Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bucket list

Here's something for my Bucket list.
It's more of a silly want to do thing rather than a have to do thing.
Motorcycle ride to this:



Standing on a corner...
Google maps shows it at 1100 miles and 15 hours (one way).

John <><

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Who has time for work?!

It has been a crazy week!

On Saturday we returned home from our week in Canada.
Sunday was recovery day!
Monday morning I found out that I was taking my mom to a Cubs game -- ON TUESDAY!
So I did a little laundry, packed a bag, checked the motorcycle and prepared for the next day.
Tuesday I rode just over 400 miles on the motorcycle, parked it in my parents garage, picked up my mom and drove their van (140 miles) to Chicago. We met up with Aaron and Jenny for our outing to the ballgame.

It was the first time in over 30 years that Mom had been to a Cubs game and really her first time as a real Cubs' fan. She was pretty much like a kid.

Here are a few pics from the night:

The four of us in front of Wrigley


Just the Cub fans



My ballpark Chicago dog


The Cubs won (I was happy for Mom and Jenny) and we had to hear that stupid song!
We made it to bed by midnight and then my Wednesday was the opposite of Tuesday with the drive back to my parents and the motorcycle ride home.

Thursday (tomorrow) is lake day, so that will be a nice relaxing day.
Friday night I'll be making dinner and Hannah and Daniel will be coming over to eat with us.
Saturday night is a party at a friend's house who is celebrating the end of her chemo treatments.

Geez!
It is a good thing I don't have a job that I have to go to!
Makes me tired just thinking about having to go to work!

I hope your week is as fun as mine -- I know it's not, but...

John <><

Homeward bound

After a day on the road yesterday, I'll be reversing course and heading home today.
The journey has been well worth the time on the road.

I'll write more tomorrow and post some pics of our time at Wrigley. For now, it's finish my coffee and get on the road -- 150 miles in the car, 400+ miles on the motorcycle!

John <><

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Talk about your dry spell...

Just a quick Tuesdays are for trivia post this morning as I get ready to hop on the motorcycle and hit the road for a Chicago Cubs game...

It has been 108 years since the Cubs have won a World Series Championship.
They have played over 17,000 games since their last Championship.
They have been to the World Series seven times since 1908, the last time was in 1945.
Since 1945, they have made the post season 7 times and have a dismal post season record of 13 wins and 27 losses.

Could this be their year?
Or just another huge disappointment for their fans?

John <><

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bucket List

Yesterday I found out that my mom has a bucket list item of going to a Chicago Cubs' game.
Unfortunately, this week is the last regular season week of games in Chicago and post season tickets are in the $250 dollar range for Standing Room Only!

After she told me that she wouldn't even know how to get tickets, I suggested that she call her grandson and let him get her tickets and I offered to pick her up and take her to the game.
BOOM!
DONE!

So, tomorrow morning I'll be leaving early to pick her up for Tuesday night's Cincinnati Reds vs the Chicago Cubs game. To keep it a little less expensive, I'm going to ride the motorcycle to Metamora and then use my folks van for the ride to Chicago. I'd ride two up on the cycle, but Mom would eventually pass out from screaming and I'd be deaf by the time we got there. We'll meet up with the kids, enjoy a ballgame and a visit, and then get back to Metamora around midnight. There is a possibility that we'll spend the night in Chicago, but my initial preference will be to get back to Metamora. In either case, I'll make the Wednesday ride home.

Mom gets to check an item off of her bucket list.
I get to see the kids and a ballgame.
I get to see my folks for a brief visit and get a couple of days on the motorcycle.
Life is good!

Rogers Centre and the Toronto Blue Jays last week,
Wrigley Field and the Cubs this week,
Busch Stadium and the Cardinals next week!

This retirement gig is pretty rough, but it sure beats working for a living!

John <><


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Recovery Day; keeping it simple

If yesterday was travel day, today is recovery day.

After waking at 3am EDT yesterday for an early morning flight and only taking a short afternoon nap, I probably should have gone to bed earlier than midnight CDT. I opted out of setting my alarm for the morning and slept straight through to almost 9:30!
One of the downsides to sleeping so long is that I really feel the sleep inertia this morning and have a slight headache which will last into several cups of coffee.

Having said that, it is nice to be home.
Part of that long sleep has to do with being in my own bed with my own pillows.
Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed a cigar sitting on my own deck.
This morning I am blogging while reclining in my own chair and sipping on a cup of my own coffee.
Later today, I'll probably take a short motorcycle ride.
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!

We didn't go out for lunch or dinner yesterday. We just made due with what we had (which wasn't much since somebody hasn't been to the store). I'll probably need to take care of that store thing later today.

The lawn is in serious need of mowing and today will be cooler than tomorrow -- but I'm thinking that recovery day shouldn't include mowing. It will probably include some laundry, but that's really not a big deal. At least I don't have to get ready to go back to work this week! And you don't really go back to being retired since you didn't really stop being retired.

This shouldn't be too bad.
Maybe I'll use recovery day to start planning our next adventure!

On to recovery...

John <><

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Travel day!

It's early on Saturday morning and I am sitting in the Toronto Pearson airport waiting to fly home.
Chris is out in search of breakfast, a diet coke and coffee.

We have had a great time visiting our northern neighbors and need to do so more often (but not in the winter). Canada is a beautiful country and I'm sure there is so much more to see. I should probably work on learning how to travel more efficiently.

I think that we have exhausted our travel budget for the year, but are already looking forward to traveling in 2017! I think that we will also look at visiting around the US next year. I hope to make a few solo trips on the motorcycle -- short rides -- one day out, one day back kind of trips. Maybe Memphis for a Cardinals AAA game, Indianapolis to see my baby sister, Arlington for a Rangers' game -- that kind of thing. I might have to think backpack, small tent and inexpensive camp ground. It's nice to be able to think with that kind of freedom. If a few short trips go well, maybe I'll work on something a little longer.

Any suggestions for something around 500 miles or less from Ozark?
It would be cool to meet some of my readers. Many of you are friends and relatives that I have not seen in quite some time, others I see often and some I have never met. Maybe a meet the readers motorcycle trip(s) summer would be cool.

Writing of riding makes me want to ride. We'll be home by mid-day so maybe I'll get out for a little ride this afternoon.

I hope that you have a great day and weekend!

John <><


Friday, September 16, 2016

Friends

I have posted on friends and friendships in the past.
I'm not sure why some people just seem to connect and others don't.

It is 2:20 in the morning and Chris and I have only been back at our hotel for a short time. We spent the evening and the early morning hours visiting with people that we barely know, but are most definitely our friends.
Back in June of 2011, Chris and I were on vacation in Mazatlan Mexico and ran across a crazy group of Canadians that were staying at the same hotel. Two of the women (Alyssa and Monika) didn't travel as a part of the rest of the group; they were traveling together and joined their fellow countrymen at the pool each day. Those two young women and one woman (Jo) from the main group (by main group I mean the loudest craziest ones) have kept in contact with us over the years. We have become better acquainted with each other through contact on Facebook.

Last fall we made plans to meet Jo and her husband Gord in Cancun. (Gord was not on the 2011 trip.)
We met at the end of January and had a really great vacation. Chris and I had never been to Canada and talked about coming here to visit their country and to see our friends.
It has been a grand time.
We managed to see Alyssa for a day in the Niagara area and Monika for a day in Toronto. We had a couple of great meals out, but the best ones were the ones sitting at Jo and Gord's dining room table.
They invited a couple of their friends to join us for dinner last night -- Leah and Andy. Andy is from Cuba and has just recently completed the necessary documentation to move to Canada. The six of us at the dinner table were from three different countries!
Jo's oldest son, Ryan, joined us for dessert.


Andy has to get up early for work, but stayed much later than he intended to stay. After he and Leah left, Gord and I went out to the deck to enjoy a cigar and more conversation. Chris and Jo came out and we just enjoyed visiting and laughing with our friends.

I'm sure that Jo and Gord will eventually make it to Southwest Missouri, but first we are working on another winter trip to Mexico and I think that Alyssa and Monika are planning to join us.

As I said at the beginning, I'm not sure what it is that brought us together more than others we have met. It's a real kinship kind of feeling, though -- more like family than friends.
As much as I have enjoyed seeing Niagara Falls, going to a MLB game, seeing the beautiful Lake Ontario and dining on great foods -- all of that would have been just another trip without being able to visit with our friends.

Sometimes I say, "God loves you, but I'm His favorite!"
Tonight I really feel that way, for I am truly a well blessed man.

It is close to 3 AM now; way past time to call it a day.

John <><

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Canada -- Days 4 & 5

Yeah, so I missed posting yesterday.
Tuesday was a fairly relaxing day. After our morning drive from Niagara back to Barrie, Gord went to work while Chris and I chilled at the hotel. We met up with Jo and Gord in the evening to watch Gord's slow pitch softball team play the semi-final and then finals of their league tournament.

Unfortunately, one of their players was injured late in the game and they ended up losing a pretty close game. So they took second place in the league and second place in the tournament. All-in-all, I think they had a fun season.

Yesterday was a fun day!
We took the drive back into Toronto for a Jays game. The Blue Jays are in the hunt for a post-season spot so the fans are pretty excited about their team. The visit to the Rogers Centre was my 13th major league ballpark and apparently bad luck for the Jays. (It was also bad luck for the Cards who took another beating at the hands of the Cubs.)


But I had my ballpark dog with kraut and mustard so I was a happy boy!


We had dinner on the waterfront after the game and walked to view the lake. We took a few pics and entertained a couple (or just interrupted their peaceful view of Lake Ontario) in the process.
Our friend Monika joined us for the game and dinner and then we moved to the rooftop lounge of her downtown condo for a nice visit with some spectacular views.



Moon rise over Lake Ontario


From the rooftop lounge


And later in the evening, looking towards the city...


At some point I suppose I should mention that hotel room in Barrie is on the top floor (4th) and at the very end of the hall. When Jo made our online reservation, she added a note in the comments section, "We would like a room away from others because we like to have loud sex."

We got an odd look when we checked in, but apparently they aim to please and our room is away from other guests!
Chris is already plotting her get-even event!

Have a grand day!

John <><

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Canada -- Day 3

Yesterday another of our Canadian friends (Alyssa) joined us for the day as we headed out to the areas around Niagara falls. The new member to our group is a chef and planned lunch for us at one of the many Niagara region wineries.

Lunch was an epicurean delight!
Appetizers, soup, salad, entree and dessert!
Oh my!



 The scenery was beautiful and the service was grand (I suppose it helped that our server was friends with Alyssa). I'm not a wine drinker and didn't purchase any to bring back to the States, but I did find a bottle of ghost pepper ketchup in their little store and that, I did buy!




The afternoon also included stops at a couple of the local breweries. This one is in an old church building and it is beautifully covered with vines and hops!





















We ended the day with a nice walk to Doc Magilligan's Restaurant and Irish Pub.
The pub was designed and built in Ireland, then packed into shipping containers and shipped here to be reassembled.
Awesome Scotch eggs, soda bread with some kind of bacon onion jelly, and again -- delicious entrees.
I had a Fisherman's pie (think shepherds pie with sea food) that was delicious!
No dessert. We were all stuffed!

The walk back to the hotel was welcomed by all.

We're going back to Barrie today (something about Gord having to work this afternoon) and I think that today will be another easy day of relaxing and visiting.

Life is good!
I am truly blessed.

John <><