Saturday, July 13, 2024

Nashville Birthday Bash: Honky Tonks, Brunch, and Bourbon Steak!

On Our Way to Nashville
On Our Way to Nashville

Here we are in the middle of July and it is hard to believe that a month ago we were in Nashville, TN for the 50 birthday celebration for Corrie. We had a great time. I meant to write this following the trip, but we were busy following the trip and did not get it done. We had a wonderful time in Nashville and plan to go back in the future. We went to so many great spots to listen to great music, drink, and of course we ate at some great spots too. This will be a few of the places we went but not an inclusive list.

Having Drinks at Assembly Food Hall
Drinks at Assembly Food Hall

We were in Nashville from June 13 - 17. We packed in a lot during our time there. We would sometimes sleep late to about 9:30 or 10, but we were out the door and doing things in Nashville everyday we were there. We would not head back to take naps or breaks, but it was nonstop and a great time. Picture to the left was a spot we ended up a few different times called Assembly Food Hall. A variety of places to eat or get drink. Fun spot!

Group at Brunch
Group at Brunch

There were ten of us total on the trip although all ten were together I believe only two days together. Picture to the right was brunch at Adele's where we went Saturday morning on June 15. We all came away stuffed and happy. I want to go back there in the future for dinner. We spent that day going between drinking spots while the ladies went shopping. 

I am jumping around a bit, but on Thursday we spent the day on Broadway going around to the various bars. It was so fun with great bands at each and every stop. Some places would have multiple bands playing at the same time, but the way the bars were set up, you could only hear one when in the vicinity of that band. Most bands would take donations with a bucket or with a QR code to send money. We did both methods while we were going around Broadway listening where we would drop cash into a bands bucket or send Venmo through their QR code.

Dinner at Bourbon Steak in a Private Dining Room
Dinner at Bourbon Steak

The highlight of the trip was the birthday dinner for Corrie at Bourbon Steak. We had reservations for ten and we had talked about doing a private dining room but ended up leaving it in the main dining room. When we arrived, we were surprised they took us to the private dining. It was incredible with the views, the food, and the company. The picture to the left, or the others in Flickr album, do not give it justice. We had our own wait staff that took good care of us. Javier was in charge of the wine and we had three bottles of wine through the night. It was a fantastic evening! 

To see all photos from our trip, you can browse them using the images below.

Nashville 2024 Corrie Birthday Celebration

Fun memories to celebrate the birthday for Corrie. It was fun hanging out with everyone to celebrate big birthday weekend for Corrie. Carrie and I hope to go back to Nashville sometime soon.

Thursday, July 04, 2024

Happy July 4, 2024! Have a Happy and Safe Holiday!

Fireworks to Celebrate July 4

t always feels like a sign that summer is half-over as July 4th weekend comes and goes. The summer is speeding by and only gets faster. I hope you have a fun and safe holiday.

No fireworks purchases for us this year, but we might watch some as others fire off their fireworks. Hoping our dog, Oliver, can remain calm and not be too bothered by the sound of the fireworks from neighbors. It is pitiful to watch him outside the past few nights as people fire off their fireworks. 

Fireworks at KBBF a Few Years Ago

If you shoot something that goes into the air, please follow safety protocol. My sister, Dina, has had one too many fireworks chase after her. I remember one time it hit her and put a hole in her shirt. She was far back from the fireworks, but somehow they managed to seek her out.

Happy 4th! Stay safe and keep all of your digits.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Windy Nights, Stunning Sunsets: A Camping Trip to Wilson Lake

Lighting up our camp site at Wilson Lake
Lights at Camp Site

Carrie, Erin, Greg, and I made a trip to Wilson Lake to camp June 27 - 29. We had been wanting to go to Wilson Lake to camp for a few years and we were finally able to do so. We had our spot reserved June 27 - 30, but looking at the weather for Sunday, we decided we would head back a day early.

We arrived early evening on June 27. A windy evening but we were all able to set up our tents, fix dinner, and enjoy the evening. It turned out to be the only night that we cooked with us having reservations for dinner Friday night in Wilson town. We cooked fried potatoes and Kielbasa on the Firedisc. However, the high winds of 20-25 mph made cooking a challenge. We had the wind protector on the Firedisc, but it was too much wind for the fire to work. We also thought about doing a fire Thursday night, but again, the wind was too much and thought better of it. 

Beautiful Sunsets at Camp Site
Beautiful Sunset at Camp Site

Our first night camping, we had amazing views of the sunset. We were slightly blocked by trees, but the orange glow was incredible and lit up the whole sky. Credit to Greg for the picture to the left. The sunset was not as vivid Friday night but still a pretty night. 

The campsites at Wilson Lake are a little closer together than what we are accustom to at other sites. Thursday night there were not many people camping although by Friday night just about every spot was filled.

Hiking on the Dakota Trail
Hiking on the Dakota Trail

Saturday morning we had a slow morning. Ate cereal and drank orange juice before heading out of the day. We decided we would drive around the lake and find a spot to walk a trail. We chose the Dakota Trail which was listed as .70 miles. We were .3 miles into the hike when I said it aloud and everyone was shocked to hear we were not farther along than .3 miles. The Dakota Trail was overgrown and mainly uphill. It about kicked all of our rears. We finally made it to the peak but then the walk down was through overgrown vegitation with large steps. We were thankful to make it out of the Dakota Trail without falling or getting bit by a snake.

Following the hike, we wanted to find a beach so we could do some swimming before having lunch. We found a nice spot with another couple nearby that were kayaking. We swam for a while before getting out to make some sandwiches, chips, watermelon, and I had a few beers before we went back into the water. 

We had made reservations at The Sample Room Tavern which is at the Midland Railroad Hotel. Our dinner was good with me having pot roast, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Greg had the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, Carrie had spaghetti and meatballs. Erin had a Cesar salad with chicken. All very good! We had heard they were slow and were expecting slowness, but our drinks and food came out quickly. We were pleased with the food, service, and the restaurant. Following dinner, we went out to The Barn for a drink before heading back to our campsite.

Lake Wilson and Our Camp Site from Across the Lake
Lake Wilson and Our Camp Site

We had a great time at Lake Wilson from the tent camping, sitting around the fire, enjoying drinks, to the dinner at The Sample Room Tavern, we enjoyed every part of our trip to western Kansas. The picture to the left is from our hiking on the Dakota Trail looking across the lake to our camp site. We did find some other camp sites we might like to get in the future.

I enjoy the whole process from sitting around relaxing at our site to hiking on trails that kick our butts. The whole process is fun and we started talking about other camping trips we will make this year. We are looking at a trip in September although nothing scheduled at this time.

Until next time, enjoy your Sunday. Have a great week! I hope to bring more camping adventures to you soon.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Kansas City Kickoff: Concert, Hotel Stay, & Nashville Bound!

Carrie and me Headed to The Mavericks Concert
Carrie and John in Hotel

Carrie and I had the opportunity to get tickets to the Chris Stapleton concert in Kansas City on Wednesday, June 12. Carrie had a friend she knew that was selling tickets and we jumped at the chance. This was the night before we were scheduled to leave for Nashville, so we decided to get a hotel in Kansas City for the concert and so we would be set for leaving for our trip on Thursday.

We stayed at the Hotel Indigo in downtown Kansas City where we had stayed before. It worked out great as it was within walking distance to the concert and then a short drive the next morning to the airport.

Drinks Before the Concert
Drinks Before the Concert

We stopped by the hotel bar before the concert to have a few drinks. Nice bar and beer was ice cold which was good on a hot late afternoon before heading to concert. It was fun sitting at the bar as we could see people walking by and we knew where they were headed in their cowboy boots, hats, and attire. No country dress up for us, but we were ready for the concert.

We made it to the concert and ready. The concert started at 7 with two opening acts, so we were a little late getting into see the first act. Not bad with good energy. The second opening act was really good. Marcus King and Allen Stone were good. Fun sound and got the crowd ready for the main event. We had a good time listening to them and watching T-Mobile Center fill up for the main act.

Selfie with Robin, Amber, and Crew
Selfie with Robin, Amber, and Crew
After we bought our tickets from a friend of Carrie, Carrie was talking to another friend of ours who was also planning to attend. Found out they were going to be sitting right in back of us. What are the odds? Robin bought her tickets through a web site and here we are sitting right in front of Robin and Amber. Too funny! Robin and Amber hooked us up with some free drinks from the T-Mobile VIP space where they were at when we arrived at the concert. Brought back a number of drinks for us to enjoy throughout the opening acts.

Main Stage for Chris Stapleton Concert
Chris Stapleton Stage
Chris Stapleton came back on for an encore and played two more songs. He puts on a fantastic show. The sound was excellent plus the video production of the video board above the stage and on the sides were excellent with interactions to what he was singing tied into visual effects on the screen above. It was fun!

Following the concert, we walked out of the T-Mobile Center toward our hotel. We immediately smelled amazing smells as we exited. There were food vendors everywhere and of course we had to get some for our walk back. We got hotdogs covered in veggies. Now, for $10 a piece, we probably would normally not have stopped to buy one, but after beer, music, and fun, we forked over the cash and carried them back to our hotel to enjoy in our room. Great way to end the evening. 

The next morning, we got up, had breakfast in the hotel bar which was really good, and then headed to the airport. A great time in Kansas City before our trip to Nashville. So glad Carrie found the tickets for the concert.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Saying Goodbye to the Dodge: Memories of a Family Truck

Dad's 1997 Dodge Dakota Truck Leaving Lawrence
1997 Dodge Dakota Truck Donation

Dad passed on December 30, 2014 (see Remembering) and we have had his truck since he passed. The 1997 Dodge Dakota truck mainly sat in the driveway at my parents house. Every now and again Betsy, or Mom, would start the truck to drive around the block or run it for a few minutes. Most of the time though the past few years, it would not start at all. It was time to let the truck go and put the parts to better use.

Repair Work on Dodge Dakota Truck
Repair Work on Truck
I have so many memories of the truck. It is hard to believe my Dad bought that truck in 1997. He was never a big fan of the truck as I recall through the years. It would wear the front tires down bald quickly and I am not sure how many times he had to replace the tires faster than he thought should be necessary. There were other things about the truck he was not happy about, but he kept it and did his own repairs on the truck to keep it going. 

We used the truck for working at the cabin loading the tractor in the back, hauling rock, or hauling things to or from the cabin at Lone Star Lake. The truck was his primary mode of transportation as he had Mom driving the Accord. When Dad would go somewhere, he was usually in the truck. 

I remember driving the truck with the boat hitched to Clinton Lake with friends. Or, taking the boat to the shed where we kept the boat at rental properties. Tim and I would say how nice it would be to have a lift at the dock, but Dad wanted to keep it in the shed.

We were able to donate the truck to Washburn Tech. I believe the truck is too old for recycled rides that Washburn Tech does, but they can use it for instruction, parts, or scrap. If you have an old car you are looking to part ways with, I would suggest you reach out to Recycled Rides with Washburn Tech

The truck served us for many years and held good memories. Thanks to my sister, Betsy, for the pictures included in this post. I know it was a sad day for Mom and Betsy as they watched the truck be loaded up and hauled off, but I think it is best that it is no longer rusting in the drive.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

Walks, Wuffes, and Woofs: Celebrating Oliver's 13th with a Tail-Wagging Adventure

Oliver Walking on his Birthday
Oliver Walking on his Birthday

Oliver turned 13 on June 5. It was his birthday, and we showered him with greetings throughout the day. But the true highlight was going on a walk. I have been taking him on a walk following my jogging. He is anxious while I am gone and watching for me to return. This time though when I got back, he whined three times wanting to get going on his walk. Poor guy, his birthday and he had to wait for me to get back from a jog so he could show off to the neighborhood that it was his birthday. He had a grand time walking through the neighborhood. We walked one mile and I think he could have kept going.

Action Shot On Our Walk
Action Shot While we Walk

I wanted to get a picture of us walking, so I put my phone down by a tree and captured us on our walk. Oliver was a little confused on what we were doing as I placed the phone, backtracked, and then walked forward again. We did this a few times and I think he thought I had lost my mind. Nope! Just trying to get a picture of us walking together, Oliver. 

We spotted a few other dogs on our walk. Oliver, even at 13, can still be a bit excitable around other dogs. So, I usually try to avoid other dogs as much as possible on our walks. If we start down a street and I see someone with a dog, we might change routes so we avoid the dog. Some people we meet with dogs do not understand and want to approach for our dogs to meet. He has gotten better, but still a bit of a nut when meeting other dogs. Rather embarrassing when he acts like a nut. 
Selfie with Oliver on our Walk
Selfie with Oliver on our Walk

We had a good time on our walk. A lot of sniffing, finding spots, and looking over the lay of the land. Oliver gets so excited at the mention of "walk" so of course we spell it out and he is starting to recognize when we spell it out what we are talking about. I recently started running again and in turn started walking Oliver regularly. He loves it so much that I need to make sure to walk him through the week even if I am not running. He has a happy look on his face and of course he sleeps so well on the days we do our walks.

Oliver as a Puppy Back in October 2011
Oliver October 2011

It is hard to believe our little guy is thirteen years old. I still remember him as a little puppy with a lot of energy, playing with toys, wanting belly tickles, and have a grand time. Ok, well, he still does all of that at thirteen which is fantastic. 

A quick shout out to supplements that Carrie got for Oliver a few months ago and completely changed his energy and ability to run around or jump on the couch. She saw an ad on FaceBook for Wuffes. Prior to us giving Oliver Wuffes, he had joint pain, sometimes he could not jump on the couch, and he really had no energy to play. We have been giving him Wuffes for a few months and can see a difference in how he acts and the energy he has throughout the day. Carrie usually gives him his supplement at night after his super. All she says is "want your supplement" and he knows what is happening. Gets excited and waits for his supplement to be broken out to him.

Happy Birthday, Oliver. I hope you had a great day of celebration.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

Nostalgia Through Music

Album Art from "Painted Desert Serenade" by Joshua Kadison

I enjoy Apple Music and the fact that it can give a summary at the end of the year of songs that I have listened to frequently during the year. Prior to Apple Music, I was using Rhapsody by Real. It is sometimes fun to go back to see what I was listening to in heavy rotation when I first start using Apple Music. There are top songs for each year going back to 2015. I am not sure if I was using Apple Music prior to 2015, but that's the first playlist that shows up in my history with heavy play rotation.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Carrie and I stopped at my Mom's in Lawrence. Mom mentioned she had been listening to CD I used to listen to back in the early 90s. I was curious of the name and she told me it was Painted Desert Serenade by Joshua Kadison. I had completely forgotten about the CD until it was mentioned. I searched for Joshua Kadison on Apple Music and immediately brought back memories of college. I think it was a CD that when I moved out of the house, I left at home. My Mom came across it in my old things and started listening to it in the afternoons.

Since last weekend, I have listened to the songs a few times through Apple Music. It is crazy how hearing those songs takes me back to the early 1990s. Of course this is true with other songs in the way the song can take us back to another time. 

As I look back on my prior years through Apple Music going back to 2015, I see a number of similar artists that I listen to regularly throughout each year with one being Neil Diamond but also mixed into the mix includes James TaylorBruce Springsteen, Steve Winwood, Brett Dennen, and many others that show up year after year. 

What are some ways you keep track of music from your past?

I wish there was a way to look at back what I listened to as a kid, young adult, or into college. Yes, I remember some of them, but I know there are many CD's that I bought that I do not remember. Some I would like to find again that I know are in the house somewhere, but I have not been able to find them.

Until next time, have a great rest of your Sunday and a wonderful week...