We’re 4% into the year, according to @year_progress on Twitter, and it’s really hard to believe how warm this winter has been. We had a cold snap around the holidays, but it should not be in the 40s in mid-January. We checked out a new restaurant this week and dug into the history of mid-century telecommunications.
Benyue (Formerly Lucky Lou) has opened in the former Houlihans at the Castleton Square mall. If you’ve visited Saraga’s original location on the west side, you might have noticed Lucky Lou next door. It’s an extremely popular Duim Sum restaurant and one of the only places to get Dim Sum in Indy.
I stopped by on a Sunday, and the place had a nice lunch crowd. The restaurant itself is quite large, and there is plenty of seating. I was immediately offered several types of hot tea ($1.50), and I chose Jasmine. It was quickly served in a pot that held a lot more than I was going to drink.
Not knowing the portions (quite generous, by the way), I ordered General Tso Chicken, BBQ Pork Steamed Buns, and Shrimp Shumai. Every dish was served hot and tasted fresh. General Tso had a lot of dried chillis, and they added a nice spicy heat to the dish. The steamed buns were light and airy with a delicious BBQ pork filling. Finally, the Shrimp Shumai were perfectly cooked and full of ground shrimp.
If you’re looking for a new place to try, I’d recommend checking out Benyue. Their menu is quite extensive, and you’re sure to find something you like.
You have most likely seen an AT&T Long Lines tower and might have even wondered what it was. In the 1950’s AT&T used these giant ratio towers with specialized “Horns” to relay telephone (and television) signals across the United States via microwave. Garrett Fuller has a great article detailing the use of the long-forgotten (and now abandoned) AT&T Long Lines system. I found the following video interesting as well.
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!).
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.
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 yearWashington 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.
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…
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
- Food Network – Browse Restaurants by Show
- TV Food Maps – Explore By State
- Explore Parts Unknown – Anthony Bourdain’s Online Travel Guide
- Food & Wine – Best Burger in Every State
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.
Once again, it’s that time of year for my annual Leadership Exchange trip. This year we met in Nashville, Tennesee (on previous trips, we traveled to San Diego, CA, and San Antonio, TX). The delegation comprises mainly of senior executives and a few public officials from around the Indianapolis area and is always thought-provoking and impactful. Last Friday was a travel day to get the pre-arrival team on site and ready to hit the ground Saturday morning. I’ve attended this conference for a few years as a delegate, but with my new role at the new company, I’m part of the staff hosting the event, and I get to see how the sausage is made, so to speak.
Driving to Nashville from Indianapolis was uneventful and about as heavy as expected for a Friday. There are always a few people that do everything they can to pass everyone, and this time two of them were met by a KY State Trooper just over a rise in the road. My trusty Valentine One radar detector, and some general road trip common sense, kept me on the right side of the law as the 5-hour trip ticked by without event.
Along the way, I saw a sign. A sign I hadn’t seen in years. A sign for Schlotzsky’s Delli. Remember that place? They closed all of the Indianapolis locations in the early 2000s. My main memory of Schlotzsky’s is the bread they used. Well, I had to stop and see if it was as good as I remembered. This particular location was a drive-thru attached to the side of an IGA grocery store. I ordered the original, and it WAS as good as I remembered, but I forgot one thing, the Original has black olives on it. I love every olive out there except black olives; they just taste strange to me (probably because they’re not salty). Luckily there wasn’t a lot on the sandwich, and I just picked them off and enjoyed the sandwich. In 2018 the IBJ had a blurb saying Schlotzsky’s was planning on returning to Indy, but Covid might have delayed those plans… Fingers crossed, they make it back!
Our daily sessions took place at the Nashville Entranapurial Center one day and the GEODIS Park soccer stadium the next. Fun fact, the architect that designed GEODIS Park is the same one designing Eleven Park in Indianapolis.
I attended 2 of the cultural activities available, the first being a walking tour of the murals all around downtown Nashville and another at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where the Hatch Print Show printing company is located. Both activities were very well led by people very passionate about their respective subjects.
2-weeks out from the trip, they were calling for temps in the 90s, but we had just about perfect weather with temps in the 70s and very low humidity. Nashville is an interesting town with a lot of history. Country music isn’t really my jam, but our trip focused more on business than music, and the networking opportunities were second to none. I always return from this conference with a bunch of new connections and a newfound respect for Indianapolis as we learn that we’re doing a lot of great things in this city. With the leadership I spent several days with, we have many more good things to come.
Wednesday morning got here before we knew it, and it was time to pack up and head back to Indy. I made a quick detour while leaving downtown and stopped at the Nashville Farmers Market. While it was not terribly impressive on a Wednesday, I could see this place being a great place to visit on the weekends when all the stalls and merchants were open.
I mentioned in my initial Tom Bihn Synik 30 review that I’d be traveling with the bag, and it performed flawlessly. It was way heavier than normal since I was carrying 2 laptops, an iPad Pro, and a Surface Pro (we had a lot of presentations to show), along with all the gear to keep things charged and connected. The padded straps were a lifesaver as I drug all my gear all over Nashville for 5 days. 10/10 would recommend if you’re looking for a quality gear bag for everyday use.
And Finally… October 9, 2022, will mark the 15th Year Anniversary of IndyScan.com in its current format we created in 2007. The domain was first registered in 1996 and used for another purpose, making the domain 26 years old this year. I’m going to work on a little retrospective during the month and recap where we were and where we’re going with the Blog in the future. Have a great week!
Looks like we’re finally getting a break from the heat this upcoming week. That should be good news for the expected protesters that will be downtown as Indiana lawmakers return for a special session starting tomorrow. The focus is on Abortion and what, if any, change Indiana will be making to their existing law. VPOTUS is coming to Indy tomorrow as well so it could get interesting. I’ll be sure to have the scanner with me in case something happens.
I was happy to see Amazon had a Roomba i7+ listed at 50% off during Prime Day(s). I’ve had one of the original Rumba Vacuums for years and it works pretty well but it randomly wanderers around the house bumping off walls and furniture as it does its job. The only way to contain it is to close doors or put up battery-powered “walls” that projected a beam of light.
The new Roomba Vacuums are a huge upgrade. Not only can you control it with your phone over WiFi, it maps out your house and allows you to label each room. It can handle up to 10 floorplans (each level of your house is considered a floorplan). The advantage of this is I can tell the Roomba to clean the Living Room and it will go directly there, start cleaning, and return to its charging base when it’s done. Oh, and it cleans in straight lines, not random patterns!
The Plus version I purchased has a self-cleaning base that sucks the dirt and hair out of the Roomba into a bag that only had to be changed every 30-ish days (depending on how much it picks up). That was one of the downfalls of the original model, you had to empty the bin each time and clean the rollers every 2nd or 3rd use.
I’ve been VERY impressed with the cleaning ability of the i7+ and the self-cleaning function is a game changer. There are newer (and more expensive) models, such as the j7+, but the i7+ works perfectly for me and I’m really happy I was able to pick it up at such a discount.
And finally… Kevin Hunter The Homework Guy had a great video about the environmental impact of electric vehicles. Kevin is an ex-car salesman and has a ton of great tips to help you purchase your next vehicle. If you’re in the market for a new car you should watch a few of his videos and get up to speed on the current sales “tactics” being used.
July 1, 2022, was the first day of Constitutional Carry in Indiana. This means if you’re 18 or older and a person not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, you may legally carry a gun throughout the State. Previously you had to obtain a License to Carry a Handgun (LCH) through an application process. Yes, you had to jump through a few hoops like getting fingerprinted and visiting your local Police Dept to submit paperwork, but overall it was not a big deal.
In my opinion, the LCH process prevented lazy, law-abiding people from carrying firearms outside the home because it was too much work to go through the licensing process. But, unfortunately, bad guys will carry anyway because they don’t care about the law, so this had no impact on them. Law enforcement agencies are not happy about the new law either (rightfully so).
So we now have three types of people carrying firearms:
- 1. The bad guys, who have always carried illegally despite the law
- 2. People who were licensed correctly (and probably go to the range on occasion)
- 3. Individuals who can now carry as of July 1 but probably shouldn’t because they have no idea what they are doing or how their firearm works (let alone the legal repercussions should they ever discharge their weapon).
The third person scares me as much or more than the second. Time will tell if this Constitutional Carry law increases violence in Indiana. Some states have had similar laws for years with reportedly no ill effect. I hope my fellow Hoosiers can follow the same path and behave themselves.
We’re halfway through the year, and I’m still enjoying the weekly post format of the Blog I started in 2021. I hope you have been too. I usually collect ideas throughout the week and spend some time on Sat/Sun looking back on the week to create a post that’s usually out each Sunday evening (or earlier). It’s a great way to share things I find online throughout the week and gives me a reason to do some creative writing every week.
I touched on this back in 2015 at the end of my GoPro Review. One or Two spaces after a period when writing (typing)? Slate said to stop doing it back in 2011; The Atlantic was still discussing it in 2018, so will there ever be a consensus on this? Two spaces were the norm when typewriters were in regular use, which was a long ago. I guess it’s just a habit that’s hard to break. While writing this, I just noticed that double-tapping the space key on any of my Apple products will insert a period AND only ONE space after the period. I’m not sure when that changed, but If it’s the same on Windows, maybe it will be easier to change! Grammarly asks me every time I draft a blog post if I want to use one space or two. I chose one for this one 🙂
And finally… You might have noticed it’s a little warm out, with it being Summer and all. I’m not one for hot drinks unless it’s cold out, and the beverage’s heat will warm me up. However, I’m a cold drink fan, especially in the morning, and when it comes to morning caffeine, if I have any, it’s usually in the form of Cold Brew.
You can purchase Cold Brew Coffee just about anywhere and pay a small fortune, or you can buy something that helps you make it at home for a fraction of the price. My initial foray into Cold Brew was years ago with the Toddy Cold Brew System ($40). It did a good job and produced at least a 7-days worth of cold brew concentrate. The only issue was that it’s bulky, and you have to replace the fiber filters every couple of uses.
Then we converted to the KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker ($85). This little thing is built like a tank with glass, stainless steel, and a non-drip spout that makes dispensing your concentrate simple and mess-free. It doesn’t make as much concentrate as the Toddy (they now have a larger model that does), but the filter basket is made from a stainless mesh and is dishwasher safe, so there’s nothing to replace. After several years it’s going strong and allows me to keep a batch of cold brew concentrate in the fridge ready to go!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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. 🤮