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2019-04-27 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Dairy Farm Tour in Bowling Green, KY – Day #3

The caravan set out today to tour a dairy farm.  But not just any dairy farm!  We visited the Chaney’s Dairy Barn just south of Bowling Green.  It was not like any dairy I had ever seen before, and I have seen one or two…

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The Chaney family has owned this land since 1886, and they started a dairy here in 1940.  They have exclusively Jersey cows – the light brown ones…

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We started the tour at the gift shop – cafe – ice cream parlor; we boarded the farm wagon for the trip to the barn…

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I was shocked to learn that they are currently milking 60 cows (out of a total herd of about 120 or so…).  They have about 55 acres of land.  Wow!  I thought all dairies milked hundreds if not thousands of cows!  The next thing we learned is that they have no milkers – no people wrangling the cows into the barn, no one attaching the milking machines, no one.  They have one herdsman, who is in charge of all the cows, and one robotic milking machine, made by Lely in the Netherlands… The herdsman is the niece of the farm’s owners…

The cows spend all their time hanging out in a comfortable barn…

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When they feel the “urge” to get milked they wander over to the robotic milking machine and get milked!

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The next cow in line is waiting patiently…

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When the milking is complete she moves on…

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During the five-six minutes it takes to complete the cleaning and milking process the cow is weighed, the milk production is analyzed, and the herdsman gets lots of data to ensure the cows are healthy and happy…

They even have automated back-scratching machines and a “Rumba”-like robot which sweeps the feed lane and pushes the feed up closer to where the cows are eating… Amazing!

Then the real story comes out.  The cows and the milk don’t pay the bills here.  Like many dairies, they barely break even on the milk and often lose money.  That is why many small family dairies are closing down and selling out.  The Chaney family figured out a way to keep the family farm, and its inherent lifestyle:  Us!

Yes, Agri-tourism is a big thing here.  By offering tours, plus the cafe, playground, gift shop, ice cream, and other related things the family can make a living and keep the farm.  The next generation is starting to establish the ability to process their milk themselves, so that they can sell their own cheese, ice cream, and, yes, milk.

The Chaney family were delightful people and they really have a passion for these cows.  It was a fun tour!

Rather than ride the wagon back to the cafe, we walked…

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We did, of course, have lunch and some ice cream…

And then we moved on.  The only distillery in Bowling Green closed up shop and moved to Nashville a few months ago, so a few of us drove about 10 miles south to Franklin, KY, to the Dueling Grounds Distillery.  So named because several famous duels took place near here on the Linkumpinch Dueling Field in 1826.

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Tennessee Representative Sam Houston gravely wounded General William A. White, a veteran of the Battle of New Orleans, in a pistol duel.  In a convoluted turn of events, White was the stand-in for Nashville Postmaster John P. Erwin.  Patronage politics were at the root of this affair of honor.  Andrew Jackson of Tennessee had promoted another candidate for Nashville postmaster against Erwin.  Jackson encouraged Houston to thwart Erwin’s appointment.  Houston wrote to President John Quincy Adams, that Erwin “is not a man of fair and upright moral character.”  He also attacked Erwin in a speech on the House Floor.  When Houston returned to Tennessee after the 19th Congress (1825–1827), Erwin dispatched Colonel John Smith T., a professional duelist, to deliver a challenge to Houston for besmirching Erwin’s character.  That challenge was rejected, but General White then proceeded to challenge Houston directly, who reluctantly accepted.  Houston was tried for attempted murder, but was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense…

Anyway, this is as good a reason as any to name your distillery “Dueling Grounds” and to name your Bourbon, “Linkumpinch”.

We had a great tour!  Unlike Jack Daniel’s, where the process is controlled by computers and two guys sitting in a control booth, these guys at Dueling Grounds really make the Bourbon!   We saw them adding corn, then wheat, then malted barley to the mash cooker, we saw them punch down the fermenting mash, we saw them transferring the fermented liquid to the still, and we saw their manual bottling line.  (Their barrels are stored off-site in a borrowed facility…)

Adding wheat to the mash cooker…

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The fermenting mash…

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The three fermenters…

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The still.  Clear ethyl alcohol drips out of the still like a weak stream of water from a small faucet.  (At Jack Daniel’s, it pours from their 90′ tall stills like water shooting out of a fire hose!)  They distill the whiskey here twice, to clarify and purify it, and to increase the alcohol content.

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They have a very small production – three 250 gallon fermenters each produce about 50 gallons of clear whiskey.

The clear whiskey is placed in new charred oak barrels and aged a minimum of two years.  Since this distillery is quite young, their current Bourbon has been aged just two years.  They have plans to age some barrels 5, 7, and 12 years…

Most of the flavor in Bourbon is imparted by the barrel.  The clear whiskey (“White Lightning”) is not very pleasant to drink.

Tour over, we returned to the tasting room…

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We tasted their whiskeys and some of their fruit liqueurs.  Purchases in hand, we headed back to the Villa…

We were able to relax a bit in the afternoon, then we had another GAM.  Afterwards, we walked about the park.  We found baby Canada Geese…

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And we found a puppy raiser for CCI – Canine Companions for Independence…

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Our son has a Service Dog, professionally trained and certified by CCI, a great organization that provides service dogs to those who need them for free… This couple has raised 12 puppies, each for about 18 months, then has turned them over for professional training…

This evening we had another Drivers Meeting; we travel tomorrow to Bardstown, near Louisville, for various activities at Churchill Downs before the Kentucky Derby on Saturday…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-07 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Carencro, LA

This is the last travel day for the Caravan – our next stop is the final one – only 4 nights left…

We walked the park again a few times, then hitched up and left Eunice about 11:30 am…  Of course, we soon were delayed by a train… And I love trains!

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It was 50 miles to Carenco, on the outskirts of Lafayette.  We stopped for a quick lunch at GoBears!

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Unfortunately, their tiny lunch room was closed – no idea why… So we walked next door to McDonalds.  They have all automated touch screens for ordering.  During the lunch rush there was one cashier, wandering around with nothing to do… Progress???

We arrived at the Bayou Wilderness RV Resort.  Nice place with full hook-ups, including cable, plus clear skies for satellite TV.  The sites are a little rustic, though…

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We hooked up, set up, checked out the store and other amenities, and walked around a bit.  There is an actual swamp out back… lots of Bald Cypress trees growing out of the water.  Those funny little pointy stumps are roots growing up out of the ground.  They are called, “Knees”.

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At about 4:00 pm it started to rain, with thunder and lightning, of course.  It was still pouring down when it was time to meet the other Airstreamers in the meeting room here in the RV park for pizza and ice cream…

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By the time we were ready to walk back to the villa after dinner it was still raining, but not nearly so hard.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

The McAnoy baseball team…

Ian, almost 5:

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Roisin, age 6:

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2019-04-06 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Eunice, LA

The most fun I have had in a long time at a music venue happened today!
We set out early for the tiny town of Mamou, LA.  We went into Fred’s Lounge, a 70+ year old institution.  Why were we going into a bar at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning?  Because Fred’s has a Cajun band that cannot be beat, and they broadcast a live radio show from here each Saturday morning!

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The place was packed, with beer drinking Cajuns and 50 or so Airstreamers.  (I know – sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…)  It is a tiny space, with barely room for a bar and the band and a few booths and tables.  Mostly it was standing room only…

At 9:05 the radio announcer came on and introduced the show.  The band started playing and there was not a stationary person in the place…  Most Cajun bands are relatively quiet, with little or no percussion.  Not here!  It was LOUD, with booming bass and pounding drums.  It was fabulous!

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The announcer waiting for his cue to start the show…

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I finally realized that it was better to stand BEHIND the speakers than in front of them…

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Note the shelf, about 7′ above the floor, to set your beer down whilst you are dancing…

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It was fabulous!  We stayed as long as we could, but we had another item on the day’s agenda… We sadly left Fred’s and Mamou and headed back towards Eunice…

Our next stop was Savoy Music Store.  It is a regular music store, except that on Saturdays anyone who wants to jam and play or listen to Cajun music can drop in…

Frankly, it was a real snooze. After Fred’s it was a big let-down.  Just ordinary Cajun music…

We returned to the Villa…

We hung around a bit, then at 2:00 we visited the Verizon store to try to get my Jet-pack hot spot fixed.  Failure.

We went into downtown Eunice, visited the Railroad museum, had an ice cream cone, and visited another Acadian Cultural Center.

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This is a statue of Eunice…!

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The best part of the cultural center was the cooking demonstration.  They made Red Beans and Rice. We all got to taste samples…!

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The town of Eunice is past its prime…

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Back at the Villa we walked around the park.  It is quite nice:

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At about 5:00 I called Verizon Tech Support.  They ran diagnostics and decided my device needed a new sin card.  So back to the Verizon store we went… They put in the card, and it worked fine in the store, but the signal began to fade about 1/2 mile away.  Back at the campground there was no signal at all.  I will call again tomorrow…

At 9:00 we went to the barn dance!  The campground has a barn they use as a music venue.  The band playing was One Trick Pony.  They were nice and loud, with a good beat, but everything they played sounded the same…

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Most of the Airstreamers were there, but we left relatively early and retired to the Villa…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-11-13 – Disneyland and the happiest place on earth…

Today was Disneyland Day!

This required leaving the house at 7:30 am and fighting traffic to Anaheim, finding the way to the Toy Story parking lots, finding the Accessible parking stalls, getting John in his wheelchair out of the van and over to the shuttle bus, onto the bus and thus to the entrance to the park.  Everything went flawlessly and with no drama.

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The meet-up with Erin and her three oldest kids also went well and the day went off without a hitch…

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Waiting for the teacups…

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On the Teacups…

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Roisin even got to sit on the forward deck of the boat as they floated into the whale’s mouth…!

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The funny story about this photo is that shortly after this was taken, another little girl walked by, leaned over, and took a nice long slurp off George’s ice cream …!

This was George’s first trip to Disneyland.  He declared that his favorite ride was “Bungo” (or Dumbo) but we didn’t get any photos, so here is one from Small World.

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And what about “The Happiest Place on earth”?  Not at Disneyland – It was right here in Redlands, where I spent the day dog-sitting Yan…

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And an enjoyable time was definitely had by me and Yan…

2018-09-12 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 25 – Lazing around all day, near Capitol Reef National Park

Today we went nowhere and did nothing…

Well, not quite…

We started out by doing laundry… And by “we”, I mean Lynda…

We did some looking around in the Gift Shop, and Lynda bought a shirt…

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We walked around the RV park…

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And we read, napped, and generally relaxed…

At 3:00 we drove down the street to Slackers, for home-made real ice cream…

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We had dinner at the on-site BBQ joint.  Lynda said her chicken was good.  I had the ribs.  They were terrible…

At 7:00 we had a drivers meeting to learn about our travels to Bryce National Park tomorrow…

And, as is our tradition, we now present pictures of our great grandchildren… They are great, aren’t they?

Evelyn enjoys playing with big sister Roisin…

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George and Ian seem to being enjoying their lunch…

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Great Grandma fiddles with something for the boys…

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Ian masters the climbing wall…

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And George explores the climbing structure…

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And an enjoyable Time was had by all…

2017-10-07 Westbound; Urban Rally in Carson City…

Saturday morning in Carson City dawned bright and clear.  We walked down Carson St. and went to Mom and Pops Diner for breakfast.  As we walked down the street we saw all the Airstreams that were parked along the street:

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After breakfast we returned to the Villa and prepared it for the Open House.  The local papers had advertised that all are welcome to see the Airstreams.  So we cleaned up, put away stuff, and made the Villa look as nice as possible… We were told to be available from 10:00 am to Noon.

People started arriving at 10:00 am.  They were still coming through at 6:00 pm.  Apparently the newspapers said “all day”… But we don’t mind…

We did sneak away for a few minutes in the afternoon to do the “Wine Walk”.  Downtown Carson City does this the first Saturday every month. (On the third Saturday they do a beer crawl…)

We signed up, paid our $15.00, and received our wrist bands and our glasses.  There were over 60 merchants pouring wine throughout the downtown district.

Some had set up tables on the sidewalk, others had you come into their stores.  Note that this wasn’t some delicate wine tasting with good wines and tiny pours.  These were fairly average wines with full glass pours.  Ant no one was keeping count on how many times you asked for a glass of wine…  Between stores, there were throngs of people, carrying and drinking glasses of wine, and walking along the sidewalk… We’re not in California anymore!

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Some places had entertainment: Irish music, similar to what we heard at the Ceilidhs in Nova Scotia…

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Our final wine stop was at the local Elks Lodge.  After drinking our wine, and enjoying some of the food they had set out, we sat at the bar and watched college football.  And, since the bar was open, we were allowed to order drinks.  Let me tell you, if you like to drink and have the opportunity to drink in an Elks Club bar, you are in heaven!!!

We made our way back to the Villa and fixed a quick dinner; lookieloos were still coming through…  We left and walked to see an outdoor concert put on by some local musicians:

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An added benefit of the concert was the ice cream store right there on the square:

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We had a nice time hanging out in Carson City.  It is a friendly, nice little town.  They have just spent a ton of money redoing their streets, curbs, and sidewalks.  Now they just need to get a few more upscale businesses and fill in the “missing teeth” of the storefronts along the street.

We started to return to the Villa, but were distracted by a casino bar that had both the CAL game and the Dodgers game on the TVs just above the bar.  Drinks ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all.

 

PS:  The Dodgers had a better night than CAL…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-12 Westbound; Released from Thunder Bay on Day 12…!

We have been released!  Almost 24 hours after the arrival of the parts, the truck is finished.  They replaced all sorts of things on one side of the engine: push rods, injectors, just about everything they had – GM sent a giant box of parts…

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They did an oil change, then a test drive; we took back the rental car, then headed out on a long drive to see that everything is OK.  I have no doubt about the engine, but it always seems like  other things go wacky when major work is performed.  We checked the radio, the navigation system, the trip odometers, the clock, the tire pressure monitoring system, the front and side cameras, everything we could think of.  Everything seemed fine.

We drove about 50 miles, then we went for a celebratory lunch:

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Lynda went shopping to try to spend our last Canadian cash; I returned to the GMC waiting room to catch up on computer work; we will hitch up the rig tonight or tomorrow morning and leave before 9:00.

We walked over to Bistro One for our standing every Tuesday reservation:

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We had to tell them we will not be returning… unfortunately, Jean, the owner, and Brittany, best waitress ever, were both off sick.  But I still had a great Old Fashioned, we enjoyed a nice bottle of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, the Duck Confit was as good as ever, and braised short ribs were a real treat.  We left at about 8:30 and it was still light, making our walk home easy.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-26 Westbound; Boblo Island Day 3

The kids were really tired after yesterday’s adventures; they slept until almost noon!  So we did some grocery shopping and readied ourselves for a long drive tomorrow…

We arrived at the house on Boblo about 1:00, just in time for a nice ride in the golf cart to the ice cream store:

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We played around as usual; we did a lot of coloring in the coloring books and chasing balls in the yard. At some point, I retreated to a quiet spot by the pond…

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After another lovely dinner, we relaxed as the kids got ready for bed.  After saying our goodbyes, we headed back to the Villa; we hitched up and got ready to travel – we will be leaving before dawn tomorrow!  We enjoyed our time in Boblo…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-08-14 Nor by Nor’east Caravan – Final Day on PEI; Farewell Banquet

We took this day to ready the Villa for travel on our own. Today is the last day of the caravan!

We began with a quick trip to the local Chevy dealer in Charlottetown; the “Check Engine” (emissions) light had come on the dash. After a quick check through their computers they determined that it was the result of a loose gas tank cap – operator error… We were in and out in 15 minutes… Airstream dealers could learn something about how Chevy service centers operate…

We cleaned the Villa and reorganized the back of the truck. Busy day all around. In mid-afternoon we took a break and went for ice cream at Cows, a PEI favorite:

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This evening is our “Farewell Banquet”.  It was at the Delta Hotel in downtown Charlottetown – it is a Marriott… We arrived early (duh!) and enjoyed some informal socializing as things got set up.  The food was spectacular!  Hats off to the Marriott for the spread they put out!

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I have no idea what flamingos have to do with Airstreams, but many people think they are firmly linked…

We snapped a few pix of our group…

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Our MC for the evening was Linda Belcher.  She is a real live wire and very funny person.  She goes all out to make sure she, and everyone else, is having a good time…

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After the dinner we gave out some door prizes, but mostly we took part in our own home-grown “entertainment”.

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Most of the “entertainment” was silly and hokey – we just enjoyed hanging out and showing off our talents, whether musical, dramatic, poetic, or silly.  (My contribution was a recitation of the age-old mairy fail of Rindercella…)

Of course, we had to make fun our Trevor and Gale Lake, our caravan leaders:

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And pay they tribute, as well…

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So, again, we all had a good time. Many good-byes were said. We headed back to the Villa and reflected on the end of the caravan and the beginning of our new adventure, heading west towards home…

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