Oregon’s Pacific Coast Food

Kat and I love Gulf seafood.  What we have found from the Pacific has been nearly as good – those big Pacific oysters (the most common variety, and the species canned for refrigerator cases in most of the USA) are too metallic for my taste, fried or raw.  Baked with a sauce they are acceptable, […]

Read More

Oregon’s Pacific Coast Highway

Redwoods National Park casts a mood along the lines of Mirkwood, the dark forest of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Hobbit trilogy, inhabited by giant spiders, overseen by the Eye of Sauron, home of Gollum, a land terrorized by the occasional raid of marauding Orcs.  It is damp, mossy, cool when not cold, and packed with […]

Read More

Yosemite National Park

  As famed as this park is, we did not know it has a valley section open most of the year, and a higher section that’s closed most of the year.  Our visit took place April 13 and 14 and they hadn’t even run snowplows through the mountain passes.  So we missed Tuolumne Meadows at […]

Read More

Sequoia National Park

It seems spring has finally overtaken us on our trek north.  Outside Sequoia National Park the redbuds are in full bloom, the lupines (which look just like tall bluebonnets) are out in force, and the hills are covered with dark golden flowers the locals know as California poppies.  But the ever vigilant Park Service is […]

Read More

Bugger

Over the years I have enjoyed the company of several black cats.  The first was Jinx who mysteriously appeared at our backdoor in Mooringsport.  My mom liked cats and Dad tolerated them, outside.  He hated the idea of something that buried its poop jumping onto countertops or tables.  That’s understandable, but in my dotage I […]

Read More

Grand Canyon, 2018

If you are thinking of visiting Grand Canyon National Park this year it may be too late. Kat and I camped at our favorite boondocking site on FR 302 just south of Tusayan the first week of April.  We built a campfire, poured the wine, and prepared dinner.  The next morning we savored coffee and […]

Read More

National Parks: Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

You get two parks here for the price of one.  The desert is the northern half of the park; the stone forest is the southern.  Neither is exactly a national treasure, but both are interesting as well as auto accessible.  Right on the border between north and south stands a ’32 Studebaker marking the site […]

Read More

Standin’ on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona

I am probably chronologically older than 90% of my fellow Americans, and therefore I expect you kids to have some familiarity with that fine 70’s classic rock band The Eagles.  C’mon, you hear them today on the radio, and even in WalMart!  Take It Easy is one of their most accessible hits, involving a young […]

Read More

Homolovi Ruins, Winslow, AZ

After Santa Rosa we took two days to pull the Sled 350 miles to Bluewater State Park near Prewitt, NM.  This is another lovely NM state campground even if at 7,500’ elevation.  We haven’t grown our mountain lungs – that requires a month to six weeks – and it doesn’t take much exertion to wear […]

Read More

Oh, the Places We’ve Seen

It’s been a mostly quiet winter but we have put some miles between Kat’s Cradle and south Louisiana.   Bret and Allison have a new baby, Will, so we camped outside Bryan, TX for three weeks.  We did what we could to make a good first impression on a kid who is yet too young to […]

Read More

A Wonderful Online Newspaper

Life on the Blue Highways carries a cost to its authors.  We are homeless, as we no longer have a hometown nor a daily newspaper to land with a WHUMP outside our door.  This troubled me for the first four years of our odyssey, and then … WHUMP … an ad popped up in a […]

Read More

A Modest Suggestion on Gun Violence

17 good people were killed Wednesday in Parkland, FL.  CNN reports that the town, the school, the survivors and their families have damn well had enough of “thoughts and prayers”.   That’s not a solution.  Neither is blaming mental illness.  Easy access to military grade weapons strikes me as part of the problem, but there is […]

Read More

Evicted

Around 10:00 Saturday, our 10th morning at the Gulf Islands National Seashore campground, National Park Service rangers began knocking on doors bearing bad news:  everyone has to pack up and leave before 4:00 this afternoon.  The campground is closed indefinitely due to lack of funding.   Yes, Kat and I were evicted from our paid for […]

Read More

A Celebration of Life

Ten months ago we wrote of the passing of our old friend Walt.  He wanted a basic cremation without ceremony.  That sounded simple enough.  Well, it did until the funeral home delivered a walnut box of cremains.  Now what?   Julie, his second –ex and lifetime best friend had asked Walt about that.  He offered […]

Read More

Wolfgang, Alma, and Will

  Kat and I recently became grandparents!  Our son Bret and Alli adopted newborn Will just a few weeks ago.  Yes they are currently overwhelmed, but so are all new parents.  Kat told Bret “It’s way too soon to feel tired: you’re going to be tired for the next 20 or so years, and it’s […]

Read More

Rollin’ Coal

(Not much goin’ on in Campbellsville, KY. Blogging gets slow this time every year. Perdoneme, por favor.) I’m an old guy. My life is a calm existence oblivious to popular culture. To this day I don’t understand what makes the Kardashians newsworthy, why kids buy and wear torn up jeans, or why anyone watched The […]

Read More

Gettysburg, Part 2

My forebears were – and I remain – Confederate sympathizers.  But in recent years I’ve come to realize that the world has become a better place courtesy of the Union’s victory.  And although I remain stunned by the courage of the men in gray, I have come to equally respect the spine of the Bluecoats. […]

Read More

Gettysburg, Part 1

Years ago we spent a lovely weekend in the Doubleday Inn, named for a Union general present here who also is credited as the inventor of baseball.  At the Inn we enjoyed a wine and cheese gathering with a Gettysburg historian and learned much, courtesy of the Inn.  The next day we did the battlefield’s […]

Read More

Our Third Grand Canyon

We have seen The Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and now the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.  That last one is known as Pine Creek Gorge to all but those who market Penn tourism.  Penn’s Grand is not too far from the Tioga-Hammond Lakes CoE campground where we spent several days in mid-August.  There […]

Read More

What Did You Do During the Eclipse?

Kat and I are enjoying a mild Pennsylvania summer.  For most of the past two weeks we have camped at Penn Wood Airstream Campground near Clarion.  It’s a quiet, lovely setting amid a meadow with a clear creek running alongside.  They have full hookups, good wifi, showers and a laundry that’s only one greenback (no […]

Read More

Watkins Glen, NY

Kat is a waterfall aficionado (still working on my Spanish for Costa Rica) and there are some fine ones in and near Watkins Glen State Park.  We pulled our campsite to Romulus, NY and Sampson State Park on the banks of Seneca, deepest of the Finger Lakes.  From there it is but a 45 minute […]

Read More

Lyons, NY

Lyons, NY is about 60 miles north of Ithaca, and since we were that close I really wanted to see the town.  My old buddy and former employer Bob has returned to his hometown to do what his father and grandfather did:  operate The Ohmann Theatre.  Kat and I had planned to catch a film […]

Read More

Ithaca

After Reach Knolls Campground we moved northwest to Newport, ME and Sebasticook Lake.  It offers water, electricity, and a dump station with sites near the banks of a huge freshwater lake.  It is not a good campground, but they offer ice cream cones in bowls surrounded by side ice cream for $1.75.  They didn’t have […]

Read More

Best Campground in Downeast Maine

Last week we completed two happy weeks of Oceanfront Camping at Reach Knolls just outside Brooklin, Maine.  Al & Pat of TwoBikes fame read its highly favorable Campendium reviews and passed the tip on to us. And this title: It’s the double-truth, Ruth. It has everything you need — 30 amps, clean hose water on […]

Read More

Far From the Madding Crowd*

Kat and I visited Acadia National Park in September, 1996.  We were struck by the harsh beauty of water crashing upon rock, mountains capped by the green of thick forests, and we enjoyed many an overlook.  The Park now offers a free shuttle service on account of vehicular overcrowding.  You don’t see much from a […]

Read More

Down East Maine Seafood

Our last post promised word on the outcome of Lori’s semi-frightening recipe for steamed lobsters.  We followed her instructions in spirit and almost to the letter.  Live lobstahs go for $6.75 a pound here, which gave us the courage to try cooking them The Mainer Way, which goes like this. “Walk down to the beach […]

Read More

July 4th with Al and Pat

Kat and I came to Maine to be cool in July, and so far, so good.  Days rarely hit 80, and nights routinely find the mid 50’s.  There are firs, beeches, and wild flowers everywhere.  Oh, the seafood is so good … it shall have its own post.  Suffice it to say, I think the […]

Read More

Fine Food and Pennsylvania CoE Campgrounds

We found two excellent Corps of Engineers campgrounds in northern PA, each site with power and water, and some at both with full hook-ups.  Prices are a reasonable $17 to $18 if you have America the Beautiful; but twice that if you don’t.   Tionesta Lakes is located just outside the northwest PA town of […]

Read More

Shenandoah and the Appalachian Trail

(This blog has been published out of order:  late by about ten days.  We have had poor internet service, and despite my advancing years, I can still lose a data file as well as I ever did on somebody’s payroll.  The pictures mostly did not come out because I took them.) Old Shenandoah’s Big Meadows […]

Read More

The Afterlife of a Small Town

I first came to Oil City, PA as a new employee of a Fortune 1000 company headquartered there.  You may remember Quaker State; it had a NASCAR entry that tended to trail billowing black smoke while coasting to a race-ending stop somewhere on the infield, and its final ads featured that snarling red-headed guy with […]

Read More

Art, Real Estate, and Water

On our way north we passed through another of our old corporate home towns, and there interred Pink’s ashes next to the graves of Samantha and Nike, our earlier great Springer Spaniels.  We have listed our home and dropped in to see how its cleanup and repair work is going.  I thought the place looked […]

Read More

Deerlick Creek Campground

Our ten month work assignment ended Wednesday.  Walt’s home is fixed up and ready to sell, and Amazon is signifying they will need no workcampers until October.  I wanted to see the leaves change colors in New England, and with a bit of luck, now we will.   After a semi-tough 200 mile pull we […]

Read More

Washington D.C., 1993

Once upon a time Kat and I raised a family.  Most of our vacations involved tent camping, but we did make a Christmas season odyssey to a Holiday Inn on Franklin Square in D.C.  I like to think that my writing has found its voice, yet every time I read something from 20 to 30 […]

Read More

Tattoos

Long ago I wanted bicep tattoos in the worst way.  Worst because I was eight and my mother would not hear of it.  I wanted the globe and anchor of the U.S. Marines on one, and Popeye the Sailor Man on the other.  Varie simply said, “Well, it’s not sanitary, and you might regret your […]

Read More

Magic

We haven’t posted in a long time, nearly two months.   Haven’t felt like it, partly because we have been worn out physically and emotionally from cleaning out and fixing up Walt’s home for sale.  We completed the preparation for sale work today.  And tonight a serious, beautiful rain is falling on our Airstream.  The President […]

Read More

Uncle Walt

Our kids never knew their grandfathers – both gone too soon – but Uncle Walt played that role perfectly.  He rode with us for most of our one week grand tour of Texas colleges in Bret’s junior year, and was the only non-parent at Stephanie’s first ballet performance.  He showed up one Christmas with a […]

Read More

Education and Football

The hearings for and against Betsy DeVos, soon and inevitably to be Secretary of Education, bring to mind my own special education inside the public school system.   Betsy has never worked a day in public education, has never allowed any of her kids to attend public school, and yet is supremely confident that she knows […]

Read More

Women’s March

The Saturday after inauguration day Kat participated in her first act of political protest.  She and 600 others paraded around the State Capitol of Mississippi.  I had serious misgivings – we’re in the old south and the police (never mind the local rednecks), aren’t known for their tolerance of any kind of protest – but […]

Read More

It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll!

Retirement is not all easy money and cheap, superb, healthcare.  Some of us don’t sleep so well.  I have frequent bad dreams that for the most part have little to do with my life, actual or imaginary.  Last night I woke up twice with dreams so real it was necessary to take walks around the […]

Read More

Hey Perce! Buy me a Coke!

Long, long ago in a dead town far, far away, three brothers grew up in a good place in the sticks.  That would be Mooringsport, LA, stuck up there in the extreme northwest corner of that poor state.  Mom taught school.  Dad ran construction crews that built neighborhood shopping centers, small office buildings, doing an […]

Read More

Dead Poets with Richard McCluggage

In my ill-spent youth I had the great fortune to attend a consolidated high school whose football was abysmal, the basketball first rate, whose choir and marching band were both capable of turning sour milk into brie.   Although playing the Sam or Will linebacker spot would have been my preference, I must admit to being […]

Read More

Things Better Left Unsaid

I ran into old friend Jool last week.  We were checking in on another old friend who is under the weather.  She brought a few amusements for herself … librarians read, a lot, so she brought books.  For me and the patient, she brought a puzzle called Scramble Squares.   The game is a simple […]

Read More

Making Maker’s Mark

Long ago Kat and I worked in a busy French Quarter bar.  We sold a lot of premium-priced bourbons.  Jack Daniel’s was big, Crown Royal was the chart-topper (it’s actually a Canadian whiskey), but those were the choices of the poseurs and nouveau riche.  The cognoscenti ordered Maker’s Mark.  Maker’s distillery is in Loretto, KY, […]

Read More

Postscripts to The Sun Came Up

Now and then I wonder why I bother to write.  There are so many who tell better tales, who assemble more descriptive or perceptive word combinations, and in general fly where I at my best ride a bicycle.  Here is a much sunnier version of my post-election lament.   HRC backers will enjoy this, and it […]

Read More

The Sun Came Up

Gloria Steinem characterized this election as “a referendum on the future, but the future is coming anyway”.  Kat and I gave up in despair and went to bed around 1:00 a.m. hoping to sleep about four years.  Wednesday broke clear and our roses were still in bloom.  With our first frost forecast tonight I’ll harvest […]

Read More

Hoboes and Gypsies

I grew up in a Louisiana village alongside the Kansas City Southern tracks.  There were a dozen homes nearer the tracks, but they were built alongside the lake, below a newcomer’s line of sight.  The KCS ran two passenger/mail trains through Mooringsport daily, but most of the rail traffic was freight. This was 15 years […]

Read More

Time Travel and the Creation Museum

Last week Tom Ashbrook’s On Point* devoted a fascinating hour to Time Travel with guest James Gleick.  You think you know what time is, until you really think about it.  A good way to define it is “man’s measurement of eternity”.   Somebody else declared “Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from all happening at […]

Read More

One Sad Day

Sunday past was one to forget, and here I am writing about it.  That morning the alarm squawked at 5:15.  Kat works Sundays, and after I fixed her coffee, breakfast, and a lunch to go, she done went and there was nobody to share my blues.  I was still hurting from LSU’s football loss on […]

Read More

An Evening in New Orleans

The other day I had business in the Crescent City, settled it early, and went by the Bon Ton Café at 401 Magazine to pass rush hour and enjoy a fine meal.  I craved crawfish etouffee in the worst way but knew I’d order their lovely redfish with crab and green onion topping.  Crawfish season […]

Read More

It’s About to Get Real

Kat and I don’t see much television.  We do Netflix.  I enjoyed The Wire.  Kat hated Breaking Bad so bad we didn’t last to Episode 5, and we both loved Person of Interest, and later, Justified.  The last one takes place in Harlan County, KY, and stars the guy who was the sheriff in Deadwood, […]

Read More