Thursday, November 1, 2012

Blues City, USA

Our train pulled into Memphis bright and early, just shy of 7am.  My family had no desire to visit Memphis but it was along our rail route, the train was stopping there anyway, Graceland was only a few miles away and with the promise of copious amounts of BBQ pork, they begrudgingly agreed to spend a few days.

We decided we would walk the mile or so to our hotel as the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  I was pleasantly surprised by all of the vintage neon signs we saw along the way.  We arrived at our hotel around 7:30am and presented ourselves to the front desk.  We were far from the 4pm standard check-in time.  Lucky for us the manager was staffing the desk and not only offered us an early check-in but also upgraded our reservation to a 2 bedroom suite!  Needless to say, if you are ever in Memphis, we highly recommend the Memphis Downtown Residence Inn.

The hotel has a wonderful roof top deck with a hot tub and great views of the Mississippi River.  On Wednesday nights the managers host a wonderful cook out for the hotel guests.  Great food and fantastic hospitality!

After getting settled into our room--actually it was a fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment with a full kitchen.  Wowsa!  We headed over to Sun Records; The Birthplace of Rock N' Roll.  This tiny studio is where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins started their careers.  The tour was great!  We couldn't believe how much music history was packed into such a small space.

Trying to pack as much in as possible, we headed over to the Civil Rights Museum.  The museum is housed in and built around the Lorraine Hotel where on April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated.  It was so surreal to be in the parking lot looking up at the balcony at the exact place where he was shot.  There was so much information and moving images in the museum.  I regretted not getting the audio tour.  It was far too much reading for the kids. I think they would have been more engaged if they were able to listen as we passed through the amazing exhibits.

Early the next day we headed out to Graceland.  Yes, Graceland was my main reason for wanting to go to Memphis.  It was fantastic!  Even Daddy-o was impressed with how well curated the collection was.  Not only did we tour tour Elvis' home but also his jets, car museum and archives.  The handsome devil duo had a good time as well.  They are still talking about Graceland and one of them picked Elvis as their Halloween costume!

We had built up a mighty big appetite learning all there was to know about The King.  There are several restaurants at Graceland but we wanted to eat some 'real' Memphis cuisine.  We had eaten so much BBQ pork leading up to this point we really just wanted some chicken.  I turned to the Yelp app on my iPhone.  Well hello Uncle Lou's!  Frankly, from the outside Uncles Lou's Fried Chicken doesn't look like much. The interior is pretty sparse as well but the place was packed with folks eating the BEST chicken I have ever tasted.  The staff was super friendly and helpful.  The chicken was fried with a light batter and then coated in a fantastic thin sweet, sour, spicy sauce.  It was so good that we got a giant tray of it to take on the train the next day!

 All in all, Memphis was a pleasant surprise for the whole family.  We would not hesitate to go back!
'Til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ms. Adventure's Wild Ride

Oh how I love summer vacation!  We just returned from being on the road--or rather, on the rails.  This year we thought we would try a different type of journey.  We decided to step back in time and use trains as our main mode of transport.  Unfortunately, we live in a portion of the country that no longer provides passenger train travel.  No worries, I had a plan and yes it involved a car!

We drove to Milwaukee to start our rail adventure.  Milwaukee is approximately a six hour drive from our home.  We chose to leave from Milwaukee over Chicago for two reasons 1) traffic driving into Chicago can often be a bear and 2) parking in Milwaukee is easy and much more affordable. 

We boarded our commuter train and set off for Union Station in Chicago.  The first thing my kids noticed was how spacious the seats were.  The second was the power outlet which they were super excited about so that they could charge their iPods.  Yep, there we go traveling vintage.
My kids were stunned by the fact that were no seat belts and they could get up when they wanted.  Overall the trip to Chicago was uneventful except for the fact that we got stuck behind a Metra train and ended up 40 minutes late into Chicago.  We had to run to catch our train "The City of New Orleans".  I'm sure it looked just like a scene out of a movie!  

We had planned our journey in two legs.  Our first destination was Memphis, TN.  The ride from Milwaukee to Memphis lasted approximately 13 hours, we boarded at 5:45p and arrived 6:45a.  We reserved two roomettes to make our travels more comfortable.  The roomette is designed to sleep two.  During the day the roomette is set up as two seats facing one another with a fold out table between the two.  By night, the two chairs folds down into a bed and an upper bunk folds down from the ceiling.
Roomette Chair (The bunk can be seen in the upper left)
Hall of Sleeper Car

We had dinner in the dining car about an hour after we boarded the train in Chicago.  It was 10 o'clock at night in our home time zone which was quite late to be eating but since meals were included with our ticket price we gave it a go.  The food was large in quantity with the overall quality being pretty good.  I was somewhat shocked to see the prices on the menu.  Entrees hovered around $25.    I had the herbed chicken.


We retired to our little cabin directly after dinner.  After all, we were due to arrive in Memphis at 6:45am.  And off we went to sleep or at least we tried.  We were in a car toward the front of the train and wow, do they sound the whistle--all night!  I must say however, that on our return trip we were at the rear of the train and the horn was not an issue. 

My favorite car on the train had to be the lounge car.  It was wide open with large windows, chairs, side tables and booths.  We spent a lot of time in this car on our subsequent trips.  We played Uno, built jigsaw puzzles and ate some really great food that we brought along from great restaurants.

Lounge Car
It was such a pleasure to be able to have fun with our kids for the entire trip!  No worrying about getting lost.  No dealing with the hassle of an airport.  Yes, it took longer and ended up costing about as much as plane travel.  But the trip itself was part of the vacation not just a nuisance that had to be dealt with before starting our vacation.

Would I do it again?  You bet your billy goat I would! 

Look for the next post featuring the first of our destinations, Memphis.

Check out Amtrak to plan your rail adventure! 

'til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Victory Garden

Ooooh hello all!  It has been a long time, hasn't it?  You may ask "Why Ms. Adventure, where have you been hiding?". Well the fact of the matter is I've been spending a lot of time with eight wheels strapped to my feet.  Yes, that's affirmative we are starting a roller derby league right here in my little ole neck of the woods!  That my friends, is folly for another post.  Heck, folly for a entirely different blog!

Today I spent the afternoon tending my garden.  We tend to keep pretty cool up here on the shores of Superior and we are finally past our frost date.  After an amazing amount of time spent mowing, trimming, feeding the bees, and generally tiding up the place looks pretty spiffy.

There were pollinators galore in the chive blossoms.  I really need to trim the chives back but the blooms  provide so much for all of our six-legged friends, I just can't seem to do it.  I think in another year the entire herb bed will be taken over by chives!

Several years ago I planted sorrel in the garden.  It is a perennial with wonderful tasting tangy citrus flavored leaves.  I love to use it in salads and on sandwiches.  It really packs a powerful flavor!  It is a vigorous plant and is the first to sprout up in the spring. 

One of my favorite uses for sorrel is in grilled tuna rolls.  Try this recipe for a fresh summery sandwich.  Easy enough to make for a quick dinner, yet elegant enough for a party!

Grilled Tuna Rolls

  • Good olive oil
  • 1 pound very fresh tuna steak, 1-inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lime, zest grated
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 5 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1 firm, ripe Hass avocado, medium-diced
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced scallion, white and green parts
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 9 hot dog rolls, grilled or toasted
  • Sorrel leaves, washed and spun dry
Heat a charcoal or gas grill. Brush the grill with oil.

Brush both sides of the tuna with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cook the tuna over the hot coals for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate. The tuna should be seared on the outside and raw inside. Allow to cool and cut into cubes.

(If you don't want to heat a grill, you can sear the tuna in a dry saute pan over high heat. Heat the pan for 2 minutes, add the tuna steaks and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side until seared on the outside and still raw inside.)

For the dressing, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lime zest, lime juice, wasabi powder, soy sauce, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Toss the avocado in the dressing and then add the tuna, red onion, scallion, and sesame seeds. Line the rolls with sorrel leaves, fill with the tuna mixture, and serve. ---from Barefoot Contessa.

Photo from the Cooking Channel

'Til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Monday, May 14, 2012

A bee in the bonnet, or 2 million in the greenhouse.

I have been a busy little bee loading, unloading, moving bees into the greenhouse, moving bees out of the greenhouse, back in again and finally putting bees in their new hives.  One of my many hobbies is beekeeping.  And since I wanted to keep bees and knew others did as well, I thought it a good idea to start up a little beekeeping club.  The club has since grown to include over 150 members!  Who knew what we were in for when we set forth on this adventure?!

Every year our club gets together and puts in a bee order.  We get bees trucked in from California for new beekeepers to start hives or to replace hives lost during our harsh winters.  This year has been our biggest order by far.  We had nearly 100 packages of bees to dole out!  By my estimation, that's over 1 million bees!  All waiting patiently in my greenhouse for some lucky beekeeper.

This is only half of the bees...

Keeping bees isn't all that hard.  The bees know what to do and as the keepers our job is to make sure that the bees have what they need.  Food in the early spring and sometimes in the fall too, a nice place for the queen to lay her eggs and a lovely spot for the workers to store their delicious honey. 

The bee on the right has pollen in her baskets!

I have been watching the girls frolic in the dandelions then bring home bright yellow pollen in their baskets.  Really, they have areas called pollen baskets on their thighs!  I love to watch the color of the pollen change depending on what's in bloom.

I have to admit the best part is the sweet honey we collect in the fall.  The bees are so generous to make extra to share with us.  One has to be very careful to leave enough for the bees to get through the long northern winters. 

Beautiful honey

So what kind of old time or off beat hobbies do you have?

'Til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ready, SET, go!

Last weekend Daddy-O and I hit a couple garage sales.  The weather is still cool here so there have typically only been three or four garage sales going on each weekend.  Most weekends we have been coming home empty handed.  But not last Saturday!

Check out this beauty...

A little cleaning, as well as some super glue to the area at the rear of the hood and she's good as new.  It works like a charm!  I think it was completely worth the $3 I shelled out for it.

Simon was checking out some newly acquired lampshades.  He's just so darn cute which is a good thing due to the fact that he is so ill behaved.

'Till we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Monday, April 30, 2012

From Drab to Fab!

While thrifting with my friend Sam last week, I picked up a poor lonely lamp.  It was sadly neglected after being painted entirely black years ago.  It had been sitting in a local antique shop for quite a while.  The owner was anxious to get rid of it and offered it to me for a song.

You'll have to excuse my pictures.  I am having a difficult time with finding a new photo editor!

First, I cleaned the lamp really well and boy was it dirty!  Next I applied spackle the chiped areas and sanded smooth after it had dried.  A few quick coats of paint followed by some new wiring and voila!

'Til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Out of this world!

I love how sometimes the stars align to reveal hidden treasures.  After a long trip home from Vegas, and I say long because our plane had mechanical issues and we spent many hours at the airport before finally being rebooked for the following day, we needed to drop my mother-in-law off at her work to finish her day.  Only a short distance from her workplace we happened upon The Galaxy Drive-In.  As you may or may not know, I love Drive-in diners. 

The food was good and the service was great!  Daddy-o had the Chicago dog which he said rivaled the ones we've had in the windy city.  The handsome devil duo went with chicken wings; one had the classic buffalo and the other had the pok pok asian style sauce.  They thoroughly enjoyed both varieties!  I elected to go with the standard chili dog.  The chili was homemade and the dog was quality.  Each meal is served basket style including french fries and a drink.

The grounds are nicely landscaped complete with two fire pits for roasting s'mores.   Dogs are welcome and family fun is encouraged.  There is a vintage juke box on site, as well as many vintage style pedal cars hanging from the awning.  Definitely worth a second, third and fourth visit!

'Til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Turks Inn

  When driving from the upper peninsula of Michigan to Minneapolis, which takes approximately 8 hours, not too much catches my eye.  An occasional bald eagle, roadkill porcupine, the rare restored vintage Chris Craft and yes, of course, The Turks Inn.  To say that I am intrigued is an understatement.

It's kitschy fantasticness is easy to spot from the highway.  What strikes me odd is the location.  When coming from the U.P., one must pass through miles and miles of remote forest.  Then, out of nowhere is a large KOA campground in the middle of a pine stand.  I find that unique as I would never like to camp in the middle of pine needles and pitch.  It even has a pool with a grand water slide!  Only a few hundred feet more and you come to The Turks Inn.

Look at that roof line!  I am convinced that wonderful adventures lie beyond that door!  Unfortunately, they are still following their winter hours, which is Saturday starting at 5pm.  We were there on a Tuesday afternoon.  Schucks!

I did find some limited information on the internet.  It was built in 1934 and sits several miles outside of Hayward, Wisconsin.  It was apparently quite the place in it's heyday!  I was lucky enough to find some interior pictures.  Oh, I can't wait to have supper there!  And maybe a few drinks too!  How's this for a blast from the past...No credit cards accepted.  They do, however, take personal checks.

The Dining Room
Check out the color of those chairs!

What a fabulous bar!

Even the garage is themed.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Liebster Blog Award? Yay me!

Wow!  I have been selected by Janey at Atomic Redhead to receive the Liebster Blog Award.  What can I say?!  Well, first I would like to thank my....okay, okay all kidding aside, I am truly touched that Janey thought my little blog was worthy of mentioning.  I just think she is such a doll and so creative!  I absolutely love her Disney skirt she made.  It really is fantastic!  Go on over and check it out!

The rules are as follows:
-Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
-Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
-Copy/paste the blog award onto your blog (choose an image for the award, and then do a little post like this)
-Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs (with 200 followers or less)
-Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment.

And now here are those I’d like to pass this award on to…

Powder Keg Ignites - a wonderful blog about vintage powder compacts and "retro wonderment".

Hepcat Restorations - Shane rocks out amazing restorations of mid century pieces!  He gives me the courage to try out my skills (on a much smaller level).

Samantha Elizabeth - A great blog focusing on fashion and photography.  Yes, I know that was a cheesy play on words! 

Call me Miss Lil' Susie - A lovely blog with beautiful photographs!  A real treat for the eye!

Hello Margo - a great new French blog featuring handmade retro clothing.  They are off to a great start!

Thanks again Janey!

'Til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Oooooh the shame!

I hate to admit it but last week, I became one of "those" people.  Yep, that's right, I was having a full blown conversation on my cell phone in the middle of the local Goodwill store.  In my defense, I was gabbing with my best friend, who I speak with far too infrequently.  And, frankly, she has some pretty exciting things going on in her life right now!

So, I am being a generally bad person...yack, yack, yack...scanning the aisles...yack, yack, yack...I spy a cute little pair of 50's Asian figurines....yack, yack, yack...I notice the boy's hat is broken...yack, yack, yack...I discuss with my friend that even though the boy is broken, I will buy them anyway...yack,yack yack...I am juggling my purchases, my purse and, of course, my cell phone...yack, yack, yack...I round the corner...yack, yack, yack...and....

Disclaimer:  Dramatic Reenactment

Craptastic!  Great, now there are employees responding to the sound of breaking porcelain.
  I try to discretely end my phone conversation.  Eeeek, it's the perfect girl that I dropped!  
Oh the horror! 

I hide my phone and try to pick up the pieces which have scattered under the rack with all of the comforters and bed linens.  The guilt is overwhelming.  I insist on buying the figures anyway.  However, when I take the pieces to the register the cashier refuses to charge me for the broken figure.  Did I mention the guilt?

Anyway, here they are all glued up.  I still need to figure out a creative solution to tidy up the boys hat.  They are still lovely, in a poorly lit corner sort of way.
As for me, I have learned my lesson.  I promise never to talk on the phone and thrift again! 

'Til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dance baby, dance!

 I picked these chalkware plaques up a few weeks ago.  They had some paint loss and scratches to the paint but I love the black and white ovals, as well as, the texture of the figures.  I always struggle with how much to restore.  I don't want them to look new but rather to keep some of their vintage charm.  I decided to leave the cream/white as is-just cleaned up.

Here they are all cleaned up with the black and aqua repainted.  I love the Valspar testers that Lowe's sells!  They will mix any color and they are only like $2 each.  The only drawback is the testers only come in a satin finish.  If you need a semi or high gloss then you need to get at least a quart.

The plaques are marked " '60 Modern Art Co" on the edge.  They also have a stamp on the back that is very difficult to read.  I can make out " Cory _____sted  _____ Art Co. Milwaukee, 12. Wis."

I am very happy with the end result!

'Til we meet again,
Ms. Adventure