Saturday, October 18, 2008

This n' That

Today was a work day for me. Normally I don’t mind filling in on my usual day off. Early this morning it seemed a good day to be confined to the mail truck. By the time I started the route, the sun was out for a near perfect day.

The Roadtrek is still in front of our house, waiting to be put to bed. Preparing the little RV for winter is not a job to be taken lightly. Frozen water lines would be a disaster. So, tomorrow, we will carefully drain all the lines and pump a special type of antifreeze into them.

The trees still are not at their peak. I am afraid our colorful fall will be either very short or non-existent. It’s been a wet fall and “they” (whoever that is) say the trees are more colorful when it is dry. We gave up our season tickets to KSU football games this year. I miss our trips to Manhattan through the Flint Hills. The golden grass with the red and orange hardwood trees is breathtaking.

Conversations with our kids and grandkids about holiday plans are helping me prepare for the winter weather around the corner.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Helpful financial information

Well, I didn't turn off the radio and glad I did not. There were several good stories today.

Steve Kraske, a political correspondent for The Kansas City Star is moderator of “Up to Date” KCUR public radio's daily show. Today, he hosted an informative discussion entitled, “Your Investments in a Turbulent Economy" with an emphasis on, " what you should be asking your adviser about your financial plans."

David Jackson, CFP of Waddell & Reed and Kathy Stepp, CFP, of Stepp & Rothwell discussed this complex subject with Steve Kraske and call in listeners.

Are you feeling as lost as I am with the words describing the current financial crisis? I recommend the Bloomberg Financial Glossary. I keep this link on my desktop for quick reference. There are also links on the glossary page to other investment tools.

Finally, with all the stressful information bombarding us from every direction, you might want to listen to this segment aired on NPR’s Talk of the Nation entitled "Bad at Multitasking? Blame your Brain." It will make you rethink a habit of doing several things at once.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No news is good--for one day anyway

The job description of a rural mail carrier is self-explanatory. We arrive at the post office, the mail is available to sort then down the road to deliver.

Oh, I forgot, it’s turn on the radio and down the road to deliver.

The radio--usually set too loud but necessary to be heard over the open window noise. The radio--set only on NPR, afraid to turn it off for fear of missing something important.

I am addicted to hours of surreal radio news. The stock market yo yos up and down. The people who we trust to know what to do about the economy seem to be grasping at straws. The election is polls, polls and more polls and who said what about whom. Then there is Iraq, Afghanistan and the ever looming Iran.

I am considering going cold turkey for a day. No radio. Five and a half hours of just me, whistling my way down the road. Oblivious to election, stock market and war.

In this case, withdrawal could be comforting.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oktoberfest in Hermann Missouri

One last roadtrip beckons before we winterize the Trekker. It is a three-day weekend for me so Friday night finds us making our way to Hermann Missouri.

Hoping for Columbia, but hindered by drooping eyelids, the first Wal-Mart Parking lot we find east of Kansas City is our alternate destination. Our niece and family welcome us at 8:30 Saturday morning. A quick visit, delicious breakfast pizza and we are on the road again. We meet the rest of our group in New Florence, the exit off I 70 to Hermann

Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday we enjoy our favorite vineyards.

OakGlen Winery is first. Somewhat miffed this winery is the only one on the Hermann wine trail charging a fee to enter and taste, we decide to stop anyway mainly for the spectacular view of the Missouri River Valley. The band is excellent. Their wine is good with our meat, cheese and crackers. With the fees, we didn't feel an obligation to purchase any extra wine.

Our plan is to stop by Hermannhof Winery on our way back through Hermann. There is no way! It was unbelievably crowded. Hermannhof is located in Hermann and within walking distance of the Amtrak depot. Missouri and Amtrak work together to provide transportation from Kansas City and St Louis across Missouri. There are two opportunities to catch trains each way daily. Obviously, many young people take advantage of this trip.

We pass by Hermannhof opting for Adam Puchta & Son Wine Co.

Adam Puchta is one of Hermann's older wineries dating to 1839. Probation destroyed the vineyard, but was reestablished in 1988. We enjoy Norton and Chardonel wines as well as Hunter's Red. We linger here as perfect weather and colorful trees make this a quiet, relaxing stop.

We left Adam Puchta for the Rivers Edge restaurant. Not only does this restaurant have good food, the only access from the north is a ferry across the Gasconade River. A step back in time. Only one of our group orders wine with the meal, the rest of us opt for water--lots of it!

Sunday morning we start with a new destination, Bommarito Estate Almond Tree Winery. What a delight. We will be returning in the future. Nick Bommarito and his children established their 10 acres of vines in 1996 and opened in 2000. They only make five wines and only use grapes from their vineyards. The daughters serve the samples and Mr. Nick sells the bottles. They are personable and friendly. We park ourselves in the shade and enjoy several bottles of their excellent St. Vincent and Norton with specially prepared brats.

Robller Vineyard Winery is always on our list. A family winery with a fun tasting room, colorful terrace and entertainment most weekends. We hang around to enjoy Gary Sluhan and his Jimmy Buffet covers. Robert and Lois Mueller purchased their land in 1989 and the winery opened in 1991. We said hello to them as they roam among the guests. Their personal touch is evident from start to end. Hands down, our favorite stop each year.

Our wine trail finally ends late Sunday afternoon at the Hermannhof winery. The crowd mostly gone, we enjoy the traditional German music and dancing.

Although not too hungry, we picnic at the Hermann River's Edge Park. It is hard to finally say goodnight to our friends and ready ourselves for the trip home, a case of wine for the holidays in tow.