Sunday, September 28, 2014

I want one of these!

I made it through my middle age crisis years without buying a convertible nor having an affair but now that I am safely through that danger zone I've decided that I can't live without owning one of these:

A Russian Ural two wheel drive motorcycle!  Based on the WW2 German BMW military motorcycle but updated with fuel injection for the engine and disk brakes to stop.  It can carry over 1,000 pounds, has a reverse gear and with a tug on a lever, you can connect the side car axle to get drive to both rear wheels!  How cool is that?

I can't think of anything more fun than a motorcycle with side car.  It is so dorky it is cool.  

It ain't cheap but I feel that it is the real me.  Someone in my town has one and it looks like Indiana Jones has stepped into the 21st century when it chugs by.   If I get one maybe we can form a side car gang!

Please talk to the Missus and convince her to get me one!

The Grouch Heads East - Part VI: Headed to Carolina

It was time to head to North Carolina and the next gathering of Grouch relatives.  This leg of the journey had only the Missus and Little Ladybug or LLB for short.  We drove through West Virginia and Virginia on the way to North Carolina.  West Virginia was stunning.  Very beautiful and the interstate in perfect condition.  We had rain on and off for a lot of the trip through the state.

As we drove along we saw signs for the New River gorge and bridge and being suckers for great views and unique visiting spots we decided that we had to stop and see what there was to see.

When I was in college I knew several people who did white water rafting on the New river, so I was aware of it but had never been there myself.  Apparently my overly brave brother in law has parachuted from the bridge.  This is yet another extreme sport that I am happy not to participate in!

Yay!  We cross the line from PA to WVA

We decided to have our lunch at the visitor center for the New river gorge.  When I was a lad and my family drove to Florida from Pittsburgh each summer we had our lunch each day at roadside picnic benches.  Some of them were so close to the road that we were in danger of our sandwiches getting blown out of our hands by the passing trucks!  Another time the idyllic looking spot was swarming with flies and we had to beat a retreat to the station wagon and drive on.  Those were the good old days!

These folks were from Canada.  Those are impressive trailers to haul behind a motorcycle

A view of the gorge

Outside the visitor center

A wooden path leads all the way to the bottom of the gorge.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to go very far on it.  Maybe next time!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Musical Interlude - The Highwayman

A great poem and a beautiful musical adaptation of it by Loreena McKennitt

Adios Rake

Who knew a leaf rake would last 32 years?  Our poor, worn our rake that was purchased sometime shortly after returning to the U.S. from our stint in Germany has finally reached the retirement point.  It is the only leaf rake we have owned in our 36 years as a family but it has too many detached metal fingers and is letting too many leaves and pine needles escape when I have to rake.

I went to Lowe's today for nyjer seed for the greedy finches that we support and decided to buy a replacement rake.  An identical rake would've set me back $20, a 'good-enough' replacement was $8 and that is what I bought.  Sure, the $20 version may have lasted another 32 years but I probably won't be raking leaves when I'm 92.  If I am, I'll buy another rake.

I brought the new one home and set it beside the old rake.  I couldn't brink myself to toss it out, at least not yet.  Maybe the old one will give the youngster some tips and some family history before it leaves us.

The Grouch Heads East! - Part 5 - We head slightly west

It was time to leave Older Son and his lady friend and head west to the 'Burgh for my FIL's 80th birthday and a family reunion.  The Missus is deep into quilting and wanted to stop at two quilt shops along the turnpike at lovely Bedford, Pa.  We stopped and visited for awhile. Unfortunately one quilt shop was closed but the Missus spent time in the other so it was not a loss.  Downtown Bedford is charming and quiet and gave me thoughts of perhaps retiring there someday soon.  Of course the middle of summer is a lot easier on the body than the middle of winter and I hear that it snows a lot in Bedford.

Seen on the main drag in Bedford Pa.  George sure got around!

The Federal government has never had much of a sense of humor about taxes, home made alcohol, and firearms

We stopped for about 10 minutes here and went inside but time and cheapness prevented us from paying our entrance fee and visiting the museum.  Maybe next  time!

My nieces wanted to go shooting, so with a borrowed .22 rifle we traveled to the State Game Land range in Wexford that my father took me to as a 16 year old when he bought me my first .22 rifle.  It is improved from 40 years ago!

The Missus and I needed our retired ID cards updated so we traveled to the local ANG base to get this done.  On display are examples of most of the single engine fighters that they flew over the years.  Missing is an example of  the A7s that they had for a period of time.  This is the F-84

The F-47 and F-51 made of fiberglass.  For many years actual planes were on display but some years ago they were removed and taken to a museum

The F-102; I used to see these fly over my house as a kid in pairs.  They looked like space fighters to me!

One of my favorite things to do at the In-Law's place:  walk the Montour rails to trail path.  That's the Missus, Young Son, and Young Daughter.

Who us, tired and hot?

Seen across the street from the In-Law's estate.  Sweet view!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Grouch Heads East! - Part IV - a visit to Mt. Vernon

We couldn't visit the D.C. area without stopping to see George Washington's estate at Mt. Vernon.  Luckily for us it was only about 15-20 minutes from Older Son's house and our trusty GPS directed us to it without a hitch.

If you are visiting the Washington D.C. area this is a 'must-see'.   Between the Missus and I, we've visited the Kennedy, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon library-museums and Harrison's house in Louisville KY.  When we retire we hope to keep adding to our presidential visits.

I think George was accurate in this statement

It was a beautiful day to visit Mt. Vernon, not too humid or hot

The gardens

Eagerly waiting our turn to enter the main building

Almost there!  No pictures allowed inside - you have to go in person to see for yourself

An invention of George's - the horses go round and round inside the structure and their hooves sift out the grain which fell below from the rest which stayed above.  That's the Missus headed up to see the demonstration
The grain fell here and would be stored until it could be further processed.  Pretty clever!

George's riding chair - just what a gentleman needed in that time

And his carriage

The memorials to the slaves who lived and died at Mt. Vernon

The resting place of George and Martha Washington

Other Washington relatives are buried outside of the mausoleum

George's resting place

Young Son contemplates the 'necessary'  Must have been a challenge in the winter!

Three spots, no waiting needed!