Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Vanishing First Class Plane Ticket

I am typing this from 30,000 feet as we wing our way home from 6 days up north with the family. We were hoping for a white Christmas - and nature did not disappoint. But with bad weather comes airline troubles and now you are going to hear about ours.

Yesterday - Lulu was considering trying to get an earlier flight home. Instead of leaving the hotel at 5 AM - she thought she would fly Tuesday evening - also saving on one extra night of lodging. With all the bad weather - we warned her that flight changes would be impossible. She accepted this as a challenge and logged onto the Delta computer site. At this point I will remind you that we each had first class plane tickets home booked seaparately - the airline had upgraded us because we are gold medallion frequent flyers. Lulu was confident that her "status" would let her in the computer and get an earlier flight.

After doing a little search under her account name - her first class ticket disappeared. She logged on again - nothing - the ticket was gone. Now she could not even get on the plane. After hours of frantic calls to the airline - the three boys teasing - and serious saber rattling - Lulu was granted a coach seat in Row 26. I would be flying first class in Row 3 - she would be taking a cattle call in steerage - 20 rows away.

We were staying in the Hampton Inn Suites - downtown - just a block up the street from the Providence Performing Arts Theatre. I had noticed on the marquee that the show"Mamma Mia" would be opening that night at 7 PM. It was already 4 PM and I called the box office. We were informed that at 5 PM they dump the computer and sell whatever is left for half price. Drew and I went to the theatre at exactly 5 and got two great\ seats for 1/2 price - $66 total.

My logic was this - Robin and Drew needed a night out alone. They seldom get to do that with a 2 year older and another baby due in 2 weeks. While they went to the show - we had Jack all to ourselves. We had a blast.

This morning we got up early. We took a cab to the airport - and were wisked past the regular security line. First class passengers now have a VIP lane for security. We got to our gate and they needed volunteers to give their seats up for $400 and the next flight out. We turned it down because the next flight was almost two days later.

They called first class - and I got on the plane. They was an empty seats next to me. About\ 15 minutes later - Lulu came walking by - and then plopped down in the first class seat. When the computer read her ticket at the gate - the bell went off and awarded her the first class ticket. My old travel partner was with me again.

I really missed her in those 15 minutes. Please note - I did offer her my first class ticket - but she refused - but I do get credit for that. The vanishing first class ticket reappeared and so did my travel partner.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Abbey Road Listed as Heritage Site

LONDON (AP) — A London zebra-crossing made famous by a Beatles album cover has been listed as a heritage site.

Heritage minister John Penrose says Wednesday the crossing at Abbey Road in north London was listed as a testimony to the international fame of the band.

Every year the crossing draws thousands of visitors, many of whom mimic the Beatles cover photograph in which the band members were shown crossing the road.

The nearby Abbey Road studios were listed as a heritage site in February.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Stranded in Providence - Enjoying Our Time With Drew - Keith - Robin - Jack

Keith and Harry walking home tonight.

City Hall in Providence RI

Lulu and Harry in front of the Hampton Inn.

We came north for Christmas to spend time with the family and maybe see a few snowflakes. Now we are watching from our hotel suite as a blizzard is blanketing the city. The TV says we are going to have 20 inches of the white stuff.

We are on the 4th floor overlooking the city and front street. Every hour or so - a convoy of 5 plows go blasting by trying to keep the streets passable.

We spent the day playing with Jack. After bath time - we walked from the apartment to our hotel through about 6 inches of soft blowing powder. Part of the way was an overhead habitrail from the mall to the hotel. The mall was open but we only saw a handful of people there.

Things will probably be cleaned up in time to fly home on Wednesday. Delta already emailed us a free upgrade to first class. Right now all the airports in the Northeast are closed. Snow is coming down at an inch an hour blowing all over the place.

It is 10:30 now - we will go to bed with the curtains open to watch the flakes fly. 60,000 people are without electricity. I figured I would get this report our before our power failed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lulu is the Only Girl I Know That Carries A Christmas Tree in Her Suitcase

Merry Christmas from the Hampton Inn Suites in downtown Providence. Lulu and I flew up today and will enjoy the next 5 days "up north" with the family. We had Christmas eve dinner with Jack - Robin - and Drew. Then we walked back to our place - I set up the tree and Lulu decorated it.

Tomorrow - Keith flies in and we will all be together to exchange presents.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

At 4 AM - On A Clear and Cold Night in Tallahassee - We Saw the Lunar Eclipse on the First Day of Winter

It is 4 AM - Lulu is wide awake already. So we decide to go outside to see the lunar eclipse. Our front door looks west and as soon as we got outside you could see it - like a mouse took a giant bite out of the bottom edge of the moon. Really - it is just the earth casting a shadow on the moon. 33 years of science textbooks have this cast into my memory - "a spherical object casts a conical shadow. That doesn't mean much to 7th graders. But yes - it is a simple proof that the earth is round.

We did not get up early enough - or stay up late enough - to see the shadow cover the entire moon around 2 AM. During that time - the moon turned a bright red from the light that passes through the earth's dusty atmosphere and lights the moon in a Christmasy red glow.

It is the Winter Solstice - a special time to earth scientists - it is the so called shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. I re-call that back in Pennsylvania we had 15 hours of night and 9 hours of day. On this day people near the north pole have no "daytime." Down under in Australia - it is the first day of summer.

To me - the Solstice has an even happier meaning. Our grandson was born on the Summer Solstice - so the Winter Solstice makes him 2 and 1/2 years old. Also - everyday will now be getting 2 minutes longer from now on until June 21st. It was always hard explaining to the kids why even though the sun was getting higher and higher in the air - February would be the coldest month.

We usually have one lunar eclipse a year - this one was special because it occurred on the solstice. It is really neat that while many things change - some things stay the same. The last time both occurred on the same day was December 21st 1638. Next one comes along on December 21st 2094. They were able to predict this eclipse years before I was born - almost to the second. And to walk out on the front driveway - in the middle of the night - look up - see something this beautiful and this predictable - adds a warm comfortable feeling to the Christmas holidays.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gold and Garnet Video - FSU Colors

5 Expensive Things You Shouldn't Buy

Jeffrey Strain

Many people's financial troubles begin when they buy an expensive toy or a vacation home.

The buyers assume they'll save money because they'll own the items instead of renting them. While that might be true short-term, it rarely works out that way in the long run.

Here are five things you should never buy unless you're rich enough to stop working:

5. Timeshares

It never makes sense to buy a timeshare, even if you vacation in the same place every year. Timeshare sellers will tell you that the rooms are bigger than those in a hotel, and come with more amenities. What they don't tell you is that the glut of timeshares has made it easy to rent one at a fraction of the cost of buying one.

You could rent a timeshare every year for the next decade and spend less than you would if you had you bought it. And you wouldn't be stuck with maintenance fees.

4. Boats

There's an old saying that the two happiest days for boat owners are when they buy the boat and when they get rid of it. Boats are a great way to throw money down the toilet because they cost so much to maintain. There are repairs, docking fees, gas and insurance. You could rent a much nicer boat on the days you want to spend at sea for much less than buying one.

3. Recreational vehicles

Some people think vacationing in an RV will be cheaper than staying in a hotel room, but that's only true if you're retired and live in the RV. If you buy a modest vehicle for $50,000 and use it 30 nights a year for 10 years, you'll have spent $167 a night. That can get you a nice room in most places in the U.S. That doesn't include the costs to fuel, store and insure it.

If you want to take a trip in a RV, rent one. You could also spend less by staying in a four-star hotel.

2. Snowmobiles, jet skis and all-terrain vehicles

You might enjoy driving a snowmobile or jet ski so much on vacation that it seems logical to buy one. But unless you use it every weekend, it's going to cost you more to buy one than rent. There are also the maintenance and fuel costs to consider.

1. Vacation homes

A second home seemed like a sound investment when property values were rising. But the collapse of the real estate market, which has hurt some resort areas more than cities, has many people regretting their purchases.

Buying a rental property to generate income is a good move, but buying a vacation home isn't. When you add up the amount you'll spend on your mortgage, taxes, upkeep and insurance, renting a house makes more sense.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The First of a New Generation of Real Electric Cars by a Major Manufacturer - The Nissan Leaf

Cost figures on the new Nissan Leaf.

The new Nissan Leaf.

The 1974 Citicar made in Sebring FL.

Finally - a major car company has introduced a real electric car. Not some hybrid - but a car with a battery - motor - and wheels. You press the "gas pedal" and turn the steering wheel and go. You press the "brake pedal" and it stops - also helping charge the battery. After 100 miles - you better be close to home - because you need to plug it in.

I drive a Toyota Prius - and sometimes it is electric - but it has a backup gasoline engine that comes on to charge the battery. The dependable gas engine is a safety net for me until the country has enough quick charge stations to keep drivers going.

In 1974 - a small company in Sebring FL mass produced a gold cart like car called the Citicar. It went 30 mph for 30 miles before it needed a charge. It had 6 - six volt batteries under the driver's seat. At the time it cost $2500.

Here is the review of the Nissan Leaf from


Forget about answering the question "Who killed the electric car?" That's because Nissan is bringing the electric car back from the dead. Sure, the Tesla Roadster has made the electric car cool again, but the 2011 Nissan Leaf is the first, full-electric mainstream vehicle to be put on sale for the American consumer. Unlike past electric cars (including the GM EV1), the Leaf can be purchased outright instead of leased, so there's no being forced to give it back to the manufacturer after two years to be studied and then destroyed.

The Leaf stores its power in a lithium-ion battery pack, making it one of the first vehicles to use this advanced battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries promise better acceleration and range than comparably sized nickel-metal hydride ones. Nissan says recharging at home with a special 220-volt charger will take 4-8 hours. A commercial quick-charge station can do it in about 30 minutes. Fully charged, the Leaf is estimated to have an effective range of about 100 miles.

Of course, 100 miles is about a third of the cruising range available in a conventional car, so the Leaf's primary drawback is readily apparent. Unlike a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt, there's no backup gasoline engine to keep you moving once the Leaf's batteries are depleted. Instead, you'll be stuck with a rather lengthy recharging engagement, and that's if you manage to reach an available electricity source in time. Our take is that the Leaf is best suited for drivers doing a lot of routine commuting or making shorter trips, as well as owners with a two-car household and a garage.

For all that, the 2011 Nissan Leaf promises to be a very useful vehicle. A Leaf will hit the register with a price tag of about $25,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit (residents of certain states are eligible for additional credits as well). Buyers are advised to purchase the $2,200 home-charging station, but even this piece of hardware has its own tax rebate of 50 percent. The Leaf's running costs should also be appealing, since the cost of recharging should be a fraction of what you'd pay for a tank of gasoline.

An electric car is definitely not for everyone. Long-distance commuters, one-car households and apartment dwellers interested in a fuel-efficient or green-oriented car should instead consider a Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota Prius (be it the regular version or new plug-in hybrid), or even a Volkswagen Golf TDI diesel. But for those who have been waiting to buy a real electric car, the arrival of the 2011 Nissan Leaf is a revolutionary event.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is an all-electric four-door hatchback available in SV and SL trim levels.

Standard equipment on the SV includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, keyless ignition/entry, full power accessories, cruise control, automatic climate control, height-adjustable driver seat, tilt-only steering wheel and 60/40-split-folding rear seats. Also included are cloth upholstery made from recycled materials, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, an advanced trip computer, a navigation system and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Leaf SL adds a spoiler-mounted solar panel, automatic headlamps, foglamps, a rearview camera and a cargo cover.

Additionally, every Leaf comes standard with Nissan Connection, a remote vehicle access system that reports battery recharging data and can activate the climate control via a cell phone. Optional are a home charging station and a quick-charge port, which allows for charging to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes at a public charging station.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is powered by an 80-kilowatt synchronous electric motor fed by a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Output is 107 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. At the same time, the power delivery of an electric vehicle is vastly different from that of gasoline, diesel or even hybrid vehicles, so take the Leaf's power ratings with a grain of salt.

Nissan estimates a range of 100 miles, but this depends on driving style, traffic conditions, cruising speed and battery age. In fact, even ambient temperature plays a role in determining cruising range, because extreme temperatures are detrimental for battery performance. The EPA has given the Leaf an energy efficiency equivalent rating (MPG-e) of 106 mpg city/92 mpg highway and 99 mpg combined and an estimated driving range of 73 miles.


The 2011 Nissan Leaf comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional on the SL.

Interior Design and Special Features

Because the Leaf's battery pack resides under the floor beneath the seats, the rear seat is quite comfortable for adults. The front seat provides no shortage of space for even tall drivers and the seats themselves are quite supportive and comfortable, though the vehicle's short range makes sure they'll never be enjoyed during a long-haul road trip. The cargo area is on the small side for a hatchback, however, and even when you fold the rear seats, the cargo floor is not flat.

The Leaf's cabin is dominated by a split-level instrument cluster similar to that of the Honda Civic. The center control panel features a touchscreen, which controls the standard navigation system as well as special features like cruising range. You can even program the start time for the recharging system to take advantage of lower rates for electricity. Interior quality is about the same as other economy hatchbacks, but overall fit and finish is noticeably a cut above.

Driving Impressions

Anyone who has driven or at least stood next to a hybrid will know how quiet it is when operating in electric-only mode. It can be eerie or cool, depending on your point of view. With the 2011 Nissan Leaf, its serenity never ceases, and you can detect only a high-pitched whine under heavy throttle. This quiet creates the adverse side effect of making wind and road noise more noticeable at highway speeds, but overall the Leaf is impressively quiet.

As an electric car, the Leaf benefits from an abundance of torque available from the first touch of the accelerator pedal. The Leaf feels sprightly and gets up to speed with no drama -- as an urban runabout, it certainly excels. Press on the brakes and the pedal is firm and sure, without the sort of strange, vague feel indicative of most regenerative braking systems.

With its battery pack mounted low in the body and a well-tuned electric power steering system, we've been pleasantly surprised by how well the Leaf takes turns. Its responsiveness is typical of that seen in other well-engineered compact family cars, and in most ways the Leaf feels pretty normal to drive.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Something Old Something New

We finally completed the car swap. Here you see our 2008 Toyota Prius next to our old 2004 Honda van at the DMV. It is not often when two people want each other's car - but this deal worked out well for both owners.

We wanted to try a Prius - the other owner needed a van for their new young family. Essentially we paid $8700 plus the van for the Prius. The Prius has 23,000 miles on it - the van 101,000 miles. The big savings was sales tax. On a trade you only pay tax on the cash transfer. I paid $600 on the Prius - the sale tax on the Honda was zero.

We struck this deal on the plane on the way to Philadelphia over the net. The closing was delayed because the bank over by Panama City would not release the Prius title without a cash payoff. Once the Prius was paid for - the bank overnighted the title to us and we completed the swap.

The Prius is a hybrid gas/electric car. It claims 48 miles per gallon - we will see. A similar new Prius on the lot costs $30,000. I wanted a chance to try a Prius without paying that big premium. The sales tax savings was simply icing on the cake.

I had to take the above picture with my iphone because my good camera just broke. Now to get that fixed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This is not what I voted for when I voted for President Obama

When George Bush was awarded the 2000 election with less votes than Al Gore - he didn't whimper around talking about the lack of a mandate. Bush stumbled through speeches - started wars - passed tax cuts - ran up tremendous deficits and debts - and did anything he wanted. He muscled it all through Congress and piloted the country exactly where he wanted to go - taking care of the rich and giving the middle class the finger.

Yes - on his watch New York City and Washington were attacked. Yes - he put our country into a downward economic spiral that may not end without a terrible crash - but there were no apologizing or pandering to anyone. It took all of those disasters for America to turn to President Obama. Under any other circumstances I doubt that he would have been elected.

But with the Obama landslide election and the overwhelming "feel good" wave of his inauguration - it took less than two years for his administration to fail miserably.

During his campaign - President Obama was the great hope. His excellent educational background - his beautiful family - and his eloquent speeches seemed to exude success. We would have a president that we could be proud of. Surely with a majority in both Houses of Congress - we would see some innovative programs and noble leadership. We would see a restoration of laws that would balance our budget.

What have we gotten? His campaign promises have dwindled to nothing. He was going to allow gays to openly service in the military - nothing on that. He was going to end Bush's wars - we have escalation. He was going to close the Gulag Prison Camps - they still exist. He was going to end all the tax cuts for the rich - and now he has crumbled to extend them. How about getting steamrolled on the "public option" in the "medicare for all" that we hoped for. Throw on top of that a few more budget busting ideas like cutting the estate taxes - lowering social security taxes by 2% running that program into a bigger hole - it seems that he is trying to "out republican" the Republicans.

Bush inherited a budget surplus and turned it into a record deficit. Bush started two wars without making any provision in the budget to pay for them - he won an expensive new prescription-drug entitlement without paying for it - he bailed out the Wall Street firms with the $700 billion TARP program. Now Obama seems to own all those fires and has even thrown gasoline on the flames.

I do not know why President Obama is doing all this. I guess he figures he has my vote all locked up - he figures since I would not vote for McCain - that I won't vote for any other ultra-conservative the Tea Party may offer up. I always thought that a person like Hitler could never rise again in our era of modern communications - but if you get people scared enough - they will vote for anyone whoever she may be.

Highlights from Our Journey North

On December 1st - we left Tallahassee. After library visits in NJ - PA - DE - DC - VA - we are waiting at the gate in Richmond for our jet. From our hotel room at the Jersey Shore to the one-on-one personal tour we had at the Virginia Capitol - it has been cold and windy trip. We even enjoyed a few snow flurries back in Tamaqua.

Lulu had 5 fantastic library visits. See videos here - I visited museums in Sandy Hook NJ - Dover DE - and Washington Navy Yard.

We got to have dinner with Keith and Liz.

While driving through Maryland countryside - we stumbled on Sudlersville - home of Philadelphia A's star Jimmy Foxx. This cute little library was alongside the road. It is an old church but it was bustling with activity.

Dover Air Base is the center of Air Mobility command. It is the place where all the dead soldiers enter the USA on their last trip home. They had a fine free museum of transport aircraft. That is our Vision Tour car in the foreground.

This plane was used to haul coal into Berlin during the Cold War Berlin Airlift. When the Soviet Union blocked the road to Berlin - the free world flew everything in to break the blockcade.
This is called the Boxcar - the back door opens and stuff was dumped out by parachute.

A highlight of the 8 day trip was dinner with Keith and Liz at our hotel - the new Royal Palms Hotel along the Potomac. This picture was taken in the Christmas Village inside the hotel's giant atrium.


Florida State, which leads the nation in both field goal percentage defense (.316) and blocked shots (8.3 bpg) and ranks 15th nationally in scoring defense (56.6 ppg) and tied for 23rd in steals (9.6 spg) is the nation's top ranked defense - a position it has achieved in both of the last two seasons. Florida State is the only team to lead the nation in two different statistical categories and is the only team in the nation to rank in the nation's top 25 in all of the defensive categories of field goal percentage defense, scoring defense, steals and blocks per game. Florida State led the nation in field goal percentage and ranked 10th nationally in blocked shots during the 2009-10 season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Safely Home From 8 Day Trip North

We arrived home at 9 PM last night from our trip to the great white northland. We got to see friends and family.

Lulu visited 5 schools in 5 states - plus spoke at the NJSL Convention in Long Branch.

We flew into Philadelphia - then drove to Mt Laurel NJ - Long Branch NJ - Tamaqua PA - Willow Grove PA - Dover DE - Washington DC - and Richmond VA. We flew home from Richmond via Atlanta. Delta lost one of Lulu's bags but they brought it by this morning.

More pictures and stories coming from the trip.

Monday, December 06, 2010

24 Hours in Tamaqua

We had "Christmas" dinner at the Tamaqua Train Station. Aunt Delores - Mom Betty - Cousin Jim - Sister Lori - Nephew Tyler - Lulu - Niece Dana - Cousin Georgeann - Harry
Model of the old QA Telegraph Station. "QA" was the call sign for Tamaqua.

The ladies waiting room in the Reading Station in downtown Tamaqua. Take a ride on the Reading - pass go - and collect $200.

Train Station entrance. In the early 60s - brother in law Bill Fritz was a clerk for the railroad in this spot.

The main dining room is where we had our "Christmas Dinner."

Counter service at the train station. As a kid - it was a mess - but we used to hang out here because there was a phone booth that only cost 5 cents.

Train counter at night.

Aunt Delores displaying her Christmas gifts.

Cousin Georgeann with gifts and green martini.

Sister Lori and her bag.

Mother Betty and her webcam. Note Betty no longer needs glasses.

Nephew Tyler and his Seminole shirt.

Niece Dana - has gotten so tall.

Harry - Maryruth - Lulu - George - we hope they find time to see London this year.

I had a Quick 90 Minute Visit to "America on Wheels" in Allentown PA

America on Wheels is a new auto museum in Allentown PA. Admission was $6 for those over 62. It has about 75 cars - trucks - motorcycles - and bikes.
This is Lee Iaccoca's original 1963 Ford Mustang. Lee was an Allentown boy that went to Lehigh University. He was later vice president of Ford and president of Chrysler. He is credited with the Mustang and the mini-van.
Morgan - MG - Triumph were three fantastic sports cars imported from England in the 50s that turned America on to smaller cars. Morgan's - the green one - are still made exactly as they have been for 100 years. They have a wood frame - but now you can get a V8 engine in them.
England's Mini Cooper was selected as the most important car in Europe. In 1959 - it had front wheel drive - a transverse mounted front engine - little 10 inch tires - and it sat 4 people comfortably. Now BMW bought the factory and makes the Mini - completely different car. The new Mini looks like a giant next to the old Mini Cooper.
Sears sold this Cushman scooter for under $200 in the 1950s. Cushman's were American made.
This is the first GMC Suburban. Sold in 1935 - it sat 8 people.
In the 1900s - this Detroit Electric was more popular than gasoline autos. Why? Women did not like crank starting the other cars - it was dangerous. The electric started by push button.
In 1974 - Citicar was made in Sebring FL. It cost $2400. It goes 30 mph for 30 miles. It has 6 six volt batteries. Like a golf cart - you plug it into your househld outlet. they sold 3000 of these cars - my neighbor on Seminole Drive - has one.
This is the famous GM EV1. In 1995 - GM made several thousand of this car. They leased them out for customers to try. The customers loved the car - it had a 90 mile range - and could go fast 70 mph. The rumor goes that the oil companies put pressure on GM - and the cars were collected up and publicly CRUSHED. Legend has it being an impressive car - even with the old lead/acid batteries.
This is a boat/car that was made in Germany. They made under 1000 of them. My claim to fame is that I had an employer in Kutztown that owned two - and he used to allow me to use one of them at both work and for pleasure. You could drive it on the road and right into the water. Then you pulled a lever - and shifted over to propellers for in the water. I wonder if this was one of Dykes Riggs's cars. He employed me - he sold mobile homes.
This is the taxicab from the movie - "It's a Wonderful Life!" Jimmy Stewart traveled in it in the movie.

See m0re of the museum here -

Harry and Lulu Visit Their Alma Mater in Tamaqua PA

Friday, December 03, 2010

Today I Toured Asbury Park - Ocean Grove - Long Branch - Sandy Hook - Fort Hancock - Nothing is Lonelier Than the Jersey Shore in Almost Winter

This is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the USA. It is at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook - just across the water from New York City. It has been lighting this golden gate since 1764 - before it was the United States.

This is the largest muzzle loading gun - they shoved 20 inch cannon balls in the front end at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook.

Fort Hancock was a proving ground used for years to test guns and rockets.

During the Cold War Nike Missiles were stationed here to guard the Big Apple. This is the last complete missile installation left.

Ocean Grove is famous for its Church Camp Meeting Grounds. This town was/is owned by the church. From May to September - it is booked solid. Tents are put over these frameworks - and it is booked ten years in advance. My grandmother Bertha Hontz and her husband Roy Hontz would spend a week here every summer. They often took my sister Judy and my cousin Ruthie along for the week. Up until 1981 - cars were not allowed to be operated in town on Sunday. You still cannot sell booze in this town.

This large wooden auditorium was built in 1894. It sat 10,000 people for church services. Famous ministers like Bill Graham preached there. Somehow - the Beach Boys played it one Saturday night. It was an open air tabernacle with barn door like openings. Today - there was not a soul in sight. That is our rental car with the Library Tour Sign on it.

This is the Wonder Bar along Ocean Drive in Asbury Park. This is where Bruce Springsteen started. Tonight - a tribute band was playing there called "The Rising." I vaguely remember this building being used in the movie "Eddie and the Cruisers."

Bruce Springsteen also headlined at The Stone Pony - right along the shore on Ocean Drive in Asbury Park.

Ocean Grove Casino was completely gutted. They have lined the inside with a steel pole building frame and steel roof. Ocean Grove is a town that covers one square mile. It is the country's largest collection of original Victorian homes.

This is the Asbury Park Convention Center. I remember coming here in 1955 - I was 7 years old. It was so big and so crowded. We spent a night or two is a little motel cabin out on the highway about 10 miles away in Eatontown. Today - water temp was 52 degrees and the air was 40.

The Asbury Park Convention Center was empty. I went inside - it appears it is used at night - but it was not heated. The boardwalk here still had the herringbone board pattern.

Inside the Convention Center was this Marquee. The Convention Hall extends out over the waves. On three sides you can see water. In some places you could see water through the cracks in the floor. Asbury Park is the closest seashore to Tamaqua PA.