Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Rusty Tractor

is a restaurant in Elma, Wa, which has, of course, the eponymous outdoor decorations ...

and excellent comfort food, with an exotic twist.  Vicki had salmon fish 'n' chips, I had the yak hamburger steak.

On the way, we caught the first glimpse of Mount Rainier from the rest stop on I-90, about 81 miles away.  The smoke is from all the wildfires burning in Washington this year.

More pictures.

Seen on the road

A few signs we saw.

You thought the pet rock was good, look what they're selling now

Apparently Penny has returned to Nebraska, and is teaching physics there ...

Fans on the farm in Washington ...

And some sage advice from the Oregon DOT

Phoenix Zoo

March 2014

It took a while, but we did finally go to the Phoenix Zoo.  It was a warm day, so the animals were sluggish, but there were a lot of animals, a good variety.

More pictures.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Vicki's brother Steve lives in Chicago, in one of these buildings
with this view from his deck
When we went to visit, he took us on a boat ride on Lake Michigan, with Joy and Steve's kids and their kids.  It was a fine, sunny day and the kids went swimming in the lake.

More pictures of the boat ride.

The next day, we went to Lincoln Park Zoo.

More zoo pictures.

And a farmers' market, on Division Street, just around the corner from their apartment.  I remember Division Street from my IBM days.  They didn't have a farmers' market there at night, back then.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Catalina State Park

is our favorite place to stay near Tucson.  It's in the desert foothills of the Catalina mountains, with wonderful desert and mountain scenery.

including some very large or unusual cacti

or in bloom

There is a trail that goes through some pre-Columbian ruins

and a riparian area

A nice park.  More pictures.

Ranchita, CA

The town of Ranchita, California is little more than a wide spot in the road, but they have a yeti

and a sense of humor

More pictures of Ranchita.

Name That Town

I'll give you the clues, and see if you can figure out where we were.

First clue:

Kind of tough to get in just one clue.  Here's two more:

If you don't have it by now, you're too young, or you don't watch Me TV.

Look! - up in the sky!  It's a bird!  It's a plane!

More pictures of Metropolis, IL and Paducah, KY, just across the river.  Including a big chunk of kryptonite!

More golf - Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

The Shoals - Schoolmaster

This is the other course at The Shoals, along with Fighting Joe.  The Schoolmaster is Woodrow Wilson, after whom the nearby Wilson Lake and Wilson dam on the Tennessee River is named.  It's the shorter of the two, at only 7971 yards.

Like all the Trail courses, it is in great condition, and has a variety of interesting holes and shots.

And the patio overlooking the river.

More pictures.

Silver Lakes

This one has three nines, named Mindbreaker, Backbreaker, and Heartbreaker.  Repeating myself, these all live up to the RTJ Trail standards of excellence.

More pictures.

Capitol Hill

This location has three courses:  Legislator, Senator, and Judge.  I played the Senator and Judge before, came back this year for the last one, and to play Senator again, the links-style course, because it kicked my butt the first time.  I must be hitting a lot straighter now, because I scored much better and only lost a couple of balls in the waist-high grass on the mounds that line most of the fairways.

There's a magnificent clubhouse, as usual

The LPGA plays the Senator course.  They say "The Senator, a Scottish-Links style course with beautifully manicured Champion greens, holds over 160 pot-hole bunkers and mounds 20 to 40 feet in height to create a secluded setting for each hole." 

The signature hole is the 18th, a dogleg par 5 with water in play twice.

More Senator pictures.

The first tee on the judge

an island green

lots of holes along the Alabama river

And some unusually-shaped bunkers

More Judge pictures.

The Legislator is a mixture of mounds, trees, water and sand.

And swamp

Some guys I played with were renting this house

I was going to 15 when they blew the siren for a thunderstorm.  I waited it out in the shelter of the "comfort station" and finished the round.

More Legislator pictures.

Hampton Cove

The clubhouse:

The River course has no bunkers, but 16 holes with water in play.

More pictures.

The Highlands Course has a little of everything - or a lot - hills, mounds, trees, water, sand, even railroad ties.  And, of course, all up to the excellent standards of the RTJ Trail.

More pictures.

Oh, and more Prattville, sort of.  If you like cajun, but don't have a cajun chef in the neighborhood, try Tony Chachere's Gumbo mix and Jambalaya mix, from the supermarket.  You add your own shrimp, chicken, andouille sausage (you can't get good crawfish at Safeway anymore).  Maybe it's not exactly like being in New Orleans, but it's very good and the travel expenses are way lower.