Out in the world again

Sher and I are fully vaccinated. Whew.  The CDC advice for folks like us has been very encouraging, and we were able to enjoy going to a winery with our son and his fiancé near Columbus, Ohio.

The Wyandotte Winery is a well established family owned winery with a pleasant and comfortable facility. Tasting was  easy, with a dollar per taste cost. We also added cheese and cracker and meat and cheese plates to munch on and accompanying  our sampling.

We enjoyed the tasting and bought a couple of bottles and even got a couple of glasses for our collection. But mostly we enjoyed being out in the world again. Seeing and interacting with people is something we haven’t done in, well, a while now. And of course it was wonderful to see our son and our grandkids who we haven’t seen in well over a year. Before we headed to Ohio we also visited another son and his family. There we were introduced to our newest grandson who was born December 20th.  What a treat to hug family again!

Travel into history

Why they celebrated the new concrete paving!

One journey that is enjoyable is following the Old National Road, aka US 40. For one thing, you are not on an interstate! Anyway, near Brownsville, Ohio, east of Columbus, you’ll find the Eagle’s Nest Monument. It was erected around 1916 after a 29 mile stretch of the then unimproved and often nearly impassable road was replaced with concrete. The stretch of highway ran from Zanesville to Hebron. The large granite rock has some great markings, including a rough Conestoga wagon.

The Eagles Nest monument

Conestoga wagon etched into the granite

 

 

 

 

 

You are 220 miles from the start of the National Road in Cumberland, MD.

Get off the interstate and travel the Old National Road anywhere along the route in any state. The signage is excellent and easy to follow, and you won’t be bored!

Revisiting a great restaurant

After we get our vaccines we are so looking forward to getting back on the road and actually sitting down for a meal inside a restaurant! Here’s a revisit to a place we visited  back in 2018.

Hamburger Inn Diner an integral part of Delaware, Ohio

The Hamburger Inn Diner is on the main drag in the central Ohio city of Delaware. Our family enjoyed lunch there last weekend. (Read our post here) I was fortunate to meet and have a conversation with Bill Michailidas, the owner.

Bill shared how the Hamburger Inn Diner is really a focal point in the community. The generous serving of Thanksgiving dinner to nearly a thousand folks is a shining example of the good this Diner shares. Besides, it has been serving the people of Delaware great food since 1932.

Since 1947 the diner has become the place for local citizens to gather and share coffee and conversations. Oh, the wisdom that has been shared in the gatherings for the past seven decades.

The diner is open 24 hours on the weekend. As you can imagine, the diner is full of law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel . Workers from all shifts can find a time to eat, and local college students can enjoy great food and a safe place to study after hours.

Delaware, Ohio is fortunate to have the Hamburger Inn Diner. Be sure to stop in when you are in Delaware.

A beautiful finish to the day

Sometimes you just want to share a picture

We were camping at the Kaiser Lake State Park in Ohio with family a couple of summers ago.  The sunset was stunning over the calm waters of the lake. These two kayakers could not have ordered a better evening for a trip on the lake.

Souvenir from a Jellystone Park

A while back Sher and I met a lot of our family members at an RV campground near Cleveland, Ohio. We stayed at a franchised campground with a Jellystone Park theme. Yes, right from the cartoon series with Yogi Bear, BooBoo, Cindy and the hapless Ranger.  We had a wonderful time as this was a perfect place for family activities.

Souvenir ornament

Souvenir photograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Airstream” style ornament , while Christmas themed, is now permanently hanging from the window over our table in the RV. This souvenir is cute, lights up and reminds us of that fun time we all had at the Jellystone Park RV resort.

Do any of you collect souvenirs from your travel adventures?

Please Remember to  Stay Safe and Stay Healthy 

Roadtirement’s 2019 revisited

My gosh has this year gone fast, or what?  We started the year traveling from Indiana to Harlingen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Park Place RV Resort was our home for two months.  Some pure tourist type stuff was of course a requirement in the new to us area. The border with Mexico, those daunting US Border Patrol SUV’s and the fence/wall were eye openers for us. We enjoyed the sights of Port Isabel and the beaches of South Padre Island. That 55+ RV resort living helped us realize that we liked being “Winter Texans”!

Nice concrete patio at our site in Harlingen.

One day we went to the border wall in Brownsville.

The Port Isabel lighthouse

We spent some time in March with family in Austin, then back to Indiana. It took a bit to get back into being in the Midwest again, but there was lots we did over the summer. We try to go to as many musicals as we can at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis. An excellent buffet and even better show make for a great evening out. In May we also set up at the US Highway 40 Yard sale in Dunreith, a small town  between Greenfield and Richmond, Indiana. For four days folks travel the highway looking for treasures and bargains.

Musical “Hairspray” at Beef and Boards

Our set up for the Highway 40 Yard Sale

 

 

 

 

 

Camping with kids and grand kids became a fun past time this summer. We took our RV and our kids brought their tent(s) for themselves and any of the grand kids that could come along. An Ohio State Park, US Forest Service Recreation Area, and a Jellystone Park RV resort served us well. Never a dull moment when camping, especially in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest after a toad strangler of a rain which flooded a tent. Yes, we were able to sleep 6 fairly comfortably in our 24′ Class C Four Winds. We had to use an alternate route to leave the area as the main road was washed out.

Spacious campsite in the Monongahela National Forest

West Virginia’s Horseshoe Rec Area

Our campsite, tent is out of site on the left

Entrance to the Ohio State park, lake in the background

Gorgeous end to the day at Ohio’s Kaiser Lake State Park

Another summer highlight was our trip to Niagara Falls. The guided tour was definitely worth the cost. The small Gray Line tour bus picked us up at our RV campground. The tour was all inclusive, including of course the famous Maid of the Mist boat ride taking you into the soaking up close view of the falls. If you have not been to Niagara Falls, go!

Here we are after our Maid of the Mist adventure. That is the American Falls barely visible between us.

Restaurant view of the Horseshoe (Canadian) Falls. The food was good, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sher and I were pretty busy during the summer, including some additional selling at several town festivals. By the time the end of October came around we were ready to head back out on the road and head south once again. We had talked before about visiting the Diamond Mine State Park in Arkansas. The weather had been rather wet, but we decided that it would be a great time to check this place out on our way back to Texas. We went and had a ball. No diamonds found, and the muddy ground was hard to traverse. But, we have a bucket of neat rocks for our rock garden.

Getting ready to head to the muddy field and begin our search for diamonds

Here I am shovel ready to find one of those huge diamonds shown in the picture next to me

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to Texas with a quick stop in Texarkana. There the courthouse is positioned literally on the Arkansas/Texas State line. Interesting to say the least. We stopped at our family’s place in Austin for a couple of days before we went to our spot at the La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin. The La Hacienda is a Sun Resort property, complete with all the expected facilities. We have been here since the first of November. The past two months have given us a chance to explore the Austin area. The Hill Country is filled with wineries, breweries and distilleries. Yep, we have enjoyed more than one of these establishments.

A beautiful Saturday at the Bull Creek Park in Austin

Los Pinos restaurant is only 1/4 mile from our RV Park!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 has been quite the adventure for Roadtirement! We can’t list everything, but know that we have had a great year. In figuring up where were have been, we discovered that in 2019 we actually lived 5 out of 12 months as Winter Texans. This could get to be habit forming! We are going to start 2020 by going to Seattle to visit our daughter and her family in January. Stay tuned, we’ll fill you in!

Wishing you and yours and all our friends a safe and prosperous New Years!

Maj and Sher

Ohio’s Kiser Lake State Park

Entrance to the RV park, lake in the background

Sher and I just had a really great weekend at a nice Ohio State Park. Kiser Lake State Park is near Urbana in the east central part of the state. The lake was formed during the ice age when a glacier scoured out the depression that is now Lake Kiser. The lake is a popular stop for fishing, boating and camping.

We met our son and grandson at our campsite. (Our son had made the reservation and invited us to join him for the weekend.) The RV park was clean and very well maintained. Our site was a pull through with an asphalt pad on a slight incline. We had a concrete pad for the picnic table, and a fire ring with a flip grill. Our son and grandson pitched a tent in the grass next to our RV. The shore power box was new with all three services.

Our campsite, tent is out of site on the left

Geese in flight over the lake

Our site overlooked a grassy area next to the lake. There were tent camping sites right on the lake. The view of the lake was beautiful. Anytime of the day you could see the fish breaking the surface of the water. Canadian geese made themselves know with their calls. In fact, the geese were really interesting as they flew in and out of the lake, squawking all the time. There were so many birds to watch at the park. Big birds, little birds and medium sized birds were everywhere.

Really nice ‘bubbling brook’ one of the trails crossed

Recent rains had made a lot of the trails very slick and muddy, but we did enjoy a short hike Saturday. Camping is fun, especially when you can share the time with family. Kiser Lake is a beautiful setting for a weekend of bird watching, cooking over a fire, and peaceful quiet nights. We also saw the Blue Flower Moon as an extra treat Saturday night.

Sher and I were both impressed with this park. Lots of wildlife to see. The lake does not allow motorized boats: oar or paddle driven only. Rentals are available. There are reservations available for some of the RV sites, and some sites are drive up. Note there are no showers and the rest rooms are your typical glorified outhouses. There is a dump station with handy sewer hose wash out hose. There is also a potable water spigot.

Gorgeous end to the day

 

Columbus Zoo Wildlights 2018 event

Reflection pond

With several family members in tow, Sher and I attended a very neat event at the Columbus, Ohio Zoo. The Wildlights event has transformed the zoo into a Christmas wonderland.

The crowd was already sizable when we arrived just as it was getting dark. We knew that we would not be seeing lots of animals, but were there for the light displays. The zoo covers a lot of acreage, so we were ready for a bit of walking!

Polar bear cub in lights

Beautiful trees

 

 

 

 

There was a pen with a couple of Santa’s reindeer you  could see. Our 4 year old grandson really liked the huge antlers on these beautiful creatures. There were a couple of polar bears who were outside in their enclosure so we could see them as well.

Reindeer (Caribou)

The centerpiece of the light show was around a pond just inside the zoo entrance gates. Thousands of lights “performed” by keeping beat with Christmas music. The show played every twenty minutes or so. Sher and I sat on a bench and enjoyed the spectacle while the kids hiked over to the gorilla enclosure, which, it turned out, was closed. We all enjoyed our trip to the zoo.

Hamburger Inn Diner in Delaware, Ohio

Our family group was headed to Delaware, Ohio to visit some of the Antique shops and malls in the downtown. Our son recommended the Hamburger Inn Diner for lunch after we visited the shops. What a great recommendation it was!

The Hamburger Inn Diner opened in 1932. It has remained virtually unchanged since it opened. It is a classic diner with primary seating at horseshoe shaped counters instead of tables. The vinyl covered stools rotated much to the delight of our grandson. There were ten in our party, and after a short wait while another couple finished their meal, all of us could sit at the same counter.

Grilled cheese and fries

Half pounder with bacon and eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The diner’s name gives a huge hint as to the menu. Yes, there are marvelous burgers on the menu. In addition to burgers and other sandwiches there is a full breakfast menu offered. Breakfast is served anytime. The food was outstanding: best biscuits and sausage gravy I have ever had. The service was terrific. Sher ordered a grilled cheese on rye. It came on white, and shortly thereafter here came another sandwich on rye, no charge.

Mmmm……Chili

Huge order of biscuits & gravy topped with a fried egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the great meal, I was fortunate to meet one of the owners, Bill Michailidis. He told me about the restaurant’s history, and shared some of the things that it does to support and help the community. One remarkable event put on by the diner is their annual Thanksgiving feast. The diner first has a meal for employees and their families and a neighboring gas station. Then the diner opens for the entire community. That’s right, free meals are offered to anyone and everyone. This year over 900 were served. Some of the other happenings at the diner are described in our post here.

That’s me, seated, and Bill Michailidis, right

Given the quality of the cuisine, the excellence of the service, and the citizenship of the establishment, it is no wonder that The Hamburger Inn Diner is one of the most popular places to visit in central Ohio. If your travels take you to central Ohio, it will be worth your time to eat at the Hamburger Inn Diner.

Benny’s Pizza and Pub is one of central Ohio’s best

It is no secret that local non chain restaurants can often be the best places to dine. Benny’s Pizza and Pub in Marysville, Ohio is one such place. It was a classic car hop service Drive In during the 50’s, complete with one of those huge Frostop Root Beer mugs on the roof. The old mug still graces the roof, but Benny’s is now a large facility with a menu featuring pizza, ribs, subs, salads and award winning in-house smoked brisket. There are specialty drinks and 31 taps offering craft beers, some of which are from a local brewery.

You start you culinary adventure at Benny’s with a large basket of freshly popped popcorn to munch while you read the menu. Three of us were dining and it took us a while to decide on our ordering strategy. Pizzas? What toppings? Half and Half’s? Dinners? Subs? Whew! Everything looked so inviting!

Enjoy some popcorn while you read the menu

Delicious Southwest 7 layer salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally decided to order the smoked brisket with the house BBQ sauce and beer battered fries for my side. Sher and our son went with the family sized pizza, half veggie and half “All the way”,  a cute name for lots of variety of toppings. We all ordered a Southwest 7 layer salad as well.

The pizza as delivered!

In a very reasonable time our food arrived. The pizza was huge (18″ according to the menu) and was literally overflowing with toppings! I was amazed at the portion size of my smoked brisket and the fries. Wow! There was enough brisket there to serve two people at least.

Brisket, fries and Texas toast. Look at how much food!

Well, Sher and our son loved the pizza. My fries were very good, hot upon arrival. The brisket was fabulous. Fork tender, you could really taste and enjoy the smoked flavor that came through even with the BBQ sauce, which was also excellent. We ended up with some take home boxes, as we didn’t finish the pizza or the brisket. Including our drinks, our tab ended up being just shy of $20 each. While not inexpensive, the pricing is worth it for the quality and quantity of food.

Benny’s Pizza and Pub is a great place to dine, and we would highly recommend it. The decor is not fancy, and there are some TV’s scattered around. Of interest is the nice collection of old photos on the walls, including some of past visits from celebrities. There is often live entertainment on the weekends, and seasonally there is outdoor dining and large crowds for the bands. Benny’s is closed on Sundays. Go to their website here for full menus and hours.

And if you like brisket, you’ll be making a mistake if you do not order it when at Benny’s!

This photo of Pete Rose and Roy Rogers together caught my eye. There were lots of old photos on the walls