Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vacation in the Black Hills - Day 6 - Dinner

Just had to write about dinner. Wow! We've had some decent and fun food on this trip but tonight we ate at Oma's Cafe & Bakery for dinner.

I had Kasespaetzle (Spaetzle in Swiss cheese sauce, mushrooms and onions). Mellie had an Apple Glazed Chicken breast. For our sides we had German Potato Salad, Corn Fritters, Onion Rings and Steamed Veggies. Everything was great. No complaints at all.

So if you are in the Black Hills area we highly recommend this German food restaurant/cafe. The only complaint I have is that they are fairly new (just opened) so they are still dealing with some inefficiencies, but the food makes it well worth it.
Thier address: 434 Highway 16A, Keystone, SD

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Vacation to the Black Hills - Day 6

Today was a bit slower than other days. We had some specific goals, see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, then the rest of the day was open.

The morning was still a bit foggy and old so we drove to Rapid City. Sorry residents of Rapid City, I was not impressed with your town. We needed some basic goods and while we don't like shopping at Walmart we would have settled for one. However, one could not be found. We finally found a Walgreens and were able to get most of what we needed. Mellie asked the cashier if he knew where we could get a pet carrier and he gave us directions to PetsMart. Figures it, and many other stores, was right next to the Interstate. We got everything we needed for our soon to be new kitties and headed back to Mt. Rushmore.

By this time the fog had lifted a bit and Rushmore looked great, even if there wasn't a blue sky. There were a surprising number of people from all over the country and even the world there. The monument is still as impressive as an adult as it was when I was a kid. We enjoyed some of the history exhibits and then headed to Crazy Horse.

When we tried to see Crazy Horse yesterday the fog/cloud cover was too dense to see anything. So we were hoping today would be better. Well the fog wasn't as bad but we still couldn't see a lot. So we went into the visitor center. We also had lunch there. We both had some 'Native American' dishes. Mellie had a Buffalo stew and I had the 'Native American Taco', which was a taco on a native flat bread. Was kinda like a Chalupa from TacoBell, but better. Not sure how Native American it was but yummy never the less.

We then came back and did some tourism shopping in Keystone. Now it's time to relax. Tonight will be a lazy night. Probably get some food and bring it back to the hotel.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vacation to the Black Hills - Day 5

Wow what a day. It started a bit slow but a lot happened.

The drive up to South Dakota was a bit uneventful, though we did stop and see Carhenge just outside of Alliance, NE.

Hi me Melli here, oh my Buddha!! cows cows and more cows. serious cows by the acres. I have never seen so many cows across the landscape to the horizon! And trains miles and miles long wow weee!! When we came to Toadstool place Marc didn't won't to go down the road as it was a dirt country road and he get is car dirty and muddy, drove a few more miles and was going to see the buttes but there again muddy country roads. So through the prairie lands we so did drive. After first few hours it was neat landscape to see. BUT after 4 hours I HAD PRAIRIE FEVER!! And then Marc,

I (Marc)then thought it would be fun to go over to a smaller highway (HWY 71) rather than the main highway. It was isolated and quiet. It was actually a nice drive, until we crossed into South Dakota. There we ran into Ardmore, SD. I thought it might be a small town, but at least have a gas station. No, not really. It was a freaking ghost town. There were, maybe, a couple livable homes, but most were old, open and vacant. Not some place you'd want to drive through at night.

Then just up the road a couple more miles, road work. No not like you'd expect. The bridge was out and the road was GONE! You had to drive down around the bridge, in the MUD! The Super GLI ninja car was barely able to get through the mud at all. It has slick speedy tires not even all-seasons. How we made it out I don't know. It was probably a mile of that before we got back to pavement. Oh did I mention it had been raining pretty much all day?

Well back on the road with Mellie laughing the whole time, (cured her prairie fever) we found a place to pull off and potty and enjoy some of the Black Hills scenery and flicked off some of the larger chunks of clay/mud stuck to my car.

We got to Hot Springs, SD and right at the main intersection was a car wash! Yay! There was a lot of crud to wash off. Even now there is junk still stuck in places here and there. But at least it doesn't look like we were mud-bogging any more.

Next stop was Wind Cave National Park. It was fun, a cave. Took lots of pictures in the dark so only about half turned out and even then only a few were any good. We had a good tour guide though. Nice history and entertaining, though a little long winded sometimes. ha ha, that pun was unintended.

When leaving the park we saw a couple of Buffalo (bison) they cross the road within about 10-15 feet of us. I was dumb enough to get out of the car and take pictures when I remembered that they are actually wild free-roaming. Tried to do a movie with the camera and managed to screw it up. I thought I was supposed to be Mr. Tech-Dude. Oh well, at least Mellie can take movies.

After some more driving through beautiful country we got to the Crazy Horse Memorial & Monument. Unfortunately it was cold and foggy. We couldn't see a damn thing...except SNOW! There was snow on the ground and in the trees. We watched a little historical movie at the welcome center and got a receipt to go back, hopefully tomorrow the weather will be nicer so we can SEE!

At this point we were getting kinda tired and ready to find our hotel for the evening. We decided to stay at Keystone. It's close to Mt. Rushmore so we don't have to drive too far tomorrow.

We then went to Powder House Restaurant and Lounge for dinner. We both got something that we'd not easily find in Nashville. Mellie got Elk medallions and I got BBQ Buffalo (bison) short ribs. Both were yummy. Elk tastes a lot like venison (Deer). Buffalo, to me, tastes like Beef x10.

Now it's time to relax and chill for the evening.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Vacation to the Black Hills Day 4 - Part 2

Well we rested at the hotel for a few, but I, that being Mellie need some air, so we got jackets on, and headed to Scott's Buff monument. I wasn't sure if I needed my sweater or not but by the time we got there I was glad I did. It was $5 a vehicle to get in and drive to the top. It is beautiful up there, but all so very very cold!! Marc froze his hands off and so did I. The trails have not guard rails, so in places it was pretty scary. Marc was scared more then me but he won't admit it!! we got a lot of great scenic shots. We had fun!! Froze are butts off! Got back to the car and boy we was glad the car came equipped with butt warmers. I picked up an ole timey cook book. I'll have to rave the reviews later.

Once we got back in the car and headed to the bottom I thought I was going to die!!! You go down and it looks like we are going of the edge, I started freaking out I can't look! can't look! Then I had this image of Marc say, "honey honey you can look now" and when I do only seeing blue sky, I'd ask Marc, "Where are we?" And he say,"Flying honey, see!!" As his super GLI ninja car flies through the air!! Looking down a nearly barfed!!!

But the best is yet to come after we got back down to visitor area I had to go potty. Oh and there is no heater in the 3 stale potty room, so you guessed it girls, cold bottom!! and no way around it. no locks on the stall doors either. So I am sitting there doing my thing when I hear some one else coming in to potty, 3 stales mind you and i am in the one further away, and this young girl opens my stall do. I hollered, "Hey!!!" and scared her!! I had all I could do was not to laugh!! I held it in tell she left then busted a gut!!

Then off to dinner at Runza's. Then back to the hotel to watch SpaceBalls.

Vacation to the Black Hills - Day 4

We left Grandma's around 7:30 this morning. Got into Scottsbluff around 3:30 PM CST.

We stopped by Ole's Big Game Bar for lunch, in Paxton, NE. It was an interesting place. Not sure Paxton would even be on the map if not for Ole's. I had a Buffalo burger and Mellie had a Buffalo sirloin steak. Not like Buffalo wings, I mean Bison meat. It was a lot like beef. The distinction was mild but there. Worth trying for sure.

We then headed off to Scottsbluff. Once we got off the Interstate it was a bit more fun driving. The road wasn't busy at all and the scenery was interesting. I know Nebraska isn't "Big Sky Country", but you can understand that phrase driving out here.

We stopped at Chimney Rock but it started raining. I got a couple photos but when we got to Scottsbluff we decided to just find a hotel and relax. It was a long drive and with the weather all crappy it wasn't worth going back out. Maybe if the weather is nice in the morning maybe we can get some early shots before we head north to the Black Hills.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Vacation to the Blackhills - Day 3

Headed to Lincoln, NE this morning around 10am. My childhood buddy Dean and his wife live there. We went to Bennigan’s for lunch. Dean and I both had Monte Cristo sandwiches. My first time. It was...different. Not bad, but just really different.

We then went back to their new house (really nice) and played some pool for a bit. We were all pretty bad. heh! But we had fun.

We then had to stop by Goodrich Dairy/Colby Ridge Popcorn for some ice cream and popcorn. Mmmm...Caramel Milk Shake.

Tonight is going to be quiet. Have to get ready for the drive tomorrow. First though we are going to go look at some kittens. We may be driving home on Saturday with a couple mewing puddy-cats!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Vacation to the Black Hills - Day 2

I (that be me Mellie) awoke at my normal time of 6:30am. Shower got up and had a cup of Joe with Grandma. Marc got up at 8 am slacker!!!! Ate breakfast then headed out shopping. I needed hiking shoes and rain sleeker. My Buddha why doesn’t anyone sell rain sleeker!! Making this shopping drama short after several stores, Dicks, JC Penny, Lane Bryant. I ended up at WALMART*ewwww* and finally found a suitable rain sleeker.

Then there was lunch on grandma at Hunan Palace, A Chinese place we seen from the road. It was good eats!

3:30 PM Back at grandma’s. Time to post to the blog. Then rest and relaxation. Vacation is nice. :)

Went to dinner with Uncle Larry and Aunt Jeanine at Plattsmouth Keno. It was a good dinner. The food was pretty good. I tried the Philly sandwich in my ever expanding quest to find the best Philly. It was good but not the best. The search continues.

Vacation to the Black Hills - Day 1 - Part 2

8:30 AM - We just crossed the Ohio River in to Illinois. Before that though we had potty break in Paducah and got gas. Flat and grass lands for miles. This boring as ell lol, but also fun too. Get to have intellectual conversations with hubby. Like all the Wi-Fi connections we keep hitting, and all about the VW’s engine. Yes yes this is fun fun fun!!

We saw a VW Fahrenheit just like ours in south bound lane. Very exciting!!! Potty break at Rend lake rest stop, I seen no lake though, hmmmm

11am to 11:45am – Stopped for lunch at TGI Fridays in O’Fallon, IL. Almost to St. Louis. I’m full! Chipotle Steak Sandwich was pretty good. Not too spicy. The plantains tasted good, but they were too big for the sandwich. Mellie had the strawberry grilled chicken salad, it was awesome. Great service too!

3:00 PM – Stopped at mile marker 58 on I70 towards KC for gas. Mellie and I switched off. Been listening to a Starwars audio book. I forget the name. It was a free promotional download. Not bad. Well read and includes sound effects.

The highway patrol in Illinois and Missouri have been very intense. The brief period of time driving through Illinois I think we saw at least 8 people pulled over. In Missouri it’s been much higher, of course we are driving a greater distance through the state. Lots of people pulled over as well as other patrol cars sitting, waiting. We’ve been keeping the cruise control on and keeping at a safe speed. No reason to speed and get a ticket. Getting close to KC, the terrain is feeling familiar. Not terribly different than parts of Nebraska. Though I have little desire to move back to this area, the feeling of ‘home’ still exists.

Guess I should have driven through the KC area. The traffic was heavier than I expected and I435 was closer to town than I remembered. Mellie doesn’t really like driving in heavy Interstate traffic. Doesn’t really bother me so much so I usually take those legs of the trip. Oops.

4:20 pm Ran into some construction that closed a lane. It slowed us down but never stopped. The construction signs said to merge left miles ahead of the construction. That led an idiot in an SUV to ride between the lanes, trying to block traffic driving in the right lane. While I think it’s rude to zoom ahead of the line, it’s not illegal (perhaps it is in different states). However I know that driving between two lanes IS illegal. One person who got stuck behind this dumbass wasn’t even trying to ‘cut-in-line’. They were trying to get to the exit just before the construction. So this person in their wisdom caused others unnecessary frustration. Vigilante justice rarely is justice.

4:34 PM – More construction on I29. They DO know that it’s a holiday weekend right? This slowdown seems worse than the last. Ok, so when the work is a bridge with an entire lane missing, it’s not like they can put it back just for the holiday weekend.

4:57 PM – Potty Break in St. Joseph.

6:15 PM – Stopped at Earl MAY in Nebraska City to get Grandma some flowers.

7:30 PM – Finally made it to Grandma’s house! We’re pooped!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Vacation to the Black Hills - Day 1

6:29 AM – Off we go! Got the car packed up and we hit the road. Traffic is pretty light so far. We are going against traffic for one and two, I think a fair number of people took the day off.

7:11 AM – Made it to the Kentucky state line. Geebus Kentucky Interstates suck!

7:17 AM – Neat, the Flying J truck stop’s WiFi reaches the Interstate. Too bad we went by too fast for me to connect .

7:32 AM – Playing Hearts. Not getting sick from doing it…yet. Also it seems that I’m static charged or something because every time I touch the Zune we hear buzzing in the speakers. Maybe it’s the laptop. Oh and did I mention how terrible the Interstate is in Kentucky?

8:18 AM – Stopped in Paducah KY for Gas

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bathroom Remodel - Day...I don't know!

P1010001, originally uploaded by TNVWBOY.

We are pretty close to being done now. There are some details that have to be worked out still. Nothing major. I still need to learn how to properly cut crown molding, so I can install that. Some of the trim still needs paint. Minor stuff.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bathroom Remodel - Day 17

Bathroom Remodel - Day 17 001, originally uploaded by TNVWBOY.

Well we got a lot done since I last posted. The sink is in, the toilet is in, the bead-board is up and some of the trim is done. We are nearing the end! Thank god!

Tomorrow our custom cabnets for the closet should be here so we can install those too. That and some embelishments should pretty much finish it up.

Oh that and painting. We have been looking at a green (see pic above) but I'm not sure we will go with that. If that is the worst thing we have to worry about now then we are in good shape.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Poor Cleo

Well this afternoon was gut wrenching. Melly got home to find out that two stray dogs attacked and mauled poor Cleo really badly. Our neighbor was able to save her from death but she was pretty hurt.

Melly took her to the vet, I was still on the way home. The vet said she didn't appear to have any broken bone, her back was ok, and no signs of internal bleeding. She was in pretty bad shock though. She was seeming to be doing better when we left the vet though. If she makes it through the night she'll still have a long recovery but I suspect she'll be past the worst. God I hope.

Loki, our male cat was no where to be seen. We were scared that he might be hurt some where, but he finally came home. He was visibly shaken when he came in, like he was scared to be around the house. But he's safe and sound. Needless to say he'll be staying in the house tonight and probably tomorrow. But we can't keep him inside forever, that's not fair and he's not as dumb as he sometimes acts. He clearly found a safe place to hide today.

It's hard dealing with that kind of emotion. I was nearly sick, physically ill, on the ride home knowing something happened to Cleo. I was very angry too. Angry at the dogs and angry at Nashville Animal Control, who is too under funded, under staffed, etc etc, to take care of all the strays in Nashville, much less our neighborhood. I'm still angry, but I have to let it go a bit or the bile will build up and I'll get sick again. I'll probably still be popping antacids tonight.

Tomorrow morning I'll call and find out how Cleo is. I hope she is ok.

UPDATE: She didn't make it through the night. :( Animal control is supposed to come out and find the other dog responsible. The 'brother' was picked up yesterday.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bathroom Remodel - Day 12

Bathroom Remodel - Day 12 001, originally uploaded by TNVWBOY.

Well last night we didn't feel like doing much. Sunday wore us out! Tonight we grouted the tile though. It was more work than I expected! But it's done! We'll soon be able to install the new toilet!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bathroom Remodel - Day 10

Bathroom Remodel - Day 10 001, originally uploaded by TNVWBOY.

The tile went in today. Too tired to blog more.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bathroom Remodel - Day 9

BathroomRemodel-Day9 003, originally uploaded by TNVWBOY.

Day 9 is done. Another long day but we got a lot done. The rest of the drywall went up and the concrete board for the tile went up around the tub. That was a lot of work. Those boards are heavy.

Though the pictures don't show it, we got the first coat of drywall mud up too.

Tomorrow is tile day!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

BathroomRemodel - Day 7

BathroomRemodel-Day6 001, originally uploaded by TNVWBOY.

I didn't get as much done tonight as I'd have liked. In part because I was having tool problems but mostly because my patients was low. Maybe because of the stupid tools.

The tub is secured properly and the tar paper all up and sealed in around the tub. This should keep it nice and water tight in the unlikely event that water gets behind the tile and backer board.

The sheet rock is a mold/mildew resistant kind. I was familiar with it being called 'greenboard' but this clearly isn't green. Maybe it's a brand thing. I dunno. work. I'm going to go see IronMan with a buddy from work.