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 (

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.