American Made Jerky

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Places to Go in North Wales

By Julie A. Allison

As you may already know Wales, and especially North Wales is rich with history and heritage. Every year thousands of tourists from all around the world come to visit the many attractions that North Wales has to offer.

If you're looking for somewhere to go in North Wales then one of the best options is without doubt Snowdonia national park, where you will find the famous Mount Snowdon. Standing at 1085 metres above sea level, Snowdon is the highest point in the British Isles excluding the Scottish highlands. It is one of the most popular places in the UK for hikers, climbers and tourists looking to find a good view. Despite its height you do not need to be an experienced climber to reach the top. There are several paths of different difficulty leading to the top or if none of them take your fancy you could always just catch the train all the way up, where there's a cafe waiting for you!

However if you're looking for something more adventurous and challenging then there are a range of events that run on and around Snowdon. If you want a physical challenge and want to see Wales from top to bottom then you could try taking on the Welsh three peaks challenge. An adaptation of the British three peaks challenge, the Welsh three peaks challenge involves walking up the three highest peaks in Wales. Starting in the south on Pen y fan in the Brecon Beacons you will then move up to Cadair Idris before finishing up the mighty mount Snowdon and all this should be done within 24 hours!

Alternatively if you would rather stay in North Wales and fancy yourself as a bit of an endurance athlete then you could take on the Man vs Mountain race organised by Rat Race events. This event is not for the faint hearted as it covers over 20 miles from the bottom of Snowdon to the top and back down again, and to make it that little bit more difficult they've also thrown in some obstacles along the way for you to navigate. Man Vs Mountain is one of the highlights of the year for obstacle course racers and is and incredible achievement and experience if completed.

Whatever it is you decide to do there is no doubt that Snowdon and all the events that come with it is one of the best places to go in North Wales. Once you've visited Snowdon there's so much more out there for you to see and do. And don't forget about the many events and wonderful locations including historic castles waiting for you!

This article was inspired by Flint International Day, an event taking place on the grounds of historic Flint castle in 2016. The day is family oriented and interactive and a celebration of all things international and multiculturalism in the UK including music, dance, song, food, crafts. The event will also receive special guests and local community and fundraising groups will be present to spread word about their respective causes.

Article Source:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Our New 2014 Toyota Tundra

A lot of family issues have kept us from traveling as much as we would like, and, most of our travel, such as a recent trip to the Phoenix area, has been for the purpose of visiting family.

It has been our goal for some time to get an RV of some sort, and, after much discussion and research, we have finally decided to get a travel trailer. However, our little Prius V was not going to pull, or be pulled. Towards that end, we traded it in on a slightly used 2014 Toyota Tundra, shown below.

2014 Toyota Tundra

This decision to change our way of life so drastically was not lightly made.

One of the most difficult problems WAS getting out of our Prius and into a gas-guzzlin' highway more ways than one.

It can be hard to go from 43 MPG to 14 MPG, but, on the other hand, the ride in the Tundra is fantastic compared to the Prius V. This is a good thing as I am 70 and my wife is disabled, and spending the day in the Prius was distinctly wearing.

As an ex-OTR truck driver, I personally enjoy being back in a small version of a big truck.

Well, the next trip has not been planned as yet, but, we are looking forward to cruising down the road in our big silver truck, and, even more to adding the travel trailer to it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Almost Missed Out on Citrus (Seafood) Bistro in Colleyville, Texas

The lady asked us why we decided to eat at the Citrus Seafood Bistro today, and we told the truth.

Turns out the restaurant we had intended to go to is closed on Mondays. Therefore, my wife did a quick search on her phone and found this restaurant nearby.

It was a happy accident.

Before I go further, let me point out that I am still slightly confused as to whether it is the Citrus Seafood Bistro, or the Citrus Bistro, but that's not really important.

The décor is relaxed and subdued but colorful enough to liven things up a bit. My wife pointed out that most of the colors were "citrus-y". Of course, I had to ask which citrus fruit is black (the color of the ceiling).

The people were very nice. We were greeted by Nanou Viriot. The chef is Didier Viriot, who has had an extensive career in Europe and in the Dallas area. The restaurant tries to present a high-class impression, but we ordinary folk (who sometimes stop at the Jack in the Box near our house for fast food for dinner) were relaxed with the staff who treated us in a friendly manner.

The Citrus Bistro presents itself as a French - Mediterranean restaurant which specializes in Seafood. There seemed to be a wide selection of food available, not all of which seemed to be French or Mediterranean, but, since I had been lured in by the word "seafood", I chose the "PAN SEARED CRAB CAKE Orange and Port Wine Reduction served with House Salad". My wife chose "CREPE DU PECHEUR Mixed Seafood Crepe with Lobster Sauce".

Don't get me wrong. The food was delicious, "plated" and presented well, and the prices were reasonable for the type of cuisine they serve.

However, I am a meat and potatoes, or at least meat with lots of veggies, kind of guy, and I probably should have ordered two crab cakes to actually satisfy my appetite. The spinach and baby greens salad did not quite satisfy me either, but, then again, I don't do leafy greens if given an option.

On the other hand, I probably would have been more satisfied with my wife's order, which, she assured me, was delicious and perfectly prepared. I'm jealous. I got spinach and baby greens, and she got grilled veggies...which she also assured me were delicious.

Overall, a pleasant experience and will probably be repeated so that I can test some of the other items on the menu.

They do have a wine bar and apparently sponsor or participate in events, and regularly have live entertainment. They have recently moved to Colleyville from a Dallas location they had occupied for several years.

5005 Colleyville Blvd#240
Colleyville, TX 76034
Tel. 817 281 6282

Hours of Operation:

Lunch • Monday - Saturday: 11AM - 2 PM

Dinner • Monday - Saturday: 5 PM - 10 PM

Brunch • Sunday: 11AM - 3PM

Happy Hours:

Monday - Friday: 4PM - 7 PM

Citrus Bistro on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Eating at The Spot on Eagle Mountain Lake, Fort Worth

I hate to knock a place that's trying, but The Spot on Eagle Mountain Lake in Fort Worth, Texas needs to step back just a little.

First of all, the people were nice, and I have no problem with the décor (beat-up beach), or the fact that there's a pool table and arcade games, although I wish the arcade games had been around the corner where the noise would not have been quite so intrusive. I grew up on the Gulf Coast, and such places were pretty common.

The restaurant has ample parking during the day, and, while I cannot say for sure, I can imagine it being a bit full on a busy night when the brew-sic and music are combining to lure a crowd. Inside seating is limited and is mainly rustic tables and benches (no padding or backs) capable of seating about six to a table.

My wife is disabled, and, if we had known about the seating, we probably not have eaten there. It's rough on her.

On the other hand, there is a good view of Eagle Mountain Lake with outside seating.

In addition to the bench seating, we went to The Spot based on their website ( which mentioned BBQ, but, when we got there, we learned from our server, Liza (who was very nice to us, by the way) that they no longer served BBQ.

The menu is mainly American food and about what you would expect at a local, lakeside restaurant.

Therefore, I went with chicken-fried steak with coleslaw and fries, while my wife chose fried catfish.

Before I go further, let me say that the food was delicious and the portions were large. I will be finishing my wife's fish tonight.

However, it took a long time to get our food, and my food was lukewarm, and my wife said that hers was warm, but not hot. My first cup of coffee was also just lukewarm, and REALLY on the strong side. The second cup was much better.

I would eat there again if I was in the area at mealtime, but would not go over there specifically to eat.

They apparently have live entertainment, local mainly, but I am not sure of the schedule. Although the menu on their website needs updating, there are some good pictures which will give you a feel for the place.

The Spot
9307 Boat Club Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76179
(817) 236-4600

The Spot on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Great Ocean Road: One of the World's Best Drives

By Mark C O'Loughlin

The Great Ocean Road in Victoria's southwest is one of the world's most iconic drives. If you remember your junior maths you might recall the 3r's - reading, riting and rithmatic. Well, Australia also has its own version of the 3 r's. The Reef, the Rock and the Road. The Reef of course is the Great Barrier Reef. The Rock is Uluru and the Road is the Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road begins in the seaside town of Torquay and finishes near Warrnambool. It's a drive of more than 100 kilometres along perhaps the most spectacular coastline that Australia has to offer. At times you will find yourself driving along meandering roads which sit comfortably between grassed sand dunes and a calm sea and at other times you will be hugging roads which cling dramatically to cliff faces with raging seas beneath.

You never know what to expect when you drive along the Great Ocean Road. It is of course largely dependent on the weather. Beautiful, still sunny days will produce an ocean with an intense blue which is not often seen in other oceans and the sea can be very calm. The following day may be just the opposite, especially if huge Southern Ocean swells arrive. The Victorian coastline is known for its big swells. These are generated a long way away and roll onto our coast with thundering applause much to the delight of surfers.

I would think the major attraction of this road for tourists is the drive itself. If you are coming from interstate or overseas then you will probably be needing to hire a vehicle. What kind of vehicle you hire will depend on what type of holiday you want to have. There's lots of hire companies in Melbourne where you can hire vehicles. If you intend to take your time and slowly make your way along the road then you might like to consider a campervan. This will enable you to stop overnight at tourist parks along the way and there's plenty of them. This is an inexpensive option and then you then have your hard earned money to spend on yourself rather than accommodation.

If, on the other hand, you are fortunate enough to not have to worry about money, then you might consider hiring a sports car. The Great Ocean Road was built by returned ex servicemen from World War One and I'm sure they had no idea that they were building a road that seems almost purpose built for sports cars. Don't drive over the speed limit though. Indeed, you will have little chance because this can be a very demanding drive and gives little opportunity for speed. Happy driving!

The Great Ocean Road passes through a number of small seaside towns and you will find a large range of accommodation available to suit all budgets. We recommend you try Great Ocean Road Accommodation. This website lists a large array of accommodation venues and also has lots of information on things to do and things to see.

Article Source:'Loughlin

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Food Review: Back Porch BBQ, La Grange, Texas

I was driving down Highway 77 through La Grange, Texas, on my way from Dallas to Corpus Christi, a few days ago and decided to stop early so I could have a full, rested, day on the coast the next day.

It was about dinner time and all I had eaten was "road food"....snacks, burgers, etc., and I was ready to eat a real meal. I checked the motel guest information for a decent place to eat. The one that popped out was The Back Porch BBQ.

Now, to be honest, the main reason I decided to get some food from there was that it was nearby. I was tired and didn't want to make a fuss or wander all over La Grange looking for some place to pick up food to bring back to the room. All I had to do was drive about three quarters of a mile back up the access road, and there it was...on the corner of US Highways 77 & 71.

Located in older wooden building, as I drove up into the parking place, I noticed how neat and clean everything seemed to be. That was the same impression I got when I entered. Despite the "back country" chic look, everything was spic and span.

As if it wasn't clean enough, a young lady was busily cleaning as I entered. She was very pleasant as she took my order, and apologetic that they did NOT have turkey that day nor bread pudding.

However, I got the brisket and pulled pork with potato salad and went back to the room.

The pulled pork was delicious, as was the potato salad, but the die for!

Very tasty, it was thick cut yet easy to chew...important, since so much brisket is tough or not very flavorful.

It is a local business, and, if I understood the sign, not open for very long when I passed through. It is a family-owned business, owned and operated by Derrick and Korin Burnett.

Located at the intersection of US 71 and US 77 in Lagrange, Texas, The Back Porch BBQ is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, but open 11 AM to 8 PM, Monday, Thursday and Sunday, and 11 AM to 9 PM Friday and Saturday. Their phone number is 979-968-1580 and their email is

Definitely a thumbs up for this small-town restaurant: excellent food at a reasonable price.

The Back Porch BBQ on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Personal Review of Best Western Grand Marina Shoreline Motel, Corpus Christi, Texas

First of all, please allow me to set the stage.

My wife and I used to travel a great deal, both for business and for pleasure. In the last few years, she has developed several health issues which make travel very difficult for her, and I lost a major source of income, and we have become the typical older retired couple on a fixed income. Due to weakness and balance problems, my wife must walk using a cane, or a walker for longer distances.

We have also become caregivers for a disabled daughter with three children whose husband left her, so, when the opportunity for a couple of days on the coast presented itself, we were, as they say, cautiously optimistic that we could go and enjoy a mini-vacation.

We used to stay at Best Western facilities almost exclusively, since we had a dog and most Best Western motels are pet friendly. We have had several reasons to travel in the last couple of years, including two funerals, and had accumulated several points on their rewards program and a free night voucher which had to be redeemed by June 30th.

We were teetering on the edge when a small cash windfall tipped us over the edge, and we headed for the Best Western Grand Marina Shoreline Motel in Corpus Christi.


While the building was a bit imposing at a distance, driving up to the entrance reminded me of some Greyhound bus stations I had known back in my younger days. However, there are 15-minute parking spaces for checking in and unloading. Once checked in, this did allow me to get my wife inside while I parked the car.

They do have covered parking. It's a bit tight in spots if you have a larger vehicle, but not bad, except for the sudden drop off as you pull away from the entrance of the motel. One note on the parking, by the way, I noticed that in the morning, portions of the tiled walkway seemed to be a bit slick...possibly from dew or spray.


The lobby, and the people were nice, and there is a great wood carving of a Dutch sailing ship near the elevators. If you have a lot of luggage, or a large party, the elevators can be a bit cramped. When my wife and I got into one with a luggage cart, we barely had room to turn around, and my wife opted to stand with her back to the door just because it would have been too hard for her to adjust her position.

A note on the elevators: One had a tendency to close the door almost immediately after opening. It did not retract very quickly either, and I did get a small bruise on my arm from the door. By the time that happened, however, I was so mad that I did not notice it until later. That was after the events of the first night...see below. I took quite a jolt from the door, but I work out and am in pretty good shape for a 68-year-old. My wife, on the other hand, could easily have been knocked off balance by the door, and there's no telling when it comes to small children.

Our room was on the eighth floor with a magnificent view of the bay and the marina. I must admit that the view was worth going to see, and we considered ourselves lucky to be there and were happy we had come....until....


The first small glitch came when I went down to the lobby to get some cash. They did not have an ATM and I either would have had to get the car out and drive, or walk in 90+ degree heat, which I do not handle well at the moment as I am receiving hormone treatment for prostate cancer. I had wanted the money so that I would have a tip for the server when my wife and I went to the 11th floor Sky View or whatever it's called for our "free" drink.

Since they did not have an ATM and I had not thought to get cash (my bad, as they say) I told my wife that I would get my free drink and then order one and pay for it so that I could tip the server.

The bar on the 11th floor does not open until 5 PM, fine with us, so we decided just to watch some TV and rest from the trip. I could not find a TV channel guide in the room, so I called the front desk to ask if I could get one. I was informed that if there was not one in the room, they could not get me one. Seriously people! A classy joint like that doesn't have extra TV channel guide available?


By the way, you would think that such a "grand" establishment would have a business center to die for, but not so. There is one computer on a desk in the lobby. It does have a printer, but you may have to wait in line to use it.


Anyway, around 6 PM we went to the 11th floor bar. Again, a spectacular view, and I cannot say enough good things about Michael, the host/bartender/server. He was very friendly and helpful to us and everyone else there, and gave us a lot of good information about the area.

However, your one "free" drink per person per night, has its pitfalls. First of all, if you are a beer drinker like me, don't expect to get a good beer for free. After I choked down a rather disgusting thing called "Shiner" something or other, I ordered, and paid for, a Corona. I'm not an expert on beer, but I have been drinking beer since I was twenty-one, nearly half a century. I have lived in Germany for six years and drank many German beers, Dutch beers, and even English beers, and I have to say I will probably never try another Shiner, just as I will never try another Starbucks "coffee"...which tastes an awful lot like what I used to get from the mess hall at 2 AM when I was the Duty NCO.

Once you get past your free drink, prices are going to be fairly hefty, so, if you're on a budget, stop by a package store and buy your's much cheaper.

My wife, who seldom drinks alcohol, decided to try a mixed drink but almost gave up because of all the things that are NOT available for the "free" drink. She and Michael eventually negotiated something innocuous and we concentrated on just enjoying the view...which would have been better with clean windows, but let's not quibble.

On our second night, by the way, I skipped the "free" drinks and just bought us a couple of drinks and had some really tasty pulled pork sliders and my wife had some wings....which she said were okay, but about the same as you could get anywhere else.

We were still happy to be there and, after spending a lot of time just soaking in the view, we went to bed.


The beds were comfortable, the AC was efficient and we drifted off to the land of nod...until about 10:30 PM when we suddenly were awakened by some very loud, and very bad, music. Not sure where it was coming from at first, I finally was able to figure out that it was coming from one of a collection of bars about a block away. Apparently, one of the bars had some sort of outside facility and played music out there.

I assumed that the noise would abate eventually, but it kept going and we finally called the desk around midnight to ask if there was anything they could do. They told us that the police had been called and seemed to be as upset as we were that this was happening.

As it turned out, we later learned that this noise is an ongoing problem at this hotel and several people have complained about it. Check other sites such as We had not brought our computers to cut down on the weight of our luggage, but my wife found several complaints on her smart phone.

Despite the police having been called, the noise continued unabated until nearly 2 AM. By then, I was so angry and frustrated at the situation that I could not fall asleep until after 3 AM. On th first night of my vacation at the Best Western Grand Marina Shoreline Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas, I got about three hours sleep.

We only could stay one full day, so that kind of shot my tourist mood all to hell.

The next morning, I learned from a hotel staff member that the Corpus Christi police had showed up but sat around and did nothing, apparently because their "noise meter" was broken...and I guess because their ears didn't work either.

Breakfast is served on the 11th floor (other side from the bar). Again, a great view, but the food is nothing to write home about. There's plenty of it, and plenty of selections, but I got just as good in army mess halls. The eggs are powdered, by the way, so, if you like eggs that look and taste like eggs, skip 'em.

On the morning of our departure, even though watching our budget, we skipped the free (unappealing) breakfast and stopped at the Radisson over at Corpus Christi Beach near the Lexington (I'm from Pensacola and had to see the Lady Lex one more time), and had a great breakfast in their dining room.

By the way, we have stayed at that Radisson before and really enjoyed it, but they did not allow pets, and that is when we started staying at Best Westerns. Not an issue any more as we had to put the old girl down last year at 17 1/2 years of age.

Quite frankly, I must say that I cannot remember a stay I enjoyed less than the one at the Best Western Grand Marina Shoreline Motel in Corpus Christi. However, it gets worse.


On checking out, I knew that, even though I had used bonus points and free night voucher, I still had a small balance of $70+ to pay. When I went to check out, the young lady at the desk said that there was no charge.

Since La Quinta in Pensacola had given me a free night for some problems about a year previously, I assumed she was telling me that the Best Western Grand Marina was cutting me some slack for the bad experience I had...well...experienced!


Shortly after I got home, I was checking my bank statement and saw a charge for $70+ dollars to the Best Western Grand Marina. I tried to send emails to email addresses on their website and listed on other review sites, but all my emails came back as being undeliverable. Finally, I received an email from Mz. Hernandez, the Front Office Manager in which she explained the amount I was charged but did not address the fact that I had been told that I was not going to be charged. She concluded with "I hope that you will consider staying with us again so that we can have another chance to provide you with a superior experience"...

In other words, I know you got burned last time, in the same way many others have, so come back and let us do it again.

Sorry, I'm not a gambling man.

By the way, if YOU are looking for a working email address for the Best Western Grand Marina Shoreline in Corpus Christi, you might try

I hope this rather long, and personal, review of the Best Western Grand Marina Shoreline Motel in Corpus Christi, Texas has been of help.