Last Day in Long Beach . . .

We started this morning with coffee at 10:30, lunch at 11:30, and then at 12:30 I went down to the office to pick up my package.

About 1:30 I went outside to do some stuff around the rig to get ready to travel tomorrow.  First I put some air in my slightly leaky tire, then I cleaned up around the rig, and also cleaned all the bugs off the front cap that accumulated on the way up from Bend. It was all nice and shiny when we left, but we hit a lot of big juicy ones on the way up here, but a little Awesome took care of them quick.

About 4:30 we headed out with Nick and Terry to meet Bill Joyce and Diane Melde for dinner, with a few stops on the way.

First at the PO for Nick to mail some stuff, on to 42nd St Café where we ate a few days ago. Jan wanted to buy a couple of jars of their homemade jam that we sampled then.

Our next stop was the Coffee Roaster so Terry could check out their whole bean coffees, but she decided that she didn’t like what they had in stock, so it was on to El Compadre, the really good Mexican place we eaten at twice before.

Coming home, we made our usual stop for cappuccino before getting home a little before 7.

We’ve got an early start scheduled tomorrow because, although it’s only about 150 miles to Bremerton, there’s a lot of curves and hills, and I also wanted to get diesel before we leave. So we’ll head about 8:15 to fuel up and then meet up with Nick and Terry about 9 to hit the road.

More tomorrow from Bremerton.

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Thought for the Day:

"Life is never fair…And perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not." Oscar Wilde

dsfgds

Lewis, Clark, and Russell . . .

Today was our last ‘tourist’ day here in Long Beach, so about 11 am we headed out with Nick and Terry down to Warrenton, OR and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

Unlike most National Parks, Lewis and Clark National Park is spread out over several locations in this area, both in Oregon and Washington. In this case we were visiting Fort Clatsop, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered over in 1805-1806. In fact this was their last encampment in this area before heading back to St. Louis in March of 1806.

After watching a couple of videos on the “Corp of Discovery”, as the expedition was actually called, and getting our National Park Passport’s stamped, we walked out to the replica of the fort.

Built in 2006 to replace one built in 1955, that burned down in 2005, it’s based on plans drawn by William Clark. The fort was named for the Clatsop Indians who lived in the area and traded with the expedition.

This drawing will give you an idea on the size and shape of the fort.

Fort_Drawing

Probably the best part of our visit was Ranger ‘Tom’ in period costume telling us about life at the fort.

Fort Clatsop

Lewis 1

It was easy to tell he really enjoys his job. Most of this presentation concerned the weapons and ammo used, In this case, muzzle-loading flintlock rifles, horse pistols, and a air rifle. Yes, a .51 caliber air rifle, just like your Crossman pellet rifle, only a lot bigger. This photo show both rifles, the smaller one being the air rifle.

Lewis Rifles

The ranger also showed us a waterproof lead gunpowder container, developed by Meriwether Lewis, probably with the help of his close friend, then-President Thomas Jefferson.

What is unique about it was its usability. After the powder was emptied out, the lead container could then be melted down to make bullets.

Neat!

Lewis Bullet Container

Here he’s holding the Girandoni Air Rifle, or “Assault Rifle’ as it was also known.

The air was compressed with a hand pump and stored in the buttstock. Fully loaded, it could hold 22 rounds and could fire them as fast as you could pull the trigger.

Definitely the ‘Assault’ rifle of the era.

A little further research revealed some interesting facts about the Girandoni. In fact it has only been recently confirmed that it was a Girandoni at all. There seems to have been a big debate about this over the years due to incomplete information in some cases, and incorrect info in others. There was another air rifle of the period called a Lukens that most scholars seemed to think was the one carried by Lewis, But recent new facts have come to light within the last 5 – 7 years that led to the confirmation of the Girandoni, and even more importantly, the rediscovery of the actual rifle itself, which had been sitting in a private collection since the 1970’s.

The rifle’s identify was confirmed by matching details of the rifle’s damage, repair and markings, as told in Lewis’ journals, with the actual rifle itself.

Lewis Air Rifle

Next Tom gave us a demo of loading and firing the flintlock rifle.

Lewis Rifle Demo 1

After confirming that the barrel is empty with the ramrod, he poured in the coarse gunpowder, and then rammed a moistened cloth patch and a paper spitwad down the barrel. (Apparently they aren’t allowed to use a real lead bullet.)

Then as shown below, he primes the flashpan with fine powder after moving the cock to the half-cock position. Hence the phrase, ‘Don’t go off half-cocked.’ Because your rifle won’t fire that way. It’s like a safety.

Lewis Rifle Demo 2

Then after pulling the cock back to the full-cock position, the rifle is ready to fire.

I took this photo just as Tom fired the rifle. And when you fire a flintlock, you really get fire.

Lewis Rifle Demo 3

Zooming in on the photo shows the burst of flame igniting the powder in the pan and the first puff of smoke. I really lucked out on this shot.

A second later, Tom was enveloped in smoke as the rifle fired.

Lewis Rifle Demo 3 Inset

After that we headed back to the Visitor’s Center, leaving Tom, ever vigilant, guarding the fort.

Lewis Fort 2

Leaving Fort Clatsop, we drove a few miles up the road to Fort Stevens State Park.

We wanted to see the shipwreck that can still be found on the beach there. The Peter Iredale, a four-masted steel-hulled barque, ran aground on October 25, 1906, while on a voyage from Salina Cruz, Mexico to Portland, OR. (BTW a barque, or bark, is just a name for a ship that has three or more masts.)

Peter Iredale 1

Peter Iredale 2

The ship was trying to enter the Columbia River when a sudden squall blew it onto the beach here, and the high winds and rising tide further grounded it.

Seen in this photo, taken the day it grounded, the Peter Iredale, although not badly damaged, was unable to be salvaged, because during the several-weeks wait for favorable weather, the ship so embedded itself in the sand it could not be moved. Most of it was sold for scrap, leaving only the partial bow to mark its gravesite.

1906_peter_iredale_sized

While we were at the beach, Jan decided to feed this one seagull that was flying overhead. But he couldn’t keep quiet about it, so in a few seconds it was like we were under attack,

Seagulls 1

from both the air,

Seagulls 2

and the ground. Like being in a Hitchcock movie.

Seagulls 3

Leaving the beach, we drove over to Fort Stevens itself, so Nick could take some photos of the artillery. At the time we remarked about Battery Russell, one of the fortifications there.

What we didn’t know until I was doing research for this blog, was that Battery Russell, and to a lesser extent, the Peter Iredale, are famous for another reason.

Fort Stevens was the location of the only attack on a U.S. mainland military installation during WWII. On the night of June 21, 1942 a Japanese sub, the I-25, surfaced off the coast of Oregon and fired a number of shells from its deck gun into the fort, causing only slight damage and no casualties.

One of the shells, arcing over the remains of the Ireland, landed near Battery Russell and left this crater. Who knew?

Fort_Stevens_shell_crater,1942

Coming home, we did see this garage decorated with a very colorful fishing net float collection. And when we drove by, the guy was out there adding a new one. Now that’s a hobby.

Garage Floats

Arriving back into Astoria, we made a run by our respective banks, and then it was on to the Golden Luck Chinese Restaurant for the second time. And if anything, it was even better than last time. Really, really good food.

Getting back to the park area, we stopped in a the Shell station for the obligatory cappuccino, then after a stop by the park office to see if my package was in, (It was, but it was locked in the Manager’s office), we were home for the night.

Tomorrow will be a rest up and get ready to travel day, since we leave for Bremerton, WA on Friday morning.

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Thought for the Day:

I’m still looking for that box I am supposed to think out of.

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Beautiful Flowers and Good Mexican . . .

After our 12 hour day yesterday it was nice to sleep in and just take it easy this morning. I got up about 10:30 and fixed us coffee, and then about 11:30 Jan heated up the pizza from Fultano’s Pizza a couple of days ago.

Like most things Italian, it got better with age, and it was differently better than the other night. Of course Jan always spices it up to make it better anyway.

Jan’s really been really enjoying the flowers she got the other day at the Farmer’s Market in Astoria. They seem to be holding up well.

Flowers

While Jan spend the afternoon reading and catnapping,  I went whole-hog and just took a full-on nap. Then about 4:45 Nick and Terry, and Jan and I headed out for dinner once again at Los Compadres, a local Mexican restaurant we ate at last Wednesday. This probably the best Mexican we’ve had since we left Vegas. Strangely enough, the further north we get, the harder it is to get good Mexican. Who knew?

Coming home, we stopped off at the Shell station right down the street from the RV park, to get a cappuccino, and also to confirm that I wouldn’t have a problem fueling up with diesel on our way to Bremerton on Friday. Sometimes stations in small towns have a problem when you come in and want to get $500 – $600 of diesel. But they said “No problem.” So it looks like we’ll be good to go on Friday. And even better, diesel has dropped 12 cents a gallon in the last two. Hopefully it will drop even more by Friday.

On another note, at the Evergreen Aviation Museum yesterday, they had a upstairs exhibit of rifles and handguns, along with hunting dioramas and 12 year old boy’s room in 1956, complete with half a dozen firearms.

Boy's Room

I told Nick that in 1960 when I was 12, I probably had a dozen or so, rifles, shotguns, BB guns, and pellet guns in my room. I also remember in High School in north Alabama, going to school with a shotgun or rifle on the rack in the back window of the truck because we were going hunting after school. Now days, kids get suspended just for drawing a picture of a gun in school, much less bring one to school.

Tomorrow we’re all going down to Lewis and Clark National Park to check it out.

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Thought for the Day:

“War is nothing more than the continuation of politics by other means.” – Carl von Clausewitz

sadfgsdf

Sometimes it’s all worthwhile . . .

After a quick stop at the Post Office, we hit the road this morning about 10 am heading for McMinnville, OR 120 miles away to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum, and of course, the Spruce Goose, aka the Hughes H-4 Hercules.

Because of road repairs and the sucky weather, we didn’t get to the Museum until about 2 pm.

And the first thing I noticed about the Evergreen Aviation Museum was the many ‘exceptional’ one-of-a-kind items on display.

For example, the C-47 / DC-3 below. Pretty much every aviation museum has one. Heck, Jan and I have even flown in several. But this one is special.

It flew in the D-Day Landing, dropping paratroopers in Normandy, France. How’s that for special!

C-47

And besides the Spruce Goose, Evergreen has another ‘Goose’. The ‘Tin Goose’, Ford’s entry into aircraft manufacturing. Since the Model T was nicknamed the ‘Tin Lizzie’, the Ford Tri-Motor became the ‘Tin Goose’. About 200 were built including the ones I flew on in the early 60’s in South America. Although by then, the centerline engine had been removed and the two wing-mounted engines replaced by newer, more powerful ones.

Ford Tri-Motor 2

This photo shows a better view of the Tri-Motor’s unique corrugated sheet metal skin, making it light, but very strong.

Ford Tri-Motor 3

Next we have this beautiful example of a 1939 Beech D17A Traveler, better known as the ‘Staggerwing’ Beech, because its lower wing was mounted ahead of the upper wing, the reverse of normal at the time. This aircraft is the last of the 17A’s known to exist, and is probably the one used by Winston Churchill during his 1963 Idaho fishing trip.

The Staggerwing, introduced in 1932, was the first aircraft produced by Beech, and was in production until 1948 when it was replaced by the Beech V-Tail Bonanza.

Beech Staggerwing

Another plane I had never seen in person before was this Republic RC-3 Seabee. This little civilian amphibian’s claim to fame is that it was used in several movies, including 1974’s James Bond flick, ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’.

RC-3 Seabee

And this B-17 is also a James Bond alumni, 1965’s ‘Thunderball’.

B-17 Thunderball

Here’s another one under the heading of ‘aircraft I’ve never seen before’, McDonnell’s 1946 version of Germany’s V-1 Buzz Bomb. Also using a pulse jet, it was used as a target drone by the US Navy, and unlike the V-1, it could be radio-controlled.

KDD-1 Katydid

This P-38L Lighting is considered one of the finest examples of that aircraft still in existence.

P-38

In 2007 we got to see ‘Glacier Girl’ at the ‘Wings Over Houston’ Airshow. ‘Glacier Girl is the P-38 that was recovered from almost 300 feet under the Greenland Ice Sheet, and restored to flyable condition.

Glacier Girl

Done up in the paint of the ‘Flying Tigers’ the P-40 Warhawk were the only few planes to get in the air during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

P-40 Warhawk

Another plane I had never seen in person is this de-Havilland D.H. 100 Vampire fighter. Originally named the ‘Spider Crab’ (glad they changed that!), it was the 2nd single-engine British fighter to go into service right at the end of WWII.

Vampire Fighter

de-Havilland-Vampire-34-03

These next two are examples of Hitler’s ‘Vengeance’ weapons. This V-1 ‘Buzz Bomb’ is actually the American version, the JB-2 Loon, one of what was to be thousands of mass-produced copies, launched from ships and submarines during the Invasion of Japan, which of course never happened due to the dropping of the A-Bomb.

V-1 Buzz Bomb

Germany’s V-2 rocket was the world’s first ballistic missile, over 3000 of which rained down on London and Antwerp.

JB-2 Rocket

Then we have the other end of the ballistic missile spectrum, and again, something I’ve never seen in person, a Titan II missile, complete with its launch complex.

Titan 1

Titan 2

110 feet tall, the Titan II could carry a 35 megaton warhead, and until it began being replaced by the Minuteman ICBM in the mid-60’s it formed the backbone of America’s missile defense.

The Titan II was later repurposed by NASA to launch twelve Gemini space flights.

Tital Control Room

This is the Hiller 1031 ‘Flying Platform’, kind of a modern flying carpet. What a way to commute.

Hiller Flying Platform

Of course, if the engine quit you just fell out of the sky.

Never mind.

HILL_lg

Next we have probably my favorite aircraft of all time, the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest plane in the world. Although officially its top speed was about Mach 3 (2200 mph) pilots have said whenever they pushed the throttle forward, it just went faster. Some have said they think it would just fly faster and faster until the engines blew up, but no one knows at what speed that would happen.

Ever time a missile was fired at it, they just pushed the throttle forward a little more and outran it.

SR-71

Here’s a better shot.

SR-71A_04

I’ve seen SR-71’s all around the country and I’ve never seen one with its Start Cart.

Powered by two Buick Wildcat V-8 engines, it was the only way to light off an SR-71 unless you had a high pressure air source.

SR-71 Start Cart

And the gray box in the center of this photo is something I haven’t seen before, at least at a museum.

SR-71 Black Box

The last time I saw one was a late night in 1971 at Otis AFB on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I was working as a DOD civilian contractor on the night shift in the Electronics Shop, and was commandeered by an Air Force Colonel and two armed MPs, taken to the far side of the base, shown a very strange-looking plane surrounded by flood lights and more armed MPs.

I was then told that that gray box was broken and I needed to fix it. When I ask what it was, I was told, “You’re not cleared for that”. When I asked what it was supposed to do, “You’re not cleared for that”.

When I asked if I could see some tech manuals or schematics, guess what?

Yep! I wasn’t cleared for that that, either.

So I took the box back to the shop and got to work.  And after about two hours I kind of figured out was it was supposed to do, and tracked down a bad relay, luckily a standard one I had in stock, and got it working.

And it’s not easy working with two armed MP’s standing over you, believe me. They even followed me to the bathroom. I mean why, I didn’t take the box with me!

So back to the flight line we go, and reinstall the box. Then, getting out of a station wagon parked over to the side, a guy in a flight suit climbs into the cockpit, flicks a few switches, waits a few seconds, and then gives the colonel a thumbs up.

Back in the jeep we go, and back to the shop. After we parked and I got out, the colonel says, “We were never here, you were never there, you never saw that plane”.

I said, “What plane?” He smiled slightly and drove off.

And that was my last adventure into the world of black ops and spy stuff.

Below, this is the D-21 drone, made to be launched from the M-21 variant of the A-12, which was a predecessor to the SR-71. (Are you getting all this?) It was supposed to overfly reconnaissance targets even faster than the SR-71, drop its film package to be recovered later, and then self-destruct.

It was never really successful, and actually caused the crash of an M-21 and the death of one of one of the crew.

M21 Drone

sr71 with piggyback drone

And now for the big, and I do mean BIG, finish to our trip. And this is what makes following Nick Russell around, fixing everything he breaks, (and he breaks a lot of stuff, believe me), and even working on his leaky black tank valve and getting covered in poo.

He got the four of us, a personal tour by Larry Woods, the Evergreen Aviation Museum’s Executive Director, of the flight deck of the Spruce Goose.

Wow!

Spruce Goose 1

It’s hard to imagine how big this plane is. At almost 220 feet long, and a wingspan of 320 feet, it is one of the four largest planes ever built, and still the one with the largest wingspan. With its 8 4000 hp engines, it was designed to carry 120,000 pounds of cargo over 3000 miles.

Spruce Goose Flying

It only flew once, in November of 1947, in the middle of Congressional hearings on cost overruns on the project. That flight covered about a mile, and got about 70 feet in the air.

And it’s almost made out of wood. But not spruce. It’s most birch.

But I guess ‘Birch Goose’ just doesn’t have the same ring.

Spruce Goose 2

And suddenly there we were there, on the actual flight deck, walking where Howard Hughes had walked.

Spruce Goose 3

Jan even had to go up and touch the seat where Hughes sat.

Spruce Goose 4

These are just part of the gauges to monitor the 8 engines.

Spruce Goose 5

This shot looks down into the interior of the wing itself. Mechanics could crawl down into there and work on the engines IN FLIGHT! That’s how big it is.

Spruce Goose 6

And here’s a wider view of the flight deck. You could dance in there.

Spruce Goose 7

I want to thank Nick again for this special treat for Jan and I. We’re both plane ‘buffs’ and we’ll always remember this.

After a full three hours we headed home about 5 pm, well, not exactly home, but to Angelina’s Pizza in Seaside where we met Eldy and Jeanne for dinner.

Eldy and Jeanne

They said the pizza was great, and they were right. Much, much better than Fultano’s Pizza a few days ago.

And no goat, either.

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Thought for the Day:

Those who pay no taxes have no check on their appetite for services.

gsdfg

Short, but Sweet . . .

I had coffee alone this morning because Jan left about 10:30 with Terry and Diane Melde to head over to the Astoria Farmer’s Market to spend the day shopping.

That left Nick and I to stay home and work. He caught up on some business stuff and his writing while I did some client Internet stuff.

Everyone got back about 2:30 and then about 5 pm we all headed out to get some dinner. After a lot of back and forth, we ended up at 42nd St. Café in Seaview.

It turned out to be pretty good, but kind of pricey. But that seems par for the course around here. But it is a tourist town, after all.

Tomorrow Nick and Terry, and Jan and I are heading down to McMinnville, OR to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum, home of the Spruce Goose.

Then coming home, we’re going to stop over in Seaside to have dinner with our friend’s Jeanne and Eldy.

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Thought for the Day:

When trouble comes, it’s not how many friends you have that counts − it’s what kind of friends they are.

asdfadsf

Dragons and Centipedes . . .

After coffee and bagels about 10:30, we headed out about 1 pm with Nick and Terry to visit the World Kite Museum here in Long Beach, WA.

This somewhat-unassuming building houses one of the best kite collections in the world.

Kite Museum

Starting with kites made from grass, leaves, and twigs,

Kites 10

to kites that look like wall hangings,

Kites 1

Kites 4

and even priceless tapestries, to

Kites 5

prehistoric reptiles,

Kites 11

dragons, or even

Kites 2

a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

This Phoenix kite has a 25 foot wingspan.

Kites 3

These centipede, or disc, kites have been around for over 1000 years and can have from 4 to hundreds of segments.

Kites 7

The fancier ones even have one or more dragon heads.

Kites 6

Kites 9

They even have kites that look like flying horses.

Kites 8

They also had a display of ‘working’ kites. These ‘barrage’ kites were flown over convoy ships during WWII to help protect them from attack. The piano wire tethers would shear off the wings of attacking planes.

Kites 13

And these kites tow kiteboarders through the water without needing a tow boat.

Kites 12

We spent almost two hours enjoying the museum with our guide, Kay, who gave us an excellent tour.

Nick and I even ending up buying kites of our own.

Leaving the museum, and after a quick stop at Marsh’s Free Museum to exchange a gift, we headed out to Cape Disappointment State Park, on the northern side of the entrance to the Columbia River.

We started out on the north jetty looking out over the Pacific Ocean.

Cape D 3

From there we could look back at the bluff overlooking the channel.

Cape D 4

Parking closer in, we found a neat lighthouse, and a beach with swimmers and boaters.

Cape D 1

Cape D 2

We also found a plaque that listed this beach as the place Lewis and Clark declared the end of their treacherous journey to reach the Pacific.

Now that’s history.

Deciding we were all hungry for Chinese, we headed over to Astoria to eat at the Golden Luck Restaurant, a place recommended to us by Bill Joyce and Diane Melde.

And they were right. Everyone really enjoyed it and decided it was a place we certainly want to come back to.

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Thought for the Day:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. – Robert A. Heinlein

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Lightships and Goat Cheese . . .

Jan woke up with a migraine this morning so we took things kind of easy with coffee for breakfast, and then about 11:30 she fixed us grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

But by 2 pm she was feeling better so Nick and Terry, and Jan and I headed over to the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Located right along the Columbia River, the museum tells the history of the river starting from its official discovery in 1792 to the large container ships making passage today.

Columbia River Maritime Museum

Astoria was once the home of over 30 canneries, and fishing has played an important part in its history. Built in 1945, this sturdy boat, or troller, was used for salmon fishing up until 1998, when it was donated to the museum.

Salmon Troller

Something I found really interesting was this photo of the USS Missouri firing its 16 inch guns during Desert Storm. At the far left in this shot you can see a black speck.

USS Missouri

That is this 2700 pound shell leaving the gun barrel at Mach 2 and traveling over 20 miles before striking its target with deadly accuracy.

16 inch Shell

They also had many displays of sailing tools and equipment,

Columbia Museum Display

including this 1944 Diving Suit. Note the hand-pumped compressor in the box on the left. Better not make the guy running the pump mad at you when you’re on the bottom.

1944 Diving Suit

The museum even had a large display of tattoo art, but no pictures were allowed, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

We next went outside to tour the Lightship Columbia. A ‘lightship’ is a floating lighthouse, used where a land-based lighthouse can not be used.

There was a lightship on station at the mouth of the Columbia River since 1892, and the Columbia, last of its kind, was replaced in 1979 by the LNB (Lighted Navigation Buoy) shown in the forefront of this photo. At some point this buoy was replaced with something else, although I wasn’t able to find out what.

Lightship Columbia

As we were leaving the museum, we saw the Old Riverfront Trolley trundle past. What was unusual was the little wagon it was towing behind. A closer look showed it was a diesel generator!

A little research gave me the answer. This trolley, the only one on the line here, was built in 1913 for the San Antonio Traction Company in San Antonio, TX. It ran there until 1933 when the trolleys were replaced by buses.

Since then it was passed around by several museums until it was obtained by the city of Astoria in 1998. Originally its electric traction motors were powered by pantographs that reached up to overhead wires.

However Astoria decided that rather than wire up the city with overhead electrical wires, they would just tow along a diesel generator behind the trolley to furnish the power. Kind of neat when you think about it.

Riverside Trolley

Leaving the museum, we drove about 10 miles away to Warrenton, OR so Nick could go by Staples and pick up mailing envelopes for the upcoming issue of the Gypsy Journal.

Then coming home, we stopped off at Fultano’s Pizza for dinner. But the first thing we saw pulling into the parking lot was a goat.

Pizza Goat

I guess this means the goat cheese pizza will be really fresh.

And although the reviews were good, the food was so-so. The salad bar was really good, but it went downhill from there.

But Miss Terry made up for it. On the way home we stopped for cappuccinos, and then we had a piece of her fresh strawberry pie with homemade whipped cream.

Really good!

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Thought for the Day:

In disciplining kids, I find random spankings the most effective. This way they have to keep guessing what they did wrong.

fgs