2024 March Update

What’s Going On:
It’s hard to believe it’s April already. We’re a few days from the big solar eclipse that’s been in the news for a while now. As of today, it’s supposed to be partly cloudy on April 8, with a slight chance of rain. This might be a bust!


What I’m Buying:
There were no big purchases last month, but I did get a hell of a deal on an Arlo hard-wired Video doorbell. I just installed it last weekend, and I wish I had had one of these a while ago. It works a lot better than I expected, and for $30, I think it was one of the best purchases so far this year.


What I’m Eating:
We ate a LOT of Thai food last month since the recipes were still fresh and the ingredients plentiful from my visit to Saraga. The Costco-stocked garage freezer has been getting a workout lately, too. It took a while to find one during COVID-19, but having some extra freezer storage was a great purchase.

On my way back from camping last weekend, I stopped by a “Hucks” gas station in Paoili, Indiana, and picked up a Spicy Chicken Sandwich for brunch. It was much spicier than I expected, but I hit the spot. I’ll buy another one next time I pass a Hucks!

We finally tried Noah Grant’s in Zionsville last month. I have heard good things about it for a while now & we finally made it over there.

It’s primarily a seafood restaurant with steaks, sushi, and salads. We ordered the calamari, split a wedge salad, and had scallops and crab cakes for our entrees. It was all very well prepared, and the service was spot on. It was even half-price night for wine, so we picked out a nice Pino Grigio to go with our meal.


Where I’ve Been:
I took advantage of the warm spell and went camping last Friday night in my favorite spot in Southern Indiana. Indian-Celina Lake had just opened for the season, and several sites were unavailable for reservation due to a bug in the system, so the place was pretty quiet, with only six other campsites occupied that night.


What I’m Watching:
Somebody Feed Phil is back on Netflix! I wasn’t expecting any new episodes after the last season, so that was a pleasant surprise. Mr & Mrs Smith on Amazon has been surprisingly good as well. It’s loosely based on the movie with the same name, but it’s a series.


What I’m Reading:
I just finished “The Art of Invisibility” by Kevin Mitnick. While it was a little dated, it had some good information about how to protect yourself online.

I just started the book “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11” by Garrett M. Graff and could not put it down. It’s a fascinating account of the lives of hundreds of people who were directly impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attack.


What Else:
I took some Ham Radio gear with me on the camping trip and participated in an activity called Parks on the Air (POTA). The goal is to set up a simple station and make a minimum of 10 contacts with other radio operators. I had 35 contacts Friday night and exactly 10 Saturday morning (including Alaska!) before I broke camp down and headed home.


And Finally…
A few weeks ago, I read the long-form opinion piece in the New York Times called “At the Brink.” It was a fascinating piece about the threat of using nuclear weapons today. It has great writing and interactive graphics to along with the subject material.

See you in a few weeks!

2024 February Update

What’s Going On:
I just got back from a 10-day visit to Thailand! It was a LOT of flying (24 hours each way) but worth every minute of the journey once I arrived. I have a 2-part blog post I’m working on this month and should have the first part out in the next week or so.

March is somewhat of a quiet month, but as the temps warm and spring gets closer every day, it’s time to start planning some outdoor activities. I reserved a campsite for an overnight trip later this month to try my hand at a Ham Radio Parks on the Air activation. This combines my love of the outdoors with my newly refreshed passion for Ham Radio.


What I’m Buying:
Woot! is an overstock site connected with Amazon, and it occasionally has some really good deals. Earlier in February, I bought a refurbished Dyson V10 Animal for less than half the cost of a new unit. It’s an older model but better than the V6 I purchased years ago. It arrived in generic packaging, but there was no indication the unit had even been turned on, let alone used at any time. I was immediately impressed with the increased performance of the V10 and am very happy with the purchase. The V6 still has some life, so it will be used for smaller house tasks, including cleaning the cars.


What I’m Eating:
Lots of Thai food while on my trip. I flew Turkish Airlines, and their in-flight meals were very tasty. I was pretty impressed with the quality and quantity of the food served while we cruised at 35,000 feet. It was funny to see the standard USA chains on my layover in Istanbul. Burger King & McDonalds were prominently placed through the airport and had a lot of customers.

I went almost two weeks without eating American or processed foods and could feel a difference in just a few days. For some reason, I always assumed Smoothies all had dairy (something I avoid) and quickly learned that was not true. I enjoyed several fruit smoothies while abroad and also enjoyed their incredibly low price. We’ll see how well my blender holds up after my next smoothie supply run to Costco. I might be in the market for a Vitamix in the future…


Where I’ve Been:
I saved about $1000 on my airfare (and a 2-hour flight leg at each end) by flying out of Detroit. It’s only a 3.5-hour drive from my house and was worth it. I used some of the savings to upgrade my seats for the 4 flight legs. More on that in a future post…

I only had one stop in Istanbul, Turkey, before I went to Bangkok, Thailand. Once in Bangkok, I met my brother, and we took a short flight up to Chiang Mai, where we stayed for most of the visit.

Toward the end of my trip, we returned to Bangkok for a few days before I hopped on an early morning flight to return to the US.

I returned to Detroit via Istanbul again and landed around 7:30 pm. Customs was a snap, and I was returning to Indy by 9 pm. I arrived home after midnight and was still pretty awake, even though I had been up for approximately 36 hours. Once settled, I slept like a rock and enjoyed the extra day of PTO on my return. Adjusting back to Indiana time was more complicated than I thought, considering I didn’t have any issues adjusting to the 12-hour time change in Thailand.


What I’m Watching:
I downloaded a lot of content to my iPad Pro for the travel legs and consumed quite a bit. YouTube always has something to watch, and I wanted to watch a few movies on Netflix. Being able to download content to your device is a great feature that I wish more streaming services would provide. The in-flight entertainment was available, but I only used it once to watch a soccer match live at 38,000 feet.


What I’m Reading:
I also read a lot while held captive in the air. I have a bad habit of pinning articles to “read later,” and I had a lot to choose from. I also worked on a few books using the Amazon Kindle. The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick kept me entertained for a few hours before I switched over to a copy of Essential Thailand by Fodor’s Travel Guides.


And Finally…
This was quite a mystery. How does a 200-foot broadcast radio tower disappear without a trace? Check the comments on the article for details (and the answer to the mystery!).

2023 Week 24/25 – Road Trip!

What’s Going On:
*Warning* This will be a LONG post covering a week-long trip with lots of links, photos, and me rambling on for a while.

It was nice to return to a 3-day weekend after a week on the road last week (more on that later). Besides getting the tent out to dry off, I haven’t unpacked much since all my camping gear is in stackable tubs. I still need to move it back into storage & get it out of the garage…


Where I’ve Been:
Last Saturday, I returned from a 1500+ mile loop that took me through KY, TN, NC, VA, WV, and OH. I left on Monday morning and traveled to Asheville, NC. South of Lexington was a new Buc-ee’s that I wanted to stop and check out. Everyone in a 100-mile radius must have had the same idea as this place was PACKED. Every pump had a vehicle parked in front of it, and the inside was wall-to-wall people. There were even lines to the men’s restroom, which you never see. I heard one person say they had been waiting for over an hour for their food, so I saw myself out and headed down the road.

I arrived in Asheville in the early evening, and even though I was driving all day, the weather was beautiful, and the traffic was light. I chose a place near the Grove Arcade called Carmel’s Kitchen & Bar to have dinner. The Pimento Cheese sounded great, so I ordered it along with a bowl of Shrimp and Grits (with a cream sauce vs. a brown gravy which was different and not as good as the traditional) and a cold glass of Chardonnay.

Tuesday morning, I spent some time in downtown Asheville taking photos. I stopped at City Bakery for some coffee and a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit and left full and happy! They know how to make a proper biscuit in the South!

I was waiting around for East Fork Pottery to open at 11 am so I could pick up some coffee mugs I’ve had my eye on for over a year. I had every intention of stopping at Buxton Hall Barbecue for lunch to try their legendary fried chicken sandwich, but I was too full, so I hit the road and drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway toward Mt Mitchell State Park, the highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has got to be one of my favorite drives ever; this was my first time driving it. I was only on it for less than 100 miles, but I’m very interested in driving the entire 469 miles and visiting sites along the way. I stopped in a town called Little Switzerland, NC, for a snack, but just about everything was closed on Tuesday.

I made my way to Spacious Skies Campgrounds – Bear Den near Spruce Pine, NC. This is a private campground right off the parkway, and being early in the season was very quiet. I felt like I had the entire place to myself!

I packed up camp Wednesday morning and went to start the car… Click, Click, Click, dead battery. I knew I was about due for a replacement and almost did it before I left, but luckily I was at a place where I could walk up to the front office and ask for a jump. Once underway, I made a beeline to the closest Advance Auto and picked up the AGM battery I had my eye on weeks earlier. This thing should outlast the car, and it ought to be for $250. The employee offered to swap the batteries out, and I was on my way 10 minutes later, only delaying me for an hour from my originally planned departure time.

Today’s destination was the Red River Gorge Bridge and a Bed-and-Breakfast in a small town called Clifton Forge, VA. I had no idea what to expect at the Gorge, but the pictures I saw looked incredible. As my GPS told me I was getting closer, I kept looking for the bridge. I didn’t see it until I was practically ON it!

That crossing was pretty unimpressive, but I noticed on the map that I could go down under the bridge, so after stopping at the visitor center (and picking up a sticker), I did that!

After playing around down by the water, it was time to load up and head to the evening’s accommodations. The Red Lantern Inn was a great little Bed & Breakfast that was in the middle of downtown Clifton Forge, VA. Not much in the town except a few restaurants, bars, and a HUGE train yard. I unloaded my gear and went down the street to Jack Mason’s Tavern and Brewery for dinner. I ordered a Mushroom Swiss Burger and the House Cut Chips, dusted in Old Bay. The beverage for dinner was a local ale the waitress recommended when I said I wanted something light. It all hit the spot, and I was ready to settle down for the night.

The Red Lantern Inn was clean and spacious, and I had the whole place to myself. The owner was off-premises attending to other things, and we exchanged a few text messages to get the code to enter the building and the WiFi password. I never met her, but I would not hesitate to stay here again. It was clean and VERY quiet. Just what I needed after all the driving I had been doing.

Thursday’s activity was what prompted the trip in the first place. The Green Bank Observatory houses the world’s largest 100-meter (330 ft) fully steerable single-dish radio telescope. Located near the middle of the National Radio Quiet Zone, the telescope is the newest and most significant of many at the facility, topping out at over 400 feet in height and housing a dish of over 100,000 square feet. I purchased a tour ticket online and arrived about 30 minutes before the tour to use the facilities and check out the museum and gift shop.

We took a bus to the telescope and got up close and personal. Unfortunately, the only camera you can use is film because anything electronic is forbidden within a 1-mile radius. We were even asked to put our car key fobs in a Faraday Cage to block spurious emissions. Our tour guide was from Ireland, and she had been working there for several years. Her husband was a scientist working at the facility who had passed away, so she started doing tours and stayed in Green Bank.

After geeking out at the Observatory, I needed to find some lunch. I saw on Google Maps a Ski Resort called Snowshoe about an hour away and learned it is pretty active in the summer months with Mountain Biking, so I headed west to check it out.

I had already been to the highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi, but it felt like I was going even higher as I made my way to the top of Snowshoe Mountain. The road just kept going up and up, with switchback after switchback, until I finally reached the top. And what a surprise it was to see a village with a hotel, grocery store, and what looked like 4-story apartment buildings (pretty sure they were hotels).

I walked around for a while, checking things out and dodging many mountain bikes riding around the area. I can only imagine what this place is like in the winter, with skiers everywhere. I grabbed lunch at the Junction Ale House—nothing special here, just a little pub with staff that acted like they wanted to be elsewhere. I definitely do not see myself returning here, even if I visited in the winter to ski.

“After lunch, I made my way down the mountain to camp. I had two “First Come; First Served” sites in mind, Dry Run & Tea Creek campgrounds, Dry run was nice but pretty full. I drove down the road a little more and found Tea Creek to be just perfect. There were 12 sites, and only 2 were occupied. I nabbed a site near the entrance and set up camp.

An older gentleman came over, and we chatted about camping, cars, and the generator the other site was using (he was not a fan). The bugs died down at dusk, and I enjoyed a night of tuning through the shortwave bands tuning in signals from all over the world (the low noise floor in the Radio Quiet Zone helped a lot here.

I set out for Hillbilly Hotdogs (see below) and Wayne National Forrest in Southern Ohio on Friday morning. After lunch, I found my reserved campsite and had a problem. It was at the end of a cul-de-sac and about 10 feet down the side of the hill. The tent pad was about 10×10, and a drop-off on the backside. NOT a good site for the tent I use and not a good location if it rained like the forecast called for. I talked to the Camp Host and was informed there were no available sites, so I went to Ironton, OH, and used some Holiday Inn points to get a room for the night.

We were back on the road for our final day of travel on Saturday. I have been wanting to visit Serpent Mound again for years, I remember my Grandmother taking me here as a kid, and I wanted to see it again. Built a long time ago, Serpent Mound is a burial ground of ancient Americans that’s in the shape of a snake. The United States Department of Interior designated the mound as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

It’s hard to see in the pictures, but the mound is over 1000 feet long and of great historical significance to the area. The visitors center has a nice display explaining the effigy’s who/what/why and, of course, stickers for my collection.

After the mound, I visited family and had lunch to celebrate Father’s Day a day early; it was the best BBQ I had eaten all week! I was left with a 2-hour drive back to Indy and was ready to get off the road! This is the 3rd year in a row where I’ve picked an interesting place to see and made a week-long trip out of it. It was nice to get away from the office and get out into nature before the high temperatures make it uncomfortable this summer. I’m already thinking about next year’s trip, and driving the entire Blue Ridge Parkway is on the shortlist.


What I’m Buying:
Stickers, lots of stickers. When I visit a significant location, I like to purchase a sticker to commemorate the occasion. right now, they’re being put on the cooler that goes with me on every trip, but I’m running out of room, so I need to figure out something else to sticker up.

ICE! You have to have ice to keep things cool when you’re off the grid. It’s nice to see that ice is still only a couple of dollars a bag, even in the middle of nowhere. The local liquor store gives away bags with any purchase, so I always have a bag or two in the freezer to get me started. I’ve been told you can get ice from fast food restaurants really cheaply, but I never think about getting it there (and I rarely eat fast food anymore).


What I’m Eating:
I had a few BBQ meals while traveling. Nothing that noteworthy and, honestly, a little disappointing with dry brisket and a side of mac and cheese where the sauce was broken and oily. I was expecting more and would rather eat the local BBQ at Traxx in McCordsville!

When camping, I normally dine on dehydrated meals from various manufacturers. Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry, and Pakit Gourmet are in constant rotation, and I always get a solid, filling meal with just a cup or two of boiling water.

On this trip, I fixed my ever-favorite Chili Mac with Beef and tried a new meal of Chicken and Rice both from Mountain House. Both were very filling, and the Chicken and Rice could have passed for homemade; it was that good!

Since I was in the area, I had to check out Hillbilly Hotdogs in LeSage, WV. This place was one of the first places visited by the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives show and features “The Homewrecker” hot dog that weighs 1 pound and is covered with just about every topping they have. I saw one come out of the kitchen, and it was ridiculous!

I ordered a Hillbilly Dog (Deep-fried Weenie, Chili Sauce, Mustard, and Onions) and a West Virginia Dog (Chili Sauce, Mustard, Onions, and Cole Slaw), along with an order of Deep Fried Pickles w/ Ranch. Everything was hot and fresh, and I would stop here again if I ever found myself in the area. It was pretty crowded for a Friday afternoon and a popular stop for the bikers traveling along the river route.


What I’m Watching:
I downloaded several movies on my iPad Pro to watch while camping, and I never even played them. I ended up spending my evenings reading, tuning in to distant stations on the shortwave radio, and relaxing to the sounds of nature.


What I’m Reading:
I’m still reading “Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 “and hope to finish it this weekend. Several more books are in the queue, including one about Switchboard Operators during World War One.


What Else:
The Fishers Health Department has released its “Inspection report of retail food establishments” which gives a letter grade for local restaurants (I believe they need to post their grade for people to see at some point). This is a HUGE step in transparency for the public. The letter grade system is used in a lot of major cities and does a great job of not only calling out places not meeting the standards but also warning the patrons of the issues. I was surprised at some of the C-grades from places I often frequent, and I will no longer be dining there until they get their act together. Kudos to the Fishwers Health Dept for leading the way with this program. Hopefully, other cities (looking at you, Indy) will follow!

And Finally…
I’ve been watching Mark Rober videos lately. In this video, Mark sets up a series of Olympic-style challenges for his backyard squirrels to compete in. From a balance beam to a diving board, these squirrels prove to be surprisingly adept athletes. Mark uses his engineering skills to create various contraptions and obstacles for the squirrels to navigate, such as a tiny zipline and a miniature pole vault. He also peppers the video with funny commentary and hilarious slow-motion replays of the squirrels in action. But beyond the laughs, this video is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of these furry creatures. So next time you see a squirrel in your backyard, give them a little respect – who knows what kind of Olympic potential they might have!

2023 Week 22 – Wanna Trade?

What’s Going On:
Sierra Trading Post (now just Sierra) recently opened a brick-and-mortar store on the NW side of Indianapolis. I remember (mail) ordering from them back in the late 80s, and you could get just about anything you needed for camping and hiking.

Over the years, I had all but forgotten about them and became an REI fanboy. Sierra was acquired by the TJ Maxx companies in 2012 and folded into the family of companies, including Marshalls, Home Goods, etc.

I visited the store on Sunday afternoon and was pleasantly surprised with the variety of gear they had and the prices were amazing! Think of it as a TJ Maxx for outdoor enthusiasts. I didnt have anything particular in mind to buy but walked out with a new pair of hiking shoes, convertible pants, smart wool socks, and several discounted dehydrated meals. All of this I’m planning on utilizing in an upcoming trip.

If you’re looking for some additional gear to fill any gaps you might have in your setup, I would make it a point to check out Sierra first; you might save a significant amount of money!


What I’m Buying:
As mentioned above, I went on a little shopping spree at Sierra, but prior to that, I picked up a new Tom Bihn bag called the Side Hustle. This bag is a newish design that the company is having a hard time keeping in stock. Every time I’ve tried to order it, they were sold out, but Tom Bihn allows you to add your email to a waiting list and get notified when they refresh their stock.

About three days before the big day, I was notified that the latest Side Hustle batches would be released at 2 pm PT. I posted up at my favorite watering hole and patiently waited for 5 pm ET to arrive. I was torn between the grey bag with a yellow lining like my Synik 30 and a dark blue with the same yellow liner. Well, my decision was made for me as the grey bag sold out in less than 10 minutes. Dark Blue it is!

After I use the bag for a few weeks, I’ll post a review. I purchased it as a weekend bag to carry my iPad and other items around and a day bag when traveling. So far, it’s exceeded my expectations in build quality and versatility.


What I’m Eating:
This section should be called “What I’m obsessed with this week.” I had lunch at Garden Table with one of my vendors last week. The Chicken Salad there is delicious, BTW. The server brought out a little tabletop carrier containing salt, pepper, and Tabasco Siracha! I had never seen this and tried a little bit on my last few bites of chicken salad, and my mind was blown.

I LOVE Tabasco, and I’m 50/50 on Siracha (It needs to be something compatible for me to really enjoy it, like Pho or a Bihn Mi sandwich). The combination of the two is a whole new flavor that I can not get enough of. So naturally, I decided to seek it out. Amazon had it, of course, but I refrain from ordering any food from Amazon because it’s just not cost-effective. PLUS, I enjoy the hunt to find things in the Mirad of grocery stores we have in the area.

The “Where to Buy” section was not working on the Tabasco site, so I started using Google to narrow it down to the Walmart in my area. I hadn’t been to the local Walmart in YEARS. I used to buy shotgun ammo there because it was dirt cheap, but then I started buying it in bulk online & never went back. Walmart had 11 oz bottles which are a little on the small side but at $3.50, quite a steal. I grabbed four bottles and got the hell out of there. I’m planning on spreading the word and handing a few of these bottles out to friends and family to see if I can get them hooked.

I ordered a cheesesteak from Mambo’s in City Market last week. It wasn’t the best cheesesteak I’ve ever had in Indy (that award goes to Hoagies & Hops) but paired with the seasoned fries and soda, it was the best $15 I’ve spent on lunch in a while. The city market is running at less than 50% vendor capacity, but the ones who are still there are serving up some quality food. I’m trying to do my part and grab lunch there at least once a week, if you’re working in downtown Indy you should too!


What I’m Reading:
I finally finished Solo by William Boyd. Set in 1969, it’s a James Bond book set in West Africa and book 38 in the extended series. If you’re into the franchise, it’s a worthwhile read, and I can never get enough to 007, so it was a must-read for me.

I moved on to a new author to me named T. J. Newman. She’s a former flight attendant, and her books focus around that. Her first book, Falling, is about a pilot who must crash his jet (9/11 style) or lose his family. The supporting characters really support the storyline, and I’m already halfway through the book. It’s that good.


What Else:
I’m trying a new template for the blog to give it a little more consistency and to help with the writer’s block I sometimes get when writing a weekly post. I may not use all the sections, but I’m using them as primers to help me remember all the things that went on during the week. I’m debating if I want to keep the weekly YouTube video at the end. I like it, but I may be the only one!


And Finally…
Why Fort Knox is Totally Forbidden, I was hoping they had tours available at Fort Know, but this video explains why it’s unthinkable.

2022 Week 49 -The End is Near

It’s December & the year is coming to a close. I’m fortunate to work for a company that closes over the Christmas holiday, and I’m looking forward to 3 weeks of time off before I hit the ground running in 2023. I’m already counting the days until we get back to warmer weather so I can get back out and do more camping. I noticed today when looking at the calendar & there are 53 weeks in 2022 (because Jan 1, 2022, was on a Saturday), so we’ll have to do our year-end recap that week.


If you’ve left the house in the past 3 years you’ve no doubt seen and used a QR Code, most likely in a restaurant, to access a digital menu. QR Codes have been around for years, but it took a pandemic to make them mainstream (like video calls). But How do QR Codes Work? Review Geek has the details. Pro Tip, if you want to generate a QR Code to make it easier for guests to join your wireless network, check this site out.


And finally… Is real Parmigiano Reggiano actually worth the high price? Ethan Chlebowski breaks it down so you can make up your mind (TLDR, It IS!).

2022 Week 45 – Lights Out

70-degrees in November? I’ll take it! We had some BIG wind gusts that came through Indiana yesterday, and about half the houses in my neighborhood ended up without power for a little over 5-hours. Luckily I work off laptops and iPads, so I had enough power to get through most of the day using my iPhone as a hotspot. As the sun started to go down, I even broke out the Jackery 500 Portable Station to run a few of my USB Camping lights.

Jackery 500 Portable Station

In September, the Washing Post ran an article titled “Customs officials have copied Americans’ phone data at massive scale.” In it, they detail the breadth of the program and how it’s raised some concerns on Capital Hill. As someone who plans on taking a couple of International trips in the next 12 months, this is a little scary, to say the least.

Contacts, call logs, messages and photos from up to 10,000 travelers’ phones are saved to a government database every year

Washington Post

Although I’m not part of the demographic they are looking at, “individuals who are of a significant law enforcement, counterterrorist, or national security concern,” the fact remains this database exists and appears to have little oversight in its use.


And finally… Ken Block is at it again, this time with a fully electric rally car on the streets of Las Vegas. The electric motor sound is not as pleasing as the turbo-charged gas engine, but the impressive abilities of his latest vehicle almost make up for it.

2022-Week 44 – The Colors!

The fall foliage has been amazing this year, and we’ve enjoyed the burst of color in the trees around the house. I took some time off to go camping in my new favorite place, Hardin Ridge (in the Hoosier National Forest). All the loops are closed except for one, and there are minimal amenities, but for only $10 a night, it’s a great deal in a beautiful part of Indiana.

As you can see there was no one around and my campsite was quite large. It dipped down to 40-degrees overnight but I brought the right equipment to keep warm and enjoy the outdoors. I hope to get another stretch of warm weatrher before December so I can make one more trip before putting all the gear away for the winter!


If you were outside on the Northside of Indy last weekend you might have seen and heard a Ford as 5-AT-B Trimotor from 1928 flying around. I didnt get a chance to snap a picture before it left town, but our friends at Shutter and Brushes saw it in Elkhart last Saturday and not only grabbed a few pictures on the tarmac they went inside to take a pic as well! This is a beautifully restored airplane that’s almost 100 years old apears to be traveling around the Midwest selling rides to anyone interested.


And finally… Owl Kitty is back with a new video. This time she joins Tom Cruise in Top Gun!

2022-Week 42 & 43 – Catching Up

I didn’t post last weekend because I was out of town for a wedding (and I forgot due to everything going on). So this week is a catch-up post covering a few things from the past 2 weeks.

The trees are looking quite colorful this week, and I was going to try & go camping this weekend, but most of Indiana is under a Red Flag Warning. This means no fires, and I’m sorry, but my idea of camping is building a nice fire to cook on and sit next to into the evening. I also don’t want to get into a situation where someone else starts a fire and get caught up in it. So because of the burn ban, I decided to stay home and catch up on a few things…


AppleTV

Last week Apple released some updated products, one of which is a new AppleTV. The AppleTV is the hub of our entertainment system (and has been for years), but it’s one fault is a really bad remote control. It’s so bad that I use a Harmony Ultimate remote to control the AppleTV. The last version of the AppleTV had a redesigned remote, but I held off because I had a solution in place. Well, the latest iteration, utilizing USB-C charging and a major processor chip, led me to order the upgrade. I should have a delivery waiting for me in Early November & I’m looking forward to trying out the new remote and increased performance of the AppleTV Hub.


If you love watching food travel shows, you’ll love these resources that help you locate a restaurant you’ve seen on TV. This is especially helpful when you travel, and you’re looking for something different


And finally… It’s a great time to try a new burger. The Jucy Lucy is a cheese stuffed burger that is amazing. I picked up the burger press and waxed paper sheets shown in the video below (I didn’t try them smoked yet) & they turned out PERFECT! I think this is going to be my go-to burger for the forseable future.

2022 Week 35 – We’re Listening

Some of you might remember back in the early 2000’s IndyScan.com used to be a resource page for Radio Scanner enthusiasts. We started small with the Central Indiana area and eventually grew to cover the entire state. We even had a monthly newsletter and conducted regular surveys to get feedback from our visitors. That was a lot of work and before kids. The site went dormant for several years before I brought it back, creating the Blog you’re reading today.

Working from home during Covid-19 and the civil unrest in Downtown Indianapolis last year rekindled my interest in Amateur radio and police scanning.

A LOT has changed in the years since I was active. Then, there were independent radio systems for every agency, and it took a lot of effort to understand how it all worked. Now the State of Indiana has a massive statewide digital system (Called SAFE-T) that’s very impressive and well documented. In addition, Marion, Hamilton, and Madison Counties have combined their own police/fire radio system into a shared digital system that can interface with the State system.

These days all the system details are published online at a site called Radio Reference. When I got out of the hobby years ago, I remember taking my entire database of information and sending it to the guys at Radio Reference, hoping they could use it to help others in the hobby.

SDS100

That old database of frequencies is all but useless now with the implementation of the digital wide-area networks. New systems mean new requirements for listening. In order for me to get back into the hobby, I needed to purchase a Digital Scanner. After some research, I decided on the Uniden SDS100 handheld digital scanner. They also make the SDS200 desk/mobile unit, which I purchased shortly after the SDS100 (I was hooked again).

Since I have my Amateur Radio License, I can legally travel with a scanner. So I’ve taken the SDS100 on many road (and camping) trips and enjoyed the optional GPS unit that auto-tunes the local systems as you travel. Of course, you must program all of this, but that’s part of the fun! The SDS200 stays in the home office, where it can be remotely accessed using the ProScan software I have online and connected to the Web. When you connect to the SDS200, you’ll listen to the same thing I am in real-time.

It’s been great to once again follow along with the local police and fire departments and the state agencies as they do their job protecting the public. A lot has changed in the past 20 years, and the new technology is nothing short of amazing. I’m glad I got back into the hobby!


Keeping with the listening theme… Life in Indy has released three public playlists on Spotify.

These are excellent playlists with a nice mix of Central Indiana artists. Check them out, and let me know what you think!


And finally… Last week I mentioned the Tom Bihn Synic 30 backpack. Well, it was delivered last week, and I’m in the process of giving it a proper shakedown. Initial thoughts are good, very good, and I can honestly say it’s exceeded my expectations thus far. I’ll report back with a more detailed review in a few weeks. Stay tuned!