A rough day at Rough Canyon, or Does This Look Broken?

The day was hot – hot like only central Texas can be in mid-August. The kind of hot that would burn an egg on the sidewalk. Waves of heat radiated off the asphalt road. We were headed to Rough Canyon at Lake Amistad for the day, pulling a boat behind us. It’s a long drive from north Hill Country to Lake Amistad, a long barren drive through miles of nothing, punctuated by the rare intersection named as if it’s an entire town.

It was in the middle of this long stretch of nothing, the kind of nothing where cell phone signals are non-existent, that we got a flat tire. Because, you know, that’s where stuff happens – in the middle of nowhere with no cell signal.

Parked off to the side of the road, an area covered in fire ant hills (for you non-Texans and non-southwesterners, those are aggressive red ants that leave a burning bite) my friend fixed the flat with the help of a roadside mowing crew that I flagged down. (Because your tax dollars are hard at work, mowing the sides of roads in the middle of NOWHERE.) They didn’t speak English, and my limited Spanish wasn’t much help, but we all used hand signals. (All joking aside, I’d like to add that country Texans and native Mexicans are some of the kindest folks, always ready to lend a hand to someone in need.)

After numerous fire ant bites (on everyone), a nasty gash on a finger or two (not mine), and a string of cuss words (also not mine), we were back on our way to Lake Amistad. Like the weather, the truck was running hot for most of the trip but we finally made it to…

Rough Canyon at Lake Amistad

It's a BIG lake.

It’s a BIG lake… this picture doesn’t do it justice, but it’s the only long-shot I took.

The following is a slide show of the high cliffs and caves. Native Americans once lived in these caves. Continue reading →

Like a duck on a June bug

Why the title? Because, ducks. Specifically, The Duck Decoy Museum in Havre de Grace (don’t ask me how to pronounce that), Maryland.

The museum website proudly proclaims the town of Havre de Grace the “Decoy Capital of the World!”

At one end of a long boardwalk that winds along a portion of Chesapeake Bay, sits The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, two stories of decoy after decoy after decoy. Over 1,200 decoys by famous decoy makers (yeah, I’m not that deep into it, I just wanted to look at the ducks) are artfully showcased on two floors. Also displayed are various old shotguns, and other duck-hunting-related items. I’m out of stuff to say about that so, Slideshow! (You’re welcome.)

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But wait! There’s more! (No, it’s not a Ginsu knife.)

It was also my first time Continue reading →

A Midnight Kiss in Hershey

A midnight kiss in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on New Year’s Eve

For someone who loves cheezy roadside attractions, chocolate, and for whom New Year’s is her favorite holiday, it was a near perfect night.

Forget about the crystal ball. On New Year’s Eve towns all across Pennsylvania drop (or raise) a plethora of odd items: a strawberry in Harrisburg; a giant Peep in Bethlehem, where Peeps are made; ping-pong balls in Strasburg; a pickle in Dillsburg; a mushroom in Kennett Square; a wrench in Mechanicsburg (I love the sense of humor!); a 100-pound stick of Bologna in Lebanon; and shoes, cigars, race cars, and dozens of other oddball items.

My favorite holiday, chocolate, a goofy roadside attraction, and a big kiss at midnight.

My favorite holiday, chocolate, a goofy roadside attraction, and a big kiss at midnight. ( Beanies are not my best fashion attire, but it was cold! I’d have made a terrible neighborhood gangster – no one would’ve taken me seriously.)

In Hershey, they raise a giant Hershey Kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s seven feet tall, and 300 pounds of shiny steel shaped like the delectable dessert. The “flag” (kisses label) adds an additional five feet to the colossal confection.

The New Year’s Eve event was Continue reading →

Going down in Pennsylvania: Indian Echo Caverns

This wasn’t my first time… I’ve been down before. Twice. But my trip to Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, PA, is the second time in my life I’ve been underground. It was cool, literally and figuratively speaking.

This is the pond/lake! The blue color doesn't show up as well on film, but in person it's a lovely light turquoise.

This is the pond/lake! The blue color doesn’t show up as well on film, but in person it’s a lovely light turquoise.

From the Indian Echo Caverns website:

Natural Splendor along the Swatara.

Like many caverns in the Mid-Atlantic states, Indian Echo Caverns is a limestone cave. Cut through Beekmantown limestone, which is over 440 million years old, they were formed through the erosive properties of water. As time progressed, geological forces led to an “uplift” of the surrounding limestone, eventually allowing more and more water to flow through the formation. As the water flowed over the limestone, it began to create small crevices, these small crevices led to larger ones, and eventually, over a series of millions of years, it created the caverns as they are today.

The temperature inside the caverns is 52 degrees year around.

‘… 52 degrees year around.’ See? It’s “cool.” *rim shot*

Ok, Continue reading →

We forged through the valley: Valley Forge, really famous old stuff

It wasn’t my choice; my friend picked Valley Forge National Historical Park.

We’d seen some goofy sights, so I had to compromise. You all know how I feel about famous, or not famous, old stuff. I didn’t much care for history in school, either, other than ancient history. It’s not that historical old stuff is boring, it’s just that I like the goofy stuff so much more.

Except we both thought this one was a bit boring.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for and honored by the many sacrifices of those who gave their life and fought for our freedom. But they weren’t there. If they were, it would’ve been more interesting. Not like that, I mean I would’ve rather known more about the people than the place, etc.

The biggest problem? The park was huge – much too big to see and appreciate the exhibits on foot. You had to drive around the park from one monument or exhibit to the next. (Unless you’re an athlete – and there were more than a few folks there who seemed to use the long trail around the park for exercising rather than sightseeing.)

Lucky for all you blog-reading non-athletes, I took pics and looked stuff up on the web… Here’s your virtual tour (mostly of just the church and bell tower). You’re welcome.

Two of the exhibits and monuments in the park were particularly memorable: the museum exhibit showcasing the day-to-day life of the soldiers, the minutiae of their livelihood; and the Washington Memorial Chapel with its stunning National Patriots Bell Tower.

The National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge.

The National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge.

The National Memorial Arch is dedicated to Continue reading →

Let’s Get It On: Intercourse in PA

Cue Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On (listen while you read this… It’ll get you in the mood.)

I made it to the horny towns of Pennsylvania Dutch Country! Another one to check off the Bucket List!

Pennsylvania is beautiful! One of the prettiest states when it comes to rolling green hills of the countryside. It’s no wonder they use photos of the farms and silos for puzzle pictures. I was in Dutch Country for a few days… and I fell in love with the place! The folks are very friendly, and the towns clean – in looks, if not in name.

I always thought the Amish were on the conservative side, until I learned they sure do like to like kinky names for their towns. Let’s take a tour – with our date – through…

Horny (in) Pennsylvania: Bird-in-Hand, Intercourse, Paradise, Fertility, Virginville, Blue Ball.

Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania... It's more than just a hot date...

Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania… It’s more than just a hot date…

Bird-in-Hand is where you start… Continue reading →

Why did the Amish woman divorce her husband?

He was driving her buggy.

Dang, I’m funny.

For as conservative as they seem, the Amish do have a healthy sense of humor. Around Pennsylvania Amish Country – with provocatively named towns like Intercourse and Blue Ball (post coming soon, no pun intended) – are giant Amish statues, with bare feet. One has a name: Big Amos. I don’t know if he’s famous. *rim shot* I’m on a roll.

This is Big Amos, the giant barefoot Amish statue. He's in Strasburg, PA, standing next to regular buggy.

This is Big Amos, the giant barefoot Amish statue. He’s seen standing next to regular buggy, at the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn, in Strasburg, PA.

Big Amos, barefoot Amish giant statue.

Big Amos, barefoot Amish giant statue.

Does it look like he’s got nail polish on his toenails? I didn’t notice at the time, but it looks like a French pedicure. Continue reading →

See a man about a horse: Amish Country, PA

The horse isn't supposed to look at us.

The horse isn’t supposed to look at us.

In a post about clichés on Writersdigest.com, in a comment by G-Girl2 I found this clever poem…

You have half a mind to give me a piece
of your mind, but you’d better beware—
what you’re giving away freely to others
is something you really can’t spare.

You’ve given your all, put your back into it;
you’ve given it the old college try.
I’d love to help you brainstorm,
but I’ve other fish to fry.

So just hold your horses, get off your high horse,
Then get on the horse once more.
Tired of horses yet? No? Well okay,
I can still think of three or four.

I eat like a horse, and with little remorse,
I beat them when they’re dead.
I have to pee like a Russian racehorse
(but that’s prob’ly better left unsaid).

I’ll hitch to the one that is winning,
and look in its mouth of course.
You’ll be glad to know, it’s the end of the flow;
I need to see a man about a horse.

You all know how I love Continue reading →

But where are you FROM?

“Where are you from?”

I can not count the number of times I’ve been asked that question in the last week, but I do know it is greater than in my entire life up to this point.

I must have an accent.

“Where are you from,” they ask, curiosity mixed with just a hint of suspicion.

It’s a trick question because few will accept the truth.

It’s always an odd question for full-time RVers… How do you explain to people you don’t have a home base? You aren’t “from” anywhere. If you say you aren’t from anywhere, they don’t understand. They can’t imagine not being from somewhere.

But these folks don’t know I’m an RVer when they ask. I tell them I am a full-time RVer and I travel full-time. And, still…

Everybody else: “But where are you FROM?”

Me: “I was born in New Jersey, but I wasn’t even two years old when we moved.”

Everybody else: *blank look* “So you’re from New Jersey? I know someone else from New Jersey.”

Me: “That’s just where I was born. I don’t remember anything about it. I lived in California for many years. That’s where I was living when I bought my RV four and a half years ago, got rid of my stick-and-brick, and most of my stuff, and left in my RV.”

Everybody else: “Oh, so you’re from California.”

Me: *sigh* “No, Continue reading →

The Life of Pye: The day Pye locked me out of the RV

Remind me again, Why do I have a cat?

Better yet, why do I have THIS cat?

Fair warning: This is long, and kind of ranty.

The trip was already going far too slowly: It had taken me 13 hours to get 2.5 hours away. I was behind schedule by an entire day. I was supposed to be in the Texas panhandle by Sunday late afternoon, and working by Monday morning. But the RV needed a couple minor things (air in tires and a new battery – NO THANKS AT ALL TO PROGRESSIVE’S ROADSIDE-LACK-OF-ASSISTANCE PROVIDER, AGERO.) Read the first part of my adventure to get caught up.

So now it’s late Monday morning. I’m in the middle of small town America, somewhere in the Texas panhandle. After the sleepless night at Wal-Mart and a second long day on small, bumpy country roads, I have made it only as far as Crosbyton, Texas.

The day Pye locked me out of the RV

Pye hates the RV when it moves, and is positively stir crazy when we’re not driving down the road. She hates riding in the RV more than Checkers ever did and wants to get out as soon as it stops. Refusing to see the pattern of never being let out in a new place, she yowls at the door, and tries pawing at the door handles. (You see where this is going, don’t you?) After two solid days on the road she is done.

I slept late to make up for the lack of sleep the night before, feeling guilty the entire time because I know I’m already not going to make it to the top of the Texas panhandle by that night, even without the compulsory stop in Amarillo to see my top bucket list item, the Cadillac Ranch.  Continue reading →