2021 Week 24 – What’s That Noise?

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…

2021 Week 23 – Wool T-Shirts?

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!

2021 Week 19 – Mini Road Trip Part 1

I took the day off last Friday & headed down to Southern Indiana for some sightseeing, Disc Golf, and camping. With the knowledge that State Rt 37 was closed in Martinsville I decided to take State Rt 39 that runs parallel to the west. I also wanted to check out the Goethe Link Observatory along the way. Unfortunately it was closed.

My next stop was Spring Mill Park, which I have not been to in years. When I got down to Mitchell Indiana I realized it was lunch time so I stopped at my road trip favorite McDonalds.

Being lunch time in a small town the drive-thru was backed up to the street so I decided to go in. There was a clear division of masks and no masks. The older the person was the more likely they were masked up. The younger crowd not so much. It was an otherwise uneventful visit until I got back to my car. This was the BEST quarter pounder I had EVER had! It was seasoned a little more aggressively than normal and was LOADED with onions and pickles (like, double the amount). I never thought I’d ever enjoy a fast food sandwich this much. The fries were as good as always and someone was a little heavy handed with the salt on those as well. No complaints here!

East of this location I noticed a sign for the Gus Grissom Monument and I decided to check it out. I drove right by it the first time as I ws expecting it to be further up the road. It’s actually right behind the Mitchell police department and it’s quite the monument!

Virgil I. Gus Grissom Rocket Monument

What an amazing monument to an American Hero. Little did I know there was ANOTHER tribute to Grissom at Spring Mill!

Spring Mill was a lot bigger than I remembered and was pretty empty that day (benefits of visiting on a weekday). I remembered to purchase my annual park pass at the gate. HIGHLY recommended if you are going to visit any of the state parks throughout the year. It pays for itself after a few visits. The Spring Mill Inn is in the process of remodeling on the outside but was very nice on the inside. I could see spending a new nights here while exploring the area trails and activities.

There’s more to this trip than I’ve listed here but I’m going to save that for the next post. It was great to get out of the house and get back outside after a miserable 2020 and a longer than usual winter. The Allegheny National Forest trip I canceled last fall (because everything was closed) is being re-scheduled and there should be some good travel posts coming up this summer.

Finally, I came across this video on YouTube last week. I never knew this job was available in the Military!

2021 Week 16 – Hey Y’all!

Kickstarter has some interesting projects.  I’ve backed several over the years and have mostly been happy with the end products (a few were failures and never got enough funded to get off the ground).  A new one caught my eye a few months ago called Tidbyt.  Tidbyt is a retro display kind of along the lines of a lite-brite that we all had as a kid.  It’s “connected” and can be customized to display all kinds of data from weather to stocks to transit timetables.  If all goes according to plan it will start shipping in September.  I’m looking forward to setting one up as a weather station and clock!

If you have pets do yourself a favor and locate at least 2 emergency pet hospitals that are open 24-hours and make sure this information is easily accessible. It’s also a good idea to know where they’re located so you know how to get there quickly.  We had a situation where one of our pets needed emergency care and the first place, closest to our house, had a 5-6 hour wait to see a Vet.  The parking lot was full of people sitting around on lawn chairs!  We identified an alternate emergency facility about 30-min away that advised they had a 1-2 hour wait.  It still took almost 6-hours to get the exam and necessary medications.  Current protocol requires you to call from the parking lot and stay there the entire time you’re waiting for triage and treatment.  

And finally, I’ve really been enjoying the “Bless Your Rank” food review show on the “It’s a southern Thing” YouTube channel. It’s helping me get some ideas of snacks to try when I make a trip down south later this year!

Bonus Episode!

2021 Week 15 – Batter Up!

Baseball is back! I played baseball for many years before I moved to Indiana and have followed the Cincinnati Reds since I was a kid. When Major League Baseball (MLB) went on strike in 1994-95 I just stopped watching. I’ve attended several Indianapolis Indians games over the years since then but I never got back into the MLB. I found myself watching a Reds game the other day & actually enjoyed it! I’m now back on the bandwagon rooting for the Cincinnati Red Legs.

Remember that Cargo Ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal last month? There have been some funny Internet memes as well as canal simulators that came out of the mess. One I quite enjoyed allows you see the actual size of that ship compared to everyday objects on Google Maps. Like this one comparing the Ever Given to Lucas Oil Stadium:

And it even showed up in the Microsoft Flight Simulator game

Fishers has a new(ish) Mexican restaurant near the Geist Marina. El Lago (meaning “The Lake”) has been open about a year and quickly became our go-to place for dinner. The prices are great, the portions are huge, and the quality is amazing. My favorite is the Burrito Choriz which has chicken and steak cooked with onions, covered with cheese sauce, Mexican sausage, shrimp and pineapple. Served with rice or beans. For $13 you can’t beat it! I recommend the beans, they are really good and obviously homemade, as is their salsa.

Finally, some good news for the Castleton area. It was posted on the Indianapolis Reddit they’re finally making progress on the Saraga International Grocery that was reported in the IBJ back in 2019. I have some concerns bout the other asian markets in the area (Patel Bros, Asia Mart, Viet Hua, and One World Market) being able to compete with Saraga but I welcome the addition to the area. It’s about as close and Indianapolis is going to get to a Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati.