Saturday, June 16, 2007

I guess they just have to learn to hold it.
WW's Phone

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Cruising the straightaway

We are just driving in a very straight line right now.
Triple trucks going our way, lots of traffic going the other way.
Thousands of contruction barrels on both directions.
Lorraine is our GPS navigation system. We named her in Chicago after a VERY helpful person that drove the shuttle van for the Hyatt at McCormick. She helped guide us to where we wanted to go even when we had no clue where we did want to go. She liked her job, she liked the idea of The Adventure(TM) , and she could find a way through some of the nastiest traffic situations. Lorraine (the GPS) has been very helpful to us throughout this trip. She even found the Shroeder's compound that is hidden in the middle of gigantic corn fields.
Today is Lorraine's day off. The nine-inch display just shows a straight line. Nothing, no turns, the state border is 97 miles away and then there is a straight followed imediately by a straight.
182 miles before the next curve.
By the way, after this post I will switch my postings to the current time zone. It is 11:50 here.
I don't want Dad to think that we are staying up until 1am just to enter stuff in the blog.

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Hunter S. Thompson R.I.P.

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like, "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive . . ."And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about 100 miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?"

Derek's favorite movie was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It also was the movie that convinced him that Johnny Depp was a REALLY good actor and was worthy of being his favorite actor. The story that Hunter S. Thompson wrote for Rolling Stone magazine way back then really changed journalism. Gonzo journalism. When I majored in journalism in college, gonzo journalism wasn't taught in any of my classes but I studied it whenever I could. Hunter was not the type of person that you try to explain to your kid but just as I happened to find the same religion that my father did, Derek found that gonzo journalism made for a very exciting read.
I said READ, not do. Only people like Hunter or Keith Richards could live a life like that and stay alive. It's like listening to "infotainment news", as long as you know it isn't real life, it can be fun to watch; just always remember that it isn't real for people that have any brain cells left or have any wish to treat their fellow man with any respect or dignity.
OK, I seem to be spiraling now, time to load the van and check out the strip. I will not partake in any of the potions that Hunter and his attorney used to make Las Vegas such an interesting vacation spot, but we will enjoy the lights, the buildings, the Vegas.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The badlands

The last time the little woman and I crossed a desert of any type we were in a sunshine yeller Corvair convertible, black top, black seats, air cooled engine, air cooled passengers. They sure don make em like that no more. It was hot. Steve and I useta take turns rubbing ice on Beth whenever she would pass out from the heat. These here modern cars we got today you hardly break a sweat and then only when you are runnin fer the outhouse, which they have scattered all over the place nowadays. Why, when we were young you had to pretend to want somethin in a store or diner in order to get some plumbin.

Why, since the last time we came thru, they chopped a slot through the Utah Reef. Everyone hadda go round, and we weren't allowed to complain about it neither. We just did it. Now seven minutes... zip... right thru, and then they give you a place to park to marvel at whatcha jest done, and they put a crapper there fer ya too, jest in case.

We haven't bought ice once, and they don't even SELL those canvas sweat bags to cool down your water anymore. I guess they don't work as efficiently with a plastic bottle of fancy store-bought water in em.
Things are so impressive around here that I think that if we drove around the corner and saw Mount Rushmore right there in front of us with those big faces an all, it would just seem kinda lame, what with all the fancy strata we got right here like a rollin movie screen. Every five minutes there is some spectacular view like we'd never seen before.
Back east there's someone I met in a saloon in Redhook by the name of Bart. When he heard that we was plannin to mosey up the left coast of Californication, he warned us about the problem with “too much beauty”. He was explainin how you go around a corner and see one view that is better than you have ever seen before. You go around the next corner and see ANOTHER view that's better than ANY view that you have ever seen before. Another corner, another view. You can't imagine it could get any better and then you take a corner. After awhile you are going around corners and adjusting your radio at the same time.
Well here I am doin my copiloting duties while typing this letter and then every forty to sixty seconds I snatch up the camera and take another picture that nobody will ever look at. I have a super-duper battery charger that recharges my AA batteries in fifteen minutes start to finish. If I didn't have that charger and three sets of batteries I would either have to be stoppin in at every store there is to buy more batteries or not take the pictures, that of course would be more logical, but then I would be whinin that I missed some important shot. Even more than I am now about some funny pictures I missed because the camera takes too long to kick into gear. They jest don make em like they used to. Why when I was young the cameras used to just take a picture – SNAP – and it was over. No waiting, no focusin, twenty four wonderful pictures that you never developed. Throw the film into your junk drawer for safe keepin... and well, that's what we did with em. Other people would develop their rolls, and we got to see their pictures of their stuff, which was probably better than the pictures I took anyway, but I'm digressin agin, whut was a talkin about?, oh yeah, when I was young you useta....

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Everything is BIG

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Cruising at the end of Colorado

I noticed that I was picking up an internet connection so I took a break from organizing previous photos and taking new photos to update a few bits of correspondence to the blog.

I suddenly saw these VERY large ventilation fans sticking out of the ground. I said to Beth that I thought there is an underground facility here. It wasn't a secure area, no fences or anything, probably a storage facility, but it did have very big fans.

We took the next exit for a break and I took a picture of a neat truck, sure enough the truck was owned by Halliburton.

There were a few motels around, a few places to eat, and no other visible businesses. Back on the highway there was a huge beat up chevy that caught my eye because of the gigantic "HOW AM I DRIVING" sticker on the back end. Sure enough the name Halliburton was painted on the drivers door. A really beat up "desert" car.

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From: Erin

Date: Jun 14, 2007 11:52 AM

Dear Beth and Warren,
Hi! Hope your trip is going well!!! Graduation is in 2 days and I am so nervous! It's been a rush...anyway, I just wanted to let you know that Michelle Russell won Derek's scholarship. She is the sweetest girl and the money will help her out tremendously. She was definitely a great choice. Jon, Dan and Will all did great with the speaking. Will was hilarious as usual. I just thought you would like to know and I can only imagine the adventures you must be having!
Looking forward to talking to you soon!
Erin of the Wallace Street Gang

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Dialog with Harv

From: Harv

Question: Hey Harv, we have just entered Colorado. There is a temporary rainstorm so Beth had to slow down to 70MPH. I wanted to send an email to ask for suggestions, or I guess if I send it through this website the
question should be "do you have a recommended plan for us?" We are on Route 70 heading towards Denver.
Yer pal, Warren


Hi Warren!
Recommended plan: SLOW DOWN! :-)
I've forwarded your email to Harv

Have fun!
Best regards,


On 6/13/07, Harv wrote:

Warren and Beth:
[If you don't receive this, please let me know right away - chuckle, chuckle, chuckle...)
You're likely to Denver by now...and, by our time, it's 7:45 there now time to get up and moving!!!

Time, desire and direction will determine what to see, where to, you need to help me here.

In Denver, the new Museum of Art downtown is spectacular, the Museum of Natural History on Colorado Boulevard (east of downtown) is great. The downtown 16th Street walking mall is funky and sorta fun. Also lots of other "attractions" - but, again, time, desire and direction. Boulder, the University of Colorado, is about 30-35 miles northwest of downtown. Estaes Park, the entry to Rocky Mountain National Park, is further northwest from Boulder by about 40 miles or so...RMNP is fantastic! Then, depending on where you want to end up next, I could give you additional, please receive this message...then get back to me about your schedule, direction, etc.
Glad you're having a wahooo time!!!
Love from all here...keep smiling...and thriving...
Harv...for the crew

Hi Harv,

We did receive your message. We are in Castle Rock, which I think is about 30 minutes to Denver. We had planned to stay in Denver last night, but torrential rain made our decision to park here. Pretty town. So...........about our time table, we have to be in San Francisco by the 20th.

So I guess the question is should we spend more than a day. I have looked on line and there is so many places to see, looks like you could park here a while. Our thought was to see a couple of things today and head off on route 70. We think our plan is to drive thru to Utah and then the corner of Nevada, then up toward San Francisco. If you have more input would love it as we know you are so familiar with this part of the country. So..................... Look forward to a response.

Love Colorado already, stunning, big, beautiful. Lets hear from you

Big Hugs, Beth

On 6/13/07, Harv wrote:

Warren and Beth: Well…this is GREAT!! Glad we're in contact…

You've got it right – too much to see…and you've just scratched the surface…it's a HUGE state, with LOTS of things to see. [I spent 10 years there---and there are still things I haven't seen that I want to see!!]

You really should get up to Denver for a day…sights mentioned earlier plus whatever you happen upon. Then, up to Estes Park, through Rocky Mountain National Park, back south over Berthoud Pass on US 40 to I-70 just below Empire. I-70 west to Copper Mountain, Colorado, then Colorado 91 south to Climax and Leadville, then Route 24 south to route 82 west, over Independence Pass to Aspen…Continue on 82 to Glenwood Springs (HUGE Hot Springs pool there if you'd like a dip), then re-connect with I70 to continue your trip west into Utah. While it might be enticing to stay on 70…fast, etc., there's not much to see. I'd suggest that, once in Utah, you head for Canyonlands, Bryce and Zion National Parks (all in the south of the state), at least, before "getting' it on" with a bee-line for San Francisco. Indeed, on the approach to San Francisco, consider coming into Yosemite from the east, via Rt. 395 and, then, Rt. 120 through the park itself…absolutely stunning…You head out on 120 and 108, eventually getting to "the 205" and "the 580" to Castro Valley and up to "the 80" over and into SF. As you're finding…too much to see, even on your extended "schedule!!" Be well…

Love from all

Harv…and the gang

To: Harv

OK, we've marked our map, I finished writing a little for the blog and we are going to load up and head to Denver. As you think of things, just keep sending quick ideas. We will see them when I plug in while Beth is driving. I can't get reception everywhere, but this will be really helpful. Our Indiana guide could help us this far but doesn't know the mountain area.
Thanks a lot,


On 6/14/07, Harv wrote:

Warren and Beth:

Hope you had a GREAT day in and about Denver and, perhaps, into the mountains. Weather looks phenomenal for the next 10 days…enjoy your time there. Alyssa and Tori send their love…and encouragement on your "discovery adventure!!" Travel safe…

Harv and the crew

p.s. where do I find your blog?


From: Harv
Date: Jun 15, 2007 10:02 AM

Warren and Beth:

Thank you for the reference – I've been to the blog and have gone through ALL – what a treasure you bring to us…it reads as you ARE – light, bright, fun.

A bit of additional reference for you: I'm so happy you discovered the Denver Botanical Gardens. Let me add some personal depth for you: The main "mover and shaker" to establish that facility was a friend and colleague, Dr. Jack Durrance, with whom I worked in the 60s at the University of Colorado Medical Center (indeed, I dated his daughter, Charis, for a while). Jack came from a mighty outdoors family…he was a significant technical climber in his time – ascent routes in the Tetons are named after him, first ascent, etc. His brother, Dick Durrance, was a major "player" in the ski movie market…one of the pioneers…leading into two other well-known ski/outdoor movie makers, Warren Miller – and WARREN WITHERELL, the movie maker! Dick Durrance had/has a home in Aspen, where I used to visit (dating his niece, after all!!), in the middle of the middle of Red Mountain, the hill facing opposite Aspen mountain. It's the house that looks like the St. Louis Arch – upside down U-shaped front…if it's still there…you might peek for it if you pass through thataways!!

Note about Utah: I forgot to suggest that you consider also stopping by Arches National Park, over near Canyonlands and before you'd reach Bryce and Zion…really lotsa additional beauty there. Also, if you'd want to see another spectacular mountain area of Colorado, down in the southwest there's Ouray, Silverton, Telluride and Durango – plus, Mesa Verde, the fantastic and mystical Anasazi Ruins area. Then, from there, you could loop up to Arches, Canyonlands and on to Bryce, Zion, etc. on your way to your Californication…

Tears also on the 30th here – and the vignettes about the Dragonflies of that day are so, soo telling… Travel safely…and with googly eyes… We all send our love…

Harv, Doreen, the girls…and the gang


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From Beth to J&J

Date: Jun 15, 2007 9:42 AM
Subject: Re: Boulder Travels

Dear Janis and John,
Oh how I wish we did not have a deadline to California, but alas we do. We definitely will have to be back in this area, to much to see and do. My eyes are still glazed over from all the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. We did see some of Denver, then went on to Nederland, arrived early evening. Had dinner at a pub, prime rib that was smoked, yum............ Stayed at a Best western Lodge that was looking out on a river and the back side of the main st. Loved the town. Nice laid back atmosphere, you described it perfectly John. Got up in the morning and by the time we got going and talked with the visitors center, decided we would go directly to the Peak to Peak drive. It was a good thing that we did, took a good part of the day. Before entering the RMNP we had lunch in Estes Park. Reminded me of Maine towns except you had the mountains instead of the beach. Warren was able to find my dad a carbon steel blade knife, which he has been wanting for a while, but unable to find it. So then off thru the park which was of course breathtaking in more than one way. Saw many critters and the camera was being used like a marathon. So we ended up getting back on rt 70
till we ended up bedding down in Dillon right off the highway, had our cereal for supper and then to bed.
This morning we are headed out and hope to be in Utah by afternoon. Our GPS system in the car has saved us many many times, a good investment. Well Warren is back from breakfast and I must get this off to you.
We miss you, and are very sad not to be able to wish Erin a congratulation in person on her graduation. She has done well and I'm sure she will continue to delight you, as she has always done.
Have a grand day on Saturday and I hope the weather is perfect. Hi To Mac, tell her I will be sending her some mail too. Thanks for all the tips for boulder, will have to wait till later. Off we go.
Love Hugs and Kisses, We miss you all.
Beth and Warren

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From: Janis
Date: Jun 14, 2007 9:23 AM
Subject: Boulder Travels

Dear, dear friends!
I am an extremely poor and inconsistent communicator but a large peice of my heart travels with you EVERY day. Truly. Not an hour before you called yesterday evening we were speculating as to where you were that day, and now we can REALLY picture you on your way!
Boulder ideas:
Chataqua: a beautiful park, with a music hall (rehersals open to the public and free), restaurant, quaint old sumer cottages reminiscent of Martha's Vineyard. Silent Film Festival going on now, we think. Address: 900 Baseline (at the very end of 9th Street) in the foothills.
Great walks all over into the foothills of the Rockies.
Dushabe Teahouse: an authentic tea house transported from Tajikistan. Beautiful. Serves tea, meals. 1770 Arapahoe between Arapahoe and 13th St.
Outdoor Cinema: in a parking lot! (behind Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art) 1750 13th Street. NOT classy but fun (bring own lawn chairs) riday night is "Little Miss Sunshine" and Saturday is "Sandlot".
MCGUCKIN'S HARDWARE !!! My favorite hardware store ever! 2525 Arapahoe
Creek Walk: all along the creek that runs through Boulder
Hotel Boulderado: Cool old hotel with lots of hisotry. & Restaurant.
Farmer's Market (near the Teahouse) on Saturday 8-2 & Wed. PM. Beautiful bounty.
Pearl Street Walking Mall: commercial but also fun as lots of independent stores, galleries too. Between 9th and 15th Streets (Boulder Book Store is very good + has used). I think around Pearl Street and 8th are two of the good bookstores, one with a small cafe and you can browse for hours, and used books. Then a good mystery bookstore up a few doors, I think.
Nederland: Small hill town out of the 1860's and 1960's! Nice drive up the canyon road (we think Rt. 119) and a good rock shop (Nature's Own).
Trailridge Tundra field: near the Continental Divide. A populated walk but it is incredibly cool to actually walk through a field of tundra. Not a long walk but can be very cool even on warm day so take coats!
Peak to Peak drive, from Nederalnd, on Rt. 72 also a treat. Goes into the back entrance of Estes Park
We go with you in our spirits and in our dreams......Take GREAT care of yourselves and our hearts.
Love, J & J

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Joe Shea said...

Hi Guys,You look MARVELEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!I am so glad that you are having so much fun. Beth, that smile is the one I remember - keep it up. As for WW's smile - well- that's his usual "OK take the picture" smile. Love Ya Both
June 15, 2007 12:16 PM

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We found these very rocky mountains along the road...

Click here to see a sample from the zillions of pictures that we took today.
Over and out.

Joe Shea said...
Hi Guys,You look MARVELEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!
am so glad that you are having so much fun. Beth, that smile is the one I remember - keep it up. As for WW's smile - well- that's his usual "OK take the picture" smile.
Love Ya Both June 15, 2007 12:16 PM
Anonymous said...
Hi, So glad to hear from you! How is Vegas without me? Did you just love the pirates? David used to want to watch them over and over even though we all knew the outcome.
I get to go back next year for my 50th with my friends from high school.
I'll check this more often, promise!
June 17, 2007 11:01 AM
Anonymous said...
Hi, That was me, you know how I am with computer stuff, aughhhhhhhhh, anyways,
Love you! Mary June 17, 2007 11:02 AM

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens
I uploaded a billion flower pictures for Dad. Most folks wouldn't be interested unless you are really into flowers and plants and gardening like Kay, Dad, etc etc
(Dad, click on the underlined LINK above)

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Backdated stuff

Added June 13th. We are in Colorado but I am adding these with the dates that they were taken. There are long boring photo albums too.

From St Louis:
A photo from the St Louis Arch

And a photo representing how easy it is to get around.
Road signs in St Louis.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Denver botanical gardens
WW's Phone

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A Castle Rock restaurant.

We checked on-line for people-reviews of local restaurants and I decided that it was time for a good meal. We went to The Old Stone Church restaurant. Very Good. We shared a meal (because we have been doing that lately because we don't have a home to take the leftovers to) of Commander’s Pasta: Cajun Andouille sausage sautéed with shrimp, garlic, wine and cream, tossed with fettuccine. Our server was Dana (who is going to school at Simmon's College in Boston) who is far better than most waitresses with twice her experience (Dana, if you read this, my neice and her husband are in the restaurant business in Boston, I will connect you if you wish. Excellent service, excellent food, I am going to enter my opinions on the people-review sites.


Jenny said...
i guess it's just as well that you didn't meet up with alberto the morning you left nyc, for you may have stayed longer for vespa riding and squid ink pasta and ended up at the mermaid parade. my how you are trucking, have a coors for dad now that you are at the rockies.
June 13, 2007 12:32 PM

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Castle Rock, Colorado.

Very Impressive.

We were on the highway and then when there was an option to do it, we turned left onto a secondary road. Beauuuutiful country. The herds of cattle of Kansas were replaced by herds of horses, well not actually replaced, we suspect that the cattle were still back where we saw them last (at one point a large group was huddled under a sign for "BEEF BUFFET -- ALL YOU CAN EAT", but our camera wasn't fast enough to catch it), but we saw herds of horses scattered around while we were here in Colorado. Maureen T. would have been trying to stuff them into her trailer for "adoption".

Beth wrote notes:

pheasant: a ringneck pheasant ran across the road

yucca plants: I don't know what they are, but I remember my mother and Beth's dad liked them. I like the name.

purple flowers: We stopped so Beth could take a close up photos (Aster?)

The flatlands of Kansas gave way to the incredible rolling hills of Colorado. We are now at an elevation of 6600 feet but we got here gradually, up - down - up -down, but I guess all in all there was more up than down.

We could smell the ionization in the air that meant we were going to be coming into some lightning soon, sure enough the rain started to gush. We decided to settle down for the night in Castle Rock. When we came into town we found out why it is called that. It was dark and stormy with lightning all around and this large lump comes looming out of the murkiness that looked just like Dr. Strange's castle that is seen at the beginning of Aqua Teen Hunger Force shows. Pretty neat. Later in the evening it actually looked like a respectable geological formation, but the castle image was unforgettable.

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Before we left, lots of people had a LOT of suggestions about where to go. We only had one item of interest in North Dakota and NO suggestions for Kansas or Oklahoma.

We expected Kansas to be flat. Just flat. Our goal would be to get to the western border. The last time Beth and I crossed Kansas it was on route 80. This time we took route 70. We have a new appreciation of Kansas. It was lovely. The eastern half had beautiful rolling hills and a lot of interesting farms, livestock, and equipment. Now remember, we are traveling in June and everything is VERY green and August might be dry and oppressive, but June is a terrific time to see it. If you were a teenager it would be brutal. Miles between houses. Nothing to do but get in trouble. But as an adult that doesn't have to slow down the car I highly recommend it. Cattle everywhere and it's the season for a lot of little calves. Lots of em. They are soooo cute. All head, no body - no hamburger yet.

The coolest tractors. I couldn't get pictures because they move too fast. They is this version that is way up on posts that is used to spray the fields, it has a long nose and looks like a land speeder in Star-Wars. They scream around really fast. A lot of the road construction equipment like graders and rollers are pulled by the big eight wheel John Deere tractors because that is what everyone is used to working with.

Halfway through the state things smooth out and become flat. There is a lot of trucking here. With the trucks come businesses that try to get money from the truckers that otherwise would have no reason to stop. There are thousands of "Adult Stores - warehouses - giant - xxx - live - couples - etc etc" (sex shops, and of course a few signs for "injury lawyers", I am sure that it is not a big stretch from being the manager of a cinder-block store that sells toys and supplies to truck drivers that travel alone to expand your business to be an injury-lawyer).

We thought of Kansas as kind of wholesome but there are at least forty "intimate fantasy" stores for every one in New York City. In between the sex billboards are the usual save your soul billboards but they aren't maintained and are pretty run down.

Ok, I know I haven't painted a pretty picture of Kansas, but that is only because I veered off talking about the billboards. Looking PAST the billboards was great. The western half of Kansas did get flatter and flatter, but the cattle still seemed to be enjoying themselves. We did too.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

WW's Phone

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WW's Phone

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WW's Phone

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It can get confusing sometimes...

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St Louis Arch

I guess it isn't quite as big as I was expecting...

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

We went huntin for a herd of tractors.

We got a call that there were some antique tractors in town getting ready for a show or tour or something.

Tom fired up Lou's old Marmon, Kim and Mike got in the rumble seat, I got in the passenger seat and off we went.

We found the empty trailers but no tractors. So we started driving around looking for them.

We found a bait shop run by an Elvis fan, but she had not seen the tractors. We found a golf-cart with a lowboy hauler trailer on the back. I jumped out to take pictures of course. They hadn't seen any tractors either, but we got to see a picture of one of the forty PEDAL-CARS that the old feller had made.

Click here to see us Lookin for the herd of tractors

They sent us in a certain direction but it turns out that it was the wrong way too, but we didn't mind, we hit pay-dirt!

We spotted what looked like an old trolley car in a barn so we decided to turn around and ask the guy cooking something in the front yard if HE had seen any tractors. This guy is my HERO.

This guy was using a large steam boiler to run a stainless steel cooker.

He hadn't seen the tractors but he knew where they were going, in fact they were coming to his place for lunch.

I took pictures of the old tractors that were right behind him.

We spotted some old looking stuff through a doorway behind him, we asked if we could take a peek, he said sure go ahead. I was very busy taking lots of pictures of lots of stuff in an incredibly organized shed.

When we were finishing up Tom started talking to the guy and complimenting him about his wonderful collection.

His response was "Oh you ain't seen NOTHING yet..." which stopped me cold. We looked around the back of the shed and then he told us to go across the street to see some other stuff. We did. It was amazing. Everything as neat as could be. We went back and talked all about scram-jets, exploding stuff, noisy stuff, fast stuff. It was awesome. He builds his own jet engines using old turbochargers (they are already balanced). He occasionally scorches off large areas of turf when he fires up some of the great stuff. I am getting giddy just thinking of it again.

HIS goal is to weasel a ride in an F-15 fighter jet. He has two sons that work on maintenance of jets, one on F-15's and another one on military cargo jets, but he doesn't think he has an in yet. I would love to find a connection to get this guy up there. If you would like to see how a very organized person handles a terrific collection check out this picture album. It's amazing, this is better than the carp.

Click here to SEE THE STUFF

And then we went on to have a very successful day -- yada yada yada

I'll explain after I sleep.



braankraayon said...
That shed looks like an engineers paradise,Warren. You must have been like a kid in a candy store.
June 10, 2007 12:39 PM

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