Monday, July 25, 2011

Iowa Veterans Cemetery
I had the opportunity to visit the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, which is just West of Des Moines and South of U. S. Interstate 80.  To learn the history of this Cemetery please visit:

I took the above images and was impressed with the rolling countryside that Iowa has set aside for the burial of it's Heroes. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Delightful Meal

The Flower Child is planning a delightful meal for this Saturday evening.  The menu will include Coffee-Rubbed Rib Steaks and Home Made Fresh Peach Ice Cream.

 The recipe for the Coffee-Rubbed Rib Steaks follows:

For the Rub
2 tablespoons ground espresso beans (never use instant) regular or decaf
1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seets
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the steaks
2 (1 1/4 pounds boneless rib-eye steaks, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick
Canola or Olive Oil


1.  To make the rub, combine the espresso, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, mustard seeds, hot pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Set aside.

2.  When you are ready to cook the steaks, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

3.  Brush the steaks lightly all over with the Canola or Olive Oil.  Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper.  Rub 1 tablespoon of the coffee rub on the top of each steak and allow them to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.  (Any extra coffee rub can be stored in the freezer and used again within 2 months).

4.  Heat a dry cast-iron skillet, large enough to hold the steaks comfortably over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until very hot.  Add the steaks, rub side down, and cook without moving for 3 minutes, until the bottoms of the steaks are a deep brown color.  Flip the steaks over and cook for 2 more minutes.  Transfer the pan with the steaks to the hot oven and cook 5 more minutes for medium-rare meat.  An instant thermometer inserted in the middle will only register about 110 degrees, but the steaks will continue to cook while they rest.  Remove the steaks from skillet to a plate, cover with aluminum foil, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve warm!!

Notes:  "Seasoning steaks properly is so important.  Don't skimp on the salt and pepper-it makes all the difference in the taste."

"When the steaks go into the very hot cast-iron skillet, don't be tempted to move them for 3 minutes until they're seared and browned.  This keeps the juices in and the steaks moist."

In addition to the normal side dishes for a Steak Supper the whole meal will be concluded with Fresh Peach Ice Cream that was hand churned in a White Mountain Ice Cream freezer.

The recipe for the Ice Cream follows:

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 quarts milk
1 pint whipping cream
2 cans condensed milk (I prefer Eagle Brand)
1 tablespoon vanilla
about one pound of finely diced fruit.  You can use strawberries, blackberries, etc.  For the event on Saturday we will be using freshly picked Elberta Peaches

Mix all of these items and cool one day for creamier ice cream.  Place in an ice cream freezer and turn away.  This recipe makes 4 quarts of creamy Ice Cream.


The Freedom Rock

During my recent visit to Iowa I took the opportunity to visit this famous site which is West of Des Moines just off of Interstate 80.  I took many pictures and sent a request to the "Patriot", who paints this rock every year with new scenes just before Memorial Day to allow me to publish the pictures in this Blog. 

I received the following reply:

"Feel free to use images of The Freedom Rock® for your blog. We only require that others do not use them for any type of sales/profits and/or advertising/fundraising.

Thank you for your interest in Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II's artwork and The Freedom Rock®. Please also remember to credit the correct website(s):

Thanks again for reaching out, we hope you enjoyed your visit!


 This is an image of the Blog Author and His Bride as their Tour Guide took this picture.  We enjoyed the visit to the Freedom Rock and it is one more item that can be crossed off of my Bucket List.

 Thank You!!!!  Heroes who make our way of live possible and Thank You Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II for this annual tribute to remind us all as we engage in our daily lives that "Freedom Is Not Free."

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Prarie Learning center

Altoona, Iowa

 During a recent visit to Iowa My Bride and I had the opportunity to visit this fine facility.  The Learning center was not open, but we enjoyed the opportunity to ride through the Wildlife Refuge.

 We did not have the opportunity to view the Deer, Elk or Bison up close, but just seeing them in a natural setting was impressive.  I saw one herd of Bison which consisted of over 39 animals.  They were very distant so I was not able to get a photograph of them. 

We were in the company of a tour guide who explained to us that at times it is possible to view the Bison up close. 

I just had to include this picture of a milkweed plant.  I have fond memories of harvesting the silk pods of the mature flowers in the Fall.  When I was five years old it was the custom to collect the pods from the milkweek plant for the silk to be given to the War Effort.  The silk was used to make life jackets for our Heroes.
The Redwood Tree

Hawkinsville, Georgia
You may have recently read about a "Redwood" Tree that grows in Hawkinsville, Georgia.  While in that town yesterday I decided to stop and take a few pictures of this great tree that is flourishing in Georgia.

M & T Meats

Hawkinsville, Georgia

 I traveled to M & T Meats yesterday to acquire some rib eye steaks for a cook out this Saturday evening.  I had been to this market several months ago to acquire some great beef and I knew that for the event this Saturday that I had to again travel to Hawkinsville, Georgia to purchase some fine steak.

I had to take a picture of the display that held the rib eye steaks.  There must be over 90 feed of display cases to show all the meats available.  They have much more than beef.  We also acquired some grillers that looked nice. 

I would suggest that anyone who has a special event to consider traveling to M & T Meats if they desire to obtain what I consider the best meat products available in Middle Georgia.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saint Louis, Missouri

 Of course no trip to Saint Louis would be complete with out a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.  My Son treated me to a game where we watched the Cardinals defeat the Blue Jays 2 to 0.  A great game and also a fun event for me and my Son.

After the game we connected with our respective Brides and enjoyed an outing to Ted Drewes for our favorate Saint Louis Treats.  Shown here is our Son and My Bride.  To learn more about this spot on Historic Route 66 please visit:

Gate Way to the West

Saint Louis, Missouri

 My Bride and I were fortunate to visit Saint Louis, Missouri during Marine Week 2011.  This event featured an assult landing near the Arch along the Mississippi River.  The picture above shows a Helo removing a group of Marines from a combat area after they had secured it.

 Here you see a U. S. Marine Corps Harrier Aircraft.  This aircraft was developed in England during the late 1950s and the early 1960s.  The Harrier is a Vertical/Short Take Off and Landing (V/STOL) fixed wing combat aircraft.  It is an impressive aircraft to view.  It is moving straight up with the exhaust shooting downward.

 This Osprey Aircraft performed a flyby to demonstrate the ability to hover, do go up or down as well as fly forward.  It is a Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft that is capable to operating in close situations.  The engines rotate on the wing tips.  Another aircraft that is interesting to observe in operation.
The Marine week in Saint Louis we well promoted and we also visited the Soldiers Memorial in downtown Saint Louis. 

Paducah, Kentucky

The Trail of Discovery

 Several years ago I was a Volunteer Reader in the Bibb County School System.  I read the book "Seaman, The Dog Who Accompanied Lewis and Clark."  During a recent visit to Paducah, Kentucky I was able to view  the monument to this epic journey.  It is on the front lawn of the National Quilt Museum.

To learn more about the National Quilt Museum and the Monument shown above I would suggest that you visit:

Please take the time to visit the "about" tab and also click on the "History" tab to learn how the Museum and the Monument  to the Trail of Discovery are connected.  I was impressed with the sculpure at this Monument. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Paducah, Kentucky

I recently had the opportunity to visit this charming River Town on the Ohio River while I was on Holiday.  I learned a lot about Paducah.

 First of all I learned that for the sum of $5.00, General William Clark purchased 37,000 acres of land as indicated on the above marker.

 I was impressed with the style of electric lights used in the Historic Old-Town Paducah area. 

 Paducah was also a railroad center.  Here is a steam engine which is part of a Railroad Museum.

 I was impressed with the quality of landscaping in the parking lots in the Paducah Historic Area.

 This flood wall painting celebrates the visits of the Delta Queen, the Mississippi Queen and the America Queen in the 1990s to the City of Paducah.

A Tug and barges on the Ohio River moving freight just beyond the Paducah Flood Wall.  In another era Paducah was the center of much commerce during the expansion of the United States.

My visit to Paducah was certainly interesting and I learned a lot.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Public Image/Customer Service

I recently traveled through the states of Indiana/Kentucky/Tennessee and made several observations on how I experienced service to the traveler.

In lower Indiana just North of the city of Evansville I was on U. S. Route 41 when I needed fuel.  I stopped at a Circle K outlet and sent my Bride inside to ask the attendant to turn on the pump so I could refuel.  It is my custom to obtain fuel in this manner to avoid the scamming of the Outside Credit/Debit Card reader that is often on fuel pumps.  She ask the attendant and is willing to share the Credit Card with the attendant.  By the way this method works in every state that we traveled in, exept Indiana.  We use Circle K outlets which offer BP fuel and have never had the problem we experienced in Indiana.  The attendant refused to turn on the pump.  We then attempted to use the Outside Card Reader to no avail.  It appeared to be jammed.  My Bride reported this to the attendant who told us to back up to the other pump and that he would then turn it on.  We did this and obtained the fuel we needed.  Not a very nice experience.  I will always remember how I was treated in Indiana.

We then proceeded South and arrived in Kentucky when we determined that a nice lunch would be appropriate.  We noted a billboard for a Cracker Barrel at exit 81A of the Pennyrile Parkway and decided to stop for a nice meal.  When we travel we often use this retailer because you know the food will be appropriate and fairly priced.  Our Wait Staff person, Joshua was certainly a credit to the Cracker Barrel organization as well as himself.  We enjoyed a delightful lunch.  We were impressed with the level of customer service we had experienced in Kentucky.

It was not long before we arrived in Tennessee.  We stopped at the Welcome center on I-65 close to Fort Campbell. The water fountains at this welcome center provided cool, refreshing water.  I have observed that often the water fountains provide warm water, especially when they are located outside.  Tennessee has set a standard of excellence for all Welcome Centers in the U. S. A. 

I submit this Blog Post to simply relate my experience during this trip.  Additionally, I feel that it is important for all to realize that no State or Retail Organization never knows who will be using their services.  I think that it is important that everyone in any situation to represent their State and/or Organization in the best manner possible.  No one ever knows the mission of the traveler/visitor.  I could well have been a representative of a business looking for a site to relocate a firm/factory.  My impressions regarding the level of Customer Service would indeed impact my judgement and thereby be reflected in any report that I would submit to the decision makers I would be representing.

Therefore I would suggest that it is imperative that all who face the public put their best foot forward.