Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Kjeragbolten is a 5 m³ boulder wedged into a crevasse
at the top of Lysfjorden, Norway


 
   What you see is Kjeragbolten, a boulder wedged between two rock faces that tower about 6 ½ feet apart, 1,000 meters above Lysfjorden, Norway. The name means the Kjerag Bolt. Speculation is, that the rock got wedge in there sometime during the last ice age. Today, the boulder is a very popular place to get your picture taken.

   Even though the boulder hangs more than a half-mile above the water below, and there’s no hand rail or safety net, brave visitors can walk on to the bolt (or in some cases, crawl) out onto the bolt for a photographic opportunity of a lifetime. The rock’s top surface is flat enough that walking out onto it is relatively easy – if you’re not afraid of heights – and it is said to bring good luck. This award-winning image was captured as a young adventurer jumped up and down the boulder in the rain as if he was on solid ground.

   Despite the fact that there have been 20 fatalities in the 14 years between 1994 and 2008, the Bolt is still a popular place for photography and base jumping
 
 
 
 
 

Brave or Stupid?

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Aussie Burger

A traditional Aussie Burger, one of the biggest sandwiches I've ever seen.

 
   When I traveled to Australia back in 2000, I was told that whatever I did, I would have to try the traditional ‘Aussie Burger.’ I tried several different foods while I was there — fish & chips, crocodile, emu, camel and kangaroo, but the one that impressed me the most was the Aussie Burger.

   I ordered my Aussie Burger in the Victoria’s Cross area of Sydney. When my waitress brought it out, she asked, “Are you going to eat this by yourself?” I was going to try. It was one of the biggest sandwiches I have ever seen in my life. It had several layers of different food items on it; it towered a good four inches above the stack of chips (french fries) on the side. It reminded me of Dagwood’s sandwiches in the comic strip. I could only eat about 3/4ths of it, but the memory lasts a lifetime.

   The traditional Aussie Burger is an over-the-top burger topped with a fried egg, pickled beets, and pineapple rings. Don’t dismiss the beets – they are very good and taste a lot like pickles. Big pickles.

Here is a recipe for an Aussie Burger (makes 2):

12 oz. fresh ground beef
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried chili peppers
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 slices sweet Vadalia onion
2 fresh pineapple rings
2 slices aged sharp cheddar
2 eggs
4-6 slices bacon or 2 slices ham
2 leaves of Bibb or Romaine lettuce
4 slices pickled beets
2 slices beefsteak tomato
2 toasted hamburger buns

  • Set your outdoor grill for high heat.
  • In a bowl, combine the beef, chili, and garlic; season with salt and pepper and form into patties.
  • Fry the bacon or ham until done, then set aside.
  • In the bacon drippings, fry the onion and pineapple just until browned on each side.
  • Next, cook the eggs until almost done, then sprinkle with water and cover, remove from heat.
  • Grill the burgers for 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  • Toast the buns with a light coating of butter.

   To Assemble sandwiches: Set bottom of the bun on a plate, cover with mayonnaise and top with a burger, one fried egg, a slice of cheese, a slice of ham or slices of bacon, fried onions, a few slices of beet, a slice of pineapple, a slice of tomato, and a leaf of lettuce. Spread the top bun with ketchup, mustard, and relish as desired.

I would like to buy an hamburger.

Notes upon a Whopper.

 

“This is the USS Abraham Lincoln”

German Coast Guard

Lighthouse, Mare France

Lighthouse guard in Mare, France must be one of the most courageous people on the planet!

 
   Have you seen the picture of the dude in the lighthouse taking a smoke break in a storm? The caption reads “Lighthouse guard in Mare, France must be one of the most courageous people on the planet!” and some pictures add, “Not everyone will have a smoke in such weather, and in such a place!”

   Well, here’s the story of that picture…

   The Île d’Ouessant (often called Ushant in English) is an island lying off the westernmost tip of France. The island has a permanent population of about 900 and several lighthouses. La Jument Lighthouse, accessible only by boat, was built in 1911. The tower is built on a rock called La Vieille Jument, the “Old Mare.” Located about 2.2 km (1.4 mi) southwest of the southern tip of the Île d’Ouessant, the lighthouse is accessible only by boat. La Jument is an active lighthouse with a 157 ft octagonal unpainted stone tower with lantern and gallery mounted on a circular concrete base. The lighthouse is 7-stories high. The lighthouse lantern emits three red flashes every 15 seconds. Construction of this lighthouse took nine years and did not result in a fully stable structure; repeated repair projects finally put it on a sound basis in 1940. Until then, the trembling lighthouse was probably the least favored of all assignments for French lighthouse keepers.

   The lighthouse became well-known in 1989 through a series of photographs taken by Jean Guichard during a storm and while the lighthouse keepers were stranded. It appears that the man in the picture is calmly taking a smoke break. However, that is not the case. The lighthouse keepers had been waiting for a rescue helicopter, and upon hearing the sound of one approach, one of them came out to investigate. As the enormous wave broke over the lighthouse, he was able to hastily retreat back inside.

[Source: Lighthouses of France: Northern Finistère]


For Sale: Low Mileage Car.

The Brave Colonel in the Bright Red Shirt

Justin Wilson, Cajun cook and storyteller
1914 - 2001

   [Author’s Note: I don’t know for sure, but I attribute this story to Justin Wilson.]

   Back in the swamplands of Southern Louisiana, Theodore had some city folk to come visit him. While they were visiting, they wanted to experience some true bayou life, so they asked Theodore if he would take them to try some alligator hunting. Theodore was obliging, so Theodore and the two men loaded up their rifles in his pickup truck and headed out under the Spanish Moss down an unpaved road back into the darkest part of the Bayou.

   Theodore told the fellows, “Naw ah have to make a stop ‘a the Broussard place an’ let ’em know we’ll be ‘ta roamin’ his property,” Theodore told them. So Theodore stopped the truck near where some cattle were grazing and walked up to the Broussard cottage.

“‘Lo, Amos!” Theodore called.

“‘Lo, Theo,” Amos replied. “What you about these parts for?”

Theodore told him, “Ah got some city folk visitin’ and they wan’ try their hands at a ‘gator hunt. So’s I tol’ ’em we’d try out yore way, but ‘figured I’d stop t’ ask first. Ya’ll doing well, I presume?” asked Theo.

“Not the best of days ever I see’d.” said Amos.

“Whaz goin’ on?” asked Theo.

“Well, my old kine Abigale is ill, and Doc says she’s too old to recover. I hate to see her suffer. She needs to be put down, but I ain’t got the heart. It tears me up somethin’ fierce.”

“Amos, if it’d do you, I got the rifle in the truck wi’ me. I’ll jus’ take care o’ that for you, then me and them boyz’ll be on our way.”

“‘Preciate you’d do that for me, Theo. Yo’re a good man.” said Amos.

   As Theodore walked back to the truck, he spotted the old cow, Abigale, and decided to have some fun with the city folk.

“Dang that Amos Broussard!” Theodore hollered. “He makes me madder ‘an a wet hornet.”

“What happened?” the men asked.

“He said he’s tired o’ people tramplin’ up his property, cuttin’ his fences, an’ leavin’ they trash behind, and said he won’t let us hunt his land. Now, we been frien’s near twenee-six year, I ‘tol him. I hain’t never did you no ways wrong, but he said he didn’ care. Wasn’t no way he’s lettin’ some city folk come cross his lan’ an take a ‘gator.”

“Well, what are we going to do?” the city boys asked.

“I’ll show him friendship!” and Theodore grabbed his hunting rifle, walked over to Abigale, and *BLAM* shot her in the head.

Then, from behind, he heard two more shots: *BLAM – BLAM*. Theodore turned around to see one of his guests putting his rifle back in the truck. “Come on, Theodore! I just shot two more cows… now let’s get out of here.”

Theodore’s four doors

Uncle Buford's 1967 lime-green-and-rust Buick LeSabre

   Uncle Buford and his wife Louise loved to travel back and forth between their ‘Summer Home’ in East Tennessee and their ‘Winter Residence’ in Central Florida. Now, Buford and Louise are not wordly-affluent metropolitan travelers. Their house in Florida was a small, raised bungalow in the middle of a multi-acre citrus farm. Despite it’s Florida location, it had no air-conditioning. Their house in Tennessee was a four-room cabin tucked in a narrow valley near the Virginia border. This house had no running water.

   But they enjoyed their time at both places. About every three months, Uncle Buford and Aunt Louise would pack up their lime green-and-rust 1967 Buick LeSabre with all their clothes, their pots, their pans, their bedding, some fresh produce and some water, and drive the 670 miles to stay at their other house a while. Buford never drove the Interstate. From East Tennessee, he’d drive toward the coast, and pick up U.S. Highway 1 for the rest of the journey.

   Buford continued to drive into his 80’s. I rode with him to Orlando one time. We were riding in the Buick on Florida 528 when we came to the traffic light. Buford drove right through the red light.

“Whoa,” I said. “Good thing nothing was coming.”

Buford chuckled and replied, “Don’t worry, my brother taught me to drive on this road forty years ago”.

When we got to the next red light, Buford drove right through it as well.

I asked, “Buford, You know you just ran two red lights?”

He repeated, “Yes, it was about forty years ago my brother taught me to drive on this road.”

“You know you’re supposed to stop at red lights?”, I asked.

Buford said, “Don’t worry, my brother and I have driven this same stretch of road for over forty years.”

   When we got to the third light, Buford slammed on the brakes and slowed to a crawl as he checked both ways before proceeded through the green light. It didn’t make him very popular with the rest of the drivers on the road.

I asked, “Buford, why would you drive through red lights without slowing but almost stop at green lights!?”

Buford replied, “My brother might be coming the other way!”

Lamenting old age

Another traffic stop

A Server at Taco Bell

“$5.37.”

   That’s what the kid behind the counter at Taco Bell said to me. I dug into my pocket and pulled out some lint, two dimes and an old Jolly Rancher. Having already handed the kid a five, I started to head back out to the truck to grab some change when the voice from behind the counter said the harshest thing anyone has ever said to me. He said, “It’s OK. I’ll give you the Senior Citizen discount.”

   I turned to see who he was talking to. Then I heard the sound of change hitting the counter in front of me. “Only $4.68” he said cheerfully. I stood there stupefied. I am 48, not even 50 yet, still a young man! Did he really call me a Senior citizen? I took my burrito and walked out to the truck. What was wrong with that kid. Was he blind?

   I sat in my truck. I got more and more angry. “Old? Me? No, he’s not getting away with this,” I thought. I got out of my truck and went back inside. I walked up to the counter, and there stood the little twit, waiting with that stupid smile. Before I could say a word, he held up something and jingled it in front of me, as if he could distract me from my mission!

   “You can’t get too far without your car keys, can you, Sir?” he chuckled. I stared with utter disdain at my keys he was dangling like a toy before a dog. I began to rationalize the scenario in my mind. “Leaving your keys behind hardly qualifies a man as elderly!” I said in a raised tone, “It has nothing to do with age!” I turned and headed back to the truck.

   Now I was shaking, I was so angry. I slipped the key into the ignition, but it wouldn’t turn. Now what? I checked my keys and tried the valet key. Still nothing. That’s when I noticed the purple beads hanging from my rear view mirror. I don’t have purple beads hanging from my rear view mirror. Then, I noticed a few other things: Happy Meal toys in the floorboard; a partially eaten doughnut on the dash. A half-empty soda in the cup holder.

Whoever’s truck that was: I was only in it less than two minutes, and I didn’t take anything.

   Moments later I’m speeding out of the parking lot, relieved to finally leave this nightmarish burrito stop. That’s when my stomach growled at me. Hunger! My stomach growled and churned, and I reached across the seat to grab my burrito, only it was not there. I swung the truck around, gathered my courage, and headed back into the restaurant one more time. There he stood, draped in youth and mockery. He still had his stupid smile.

   “It just isn’t your day is it?” he said as he held out my burrito and drink. That’s all he said, but I know what he was inferring: “Why don’t you get a Boy Scout to help you back into your vehicle so you can go and apply for Social Security benefits, old man?”

   I went back out to my truck. From nowheere, a young guy came up and knocked on my window to get my attention. He was holding up my wallet. He explained, “I think you dropped this over by my truck by mistake.” I took my wallet back and offered to pay him $20 for its safe return. He said to me, “Naw, keep your money. My grandfather loses his stuff like this all the time.”

I drove home.

   I walked in the front door, I went straight to my recliner-rocker, covered my legs with a blanket, turned on Jeopardy!, and ate my burrito. The good news was, I had successfully found my way home.