Category: Outdoors


2022 Week 17 – Road Trip (Part 2)

Welcome back to part-2 of the first camping trip of 2022. Last week we continued south in search of some famous pretzels after both Disc Golf courses we planned to play were too wet…

Tell City is an interesting little river town. However, if you follow the traffic pattern (towards the Ohio River Bridge), you’ll miss the best part of the town, the downtown area. I’d estimate 95% of the traffic traveling on Indiana 66 (The Ohio River Scenic Byway) bypasses Mainstreet and misses a nice part of this little city. Many shops, restaurants, and other locally owned businesses line the 1.5-mile stretch.

I was here for the Tell City Pretzels only to find out they had moved the retail location to the back of a clothing store called “Logos/Scrub Corner.” This must have been a recent move, as Google Maps was still showing the old location (the official website is up to date, though). While cruising Main Street, I spotted a little Bakery and stopped in to check it out. Since it was later in the day, the items had been picked over, but I walked out with a Blueberry Scone and a piece of Coffee Cake with an espresso crumble on top.

Time to head up the road and set up camp. The morning started out clear, but the clouds were building as the day progressed.

Camping in the HNF

Check-in at Indian-Celina is always a smooth process. Of course, it helps to have a reservation, and I always make one to get the spots I like. Firewood is $1 cheaper ($7 a bundle) than years past, so I grabbed 3 to ensure I’d have enough for the evening. The plan was to sit around the fire, enjoy a few pints of my favorite Sun King beer (Orange Vanilla Cream Ale), set up the Short Wave radio, or watch a movie on the iPad Pro.

This trip was the first one where I got to test out the new Gazelle T4 tent. To say this is an upgrade is an understatement. While I loved my previous tent, the Gazelle offers so much more room, and it totally changes the camping experience. There are tradeoffs, though. The T4 is BIG, and it’s HEAVY, but the setup time is only a few minutes, thanks to its hub design. That extra space came in handy as I started to get alerts from Dark Sky about rain in the area. Yep, the weather had turned…

Throughout the week, the weather was showing clear and warm, with a high in the low 70s and a low of 50-degrees. That’s just about perfect camping weather if you ask me. The temps held but the sky decided to open up just in time for dinner. Luckily it was not heavy rain, but it was enough to require shelter well into the early hours. So, after setup and loading everything into the tent to keep it dry, I set off for the local family diner to grab some dinner.

Amish Style food will fill you up. It’s carb and meat-heavy and always has several sweet dessert options. The Schwartz Family Restaurant in Eckerty, IN, is no exception. I’ve passed this place on my way to the campsite several times, but this trip was my first time visiting. You have to be careful about time in this part of Indiana. The campground is in Central Time (Perry County), and the restaurant (Crawford County) is in Eastern Time. I’m glad I left when I did because the restaurant closes at 8 pm and I arrived after 7 pm. The cafeteria-style establishment is VERY clean, and you can tell it’s a favorite of the locals. It’s one of the few places to eat in the area, so they have little competition.

Friday night was Fish night, but I chose the Chicken Tender dinner (meat & 2 sides for $14.99). While they had several pieces of chicken on the steam table, the young lady behind the counter insisted I get some from the fresh batch being cooked in the back. So I chose mashed potatoes/gravy and mac-n-cheese for my two sides.

I had finished my sides before the chicken came out, but I can report it all being very good, and I would not hesitate to re-visit and try several of their other dishes. It’s nice to have this as a dinner option when I don’t feel like cooking at camp. It could be a good breakfast option since they’re open early on the weekends.

The rain didn’t let up until about 2 am, so I set up a little seating area in the Gazelle and hunkered down with a James Bond movie and some podcasts later into the evening.

As you can see, I had plenty of room in the Gazelle and kept warm and dry throughout the night. So if I’m going to be stuck inside, this is the tent to do it in. Next time I need to get my Kelty Noah tarp strung up between the trees to give me a covered area outside the tent.

As usual, the birds were up before dawn chatting with each other, but the rain had stopped, and the temperatures were mild. So I packed up camp and headed out to check on some new camping locations in the area before heading back to Indianapolis.

This was a quick overnight trip, but it was worth it to test the new tent. I wish I had ordered one of these before my Allegheny National Forest trip last year, where we saw rain daily and were pretty miserable by the week’s end. Having a larger shelter makes all the difference, and being able to stand up is a game-changer.

That’s it for this week; thanks for reading. We’ll be back to the normal format next week, but I have some travel plans soon to share.

2022 Week 16 – Road Trip! (Part 1)

The weather has finally warmed up and it’s time to hit the road for the first camping trip of the year. One of my favorite places to camp in Southern Indiana is Indian-Celina Lake, about 25 miles south of French Lick. I prefer National (federal) properties over state properties as the camp sites are spaced out and not on top of each other. I was watching the forecast all week and the weather looked like it was going to be ideal. Of course, things can change…

I-69 is really starting to come together, with only about 20-miles of construction south of 465 remaining. It was a nice drive south towards NSA Crane, through Loogootee on 231, and stopping for Lunch in Jasper. How Jasper is able to support a Sonic Drive-in is beyond me. We can’t seem to get them inside 465 or any of the northern Indianapolis suburbs. Rumor has it Westfield will be getting one soon though. I hope Noblesville (Hamilton Town Center?) or Fishers gets one too, I like the variety of food they have, and its one of the only places you can get a corn dog! The Sonic franchise advertises on TV like they are all over the Indianapolis area but we only have a few.

OK, back to lunch in Jasper. I had a German place and a Pub flagged in Google maps and I felt like some German food. The Schnitzelbank is about as German as you can get in Indiana. Lots of wood trim and wall art, servers in costume, and a pretty extensive menu featuring all the german favorites (along with enough “American” dishes to keep the locals happy).

Since it was lunch, I opted for a German Tenderloin ( breaded tenderloin topped with cheese and crisp bacon) with a side of German Fries (sliced potatoes flattop fried with onions). The tenderloin was more of a fritter but it was decent nonetheless. I don’t recall the bacon and think it might have been forgotten. The fries were outstanding but both items needed salt. The sandwich was already cut in half when it was served, nice touch as it was too big to eat whole without making a mess. For $14 it was a great lunch that I would order again when I’m in the area.

After a filling lunch, it was time to continue the journey down to Ferdinand to check out their Disc Golf Course. Unfortunately, the southern end of the state received a lot more rain than the central region and I arrived at a park with a lot of standing water so Disc Golf was not going to be much fun here. Since I was in the area I decided to grab a Blueberry Ale at the St. Benedict’s Brew Works and consult my notes for other things to do before heading to camp. I like to pin things in Google Maps to make it easier to find things to do when in an area. It comes in handy when plans change & you have some time to kill.

I noted the Ferdinand Fire Tower was just up the road so I decided to take a little drive into the hills to check it out.

After the fire Tower, I decided to check the course conditions at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey disc course down the road and travel some of the back roads in the area. I’m always amazed at what you can find when you get off the main roads. This time was no exception.

LOTS of Chicken Farms in Indiana

Indiana ranks 3rd behind Iowa & Ohio in Chicken production and you can see evidence of that when driving down country roads. Every farm I passed had a similar sign, all related to Perdue Industries.

Not far down the road, I passed another interesting building that looked like it has just finished construction.

After arriving at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Disc course, I found it to be in a similar situation. A little too wet for me. I still had some time to kill so I proceeded further south to Tell City to purchase some of their famous Pretzels.

To Be Continued… Tune in next week for the rest of the story!

2022 Week 14 – Not All Trees Have Padding

selective focus photography of deer

As the temps start to stabilize, it’s getting closer to camping season. I’ve wanted to purchase a small camper but the logistics of licensing, storing, and towing are a little overwhelming (and expensive) right now. At the minimum, I’d have to upsize my existing vehicle for anything but the tiniest of teardrop trailers, and with the supply chain shortages, everything is very overpriced. The RV industry has had record sales these past few years, so I’m hoping to pick up a used unit for a decent price in a few years. Until then I’ll continue to “car camp” but this year is going to be a little different.

For the past several years I’ve been using an ALPS Mountaineering Phenom 3 Tent. It’s worked well and is pretty easy to set up and tear down. It also has enough room for myself and the gear I want to have handy at night. Several of the trips I’ve taken have been interrupted by rain and inclement weather and being stuck in a small tent while you wait out the rain can get a little old. Enter the Gazelle T4 Hub Tent (T4).

Gazelle T4 Hub Tent

Coming in at $350 the T4 is a reasonably priced option for an 8-foot x 8-foot x 6.5-foot tall tent. It’s supposed to sleep 4 but like all tents, you should cut that in half if you want to be comfortable. The T4 will sleep 2 comfortably with extra room for all your gear. Unfortunately, the Footprint (the piece you put under the tent to protect it from punctures) is not available in the US, but I found a shop in Toronto that sells it. They don’t ship to the US but I’m hoping to be up that way next month, so I’ll be sure to pick one up if I can. Until then I purchased a tarp to use that should get me by.

The T4 is a self-supported tent that has a setup time of approximately 90-seconds (munis Rain Fly that’s supposed to take another 30-seconds). This not only makes it convenient but could come in handy if you get to camp and need to set up in the rain. The size also gives me enough room to sit in my Yeti camp chair and wait out a rainstorm in comfort.

I’m looking forward to using the T4 with my ExPed MegaMat during an upcoming trip and will do a follow-up post about how it worked out. According to Amazon, it should be delivered today!


I’ve lived in my current house since 2005 and prior to 2021, I had maybe 2-3 (very brief) power outages in that time. Since 2021 I’ve had about 6. None have lasted longer than 2 hours, but it seems to be more of an occurrence than ever before. During the last one, I stumbled upon a site that shows power outages across the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico). PowerOutage.US lets you tap on the state and get details for each county. If you have family, or customers, in other areas it’s a good way to see what’s going on during storms, etc. I’m not quite ready to get a generator yet since I have a Jackery 500 that could keep the deep freezer running for a day or so, but the thought has crossed my mind.


And finally, mountain bile riding has come a LONG way since its popularity grew in the early 80s. The video below shows what it takes to win a World Wide competition these days. Watch out for the trees without safety pads, and try not to get motion sickness while viewing this. 🤮



2021 Week 45 – Tech Upgrades & Tacos

I’ve been absolutely loving the new iPad Pro since I purchased it a few months ago. In fact, It’s my primary computing device when I’m home. Paired with a Lap Desk from Amazon, I can crank out all kinds of work and keep up with my reading from the comfort of my couch (while watching Soccer & Football).

The Apple Watch Series 7 arrived last Monday & I’m thrilled with the upgrade from the Series 4 I was using. Apple offered a $100 trade-in, and my company provides an annual fitness reimbursement of $60 for wearable devices, which brought the overall price of the device down to something a lot more reasonable.

Speaking of reasonable, Amazon just released the new Kindle Paperwhite for $139. I have an original one from 2012 that has gotten very sluggish (and stopped receiving software updates). I was able to get 25% off the price of the new Kindle if I traded my old one in. I think this trade-in option is something I’m going to start looking for when upgrading electronic devices. Otherwise, these old units end up taking space on the shelf with no benefit to anyone.

In local food news, Chris’ Ice Cream (and Tacos) has relocated across 86th Street from its old location, just east of Total Wine and next door to Subway. They haven’t put a permanent sign up yet, so it’s a little hard to find. I had lunch with a former colleague the other day, and the food is just as good as it was before at the old location. The new site isn’t any larger than the old one, so I think the relocation might have been landlord or rent-related. Either way, this is a great little hole-in-the-wall with some excellent Mexican food.

And finally, this video is a few years old, but it’s hilarious. There is NO WAY I would ever try Noodling, but it sure was fun watching these guys do it. Have a great week, and we’ll see you next time!

2021 Week 35/36 – 4-Day Weekend!

waving flag of united states of america

I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend. I took an extra day off work to make it more like a vacation. The weather was amazing, and it was nice to get out and be active without melting in the 90+ degree heat. I just realized this post should be for Week-36, so I must have missed a post somewhere along the way… I also updated the theme to something a little fresher than what we’ve been using for several years.

I visited a new-to-me Disc Golf course north of Tipton, Indiana, over the weekend. The Heartland Disc Golf Course is located on the grounds of the Heartland Church in Sharpsville, Indiana, and was built in May 2020. Although they only have 9 baskets, they have long and short tee pads that allow you to play a round of 18-holes. There was just one other group there when I visited, and after they left, I had the place to myself for the better part of an hour.

I’m hoping to expand the recipe section of the website and have been looking at WordPress plugins to make things more professional looking, like other sites with recipes.. I’ve started using the “WP Recipe Maker” plugin and edited our recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip to reflect the new format. It’s going to take a little time to get all of our existing recipes into the new format but going forward, it should be easier to add new ones that we find along the way.

I was hoping to get to the Farmer and the Flea outdoor market this weekend, but the rain on Saturday kept us inside. However, I’m planning on visiting next weekend and will share any unique finds I discover.

And finally, if you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, you might be interested in the First teaser trailer for Rick and Morty live-action starring Christopher Lloyd, Jaeden Martel.

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