That’s what I said when the 17-Year Cicada Brood hatched last week in the tree line next to my house. It’s louder than I remember but luckily goes quiet at night so we can still sleep with the windows open. On the other hand it’s becoming impossible to keep the car clean!
As I prepare for a couple of big road trips this summer I broke out the Garmin InReach Mini so I could get it updated and re-activated. This little thing is amazing and offers some piece of mind when your travels take you to areas with little, or no, cell coverage. The InReach Mini fits in the palm of your hand and offers Two-Way Messaging, Interactive SOS Alerts, & Location Sharing using the GEOS Satellite network. You can also track your routes and mark positions such as Points of Interest, and campsites/trail heads.
The companion Garmin Earthmate app uses your phone as a GPS display and messaging tool. It connects to the InReach Mini via Bluetooth and allows you to use the keyboard and screen of the mobile phone to send/receive/read messages. Monthly cost is around $35 and you can enable/disable it at will so you’re not paying for it when you don’t need it. I highly recommend something like this for peace of mind for both yourself and those that want to make sure you’re OK on your adventures.
And finally, as a HUGE fan of Top Gear (the original one, not the spinoffs) and the Grand Tour, I was happy to see Jeremy Clarkson hosting a new show on Amazon Prime Video. But this one has a twist. He’s now a farmer! He purchased a 1000 acre plot of land a while ago (probably with thoughts of retiring there) and he’s been put in a position where he’s going to try & farm it himself. Well if you know anything about the Top Gear guys, you have an idea where this might be headed…
Like him or not Guy Fiedi’s Diners Drive-ins and Drives has done a lot to help mom and pop shops all over the country. I try & keep track of the interesting ones I see when I watch the show but after 30+ seasons it’s impossible. An upcoming trip made me search for it and I was happy I found a Map of all the restaurants covered in the show. There are other lists out there. In fact Food Network has one but its not nearly as organized as the one above.
I’m a gear head when it comes to the outdoors and a fan of Marino Wool socks that keep my feet dry and comfortable. A recent gear guide (I forget which one) was promoting Marino Wool T-Shirts and I decided to get one and try it out. Made from a lightweight merino wool blend that wicks sweat and dries quickly the Icebreaker T-Shirt is super comfortable and works as advertised. I plan on adding a few more to my closet this year.
And finally, this YouTube couple got an amazing behind the scenes tour of the Indy 500, it’s a great watch!
May last camping trip was a wash out so I decided to try it again last weekend. This time there was no rain but the temps were a lot higher. I decided to take a different route, bypassing the I-69 construction, and wound my way south through Jasper and Ferdinand, Indiana
Ferdinand has a monastery similar to the one down the road in St Meinrad. But this one has a brewery and food! I stopped in for a late lunch of Pizza and Beer. While not they best pizza I’ve ever had it hit the spot, especially with the Sister Betty Blonde Ale I washed it down with.
After lunch I decided to finish out my last 9-holes of Disc Golf at St Meinrad. I expected to see a lot more people on the course being a Saturday but was pleasantly supersized the crowd was more like a week day. There was no need to rush and I was able to enjoy a nice round.
The Indian-Celina Lake Campground I like to test equipment at is just inside the Central time zone. In fact it’s so close my electronic devices (and car) will constantly switch back and fourth between time zones. I’ve started wearing an analog watch (Citizen ProMaster Diver with EcoDrive) to make sure I know the actual time. The Citizen is a great watch that uses the sun to keep itself charged. It also keeps amazingly accurate time. I think I’ve only corrected it twice the entire time I’ve owned it. This thing is built like a tank and it’s a nice change from the Apple Watch I wear during the week.
Another item I tested out last weekend was an Exped MegaMat sleeping pad. I bought the MegaMat last October but had yet to take it out to try it in the real world. It’s been great to lounge around on in the house over the winter but it really shines outside in a tent. The MegaMat comes in several sizes and I opted for the XL (extra long) version since I like to stretch out.
One really nice feature about the MegaMat is it self inflates. After you unroll and open the main valve it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to about 95% of where I like it. I can then take the manual pump that’s included to top it off and make it perfect.
This sleeping pad is thick and a little bulky so it’s only really good for car camping or a very short hike to the campsite. It feels like a memory foam bed when you’re laying on it and if you’re a side sleeper you’ll be happy to know it’s supportive enough to keep your hip from digging into the ground. It was worth every penny and I would not hesitate to purchase it again.
I have another camping trip planned in a couple of weeks and I’m gearing up for a trip to the Allegheny National Forrest this summer. So look forward to more trip reports and gear reviews throughout the year.
If you’re a fan of Barstool Sports you might be interested to know they are the latest company to partner up with an Indiana casino (Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg) to provide sports betting. They have a couple of decent “free money” promotions available once you sign up. I ended up with $15 in free bets to try out. I’m still a big fan of DraftKings but the Barstool app looks promising.
Chris’s Ice Cream is one of those places I’ve driven by for years and, as someone who isn’t a big ice cream fan, I never really gave it a second thought. While they don’t have much of a presence online you can view the Yelp Profile and get an idea of what they have. Here is a pic of the menu from a Yelp Review. I’m hooked on the Chorizo Burrito & haven’t explored the menu any further. If you want to try some really good scratch made Mexican food you should give this place a shot!
Picking up where we left off last week. After I finished checking out Spring Mill state park I headed to another item on my travel list, Hemlock Cliffs.
Located on National Forest Rd, in English Indiana, Hemlock Cliffs is a little out of the way and on this Friday afternoon the parking lot was pretty empty. I could see this place getting really busy on a weekend. The trail loop out the the cliffs is about 2 miles long and easy to moderate in spots. It’s NOT accessible buy wheel chair or stroller as it has some narrow parts and several sets of steps.
Here are some short videos I made of the various waterfalls in the area.
While heading to the next destination I saw a sign for the Winzerwald Winery in Bristow Indiana and decided to check it out. They had a nice tasting room where you could get 4 samples for $4. I chose the flight of their “dry” wines which consisted of the following:
Black Riesling (Red)
Blaufränkisch Rosé (DEEP Red)
Cabernet Sauvignon (Red)
Grüner Veltliner (White)
All were quite good but I settled on the Grüner Veltliner to purchase and enjoy at home. Winzerwald Winery also sells a Pumpkin Spiced wine that I was too scared to try this time around.
I was surprised to see the number of wineries in the area. On Google maps I counted at least 12 within an hours drive of this one.
Next we’re headed to one of the reasons for the trip. The 18-hole Disc Golf (DG) course at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana.
Unfortunately this is where the trip goes south. After 9-holes of DG the skies opened up and there was no end in sight. Between the rain and lightning I decided to cut the trip short and head back to Indy. I’m glad I did as the rain continued into the evening and setting up all your camping gear for a single night is just not worth the effort (or the cleanup afterwards). I already have a return trip planned and hope to finish out my round of DG and get a night of camping in the books.
That’s it for now, enjoy the warmer temps this week. I think summer is finally making an appearance!
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