Driving Through Indiana

In this week’s video we drive through the great state of Indiana.

Indiana Thumb Play

In the morning, we leave our campsite at the Louisville Metro KOA and begin driving north. The idea is to reach Elkhart, the RV Capital of the World by sundown.

As part of our journey we go through the Indiana capital, the great city of Indianapolis. Although we don’t get to explore much, we do drive through downtown, see the Capitol building, which in Indiana is called the Statehouse, and the also famous Soldiers and Sailors Monument which is an obelisk in a very centric traffic circle, which honors the veterans of the Civil War. As we leave the city we also see the Scottish  Right Cathedral, one of the largest masonic buildings in the world. Did I mention it belongs to the Freemasons?

As we continue north we also drive through Kokomo. Remember the Beach Boy’s song? “In the Florida Keys there’s a place called Kokomo”. Well it turns out the real Kokomo is here in Central Indiana, and it doesn’t display any of the tropical innuendo depicted in the 1980’s hit song. There are a bunch of automotive plants, which is surprising because I was under the impression we didn’t manufacture anything anymore.

We continue and eventually reach Elkhart. The reason we are here, besides it being a pretty town, is because on the next day we pan to visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame. It is an RV museum, and in their collection the have some of the first houses on wheels, going back to the beginnings of the automobile invention.

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As always thank you for watching and see you on the road.


Kentucky: Bourbon, Horses, and Family

The definitive Kentucky video is finally here.

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First we visit Makers Mark Kentucky Bourbon Whisky distillery. At the beautiful property we learn about their history, the whiskey making process, and at the end we get to sample 4 different varieties, including the raw moonshine-like white alcohol, before they put in the oak barrels to age. That is some potent stuff.

After our whiskey adventure we continue towards Louisville, crossing through beautiful rural Kentucky and Bardstown, self-proclaimed the Whiskey Capital of the World.

We are staying at the Louisville Metro KOA, which is actually on the Indiana side of the Ohio River in the city of Clarksville. Here we get to spend some time with my cousin Juan and his wife Thelma. Cousin Juan has lived here most of his life in Louisville and Thelma was born and raised here so they know the town pretty well. On the ride around the city they share a lifetime of memories with us, going back to the 1960’s.

No visit to Louisville is complete without going to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, and although we skip the museum this time, we enter the building and go into some of the gardens. We also have breakfast at Wagner’s Pharmacy, which is actually a diner, very popular with horsemen since the 1920’s. The walls are covered with pictures of horses from the many years of horse racing tradition.

We also tour Old Louisville Historic District, particularly the St. James Court Area. It has the largest contiguous collection of Victorian era homes in the United States. We also drive on Bardstown road, in the Highlands neighborhood, which is famous for the numerous bars, night clubs and restaurant in the area. After an afternoon nap to recharge batteries we are joined by Juan’s sister, cousin María for dinner at Louisville’s best Cuban restaurant called Havana Rumba.

Mammoth Cave National Park

I have been meaning to write a blog post for over two weeks now. A good portion of editing videos involves writing the script of what I am going to say. That type of writing, however, comes to me much easier than this one. Writing a blog post involves more precision somehow.
That being said, since the las blog post I have released another fabulous video about the largest cave system in the world, located at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Mammoth Cave Thumb play
We took the two-hour long Domes and Dripstones tour, which took us through three different types of cave passageways. First we descended nearly 200 feet through a long system of stairs going down a sinkhole. This sinkhole was discovered while trying to find a new entrance to the cave, and the actual entrance was blasted using explosives. It is called the “new” entrance to the cave. As the passageway levels off we enter a large room called “Grand Central Station” because of its size and because many passageways emerge from it. The next part of the cave is very dry and no longer being  affected by erosion. The flat ceiling gives it almost an artificial look. This type of passageway has become stable over many years as layers of rock have collapsed against each other. The las part of the cave is the Drapery Room, which is more like your typical picture perfect cave with stalagmites, stalactites, and many delicate rock formations caused by water erosion over the course of thousands of years. The most dramatic feature is a rock formation called the “Frozen Niagara”.
After our visit to Mammoth Cave National Park we had to go through decontamination because of some fungal spores that are spreading and are causing bats to die from something called the “white nose syndrome”.
After our fabulous cave visit we continue north-east towards the Bourbon Trail,, going through some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen in our great country.
On the next video, coming soon I will take you Bourbon tasting with us to the Maker’s Mark distillery on Loretto, Kentucky.

As many of you know, I have been, little by little making some improvements to Minitini the trailer. The two main upgrades I have made recently have been a Fantastic Vent and a solar panel system. I don’t know how I survived without them.
Fantastic Vent Play
The Fantastic vent installation was the first o the two. It is basically an extractor that sucks warm air our while letting fresh air come in through the windows. It works great as long as there is actually fresh air coming in. In my experience when it is 95° Fahrenheit outside there is little you can do to get cooler. However in the cool spring nights it worked great. We even had to use our bedsheets one night. The unit I purchased has a couple of extra features such as a remote control and rain sensor.
Solar Panel Play
The other great addition has been the solar panel kit from Renology I bought and installed. Before I got it, I always had anxiety about my house battery being depleted. One time I even had to connect the car and turn it on to recharge. I don’t really want to deal with the weight and noise of a generator so this is a great solution. Not only does it fully charge my 80 amp-hour battery on a couple of hours during a sunny day, I also never have to disconnect the battery when I am going to stay put at home for a couple of weeks.

Lately, I have received requests from a bunch of companies to review their products on my YouTube channel, so you will see a couple of promotional videos in the future, some of them will even give me a commission if you buy with the provided link
Universal Yums July Play
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Until the next time! See you on the road!

Nashville: Music City

Nashville Thumb white play

In this week’s video we arrive at the Music City and enjoy Nashville’s notorious night life. The main drag is called Broadway. It begins at the Cumberland river and it goes for about a mile to the west. This is the site of all the famous honky tonk bars, and there is great live music everywhere.

In the morning we explore downtown a little bit. We pass by the Tennessee State Capitol, the Legislative Plaza, and the war memorial. Back in the broadway area we pass by the  Ryman Auditorium, often called the Mother Church of Country Music. We also enjoy a beer for breakfast and some wonderful country music at the Legends Corner. Our next stop is the Country Music Hall of Fame, and my favorite part, the guided tour of RCA Studio B, where Elvis Presley and many other great luminaries of rock n’ roll and country music recorded many hit songs. We end our day at the Centennial Park, admiring the only life size replica of the Parthenon in the world.

We left so many things unseen in this great musical city that a second date is a most. We shall return soon. The next time I want to eat some hot chicken and see the Musica fountain, which became controversial for depicting nudity. I also want to go to the Grand Ole Opry, and attend a concert in one of many acoustically perfect venues.

Until the next time thank you for following my YouTube Channel and see you on the road!

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Rock City: I Can See Seven States… Maybe

On this week’s video we visit a famous roadside attraction near Chattanooga, Tennessee called Rock City. Rock city is located on the Georgia side of the border, on top of the Lookout Mountain Ridge.

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Rock City became a tourist attraction back in the early 1930s, at the site of a community called Fairyland, founded by one Garnet Carter and his wife Frieda. These rock formations happened to be inside the Fairyland community, and it was Frieda’s idea to develop this part of the property into a great rock garden, with all kinds of plants, trails around the rocks, and statues of gnomes and other fairytale characters imported from Germany. They claim that you can see seven states from the top of the mountain: Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. While on a clear day you can see the Smoky Mountains, that’s still the Tennessee side. I don’t have hard evidence of this but I have read that Kentucky, Virginia, and South Carolina are below the horizon, so the only way you could see them is if the Earth was flat.

In Rock City we also enjoy the music of Matt Downer – Old Time Traveler, an Alabama native and Chattanooga resident. He plays the fiddle, the banjo, and the guitar, and he has dedicated his career to the preservation of traditional music. He has studied the repertoire and techniques of many of the elder Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia musicians, so he is the real deal. What a treat it is to listen to his music.

As we continue towards Nashville  we run into some trouble climbing the Cumberland Plateau , also known Monteagle Mountain. The car started overheating on the long 5% grade. While technically not a mountain, Monteagle got it’s popular culture name due to a Johnny Cash song describing this treacherous portion of the road.

Without further preamble, here’s the video.

Great American Road Trip 2016 Part 2 – Rock City: I Can See Seven States… Maybe

Great American Road Trip Part 1: The Long and Not So Winding Road

GART1 FL-GA Thumb2This is the first part of our Great American Road Trip, a series documenting our trip to Chicago in the late spring of 2016. In this first installment there is a lot of driving involved, as we want to get as far away as possible from South Florida. We start driving on a Friday afternoon, as far north as we possibly can before going to sleep. We manage to make it all the way to Orlando. On the following morning we continue pushing north stopping several times along the way. We make to to the Florida-Georgia border at around noon. We take a quick break at Valdosta, and then drive through downtown Macon. We continue north through secondary roads through the Piedmont National Wildlife Preserve until we arrive at the outskirts of Atlanta, and have dinner with family members. We spend Saturday night at the Walmart in Marietta. In the morning we continue driving to the northwest, along the foothills of the Appalachians, until eventually, at around noon we arrive at Rock City, where the real adventure will finally begin.

This is just an introduction to this two-week “Great American Road Trip”. I will try to post videos weekly as follows:

  • Rock City Gardens: I Can See Seven States
  • Nashville: Music City
  • Kentucky: Caves, Bourbon, and Horses
  • The RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame
  • Chicago
  • St. Louis: Beer, Barbecue, and Frozen Custard
  • Memphis: Elvis is Alive
  • Destin: Vacation From Our Vacation

As always thank you for watching my videos and see you on the road!

Homestead, Florida

After a long three month long hiatus we are on the road again. This time we are not traveling very far, just south, to the sHomestead Thumbsouthernmost part of the South Florida metropolitan area which is comprised of the the cities of Homestead and Florida City. Florida City in particular, is considered the gateway to the Florida keys because if its proximity to the island chain.

We spent a weekend visiting the main landmarks and tourist attractions, historic downtown, the Alligator Farm, Robert is Here, Knaus Berry Farm (well not really), Schnebly Winery, Miami Brewing Company, Alabama Jack’s (we sort of), Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo, and the most famous local tourist attraction, The Coral Castle.

After we arrive at the Southern Comfort RV Resort, we decide to visit the Schnebly Winery and its neighbor the Miami Brewing Company. The winery turns out to be a little of a disappointment but the brewery is great. I particularly enjoyed their Torpedo IPA, and the house made sausage sandwich. Then we decide to check out the Cauley Square historic village, which is a picturesque area with restaurants, gardens and quaint shops. Unfortunately we arrive to late and everything was closing down for the day.

In the morning we went to the Alligator Farm which is definitely worth a visit. They have Alligator and Snake shows and many exotic animals on display, but the highlight of the visit is definitely the air boat ride. The we go to Robert Is Hear, a legendary fruit stand for so refreshing tropical fruit smoothies.

A visit to homestead would not be complete without a visit to the Coral Castle, built by Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin as the Rock Gate Park, it was dedicated to his fiancée who left him the day before their wedding. The construction of the place is not without conspiracy theories. It seemed unlikely that five-foot-tall Ed could be able to haul all this heavy coral rock to this location all by himself and then transform them into the mesmerizing rock formations that comprise the castle.

In the evening we head down to Key Largo for dinner at the Gilbert’s Resort with some friends.

All this is available in much more detail in the video below.

Carnaval on the Mile 2016

While we stay put here in Miami for a little bit, we take advantage of one of the many festivals happening this time of the year. We spend a Sunday afternoon at Carnaval on the Mile, in Coral Gables, Miami, Florida. We see performances my Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs, Problem Kids, Santa Cecilia, Soul Rebels, and Ed Calle and Mamblue. We also eat some Miami style Babecue, drink some wine and beer, and browse the art galleries.

Old Florida Scenic Drive

This is the conclusion to our Mount Dora/Orlando trip from back in December. We returned back south down the east coast, exploring a little bit of Ft. Pierce, Jensen Beach, and Stuart.

Click on the image below to watch video.

Old Florida Scenic Drive

Florida Rambler article mentioned and used as reference

We stayed at:
Ft. Pierce KOA

We ate at:
The Original Tiki Bar

Conchy Joe’s Seafood

Action Camera: GoPro Hero 3 White

Additional video camera: LG V10 Android phone

Large Diaphragm Studio Microphone: Audio Technica AT3525

Video edited on Final Cut Pro X

Graphics created in Motion 5

Additional audio and voice over recorded in Pro Tools 11

Original music composed in Logic Pro, performed by Robert Morales

Original soundtrack available at https://play.google.com/music/m/A7kg7lpb5njuminyla3y62n6d2u?t=Robert_Morales

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