Posts tagged road trip

May 16, 2013: Day 7 – East Bound and Down

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Above is today’s trip map created using my Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app.
Click the link above for a bigger map.

We left Schenectady and after getting my Dunkin Donuts fix (153 feet from the hotel!), we were off on a side trip to Bennington, Vermont for a side trip to the Blue Benn Diner, highly recommended by one of my coworkers.

Blue Benn Diner - Bennington, VT

We briefly took the Interstate until we reached State Road 7, which we took northeast, then SR 279 into Bennington. After discovering the Blue Benn is cash only, we quickly found a nearby ATM, and headed back with our wallet full and our stomachs empty!

I’d been hearing about how wonderful the crunchberry pancakes were, so I already knew that was what I would order. I added a little bacon so I could have some protein to offset the carbs! The pancakes were as good as they look, if not better!

Breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner
Pat opted for a slightly more protein-heavy meal of eggs, corned beef hash, and home fries with toast.
Breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner

After filling our stomachs and emptying our wallet, we headed out of Bennington on SR 9, and took it until SR7. On the way in to Bennington, we had seen a cool country store and would pass it on the way back, so we decided to stop. It was called the Big Moose Deli & Country Store in Hoosick, New York. We stopped to pick up some snacks and small souvenirs.

Big Moose Deli & Country Store - Hoosick, New York

We headed north on a local road into Hoosick Falls, and onto a few state roads until we picked up US 4. In Hudson Falls, we saw this neat old Rexall sign at the local pharmacy.
McCann's Rexall Pharmacy, Hudson Falls, New YorkPat was in need of some ibuprofen, so we decided to stop and provide them some business. I also happened to find they had some homeopathic ear drops which provided some very much needed relief from the discomfort of my scratchy eardrums.

We continued west on SR 254 until we intersected with US 9, and took that north into tonight’s destination, Lake George, New York. Lake George is a very popular tourist destination in the Adirondacks with loads to do for all ages. I’d been there as a child (don’t really remember) and again as a teenager with my parents and friend Joann. That trip was loads of fun, as we went to the now-defunct amusement parks Gaslight Village and Frontier Town and hung out in the bustling Village of Lake George. I was curious where we stayed on that trip, and had some vague recollections of where our motel was. I know it was in the actual Village, on the main drag, and recalled it being on a slight hill. Sure enough, I found two locations side by side, one of which was likely our motel. One was currently a motel, and the other was a nightclub with an area on the side that looks like it was at one time a motel. A little searching on the internet revealed that it was in fact, a former motel. This is the geeky stuff Pat and I really enjoy. :)

This trip, we stayed on the north side of the village, at the Sundowner Motel, right on Lake George. We were a week away from the start of peak season, so as we walked around town, though some businesses were open, more were not. We still got a feel for the place, and from what I described to Pat, he thought it would make a good place to add to our list of vacation destinations. It was actually about the same distance as his favorite childhood vacation destination of Park Rapids, Minnesota.

Here’s the view of Lake George from our motel:
View of Lake George from the Sundowner Motel

We had dinner at a neat little restaurant south of Lake George called The Loft:
The Loft Drive-in, Lake George, New York
This restaurant was directly across from our motel and just looked like it was straight out of the late 50’s:
Mario's Restaurant - Lake George, New York
This motel was directly next to ours. Nice sign!
Surfside on the Lake - Lake George, New York

Despite coming down with some bad traditional allergy symptoms to something in the area (that I never usually have!), we went for a late evening walk, with only locals around, at the few bars open on a Thursday night. This would look quite different in about a week, when the area would be teeming with tourists.

We settled back in at the motel and had a peaceful sleep by the lake.

Today’s Photographs

Below is a slideshow of all of today’s photos. Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157633529679406″ width=”600″]

May 2013: East Bound and Down – Prelude

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Above is the track for our trip, which I have planned using the Trimble Outdoors website

Next month, we’ll be hitting the road for the East Coast. This will be mine & Pat’s final trip east for a while. For the past few years while my daughter’s been in school, I’ve been taking her and my grandson east to visit family, but with this being her final year of school, next year, she can venture out on her own if she likes. Pat and I will thereafter be focusing our attention on pretty much every other direction of the country. We’ve talked about places we wanted to visit, like South Dakota (Mt. Rushmore), some National Parks, like Bryce Canyon, Zion, etc. Another 66 trip would be great, and in a couple of years, we’d like to do 66 with our grandson and go to Disneyland (most specifically, Cars Land).

But back to the current trip. We’ll be pretty much slabbing on the Evil I to Connecticut on Friday and Saturday, likely from I-70 to Columbus, then I-71 to I-80 and 81 to 84. could do that in my sleep, which isn’t hard to do, given how awfully boring that route is. I prefer the southern route, but not feeling like paying tolls with two cars!

From Sunday through Tuesday or Wednesday, Pat and I will be venturing from Connecticut for a drive through western Connecticut on US 7, north into Massachusetts and Vermont. I’d like to visit a diner a coworker recommended called the Blue Benn Diner, which is said to have really good “crunchberry pancakes.” That sounds good to me! We might take a bit of a route called the Molly Stark Trail, then after Bennington, head to a favorite vacation spot from my teen years, Lake George, NY. I haven’t been there since the early 80’s, when Gaslight Village was open. I remember the Cavalcade of Cars exhibit was pretty cool, featuring the Munster Koach, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bob Hope’s golf cart, and loads of other famous cars (I think it had some of custom George Barris cars too). I always enjoyed the area, so it’ll be fun to head back there for a day or so.

After that, we’ll meander west toward Cooperstown, NY and take in some of the baseball history there. Then probably cruise US 20 to US 9, and probably a bit on 9J along the Hudson, before going back east to Connecticut. As a side note, I don’t know what kind of bird creature it really looks like, but to Pat and me, the 3 day loop resembles some sort of bird. Even though a buzzard doesn’t have a pointy head, in lieu of anything else, we have dubbed our trip “The Buzzard Route.” LOL

Wednesday I’ll be catching up with friends, and Thursday – Saturday, we’ll venture to southeast Connecticut/Mystic/Rhode Island, then start heading back to Indiana on Saturday.

Other than having a basic route to follow, nothing is planned. Timing, lodging, dining, nothing! I have some notes on things that we might enjoy doing, but otherwise, I’ll simply have my iPhone handy and search for what we want to do on the fly without strict plans in place. I definitely like having a general plan, a little information handy and definitely having Internet access available to help find things when we arrive someplace. But overall, I much prefer to “wing it” rather than be strict and methodical on most of our trips. The irony of that is that I am very organized and methodical in my life and job. If we’re going to do filming locations or really want to see specific things or are in a place where we feel more comfortable with a plan, we will – but just letting things unfold is far more fun and exciting!

For this trip and future ones, I’m planning on posting trip logs and photos faster, hopefully nightly. With my new Sony NEX-6 and iPad Mini, I have a workflow in place that I will be “road testing,” as well as recording the trip using the Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app. As I said earlier, I used the Trimble website plus their My Topo app to plan the route, and the iPhone app will track where we travel, helping me to geotag my photos on my iPad Mini.

So stay tuned!

Jennifer and Pat
East Bound and Down

March 1-3, 2013: Grease is the Word!

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Overview Map

The following map was created using the Trimble Outdoors Navigator app for my iPhone. For an interactive version of the map or to see a closeup of the route, click the “Bigger Map” link.

Prelude

We wanted to get away for the weekend to relax from the strain of several circumstances as of late. Between work, family concerns, household projects, due to lack of time, we haven’t allowed ourselves a road trip for a while and we were long overdue! We just had a few days, so we couldn’t travel too far and we kicked around several possibilities. Looking at the map, I suggested that we continue following the Great River Road, south from St. Louis. We had previously followed it from Minnesota, along Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as some in Illinois north of St. Louis. So, we thought we’d take it south from St. Louis and see if we could reach Memphis and partake in hamburgers from Dyer’s Burgers. We saw Dyer’s featured on the Travel Channel’s show “Food Paradise,” on the “Deep Fried” episode. Dyer’s features hamburgers deep fried in oil, but what makes them unique is the fact that there oil is never completely discarded, only strained and added to. Therefore, Dyer’s claim to fame is that the grease/oil contains 100+- year old grease molecules. Grease is most certainly the word!

Friday, March 1, 2013: Indianapolis, Indiana to Olney, Illinois

We started our journey on Friday afternoon from the east side of Indianapolis, after having a late lunch/early dinner at Edward’s Drive-In. We cruised the Evil-I for a while, and took US 40 west from the west side of Indy. We turned south on US 231. We took a little stretch of the new I-69 until we reached US 50. We took US 50, until we reached Olney, Illinois. We stayed at a mom & pop called the Traveler’s Inn Motel, which had definitely seen better days. The thermostat didn’t work, and it felt like 1000 degrees in there. We opened the door and window for a while, but the relief was short-lived. Pat ended up turning the wall AC on. The room had an odd configuration, there was another door in the room, which I assumed had another door on the other side (adjoining rooms, but that have locked doors between them). But actually, the door only locked on our side! We were a little confused, and assumed that room had to be ours or else anyone could just enter the other room! It was cooler in there too, but we opted to stay in our part in case we were wrong. We went to the other side in the morning, and found that its outside door had no number, so we knew it had to have been our room as well. It had two double beds and a kitchenette. Still, not the best of places, but serviceable.

Saturday, March 2, 2013: Olney, Illinois to Holly Springs, Mississippi

Before heading out early, we luckily had the benefit of early light due to central time. As Olney was the “Home of the Albino Squirrels” we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a peek at one if possible! But first, I needed coffee, so we stopped at a cute little coffee shop in town, called Ophelia’s Cup. Great cup of coffee!! Pat got a hot chocolate, and we were off in search of albino squirrels.

A quick search revealed that the albino squirrels mainly resided in Olney City Park, so off we went. We slowly cruised through the park, and spotted many run of the mill squirrels, but none of the albino variety. We started to think we had a better shot at spotting Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, or a unicorn when we neared the end of the park. Then suddenly I saw, frolicking with the “lesser” squirrels, was a pure white squirrel! My camera was set to a slow shutter speed and I didn’t have my zoom lens on, of course, so this was the best I could do:

Albino Squirrel - Olney, Illinois

We continued our southwesterly trek until we reached the Great River Road in Chester, Illinois. To our surprise and delight, Chester was home to Popeye the Sailor Man! How cool is that? Chester is the hometown of Popeye’s creator, cartoonist E. C. Segar. We came upon a park with some murals and statues, and found that there is a statue trail for the various characters. next to the park was a Popeye store and museum called Spinach Can Collectibles – very cool shop with TONS of Popeye collectibles and memorabilia. We debated about getting our grandson a Popeye doll, but at 2 and totally unfamiliar with the cartoon, I didn’t think he’d appreciate it. Instead, Pat picked up a Popeye magnet and I opted for a DVD of the 1980 movie, “Popeye” starring Robin Williams as Popeye and Shelly Duvall as Olive Oyl. That was a favorite of mine and my dad’s, so I had to get it.

We saw the Olive Oyl statue, then proceeded to head down by the Mississippi River, where the 6 ft. tall bronze statue of Popeye was stationed. Here is Pat posing with Popeye:

Pat with Popeye Statue, Chester, Illinois

We continued down the Great River Road, and could have kept the slower pace we enjoy, but ultimately we decided that we really wanted to have the burgers at Dyer’s in Memphis and we would not make it without unfortunately, taking the Evil-I!

We picked up I-55, and journeyed south toward Memphis, destination: Beale Street. The area was fairly easy to navigate, though we didn’t find any street parking, so we opted to park in a garage close to Beale Street. We made the short walk to Dyer’s Burgers and were entranced with the abundance of cool neon! But first thing was our grease fix. We each ordered single burgers, and I selected French fries with mine while Pat decided on onion rings.

Dyer's Burgers - Beale Street, Memphis, TN

The burgers were pretty good though we have had better, flavor-wise. Being deep fried certainly made them moist and I did enjoy the fries a lot! We decided we had just enough room to split a dessert, a deep fried peanut butter & jelly sandwich (a Smuckers Crustable).

After satisfying our stomachs, we went out to satisfy my need to use my new Sony NEX-6 for some neon photos. Not disappointed at all! I used the HDR feature, which really helped to make the exposure simulate what our eyes see. In HDR mode, the camera brackets 6 exposures and combines them within 10 or seconds, yielding a result that is just spectacular. The camera retains the original photo, as I exposed it and the combined exposure. I deleted all of the original exposures, but I will at some point retain a few and post them for viewing to show the before and after. I thought that the HDR feature would be helpful in cutting down my workflow, and allowing me to get my photos processed and uploaded faster by editing on my iPad Mini if needed. I’m happy that only minimal post processing is needed, the camera does a fabulous job processing. I do have an app called Photogene on my iPad Mini which does well handling any minor edits or cropping I need to do, but is fairly well featured enough to handle more if needed (no substitute for Photoshop of course but it’s still a good app!).

Here is a sample of photos from Beale Street. See the slide show below for all of the photos or click the slide show to go to my Flickr site.

Coyote Ugly Saloon, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Johnny G's Creole Kitchen, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Southern Style BBQ Ribs, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

We headed southeast out of Memphis, opting to move on for a place to stay the night. We crossed into Mississippi, and the town of Corinth seemed like a reasonably sized burg, but was an hour or so away, and we were getting pretty tired. The small town of Holly Springs was much closer, and had a few choices, and an EconoLodge that used to be a Hampton Inn had good reviews, so we opted to stay there for the night.

Sunday, March 3, 2013: Holly Springs, Mississippi to Indianapolis, Indiana

The hotel had a decent continental breakfast, so we decided to partake in a little complimentary food before moving on. We headed east on SR 4, and north on SR 5, before picking back up US 72. We continued on US 72 until we crossed into Alabama, then took the Natchez Trace Parkway north to its northern terminus just southeast of Nashville. We stopped at a few scenic locations, one being Fall Hollow Waterfall.

Natchez Trace - Fall Hollow Waterfall

In Nashville, we decided we needed to again take the Evil-I so we could get home at a fairly reasonable hour, so we took I-65 north back to Indy. Our final stop was for dinner at Toot’s restaurant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where first timers receive a complimentary order of fried pickles. We had potato skins as well and I went with the Philly Cheesesteak and Pat ordered a rack of ribs. With yet more grease ingested, we waddled out of there feeling overfull and headed home.

Here is a slideshow of all of my photos from this trip. If you click on the slideshow, it will take you over to my Flickr page where you can also view the photos there.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157632920122139″ width=”600″]

September 2011: Impromptu Lake Michigan coast road trip

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Pat and I decided on a last minute overnight road trip. Not being able to decide where to go, I fired up Google maps on the iPhone and sized the map to fit an area within 5 or so hours’ drive. We then closed our eyes, turned the phone and pressed down an area along the map’s edge. That would be where we’d go. No offense to Pickneyville, Illinois, but we weren’t thinking that would be our prime destination. Plus, it was still too close.

So we scrapped this plan and simply opted to head north into Michigan. We thought it would be nice to stay as close to the coast of Lake Michigan as we could. We did a Lake Michigan loop back in September 2005, going north along the coast in Illinois and Wisconsin, then east through the UP and across the Straits of Mackinac and down into the Lower Peninsula.

This time we headed northwest out of Indianapolis on US 421 (the Michigan Road). In Michigan City, we headed into Michigan on US 12 until it branched off and headed east. At that point, we continued north as closely along the coast as we could, following the Red Arrow Highway or Lakeshore Drive as applicable.

We decided to call it a night in Benton Harbor. After a few failed Priceline bid attempts, we just booked a specific hotel HOJO) and price through them. We were in the HOJO parking eivrflot at this point so we just walked in. It took a while for the reservation to get sent by Priceline to the hotel. In the meantime we occupied ourselves with meaningless small talk and listening to the lone desk clerk handle several complaint calls one after the next. “hello, front desk! I’ll be up shortly and will spray with air freshener. Yes, that’s all I can do, sorry!” Sure enough a few minutes later, but felt like an eternity, they received it and we were on our way upstairs. Our room was standard; not great not bad. A bit worn but not dirty. Certainly ok for a night’s stay.

The next day (Labor Day), we headed over to Grand Rapids to visit The Ford Museum – Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

Lastly, to satisfy our hunger, we decided to pay a visit to the iconic Rosie’s Diner in Rockford. It’s most recent TV fame was likely as a result of being featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but many will remember it from the 70’s Bounty paper towels commercials featuring actress Nancy Walker as waitress/owner Rosie.

Then, time to get home to Indiana…till next time!

Slideshow of All Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157627598573202″ width=”500″]

Tri-State Route 66 Festival — The Prelude

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Here it is Wednesday morning and we’re getting ready to head off for five (hopefully) peaceful days on the road. Our day will start off with a drive out to Springfield, Illinois where we’ll have lunch at the Cozy Dog Drive In, well known as the restaurant where the corn dog was invented 50-some years ago. From there, we pick up that grand old two-lane highway, Route 66 and take it south into St. Louis, where chances are we’ll be diving into a concrete from Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, another Route 66 icon dating back to 1941. After that, we meander our way through the Ozarks of Missouri before picking a spot for the night.

Thursday we’ll finish our drive along 66 in Missouri and head into Joplin where we’ll bunk up Thursday & Friday nights. The Tri State Route 66 Festival is our destination, just over the Missouri/Oklahoma border, at the Downstream Casino. Friday we’ll be cruising throughout central Oklahoma. As some of you know, we’re big into photographing old movie scene locations and there are a couple of towns where “Rain Man” was filmed that we’re going to hit. We also plan on hunting down an old plant that used to build Serro Scotty trailers back in the 1960’s, since we’re (almost) new owners of a 21st century model.

Looking forward to hooking up with some of our old Route 66 friends we’ve met throughout the years this weekend. Feel free to follow along with us here on the blog, as I hope to have daily updates and photos of our trip as internet connectivity allows.

Off we go!

March 28, 2010: Sunday Drive

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Even though it was a gloomy, rainy day, we decided to do a little recon regarding state park campgrounds and sites we might like to stay in someday. We were particularly interested in Ouabache State Park, since would be staying with a couple of other Tabbers the following weekend and wanted to see which areas would be good for us.

We also checked out a T@B trailer, clamshell model, that friends had an interest in. The T@B clamshell is more similar to a traditional teardrop in the sense that it does not have a kitchen inside; it has a hatch in back that opens to an exterior galley kitchen. We were originally interested in a traditional teardrop, but when we saw the T@B during the Missouri Route 66 Motor Tour last year, we fell in love with it and decided that a taller space to stand in, and interior kitchen would suit us better. Indeed, we have been camping in late fall and early spring, when the days are warm, but nights are cold…I am not inclined to cook breakfast outside when it’s 28 degrees! Or 35…or 45…but if it’s 50 and up with no wind, we’ll talk!

However, in warmer weather, the clamshell (like a traditional teardrop) would be nice to cook outside and it would be awesome for tailgaters!

Here is the kitchen from a fellow T@B owner’s Flickr set:

Here is the Clamshell for sale at Sullivan RV in Decatur, Indiana:

2009 T@B Clamshell

To my surprise and delight, there was a 1984 Winnebago Chieftain for sale there as well. This was the model of RV that was used in the movie “Lost in America,” about a couple who decided to liquidate all of their assets, buy a motorhome, drop out of society, and travel the country. Until their plan goes awry in a BIG way. No more spoilers….but the dialogue is hilarious and the premise is a riot!

The Winnebago in the movie was 30′, this one was 26′ and a different floorplan, but being the same model, it does look similar:

1984 Winnebago Chieftain

We decided while we were in Decatur and hungry, to have lunch at Arnold’s Drive-in. Very cool place, neat atmosphere and good food!

Arnold's Drive-in, Decatur, Indiana

After exploring Ouabache State Park, we also looked at the Lost Bridge State Recreation Area on Salamonie Reservoir. The reservoir level was very low, but when they raise the water levels, I am sure that many of the campsites right along the edge of the reservoir will be very nice!

Slideshow of All Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157623599800123″ width=”500″]

My Favorite Road Trip, Vacation, and Travel Movies

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When I can’t take a road trip, there’s always my favorite road trip, vacation, and travel movies!

You will see that I also included many movies in this list that are not road trip or travel movies, per se. They are on the list because there is either traveling involved, they give you a sense of really being in the place they are depicting, might make you want to visit there, or have great scenes, and for a couple of hours, transport you to another place. In no particular order, here’s my list:

  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • Cannonball Run
  • Duel
  • Convoy
  • The Long, Long, Trailer
  • Rain Man
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • Vacation
  • Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  • Thelma & Louise
  • The Muppet Movie
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Cars
  • The Great Outdoors
  • Summer Rental
  • Dirty Dancing
  • North by Northwest
  • RV
  • Bob Hope & Bing Crosby “Road” movies
  • Dances with Wolves
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • A Little Romance
  • Twister
  • Titanic
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Sabrina (1995)
  • Lost in America
  • Smokey and the Bandit

My Favorite Road Trip Music

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What’s a road trip without road trip music? Here is a list are some of my favorite road trip songs, and videos to accompany most of them.

Johnny Cash – I’ve Been Everywhere

Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild

Jerry Reed – East Bound And Down

Junior Brown – Highway Patrol

Rascal Flatts – Life Is a Highway

Lindsey Buckingham – Holiday Road

The Doors – Roadhouse Blues

Buster Poindexter – Hit The Road Jack

Ray Charles – Mess Around

Roger Miller – King of the Road

C.W. McCall – Convoy

Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra – The Theme From Route 66

Bobby Troup – Route 66

B-52’s – Love Shack

Beach Boys – I Get Around

Eagles – Take It Easy

Dave Dudley – Truck Driving Man

Dave Dudley – Six Days On The Road

Willie Nelson – On The Road Again

Gary Numan – Cars

Junior Brown – Broke Down South of Dallas

Sammy Hagar – I Can’t Drive 55

Eddie Rabbitt – Drivin’ My Life Away

Weird Al Yankovic – Truck Drivin` Song

Weird Al Yankovic – Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota

Fabulous Thunderbirds – Way Down South

Dusty Chaps – Don’t Haul Bricks on 66

Mary Cutrufello – The Long Red Line

America – Ventura Highway

Delta Rhythm Boys – Dry Bones

Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound

Kevin Welch – Willy Rogers Highway

LeRoi Brothers – California Sun

Two High String Band – Goodbye California (Hello, Illinois)

December 2008: Connecticut

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Slideshow of All Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157612014755162″ width=”500″]

 

November 2007: AMERICAN ROAD Magazine – Indiana Cool Roads Cruise

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Slideshow of All Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157603702195798″ width=”500″]

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