Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Naples Greyhound Race Track, Bonita Springs, FL

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If you are looking for something different to do in the Naples/Bonita Springs/Fort Myers area you should drive over to the greyhound racing track. Make sure to check the web site and find the nights they have a “DOLLAR NIGHT”… What this means is that the race programs, hotdogs, popcorn and draft beers are only one dollar each American!!! I use to go to the greyhound races when I was in the Air Force in Rapid City, South Dakota and remembered having a fun night when all us guys went out.

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Since my bride had never been to a race at a dog track she said she waned to go so it was a done deal… we were off to the races. We got there a bit late2011-12-06 bonita springs florida 043 but there was no fee for parking and only $2.00 per person entry. So with the one dollar program we started off $5.00 out of pocket after buying two entries and one program… 3 hotdogs and 2 beers later we were out a total of $11.00. This makes it pretty easy to break even on the day. We watched a total of 13 races and bet on 9 of them with our our wagers ranging from 2-6 dollars each race. We actually did pretty well at the track winning several bets with the whole day costing us less than eight bucks… despite having’s muchos cervezas!!! I know greyhound racing is somewhat controversial but for something different this is cheap and fun… especially on Dollar Night!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, near Fort Myers, FL…

A nice side trip from the Fort Myers, Florida area is the J.N. Ding Darling Horseshoe CrabNational Wildlife Refuge on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel. It is known for its display of migratory bird populations and that fact that has one of the largest undeveloped mangrove populations in the USA.

Visiting wildlife refuges is a past time I will always enjoy going back to my roots of having studied Wildlife Biology back in college. I am always curious to not only see the refuge and it flora and fauna but I am also curious to see how the refuge is being managed and maintained. While working for Texas Parks and Wildlife I was a Biologist responsible for maintaining the natural integrity of parkland ecosystems in the eastern half of the state of Texas.

Roseate Spoonbill

Mangrove CrabAs a Biologist I assisted in many events such from prescribed burning to maintain habitat for endangered species such as Attwater's Prairie Chickens to eradicating non-native species such as sika and fallow deer from the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. So when I visit parks and refuges I am looking at them from two different perspectives… and from what I can see they are doing a lot of real good things here at the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

This super scenic four mile driving loop is well worth the $5.00 and if you have the National Park Access Pass your free for entry are waived. The absolute best to time to see the most wildlife will be during low tide. This would also make an absolutely wonderful bike ride, with camera in tow of course…

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blackpoint Wildlife Drive Park, Titusville, FL

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If you are near the Titusville area then you really should take a daytrip over to the Canaveral National Seashore. Not only can you visit the National Seashore Park where you can lounge along the beach butyou will also pass a Road Treat along the way… The Road Treat I am referring to is the highlight of this area and it a nice little drive through the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive Park. Now keep in mind both of these parks are fee based but if you have a National Park Access Pass your free for entry are waived.

This self guided drive takes you along marshes, ponds and uplands where you will see a lot of different species of birds… some of the many we were able to spot were the Great Blue Heron, Tri-colored Herons, Green-backed Herons, Wood Storks, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Reddish Egrets, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, large flocks of Gadwall, American Widgeon and American Coots. Double-breasted Cormorants, Common Gallinule, Anhinga, Belted Kingfishers and Pied-billed Grebes. We also saw many other species and other notable were Osprey, Northern Harriers and one stately Bald Eagle.


If you are ever in this area I would recommend you take a trip to this beautiful park drive and really enjoy the day…

Friday, November 11, 2011

High Tides @ Snack Jacks, Restaurant/Bar Flagler Beach, FL…


Wednesday we discovered a new road treat as there is a small restaurant/bar on the beach here at Flagler called High Tides @ Snack Jacks. We like to walk along the beach and noticed that this place was within walking distance. The actual address is 2805S. Oceanshore Blvd, Flagler Beach, FL. The Story of Two Women and a Dream on how this place came to be is an interesting read… So we were there on a Wednesday and we looked it up on the internet to see if they had a Happy Hour and guess what? It was Wacky Wednesday at High Tides @ 2011-11-10 Gamble Rogers Rec Area FL 002Snack Jacks… whoopie…

Off we went about a quarter mile down the beach and after a short stroll up the stairs, we were at a table overlooking the ocean ordering some frosty beverages. Now what is Wacky Wednesday? Domestic bottles and pints are only a buck fifty!!! Well what can I say we stayed and watched the sun set over the water before making our way back home. Oh by the way they serve food here too but with beer at a buck fifty and an ocean view who is eating…

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shady Maple Grocery, East Earl, PA…

amish farms

While driving through the Amish country of Lancaster County Pennsylvania you will likely pass by the Shady Maple Grocery in East Earl, PA. This store in the middle of the Amish country features locally grown produce and they specialize in “Made From Scratch” or “Home-Made” food items.

Their bakery inside the large store has wonderful treats from homemade apple fritters to some fresh out of the oven breads. A bargain can be had on their day old products as well. They have an interesting array of local meats, vegetables, bins of grains etc. and other food items. The prices are dirt cheap and the quality of the produce is as fresh as it gets.

I have no pictures of this place or any of the sections in the store because our hands were so full of produce, baked goods, cheeses and other various and sundry items. Never did I thing a grocery store would end up on Road Treats but this one does… Check it out!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Seafood Festival, Hampton Beach, NH


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Labeled as "One of the Top 100 Events in North America" the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival just had their 22nd annual event. This three day festival marks the transition of moving into fall and signals the end of the summer.

The festival started as a means of promoting Hampton’s local restaurants and allowed you the opportunity to taste some of the local seafood specialties. Entrance fees are only five dollars per person per day and parking is free.

2011-09-10 Hampton Seafood Festival 004Of the several highlights of the festival we most enjoyed the Culinary Chef Demonstrations where we got to watch some of the local chefs prepare their signature dishes.

We also got to listen to some golden oldies played by a couple of bands called the Soulmate and the B Street Bombers. Lots of folks enjoyed the music and a bit of dancing. Another fun event was to watch was the all-you-can-eat lobster roll competition which exemplifies America’s fascination with gluttony… the winner consumed 14 lobster rolls in ten minutes!

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Scattered throughout the festival were Arts & Crafts vendors promoting locally made products and hawking cheap bulk goods.

The local restaurants sell all kinds of delectable treats so you can try out the various seafood products. Prices for the seafood are very reasonable with whole grilled lobsters being sold for $10 each and if that was too much lobster you can just get claws for a buck each.

It is a fun to spend some time exploring the festival at Hampton Beach and partake in the food and entertainment along with the other 25,000 plus people in attendance. The evening culminates with a spectacular fireworks display.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Windjammer Festival, Camden, ME…

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The three day Windjammer Festival is a community-led celebration of Camden, Maine’s maritime heritage and living traditions. Camden Harbor  030The first day of festivities had the arrival of the windjammers along with a Maritime Heritage Fair with booths and displays of maritime history, traditions and skills. The first day ended at dark with the sky full of pyrotechnics as fireworks lit up the sky.

Saturday’s festival highlights  were the Lobster Crate Race and the Schooner Open House in Camden Harbor. The Lobster Crate Race is an event where lobster traps are strapped together end to end in the sea and children get the opportunity to run across them as fast as they can without falling into the water. Lots of fun was had by all watching these kids try their best to beat their rivals. A few even made it across several times without falling in the cold North Sea waters of Camden Harbor.

2011-09-03 Camden Windjammer Festival 011The Schooner open house was held on both Saturday and Sunday as festival goers were allowed the opportunity to board the schooners and windjammers. Once on board you could tour and explore the ships to better get a feel for what it is like to journey on these vessels. There are some really nice ships here that have been restored and are now active commercial cruise liners of sorts. They take 3-6 day sailing tours of coastal Maine. Pricing varies but seemed to be about $150 per day per person and the sleeping quarters are near as luxurious as the less than $100 per day price of commercial cruises on lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Celebrity.

Other Sunday highlights were the Sea Dog Show, the Build-a-Boat race (where contestants built a boat and tried to race to the finish without sinking – not all were successful), and the Boat Parade. The Boat Parade marked the end of the three day festival and what fun it is as the boats sail by one at a time while the harbor master tells details about each one of them. Great fun at this festival – Don’t miss it!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mount Megunticook Hike, Camden ME…

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Camden Hill SP Mount Megunticook 009There are over 30 miles of trails in Camden Hills State Park and one that shouldn’t be missed is the hike to the top of Mount Megunticook

Mount Battie are the top three hikes in the immediate area of Camden.

At 1,380 feet, Mount Megunticook is the highest mountain in the park and the second highest coastal mountain along the Atlantic. The tallest coastal peak in Maine can be found in Acadia National Park. This hike is only about 2.5 miles and covers just over 1200 of elevation.

Camden Hill SP Mount Megunticook 003The hike up Mount Megunticook starts from the RV campground. This trail is rated by the state of Maine as a 2 on a scale of 1-3. I have hiked a lot of trails and would have to say this trial was fairly difficult. Not only is it pretty steep since you will be hiking up nearly 1200 feet of elevation in the first mile but the trial itself is mostly rocky.The rocks are mostly all rounded and not angular making placing your footing all the more critical.


After taking about an hour on a relentless climb winding our way up through woodlands one mile to the summit of Mount Megunticook the trail becomes a series of plateaus until you reach the Ocean View Lookout at 1300'. The Ocean View Lookout at Mount Megunticook provides a really beautiful panoramic view of Penobscot Bay including Camden's picturesque harbor filled with all the windjammers and lobster boats. It makes this ragged 2.5 mile worth the trip.

There is an alternative to hiking this trail for those with health issues as the road up to the top of Mount Battie a has similar view to the one you see at Mount Megunticook with a whole lot less effort…

Friday, August 19, 2011

Saratoga Springs, NY Horse Racing Track…

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2011-08-18  The race Track at Saratoga NY  011Saratoga Springs, New York (simply Saratoga as the locals call it) has a slogan that is well known around these parts “Saratoga is the August place to be.” Why you may ask? Not only is the weather picture perfect in this cool little town on the southern edge of the Adirondack Mountains, but it is also the time of the year the ponies are running…

The Saratoga Springs, NY Horse Racing Track called the Saratoga Race Course opened In 1863 and then moved the following year to where it is today. The track is not only the the oldest continuously-operating horse track in the United States is also the oldest of any sporting event of any kind in the USA. The track today is opened for six weeks in the summer and attracts the top jockeys and 2011-08-18 Camp K and Saratoga NY 004thoroughbreds in the land. It is host to the Travers Stakes which is said to be the most important summer thoroughbred race.

Besides the history one can enjoy the sights and sounds of the track on a racing day as the sophisticated ladies are sporting their racing garb and their large, showy hats. You can smell the bratwursts on the grill alongside the sweet smelling caramelized onions and green peppers. Cold draft Labatt's Blue on tap helps complete the day at the track. So go to the track and bet an exacta, quinella, or daily double and simply enjoy the day…

2011-08-18 Sharon in front of the Tin and LintAfter you have had your fill of horse racing go into town and park free behind the police station and check out the post racing action by visiting one of the many pubs, taverns or restaurants in town. There are many great little spots in town so just dive in… Some of our favorites ranged from the upscale The Parting Glass - Irish Pub and Restaurant to a little dive bar called Tin 'N' Lint. Where ever you end up you will have a great time….

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon…

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Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of the Allegheny Plateau in the northern part of the state of Pennsylvania is a spectacular canyon known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Not to be confused with the Grand Canyon of Arizona but this canyon offers a level of beauty all its own.

There are two places you can go to view this geologic wonder: one is to go to Leonard Harrison State Park and the other is to visit Colton Point State Park. These two state parks are dedicated to preserving the area around the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Leonard Harrison State Park is on the eastern rim of the canyon while Colton State park is on the west rim of the canyon. Both of these parks were originally built by the CCC back in the mid-1930s and they both offer extensive hiking and biking opportunities appealing to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.

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2011-08-08 Tioga Hammond Lakes PA_thumb[2]From the rim you are treated to various scenic vistas that each offer a different spectacular view into the glacially-carved canyon. At its deepest point the canyon is 1450 feet deep and but is only 800-foot deep between the rims of the state parks.

Stay for a while and enjoy the lighting that ever changing as the sun peaks from behind the clouds and then retreats back for a while. Immerse yourself into the history and geology of the area and transcend yourself back into time to truly enjoy your time spent here.

Originally known as Pine Creek Gorge, it is the home to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania where it took thousands of years of erosion by active glaciers for Pine Creek to carve the wonderful Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.

Heyduke says check it out!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bullfrog Brewery - Williamsport Pennsylvania

2011-08-05 Williamsport PA 055Williamsport Pennsylvania, where every little league player dreams to end up playing baseball or softball in the Little League World Series. However, there is more to Bullfrog barWilliamsport Pennsylvania than little league.

Williamsport is home to many people of wealth and their abundant million plus dollar restored homes. These homes and their varied architectural styles are can be found along fourth street but something else can be found on Fourth Street – the Bullfrog Brewery – a Road Treat.

imageBullfrog Brewery, on 229 West Fourth St. was founded in 1996 and was named small business of the year recently. This award winning brewpub is more of an upscale microbrewery than I generally like but it does sport some nice brews.

We sampled three of the beers. First we tried the Billtown Blonde ale. This is a lightly colored ale with a smooth clean and crisp flavor at about 5.5% alcohol. We both liked this brew and my bride decided to have a pint of it. 2011-08-05 Williamsport PA 051Next we tried the the Apricot Wheat beer since we had one in Spartanburg that we both loved (it was actually peach but close enough). The beer had no real flavor of apricot (a negative) and was a bit bitter. So this one was not to be a choice for a pint. The third one we tried was my favorite. The Edgar IPA is a hoppy and lively beer with just a hint of bitterness (8% alcohol). The beers went really well with a Rueben sandwich we ordered to split which came with a side of sweet potato fries. The sandwich was great!

The place is a bit pricier than I would prefer it to be but on this day we splurged since it was International Beer Day . In case you didn’t know International Beer Day is a worldwide celebration of beer held annually on August 5th at local pubs, bars and breweries all over the world.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Green Parrot Bar


IMAG0236The Green Parrot Bar located in a building that has been around since the late 1800’s can be found in downtown Key West on 601 Whitehead Street. What you see when you take off you sunglasses and first walk into this bar is a large square bar surrounded with people. Above them is a large multicolored parachute lit up with green Christmas lights. There is an additional smaller bar in the back and between these two bars is a stage where the have live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as other occasional days.

They say that the Green Parrot Bar is “a sunny place for shady people” and after spending some time there they made believers out of us. There are some real interesting characters that call the Green Parrot Bar their regular haunt. Also the large wooden parrot found just above the main bar has a caption that reads “no sniveling” – what a great place this is. It is, in our opinion, the best place to go for a high energy fun time in Key West.


As with any Key West establishment expect to pay more for anything inIMAG0239 downtown Key West when compared to crossing the bridge north towards Stock Island or Cow Key. They do have a happy hour from 4-7 pm and during this time they have free self serve popcorn. During many of the live music events they will have a sound check early show and a later main show. Since we are not the night owls we once were this offers us a fun experience during the early evening.

The vibe and feel of this place allows for an assorted collection of regulars mixed with tourists to come together and listen to some IMAG0247live music which for us createed a very fun filled evening. We got to listen to a band called The Legendary JC's which was a 7 member soul band along with a fellow who could flat out play the brass. He even broke out a tuba while playing a few songs and made his way through the crowd. We decided that with the vibe, energy and fun we had there that this too was another Key West Road Treat! Heyduke says check it out…

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Key West - Hog Fish Bar & Grill…

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The title says Key West but actually this bar and grill is located on Stock Island just outside of the town of Key West. We actually stumbled upon the Hog Fish Bar & Grill while looking for Boyd’s RV park and Campground. I had read about it in all my readings about Key West but until I saw a small sign poked into the ground that read Hog Fish Bar & Grill with a little arrow pointing down the road I hadn’t given much thought to looking for it.

SO one sign led to another and after winding through a maze of roads through a rather ratty part of town you near the water’s edge where you will then discover Stock Island's Hog Fish Bar & Grill…

2011-6-22 Key West 170Once parked you can enter the front of the bar and grill, all open aired as is done in typical Key West fashion, you are treated to an atmosphere that is genuine and exudes the feeling of “we are going to really like this place.” This place is probably more like the bar and grills of old Key West than any of those now found on Duval Street, the main drag of Key West.

The bar and grill sits right on the water and offers both covered indoor and outdoor seating. In fact while we were there our first time they put a new blue awning over the picnic tables outside near the docks on the water’s edge. But we like to sit right at the bar.and mingle with the locals who have a lot of stories to tell about how Key West use to be.

Here is where during happy hour you can get $1.50 Yeungling’s – yes that is what I said - $1.50 Yeungling’s. We have heard the food is excellent and during happy hour they also have some half priced appetizers. One evening we shared the nasty nachos and had plenty for the both of us –Warning they are a bit messy!

2011-6-18 bluewater key sunriseThis setting is an ideal Key West setting to just sit back and relax while enjoying the warm summer sea breezes while gazing out over the views of the shades of blue and other colors offered by the sea water and varied boats docked nearby. Here is where we have learned what Key West was really like from the locals like Captain Ed, Guenther and Axel while the bartender Patty brings us round after round of cold $1.50 Yeungling’s…

The Hog Fish Bar and Grill is definitely off the beaten track and you will have to search for it but once you find it you will discover what we did – a laid back old Key West establishment with good food, drinks and people… Heyduke says stay till sunset and check it out!

GPS address or just follow the signs… 6810 Front Street, Stock Island, FL

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Making Bread On The Road… no not that kind!


Who can resist the scent of bread baking in the oven?  My wonderful mother loved baking bread and I must have inherited that particular gene.  I was determined to make the transition from baking in our large kitchen and spacious oven to our new, much smaller digs.  The first MAJOR challenge in French Bread baking was finding ovenware to fit in the convection oven.  My beloved baking sheet to my dismay was too long.  Most convection ware is too small.  I appealed to my creative husband to solve this dilemma. Sure enough he remodeled my beloved pan by bending the handles upward.  Alas, a pan that was a PERFECT fit for our convection oven.  The next challenge was my tried and true recipes did not turn out as well in the convection, so through trial and error we found three reliable, full proof recipes to suit our needs:  Everything Bagels, Focaccia Bread and Crusty French Bread.  We give you fair warning…..if you try these, you may never want store-bought bread ever again….

bagels in covection oven

Homemade Everything Bagels (makes 12 to 15)
•    2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
•    2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
•    3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
•    5 to 6 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (1 or 2 whole wheat)
•    2 teaspoons salt
•    2 teaspoons olive oil
•    Pam Cooking Spray
•    2 tablespoons yellow coarse cornmeal
Optional Toppings: (sprinkle on after water dip)
•    lightly toasted chopped onions, dry onion powder, poppy seeds, dried granulated garlic, sesame seeds, flax seeds, sea salt, etc. (whatever you want)

Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl .. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, and mix (I use wooden spoon and tall glass bowl) until the mixture comes together.

Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed. (Dough should be heavier and stiffer than regular yeast bread dough.)

John usually kneads while I clean and olive oil the glass bowl 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Pam one side of plastic wrap, cover the bowl, top with folded bath towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour to an hour and a half. Tips:  do not place the bowl on wood surface, not granite or corian (too cold).

Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 ounces each, measuring about 4 inches across. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Roll each ball into a 4 to 6-inch log. Join the ends and place fingers through the hole and roll the ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on baking sheet sprayed with Pam and sprinkled with coarse corn meal. Cover with the same cling wrap, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot,  while preheating convection oven to 400 degrees.

In a large, heavy pot, bring 6 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil..  Remove from heat and,  In batches, add the bagels to the water turning, for no more than 30 seconds. Flip bagels back onto the prepared sheet pan. Sprinkle on desired toppings. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees turning bagels once for the last 5 minutes of baking.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.


Convection Focaccia Recipe
Cook Time:
15 to 20 min 400 degrees
•    2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
•    1 cup warm water
•    2 tablespoons sugar
•    3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
•    3/4 tablespoon coarse salt dissolved in 2 tbsp water
•    1/4 cup olive oil
•    Coarse cornmeal for dusting
Optional Toppings:
•    we used garlic powder, shredded Parmesan Cheese, and fresh rosemary

In tall glass bowl proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Slowly add and stir in the first two cups of flour.. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and stir in the remaining flour. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise in warm, draft-free place.until doubled in size, about 45 minutes (may take longer if not warm enough surroundings or if not using rapid rise yeast).

Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, coat a small saute pan with olive oil, add the onion, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the onions caramelize. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the dough and dimple (poke) with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil and then add optional toppings:  caramelized onions, garlic, olives, cheese, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake on convection rack for 15 to 20 minutes.


Whole Wheat French Bread Recipe – (round style pictured in header and above)

Cooking Time: about 20 to 25 minutes 400 degrees
Rising Time: about 2 hours


2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
3 cups All Purpose White Flour
1 Egg
1 tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Dry Active Yeast


1. Sift the two flours together into a large bowl. Mix in salt and sugar with hand. Move the ingredients to the sides of the bowl, creating a large "well" (an empty space) in the middle.
2. Pour the yeast into the "well" and pour 2 cups of lukewarm water over the yeast. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp. of flour over top. Wait (about 10 minutes) for bubbles to appear in the yeast.
3. Once the bubbles have appeared, you can start to mix together the ingredients (hands work best) to form the dough. The best way to do this, is to gradually incorporate the flour that is "waiting" on the sides of the bowl. Doing it all at once will be too difficult. So, go bit by bit, if it's too liquid, just add a bit more flour at the end. You should finish this "pre-kneading" stage with a round, firm ball of dough. Again, if it's too sticky, add a little more flour.
4. Kneading: remove the bread from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead it by pushing your palms into and then turning it one quarter. Keep kneading and doing quarter turns for about 5-10 minutes, or until the bread is supple and non-sticky.
5. Place the bread in a lightly floured bowl and cover with a damp dish cloth. Let it rise for about 2 hours (depends on the room temperature, you want it to be fairly warm). It should double in size.
6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Re-sprinkle a counter top (or other surface) with flour. Prepare a baking pan by lightly oiling and flouring it (or bake on top of parchment paper). With your hands, remove bread and place on floured surface. Punch it down once, hard, with your palms. Now, re-shape it into a ball. Put the ball on the baking pan. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal lines across the top of the bread. Whisk the egg, and using a brush (or a teaspoon) coat the top of the bread. Put in oven and bake for 30 minutes (more or less, depending on how much you like it browned).


The famous bread pan that we bent the handles up on to fit the convection!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

RJ Rocker’s Microbrewery …Spartanburg, SC

We had one last night in Spartanburg, SC and one place we hadn’t visited was the RJ Rocker’s microbrewery in the downtown area at 226-A West Main street. We knew that on Thursday’s they had their “Tour and Taste Thursday”. So tonight from 5-7 pm we knew where we were going to be… at the Brewery. Tours and Tastings were $5 and included a pint glass souvenir.

So with the threat of a severe thunderstorm warning looming over us we headed out to the downtown area and got to the brewery right when the rain began to fall. It looked pretty dark northwest of us and it was headed our way. We decided it was probably safer in the brewery than in the motorhome under these circumstances.

imageThere was about a dozen other people milling around when we got there. The building in a nice sized building with lots of windows and all the stainless steel vats were shining. We bought our $5.00 pass which included a pint glass with 4 “beer” tickets. We could exchange one ticket for one taste of beer in our glass. You would get anywhere from a 4 oz to 10 oz pour… depending on who poured it as it seemed.

We tasted five different beers and our two favorites were Son of a Peach and the Fish Paralyzer. The description of these two beers from their website are:

An unfiltered American wheat ale made with real mean peaches. The only thing missing is the fuzz. Savor the anger. Available during the late Spring and Summer months. 
6.0% abv


Fish Paralyzer is a Belgian-style pale ale that is moderately hopped with Tradition and Saaz.  The grain bill calls for a combination of specialty malt to produce its sweetness and copper color. The Belgian Ale yeast used provides a strong Belgian essence to Phenolic and spicy flavors and aromas
7.5% abv

The Fish Paralyzer was my favorite with the taste of a nice pale ale with some pizazz… The Son of a Peach was my brides favorite and I too admit this is a real nice fruity pale ale worthy of a summer toast while barbequing over a hot grill.

While the wind was howling, thunder booming, and pea sized hail pounding the tin roof we chatted with some of the locals and enjoyed our samples of beer and we were glad we were not in the park in the RV under these ominous skies. We had a good (but short) tour along with some very good beers… and all for five dollars each!! Heyduke says check it out…

Friday, June 3, 2011

Gothic styled church… Spartanburg, SC

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Now as I mentioned in my other blog On the Road of Retirement I am a spiritual man but not a regular Sunday go-to-church worshiper. But we saw this church several times as we were driving through Spartanburg and never stopped at it until we passed right by it one day. As I said in my other blog if we had found it sooner we may have had to visit it on a Sunday to better see the inside of it and to hear the messages were being delivered. The structure itself doesn’t immediately remind one of a church with its gothic towers that are more castle like than church like.

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However, once you start walking the grounds you get the sense that this is indeed a religious property. The church, as with many here in the deep south, has many families  buried right on the property. In Texas this is pretty rare but here in the southeast I have witnessed this on many occasions.

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You really need to walk around this church and look at the many grave markers to get a feel of what times were like in the 1800’s. Many youngsters and babies never made it to adulthood since medicine was either not readily available nor had been developed at that time. We even found one grave marker with a person that was born in the late 1700’s… and lived a full life of 81 years!

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Also one with the captions that read:

Captain in the first Florida infantry USA… during the first two years of the Confederate War. Wounded at Shiloh and taken prisoner In 1863 made full surgeon in the Confederate  Army. Remained in service until the surrender…”

He was born in 1833 and died in 1900. Wow! What these two individuals saw during their lifetimes is unfathomable! We found this church and the adjoining cemetery very fascinating and as a result this became another Road Treat… so when in the area… Heyduke says check it out…