This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Monday, October 26, 2015


In preparing a display on Poison Prevention for the 1st - 3rd graders at my grandson's school, I was pairing up different medicines with candy "look-a-likes". The kids will be asked, "Which one is the candy and which one is the poison/medicine/"bad" stuff?" I went out to three different stores and purchased about $20 worth of candy (it's a rough job). I have Good 'n Plenty, Hot Tamles, Smarties, Sweetarts, Skittles, Tic Tacs, Mike & Ike, Harbro Gold-Bears, Lemonhead, Hershey bar, and MMs. 

I went to the hospital pharmacy, where I work occasionally, and with the Director's permission, attempted to match up as many of the candies with similar looking tablets and capsules. I was successful with all but three or four of the candies (I'll just have to eat those I suppose). I took the candies and medicines home, got out my zip-lock bags and began matching them all up. 

For one of the medicines I needed two red M&Ms (plain, no peanuts). I opened the 3.4 oz, $1.00 bag of M&Ms and poured a few out in my hand but didn't see any red ones at first glance so I dumped the entire bag on the dining room table. After searching through the pile I found ONE red M&M. Why was there only one red M&M in my package? This both frustrated and baffled me so I did some research. How many of each color should there be in a bag? 

But first, an aside. A little extra bit of trivia I picked up when researching. It seems that red has always been the favorite color M&M for the past umpteen years. But in 1976, because of a study associating FDC #2 red food dye with cancer, the red M&Ms were discontinued -- even though FDC #2 was NOT used to color the red M&Ms. The company was afraid the public might assume that the harmful dye was used. As a result, orange M&Ms were introduced to replace the red ones. However, in 1987, after an eleven-year absence, the red M&Ms were reintroduced and the orange ones were allowed to continue.

Now, back to the M&M color distribution question. How do they decide how many of each color goes into a bag? Well, a guy named Josh Madison ( wondered the same thing. He found that Mars (M&M manufacturer) claims the color distribution is as follows:

Red 13%
Brown 14%
Green 16%
Orange 20%
Yellow 14%
Blue 24%

Josh went out and purchased a retail box (48 packages, 1.69 oz. each) of M&Ms, dumped them all out, divided the colors, and counted. There was a total of 2,620 M&Ms with the color distribution as follows:

Red (369) 14.20%
Brown (371) 14.16%
Green (483) 18.44%
Orange (544) 20.76%
Yellow (369) 14.08%
Blue (481) 18.36%

Josh concluded that these numbers were close enough for him. So I counted the M&Ms in my one bag. I had 115. I divided out the colors and counted each one. In addition to the ONE red M%M there were eight browns, thirty-six greens, eighteen orange, twenty-one yellow, and thirty-one blue. A total of one hundred and fifteen M&Ms. Was the color distribution in my bag of M&Ms on target? After counting and calculating, this is how my M&M colors were distributed:

Red 0.9%
Brown 6.8%
Green 32.3%
Orange 15.6%
Yellow 18.4%
Blue 27.0%

Not even close! It looks like I may have to sue Mars to get my second red M&M. Why is it that I never seem to have the time to get anything done?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Leaving Yosemite

We left Yosemite Thursday Morning.  It was a late start, not getting off until 11:10 AM.   But first, let me backup to Tuesday afternoon and my 4-hour “Walking in the Footsteps of Ansel Adams”.  I showed up at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village a little before 1 PM in order to sign the required waiver.  I didn’t bother to read it as it may have given me cause for concern.  I wanted to do this and that meant signing the waiver.  Christine, one of the Gallery’s professional photographers, led the group, 6 Ansel Adams wanna-be’s.  Christine started talking and walking at the same time.  She never stopped talking and rarely stopped walking.  Don’t get me wrong, though.  She was giving us some very good information on manual cameral settings, composition, use of filters, and discussing the work of Ansel Adams.  The only times that we stopped was for her to show us places from which Adams took some of his famous photographs.  She helped us set up the shots and then briefly critiqued them to help us get better shots.  I’m afraid that Ansel will get no competition from any of us.  Of course, it took him more than 4 hours to take almost any single photograph.  He would do a lot of walking around at different times of the day and year, looking at how and where the light was illuminating potential subjects.  Once he had taken the shot(s) he still had a lot of work to do in the darkroom to get exactly the print he wanted (no digital cameras or Photoshop back then!)  By the time 5 PM arrived we had walked several miles, I was tired, my feet were killing me (wrong kind of shoes), and we were still almost a mile from the parking lot where I was to meet Carol Ann and the car.

Although the afternoon was quite tough, I enjoyed it and picked up some excellent tips and pointers.  I would recommend the experience to anyone wishing to improve their photography, whether you have a DSLR or a point-and-shoot camera (2 of the group had point-and-shoots and Christine showed them how to use features on the cameras that they were not familiar with).

Bruce and Karen left Yosemite on Wednesday, heading back to Paso Robles, CA.  The rest of us would use Wednesday as a day of rest and preparing to leave Yosemite.  Gunther and Candace were heading down to San Jose and environs and then would be visiting Bruce and Karen in Paso Robles for a few days. 

Carol Ann and I headed for Paso Robles from Yosemite.  Bruce and Karen drove us over the coast (only about 25 miles from Paso Robles) yesterday.   We drove up and down the Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) from San Simeon to Cambria. 

We stopped at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center to look into possible tours (for which we MAY return tomorrow  (Sunday) morning.  The castle sat on a hill in fog a couple of miles from the Visitor Center.  A short distance north of Hearst Castle we pulled over and parked at an elephant seal viewing area.  They return every year to this particular beach for giving birth to their pups and laze away the days sleeping in the sand when they aren’t out grabbing a meal.  There can be as many as 8,500 of these very large seals calling this beach home.  Not that many were there yesterday, but there were still hundreds of them.  Last year there were over 4,000 new pups born.

We drove down to Cambria and had lunch at a restaurant called Schooner’s.  We ate on the deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  I should have worn a hat as my forehead got a little sunburned. 

Today is Saturday.  It is almost noon and I am waiting for Carol Ann to return from shopping with Karen so the four of us can go to the Double Barrel Brewery, a micro-brewery and brewpub for lunch (and samples of their various beers, of course).  After lunch we hope to catch at least the second half of the Georgia – Tennessee SEC football game on TV.  It starts at 3:30 PM Eastern time, which is 12:30 PM here in California.

Tomorrow the four of us plan to visit some of the local wineries and sample their wines.  There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 or more wineries in the Paso Robles area.  Grape vines seem to be everywhere.

I have made a bold attempt to sort through the hundreds of photos taken since I last posted any on this blog.  I will include them with this post, as it will make the page too long.  I will create a photo page (see list of pages in the right-hand column) for you to browse through at your leisure.