Bridge of Lions

Bridge of Lions

The Bridge of Lions is a double-leaf bascule bridge that spans the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine, FL. How did we end up here? It started with the polar vortex. Anne and I decided that it was time for a getaway. We rebooted last year’s Florida vacation, with a few new tweaks.

We did a Chattanooga first night redux, but it wasn’t the same since Becca and Rey have moved to Nashville. We’ll try to catch them on the flipside. You could say It Was a Rainy Night in Georgia, except that we were a couple of miles east, still in Tennessee, but I don’t think that weather hoes that close to the state line.

On this day, we drove to St. Augustine. We had visited this “ancient” city on our last trip. I even booked the same motel, a vintage HoJo. After two days in the car, our walking tour covered much of the same ground as last year, with lots of great photo-ops. It was good to get some steps in. We dined at a Polish-Greek restaurant. Usually, these mixed ethnic dineries are the result of a cross marriage. Not in this case. Husband and wife are both Polish, but they met, married and their first-born all occurred in Greece.

On our way back to the motel, we walked through the more touristy part of the old town. We encountered a Kilwins, but it was so slammed with Michigan expats that we figured that it would be quicker to just drive to Ann Arbor. We took a walking break and sat on a bench and listened outside the Kilwins to a woman singing Elvis at a neighboring bar, Can’t Help Falling In Love.

Open Road

Open Road

We stopped in Paducah for breakfast and ate at Mary’s Family Restaurant. Anne and I had to be the only two Democrats in the house. It didn’t help much that the very stable genius was on the TV. He was busy shredding the constitution. I don’t know if anyone was paying him much mind. No one commented about it. Certainly not us, because we were pilgrims in an unholy land, even though the register’s table was covered with proselytizing reading material.

The all time best Paducah story that I’ve heard, belongs to a friend of mine. I really shouldn’t try to tell it, because first it is not my story, but also, I’ll never tell it as well as he can. I can’t resist though. So here goes nothing.

He runs out of gas on I-24. Leaving his car, with his wife in it, he starts walking to Paducah for gas. While walking, he’s also trying to hitch a ride. A beat-up old pickup, driven by a hairy monster of a driver stops and orders my friend to, “Get in.” The next thing he notices is a bloody knife on the seat, between them. The driver notices his reaction and explains, “I killed a coon.” Seeing that this did not have the desired effect, the driver elaborates, “Raccoons are really nasty varmints.” Before Paducah, the driver takes a back holler detour to pick up his even bigger brother-in-law. Leaving my friend sandwiched between them, where the knife once sat, these three eventually make it to a gas station in town.

At the station, my friend offers the clerk a $5 bill for gas and then asks if he can borrow a gas can too. The clerk says no, he can’t borrow one, but he can buy one for $25. All the while holding up a battered old can. The driver then tells the clerk, “Ed, you always were an asshole.” For a tense moment or two, the four men form a tense standoff. Eventually Ed folds and the other three are on their way again. My friend is deposited back at his car, which with wife has patiently been waiting. With hardly a word, the other two men leave and my friend is left with a great story, to mortify his wife with and with retellings amaze his friends. Moral of the story, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Oculus Station

Oculus Outpost Primaris

Dan has launched a Kickstarter campaign. His company, Fallen Tower Designs has created a line of laser cut terrain called Oculus Station. It is modular terrain for use in the 28mm miniatures game, Warhammer 40K. This line of terrain features a modular design and easy assembly that can be reconfigured to fit your game. Build the battlefield using this sci-fi industrial design.

He makes this terrain using his Glowforge laser cutter. He has been showing prototypes of his designs on his Instagram site, Grimmest Dark and it’s good to see it going now. Unfamiliar with the concept? Kickstarter is a crowd-sourced fund-raising website. Glowforge used Kickstarter to launch its laser cutter.

I think that he launched it yesterday and already has a few backers. As part of this campaign, he offers varying investment levels, with commensurate rewards. I believe that the above photo represents the highest such level, Oculus Outpost Primaris (Figures not included). Checkout his Kickstarter page for the straight dope though. On it is a rather well produced movie featuring his product line.

He has given himself about a month to raise his goal of $5,000 USD, which would cover his investments in the laser cutter and materials. The pictured terrain set runs $145, but rewarded contributions can be as little as $25 and if you just want to support the arts, as little as a dollar. Check it out!