Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Bruce Gora passed away yesterday from cancer at the all too young age of 58. I can’t recall when we first met, but I can recall many memories of my time with Bruce, either at lunch, at an art event or listening to him play with the Juice Band. The below video is a great tribute to Bruce’s life, and will give you a sense of the man so many have enjoyed from having been touched by him in their lives. I will miss him.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My friend Richard Jackson sent me this YouTube link this morning and given I had just been in New Orleans, it did strike a personal cord with me. Great tune, done by street musicians from all over the World and very well edited. Definately worth the post and the time to view.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008, 10:15 am to Sunday, November 30, 2008 11:58 pm

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Fort Myers, Florida to Kimball, South Dakota to New Orleans, Louisiana and back home again. 4,744 miles on the odometer (4,062 miles of direct routing per Google Maps) and lots of cities and towns, and great times with family and friends along the way. Considering 5 days in South Dakota and another 7 in Louisiana, most of the road was accomplished in 4-5 days. The BIG trip is over and now back to reality. Luna appears to have no problem slipping back into routine…the question is how well I will do with all of the catch-up at work. Reality is sinking in.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Last Day of Hunting & On To Louisiana

We awoke Friday morning to 20 degrees and a light dusting of overnight snow, with gusts of 10+ mph. Luna was quick to do her morning business and didn’t need much coaxing to come back inside the game room. After her feeding I headed to the main house for my morning coffee and juice, returning 10 minutes later. Although Luna had been indoors for 10 minutes, she was trembling and even had a little teeth chatter going on and I was second guessing if I should allow her to hunt our last day. I asked the ranch’s owner Curt to take a look at her and after thumb pressing her gum, showing a white to pink return, he allayed my concern, attributing Luna’s shaking to nervous energy. “You didn’t drive her almost 2,000 miles not to hunt her, did you?”

I was glad we did as Friday was by far Luna’s best day in the field (mine too) and given it was our last day of hunting, there was no regret or second guessing decisions. It had warmed up to the mid-twenties, but the wind was blowing hard and cold out of the north, making any unexposed [face] skin feel like it was being pealed back. You would have never thought Luna had been shivering earlier as she was blow and go in the field. The ice crystals on the corn () stalks would fall on her dark red coat and look like little diamonds sparkling in the early morning sun. She hunted really well, getting on three solid points, flushing a good dozen plus birds and had a couple of fine to-hand retrieves to my buddy Scott Riddle. I did pretty well too, with three, clean solo birds and shared shots on another ½ dozen. As a group we finished the day with 37 pheasant and 113 on the three days, all on Curt’s Wagon Wheel Ranch & Bird Dog Lounge.

After lunch, I go us packed, loaded, said our goodbyes and headed to the west and south in an attempt to link up with Paul Hermes, a fellow Floridian and Vizsla human who was in Gregory, South Dakota hunting pheasant with his father and brother. I wanted to see Paul as I had read about his “ridiculously goofy hunting hat” on our TBVC Yahoo forum and had hoped to acquire an image for this blog. No such luck! It turns out Gregory County, South Dakota has a) no AT&T signal or co-share (my cell carrier), and b) not a single pay phone anywhere. After multiple attempts I decided to go ahead and head out of Gregory, heading out on US 18 to get on I-29 South. I finally did get cell signal and reached Paul while he was in a field looking for a pheasant he shot. Luna and I continued on an incredible 150 mile drive east on a two lane road through some outrageous South Dakota countryside…lots of towns with less than 500 population and lots of Lewis and Clark territory.
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Once we got on to I-29 I was determined to get as far south as possible so that Saturday’s big drive would get us as close to Sunset Louisiana as possible. We made it as far at St. Joseph, Missouri (300 miles) and checked into a Drury Inn. The next day we were able to get to Texarkana, Texas where we checked into a Ramada Inn…a slight edge above our hospitality experience of Alachua’s Royal Inn. The upside was it left us with only a 4 hour drive to Eddie & Adele Neupert’s farm in Sunset, Louisiana, which I was itching to get to. It was nice to see Mary Rathbun and Luna’s relative dogs Kokeny and Harvielu “Harvi” who earned her AKC Junior Hunter at the trial that was taking place. We were also able to visit with Adele & Eddie’s Carter, Luna’s “twin” sister from a prior litter.

We got a great family photo of me, Luna and her sisters and then were able to run the dogs after the hunt test was over. Luna, Kokeny and Harvi were able to chase up a pheasant and a ½ dozen quail. Soon afterward, Mary needed to get on the road to return to Minden, LA and after helping Eddie with some clean up chores, I met him & Adele at a local Mexican restaurant before returning to their farm for the night. Monday morning Luna and I made it to my sister-in-law Cindy and her husband Robert’s home in one of my favorite cities…New Orleans.I advantaged “alone time” to get a great massage to work off the 3,700 miles of road I’ve driven in 10 days and visit The National World War II Museum, something I’ve wanted to do for years in my NOLA visits, but have never had the chance. Picked up Ginny, Ally, Jessie and the rest of the Ft. Myers portion of our family at the airport Tuesday evening and checked into out B&B, the Margaret Gardens Inn. Today we delivered Thanksgiving baskets to a 1/2 dozen disadvantaged families in New Orleans and tonight (Wednesday) we’re going to do the New Orleans Original Ghost & Vampire Tour.

Needless to say, we have been blessed with so much good in our lives, for which we are incredibly thankful. Wishing you & your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sal & his Family

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Days 5-7 Hunting Fools

We awoke early Tuesday morning, checked out of the Hampton Inn in Mitchell and drove to some public grounds near the Wagon Wheel Ranch where we’ll be checking in and hunting Wednesday through Friday (actually the Bird Dog Lounge). We had a good day of hunting...about 3 and ½ hours and Luna loved every stinking minute. Unfortunately, as there was only three of us, a lot of birds got away from us on early flushes and despite a couple of long shots, we only bagged one cock rooster thanks to the good shooting of Richard Miller. We then headed to the ranch with a quick stop at the liquor store for provisions, and enjoyed a wonderful welcome dinner with friends as everyone arrived at the camp.

Wednesday morning’s hunt was over-the-top, although I didn’t hunt Luna that am as she got abrasions under each front leg underarm from the vest she wore in the field Tuesday (meant to protect her teats and underbelly). We limited out at 37 birds (we were able to shoot the daily bag for the three of our party who made deposits but were no-shows), so we were officially “done” by lunch time. I got one bird clean and shared a couple of other birds with the Riddle gang.
After lunch, all of us other than Buck Riddle headed out to public lands and my well rested bitch was itching to get into the field. With eight of us we were able to have two blockers at the end of each field, a couple of flankers and four drivers (walkers). David Dempsey had a great shot on a big rooster but it fell into some Russian Olives (I walked this patch the day prior and I can tell you they are mean, mean, mean with ¾ inch to 1 ½ inch thorns that do a hell of a job on one attempting to walk through them). Fortunately, Luna’s small enough that she was able to get in and retrieve the downed bird, her first official pheasant retrieve! We bagged a couple of cock roosters on that afternoon hunt before heading back to Wagon Wheel Ranch, where our host Maureen Geveshausen (Curt’s much better half) had prepared an outstanding prime rib dinner.Thursday morning greeted us with 30 degree temps and a slight, falling snow. Luna had her first “snow” experience Tuesday afternoon, but hadn’t given it much consideration other than learning to eat it for moisture when thirsty. This morning was another story…she seemed puzzled by all this cold, wet white stuff on the ground and between it and the temp, was “amped up” more than her usual high voltage self. She was pleased with her breakfast (some fatty prime rib scraps thrown into her Wellness grain free lamb and Instinct kibble) and even more pleased that she was going to hunt with the ranch dogs. She loved riding in the bus that we all take to the various fields (we hunted fields of corn, millet, sorghum and milo) and she was getting and giving some dog sugar love to everyone, as evidenced by the photo of her planting a big wet one on Brandon Combs. Uncle David made her butt wiggle and got her to talk with some nice tail base deep tissue massage. We limited out (again) with 36 birds before lunch and Luna had a much better hunt than her master, with multiple flushes and a half dozen retrieves (I shot some but hit nothing). The ranch owner’s Curt is calling her “dear Luna” because he thinks she runs like a deer…she ran hard and fast 100+ yards on a downed but not dead rooster taken on a long second shot by Scott Riddle was a sight to behold!

We came back to some very delicious pheasant chili Maureen had prepared for us. I decided to stay back at camp with David and Buck to blog while the rest of our party headed to shoot some public lands. I figured both me and my pup could use some rest (I’ve walked and she’s run many, many miles) for tomorrow’s final hunt.

From South Dakota, where the land rolls and the wind blows…

Sal & Egri Luna Bella of Edisonia!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 4 – Arrival

After yesterday’s long road push both me and Luna where whipped, but she obviously less so than I. Fortunately she didn’t stand over my sleeping body and start her morning lick of my face and whine to go out until a little after 7 am CTL (almost 2 hours past her normal 6-6:30 am EST typical wake up time). I slept so hard I don’t think I moved at all from the time I put my head on the pillow till my wet morning wake up kiss from my dog.

Fortunately the land surrounding the Hampton Inn in Sioux City was all open and well from any road, so Luna got to run free in the brisk 34 degree temps with tiny snow flurries. It wasn’t but a minute before she got on a cotton tail and chased it a good 30 yards before I called her off. I’m certain she was convinced we had arrived at our hunting location, but she was good to come back inside the warmth of the hotel after 15 minutes of South Dakota chill. After my breakfast, we got back on the road and arrived in Mitchell, South Dakota a little over two hours later and met up with David Dempsey and Richard Miller. After these two V owners got their red dog fix (unlike last year, their pups aren’t here this year), we went to Cabela’s so I could get legal and do my part of re-charging the local economy.

We were soon off on another 1+ hour drive (I opted to be a passenger…it was so nice not to drive) to public hunting grounds 20-30 minutes west of Kimball….three hunters and one [very special] red dog. We hunted for 2.5 hours over a 4 hour period…lots of walking fields of corn, switchgrass and sorghum…for Luna, lots of running. We spooked up a bunch of hens…2-3 dozen…but very few roosters, and only one within range. Richard Miller got a nice cock pheasant and retrieved it before Luna was in tune to getting it for him The fields were filled with scents of birds, deer and all sorts of critters, so it was good that Richard decided to throw his bird near her so she could get an up close whiff, and she retrieved it 30 yards to me. Only one bird on the day, but only one shot taken, so not too bad. We’re looking forward to another day on public grounds tomorrow before heading to the Wagon Wheel Ranch in the late afternoon for three days of incredible pheasant hunting. The population is up 7-10% and last year we saw thousands of birds in three days.

We’ll be checking out of the Mitchell Hampton Inn tomorrow and unless Curt has installed Internet at his ranch, I won’t have Internet access again until late Friday or on my hotel stay Saturday, in route to Eddie & Adele Neupert’s farm in Sunset, Louisiana. So the blog posting may have to wait!

From Mitchell, South Dakota…home of the Corn Palace
Sal & Luna

Day 3 – Sunday the 16th

Luna and I covered a lot of road today…819 miles…left Joelton, Tennessee at 7:15 am CTL and pulled into a Hampton Inn in Sioux City, South Dakota at 10:30 pm CTL. St. Louis was our big stop of the day.

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We crossed quickly through Kentucky and into Illinois this morning, stopping in Lake Egypt, Illinois for gas and early stretch of our legs. It was the only time on the trip that Luna was able to run off leash, as it was off the interstate in a very small town. We filled up at King Tut’s at $2.019 per gallon (what a rip!). We seemed to be in Missouri forever today, entering the state at 8:50 am CTL, crossing the Mississippi into St. Louis at noon. We took an hour and a half break there…visited the Arch and downtown, which reminded me a lot of New Orleans, where I’ll be headed to after South Dakota. I was really looking for some famous St. Louis barbecue, but every downtown eatery was closed except the “St. Louis Bread Company” which turned out to be a Panera’s. Good food but not what I had in mind.
We continued our trek across Missouri, from St. Louis and its western sibling, St. Charles to Kansas City. We stopped at 4:30 CTL just to the east of Kansas City in a little town called Odessa, where we filled the tank at $1.699 a gallon (best price yet) and I filled my belly with three tacos at Taco John’s, a made to order “fresher west Tex” alternative to Taco Hell, I mean Bell.

I don’t know if it was the large Mountain Dew or the coffee I got at the Odessa gas station or both, but I drove non-stop until we crossed the South Dakota line into Sioux City, where we checked into a Hampton Inn. As you can see from the picture, Luna took no time in getting comfortably warm!Along the drive I decided to postpone my visit to Mount Rushmore for another trip. The additional 4 hours west of where we’re hunting for a 30 minute look and another 4 plus hours back is just too much road and I’ve had my fill, with 27 hours behind the wheel since 10 am Friday. From where we’ve decided to stop tonight, I only have a 2 hour morning drive to link up with David Dempsey and Richard Miller who are in Mitchell, home to a huge Cabela’s where I am sure to whip out my trusty AMEX card. I need Under Armor glove liners and steel shot for hunting public lands. I’m sure I’ll find something else I just have got to have once in the store! Luna and I are trading off more driving for more hunting, which is why we made this drive and I know the pup is itch’n to do.

I’d write more if I had anymore steam in me, but it’s low and I need to crash. More tomorrow!
Road Warrior Sal & His Beautiful Vizsla Luna (told so by strangers twice today)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Off to Kimball, South Dakota – Days 1 & 2

OK, my first blog postings were an eon ago in internet time and gratuitous. This, the first in a series of intended postings, is meant to be a true blogging experience.

Luna and I got off to a slightly late departure Friday the 14th after I tied down most (but not all) of some business loose ends. We stopped in Saint Petersburg to borrow a doggie overcoat for Luna from Paul Hermes who has Luna’s half sister Buffy. As the temps are much colder than home, we figured a little extra warmth for when she’s out but not in the field would be appreciated. Plus I’m hopefully going to have the chance to buy Paul a cold beer or two in South Dakota as he too will be in South Dakota late next week hunting pheasant.

We made decent time getting into Gainesville, a little after 3:30 in the afternoon. Checked into Alachua’s Royal Inn and got Luna walked, fed and zipped in her traveling kennel (which she has learned to unzip). Picked up Ally & Jessie at 5 and headed to Applebee’s for dinner then to the Gainesville High versus Eastside game where Jessie was cheering as JV Co-Captain. An exciting high school game, but unfortunately one where the GHS ‘Canes lost in the final 5 seconds 30-27. A heartbreaker for my girls and their friends, and even with the loss, I enjoyed the excitement a high school football game offered. We all spent the night together at the Anti-Ritz and grabbed breakfast at a bagel place before I dropped them off and got on I-75 north at 10 am this morning.

Luna’s a great traveler and always has been…must be her initiation drive to us at 3 months of age, from Minden, Louisiana to Fort Myers, Florida (1,025 miles). And her commute to our office every day. Since we pulled out of the driveway at 10:15 yesterday, we’ve covered 930 miles. Today, we covered 592 miles from Gainesville to Joelton, Tennessee, from 10 am to 7 pm EST. We crossed the Florida – Georgia line at 11:05 and continued non-stop until a 3:30 break just shy of the Georgia – Tennessee boarder. Temps were in the high 40’s with strong winds, so it was a brisk walk for us both…Luna wasn’t sporting Buffy’s coat but I go back to the truck to put on my Wagon Wheel Ranch fleece. North Georgia’s trees are on the verge of peaking on their colors and the rest stop had beautiful grounds. We also filled the gas tank at $1.899 a gallon!!!

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We crossed into Tennessee shortly thereafter at 4:30 EST. In addition to the cold, it was a misting rain from the boarder until well after we cleared Chattanooga. I didn’t see the Chattanooga Choo Choo but even in the rain’s grey haze I enjoyed the colors of Chattanooga’s trees, peaking in an incredible pallet of fall hues against the Appalachian Mountains landscape. It would have been an awesome sight in clear weather and late afternoon sunlight. Three interstates, I-75 (what we were on), I-24 (what we got on) and I-59 all intersect this city. I was super glad we were headed west on I-24 because eastbound was bumper-to-bumper from Chattanooga to 20+ miles west. We were able to get west of Nashville and finally pulled of the road at 7 pm EST, 6 CTL in Joelton, Tennessee. Checked into a Days Inn and grabbed a catfish dinner at a local family-style restaurant. Was able to watch my ‘Noles Homecoming Game loss against Boston College…another football heartbreaker for the Dickinsons, although Ginster’s Vols were on a bye so she gets to skip football letdown for a change.

That’s all I’ve got in me for now…more from the road tomorrow night.

Sal and his traveling Vizsla, Egri Luna Bella of Edisonia

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Google 411 Toll-Free (FREE) Information

This is another great new Google service. Basically, Google now offers FREE toll-free service (AT&T charges me $1.25 per), all voice activated and you can have the info sent via text directly to your cell phone. You can watch the clip in the link above to learn more. I did try it and it works.

I suggest you program 800 466 4411 into your cell phone for easty of use.

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Blog Posting on Florida Travel Savings

Finally! My first blog posting. Now to ensure I don't make dumb mistakes, follow proper blog etiquette and don't come across as a complete pimp when I write about the great deals on Florida hotels and attraction tickets at one of my company websites, Really, I know one is supposed to blog on thoughts, experiences, etc., and not use blogging to market.

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