Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Are we at the half-way point yet?

Everybody has a “half-way” point on their travels.

Well, I guess they do. We do.

Its not exactly the exact point as on a 500-mile trip, one stops right at the 250-mile marker.

That’s not the way it happens. Nothing is that exact. Well, I don’t think so.

Years ago, we would travel from our home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast some 80 miles to the north to Hattiesburg, the hometown of my wife.

At the time we had two young children. Well, I thought they were young, one a teen and the other wishing.

Wiggins would be considered the halfway point. But we didn’t always stop there.

Our first few years, having taken what is now referred to as “Old Highway 67,” we would stop about six miles from Wiggins and tank up on a soft drink for each of us.

Later on, we stopped just north of Wiggins for refreshments.

And then occasionally we would stop way before Wiggins, then sometimes in Perkinston (just south of Wiggins), and get something to drink.

Those last times were when our children were up and gone and it was just me and my wife.

It is amazing how an event grows.

Our children, early on, were happy to have a Coke or Barq’s Root Beer. That worked for a number of years no matter where we stopped.

And then one day, when getting a soft drink, one of our sons couldn’t resist asking to expand their  options — candy or potato chips.

And the new routine was born.

It wasn’t just a drink stop anymore, it was a snack stop. 

I did manage to keep them to two items each. I didn’t want it to advance to a “meal stop” since we were only about 45 miles from a meal at my inlaws.

And nowadays, when wifey and I travel toward the mountains, we have regular stops. And some have been expanded to “meal stops.”

Well, we deserve it!

Next post: April 7, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Springtime and the colors explode

It seems as though the last freeze is a few weeks behind us in south Mississippi and we’re heading to Easter, which is just around the corner.

As my father and others over the years have intoned, “don’t plant until Good Friday.”

That seems like a good mantra.

About three or four weeks ago, the weather lightened up, people were out buying and putting  plants into the ground. And then we had another freeze. 

But that seems to be in the past.

There’s nothing like traveling out to the back yard and sowing a few seeds, whether it is for beans, okra, tomatoes or any number of different flowers that offer beauty during the spring and early summer.

I like to take pictures of plants and flowers. I just don’t always know their names. So here’s for just plain enjoyment of plants sans names.

Next post: March 31, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Food fotos whet appetite for travel

Travel offers wide variety of delicious enticements

Lately when I sit down to take it easy, my mind almost goes blank. 

But then there are two (maybe three) things I know I will think about.

That’s traveling and food.

Lately my appetite's has been whetted for both.

After last year’s robust adventures of taking five trips of more than 600 miles, I’m getting back into the mood.

Once last Christmas arrived, we seemed to be traveled out.

The winter months are a good time to relax, rest and make more plans.

Originally, plans over the winter included heading back up to the Smokey Mountains for a snowfall, but that didn’t materialize.

We just took it easy. Our only day-trip was to New Orleans for some beignets. We haven’t taken an overnight trip in more than three months. That’s not like us.

But then again, during that time, we decided on a European cruise, so that’s what our time and money are budgeted toward.

Upon return, the mountain trips will resume (already booked time this summer) and may look forward to additional trip to places unknown.  I don’t know.

With the cold days of winter behind, the temperatures edging up, it seems like it is time to head out once again.

Next post: March 24, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Old Mill's" corn chowder really special

My wife wants to return to The Old Mill Restaurant the next time we are in Pigeon Forge, TN.


Mainly because of the corn chowder.

On our last excursion to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park back in December, wherein we stayed in a motel in Gatlinburg (Elkmont Campground was closed for the season), we managed to visit the well-known eatery just to the north.

It was our first time. We had thought about it a number of times over the course of our many trips, but it just didn’t quite work out.

But this time was different. We made it in. And we’ll return.

I don’t exactly remember what our main entrees were, but we do remember the corn chowder. It was great.

The problem with finding something good, one wants to go back home and recreate it.

But there’s always a hitch with that process.

What about those secret herbs and spices used to cook that delicious Kentucky Fried Chicken?

What about that “secret” ingredient we are told is put in the flour mix that leads to those delicious beignets that we order at Cafe DuMond  in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Well, we got back home and wifey wanted me to look up the recipe for that corn chowder. And I did find it on one of their web sites.

There is a little bit of this, a little bit of that and after one goes down the list that includes chicken broth, onions, potatoes, clam juice, flour, corn, margarine, oyster crackers, half and half, green and red bell peppers and water, there is a surprise. Isn't there always?

At the bottom of the recipe were these words: “We use special chowder seasoning which is not available at grocery stores. To compensate for this ingredient, season to taste with garlic powder and onion powder.”

Well, that’s just great. I want to know what that “special chowder seasoning" is and where can I get it — ordering online if necessary.

But isn’t that just the way it is with establishments that offer up “out of this world” food.

I really don’t blame them. I’ve tried the recipe three times, having left out the clam juice on the last try. I just couldn’t get use to the smell when opening the jar and the thought of eating it in the chowder.

Although my offerings weren’t  quite at good at the Old Mill Restaurant, wifey couldn’t help eating it up as quickly as possible, and wondering when the next batch was going to be presented.

Next post: March 17, 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cahoots, Cognito: Have you ever been there?

We digress just a little bit this week.

Nothing like adding humor to our travel plans.

The following was printed in STASH, the publication of the Pine Belt Quilters in Hattiesburg, MS.

Member Barb Wilson treated members at the meeting of the club to her “Travel Plans for 2015.”

“I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently you can’t go alone. You have to be in Kahoots with someone.

“I’ve never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you here.

I have however been in Sane. They don’t have an airport, you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my children, friends, family and work.

“I would like to go to Conclusions,  but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity.

“I have been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

“I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

“Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I’m getting older.

“One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age, I need at the stimuli I can get!

“I may have been in Continent, and I don’t remember what country I was in. It’s an age thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there.”

As traveler and TV host Rick Steeves, says, “Keep on Traveling!”  

But maybe you’ll find better places to be in.

Next post: March 10, 2015