Feed on

…didn’t turn out so well.  I think the scorpions realized that they’d found a soft-hearted sucker and then invited all their buddies over.  I’m even beginning to think they may have left scorpion hobo graffiti at the entrance to the house .

The catch and release program was supposed to encourage the scorpions to re-locate… not come back and invite their friends!

Now, I’m going to have to get a chicken.  An indoor chicken.  An indoor chicken that can fend off Mr. Doughnuts… And, do you know what it means to have an indoor chicken?

It means putting diapers on it.  Chicken diapers.  I strongly encourage you to read this FAQ about chicken diapers.  You will finally know what  “Japanese Bantam with low rider legs” means!


An indoor, diaper wearing, scorpion eating, cat fighting, chicken is clearly the ONLY solution for my failed experiment!  How could this possibly go wrong?

Or, I guess I could institute the “Bi-pedal Foot Stomp Program” and use a shoe to dispatch the life force from these stinging predatory arthropods

But killing such an interesting animal is such a shame!  According to wikipedia, “…scorpions can survive long periods when deprived of food; some are able to survive 6 to 12 months of starvation… And [thankfully!!] Scorpions excrete very little.”

And the sad thing about my inability to get along with the scorpions is that we share many characteristics!  We’re both photophobic and glow in black lights!!

We were at a wedding.  There was a gentleman in Lederhosen.

My friend had to know why anyone would be wearing Lederhosen… in October… in Texas… at a wedding that had nothing to do with Germany… and it is still ridiculously HOT in October, in Texas…

Except, he didn’t ask “Why are you wearing Lederhosen?”  He said, “I’ll bet you’d win in a slap dance competition…” (referring to the Lederhosen costume).

The Lederhosen gentleman heartily said, “People don’t usually challenge me to a slap dance!” and then showed us his hook-for-a-hand.

My friend, who was totally unphased, said, “Yup, I think you’d have the advantage.”

So, a while back I learned that Kitten Belly Fur is the softest thing in the world. Coincidentally, I once worked on an experiment that required me to save cat fur (but not of the belly variety).

The experiment was based on a theory that one could collect a bag of fur that was bigger than the cat from whence the fur originated.  Obviously, the answer is yes, if you collect fur for years.  I had no interest in conducting a lengthy experiment, so I decided to figure out “How quickly can one collect a bag of fur that is bigger than a cat?”

This experiment required meticulous fur brushing and the highly specialized use of lint brushes for specimen collecting.  I used the highest quality safety equipment and the judicious application of treats to collect the cat’s prized fur.

After weeks of collecting, I discovered a terrible flaw in the experiment!!  Cat shedding is seasonal!  The experiment would have to be conducted in two phases.  Aaargh!

It took 22 days to complete the summer experiment.  The winter experiment was never completed, as I became obsessed with trying to make snow…

Anyway, I have a bag of cat fur somewhere.  I saved it in case I ever need cat genetic material.


Today I was alerted to the existence of a book (thanks N1!) that would allow one to actually make things from cat fur!!  I can’t believe I have a bag of cat fur and didn’t even think to turn it into a book cover, or a coin purse or a tote bag (to carry a cat who”s fur was used to make the bag..)

My entrepreneurial skills must be slipping!!

If you study the cover of the book, you may be amused and disturbed of the idea that the cat on the cover is sniffing a tiny doppleganger made of it’s own FUR!!!

Oh, and you can make a fur pin cushion AND a merit badge!!  Words fail me.


So, the Question of the week is:

Why was I not the one to see that cat fur crafts was a viable craft idea?

Oh, and speaking of cats… this reminds me of the Greatest Cat Name Ever!

Mr. Donuts!

It’s got to be plural.  Mr. Donut isn’t funny, but Mr. Donuts is.  Can you imagine NOT laughing, every time you call your cat “Mr. Donuts?”

“Mr. Donuts! Hold still, while I apply a lint brush to your belly… Mr. Donuts!  Get my hand out of your mouth…!”

I think I may be getting a tad road weary… but when we drove up to the Petro Gas Station and discovered the sparkly, clean bathrooms, with on-site bathroom attendant and staff that would put ice cubes in my coffee*… it made me never want to leave this trucker’s paradise.

And then, on aisle 3, we found “Heater mates” and realized that these incredibly modern food products would have been more useful than a panini maker!  These things are so cool… er, hot!  They use magnesium and science and stuff to heat the food in the packet.  It’s like magic…  But you don’t want to use them indoors, as they might set off smoke detectors (so no hotel room dining)… and they’re expensive… sigh (so not good for daily use)…  But they are a marvel of modern food engineering and I must try one sometime, when I’m not 10 hours into a 12 hour drive.

We made it home with mixed feelings.  Traveling is so much fun, but I missed all my zany friends and couldn’t wait to hear what they’ve been up to.  And we have so many more at-home adventures to get back to…  making things with Robot Enthusiasts, making things for THEGIANTBRAIN, making things on “Art Sundays with D,” making throwing knives out of garden stakes and I’ve got several paintings that want to be finished.

And we have thousands of photos to sort, all kinds of trip statistics to make, like how many miles driven, how many Timmy’s visited, how many hotel rooms, how many gallons of chili consumed… etc.

Thanks to all that patiently followed the trip, I really enjoyed writing it!

*Convenience store coffee is always ridiculously hot!!  It takes forever to cool down, unless you throw some ice in it.

The ducks exited the elevator (to the sounds of Sousa – naturally) and waddled down the red carpet through the lobby…

That’s what we would have seen had we stayed at The Peabody Grand hotel.

To celebrate the last hotel of the trip, we looked into getting a room at this amazing hotel.  The last Grand Hotel stay was so interesting and inspiring, that I’ve become a fan of Grand Hotels, when the quatloos* allow for it.

As we researched the hotel, we learned about the Duck March that occurs twice a day.  The hotel ducks need assistance getting to the indoor fountain from their nesting place upstairs.  So they have a supervised duck walk from their coops to the fountain.  This requires an elevator ride, music, a red carpet and an elegantly dressed employee that escorts the ducks from place to place!!  This magnificent event only occurs at 5 pm and 11 am.

Oh, the agony!! We would arrive at 6 pm and leave at 9 am!

And how could we possibly stay in a Grand Hotel with a duck march and miss the entire thing!?


Instead we stayed at the lovely (duck-less) Roadway Inn and ended up in the exact same room that we had during our first hotel of the trip – weird, eh?

We were happy to see the Memphis Pyramid again, although saddened by the thought that Memphis still has an UNUSED Pyramid!  How could a city let something so cool decay?  And wouldn’t it be a great place for the Niagara Falls Museum’s curio collection?

States driven through today: Illinois, Missouri, Memphis


  • The Peabody Hotel ducks now travel to schools, hospitals and retirement homes!!
  • The ducks live in a $200,000 Duck Palace!  That’s a lot of money for an animal habitat!!  What could it possibly contain?  Hot and cold running money fountains?
  • *quatloo: “is a monetary unit on the planet Triskelion” and a Star Trek term

Well, I made it home before I finished writing our adventures.  And as soon as we walked in the door, the phone started ringing!  Even though we worked during the trip, there is still a mountain of stuff to do.

But I predict the Day 30 post will be published on the evening of Nov. 1st… so stay tuned!


Hold on to your hats!  I now have TWO new ones… another baseball cap and a PITH helmet!!

Today, I crossed into the realm of awesomeness… I am now a card carrying member of THE WORLD EXPLORERS Club!

The idea…

“If we’re driving through Chicago, and it’s in Illinois… I remember that there’s something else in that state that I want to see… what was it?” I thought to myself.  Then, out loud I said, “Holy Cheese Whiz!  Illinois is where Kempton is!”

Kempton is a very small town in the great state of Illinois.  It also happens to be the world headquarters of the The World Explorers Club.  A club that I have longed to visit ever since I started reading World Explorer Magazine!

Oh, what happy times… I used to rush to my local Borders Bookstore every month and eagerly search out the new magazine titles and breathlessly await the latest edition… what would they write about next?  Would it be underwater archeology in the Pacific?  Or would I learn more about the mysterious Crystal Skulls?

And here we were, hours away from the headquarters of the magazine that I’ve so enjoyed, one that made me thinks,  laugh, wonder and wait.  And so we made a pilgrimage.

It was a long drive through the corn fields… so much so, that we checked the GPS several times to make sure it hadn’t gotten into one of it’s fits.  It happens, occasionally, that the GPS leads us astray.  But this time, it was right on target.

Eventually, we found Kempton and then found the Bookstore.

The bookstore is really cool.  It has a  bunch of books… I mean a LOT of books that cover multiple subjects in serious depth… which, actually describes most bookstores… but this one was so much cooler!!  It even had an Easter Island head in front of it!!  And an incredible mural!

Joe, the helpful employee, showed us around and let us know what to expect.  He made a phone call and said, “David is coming by to say ‘Hi””

The incredible author, traveler, film maker and alternative history expert, David Hatcher Childress, walked in and said, “Hello!”

He then proceeded to show us around the bookstore and the warehouse and we talked about all the great books and various publishing houses and about the fall of Borders Bookstores… and then he said, “Hop in the car, I’ll take you to the Clubhouse…”

The famed, mythical “World Explorers Clubhouse”  

Being driven around Kempton by Mr. Hatcher Childress was fantastic.  But then to be invited into the Clubhouse was almost too much to bear!

It is exactly what you think it should be.  It is an old house, that has a fascinating collection of travel artifacts, quirky posters, stickers, masks, lights… and so many other cool things that my brain couldn’t inventory it.

We hung out by the pool table and talked about Edgar Cayce, apocalyptic safe places, Peruvian treasure hunting laws, the difficulties of getting a visa to Ethiopia, pinball machines, traveling in India… and so many other things!

Then, he showed us around.  Did you know that the World Explorers Clubhouse has rooms that are available to be rented by members?  And the rooms are themed!!  Themed!!  You can stay in the Africa themed room, or the Oceania room or the Ancient American room… and you can shoot pool, play with fossils, or swap stories at the bar.

Eventually, we ended up at the bar, admiring the Polynesian masks and playing with the fossils.  We talked about our recent adventures searching for the mysterious Viking ruins and runes and about Oak Island!

After getting a tour of the Clubhouse, we drove back to the Bookstore where Mr. Hatcher Childress talked to us about Oak Island, and the Viking presence on the East Coast.  Then he pointed us to his book, “Lost Cities of North & Central America” and discussed the all sights we missed!

Then, after many years of buying the magazine at the bookstore, we actually signed up for a membership, got a bunch of fabulous swag and bought a pith helmet!!

And then we drove off through the corn fields, with new friends, new hats and new hopes!

And because I didn’t know that members can ACTUALLY stay at the World Explorer’s Clubhouse….Aaargh…. we stayed in Bourbanaisse and dreamt of getting back to the World Explorer Clubhouse one day.

It almost made me forget that I earlier, I was almost left at the Sanitorium….

Earlier, we woke up in Battle Creek, Michigan and drove to the Kellog’s Battle Creek Sanitorium.  J was threatening to leave me there, as the high winds were making me cough like a tubercular patient.  The history of Kellog, the Sanitorium and the history of cereal is so interesting!  My hero, C.W.. Post (whose daughter built the “House of Fabulous” in Washington, D.C.) stayed at the Battle Creek Sanitarium and was inspired to create his “Post Postums.”

Later, we ended up at Warren Dunes State Park, where I got sandblasted by the high winds and sand.  I even got sand in my chewing gum!

Finally, we finished the day at a place in Bourbannais, IL… which kept making me think of bourbon and mayonaisse and “Glitch Step music”…  which Joe, the helpful guy at the bookstore introduced us to… and he explained how to pronounce “Bourbannais” which actually doesn’t sound like mayonaisse…

Yay – Day 29!!

Trying to mail a sequencing strobe light from a place that you don’t live to a Haunted House many states away, isn’t as easy as one might think.

We’ve been carrying this Haunted House effect around for weeks, across thousands of miles because it needed a bit of tweaking. Then we were going mail it, but didn’t get an address until 28 days into the trip.

Which is why we were trying to mail it to Texas, from Michigan, with a Texas return address.  Sigh.  Hopefully it gets there on time, as the post cards I sent from France are still in the mail.


We visited the lovely Presque Isle State Park, Lake Erie, in the rain and high winds.  The waves on Lake Erie are bigger than those on the Gulf of Mexico.  It cracks me up that those waves were so big (but not Atlantic Ocean big)!

So, not only have I added a new country to my list of countries visited, but I have added multiple states AND Great Lakes!  This trip has been fantastic for making up things to start counting… like photos taken, number of times the windshield has been washed, gallons of chili eaten, etc.

Speaking of chili, I can neither confirm nor deny…

…that someone may have searched the GPS for the closest Skyline Chili and then waited to eat until the car magically drove to east Cleveland, Ohio and then had Skyline Nyssa-Crack for lunch! 

I can also not confirm nor deny…

…that the car magically drove to west Cleveland to the other Skyline Chili, because the first one had no canned chili.

And I will certainly never admit that I may or may not have several gallons of delicious Cincinnati chili in the trunk of my car…

Eventually, we ended up in Battle Creek, Michigan for the evening.  Other than hunting chili, today was primarily a driving day full of radios playing Stevie Nicks, Ace of Base and George Thorogood… to which I changed the song “One Bourbon, one scotch and one beer…” to “One can of chili, on a pack of noodles and a mountain o’ cheese…” Which also explains why I’m neither a poet nor songwriter.


The panini maker seemed like such a good idea, when I was packing… we’ll save money and eat lots of tasty grilled and toasted food… it was such a perfect solution… until it started to smoke.

Then, the realization that “No Smoking” in the motel room meant “No Smoking… regardless of whether the smoke came from a cigarette or a toasted tomato-basil sandwich” and could result in a $500 fine, sunk in.

After a hasty solution that included a fan, extension cord and window,  dinner was served undercooked.  But it was obvious that panini makers don’t belong in hotels in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Next time, I’ll just cook on the trunk of the car.


It was a long day full of border crossings, saying “good bye” to our delightful friends, S & S and their incredibly happy baby, Z.  We were sad to leave Toronto, but ready to get back across the border to the storage unit.

The storage unit

So, before crossing the border we got a storage unit and left everything in it but our day trip stuff. We have been traveling with an electronics kit,  work stuff, a sequenced strobe light and leftover nuts from The Bulk Barn.  These are things which would require a long explanation, if the car were stopped.  But they are perfectly normal things to have in the trunk when you’re me. 

We needed to get back to Buffalo before the storage unit office closed, so we skipped visiting the “Steam Technology Museum” and got across the border after a bit of a wait.

Next, we drove around taking photos of beautiful downtown Buffalo.  And then J started saying, “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo!” According to Wikipedia, this is actually a “grammatically valid sentence…”   According to me, it’s probably the whole reason J planned the route through this town!  He has really been looking forward to saying this sentence (over and over again), while in Buffalo!

The floating bed

While looking for a canal lock, we found a bed with night stand and lamp that was floating in the water.  It was quite unexpected and quite tempting!  Oh,  if it had been within leaping distance, I could’ve taken a nap… although the original artist’s intent was probably to inspire, it made me sleepy. I was so tired I didn’t even bring my camera!

Later, we explored the Naval Park and the submarine.  Can you imagine how the heck they got a real submarine into the lake?  It must have come through the Erie Canal.  It certainly came a long way. 

While trying to leave Buffalo, I may or may not have driven along some street car tracks (yes! Buffalo has street cars, too!) and off what may or may not have been a curb.  The area was quite confusing and I was still dreaming of napping in a floating water bed!

We made it to Erie, PA after driving for miles in the pouring rain.  By the time we got to the motel, I was too tired to think about leaving the room for dinner, so we made grilled sandwiches that ended in disaster and that was day 27.

Misc. Notes

  • Our delightful Canadian hosts only had one rule, “Don’t make eye contact with any raccoons in the street!”
  • Buffalo is “The Birthplace of the Grain Elevator” and where “Off beat Cinema” was produced.
  • Missed opportunity: eating at the Quaker Steak & Lube… a restaurant & oil change place?
  • Saw 2 nuns on the toll road, headed for Chicago ala Blues Brothers (the movie)
  • We stopped at the mythical “walkway bridge type travel plaza!”  Where you can walk over the highway to the plaza on the other side! 

Will post tomorrow…

Almost ready for the next post.  See you guys tomorrow!

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