Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What a Day for Ian Poulter (Live on Twitter)


Ian Poulter is on Twitter (@ianjamespoulter) and you know that it’s Ian tweeting, not some publicist. Some of his posts are pretty comical. Today has not been his day and his fans are helping experience it live as he tries to get back to the United States. If you’re not meant to head out, you’re really not. And it’s clearly true of this day. But, he clearly knows what is the right way to "bash" British Airways without being mean. And he knows that a sincere thank you goes a long way. I don't know how his day will end, but read his posts (if you want the start to now read bottom top).
  • Water still pouring into cabin. Oh dear I don't think we will be taking off today. Hahaha
  • Hahahahaha now water pouring into the first class cabin from upstairs thru the light fitting. Today
  • Ok Ok Doctor Who, please please can I borrow your tardis and put an end to this delay, you can have it back soon. I promise.
  • RT never a G450 around when you need one mate! >> not
  • Will the bags make this 20.00 flight. Jane at will let me know just before take off. Tick tock tick tock.
  • Now taking off to JFK in 30 mins, Good news but probably no baggage. Will I ever see them again... We shall see.
  • Oh boy Ive just been offered an economy seat to Atlanta when I booked a different cabin. Nothing wrong with economy but, $5500 for economy
  • Story gets better i changed off the flight to get the JFK and back onto Atlanta. They gave my seat away . No seat at all now
  • Update have found a plane with 2 Engines and is now taking off at 21.45 to Atalnta. Never ending day. 2 is Better than 1.
  • Please can you release my bags off the engine troubled BA227 to Atalnta. as I'm now on the BA 183 to JFK. I need my clubs
  • This seems to be the problem for de boarding and now hopefully getting to JFK. With or without bags.
  • I might have to change destination and get on the JFK flight. The part for the engine could take 5 hours to repair. Interesting day ahead
  • Ok Ok Doctor Who, please please can I borrow your tardis and put an end to this delay, you can have it back soon. I promise.
  • The most satisfying button in the world is the BLOCK BUTTON. Hahahaha it's regularly pressed and boy does it feel good.
  •  RT do they not know they have a 2 time WGC winner on that plane? >> Safety first. Always takes priority....         
  • RT 747 or the triple 7 >> Engineless 7 more like.
  • Well I'm still tweeting as I'm still on the ground. Engine trouble... Not good news, engineers trying to fix. Oh joy. May May go away.
  • On board with BA to Atlanta then quick home home. Couple of days until I fully erase May from my…

Monday, May 27, 2013

Making money on a blog

Sitting here in the dark business center at the Baymont so that Tony can sleep (my typing isn't exactly sleep inducing since I learned how to type on a manual typewriter) waiting for 630 am so I can get a refill on my coffee. Contimplating all of the blogs out there. And all of the blogs that accept advertising. Do they really make money off of their blogs? Could I really make money off of my blog that has 1) quick writing, 2) "cr&&^py" quality photos mostly taken off of smart phones en route, 3) topics that only appeal to me and potentially a few others?

I know I watched Julie and Julia (or the other way around) about a woman who cooked all of Julia Child's French Laundry recipes and blogged each and every entry. And now she's famous.

Just my luck I'd end up getting some odd ball advertiser (you can probably insert one you can think of and it may be correct) and selling who knows what.

With that said, I think I'll hold off on advertisers for now. I can just imagine that if I did have advertisers, I'd be big time. Kinda like buying a lottery ticket and dreaming about how you'd spend that money.

Riding around Arkansas: Day 2 in Hot Springs

Again, you'll be looking at these photos sideways since my netbook (no snarky comments about a netbook, but I like my keyboards). Sunday morning and we’re going riding up to Queen Wilhelmina State National Park. Neither of us slept particularly well so we had our free Baymont hot breakfast (read: breakfast sandwich), then gas up and go looking for sunblock that we both forgot. Kroger, finally.

Then off we go down 270 to 88, stopping in Mount Ida for a quick break before taking a left towards Mena on 88. Again, smells so nice. Curvy roads up and down hills. Not much traffic on the road. See a few bikes here and there. We get to Mena and 88 disappears momentarily, but then we see the signs to the park and take a right and head up the mountain, stopping at the visitors center on the way, picking up the map that tells you about some of the stops. Of course we briefly pull into all of them. But the pictures aren’t optimal because it’s on the foggy, cloudy, almost to the point of drizzly side. But if it were sunnier, you could definitely see how beautiful the vistas would be up here. The Castle in the Clouds (a 38 room inn) is closed for renovations, but would be a quiet place to stay.

The scenic parkway complete, we head to 272, to 270, trying to get to the north of the lake to ride over to route 7 and then down to Hot Springs. Somewhere along the way, either the 10 year old map I have has changed, or it isn’t well marked, and we end up back in Mount Ida, getting gas at the same place we stopped earlier. Decided to head back towards Hot Springs. We’re hungry at this point, but people don’t seem to be capitalizing on campers or bikers and there really isn’t a single stop to eat. But I did remember a place that I thought I saw bbq and bikers that may be on the way. Sure enough, near Crystal Springs, we ran into Burl’s BBQ at an old mill grist. Ordered our sandwiches with meat 3 ways and sat outside to eat.

I'm sure Tony wants to say something, but we're watching these four couples with their Honda Goldwings, some with trailers, all with little stuffed animals that ride on the back, lit up brakes, matching outfits, one man wearing an Ian Poulter wig and visor. Really? Couldn't imagine me and Tony being that way.

Unlike the BBQ we’re used to, these were cold sandwiches. But the meat was good. Stopped to get thrown into their jail afterwards. But, they let us out.

Headed back to the hotel, even though we did think about heading into Hot Springs. Glad we didn’t because not 20 minutes into watching Boo Weekley win the Colonial tournament in Fort Worth, kaboom thunder and kaboom downpour of rain.
Tired, we checked on this pizza, Rocky’s Corner, down the street (on Central Avenue by the racetrack) , by chance, from the Baymont. They deliver. Ordered Chicago style pizza (Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions). We’ll see. From the reviews, they gave it great ones online. And someone told Tony on Facebook to try it. All of that riding makes you tired. Learned something new about Arkansas: don't sell beer on Sundays. No beer and pizza for us.

I'm from Chicago originally. And know that there is more than just deep dish Chicago-style pizza. There is also think Aurelios pizza that is cut in "squares." Rocky's Corner delivered to us at the hotel (yeah), but I don't think we got the full taste of the pizza in the transit from the oven to our room so would have to try it again to let anyone know if it's the "bomb" like some of the reviews I read. It had good flavor (the house salad with the house viniagrette dressing was really good). Crust almost deep dishy, but rest more Aurelios thin and cut into squares. Interesting. Told Tony that shouldn't be his gauge for Chicago style pizza, but we didn't have to go anywhere (another note: Rocky's Corner, call me about a website. You need one).

Tomorrow we head back to Dallas. Think we're going interstate the whole way (sigh). Maybe that means a Waffle House or Cracker Barrel is in our future.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Impromptu ride to Hot Springs, Arkansas

As many of you know, I’m not necessarily impulsive. I like my routine and it’s hard to deviate from it. Not that I don’t mind breaking out of it. I just like advanced notice and planning. It’s Memorial Day weekend and on Friday, Tony’s asking what my plans are for the weekend: “Three days of golf and then watching golf?” “Yes. And washing the windows. Some weeding.” Pretty exciting Memorial Day, right? Tony wanted to go somewhere. Ride somewhere. So when I went to bed, I told him if he could figure out a place to use his hotel points, I was in.

Saturday morning, I get up to play golf (routine) and see a text from Tony about 2 nights booked in Hot Springs, about 5-6 hours away. I head to the golf course. We’ll take off after I get back from my round. But, as I noticed from the wet roads on my way to the course, it rained that night (not much near us). Eric tells us the course is closed with the two inches of rain at Woodbridge because bridges on 2 and 12 aren’t passable. This may make Tony happy because we can get on the road early.

Tony shows me the route on Google. Looks like we’ll be on 30 for a while (hard not to do to get out of Dallas) and then get on lesser roads 67, 37 and 70 to Hot Springs. We overpack our things, load up the bike and off we go to Hot Springs, Arkansas. A new place that I know I’ve never been to.

Before we headed out, had to take a picture of our newly bunted house (with the pretty Mother’s Day hanging baskets from Tony). Winnetka Heights likes anything that gives an excuse to decorate and between Memorial Day and fourth of July, we bunt.

Our start is rocky with a wreck on 30, but then we get moving. I can’t wait to get off the interstate because the wind makes the ride not a lot of fun. I know Tony’s hungry. We settle on stopping for lunch in Sulphur Springs. My rule is to try not to have any “chain food” on a trip. You have to go local. We drive around the Sulphur Springs square where it looks like a parade will be later. Typical little old time square that they try to build now, but don’t quite succeed as they did. We stopped for lunch at Lou Viney's Restaurant and Pub (www.louvineys.com ) at the recommendation of a pedestrian and his family setting up for the parade.

It was a good choice with great shoestring French fries. Time to head back on the road again. We’re off the interstate the rest of the journey and it’s immediately better. It smells green. Looks green. The only thing I notice about “rural America” is that there’s a lot of “trash” in yards. Do people just hoard their old tires and chairs and cars and lawnmowers and playsets? And it’s not just Texas. It was like that in Oklahoma. And Arkansas. But, it still is so green and you could smell the honeysuckle on the ride, and the pine, and the fresh cut grass.

I get a better taste of a ride than Tony, who has to pay attention to the road. I get to see the horses and cows and donkeys and such. And probably spend more time thinking about the collections of stuff in people’s yards.

We stop a couple of times to read historical markers about the Trail of Tears. At one marker, we see a Hilltop Tavern with “beer to go” and “bikers welcome.” Since we left quite a bit earlier than Tony expected, we decide we need something for the blog and to stop in. From the outside, not much. From the inside -- well, it was so dark that you couldn’t tell. A few patrons and we order a couple of beers. When we tip the waitress $2 for the $4 tab, she seems surprised. Tony mentioned that was the least we could do since she had to go to another room off of the bar to get our “special beer” (Bud Light and Coors Light in BOTTLES). That’s the minimum tip in our mind for stopping by somewhere. I heard a gentleman at the bar ask her what we were drinking. And a little while later, two more beers appeared at our table. The generosity of strangers. They left shortly before us. We stopped to take a picture of this “landmark” before heading off, passing these guys stopping at the next watering hole down the road. We’re pretty close to the Arkansas line and getting closer to Hot Springs.

Surprisingly there isn’t as much traffic as I’d expect for Memorial Weekend. Figured that everyone would be heading to Hot Springs and there would be a lot more bikes. We’ve seen our share, but not nearly as many as expected. We make one last stop so that Tony can let Siri takes us the rest of the way to the hotel. We’re staying at the Baymont because Tony had points and it “had the most reviews.” It’s been a long day and we’re happy to get there, passing over a lake of some sorts on our way. We’re supposed to have a view of some water body at our hotel, but who knows.

We arrive at the Baymont and so far, so good. Looks relatively fresh. Wish there weren’t a whole group of kids screaming and playing in the pool. Guess that means that we won’t be using it. Pools + hotels = kids. We figure we want to eat and end the day. I’m online looking for a restaurant. Like the above pool comment, Coupon + Tourist Book + Page in Hotel Directory = Bad food, bad service. Sorry, but that’s usually how it is. And the reviews for those restaurants online were not good. There’s a Mexican restaurant next to the hotel. Tony and I are a little concerned about a Mexican restaurant in Hot Springs when we live in Texas. But, the woman at the front desk said it was good and the parking lot is jammed. We can walk so we take the risk. Jose’s Mexican Grill & Cantina (don't know if Arkansas is just behind the times, but really amazed at how many of these places didn't have websites to check out) was pretty good. I had the Chicken Adriana and Tony had shrimp and carne asada. He said it was pretty tasty. The margaritas, not quite up to Mi Cocina standards. The salsa was good. The avocado salsa that we couldn’t identify until we asked -- pretty bland, a little salty. I’d go back to Jose’s.

To bed. In the morning, we’ll be up early, ready to ride. We’re both a little sunburned from our riding today and need to remember the sunblock.

Our plans are to go to see Queen Wilhelmina’s “Castle in the Clouds.“ (http://www.queenwilhelmina.com)  The Talimena Scenic Drive has also been designated a National Scenic Byway, which is an example of the best scenic and historic routes in the United States. According to the website it’s 54 miles and we could see bears, and deer and turkey and other critters, there are historic markers, lots of curves, and you can stand in Oklahoma and Arkansas at the state lines. I’m in. Don’t have anything else really planned.

Apologies for the sideways pictures. I'll blame it on technology, not user error. They appear, "right" on screen and then post sideways. With that said, I think you can turn your head sideways if you really want to look at a picture, don't you?