Monday, June 27, 2022

MIDWEST BASEBALL TOUR - LEG 2: Kansas City, Part 1

If you haven’t read Tim’s reports on preparing for this trip (this is his first time planning a trip), be sure to check out what it took to plan and prepare for this trip in a wheelchair.

Finally, we're driving to the final destination of this tour.  It seems like we've been on the road for a month, but it's just been a week since we landed in Cincinnati.

It’s not nearly as long a drive as we took from Cincinnati to St. Louis. 247 miles as opposed to 384, so this day will be much shorter with only a planned bathroom, gas, and lunch break half way in Columbia, home of Ole Mizzou.

Watch the Video!

On the way in, we pass Kauffman Stadium, our goal for this leg of the trip, and then into downtown to find our hotel. It’s not hard to find as we climb up the hill by the Liberty Monument with it’s not-so-eternal Eternal Flame. Our home here will be the Residence Inn by Marriott on Union Hill.

We check in and find the hotel’s only wheelchair accessible room, a downstairs unit in a cave-like outdoor hallway. The room is spacious and roomy, with a king-size bed against the wall, a roll-in shower in the bathroom, a full kitchen next to a work desk, and a living room with a sofabed. The sofa is too close to the TV to unfold it for a bed so I scoot it back a bit, revealing many tears in the rug repaired with duct tape.

I look for and find the thermostat for the air conditioning, try to set it, and find out that it does not work. That will not be a problem on this chilly day but if the weather takes a turn to hot and muggy…as it did in St. Louis…it will be. We leave the room to walk to dinner and let the front desk know that the A/C needs fixing, which they promise to do.

A two block walk up Main Street leads us to Gates Barbecue, whose motto is “hi, can I help you?” I would think you’d get that motto at a lot of places, but if it helps, why not? We order at the cafeteria-style counter. I can see the smoker a few feet back, open, with many pieces of perfectly smoked meat. Our eyes grow big. I want to try a burnt ends sandwich. My wife wants a full rack of ribs. Tim will share with us along with beans, bread, and salad.

The meat is perfect, delectable, and juicy-tasty. There are three sauces to try, mild, regular, and hot. We get all three and stuff ourselves silly. We still have over half of our food left, which the waitress in the dining room helps us pack to take back to the hotel. That fridge in the full kitchen will come in handy.

In the morning, after the hotel’s perfectly adequate breakfast (I think I’ve been spoiled by the
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch
), we had a day to explore before tonight’s game. It’s a short drive over to Independence, home of one Harry S. Truman.

At the visitor’s center, we are informed that both the Truman home and farm are closed to visitors at this time because of ongoing refurbishment. We’re welcome to look from the outside and take pictures, but that’s it. The Truman Presidential Library is open, so we’ll stop by there in a little while.

At the end of the block is Clinton’s Soda Fountain. We go here to get some ice cream. We also go because this is where young Harry Truman got his first job, working after school. It’s not in the original location; a ranger tells us the original building burned down and it was moved here afterward.

The ice cream is good and the service Missouri friendly.

A few blocks away is the Truman home, which we walk around and snap a few pictures before moving on. A couple of blocks from here is a huge building with a spiraling steeple. We drive over to see what it is.

In 1831, Mormon pioneer Joseph Smith declared that the plot of land near the courthouse square was to be the new temple for New Jerusalem, the spot where Christ would come back to earth. The Mormons were eventually driven from the area but many returned and built the temple. The giant we now see is a newer version serving the Community of Christ branch of the Latter Day Saints.

Continuing on, we head over to the Truman Library. It’s eight dollars to get in ($12 in 2022 - Ed). A short movie about Truman’s life is shown, then you head out into the museum where you walk through different stages of his presidential career…taking over for the deceased FDR, the decision to drop the bomb on Japan, recognition of Israel, the Korean War, the firing of Douglas MacArthur, “Dewey Defeats Truman,” and the economic and civil rights laws he pushed for.

There is a peaceful courtyard, overseen by a life-sized statue of the man where an eternal flame burns near the graves of Harry Truman, his wife, daughter, and her husband. Behind that, you can see the office where Truman spent days after the presidency working here at the library which is next to the research room. It’s a very worthwhile stop when you’re in the area.

Back at the hotel, we turn in for the night. Soon, I here shouting outside and I take a look. There is a couple getting to know each other VERY well in the porch across the way and several of their friends are running in and out of the room along with others laughing and causing a general noisy mess in the parking lot. We have a full-blown hotel party going on next door.

I ask them several times to be quiet and am summarily ignored. It does quiet down. Next, around midnight, a group checks into the room above ours, being noisy. Then, just stomping across the floor all night. This is never stopped. We have a very bad night.

Frustrated with the noise, we skip breakfast, not wanting to see anybody else from the hotel. Instead, we head downtown to the City Market where each weekend they have a fresh farmer’s market along with the shops and stalls that are there every day.

Most of the farmers today just have vegetables. Very little fruit except for strawberries. I taste some, but they are very bland. There’s a table that has a lady with baked goods and we try her cinnamon rolls. Very delicious, so we take some to share and head to a trailer at the end that’s making coffee and breakfast. We get some joe and a breakfast sandwich to share and head to some nearby picnic tables to eat. It’s all very good but while we’re there it starts to rain. Not heavy, but steady.

After eating, we head over to the walkway around the perimeter of the market that is covered and browse the shops and stalls. Delicious looking meat is being grilled at an Italian deli. A friendly gentleman is giving away many samples at the Bloom Bakery. After trying some of his mouth-watering morsels, we head in for more and get some cupcakes, danishes, and some bread for later.

Tim and I share a sausage from the grill and it’s delicious.

We get some cheese for later (the Amazing Race finale will be on Sunday night so we plan some snacks and wine in our room) in the deli. Many everyday produce stands are here with fruit, so we get some to help with our deficient vacation nutritional needs. The market is busy, friendly, happening, and a fun place to spend a day.

Back at the Residence Inn, we note that the A/C is now working and we rest up for tonight’s game.

Stick around, part 2 and the game is coming very soon!

Copyright 2010 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Cocktail Hour - Cincinnati Pub Crawl

Kicking off our Midwest Baseball Tour last year, we started with an impromtu pub crawl along the Ohio River.  The "Cincinnati" part of the title is a bit misleading, it's actually in Newport, Kentucky at the Levee District, just across the river from The Great American Ballpark, home of the Reds.

Watch the Video!

We started before the baseball game going on that night so we got a lot of the pre-game party flavor.  We didn't go to the game that night (our tickets were for the next day), so we stayed behind at a bar called Bulldogs, watching the game on TV.  That was a bit surreal, the actual game was a thousand feet away.  We could hear it both from the stadium and on TV.

So here is the crawl.  We start off at a place called the Beer Sellar, which sits on a floating barge in the river that it shares with Hooters.  There's a large patio crowded with baseball fans getting ready for the game with their two-dollar Huddy Light specials.  They will soon depart for the game on a ferry that leaves right from the barge.

Next, it's over to a branch of Munich's famous Hofbrauhaus, just up the street, where we sample their delicious beers in about as authentic of a German beer garden you'll find in the states.  It's not quite up to Munich quality but darn good for over here.  We sample the hefeweizen, dunkel, and meibier.

Ending up the crawl, we're at Bulldog's where we try the Shafly wheat and rasberry ale from St. Louis and the house brand light beer, pretty good and a deal during the game at $2.50 for a 24 oz. mug.

We enjoyed them all, probably the Hofbrau brands the best.  Enjoy the video.

Rated #1 Consumer Reports

Copyright 2010

Friday, June 24, 2022


If you haven’t read Tim’s reports on preparing for this trip (this is his first time planning a trip), be sure to check out what it took to plan and prepare for this trip in a wheelchair.

UpTake Travel Gem

Now that the planning and booking is done, it’s time to go. We start off at Ontario Airport, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. It’s a 6:55am departure meaning we wake up at 4am and rush to get going. We arrive at the airport at 5:30am.

Watch the Video!

After check in (at the curb) and security, we head to the gate. I ask the gate agent if there are any better seats available on the plane, we’re in row 19 of the Continental 737, and none are available. Waiting at the gate to pre-board, the crew that would have to take Tim to his seat balk at having to transport him to row 19 and says they will load the plane first, then us.

Really? Row 19 is that bad? I’ve had airlines sit us in the back of the plane with no complaints, but…

This gets us bulkhead seats when they kick the people assigned there out (not my idea, theirs) but in this day and age of paying for every piece of luggage, being last means the overheads are full and everyone seethes as it takes time for us to get seated. A friendly flight attendant puts our bag up in first class…it’s important to have on the plane because it has medication and bathrooming gear we’ll need on the flight…and off we go.

(Note: Continental Airlines has since been merged with United Airlines since the report was originally written-Ed)

We change planes in Houston and have no problems pre-boarding on the second flight to Cincinnati. The flights themselves are fine, comfortable, and on time but I did not care for the minor boarding fiasco at Ontario. Note to self: do not use Continental (soon to be part of United) out of Ontario anymore.

We arrive at the Cincinnati airport, which is actually in Kentucky, at 5pm local time, pick up our rental car (Ford Escape), and head to our hotel, the Comfort Suites in Newport, Kentucky…just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

The room at the hotel is a “studio” suite, which means a larger room but not really a suite. There’s a king-size bed, sofa bed, and accessible restroom with bathtub and portable shower chair provided by the hotel. A hot breakfast (waffles, biscuits and gravy) is provided but it’s just adequate. In fact that word describes the hotel…adequate. Not great but not bad. It’s a bit expensive for that at around $150 per night.

After settling in, we walk to the nearby area of shops and restaurants known as the Levee at Newport. It’s a very lively area and we find a real gem, a branch of Munich’s Hofbrauhaus with a real German beer garden out back.

It’s small by Munich standards and the sausages are good but not quite on par with Germany, but here we go…an honest-to-goodness German beer garden three blocks from our hotel with its own brewery producing real Hofbrau beer, served in the liter sized glasses just like in Munich.

This is the perfect way to end a long day of travelling so we walk over to the riverfront and head back to the hotel.

It’s a Saturday and our tickets to the ball game are for Sunday so we take a drive to Louisville to see the Louisville Slugger Museum and take the factory tour. A 90 minute drive, we pass the Kentucky Speedway and a mysterious sign that states “site of fatal bus crash. May 14, 1988.”

It turns out that on that date, the worst bus accident in the country’s history took place when a drunk driver hit a church school bus. 27 people were killed, 24 injured, and several of the victims banded together and eventually formed Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

Once in Louisville, we pass a minor league stadium for the Louisville Bats, an affiliate of the Reds. You’d think they’d be called the Sluggers, but no. The stadium is named Louisville Slugger Stadium, however.

Not hard to find, just head to the riverfront, turn left, and look for a giant bat sticking up over the skyline. Park in the structure in the back and head into the Hillerich and Bradsby Company, better known as the makers of that necessary piece of sporting wood, the Louisville Slugger.

Inside is paradise for baseball fans. A long, narrow lobby from the front to the back of the building includes a room for special exhibits, the bat vault (where every major leaguer has a template bat locked up…the “Fort Knox” of baseball), sample bats made to major league player specifications that you can test swing, a batting cage (10 pitches for a dollar) where you can try out a major league players bat, a current league standings board, a gift shop, and that giant bat out front.

All very interesting but the main attraction is what you actually have to pay for, the museum and factory tour. It’s ten dollars for adults ($18 in 2022-Ed) and you get to enter the museum and take an informative and entertaining tour of the factory (no cameras allowed on the factory floor).

Entering the museum, the first thing to see is one of the very first bats made by Bud Hillerich for Pete Browning, one of baseball’s first professional players, in 1884. Browing quickly got three hits with it in the next game and christened it the “Louisville Slugger.” Next is an area where you can hold a game-used bat. Gloves are mandatory. Tim held David Ortiz’s bat. Me? I went with Mickey Mantle.

Several other artifacts are on display. Honus Wagner’s jersey and bat; Joe Dimaggio’s bat; Babe Ruth’s bat; and on and on. The factory tour shows each step of the process, from lathing the wood, burning in the insignia to lacquering the bat. We are informed that players are very particular about their bats. For example, Ted Williams had one person make his bats and they had to have eight lines of grain per inch. With the highest batting average on record, Williams must have known what he was talking about.

At the end of the tour, everybody gets a small wooden bat to take home as a souvenir. One of the best 10 bucks I’ve ever spent.

On our way out of Louisville, we go by Churchill Downs…a week to the day after the Kentucky Derby…but couldn’t find any parking so we left town and went back home.

For dinner, we head down the river to the Beer Sellar. We thought it was a restaurant, but it’s just a bar so we have a two dollar, pre-game beer special and chat with some of the fans getting ready to go to tonight’s game. We’re not going until tomorrow, but we have some fun talking and then watching them depart by boat from the adjacent dock to go to the stadium across the river.

Actual food is found at Bulldogs, just around the corner, where we have some delicious fish and chips while watching the game going on across the river on TV. It’s interesting when someone hits a home run, you can hear the fireworks coming in through the windows and on the television. You can also hear the cheers coming from all the numerous bars in the area and from the stadium across the water.

Sunday…Game Day. This trip is all about baseball and the main attraction is the game. It’s Mother’s Day and we’re going to see the Reds host the Chicago Cubs. It’s about a mile walk to the game. Over the bridge to Ohio, then along the riverfront to the stadium.

Behind the stadium is an art installation of a giant paddle wheel, along with a couple dozen posts that vent steam on a random basis. There are also speakers in the posts where you can hear people on river boats.

We are behind the stadium in center field and there is no accessible entrance here. We have to walk around, 2 blocks, to home plate to go to the Will Call booth, pick up our tickets, and enter.

Great American Ball Park is a smallish feeling stadium (42,000 capacity) overlooking the Ohio River towards Covington, Kentucky. As you would expect, Red is the dominant color scheme. There is a faux river boat in the outfield and fireworks shoot out of its smoke stacks at the beginning of the game, when a Reds player hits a home run, and upon a Reds victory. Steam comes out when the home team pitcher strikes out an opponent.

The food choices here are basic and mediocre. Hot dogs, pizza, and burgers are mostly it, with ice cream and candy for dessert. There is pre-made sushi at a little convenience store by home plate, but we don’t want any sushi that’s not made in front of us. The tap beer selection is vast and reasonably priced. Since we’re walking home, we take full advantage of it.

Our seats are at the top of the field level deck, about 2/3 the way from home plate to first base. There is a slight overhang from the club deck above but it does not block our view in any meaningful way. The price for this seat is $47 for this premium game against the Cubs. If you go to see a less meaningful opponent, say the Marlins, it would be five dollars less. There is accessible seating throughout the stadium, from the bleachers to the nosebleeds, along with the more premium seating on the field and club levels. The lowest price is $5 going up to $235 for the first five rows behind home plate. We had no problems getting more than one companion seat.

Ryan Dempster steps on the mound for the Cubs to start the game. There’s no score until the second inning when Dempster gives up an RBI double to Johnny Gomes. The Reds, led by pitcher Mike Leake, have the game in hand until Leake goes wild in the 7th inning, giving up a run on an errant pitch. The Cubs will go on to take the lead by one but the Reds take it back in the bottom of the inning on a Joey Votto 3-run homer. The Reds win the game 5 to 3.

We decide to walk around the area of the stadium to see what festive activities we can find. The answer? None. It’s dead quiet in downtown Cincinnati so we head back across the bridge to Newport to find a lively atmosphere and settle in at an Irish Pub for dinner.

And that’s a wrap for Cincy. The highlights were the baseball game, of course; the fascinating and fun Louisville Slugger museum and tour; and the Kentucky side of the river across from Cincinnati is a lively and fun entertainment district. This leg of the tour left me with a strong desire to visit Kentucky again and explore it a little more fully.

Stay tuned as we head out to leg two of this Midwest Baseball Tour…St. Louis, Missouri.

Copyright 2010 – Darryl Musick

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Classic Post: Tim's Trip Planning 101 – The Final Chapter

Our Midwest baseball trip is coming together at a fast and furious pace.

(Note, current 2022 prices have been calculated and are updated below, where necessary - Ed)

We have now booked a rental car, which we will pick up in Cincinnati and use for the duration of the trip, which will finish in Kansas City. We’ve also booked hotel rooms at a Comfort Inn in Cincinnati, a Drury Inn in St. Louis and a Marriott Residence Inn in Kansas City. While the rental car and hotel reservations are an important part of a trip, they are not the only important element. The car, a full size, one-way rental, is costing $693.  I used a discount code that I found for Walmart shoppers that I found at Car Rental Savers that got me a bigger discount than my dad's AAA card.

As of last Friday, the baseball tickets have been purchased. For all three games, I tried getting accessible seating as close to home plate as possible for one wheelchair and two companion seats. The surprising thing was unlike Angel Stadium, it was very easy to get more than one companion seat without any hassle at all. I just called each stadium and they were more than ready to help me out. Being an Angel fan, I can’t help thinking my own team screws me every time I want to buy seats there.

In Cincinnati, we will be going to a day game against the Chicago Cubs. We will be sitting along the first base side behind the Reds dugout, very close to the field. There will be a Mothers’ Day scarf giveaway that day. In St. Louis, we will be going to a game against the Houston Astros. We will be sitting in the Infield Redbird Club, which includes access to the Redbird Club, which seems to be a private restaurant and bar for this area. It’s kind of like sitting in a large suite, as I can gather. There will be no giveaway for that game. In Kansas City, we will be going to a game against the Chicago White Sox. We will be sitting in a dugout box very close to home plate. There will also be a women’s T-shirt giveaway as well as a postgame fireworks show, so it should be fun.

The most expensive ticket was $57 for the Redbird Club in St. Louis. This compares to the $60 I spent on pretty lousy seats at Seattle a couple of years ago so the baseball games…all with great seats…seem to be a bargain.

In addition to the games, we are also planning on seeing the Louisville Slugger Museum in Kentucky and the Indianapolis Raceway where the Indy 500 takes place.

Now everything is in place. The only thing left to do is go. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and that it helps you to see how to plan your own trip. Don’t let your disability get in the way of seeing the world, I don’t and I enjoy every minute I’m on the road.

So, how does it all stack up to our original plans and budget?

Airfare: original budget $975 flying from LAX to Lousiville, KY. Final price: $861 flying from Ontario, CA to Cincinnati, OH. $106 under budget.
(Airfare would be about double in 2022 - Ed)

Hotels: original budget $1,130. Final price: $1,328. $198 over budget but each hotel includes a full breakfast and evening cocktail hour so we’ll make up the difference there.
(Hotels would be about $2,300 in 2022 - Ed)

Train tickets: $78 (from St. Louis to Kansas City). Will not be using the train. $78 under budget.

Rental Car: $693. Not in original budget but would replace flying from Cincinnati to St. Louis and the train plus it gives us a means of transportation at each location.
(Rental car would be about the same in 2022 - Ed)

Baseball tickets: Original budget $180. Final price: $400. Was originally planning on buying cheap tickets but since I was able to get such premium seating at good prices, I decided to splurge a bit here.
(Baseball tickets would be about $450-500, prices are variable because of dynamic pricing used by Major League Baseball today - Ed)

The total cost, for three people over 11 days, is $3182 (not including food).  That works out to less than $100 per day for each person.
(In 2022, the total would now be about $5,300, about $160 per day per person - Ed)

Thanks for joining me. I’m now very excited…this trip can’t come fast enough! 

Copyright 2010 – Timothy Musick

Monday, June 20, 2022

Classic Post: TRIP PLANNING 101 - Part 4

NOTE: Tim is in charge of planning our next big trip.  It's a baseball stadium tour working towards his goal of visiting every major league park.  This trip will add three to his already big list.  

Today I bought the plane tickets for our trip. My dad has confirmed that his vacation time was approved so now we start to nail everything down. I went online and did a search at Expedia, Southwest, and Frontier. The closest Southwest came to Cincinnati was Columbus. Frontier went to Dayton. But I found a flight right to Cincinnati for less on Expedia, on Continental connecting through Houston.

(Note: Continental Airlines has since been merged with United Airlines since the report was originally written-Ed)

The flight home was just a little bit cheaper on Southwest from Kansas City, but since Southwest doesn’t charge baggage fees, we’ll save around $100 for the entire flight cost plus, since we board first, we should be able to get bulkhead seats coming home. We will be leaving from Ontario, California…which is a much easier airport than LAX.

Entire flight cost is $861, including taxes, for three people. We already booked seats together for the Continental flights.  Both sites, Southwest and Expedia, let you arrange for your aisle chair and transfer online.

Now it’s time to book the hotels. The best room for the best price I could find in Cincinatti was the Comfort Suites at $131 per night a little less than a mile from the ballpark. It's a wheelchair accessible studio with a king bed and sofabed.  I booked it. It has no cancellation fees if cancelled at least 1 day prior to arrival.

I found a 2-room suite at the Drury Inn in St. Louis next to the arch for $157 per night. Finally, in Kansas City I booked the Residence Inn by Marriott near downtown. Both of these hotels let you cancel with no penalty up until the day of arrival and both are also accessible suites.

Now that we’re guaranteed rooms, I can keep a lookout for lower rates and if I find them, cancel the original reservations to save money.

We’re now good with air tickets and hotel reservations. Next up, need to find a rental car to drive from Cincinnati to St. Louis…and maybe to Kansas City. Also, I need to get tickets to the games.

(Note: We'll be updating these prices for 2022 in the last post of this series, stay tuned - Ed)


Sunday, June 19, 2022


Finally...a drink for the rest of us.

Watch the Video!

In honor of Toby Keith and his song, here's a concoction guaranteed to impress, easy and cheap to make...the Red Solo Cup!  Here's the recipe, don't go overboard on high quality ingredients...the supermarket generic stuff will do:


3 oz. white rum
1 oz. amaretto
3-4 oz. cranberry cocktail
Juice of 1 lime
splash of grenadine

Take rum, amaretto, lime juice, and cranberry cocktail and put in a shaker half full of ice. Shake well, pour into two red solo cups...not blue, not yellow...filled with ice. Float the grenadine on top.


Every other month we will ship you (6) of our Classic Series wines (4) reds and (2) whites each chosen for the varietal and regional character. These wines are chosen from hundreds tasted each month delivered with a 20 page newsletter

Friday, June 17, 2022

Classic Post: TRIP PLANNING 101 - Part 3

Tim is planning the next big trip, another addition to his quest to visit every Major League Baseball stadium…

In my last two segments, we decided which cities we were visiting, what games we would see, and the approximate dates of travel. Next, I need to figure out how much hotels will cost, how we will travel between cities, and how much that will cost. Right now, the costs I’m calculating are more for making a budget…as we get closer to the travel date, my dad says we will probably find some better deals.

(Note: We'll be updating these prices for 2022 in the last post of this series, stay tuned - Ed)

A quick check on hotel rates found us rooms in Cincinnati for around $150 a night; St. Louis at $120 per night; and Kansas City at $90 per night. This I did using Expedia and the Marriott website. We like to use Marriott because of our points and the fact that they guarantee accessible rooms on the site. When it comes time to book, I’ll try to pare down those prices a bit.

Now, to get from Cincinnati to St. Louis, there are basically three options: fly, train, or rent a car. Airfare fron Cincinatti to St. Louis would be around $175, but Southwest has cheaper fares from nearby Louisville, Kentucky from around $75 to $120. Amtrak would cost $64 per person but the train leaves in the afternoon and would arrive around 8pm. A one-way rental car would be around $250 and take around 6 hours to drive. I’m tentatively going with Southwest on this leg but may make a cancelable car reservation if I can get that rate down.

Going from St. Louis to Kansas City, airfare is about $85. Train fare is $26 and it leaves at 8:30 in the morning and arrives at 2:30 in the afternoon. Train it is.

So here’s our initial budget for three people:

Airfare – LA-Louisville; Louisville-St. Louis; Kansas City-LA



Game Tickets

Total (so far) - $2,363

Next, we start to build an itinerary.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Classic Post: TRIP PLANNING 101 - Part 2

I'm planning our next big vacation. 
Last time, we decided where we'll go, today I need to figure when we'll fly, what order we'll do the trip in, and start figuring the cost. 

The next step is to figure out what days we would fly and how much that would cost. I decided that we would do it starting in Cincinnati and ending up in Kansas City. The trip would tentatively start on May 7, flying from Ontario, CA to Louisvillle, KY, via Southwest. The return would be from Kansas City to Ontario. The game dates would be May 8 for the Reds, May 11 for the Cardinals, and May 14 for the Royals. We would fly home on May 16.

A quick check with Southwest airlines gives us an approximate airfare of $225 per person.

Next, I’ll need to check hotel availability in those cities for those times, and figure out how we will travel from city to city.

Stay tuned.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Classic Post: Tim's Trip Planning 101

Angel Stadium

One of my biggest passions in life in sports, particularly baseball. As an avid fan, I have set out on a journey that many other baseball fans have done as visit every stadium in Major League Baseball. So far, I've been to 16 and it's time to continue adding some more. That means time for another vacation!

For the first time ever, I'm in charge of planning the trip. You will see what it's like to make something like this happen when your a travel planning rookie. So let's get started shall we?

The first step is to look at the schedules of the teams which I still need to see. That step has already been done. The remaining teams on the list are the A's, Rockies, Rangers, Astros, Twins, Brewers, Braves, Marlins, Rays, Cardinals, Royals, Reds, Nationals, and Orioles. After looking at the schedules and the remaining teams on the list, we're going to the Midwest for our next installment of stadium fun. It will include the Cardinals, Royals, and Reds,

So now that I've figured that out, the next step is to pick a good time to go. There are a few things to consider for this step. First, being that these cities are in the Midwest, it should be at a time when the weather is not blisteringly hot. With that in mind, I've focused on the month of May, when it is still Spring and temperatures should be relatively comfortable. Second, I have to figure out when the respective teams will be at home throughout the month and see what would be the best way to go. This is the step I am currently on. After that, I will have to buy the tickets for airfare and the games, book hotel reservations, and see what else there is to do in these cities because it can't all be baseball. St. Louis has the Gateway Arch, Kansas City is famous for its barbecue food, fountains, and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. So that's where I am at this point and there is still a lot of work to be done to make this trip a reality next Spring.

Keep watching for the next installment of Trip Planning 101.

-Tim 2010

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Cocktail Hour - Bomb Pop

Remember the ice cream man coming down the street on those hot summer days when we were kids? Running outside, flagging him down and...for me...spending a quarter for a big, cold, red, white, and blue Bomb Pop.

Watch the Video!

Well we're all grown up now but we don't have to give all of our childish ways up.

Here is my adult version of a bomb pop...


half ounce grenadine
juice of half a lime
2 ounces cranberry cocktail
2 ounces blue curacao
2 ounces white spiced rum

Use a pint glass. Put the grenadine and lime juice in the bottom. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Carefully pour in the cranberry juice, followed by carefully pouring in the curacao to make a blue layer over the red. Float the rum on top.

You can drink as is, or after admiring for a couple of minutes, stir it up and it becomes a grapecicle.


Hand Picked Special Occasion Wines delivered to your door.- Wine of The Month Club


Friday, June 10, 2022

THE CHEAPSKATE RURAL GARDENER: Project Greenhouse - The Finale

The garden center/nursery/conservatory...whatever you want to call complete. The last step was to build a potting bench. If we're going to go whole hog and build a greenhouse, a potting bench is a logical next step. It'll make working on our plants much easier than just sitting on a patch of ground with some potting mix and a pot.

So, now my job is to take these four boards and make a potting bench out of them.

Before I started, I took the plywood boards and painted them with polyurethane to weatherproof them. I also painted an orchid on the board that would be the backsplash. It's an orchid that is named after my wife's grandfather (Catteleya Melecio Huerta 'señor perfecto').

Next, I had my wife stand at a few counters in our house and tell me which is the perfect height for her. 35 inches is what we determined so I laid out a couple of 4x4's...which would be the back legs of the bench...and measured 35 inches from the where the surface of the bench would be.

I cut my lumber using my miter saw, then positioned the back legs and backsplash to the proper position. I secured the backsplash to the 4x4s using 2 inch wood screws, then attached an "L" bracket to the 4x4s, which will be used to hold the larger plywood board that will make the surface of the bench.

I attach the bigger board to the brackets with 5/8 inch wood screws, put on the front legs (which I sink two 2 inch wood screws into each corner to the 4x4s), then put two more "L" brackets on the front legs and the plywood.

The last step is to put a bead of caulk where the two pieces of plywood meet, to keep it waterproof, and screw a big hook into the side where I can hang a watering can.

Put it up against the back fence, next to the greenhouse, and it's all done. Now, the only thing left to do is start using it. 

Darryl Musick
Copyrigh 2022 - All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 6, 2022

THE CHEAPSKATE RURAL GARDENER: Project Greenhouse - Accessorizing

The greenhouse is built but the work isn't done. I've still got a lot to do...

To start with, I'll need something to set my plants on. Just setting them on the ground would not be efficient, I need some benches.

I could go and just buy some. A six foot plastic bench would be $150-200. I'd need 2 plus a five foot bench. I'm a cheapskate, that's getting pretty spendy.

Instead, I'll build my own. I have a nice pile of 4x4 scrap redwood and pressure treated wood, which is resistant to rot, so I won't have to spend any money on that.

1x6 redwood milled lumber board can be $25-40 each but six foot long 1x6 redwood fence planks are only $5 each. That's the perfect size and the benches don't have to be perfect or pretty so I'll get a dozen of these instead.

Time to dig out my trusty miter saw.

I cut my 4x4's into 11" lengths. I'll need 15 of those, the benches will have 2 legs at each end, 1 leg in the middle for added support, a couple of fence posts will be cut into 17.5 inch lengths to provide a platform between the fence planks and 4x4's to be able to attach easily.

I lay out my 4x4's, and put my planks on top. I sink in some 2" wood screws at the end of each plank and through the middle. 

The first bench I make is five feet long so I can turn it sideways into the back of the greenhouse.

The next two benches come together quickly and are six feet long to go on the side of the greenhouse. Each bench is 13 inches high, I can add another level above it easily when I run out of room. Now I have a bench around 3/4 of the greenhouse. It takes me about two hours and a total cost of about $75 to make the three benches.

I like gardening, as you can tell, but I'm not one of those who like to manually water each one of my plants. Over the years, I've gotten quite good at installing automatic drip and microsprinkler systems so I can spend my time doing something else. This greenhouse will be no different so now I have to put in an irrigation system.

You might have noticed in the pictures of the greenhouse and construction that there is a sprinkler at the right corner, just outside of the greenhouse. This is no accident. In fact, that's a big reason I built the greenhouse where I did.

In addition to being a patch of grass that wasn't needed, the location had sprinklers. That means there's a source of water already there that's connected to an automatic timer. I could make this work to my benefit.

Before I built the greenhouse, I capped the second sprinkler by the back fence taking it out of service. Next, I dug the sprinkler in the picture out. I unscrewed the sprinkler, put in a stainless steel extender pipe, and screwed the sprinkler back on as a place holder/cap until I was finished building.

Now, I take the sprinkler back off and replace it with a $2.99 valve that I bought at our local Ace Hardware.

I got a brass hose end repair with a fluted nozzle.

I drill a hole in the plastic glass, thread a 1/2" drip hose, through it, and fit the end of my hose (I've had some sitting around left over from an earlier project) over the nozzle and clamp it on with the clamp that came inside the hose repair kit.

I run the hose around the frame of the greenhouse and attach with some plastic clips that I got from Amazon for around $10.

Next, I'll strap some microsprinklers to the side of the greenhouse. I figure I'll need 2 on each side for a total of four. This will be pretty much all I'll need for water although I anticipate that some plants in the future may need their own drip line...but that's a job for another day. It's also cheap and easy to do.

Now, I just have to go to my current sprinkler system timer and put in the schedule I want for the water to go off. I think I'll go for 4 minutes of water every other day, plus a minute or two during the hottest time of the day in the summer to help keep it cool, to start with and make any adjustment as necessary as time goes on.

I have a successful test and the wet gravel, after the sprinkle, helps keep the humidity up too.

Finally, as you can see the picture at the beginning of this post, I put a high/low thermometer. This will not only tell me the current temperature but also the hottest it's been and the coldest it's been in the last 24 hours.

This is crucial because the plants that will go in here will be too tender to survive outside when the weather gets below freezing. In the winter, I'll monitor this and be ready to either move my plants or put in a heater if it gets too cold. My hope is that it'll retain enough heat to make that not necessary but this is cheap insurance to make sure that doesn't happen.

Alright! The greenhouse is officially open for business, now I just need some plants. I've already ordered a couple of orchids to get started (you can see one on the bench in the photo above). We'll see how this goes.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2022 - All Rights Reserved