact with the chef who prepared it, I had a great idea. “Let’s stop at Pat’s Blueberry Farm and get some fresh vegetables,” I said to Florence. “It won’t take but a minute and I need some berries anyhow. Remember how we promised to save a little money by not eating in restaurants every day?”  My statement and question were crafted to get me down the country lane and into Pat’s garage, where the talk about blueberries and summer crops always occurs when he’s not busy. Here’s how it works: I do the cooking. Florence is a picky eater but she does like good fresh fruit and vegetables. And she and I have decided to make a conscious effort top stay within our budget better than we’ve been doing. So a combination of all those thoughts wrapped into my suggestion that we stop at Pat’s Farm was crafted to get Florence’s agreement, despite the darn-near unbearable heat!

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Categories: Eateries, Florida, Holidays, RV Cooking, Special occasions | 7 Comments

Table in a Kitchen…

tableCOOKING ON THE ROAD. I get a great deal of satisfaction preparing meals for our friends and loved ones. Cooking is our gift to them. We all need to eat…why not make dining on the road an opportunity for interesting conversation and a delight to the senses? It really isn’t difficult. See my post about cooking on the road.  My cooking hobby also gives me a chance to sharpen my skills and create new recipes wherever we may be at the time. So, when I get an opportunity to improve my cooking skills by taking a class, I always take advantage of it. Some classes are better than others but more times than not I learn something and get a chance to have a nice meal without all the work of preparing it at home.

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Categories: Alabama, Eateries, RV Cooking, Special occasions | 2 Comments

REO Speedwagon…

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REO Speedwagon is an American rock band. Over the course of its career the band has sold more than 40 million records, including a dozen Top 40 Hits. Today, band remains a popular live act almost 50 years after being formed in 1967.

REPRESENTING A ROCK STAR. All divorce lawyers dream of representing high-profile clients. As you’ll remember, I’ve previously introduced you to NFL Hall of Fame member Fred  Biletnikoff and to Eddie Feigner, whose “King and His Court” fast pitch four man baseball team toured the country and sent many a Major League player back to the dugout. Representing them is interesting not just because there’s a “wow factor,” but also because they have large estates, big incomes and challenging legal problems. So when in about 1982 the wife of one of the Speedwagon band members came to see me about a divorce, I was flattered and excited. If not a rock star, I reasoned…one’s wife will do just fine.  And I was intrigued by the issues: Royalties, business valuation (the band), celebrity valuation (the rockstar), income evaluation and tax consequences. And as to spousal support: (That used to be called alimony.) How much? How long? And what if wife found a boyfriend? How would that affect her support? Or should it? And how much income did the band enjoy, anyhow? Can’t really trust them to say the truth under these circumstances, right? I’d have to do extensive discovery, engage forensic accountants, business valuation experts and…well it was going to be an expensive and long process to get Wife from where she was to the other end of the tunnel. She was young and seemed a bit naive, but she was very nice.

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Categories: California, History, My Book Deal, People | 5 Comments

Oakfield Union Missionary Baptist Church…

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Oakfield is a small church with big plans.

OAKFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH. I’m going to tell you about this little church in the deep South. I’m going to show it to you and introduce you to the people who worship there. I’ll take you to their Sunday afternoon potluck dinner and listen with you to the music they make. It’s fascinating. But before we even set foot inside, let me tell you why I was there. Why a Caucasian guy like me, raised by Ivy League parents in an affluent neighborhood ever found his way inside. Because you see I was the only white guy at this all Black church. And I’d be surprised if another guy like me had ever set foot inside the place. So bare with me. I’ll take you inside in just a moment.

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Categories: Florida, Miracles Happen, People | 4 Comments

Wayne’s Family Diner…

JULY 31, 2016

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? I hear this question quite a bit. I pretty much heard it every day from “my sixteen year old girlfriend” in Sanwayne9 Diego, Marymay, who hung out at our place a lot when we had our little ranch in the back country. I fed her well and in exchange she’d direct me in a daily workout playing tennis in front of the Wii. Now I hear “What’s for lunch?” on the road, even from RV travelers whom we’ve just known for a short time. “We’ll help you in the kitchen and we’ll do all the clean-up, but will you fix lunch for all of us?” “Okay, I can do that.” But understand that I’ll prepare lunch, not fix it. And even though I know you mean well, please stay out of my way while I’m working in the kitchen. Better yet, why don’t you go outside and clean the Weber grill…get it ready for this evening. Because I’m pretty sure you’re going to want some of that wild caught Atlantic salmon in a few hours when your appetite alarm sounds again. And cleaning the grill,  not that is something you can do. Read more »

Categories: Eateries, Florida | 9 Comments