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 (

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Russian Connection?

Since I began my blog in December of 2011 I have had a total of 83,047 hits (pageviews) as of today, December 20, 2016. That’s an overall average of about 16,609 a year or 45 per day. Those page views came mostly from the United States, Russia, Canada, China, Mexico, France, Germany, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Poland, in that order of frequency. There have been a smattering of pageviews from Hungary, Turkey, Brazil, India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

But why so many pageviews from Russia? There have been 1,625 pageviews from Russia in the past 30 days with half of those, 833, being in the past 7 days alone. An average of 54 per day during that time. There have been 60 pageviews so far today. What is it about my blog that seems to attract so many Russian readers? I have written nothing about Russia or Russians in any posting. I don’t believe I have even mentioned Russia or Russians anywhere in my blog over the past 5 years. Perhaps if I appeal directly to those Russian readers they will leave comments as to why they read my blog. I would really like to know. What is it that attracts you to my blog? In the interest of world peace and harmony I would be most interested in finding out. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Draining the Swamp?

Donald Trump’s candidacy for president started out as a joke. The joke's on me now but it is certainly no laughing matter. What should we expect over the next four years? Who knows? Me? I’m reserving my take on Donald Trump’s coming presidency for a while longer. I actually don’t believe anyone can predict what he may or may not do. We can only wait and see what happens. If he has some good people around him and LISTENS to them, maybe things will be OK. If, instead, he listens to his ego and calls some head of state a dick head, then I just don’t know. He must put the reputation of our country ahead of his enormous ego and eat some words occasionally, even though he would much rather tweet something questionable.

One of Trump’s campaign slogans, “Drain the swamp,” implied that Washington needed a good house cleaning, with which I agree. However, the voters, even those who voted for Trump, failed to drain the swamp when they reelected the same old do nothing Representatives and Senators. But even if Washington was purged of “politicians,” it wouldn’t be long before the replacements became politicians and refilled the swamp. Playing the political game is how people stay in Washington. Don’t play and you lose the game. It’s almost damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Depression and Me

I have suffered from moderate to severe depression for years. The VA has even seen fit to award me a 50% disability for PTSD and major depressive disorder. Of course, I take antidepressants but they are not magic elixirs. Sometimes they work well, sometimes not so well. Some days are better than others. Some days I get a lot done, some days nothing. Some days I find myself longing for bedtime so I can take my sleeping pill and escape for a while.

Depression takes away the joy of discovering new things and saps your creativity. It’s difficult to interact with other people because your affect can be so flat (a lack of emotional expressiveness) as to make you appear uninterested. At times you want to do nothing more than sit in a quiet place and be alone. You have to make yourself get up and be active, to participate in life. As a blogger who enjoys a somewhat sarcastic bent, it is especially difficult to write on a regular basis. Humor and depression do not play very well together. I find that very frustrating. Perhaps you can understand why I may go for long periods without posting and when I do, it’s likely to be only a humorless travel report.

Still, I have managed to write a memoir, “Uncle Sam Ain’t Released Me Yet,” of my time in the US Army. However, it did take me about 25 years to complete. In a way it was a form of self-therapy plus a way to let my kids know what I did during the Vietnam War. Fortunately, I made a lot of notes early on. It is no award winner but I am proud of it. It’s a real book. A 6” x 9” paperback of almost 400 pages, including 100 photographs. You can go back through my blog's archives and read it or you can check it out on Amazon at ($2.99 for the Kindle version and $11.95 for the paperback).

Monday, October 10, 2016

When In Rome....

Since we are in Pigeon Forge, TN, the amusement park of the Smokies, we decided to do as the thousands of other tourists are doing and go to a dinner show. There are many of these productions to choose from up and down the "strip". We decided on Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede and booked tickets for yesterday's 3:30PM show, one of three shows each day. It would be an early dinner or late lunch but the traffic would be lighter at that time on a Sunday afternoon. We were told it was good to get there early and since the doors opened at 2:00PM, we left the RV park at 1:30PM and with directions in hand, waded out into the three lanes of slow moving traffic. It only took about twenty minutes to move from stoplight #3 to #8 (they are all numbered) where we turned off of the parkway. However, we missed our next turn (there was no street sign) and had to turn around and get back into line for the turn.

The parking lot was huge but we were early enough to park fairly close to the entrance. It only took about fifteen minutes waiting in line at the "will call" window to pick up our $50 (each) reserved seat tickets. We were then ushered into an area which contained about eight photo booths where pictures were taken of the guests so they could sell them to you before the show was over. We turned down the opportunity and passed on through the photo area into a huge two-story "saloon" where they gathered everyone (seating was for 1, 094 people) before letting you enter the "arena". Of course there were snacks and drinks available for purchase and a country music band to entertain us as we waited for show time. A sign at the "bar" advertised two hurricanes and popcorn for $15, which seemed to be a pretty good deal until I discovered that the "hurricanes" were alcohol-free. So it was really just two icees and a tub of popcorn for the $15. Of course we got to keep the free souvenir glasses (actually plastic).

Just prior to 3:30PM the doors were opened and everyone was moved into the horseshoe-shaped arena. It looked very much like a rodeo arena with the dirt floor. Seating was on benches at long narrow tables, which were on tiers to provide good lines of sight. A singing cowboy/Master of Ceremonies rode out into the arena and greeted everyone with cheesy jokes and divided the arena into the North and South. Each side was supposed to cheer for a team in the horsemanship competition. If you had a mouthful of food you were supposed to stomp your feet. I don't care for audience participation shows and was somewhat bored.

The thing that amazed me the most about the whole experience was how they managed to serve almost 1,100 people at the same time. The menu included a small rotisserie chicken, a slice of pork loin, half a baked potato, bowl of soup, biscuit, and a fried apple pie for dessert. Everything had to be eaten with your fingers as no utensils were provided. We heard about that before hand and smuggled in some plastic wear. They called us "cheaters".

The show and the food were "OK", but I really wish I could have seen the kitchen. That had to be quite an operation. At three shows a day, that amounted to almost 3,300 chickens and ticket sales of over $150,000 a day!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

We decided to leave the DC area today instead of Sunday due to the uncertain path of Hurricane Matthew. We are currently in an RV park near Wyethville, VA. Meanwhile, we made our last trip into the city today. We spent yesterday afternoon riding the "Big Bus," a double-decker sightseeing bus. Here are a few of the pictures I took from the bus.

Some interesting architecture at 7th and Madison.

The Capital

Cleaning and getting ready for the inauguration already.

The Smithsonian "castle".

The tallest structure in DC, it has a lot of photo ops.

The Jefferson Memorial by day with the Washington Monument in the background.

The Lincoln Memorial by day.

South lawn of the White House.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

DC After Dark

We took the DC After Dark tour last night. Some of the lighting on the monuments was especially spectacular. I am simply posting a few of the photos I took.

North side of the White House

Lincoln Memmorial side view

Lincoln Memorial

Washington Monument and reflecting pool on the Mall

A soldier in the Korean War Memorial

A soldier in the Korean War Memorial

A soldier in the Korean War Memorial

A soldier in the Korean War Memorial

A soldier in the Korean War Memorial

A soldier in the Korean War Memorial

Washington Monument across the Tidal Basin and through the trees

Washington Monument across the Tidal Basin

Jefferson Memorial from the rear

Thomas Jefferson

Washington Monument from inside the Jefferson Memorial

Front view of Jefferson Memorial

Iwo Jima Memorial

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

Today we rode the Metro into DC to visit the Holocaust Museum and have lunch. The Holocaust Museum was very interesting and sobering but the lunch made the day. After the museum we had Sunday brunch at a restaurant named Co Co Sala. The theme was chocolate. Everything on the menu included chocolate in some form or fashion. I had the Hotcake Obsession. These were citrus ricotta pancakes with white chocolate lemon cream, a berry compote, and caramel passion fruit sauce. A side of crisp bacon and a chocolate crème brulee with toasted marshmallow and graham crumbles rounded out the meal. Carol Ann also had the pancakes and crème brulee, but instead of crisp bacon she had chocolate covered bacon and a pear salad. Needless to say, there were also chocolate drinks. Check out their entire menu at It was a bit pricey but worth every penny. It was hard to stay awake on the train back to the rv park.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Lunch and American History

The four of us agreed to leave for the city yesterday at 9:00 AM. We finally got on the Metro a little before 11AM. It looked like finding lunch would be one of our first adventures together in DC. We exited the Metro at the Archives station at Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th Street. Carol Ann had talked us into going to the Old Ebbit’s grill, about eight blocks away on 15th Street across the street from the Southeast corner of the White House. We hadn’t walked half a block before Carol Ann spotted Paul, a French restaurant with some very good looking pastries in the window. There was no need to walk any further.

After lunch we walked down to the corner of 7th and Madison and hopped aboard the DC Circulator, a hop-on/hop-off bus that makes a figure eight route around the Mall and major museum of the city. We rode to the next stop and hopped off at the Smithsonian Museum of American History where we spent the remainder of the afternoon, yet saw only a fraction of the exhibits. At 4:30PM we began walking back in the rain to the Metro station and our rush hour ride back to the College Park, MD Metro station. Only a 23-minute ride on the Metro. By the time we got back to the RV park we were all pretty tired. Carol Ann and Beverly pooped out on us and “took a nap,” leaving me and Kay to go eat a hot dog for dinner at the park’s café.

So far we are managing to get out and into the city every other day. Today is College Football Saturday and will be spent in front of the television. It’s raining again today anyway.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Riding the Rails

Yesterday I took a test spin on the Metro trains and buses. I took a bus to the Metro station, paid my fare, boarded the train and got off at the Archives building. I walked two blocks and got on the DC Circulator, a bus that traces a figure 8 route through the heart of DC and includes stops at most of the monuments. I got off at the Lincoln memorial and spent a few minutes there before walking over to see the Vietnam Memorial. Seeing the wall this time wasn’t near as upsetting as it was the first time, back in 1978. Still, it was impossible to keep tears out of my eyes. After paying respects to my fallen brothers I walked over to the Korean War Memorial, life-size sculptures of men on patrol in Korea. It looked very realistic.

The rains came and I made it back to the bus stop, boarded the next bus that came alone, and rode it back to my starting point. While walking back to the Metro station I spotted a food truck and stopped for a quick lunch. A chili-cheese dog and a Coke. It was really very good. Once back at the Metro station I waited for the next train to College Park, boarded, and rode two stops before realizing that I was traveling in the opposite direction of College Park. I simply got off, stepped across to the other side of the platform and caught the next train (in the correct direction). After arriving at the College Park station I waited for the bus back to the RV park. We are lucky to have a bus stop that is located just inside the park.

In about an hour Carol Ann and I will take the truck and drive to the College Park Metro station. A 10-minute drive as opposed to a 25-minute bus ride and parking is free. We will take the Green line into the city, transfer to the Yellow line, and travel to Reagan National Airport to meet two friends of Carol Ann’s who will be staying with us for five days (in one of the parks nice cabins, not in our RV!). We will be packing in as much as we can while they are here and then having a couple of days of rest before beginning the trek back to Texas. I really do dread having to get back on those freeways!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Washington DC

It’s time to catch everyone up from our stop in Durham. We spent four nights in Norfolk, VA while attending the 2nd Battalion 11th Field Artillery Regiment reunion. It was the 50th anniversary for those who left Fort Campbell, KY with the battalion to travel to Vietnam. The weather cooperated with the rain stopping as the reunion activities began.

We left Norfolk Sunday morning for College Park, MD, just outside of Washington DC. The drive around the Beltway (I-495) was the worst traffic in which I have ever driven the motorhome. I never expected there to be so much traffic on a Sunday! I absolutely dread the thought of getting back onto it when we leave in two weeks.

Yesterday we rested up and went to a one-hour presentation by the RV park on how to get around in DC. The most important thing I learned was not to even attempt to drive your vehicle in DC. Learning how to ride the subway and buses is a must and for a country boy it is very scary! Getting on the wrong subway line (blue, yellow, green, etc.) or bus (all have numbered routes) can put you in God only knows where.

Two old friends of Carol Ann’s are flying in to Reagan National tomorrow. They will be staying in one of the RV park’s cabins for five days so we can all tour around together. Carol Ann and I will test our subway and bus riding lessons by meeting them at the airport and accompanying them back to the RV park. If DC was a clock, the RV park is just outside the beltway at about 1:00 with Reagan National at about 6:00. It should be a little over an hour each way, using subway and buses. Wish us luck.

Today we may take a practice run into the city just to make sure we know how to find the subway. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


We arrived in Hampton, VA this afternoon after two days in Durham. It has been raining quite a bit and the RV park is flooded in places. What made the rain worse was having one of my windshield wipers fall off. Fortunately it was on the passenger side. We will be here for the next four days while I attend the reunion of the unit I was in while in Vietnam. The 2/11th Field Artillery. The reunion will be in Norfolk, across the bay from the RV park. It will necessitat driving through a tunnel under the bay, which I am not looking forward to at all. Friday the group will visit historic Williamsburg, only about 30 miles from here. Saturday we all go on a harbor cruise. We leave Sunday for College Park, MD where we will spend two weeks touring Washington, DC and surrounding area.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Maggie Valley

We left even earlier (7:30AM) today and checked in at the RV park in Maggie Valley a little after 2:00PM (we lost an hour in going from CST to EST).  Traffic was light, the most we ran into was close to Knoxville, due to the University of Tennessee playing a home game. My bulldogs don't play until 7:30PM but TV here in the mountains sucks. The park does have cable, but with only 12 channels, all analog. If we have to, we can listen on XM radio. We are going to have dinner with our RV friends so probably won't be back before half-time anyway. No travel tomorrow, at least not in the motorhome.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Music City

We got an early (for us) start at 7:50 AM and were at the Two Rivers Campground in Nashville by 2:30 PM. I knew we were close when we passed by Bucksnort, TN. Otherwise, it was a very boring ride (no mishaps). We are on Music Valley Drive, near Opryland and, no, we are not going out to hear any music tonight. It's like we are on a mission. We will stop for air in Maggie Valley and Durham for two nights each (RV friends in Maggie Valley and relatives in Durham). Then on to Norfolk.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Little Rock

We left Nacogdoches at 9AM and six hours later were pulling into an RV park in North Little Rock, AR. The trip was rather boring except for the tanker truck that slid sideways in front of us. We were in the right lane of I-30 and the tanker truck was in the left lane a couple of hundred yards in front of us. All of a sudden there was a big cloud of smoke with pieces of rubber flying out from it. It was a spectacular blowout! The rig's air brakes locked up and the truck skidded all the way across the right lane, leaving streaks of black rubber and almost hitting a car, before coming to a stop on the shoulder. It was kind of like flying an airplane, hours of complete boredom punctuated by seconds of sheer terror! At least no one was hurt.

We have two cats, which aren't keen on traveling, with us. They hid and came out only when we stopped for lunch and after we arrived at the RV park. They think it's over now, but tomorrow will be a longer drive, 356 miles to an RV park in Nashville. It's I-40 all the way from North Little Rock so it shouldn't be too bad. However, arriving in Music City around 4 or 5 PM on a Friday afternoon could be bad. I'm not looking forward to it. Hopefully it will just be another boring drive.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On The Road Again...

Tomorrow will be a big day. Hopefully we will be ready for our RV trip to Norfolk, VA and Washington, DC. Tomorrow night we will be spending the night in the Little Rock area, followed by nights in Nashville, Maggie Valley, and Durham, NC before spending several days in Norfolk, VA at the reunion for the 2/11th Field Artillery Battalion, with which I served in Vietnam. I am hoping to learn more about the battalion's activities before and after my tour of duty. I hope to post reports and photos of the trip over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

What's Next?

My book has finally been published, both in print and Kindle editions (available from Amazon at, also on my blog over the past few months. I feel that a weight has been lifted from my shoulders but what do I do now? Well, first, I have a reunion to attend. Carol Ann and I will be taking off next week in our motorhome for Norfolk, VA and a reunion of the 2/11th field artillery battalion with which I served in Vietnam. A fitting way to celebrate my book, perhaps. After the reunion we’ll spend a couple of weeks in the DC area, visiting monuments and memorials. We have been hoping for cool autumn weather in Washington, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards as of the latest forecast.

Once back home I hope to start on my next big project, writing another book that I have been carrying around in my head for a long time. It will be called “Stories I Can Tell Now That Mama’s Gone.” As with “Uncle Sam Ain’t Released Me Yet,” I have notes that I made over the years. The job will be to flesh them out and put them in some sort of order, which is the hard part, as they are really jumbled up. Until then, I will be posting our travels to DC and back.