Thursday, July 25, 2013


I'm not a big book reader, most books don't keep me interested after the first couple chapters. With this post along you must know the book was good.... at least in my view.

I was looking for a book at the campgrounds library and saw a the title "The Bullpen Gospels" (2010). Being a big baseball lover the title alone caught my interest. As I opened the book to the author review of Dirk Hayhurst, a local hometown (Canton, OH) boy and Kent State alumni I was hooked.

Most baseball books are talking about themselves or calling out teammate using performance enhancing drugs (PED) or other dirty secrets, there is none of this to be found in the book. For those who do not know Dirk Hayhurst, he was drafted in the 8th round by the Padres in 2003, and pitched for the Padres, Blue Jay and Rays. The book tell the story from off season workout to on the diamond and life struggles to the final out of the 2007 season. You have a front row seat behind the game that fans will never experience. This book is brilliantly written, at times it had me laughing and other times I had tears in my eye. A MUST read for anyone who loves baseball.

Dirk's first book was so good, I had to go and get his second book "Out of my League" (2012). I just started reading it, but it picks up from where the last one ended. From his mother picking him up at the airport after the 2007 season was over. I'm really looking forward to reading this one and by the title it looks like he makes it to the majors.

Has anyone read any good baseball books? Please post title and author in the comments as I have to build my reading library for the winter. I will need something to read when I'm pool side this winter when we are in Arizona.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


We drive though Hartville at least once a week, if it’s going to the flea market or just passing though on our way to the main highway.  We have seen some places that we are interested in to stop and see, but wanted to make a day trip to see them all. Hartville is known as an Amish town, but I have not seen a horse and buggy on the streets since I was a little kid. Today you will find family own stories right along side big name brand stores. 

First, on our list was the Hartville Chocolate Factory. The store sites right on the edge of town as we entered coming from our campground at 114 South Prospect Ave. The store is family owned and in business for the last 26 years. As you walk in and look around they sell more than just chocolate. The store is a dream for kids all ages. Besides chocolate, they have salt-water taffy, assorted candies and ice cream you can get in a cup or cone. There is even items for the cook in the family. They have jam (made locally), cook books, cut outs sheets that are made in the store basement and for those who love Asian snacks I even saw wasabi peas. As you look around on the top shelves you will see old candy and cookie cans along with old cut outs (these are not for sale, but just for show). I saw it as a small tribute to the history of candy and cookies. The workers were very nice and friendly and while talking they even had free samples to try. Free chocolate and good conversation, what else could I ask for. For all you candy and chocolate lover this is a must stop.

Second, on our list was the old train station, just located behind Hartville Chocolate Factory at 120 East Maple Street. The train station is no longer a passenger stop. However, back in the late 1800’s this was the main station for passengers and freight to get the goods in and out of the town. The last passenger train left Hartville Sunday 17 July 1938. Today, the train station is an art gallery. There are still items of the old station house hanging on the walls like signs and even telegraph poles along side today arts and crafts. There are even two train cars on the site. One is steal and one from wood. They are used as work studios because the station is small. One still has passenger seats and the owner told me he is working on to make it a small movie theater. He did not say what movies he will show, but the idea sound like a good one. Today, the tracks still run freight trains and it runs though Kent, Ohio. This track is the same one that ran behind my apartment when I attended Kent State, at 2:00 am every night I would wake up to the sound of the train blowing their whistle.

A little history I wanted to add.

In 1901 after the assassination of William McKinley the 25th President of the United States in New York, crowds of onlookers gathered at the Hartville station to await the arrival of his body en route to McKinley's burial place in Canton.

We heard thunder rolling in with dark clouds so we jumped in the car and head back home. With black clouds rolling in fast though my rear view mirror, we stopped at Maize Valley Winery & Market. Good thing we did, because as we got out the car the rain started coming down hard. As you walk in there is a farmer’s market, along the walls are jams, sauces and syrups all made on site. As you enter the back there is a meat deli and handbags. This winery has something for anyone. What makes this unique from other wineries is their grapes are grown on site and not imported. Finally, came the good part, wine tasting. Samples are only a quarter a glass. You also buy a glass ($5~$6) or bottle ($9~$18) and drink it in the store at a dinning table or sofa couch. As we looked out the window we could no longer see our car with all the rain coming down, so we decided to weather the storm out with wine and bread.

Small towns have so much history with interesting places and people to meet. When we decided to start Rving, this was the opportunity we wanted to take time out to visit. Most people who travel just stop for gas or fly by them without evening thinking twice. If you are ever in the area of Hartville, Ohio stop, smell the roses and see what history you can find. 

Monday, July 22, 2013


All last week the weather was hot, hot, hot and even more hot. I never remembered Ohio weather was like this. It was the first time ever we have ran our air conditioner all day long the whole week long. I even tried to find ways to keep cool by going to the pool. Early in the day was good, but around mid day the water started filling like bath water and was just too warm to cool down. Our evening walks even got shorter than usual. On Friday night there was a movie pool side. To keep cool I laid on a raft in the pool while I watched the movie.

This week was Cutty's monthly pot luck. The owner has everyone sign in who attends the pot luck and she has every sign in sheet for the last forty years. This month was the largest we have seen, a total of 52 people showed up. Usually, there is lots of leftovers to take home, but this month every dish was empty. After everyone is done eating, the owner has a forum where she like to start off by letting the new people introduce themselves.Then, she cover details of upcoming events and then opens the floor to comments and suggestions. They have been working on a Cutty's cooking book for almost two years now and talk was about have it printed in book form and how much it was going to coast. I suggested to the person who was leading the project to have it done electronically and save in PDF format. When the idea was forward to the owner she knew me as the computer guy, because most of the time you will find me in the adult center working on my computers. She said we have to work fast because you are only here for this season. I think I just unknowingly volunteered  myself to help make the cook book.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Fourth of July weekend was busy at the campground. The campground had a small parade that had the local police, fire and veterans along with classic cars, golf cart and kid bikes. My Aunt and Uncle who is also at the same grounds invited my Mom and Dad, my other Aunt and Uncle and my Uncles brother and Mom for a BBQ. We all brought a covered dish and there was enough food to feed a small army. We had hot dog, burgers, ribs and a table full of sides and desserts. There was so much food everyone took something home. We had leftovers form our neighbor friends who came the week before and had to stuff our refrigerator and freezer just to put everything away. The following week we would not have to cook anything as we just reheated our leftovers for dinner.

My cousin who lives in South Carolina came home for a Cancer Fundraiser at Milk and Honey (ice cream story) where he worked as a student in high school and college. I have not seen him in about three years. It was nice to caught up. Next time I travel around the Carolina I have to find a park and spend some time with him. Earlier this year when I was in South Carolina I tried to get a hold of him, but we just missed each other. The wife and I ordered a banana split sundae; it was big enough for the both of us to share it.  The ice cream was melting fast, so I have to eat some before I could take the picture.