Road Trip Day Two.


Day 2 of the road trip starts having stayed in North Tallahassee, Florida last night at La Quinta In  which was clean and comfortable but does need refurbishing but it was as cheap as chips! Got going at 07.20 this morning in an overcast , drizzly morning. Thirty three minutes later I had a unique experience. I crossed from one time zone to another by car, so now I was traveling at about 40 minutes earlier than when I left! Very weird!

By now I was hungry and having gone past several breakfast places, thinking I’ll just go one more and then of course nothing for miles. So, I was grateful to get a large coffee and a sausage and egg McMuffin for the princely sum of $4.61 at the golden arches on the Marianna ramp on the I 10.

The landscape at this point became much more agricultural with undulating fields of haystacks with occasional herds of beef cattle. A little later on my attention was drawn to what appeared to be a fighter jet stuck onto a very large drain pipe. I pulled into the rest area at Santa Rosa County on mile marker 30 on the I 10 to investigate. Have a look at the picture below and on my Flickr photo stream (just hit the link in the right hand panel). Turned out to be a McDonnel Douglas A4 Skyhawk fighter jet that used to be in service in the seventies and used by The Blue Angel acrobatic team. Those that flew the aircraft referred to it as “Henemans Hot Rod” or “The Scooter” I thought it was a pretty impressive piece of sculpture to put in a car park miles from anywhere!

Two hundred miles later on the weather had dramatically improved for the better. Blue skies with white fleecy clouds. Gorgeous! Three miles on and I crossed the state line into Alabama (see photo below). There is an interesting stone laid beneath the flagstaff on the state line which is inscribed with “Alabama We Dare Defend Our Rights”.

Four miles later and I’m on the approach to Mobile, Alabama and crossing over a large expanse of water I get the first glimpse of the city’s skyline. I found Mobile to be a very interesting city with a delightful mix of modern architecture and a very pretty historic quarter which is composed of antebellum fine houses. You can see more pictures of this on my Flickr pages just click on the link at the right.

Having checked in at the Battleship Inn (excellent and good value) it was time to view the battleship USS Alabama which was absolutely fantastic. This ship is huge. Under battle conditions she weighed in at an impressive 45,000 tons, carried 2,500 men and had a maximum speed of 28 knots which is a little over 32 miles per hour. I have taken quite a lot of pictures of the interior and exterior of the ship and some other exhibits and you will find them on my Flickr photo stream (click the link in the right hand panel) and I have titled most of them so you will know what you’re looking at. Honestly, it is worth you taking five minutes to have a look at the sheer size and complexity of such a vast war machine.

Tonight having had Oysters Rockefeller (one of my favourites) followed by grilled flounder stuffed with shrimps and crab meat at The Captains Table (next door to my hotel) I took my trusty tripod and camera for one last picture of this illustrious retired battleship. Next time I do this I will wear trousers and socks. Those damned mosquitos got me!

Don’t forget to look at my photographs and feel free to comment on this blog or on the photographs on Flickr (by now you should know where the link is).

For the technically minded the mileage covered today was 253.6 at an average speed of 62.7 mph and achieved 20.4 mpg.

Until my next post, Toodleloo!

Day One!


Today started off with a big surprise. As I opened the garage door I was met with a resounding cheer from the Hyacinth Place Send Off Committee. With grateful thanks to Anna who’s idea this was and for making the food and to Sara for providing the mega balloons and to Diana (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed) for opening the champagne! It’s amazing what that lot will do for a glass of champagne at 8.30 in the morning! Cy Bricker put his arm around me and said “I love you man and you’ve got your shirt on inside out!” Well I was up early! It was all a bit of a rush and I hardly had anytime to say a proper goodbye to “She Who Must Be Obeyed”. Finally I was on my way.

I had a very pleasant drive north on the I 75 with not too much traffic which became even easier when I started to go west on the I 10. The weather was perfect and I was enjoying the change of scenery as it became greener and undulating with a mixture of well forested areas and beef cattle fields. However, it was not to last as, the skies changed and I ran into very heavy rain. The Corvette took all this in its stride and the car felt planted and stable even going through quite deep surface water.

I had decided to spend the afternoon visiting the Tallahassee Natural Science Museum which is an open site of about 50 acres but unfortunately the rain had settled in for the afternoon. So, I took the opportunity of spending a happy couple of hours at The Tallahassee Automobile Museum which was well presented and has some fantastic vehicles including two ex movie Batmobiles!

Later on the weather had cleared and I had a drive around the city of Tallahassee which is the state capital of Florida. This is an eclectic mix of fine buildings and others!

This evening I dined upon Seafood Gumbo followed by Steak and Shrimp Sizzler with Louisiana sauce at Barnacle Bill’s. It was very good indeed but I’m glad that I treated the sauce with respect as it had a mighty “kick” to it! The only way I can liken the main course would be to a Spanish mixed paella with a kick!

For the technically minded of you out there, I have covered 369.3 miles at an average speed of 54.8 mph and achieved 20.7mpg.

I have posted a few photographs below but you can see all the photographs taken today by clicking on the “My Photo Stream” link in the right hand side panel of this blog.

Tomorrow the weather forecast promises to be good so I should have an excellent drive to my next destination where I will be visiting something quite unique!

Until my next post, toodle loo!

T Minus 2.


My Dear Reader,

Today has been christened by my dear lady wife, Diana (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed) as T Minus 2 while the excitement builds before I depart north and then west from my vacation home in Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota in South-West Florida on a 5000 mile round trip to Las Vegas in my Corvette Grand Sport. I think I now have an inkling how Yuri Gugarin felt when being strapped into his seat on top of his Vostock 1 spacecraft on April 12 1961, or perhaps a little of the excitement that Neil Armstrong felt when he uttered those imortal words on July 20 1969 “One step for man etc.” Actually I was rivited by his third sentence “This one is for you Mr Kempinski” but I’m sure you already know that story.

Sunset Chevrolet

This morning I took my trusty steed to those nice people at Sunset Chevrolet on Bay Road in Sarasota where I was duly met by the effervescent Pat Sweetnich. There was nothing that needed doing to my car but I decided that due to my impending adventure it would be prudent to have the vehicle given a good going over, oil change etc.

Shortly afterwards having signed my life away in triplicate, my faithful four wheeled velocipeed was duly whisked away and entrusted into the hands of my favourite mechanic Denis Bilodeau who duly changed the oil and filters and gave my beautiful chariot a good fettling.

Greeted this morning by cheerful Pat.
Denis prepares to fettle.

While waiting for Denis to complete his fettling and having had a fabulous cup of coffee and resisting a vast array of Danish pastries in the solubrius customer lounge I decided to buy a bra. Now this was not some lace trifle purchased as a gift for She Who Must Be Obeyed but a large piece of lined vinyl.

Denis fettling my car.

The intention is to fit said bra to the front end of my luscious horseless carriage in an attempt to protect it from the counteless number of insects that will be comitted to suicide en masse like a horde of airborne lemmings during the next few thousand miles.

Having returned home I spent a few happy hours washing and waxing the silver body of my illustrious automobile and tomorrow I will endeavour to fit the largest brassiere that I have so far encountered. Finally, dear reader, it would be an honour if you would be so kind to join me on this adventure by simply clicking on the follow button which will either be in the bottom right hand corner or the top left hand corner of your browser depending on which one you use. Please feel free to leave comments etc as you wish. Today I would like to sign off by thanking all at Sunset Chevrolet and in particular Denis for being such a fine fettler!

157.64/155


Many of my Facebook friends have been increasingly baffled by the posts that I have been making since the beginning of January 2012. The posts have taken the form of a xxx/155 where x is a number. The theories have all been amusing and some of them highly inventive. However, a few of my friends have guessed correctly the meaning of these digits and if you’re one of the few then well done you! So, now is the time to reveal this baffling conundrum. 155 is the goal and that is the number of miles that I have run since January 1 this year!

Why? I hear you ask. Why get out of bed a little earlier and get outside and pound the pavement? Well it didn’t happen overnight. I decided on December 12 2011 that I was overweight, unfit and had been living “The Good Life” a little too much. So, I started to consider my options, and listed my ideas and thoughts in my journal. Some of the initial ideas were a little extreme but from the original notes, my plans and goals started to become clear and at that time running was not part of the plan!

The initial plan, made on December 14 2011 was to eat a little healthier, cut down on the fats, red meat and alcohol. I decided that on January 2 2012 that I would give alcohol up altogether but between December 14 2011 and January 2 2012 I had Christmas and New Year to enjoy! Starting my regime on the December 14 with a brisk 30 minute walk I continued until January 4 2012 when I stepped up a gear.

I had been discussing my regime with my son Matthew and he stated in no uncertain terms that I should start running. I explained to Matt that this would be impossible as before he was born (rather a long time ago now) I had fallen badly on my right knee while playing tennis and when I ran this knee would hurt. Straight away Matt told me, in no uncertain terms, that my running technique was wrong and I was wearing the wrong type of shoe. Now, I had to listen because Matt in his spare time has been known to run the odd marathon or two and therefore runs more than anyone I know.

I now had the right gear and had some instruction and had even read an instructional book I started. My first run was for an enormous sixty seconds! It was part of the plan. I started using intervals. So, I would run for sixty seconds and walk for five minutes. This was the time that I nearly gave up. Those first sixty seconds were really tough. Why didn’t I give up? That would have been very difficult for me to do as I had already described my goal in my journal and I was aware that the pain of discipline weighs ounces but the pain of regret weighs tons and in this case could bring about an early fatality! I kept my time, distance, heart rate and route on a Nike sport watch. Keeping the statistics for me was very important as I could measure my progress and how hard I was working. Gradually I started to alter the intervals and as I became fitter I extended the time that I was exercising. I was advised (Matthew again) not to be in a hurry to alter my intervals and once I was up to it to try and be as consistent as possible. This brings me to the present day. My aim is to run 5 kilometers/day (about 3.11 miles/day) most days and I seem to do this about 5 days out of seven. Currently my interval times are that I run for 2 minutes and 45 seconds and walk for 3 minutes and 15 seconds. I’m currently comfortable with the distance and my aim now is to gradually increase the running time and decrease the walking time and end up running a full 5 kilometers and I’m now scoping out my next big health goal. So, what’s next after 155/155. Well, I’ve already started and the new figures are 157.64/620!

The benefits have been fantastic already. I have lost 38 pounds up to now but more importantly my blood pressure medication has been reduced three times and is now stable at 120/70. I am much healthier and my stamina levels and general well being have vastly improved.

It is my belief that the power of setting a well defined written goal in a journal and keeping track of your progress ultimately leads you to where you wish to be. There was just a handful of things that have made this journey a success and they are as follows:

1). A well defined clearly written well researched goal.
2). Consistent, persistent action.
3). Monitoring the progress.

I believe that these three simple things are the essence of achievement and can be applied to all the areas in your life. If you are already setting goals that’s great but if you’re not how will you get to where you wish to be? In closing I have a challenge for you. Set some goals (if you already have some, review them and set some new ones). What are your goals? Your wealth goals? Your health goals? Your relationship goals?

Care to share? Then just post a comment on this blog. I wish you well in your continued journey of success!

Planning The Road Trip


My family think I’m crazy. Perhaps they’re right! I just think that in today’s world some people are in such a hurry to arrive that they forget to enjoy the journey. So, I’m in the process of planning my first big trip which will be from our holiday home in South West Florida to Las Vegas and back in my Corvette Grand Sport. It’s a round trip of roughly 5000 miles and I think I’m going to take about seven days to get to Las Vegas where I will be having some fun with my good lady wife, Diana (a.k.a. “She Who Must be Obeyed”) and 180 plus friends in that town in Nevada. I’m going to take an extra day on  the way back so I can see the sights that I have planned. Currently my itinerary looks like this:

Starting from Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota and then driving to Pensacola Fl., Houston Tx., San Antonio Tx., Fort Stockton Tx., Tuscon Az. and arriving in Las Vegas Nv.. On the way back I will be visiting Flagstaff Az., Amarillo Tx., Dallas Tx., New Orleans La., Panama City Beach Fl., finally returning to Lakewood Ranch. Crazy or not – you decide!