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“Just add bbq sauce…”

Some random thoughts, photos and experiences in the old south.

I went golfing on Monday morning at Deer Island Golf Course. Played with a lovely couple who told me that they had been coming there for 25 years and that I was going to love it. By the second hole even they were apologizing for the condition of the course. Now I guess I shouldn’t have expected much – after all I only paid $10.00 – but it was US $.

Just as I was about to tee off on the fifth hole I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye.

Apparently he/she is some kind of snapping turtle. Put me right off my game. (Ed. Note: That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Tuesday I was off to Mission Inn Golf Course which was considerably more -$40. It was in much better condition and the three retired guys from New York State I played with were also very pleasant. However, my mouth did drop and I was left speechless on the 17th tee. What would you have done? Two of the guys were jawing back and forth about who was older etc. when the third guy says to me “Just like the n*&&%r said to the mulatto, you’re still black.” He then turned to tee up his ball, leaving me in a mild state of shock. I was glad there were only 2 holes left though.

Also on Tuesday this little scene was in front of me.

Just after I took this shot, I took one more step and the gator dove in, scaring the bejesus out of me – and the sand cranes.

Yesterday at Arlington Ridge Golf Course ($31.00) we saw these two strolling down the boulevard.

and then on our big walk this morning

A fellow came out with his two little daschunds to chase them away. You can understand how listening to that for any period of time would drive you around the bend.

Some other sights from The Plantations, where there apparently is a rule that when you pass one another walking, driving or riding a golf cart, you smile and wave. Well, smile unless you are the one woman whose face looked like it hadn’t smiled since, well, ever.

Even the cacti need to protect their eyes. Anyone know what kind of tree this is? The seed pods are impressive.

Not sure, but I don’t think the cactus Terry planted in our front yard will get to these dizzying heights.

Who wouldn’t want a pink garage door, front door and shutters?

After our big walk we were off to poke around Leesburg- a town that seems to be on its last legs. Since we were here last a few more stores have closed down (Ed. note: Except for the God Cafe, which seems to be thriving and has all new teal and chrome furniture) leaving a rather thinly populated downtown core. Two Old Hags wine store is still there and still selling excellent wine, and so is Turners Kitchen + Bar which serves fabulous meals. They have a great concept. The largest group they will take is 6 people. I would say 90% of their tables are for four, which keeps the noise level down and service exemplary.

Turners’ take on Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese.

And now the reason for this post’s title.

After we left Turners we were strolling along Main Street when a woman behind Terry says “I love your sundress” And why wouldn’t you.

I turn and look at her and say “Hey what about me?” and turn back to start walking when she replies “I do like the belt your wife picked out for you.” And why wouldn’t you.

Then I hear her say “Did you hear what she said? Talk about sexual harassment!” I turn around and here is a lovely woman coming towards me and she says “Just put some bbq sauce on those legs and I’ll eat ’em right up!” whereupon she collapses against her Cadillac in gales of laughter.

How about dem legs, y’all.

Enough for now – I have to go and admire myself.

Hey, It’s Only Money

Well here we are all settled in our lovely condo in Hilton Head. For those of you who don’t go on Facebook, let me give you the quick recap of our efforts to get here.

We left home on Hallowe’en morning – saving the cost of candy for the little gremlins. We went to Trochu to visit Terry’s aunt and cousins. We left there and stopped at the world famous Torrington Gopher Hole Museum.

There were somewhere around thirty dioramas that have been built over the twenty-one years it has been there. This was my favourite one – check out the small speaking bubble.

Then it was off to Calgary to visit my sister and brother-in-law for a few days.

Saturday morning we left.

When we left it was -15 with a wind chill to -25. When we got to Savannah, Georgia is was a little warmer – just 26 degrees.

Savannah is a beautiful city. It has some lovely old houses and streets.

We passed the house where “Midnight in the Garden of Evil” was filmed but were passed it before we could get a photo. I was surprised how many places Kevin Spacey was mentioned as staying in a B and B or filming a movie or eating or something else. I would have thought he would have been dropped like a hot frying pan.

It also has a great cemetery. Next to the cemetery was a dueling ground. The duellers/duellists would meet the cemetery worker, pick out the plot they wanted, pay for it and have the duel. After the duel, the loser got tossed over the cemetery wall, literally and the winner got a refund. Couple of interesting items – even though there are several thousand people buried in the cemetery, there are only 666 headstones. There is also an area which is a mass grave and when it was dug up at some point there were 666 bodies. Just a little weird.

Entrance to the cemetery.

We went to Vic’s – a highly recommended restaurant and a highly disappointing restaurant. Terry and Cindy had Boullabaise. It was lukewarm at best with over cooked fish and – get this all you gourmands, rice. When the server asked how our dinners were, they told her, she told the manager and she very graciously took 10% or $6.90 each of the bill. How good was that.

Sunday we talk a hop on hop off tour and stopped first at Clary’s for brunch and the the Massie Heritage Center. Clary’s is a Savannah institution. We waited 30 minutes outside, but it was definitely worth the wait. We did see one little vignette. The host came out and called for “Becky for 6” obviously indicating that the table for six was ready. Becky told the woman that her group was on their way, and they were arriving about 25 minutes later. Now I thought that since there were so many people waiting that the table might be given to people who were actually there, including a group of 7 guys, but I guess that’s not how it is done in the south.

The Maissie Heritage Center is a building which was the first public school in Savannah. It was started by a donation of $5000 from Mr Massie for the poor children of Savannah in 1856. It served as a public school until 1974. The first class and I mean class since they were all in one room, consisted of 150 students, ages 6 to 20. They were all taught together, because “Nobody knew anything so they were all starting from the same point.” Today it holds a replica of the original classroom, an exhibition of various types of architecture, a brief 10000 year history of Native Americans (Can they really be Native if the map shows where in Asia they came from?), the history of the restoration of Savannah, an interactive explanation of how the grid/ward system in Savannah and a fascinating look at the incredible port facilities of Savannah.

And just before we leave Savannah, I’m not saying it is quite a clean city but…

From there we drove the 45 miles or so to Hilton Head to check into a wonderful condo resort.

Monday was a lounging around the pool day followed by a terrific lunch at Hudson’s, on the Atlantic Coastal Way. Gary had a bucket of oysters. They couldn’t say how many were actually in the bucket since there were somewhere between 10 and 15 clumps of them.

Terry and Cindy were going to share an order of shrimp tacos and a Caesar salad, but there was a little confusion and the salad didn’t arrive so the server says “Sorry for the confusion – I’ll take the tacos off the bill.” Then when the bill came, they had forgotten to put one my beer and when I pointed that out, the manager says “Thanks for being honest, it’s on me.” Vic’s could take several lessons in customer service.

Today we were off to Harbour Town Golf Links. This is where the RBC Heritage Classic is held every year, the week after The Masters. It is not cheap, but since we are here, we figured it wasn’t to be missed. Please sit down while you read the following. Green fees are $220US (each) Then there is a 7.5% tax of $16.50. ($236.50) Then there is $30 per person charge for the compulsory fore caddie ($266.50) Then there is the $2.50 toll highway charge ($269.00) Then there is the $6.00 charge to drive through the private community to get to the golf course. Total = $275.00US. They do give you a bottle of water each though. I have mixed feelings though. Terry couldn’t play since her shoulder is still bothering her so that was bad. However, we did save the $266.50 and they let her chip and putt on each hole for free. Still and all it was a lot of fun and I think we are all glad we did it. For the golfers out there – 6253 yards, Rating 71.4, Slope 136 I shot a 91 with two triples and two doubles, so I was pleased.

Our fore caddie Ryan. Great guy and very helpful with yardage, reading putts and finding directionally challenged balls, but not such a great photographer. Our clubs actually have heads and not just shafts.

This is the view from the white tees on the 18th

And this is the view from the back tees. 7099 yards (an average of 60 yards longer per hole), Rating 71.6, Slope 148

I’m not sure where we play next, but it definitely won’t cost anywhere near as much. We all agreed that while it was great and we are glad we did it, there are better courses out there for less money. It was pristine though.

Well that’s it for now. Sadly no good shoes in Georgia or South Carolina.

The Road to Fame

There are many ways to become famous, either as a person or a place. You can do something heroic like Oskar Schindler and save hundreds of lives, you could be Ernest Jackson and make the Grey Cup winning catch in overtime, you could be a great actress like Meryl Streep, you could even just have a rich family as Paris Hilton does. If it is a place it could have danger involved, think of Mount Everest, it could have incredible physical beauty – Niagara Falls or have unusual rock formations – the Giant’s Causeway. No matter what causes the fame it is unlikely that that was the original goal- to become famous. That, however, was not the goal of today’s subject.

Twenty-two years ago the community of Torrington, Alberta was given $10000.00 by the provincial government. “The one before the NDP.” They had to do something with the money as a community. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine most of the 179 residents sat around the pub of the Torrington Hotel discussing how to spend the money . After, I don’t know, maybe ten beer each, Otto (more on Otto later) says, “Hey, I got an idea. Let’s build a gopher hole museum.” Bunty, then just a spry 73 year old spring chicken with flaming red hair (still red today at 94) says “That’s a great idea Otto. I’m sure we can get 5 years out of that concept.” And so is born the world famous Torrington Gopher Hole Museum at the junction of highways 27 and 805, still there after a very successful 21 years.

Torrington is on the road to Trochu, home to Terry’s aunt, various cousins and, of course, Henry’s Shoes, so we pass it every time we go to visit. Terry has taken Joe and Sam to visit it but we have never stopped – until yesterday. I had checked the website and it is only open in the summer, but I wanted a photo of it anyway, so on our way back to Calgary yesterday we took the two block detour to do that. Clearly we live right and are truly good people because just as we pull up the door opens and there is Otto “ Just call me Crazy Otto.” We ask if he is open and he says “Sure, I’ll open for you two.” He turns on the lights and I ask if I can take some pictures. “Sure, if you give me $2.00 each.” He immediately points to a sign that says admission is $2 unless you are under 13 in which case it is free. I think he didn’t want us thinking he was ripping us off!

There are 8 people now involved in the running of it (Maybe the other 171 people didn’t like the idea?). It is quite the place. Last August they had 2500 visitors. I’m not sure exactly how many dioramas there are – these aren’t all of them though. Let me show you some.

(Ed. Note: All the gophers are actually stuffed according to the official taxidermy rules. None were hurt in the processing since they were already dead. For those of you who believe this is wrong, you clearly haven’t lived to see the damage they can do, when alive, to crops.)

Be sure to check out the little speech bubbles.

Celebrating Canada 150

This one was a result of someone in the US phoning and threatening to come and picket and protest. Otto was disappointed they never showed up. However it did generate a lot of publicity for them, which was all good.

This one depicts the actual restaurant in town, eh.

My favourite

This is the one Crazy Otto did. It is his fishing hole with one of his fishing ties. The woman who paints the backdrops said she couldn’t paint.

This diorama travelled to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics

These murals were done by a guy who used to work for Disney Studios. According to Otto, it took him about 10 cases of beer. Sometime after it was finished, he was at home, had a few pops, fell down his basement stairs, broke his neck and that was that.

Geoff and Crazy Otto – neither of the first two of me are any good, but what the heck…and no, I hadn’t been drinking.

Finally, I do really like this one. That head is heavy and Crazy Otto has to wear it every year in the parade!

I Have NEVER Done This!

1. You will have to bear with me but this will be a bit of a rant which I am sure you will give a laugh or two.

2. Thank you to Peter, Vern, Tom, Larry, Dave and Dick for your generosity – without it I wouldn’t be writing this.

Okay, let’s start with yesterday. My sister, Judith, and niece Megan are here for a few days. We have had a good time and visited more than a couple of wineries. Went to Dirty Laundry and Silkscarf Sunday they were both very busy but we had a great time at both. Then we went to Misconduct. There was no one there but the young woman working behind the counter who had less than no interest in talking about the wine. It was splash, drink up, splash, drink up, splash, get out. It was, up to that point, the worst experience I had had at a winery. I even mentioned that we had had a great meal there this summer which elicited no real response.

Tuesday we we decided to hit a winery or two and then have lunch at one of them. Our goal was Hester Creek, but we started at Quinta Ferreira. Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Quinta Ferreira, they produce fantastic wine. When we went in to the tasting room there were 7 women there who were on a tour. They knew the woman who was doing the talk. Then the owner joined us. Aaaahhh. He started out by asking one of the woman “Are you Chinese?” ” No, Japanese” (Ed note: Actually, I think she was Canadian of Japanese heritage). Anyway, he says “Well you all look alike.” Hmmm. Then he says “Who wants the big one?” This goes over like, well, it doesn’t go over at all, but the lack of response doesn’t faze him – he asks three or four more times before I finally say “I’ll do it” the women all applaud me. He gets Terry and I behind the “bar” and tells Megan to get her camera.

It was just a little inappropriate and misguided, I think. The poses where all directed by him – particularly the last one.

Now Scott and I had the gentlemen mentioned in #2 above up here to golf this summer. They very graciously gave us gift cards to La Casa Ouzeria, which has a wonderful reputation. I made a reservation for the four of us for 7:00. We show up on time and wait and wait and wait while a young woman passes in front of us 4 or 5 times without recognizing us. Finally another woman approaches us to seat us – right in front of the door. Now the place is half full – or half empty – so Terry asks if we could get a different table and she says “Well, that table will be leaving in a few minutes if you want to wait a few minutes.” I ask “What about that table by the window?” She replies, “Well, those tables are quite tight to the other ones” What? Anyway, here are the highlights of our experience:

1. Server asks three of us what we want to order.

2. Server asks if we want garlic pita bread.

3. Server asks the fourth what they want to order.

4. Server brings BUNS with oil/vinegar dip.

5. Server takes away two bread plates BEFORE she brings the garlic pita bread.

6. Server takes away condiments while we are still eating – “Just clearing away the clutter”

7. Server asks if we want dessert. “No thank you” “I didn’t think so”

8. I have never left no tip until tonight. (Ed. Note: Doesn’t sound grammatically correct somehow)

9. Server asks if there was a problem with the service when she sees no tip and I tell her why.

10. Server says “That’s what I was told to do” I tell her that I would be happy to tell her manager what I told her.

11. Server disappears.

12. We wait 5 minutes and then leave – no manager shows up.

Anyway, that’s. my rant for tonight. Look for photos of Ireland soon.

Lake Havasu – A Place Like No Other

Lake Havasu, Arizona is a place like no other. It is hard to know whether or not there are more permanent residents or snowbirds. Yesterday Terry and I golfed – more later. Then, with Rich and Nancy we went out to find Happy Hour.  (Apologies to those who saw the the, third, fourth and fifth photos on Facebook).

On Sunday we played “The Refuge Golf Course”. It is a semi-private course that I think we talked about last year. An Arnold Palmer designated course which the owners ruined  (8 par fours, 5 par fives and 5 par threes, and in the process losing the Arnold Palmer designation) in order to put in a whack of RV pads. Presently, none of the pads can be used because of some kind of ongoing law suit. Anyway, when I pay the green fees the guy tells me we get a couple of drinks and a food voucher for the lounge but since it is closing at 3:00 we may want to nip in as we pass it after the 8th hole and redeem them. As we pass I go in and the woman tells me no, there is no food, just the drinks. A little frustrated I order two beer and two hot dogs – and then wait. After twenty minutes Terry comes in to ask what the hell is going on. I tell her and the woman tells me she can have the cart girl bring them out. Okay I say – how much do I owe you for the hot dogs? “$23.50” I fall off the stool. We go out – the foursome behind us has STILL not caught up! Halfway down the 9th fairway the guy from the proshop shows up with our “food”

They looked much much better than they tasted!

They looked much much better than they tasted – and the fries were cold!

However the view from the 18th tee wasn’t bad.

Nice View

Nice View

On our way to the golf course yesterday we saw this building. Now, I know Urgent Care is the new “Emergency“, so I was wondering what kind of emergency would occur to necessitate hearing aids.

Urgent? Hearing Aids?

Urgent? Hearing Aids?

Then we arrive at the golf course. There are 36 holes at “The Courses at London Bridge” (A misnomer since they are at least 3.3 miles away from the bridge.) We check in with the starter and he tells us we are up next and playing alone, just as another couple roll up. He tells them that they can join us or play alone on the other course. Terry says hi, the woman smiles, the man looks over his shoulder at us and says “We’ll play the other course.” Talk about feeling rejected. No one ever wants to play with us!

On the fifth hole you see this retaining wall. It is about 20 feet high and all grey concrete – not that attractive.

wallIt does support this house.

Lovely little abode

Lovely little abode

On the eighth hole we had the attack of the ducks. This was about one-third of them. We watched them all waddle across the entire green, then turn around, fly back into the water, get out and start their trek north again.

Duck!

Duck!

By the 12th hole, however we had had it. The whole way around had been slow, but waiting 5 minutes for every shot (with the exception of our putts) finally got to us and we quit.

Luckily we were planning on going out for happy hour at 4:30! First stop – Barley Brothers Pub – 20 to 30 minute wait. Walked across the street to Javelina Cantina – 20 to 30 minute wait. Got in the car and went to Bad Dogs.

baddog

Got in just before the crush. Man do they like their happy hours down here! Single burger – $1.00, Double $2 and Triple $3. Add various toppings and you get quite a good burger for not much money. However, not all was perfect. Three of us ordered Margaritas – but their blender was broken – how does that even happen in a bar – so they were on the rocks. I’m sure there was tequila in there, but it was hard to tell through all the ice, so when I finished mine I moved on to wine. After Rich finished his beer, we ordered some more wine. The waiter returns and says “Sorry, we are all out of wine glasses, can I bring it in a pint glass and can I have your glass to refill it please”

Ever seen wine in a beer glass?

Ever seen wine in a beer glass?

But the bill? Check it out.

10 drinks - $30.50, 4 burgers, fries, wings, chips and salsa -

10 drinks – $30.50, 4 burgers, fries, wings, chips and salsa – $18.08.

Every Thursday afternoon/evening classic car collectors show up on the main street to show off their cars. Here are some:

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Check out this license plate and don’t miss the “cherry on top” either.3 4 5

Who remembers the old bench seats with your girl cuddled up close?6 7 8 9 10 11

Now, on a totally different note, if you would like a really good chuckle and you like Billy Connelly, check this out. It is a couple of years old, but I just came upon it. (For those who are highly politically correct, you may want to give it a pass)

 

A Walk In The Park – Well, Maybe The Desert

Terry and Nancy went for a little walk in the desert today. Geoff would have gone but it was not long enough for him – just 8 miles or 16000 steps so he stayed home and did laundry and cleaned golf clubs. Here are some photos of the area around Lake Havasu. The first is of Carole, Terry, Nancy and Stephanie.

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The previous two photos were taken on Carol’s camera and the rest Terry took. We have no idea why they aren’t as bright as Carol’s. We had a little rain over the weekend which really “greened up” the desert.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Thanks for looking.

Mountain Goats, Trains and Tats

So here we are in Salt Lake City after a rather eventful couple of days on the road to Lake Havasu, Arizona. We left Penticton with a destination of Baker City, Oregon – a 7 hour drive. Well, it’s a seven hour drive if you don’t turn right when you are supposed to go straight thus adding 2 hours to your drive. (Yeah, it was Geoff’s error.) On the upside, we did get to see a herd – 13 to be exact – of mountain goats. They were quite fantastic.

The ram in the circle was clearly the leader. The entire time we watched the herd, he stood guard watching over them.

The ram in the circle was clearly the leader. The entire time we watched the herd, he stood guard watching over them.

There are 8 of the 13 in this picture. Can you spot them? They so blend into the landscape.

There are 8 of the 13 in this picture. Can you spot them? They so blend into the landscape.

Also on the upside, we got to see a slice of real Americana at a Subway near Umatilla, Washington.  Pubescent boy – “Can I please have an extra slice of cheese on my 6″ sub?” Dad “NO! THAT COSTS EXTRA!” as he orders his 12″ sub. I would imagine the poor kid was mortified.

This guy was really letting off steam!

This guy was really letting off steam!

There were some spectacular homes along the banks of the Columbia River.

There were some spectacular homes along the banks of the Columbia River.

Beautiful - just beautiful.

Beautiful – just beautiful.

Anyway, our first night was in Baker City, Oregon. Checked in and went to dinner at Sumpter’s Junction. Now the meal was no rain hell – I ordered, from the menu, a black and blue burger with  the blue being blue cheese except the chef, being busy with the three orders he had to cook, changed it to American cheese. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that it had a Large O scale train running around the entire restaurant – took about 7 minutes!

This is part of the uphill spiral tunnel at the entrance which take the train back up to the ceiling where it travels around the restaurant until it gets to the downhill spiral.

This is part of the uphill spiral tunnel at the entrance which take the train back up to the ceiling where it travels around the restaurant until it gets to the downhill spiral.

The downhill spiral tunnel.

The downhill spiral tunnel.

From dinner it was back to the hotel bar for a final glass of wine.

This is HUGE glass of a lovely Californian Cabernet - $5.00US or $6.53Cdn.

This is HUGE glass of a lovely Californian Cabernet – $5.00US or $6.53Cdn.

And then there was Greg. Greg is a long haul driver – he was taking apples from Washington to Texas. He was quite affable and chatty. One of the comments he made, however, was that he had had a number of girlfriends.

Perhaps the tattoo of the ted up woman with a gag in her mouth might be why he went form woman to woman to woman...

Perhaps the tattoo of the ted up woman with a gag in her mouth might be why he went form woman to woman to woman…

Next blog: We Spit in the Face of Death