Final Plans for Italy

With 2 weeks before we go to Italy, we have everything all planned out. Karrie and i worked on the itinerary for a long time. We've changed the places, the dates and mode of transportation several times.

We looked at options like going to Pisa but found out that the leaning tower is the only thing to see there and not worth making a special stop. We planned on going to Milan but then heard that there's nothing to do and the people are rude. Going to Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast would have been cool but we figured we are going to be sick of seeing ancient ruins and the Amalfi Coast is more of a city to drive around, not walk.

The 10 day schedule that we came up with is great. For example the first day we arrive in Rome we are going to the Vatican. That's because we noticed that September 27th is World Tourism Day and admission is free.

Last week we all purchased our 3 day Eurail passes and vouchers for the trains. We will be taking the train to Florence twice and Venice once. We felt like the train was the best way to travel because it takes us right to the center of the cities without having to deal with traffic and the hassles of renting a car. Plus after a full day of walking it will be nice to maybe sleep on the train ride back.

Here is the itinerary for the entire trip. The prices on right are in US dollars $ and Euros
. As of right now the conversion is $1.5 = 1€. We had to guess at some of the prices like 40 for dinner. After reading about what it might cost, we decided to guess a high amount. I'm really hoping that it won't cost that much, but we felt that it would be better to predict higher than lower.

This sheet has been changed and updated many times as we were planning the trip, but for now this is the plan.

Days 1-5

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Trip Itinerary, Rome Italy, Day, price, time, cost, convert money
Days 6 - 10

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Trip Itinerary, Florence, Venice Italy, Day, expected spending, cost, word doc, excel
For each day we are traveling we also have a map. Click on the map to see the image or click on the link to see a more detailed view of the route using Google Maps.

Day 2 - Rome (Google Maps)

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Day 2 in Rome, Google Maps, Route, Sites, vacation, trip, vatican,
Day 3 - Rome Day 2 in Rome, Google Maps, Route, map, Sites, vacation, trip, piazza, pantheon, spanish steps
Day 4 - Florence Day 4 in Florence, italy, map, google maps, duomo, michaelangelo, piazza
Day 5 - Rome Day 5, rome, italy, map, google maps, colosseum, forum,
Day 6 - Florence florence, italy, map, google maps, pasta cooking class, duomo, ponte vecchio bridge,
Day 7 - Rome rome, italy, map, day 7, google maps, catacomb,
Day 8 - Venice venice, italy, map, google maps, day 8, rialto bridge, st marks square, vaporetto, grand canal

GM - Tennessee and Kentucky

For work last week two of us got to go visit some more GM plants and look at their pavement. Last year i went to Reno, Denver and Ranch Cucamonga California.

We flew into Nashville Tennessee.
Our first stop after the Nashville airport was the exit right near Fiddlers Inn. The same place john and i stayed when we were in Nashville. Since that trip the hotel has taken on a mythical quality. Fiddlers Inn Motel, Nashville Tennessee Fiddlers Inn Motel, Nashville Tennessee
The Dukes of Hazard "museum" called Cooter's is right next door to the hotel.
Cooters, museum, dukes of hazzard, nashville tennessee
That day we drove to Bowling Green Kentucky.
Ale 8 1 is a ginger ale from down there and it's super good. Ale 8, Ale 81, a late one, kentucky, winchester, great soda, ginger ale
This is also from Kentucky. I didn't try it.
ol glory energy drink, kentucky
The GM plant that builds the Corvette is in Bowling Green. It seemed like every car in the lot was different. From one to the next they had different rims, different models (z06, z07, zr1) and different prices, starting at $64,000.
corvette plant, bowling green, kentucky, corvette plant, bowling green, kentucky, pictures, production,
These are the 100 year anniversary cars waiting to get a racing stripe painted on.
corvette plant, bowling green, kentucky, pictures, 100 year anniversary car
This one was my favorite. A turbo charged ZR1 with lots of carbon fiber and cost $128,000.
corvette plant, bowling green, kentucky, pictures, ZR1
This is one of the racks they use for paint. All that bubbling is from the layers of paint that has built up.
corvette plant, bowling green, kentucky, paint rack
I didn't know what it was until i broke off a piece and saw all the different layers of paint.
layers of paint from corvette paint rack
Here's the rejected body parts to be thrown out.
corvette plant, bowling green, kentucky, parts, panels
The next day we drove back to the old Saturn plant in Tennessee. It still had the
old plantation house that the GM plant is built on. saturn plant, GM, tennessee, house saturn plant, GM, tennessee, rock bridge
This is where they sucked up the different paint colors for the Saturn's.
saturn plant, GM, tennessee, paint tubes, colors
There are lots of turkey's at the Saturn plant.
saturn plant, GM, tennessee, turkey kentucky, piggly wiggly, store sign
Steak and Catfish
kentucky, parkway, steaks and catfish cafeteria
The last day we got done a little early and had time to go to the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg Kentucky. It was cool, the free tour lasted a couple hours. Some of the rooms we went in were near 130 degrees, where they were fermenting the barley and hops. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the buildings though.
Jack Daniels distillery, lynchburg kentucky, free tour Jack Daniels distillery, lynchburg kentucky, free tour, tank
Apparently Jack Daniels was only like 5'2"
Jack Daniels distillery, lynchburg kentucky, free tour, statue
This is where they make charcoal. The charcoal is put in huge barrels and the whiskey is filtered through it to remove impurities.
Jack Daniels distillery, kentucky, charcoal
Also on the trip i found some interesting seeds. The top one is Osage Orange. It looks and feels very much like a brain.
Osage Orange seeds, kentucky, tree
I'm not sure what this tree is but i saw a bunch of them in Tennessee.
weird seed pod, tennessee, tree weird seed pod, tennessee, tree Link


If you know what this is, then you are old.
If you have ever used one of these, then you are really old.
basic sliderule
But after China detonates an Electromagnetic Pulse bomb (EMP) over the world and
knocks out all electronic devices, i'll be all set and ready to multiply and divide big numbers. How to use a sliderule, log scale
Actually i was really amazed at how cool this was, once i figured out how to use it. For example in this picture i set the slider to line up with the 6.

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How to use a sliderule
The back of the sliderule is used for sin, cos and tangents. Again i was amazed at how accurate it was and how easy it was to use.
back of sliderule, angle, sin, cos, tan


Banana Tree Update

Before it gets too cold i thought that i should move the banana tree to a bigger pot. The roots were completely growing out of the old one. banana tree roots, pot, fertilize
Here's 1 of 2 new trees sprouting up.
new banana tree, sprouting, cold weather
The bigger pot weigh's probably close to 100 lbs with all the dirt in it. banana tree, 1 year, growing, michigan, climate, cold, big leaves


& Thai

In Brighton Michigan if anyone wants to go.
Chinese Food and Thai, brighton, michigan, dumpster, trash, dirty, food


Somehow my headlights got scuffed up, not just fogged up where you can use a buffer wheel and some special stuff in a tube to clean, but the actual outermost layer of plastic was peeling off. how to clean fogged headlights, car, pontiac grand prix, plastic peeling
clean fogged headlights, car, pontiac, plastic, peeling
Really scuffed up.
fogged headlights, car, pontiac, plastic, peeling, scuffed, light
So i got out my sander, radio and a milk crate to sit on. need to clean old car headlights, tools, sand, polish
I sanded with 220, 400 and 1000 wet sand paper, frequently spraying the area with water.
wet sand old headlights, fogged, car
After the 1000 grit sanding it looked much better
headlights after wet sanding
But as the water on the lights dried, they started to fog over. fogged headlights, sand, light, car
The last thing i did was to spray the lights with a clear coat. This really got rid of the scratches and fogginess and made the lights a lot clearer.
spray clear coat over fogged headlights, scrached, clear
Good as new...almost.
good as new headlights, fogged, car