Posted in Travel

The Stanley Hotel & My Future Nightmares

I hate scary movies. If I watch them I dwell on them and will have nightmares about them for years to come.
But something about visiting The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado fascinated me.

So on a cold, moonless evening in September, Don and I drove though the pouring rain to make a visit to see if we could catch a glimpse of the ghosts that haunt the Stanley Hotel

We walked through the infamous hedge maze, but the scariest thing we found were a few puddles that we had to jump over.


I felt like we were in a scene from “This is Spinal Tap” as the hedges were only 2 feet tall, they came to our knees but to the children running through them they must have seemed like a dark scary forest.

At the statue of F. O. Stanley, he stood before us smiling with his violin in hand, no spooky glares or words of warning before we entered the hotel.

We walked up the steps to the beautiful lobby where the antique piano sat silently waiting to be played.


We wondered if spirits gathered around late at night and played mystical melodies while dancing by the firelight in the dimly lit lobby.

Behind the front desk stood a nice young man who was the keeper of the keys.


Skeleton keys! Was his smile deceiving us, once the guests the guests were in their rooms would guest never be heard from again?


Especially those staying in room 237 (or maybe it was 217)!

The beautiful staircase stood empty with pictures of past owners but no twin girls standing in the hallway beckoning us to join them.

In the basement stood an empty dollhouse, there was no activity to be seen on this night, but one could only imagine lights moving inside the windows and the doors creaking opening slowly.

If you had any doubts about the paranormal activity you could make an appointment with the resident psychic Madame Vera who keeps her office in the basement.

Outside and inside there stood parked vintage cars waiting to take the hotels spirits on adventures to exciting places.



From the windows you could almost imagine Stephen King sitting at a desk and conjuring up his next story.
Though I have never seen The Shining movie nor mini series, the story has such recognizable scenes and characters that even a person like me,who shies away from scary stories knows the history.

Though Stephen King wrote The Shining based on this hotel, Stanley Kubrick took creative license and chose not to use it as the set of the movie.

In later years, as though they were hoping to erase the haunting stigma of the Stanley, the film makers of Dumb and Dumber used it as one of its locations.

As we drive away from Estes on a dark, stormy night, I am feeling as though I can more relate to the title of the later film. For how dumb could I be to go see a hotel that I know will give me nightmares just at the thought of it for months to come.
No more knives for Don for fear I will come home one day to see him with a scary look on his face saying “Here’s Donny…..nah..?


Posted in Travel, Uncategorized

Five States to Philadelphia

A few days before I arrived in New England , my cousin Michelle asked me if I would like to drive from Massachusetts to Philadelphia with her to deliver supplies for St. John following the devastation done by Hurricane Harvey. Michelle had lived on the island and was there for Hurricane Hugo, so she was very familiar with the damage a hurricane could cause.

I am always up for a road trip, plus I am geographically challenged whenever I go to the east coast. As compared to Texas everything looks pretty close, so passing through 5 states in 4 hours seemed like a breeze.

Friday night, we gathered at my Aunt Claire’s house to go through the supplies that had been donated to this beautiful island that had been ravaged by the storm, I was impressed with the generosity of so many as we sorted through mosquito netting, medical supplies, MRE’s, water filters and a variety of other items that were being requested.
It was like playing a game of Tetris as they carefully placed every box in her SUV until the only space left was for Michelle and I.

Saturday morning with some great tunes and a car full of gas we headed out.
There is nothing quite like a road trip for 2 friends who get so little time together. We filled in the spaces of one another’s lives that had passed over the years, catching up with all the important and silly moments we had missed.

The time flew as we passed from state to state.
When we finally arrived at the airport in Philadelphia the sponsors carrying the supplies to St. John were thrilled with the stash that our car held and escorted us directly to the tarmac where the supplies were unloaded.

Our car was emptied and Michelle made sure every box was properly labeled for transport.


Having completed our mission we decided to do the only logical thing when in Philadelphia… see the Liberty Bell.

My image in the past of the Liberty Bell was always of this very small bell in front of Independence Hall that people would walk by. Instead this beautiful reminder of our American Heritage has its own building.

The line to get to it is very well organized, there are dozens of photos and stories to read as you wait in line to view the bell. We arrived just before closing, and the line was short with a quick wait to get in.

We were able to get some great pictures, as all the tourists seemed respectful of allowing everyone to get their moment with one of our nations most well known symbols.

We spent a few minutes after walking around the historical streets of Philadelphia, where so much of our nations history was made.

Visiting the Liberty Bell costs nothing, the only thing we paid for was parking and some great souvenirs.

In the visitors center we had a chance to take a picture with Rocky Balboa before heading back to our car for the drive back to Massachusetts.

The sun was starting to set, and there was a misty rain falling as we drove away from The City of Brotherly Love.

Again the music was playing and conversation was flowing when Michelle turned to me and asked “Do you want to go to Mystic Pizza.”

Something about the place sounded familiar, and pizza is always great, especially on the east coast, so I said yes.
After a little Googling, I was able to find the location in Mystic Connecticut, it was a mere 2 hours out of our way, but the reviews and the history sounded great, we rerouted our GPS and headed to the coast.

It was dark when we arrived in Mystic Connecticut, but I could tell this was a beautiful coastal town.
There was a limousine parked outside the pizza place, and inside their was a huge neon sign saying A Little Piece of Heaven. The movie Mystic Pizza showed on several TVs in a continuous loop.

We sat at the bar and ordered 2 slices of the special of the day.
The bartender brought them to us and asked if we had every eaten there. We shook our heads no, and he let us know since it was the end of the evening and the pizza was not as fresh as he would like he was not going to charge us for our slices.
Well I am not sure what fresh pizza tastes like there, but I will say that was some of the best pizza I ever had!

We walked around the place taking in the pictures and memorabilia before heading back to the car.

The 90 minute drive home seemed like five minutes as we laughed and talked about our day and future plans.

We arrived back to my Aunts house late, exhausted but happy. Five states, a rescue mission, history and pizza filled my head as I fell asleep that night. It was a great day and I look forward to another one of Michelle and Jill’s excellent adventures!


Posted in Uncategorized

The Great Labor Day Gas Hoax

Does anyone really know how panic starts? Is it a joking whisper between two friends, that is overheard as something that could happen?
Is this assumption then shared with others until the joke becomes a crisis?
Perhaps this is how the great Texas gas debacle of Labor Day weekend 2017 started.

One day gas was something we all took for granted, the following day there was insanity, people rushed to gas stations, waiting in lines that could be compared to a Star Wars premier. Filling their gas tanks and anything that would hold liquid with gasoline.

The panic spread quickly, overwhelmed by the demand, gas stations began closing putting signs up saying they were out of gas.

People saw the signs and panicked more. Political officials pleaded with the public telling them the gas shortage was a hoax, but people only saw the “out of gas signs.”
People who really needed gas, who were not panicking were left stranded on their way to work and home.
Some in desperation sat next to empty gas pumps, waiting for the gas trucks to come so they could get their “gas fix.”
The world grew darker when Buc-ee’s home of a thousand gas tanks ran out of gas.


We were among the lucky ones, I started that dark Thursday with a full tank of gas, the following day, I came across a gas stations with no line that had gasoline, we topped off our tank, but it was as if people could smell the fresh gasoline that had just been poured into the tanks, within moments the station was filled with cars, we escaped just in time before the place became a madhouse.



How long will the insanity last? How much gas can one city use? Will people be able to overcome, and what will happen to all those bags of gasoline that people so dangerously collected.
Texas just survived one of the costliest natural disaster in recent history, will we really allow a false gas shortage to destroy us?
Quick somebody, go whisper that the library is having a book shortage, if we are going to lose our minds, let us at least educate ourselves, so we can be smarter people.