"" Writer's Wanderings

Monday, September 25, 2017

An Ice Cream Graveyard

Several years ago we did a road trip through the New England area to see the fall leaves in full color. It was a great trip and one stop we made was especially fun--the home of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in Waterbury, Vermont. There was a tour that explained their ice cream production and of course sampling.

What I don't remember is the graveyard. Perhaps it is something that has sprung from some innovative employee or marketer since our visit or the other logical explanation, I'm getting old. I found an article about it while surfing the net and while it might be more appropriate for a fun Halloween post, I decided to bring it to your attention now. After all, maybe you are in the midst of a fall foliage tour and could stop and check it out yourself.

The graveyard is both physical and virtual. It is the place where ice cream flavors are buried when they have passed away, out lived their tastiness. The dearly de-pinted, as they are referred to, are honored on gravestones that can be found in a graveyard just outside the factory. Each headstone has the name of the flavor, a cheeky poem and the years it was in production.

You can visit the virtual graveyard on the Ben & Jerry's website. There is a clever video of a funeral for a flavor and a list of 34 flavors that have passed into eternity--unless of course it gets enough votes to be resurrected.

One de-pinted flavor that caught my attention was Chocolate Comfort. Now how could anything chocolate pass away? Then I read the description. Chocolate truffle low fat ice cream swirled with white chocolate low fat ice cream. RIP! Low fat? White chocolate?

There are all sorts of links to interesting fun things like ideas for becoming your favorite ice cream flavor for Halloween. While it doesn't seem to involve eating it, I'm sure that it would help with the inspiration.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Lounging On A Long Layover -Airport Lounges For Economy Flyers

For a lot less than first or business class tickets you can get into those comfortable airport lounges with a little luck and ingenuity. We get access to United lounges and some of their alliance airline lounges with a credit card that we pay extra for. It still is cheaper than buying those premium tickets and when we have long layovers for our more lengthy trips, we enjoy being able to get out of the busyness of the main airport and enjoy some snacks and beverages as well as WIFI and other amenities.

But you don't have to pay fees for a credit card to gain access. There are day passes that can be bought and would be the way to go if you are not a frequent flyer. Of course those passes are predicated on whether or not the lounge is at capacity. You wouldn't want to try to get into the Ft. Lauderdale United lounge (or probably any other there) on a big turnover day for the cruise ships. Cruise lines drop their passengers at the airport and often there is a long wait before the flight home. We sat in the Orlando airport once when Disney dropped us off seven hours before our flight was due to take off. Thankfully we didn't have any little ones with us.

I ran across a great source for finding lounges in airports all over the world and how much a day pass would cost. I was surprised that they could go for as low as $20 in some cases. The site is actually called Sleeping In Airports and details places to sleep if you are delayed as well as hints for making yourself more comfortable. One of their pages though is all about airport lounges and lists hundreds of possibilities all over the world.

Go to the site and see if your next long layover might be in a spot where you can snag some time in a comfy lounge--maybe even take a shower if you desire. Also do a search online for airport lounge day passes and you will find several companies that will book your lounge time for you or sell you a pass that you can use for a limited time. You too can travel as though you paid first class.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Travel Companions Through Life

Forty-nine years ago my husband, Bob, and I traveled down the aisle and made promises that we've kept pretty well over the years. Little did we know when we made our first trip as a couple to the Hocking Hills of Ohio that we would become world travelers one day. That was quite a three-day honeymoon since we were the only visitors to the Lake Hope Lodge other than a large group of park rangers who were having some sort of conference.

My only souvenir (besides the memories) is an acorn. There was a large tank for heating oil or propane for the winter guests just outside our cabin window. We could hear the acorns rustle through the leaves as they dropped from the tree and then ping as they hit the tank. I still have the acorn. It's preserved in a chunk of plastic.

Since then we raised five kids, accumulated a gang of grandkids and made friends all over the world. What a great time! I'm looking forward to fifty next year.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Salvation Mountin

Maybe it's because I was preparing a talk for a ladies' retreat this week that an article caught my eye. My talk includes the mention of Elijah visiting Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God. So when I came across a place called Salvation Mountain, well, I just had to take a look.

Leonard Knight was the creator of Salvation Mountain, the sole creator, and it was pretty much a life long work of his. It was begun in 1984 after he discarded his first idea of how to tell the world about his new found faith and the love of God. He wanted to build a hot air balloon and basically advertise the sinner's prayer so that others could find the peace and joy he had through Jesus.

The balloon never got off the ground and just about the time he was to leave the Niland, California area, he decided to make one last attempt at a monument to God's love. He began building a mountain.

The first attempt collapsed after four years of work. He learned that the sand and cement he was using was not strong enough to support the size his mountain had grown to. It collapsed. He began to make an adobe and straw structure that proved to be successful. The work grew to a height of 50 feet and breadth of 150 feet. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of paint, all of which have been donated, cover the mountain with artwork and scriptures and of course the central message of the sinner's prayer.

The story is fascinating and I will put links to the information I found below. Leonard Knight died at the age of 82 after a stay in a care facility because eventually he was a victim of dementia. All those years though he never faltered in his quest to make known his love of God and the importance of telling others. An organization has now picked up the cause but I think it is more to preserve what has become a beloved piece of folk art. Have a look at the links and if you are ever on a road trip in that area take time to have a look. It's on my list now too.

Salvation Mountain "official site" - has detailed biography and history of the site.

Salvation Mountain Wikipedia

Salvation Mountain FaceBook page

Salvation Mountain, Inc,  - the group working to preserve the mountain

Monday, September 18, 2017

Ranch Vacations - Are You A Dude Or Guest?

In all our travels we have never considered a stay at a dude ranch. Perhaps it didn't cross our minds or make the bucket list mainly because we have no desire to get on a horse. The last time I did I thought I wouldn't be able to walk again. Of course that was after having climbed Mt. Fuji and I couldn't make it back to the bus on foot.

Even so, the time before that when I was coaxed into mounting a horse at the ranch in Uruguay where our World Cruise group had an event (Carol and Carolyn, if you read this--I still love you) it was not pretty. The mounting or the dismounting. I was pretty proud of myself for following through though.

No, a dude ranch wouldn't be for us but it might for you if you love horses, the outdoors, and all sorts of activities that center around a working ranch. The question I had was what was the difference between a dude and a guest. Turns out, not much.

The term dude usually referred to a guest who gets involved by doing chores around the ranch like rounding up livestock and such and the term guest referred to someone who likes to watch someone else do the work. I'm guessing that for insurance purposes most of the dude ranches are really guest ranches where there are lots of activities but they don't really involve hands-on ranch work.

In the research I did online I couldn't find a ranch that even listed roundups as part of the activity or even feeding the livestock. There were a few where you could get a little more up close and personal with supervision. I'm sure they exist. They just didn't pop up in my search box before I stopped looking.

There is an association of Dude Ranches however and if you are interested it would be a good place to start looking. It's called (drum roll) the Dude Ranch Association. They explain the types of activities to expect. I must admit that while the horseback riding does not appeal a lot of the other stuff did, especially the trout fishing.

So dudes and dudettes, as my husband would say, if you are looking for some wild western adventure or just some home on the range relaxation put some Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers music on your playlist and check out the ranches. Who knows you might even find one of Trigger's descendants there.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Laptop Bans On Airlines

While I haven't seen it highly publicized (perhaps because it's old news and there is so much other fodder to feed on) there is an easing of the ban on laptops in carry-ons when flying from certain countries nonstop into the U.S. The problem apparently was that there were airlines or airports that did not do an adequate job of screening or did not have the equipment to screen that was approved by the Department of Homeland Security. There had been reason to believe that terrorists were planning to and/or had the capability of carrying a bomb on board with a laptop.

The checked luggage apparently goes through a security check that is different than carry-on luggage and is a better way to see if there i
s an unwanted device hidden there. Now the airlines, mainly those flying out of the Middle East, are complying with the standards set by the DHS and the ban has been lifted for several.

I'm still leaving the laptop at home for this next overseas trip. It's time to take a break from some of the electronics. I'm not even taking a camera this time although I will rely on my cell phone for pictures and of course a connection to family and friends but that will be minimized as well. I'm not ready to disconnect all together.
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