Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’m still here

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long! I’ll give a quick update, and I am working on some real posts. My last post was about hiking in Kentucky. Remember me mentioning a pinched nerve that was causing a lot of pain? Well, that wasn’t it. But, it becomes important soon. When we got home from KY we went to my uncle’s funeral, then left for Las Vegas. We were home about a week, maybe a bit longer, when we decided to add a new family member.

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This is Trixie, she is a pit bull mix we adopted from the shelter. And, she is great. So, anyway, I was busy with her for about a week and a half. Just getting to know her personality, since we didn’t know much about her. Plus, since I am generally the only person around ALL the time, we wanted to teach her she was my dog. I did all the feeding, and walks, etc. This plan backfired when about 9 days after we got her, I was hospitalized for a week.

Remember that pinched nerve? The pain never went away. It got worse. Then my left arm went numb. But, I brushed it off, this has happened a lot over the last few years. Then the left side of my face went numb. But, I wasn’t having trouble, one side wasn’t drooping or anything. It was numb for about 5 days, the 6th day I got vertigo really badly. I laid in bed crying that I was going to fall out of bed, while my husband insisted I was laying in the middle and wouldn’t fall out. So, we went to the ER. 4  hrs later I was admitted with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and an IV drip. So, I’ve spent more time researching the illness than I have researching my blog posts. When I got out of the hospital, I was using a cane for about a week.

In the span of a month, I went from hiking mountains in KY and hiking in Nevada to using a cane to walk to the kitchen.

The weekend after Thanksgiving Brad and I flew to Buffalo, NY. He needed a milage run to keep status on Delta, and I think he wanted to show me everything was ok, this didn’t mean I had to stop traveling.

Then, we had the holidays and birthdays. My husband, my son and myself all have birthdays with in a week of Christmas.

It has been a crazy couple months. But, things are slowing down now, and I will catch up on my blog posts.

Liebster Award!

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by TravelingSaurus. Her blog is great, I think it is a lot more relatable than many of the luxury or full time travelers blogs. So, thank you so much for the nomination!

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here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

1. Write a blog post thanking the blogger who nominated you for the Liebster Award, and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator asks you.
3. Nominate 10 bloggers of our own, with under 600 followers, who you think are awesome and deserving of this honor.
4. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
5. Display the Liebster Award logo on your page.
6. List these rules in your post.

Here are my answers for the questions TravelingSaurus asked.

  1. What’s your traveling style? I.e. luxury? Affordable luxury? Backpacking? Glampacking? Your own unique style?

It is my own unique style. Half my trips are following my husband around the country for work, so that style is “don’t be bored or spend a fortune”. When we are on an actual vacation, the style is laid back. We are not huge on tours and the real touristy spots. I like to wander and see where I end up.

2. How do you finance your traveling habit/lifestyle? 

Delta frequent flier miles and hotel rewards. My husband has a job that is full-time travel. So, he gets a lot of rewards/bonuses and that is how I get to travel.

3. What city or town would you move to if you had to pick one?

At this point, I think Kalispell, Montana. It is where we got married, and it is beautiful. Though, I don’t know how many winters I could deal with. So, maybe Boston is a better plan.

4. Do you have one piece of travel gear that you just can’t live without?

No, not really. Well, actually, my spare battery for my phone. I use it to take all the pictures, so I drain batteries like crazy. I may need ANOTHER spare.

5. How many continents have you been to? Do you want to see them all?

Just 1. Yes, I want to see them all.

6. Pick something that makes you nervous when you travel.

Getting lost in dangerous areas.

7. What’s the best local beer you’ve ever had (or wine, if you aren’t a beer drinker)?

I’m not really a drinker at all.

8. What’s your one sentence opinion on selfies in sensitive cultural or historical places?

They are a bit insensitive, but I understand the desire.

9. Do you prefer history museums or art museums?

History museums, definitely.

10. What is your number one dream destination that you haven’t been to (yet)?

Petra, Jordan

11. Are you pretty content with your current blog, or are you always thinking/itching/looking to do a revision, update, or tweak?

My blog is still really, really new. I actually didn’t plan on doing the history posts, but they keep being to interesting, in my opinion, to pass up. I think it is a bit early to decide if I’m happy with it. I’m not happy with my organization.

My nominees:

Backpacks and Babygrows

Chasing Adventure

Wise Monkeys Abroad

Five Fs

Bohemian’s Eye

Simple Travel Our Way

The Lens Less Traveled

John and Debbie RTW Adventure

Questions for the nominees:

1. What do you know now, that you wish you had known when you started traveling?

2. Do you prefer short trips or long ones?

3.  Do you have a family, significant other/children? What has been the hardest to juggle while traveling?

4. Do you collect any one thing from your adventures? Magnets? Post Cards?

5. Mountains, ocean, or city? Or something else?

6.  You have one day to drive, leave from your home and drive for the day, then spend the weekend. Where are you driving to?

7.  What was your most memorable trip?

8. What is one travel experience you’d like to forget?

9. Where have you been you don’t think you could resist going back to, time and time again?

10. Why do you blog?

11. Not really a question, show one of your favorite photos you took during your travels.

Auctions America, Auburn Indiana

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This is my dream car. I go to this auction every year just to search out  Hemi ‘Cudas.

Every Labor Day weekend since 1971 there has been a collector car auction in a small town in Indiana called Auburn. If you have an interest in collector cars this is the place to be.

As usual, there is some interesting history to the auctions beginnings, and the town itself. But, that will be another post.

This is the largest collector car auction in the world. Though, I suppose we need to wait for this year’s numbers to come in before we claim that.

There is a $15 admission, parking is free. Kids 12 and under are free. You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes, the activities cover 235 acres of land.

When you enter the gates, there are tents immediately in front of you. Those tents hold the cars that have already been auctioned.

In the first tent last night we saw a Maserati.

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And more than a handful of Mustangs from the 1960s

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My intent was to photograph the cars with the signs that told about them, but, apparently I wasn’t close enough to be able to see many of the words later, and the lighting kept messing me up.

After you’ve wandered the tents, you head indoors where there are more cars, waiting to be auctioned.

Cars like these

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As you keep walking through these giant rooms, you will notice it is getting louder. You are getting closer to the actual auction. In a giant room are two spinning displays, with a car on each. Bleachers surround the center, and big screens display photos of the cars, as well as the current bid. When the auctioneer calls “sold”, the spinning stops, and 3-5 people, all wearing white gloves, so they don’t put fingerprints on the car, rush up to push the car down the ramp so the sound of a 1,000hp engine doesn’t drown out all going on inside.

Just outside the auction arena is the food court with the types of food you expect at almost any outdoor event. Elephant ears, corn dogs, twisty fries.

Then, you are at the other vendors. Have you ever felt you needed a giant, neon, Pontiac sign? Do you have $2000 spare to spend on it? You came to the right place. What about an old gas pump?

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You can venture out of the first set gates on the far side, this is where you will find the car corral. This is basically a 900 parking spot, used car lot for really cool cars. If you want to pic up a ’79 Trans Am (great choice, I used to have one) you can probably find one here.

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Maybe you’ve had your eye on a Roadrunner? Or a Duesenburg. You can find those here too. The cars in the car corral won’t be going up for auction. You bring enough cash and you can leave with the car you’ve wanted for years.

There is also a car parts swap meet outside the car corral, in case you leave with a project.

This year they also have helicopter rides for $30. And, on Saturday and Sunday they are having a monster truck show, free with the price of admission, as well as free monster truck rides for the kids.

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As you can see from the pictures I’ve chosen, my heart is with American muscle, from the last 60s, early 70s. But, there is a lot more to see here. And, learn, because many of these owners are very proud of their cars and know the history, from the factory until they put the last mile on last week. I’ll leave you with some more pictures.

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Important Info:

  • $15 admission, kids 12 and under and free. There is a $50 pass that gets you in all weekend.
  • It only goes on over Labor Day weekend. There is another, somewhat smaller auction in the spring.
  • Kids are welcome, but they need to know not to touch the cars. The owners will flip out if they see it.
  • Gates open at 8am, auction starts at 10am.
  • Plan on spending 3 or 4 hours, and that is just to walk the entire grounds. If you want to watch the auction or browse the swap meet, you’ll be there longer.
  • Parking isn’t too bad, but it is in a field. So, if it’s been raining you might want to be careful where you park.

Auctions America, Auburn Fall Auction

Visit Fort Wayne

Just a side note, Auburn is not a very big town. It has a population of about  13,000.  An estimated 300,000 people come into town to buy, sell, and look at the cars. Traffic can be a pain. Usually there is NO traffic, unless you count the cars lining up behind the tractor waiting for a place to pass, and this is a weekend where you can count on traffic jams.

The U.S.S. Cod, A Submarine in Cleveland Ohio

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The U.S.S Cod was a World War II submarine, One of the few large submarines that the US Navy had that was not damaged in Pearl Harbor. It was launched on March 21, 1943.  The Cod made 7 successful war patrols before the end of the war. It was based out of Perth, Australia.

The U.S.S. Cod is 312 ft long, and weighs 1,525 tons.

While the Cod was a very successful submarine, it also holds a place in history as the only submarine to preform an international sub-to-sub rescue ever.

In July of 1945 a Dutch submarine, the O-19 was grounded on a coral outcropping. The Cod spent 2 days trying to pull the O-19 off the reef, breaking several chains in the process.  While the Cod tried to pull the O-19, the O-19 was busy trying to help itself, by putting its engines completely in reverse, blowing the ballast tanks, and firing the torpedoes, hoping that all together, this would pull the submarine loose. It didn’t work. So, the Cod took on the 56 man crew, in addition to the full crew already on the U.S.S. Cod, and then they put demolition charges on the stuck O-19, finishing with shooting 2 torpedoes at it as well, to destroy it so enemy ships couldn’t get to it.

In 2003, the Dutch Navy honored the U.S.S. Cod.

The Cod was removed from service in 1946, only to be recommissioned in 1951 as a part of NATO anti-sub training missions. She was decommissioned again in 1954, but in 1959 was used as a naval reserve training vessel, based in Cleveland, Ohio. The U.S.S Cod quickly became a stop for school children to learn about a bit of history.

Today, the U.S.S. Cod is a war memorial, and a historic landmark. It is the only submarine that allows visitors that had not had ramps built, and holes made in it to allow visitors easier access. If you want to visit, you need to be prepared to enter the hatches and climb down the ladders.

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This is the site that greets you when you enter the U.S.S. Cod. You will be in the forward torpedo room. There are 6 torpedo tubes that will hold 16 torpedoes total. There were 2 types of torpedoes used. The MK-14 and the MK-18. The 14 was faster, but also left a wake, pinpointing the sub’s location. In addition to the torpedo tubes, this room also holds 15 bunks for the sailors.

The next section is the Forward Battery. It holds 126 lead-acid, electric storage batteries. But, it is also where the officer’s areas are. IMG_7446

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The next section is the Control Room. When you enter this section, you will notice it is lit with red lighting. This red light is used at night, so if anyone has to go topside, their eyes will already be adjusted to the darkness.

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This room is where the controls are that power and steer the submarine, as well as control its depth.

The Conning Tower is right above you while you stand in the control room. IMG_7457

The picture is terrible, because you aren’t allowed to climb into the conning tower. You are allowed to climb halfway up the ladder, for a view. But, I’m short. So, my view was just the rungs of the ladder in front of me that they had put plexiglass over.

The conning tower is the attack center. This is where the periscopes are used, it holds the main steering station, as well as the 2 red firing buttons for the torpedoes.

Next is the After Battery Compartment. It holds another set of batteries. But, it also holds the galley and the mess hall for the elicited men. Only 24 men can sit and eat at a time, so each meal requires 3 shifts.

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It was hard to get a decent picture of the space, because it was so small. Now, picture it with a full crew. Up to 97 men filled this submarine, for months at a time.

I found the refrigerator interesting. It is under the floor, so you look down at it. You cannot enter it.IMG_7472

The refrigerator not only held the tons of meat the crew needed, but other perishables. Under the floor is also the ammunitions locker, that doubled as a jail cell for any Japanese prisoners of war they may have.

When you venture out of the mess hall, there is a berthing area.

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On the left, the bunks are stacked, three high and three deep, with no space between side to side. There is a total of 36 bunks in that small space.

Next we have the Forward Engine Room.

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This room holds four 1,600HP diesel engines. The engines were actually made in Cleveland, Ohio. This room also holds 2 freshwater stills.

That’s all the pictures I have of the inside. But, next is the After Engine Room that holds additional generators, for use when necessary.

Then is the Maneuvering Room, the men in this room would control the speed of the Cod using a combination of large levers on one side of the room.

Finally, there was the After Torpedo Room. It holds 4 more torpedo tubes, 15 bunks, a signal flare ejector, and a tiny engineering office. On April 27, 1945 this room caught fire and almost destroyed the submarine. Crewman Andrew G. Johnson was helping to fight the fire when he was washed overboard and drowned.

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Outside the submarine sits a M-14, on the last known, working, WWII Navy torpedo crane truck. It was used to carry torpedoes to the pier, to be loaded by a larger crane.

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More Info:

U.S.S. Cod Home Page

U.S.S. Cod (SS-224)

Historic Navel Ships

Dutch Submarines: The Submarine O 19

Cod Rescues O-19- This is actual video footage of the rescue.

 

Niagara Butterfly Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

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My American readers will need their passports for this one, but it’s worth it.

The Butterfly Conservatory is located in Canada, just north of Niagara Falls. There are over 2000 butterflies flying around.

You will enter a large dome, where the butterflies fly around freely. The signs say not to touch, but, the butterflies do what they want, and it isn’t hard to hold them. Be careful though!IMG_4453

There are about 45 species located in the conservatory. And, they are all beautiful, but some are more so than others. I don’t know what you are all used to seeing, around here we have lots of orange and/or white butterflies. The greens and blues there were beautiful.

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Interestingly, the butterflies are not able to reproduce in the dome. This is done on purpose, so they don’t overcrowd the area. The butterflies will only lay eggs on certain food sources, so those flowers and plants are kept out of the dome.

You can walk the conservatory at your own pace, and read the signs as you wish. The employees are helpful and informative.

My son did find out, if you spill syrup on yourself at breakfast, then go to the conservatory, you will end up with lots of company. :)

NEED TO KNOW:

  • Probably not a good place for small children, or kids who may be creeped out by things crawling on them. Lots of kids crying there, and even my 10 yr old got a bit overwhelmed when the 10th butterfly landed on him.
  • It is $13.50 (Canadian) to get in for adults, and $8.80 for children 6-12. Under 6 is free.
  • Parking is $5, but if you plan to go back, there is an annual parking pass for $10. They only take cash at the gate, but luckily they will take American.
  • Plan on maybe 2 hours, tops, to walk the whole dome. It isn’t a huge place (600 ft of pathways), but you might want to wait around for the perfect picture.
  • The hours are varied throughout the year, so check before you go.
  • The parking lot is shared with the Botanical Conservatory, so, that $5 is for both attractions.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

The botanical gardens surround the Butterfly Conservatory. They are free to enter, but parking is $5.

The gardens span over 100 acres, and are cared for by the students of the school of horticulture that is located on site. There are also several water features.

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They are beautiful to look at, and on a nice day you could easily spend several hours walking a couple miles. There is a rose garden boasting over 2,400 roses.

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The paths are easy to walk, and there are horse drawn carriage rides for a fee if you really want to sit back and enjoy the view. I did not check while I was there, but a couple websites say the carriage rides are $18.

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I went in early May and again in July. It is definitely prettier in July, but if you are at the Butterfly Conservatory anyway, wander the gardens and see what you find.

If you are there without a car, or don’t wish to worry about parking, the bus does stop right out front.

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Helpful links

Niagara Parks-Hours, admission, general information for the butterfly conservatory

Niagara Parks-same info, but for the botanical gardens. This also includes a link to download the app, which will take you on a guided walking tour of the gardens. Free wi-fi is available at the gardens.

Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory- Information about the conservatory, it is actually a really interesting read.

Fact Sheet- This is facts about the botanical gardens.