Thursday, August 31, 2017


TBT: Mississippi Mayhem Cruise Night's kick off for bombs and beers at Rudy's Drive-in had a perfect evening to show off all the classic cars/bikes in the area and their owners could even pre-register for the Sept 8-9th event. 

Tuesday night at Rudy's there was also face painting and giveaways. YEA.

We certainly enjoyed our free Root Beer Float in the Miata and seeing all the beautiful "rides." 

Here are a couple of the twenty 2017 Mayhem Pageant contestants enjoying and let me add 'accessorizing' the Classics. 

The Mayhem Pageant'll be held on stage September 9th
at 1pm in West Salem.

These gals's outfits were awfully colorful but as we were going back in time it seemed more appropriate to share them in black and white, don't you agree?

Jump in...

A good time was had by all... And I can honestly say I'm glad I don't have to try to parallel park some of those classics!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


The highlight of our 5th day in Paris was to head to Montmartre, in the northern section of the city where Impressionist artists and bohemians were attracted at the turn of the century. Atop its hill is Sacré Coeur (Sacred Head) Church which has the best panoramic view of the city. 

The view definitely was not disappointing.  

Our transportation modes added a new one since after the metro in order not to have some energy left we took a new form of transportation for us, the funicular, a tram like car which runs along rails to reach the top of Montmartre's hill due to the steep incline and numerous stairs. It's worth the metro ticket!

Our job was also to find the Salvador Dali Exhibit and obviously we were on the right track but enroute we found the marketplace with dozens of artists selling their wares and painting portraits.

So poised at 13
The artist in the beret sketched this young lady next to us at her dinner table for $20 no less. 

Espace d' Dalí was beyond expectations as this little museum houses the largest collection in France by Dalí.

The surrealist Dalí (1934-1987) insisted he was not a sculptor but claimed it was his transformation of his ideas into three dimensional forms that differentiated him from other artists using a lost wax process . 

This Spaniard's creative works speak for themselves as his ideas become reality combining whimsy and fantasy. 

His bronze sculptures and graphic artworks illustrate he was an artist ahead of his times.  

Twisting religious symbolism is one of his common themes...

The metal piece reflects the lower drawing not as an insect but as a face
Infamous melting clock...

Dalí's career was bolstered by a love. His love story of Gala, his Russian born muse ten years his senior also was his agent. Married when she met Dalí at the beginning of his career in '29 began a menage a trois and did eventually marry him in '34. Gala had a strong sexual drive continuing extramarital affairs throughout their marriage. They had an agreement that he must write her and get permission before coming home. Fascinating to say the least.   Perhaps the saying "Behind every great man is a great woman." Gala certainly brought out the passion in Dalí. And we can today savor that art.

So Montmartre's definitely a must if you want both a terrific city view and art. Numerous restaurants and gift shops await you.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


The afternoon of our coach bus tour after the morning in Giverny was going to Versailles, the weekend estate of King Louis XIV. 

Once a 'simple' hunting lodge, he expanded it into what is now known as the Chateau with additional wings/ apartments creating the U shape. Of course, he did spend half of France's  GNP for one year but it certainly did impress all those who saw it.  His two successors gilded it  In fact, in honor of France's special anniversary the palace had just been re-gilded.

This courtyard used to be filled with 5000 nobles and their entourages.

If a little gold is good, a lot of gold is better , right? That gold really pops with those ominous skies. BUT can we say, the money could be used elsewhere? 

The Chateau's interior is filled with exquisite frescoes, murals, humongous paintings, portraits and extravagant chandeliers besides all the decorative finishes. No expense was spared.

The Hall of Mirrors
Louis XIV also expanded the grounds and immaculate gardens with statuary and presided over their care during his reign. Many a party was held on these grounds.

There's a lot of pruning and deadheading work for the gardeners.

Beyond the ponds is a manmade lake for boating. Those are really visitors boating on the Palace grounds.

Louis XIV is remembered as a renaissance man (just a 100 years later) with his good looks, musical ability, being a patron of the arts, horseman, statesman and amante. He was considered Europe's greatest king for 70 years but not exactly humble as he would say "L'etat c'est moi." "The state, that's me." 

The raindrops waited for us to finish our visit and we made it back on the bus dry. The bus tour was the way to go as we gained immediate access whereas the lines were really long even midday. We were on our own and could use the allotted time as we wished. Our little wand recorders had just enough information to understand what we were viewing. It was royal to say the least...

Monday, August 28, 2017


A field trip out of Paris originally planned by train to Giverny was replaced by a bus tour option due to timing and convenience. It was a great option since we didn't have to worry about luggage either. We also gained early access as one of the first tour groups to arrive at Monet's garden & home about an hour out of Paris. Overcast skies sprinkled on us en route but by the time we arrived, we didn't feel a drop until the end of the day.  

Giverny is a quaint town where Monet spent half his life creating his own canvas and never left to paint any where else. Its appeal is multifold for its guests whether one is an art lover to see Monet's inspiration, a gardener to enjoy the land scaping/ botanist discovering new species.

Monet was self taught, subscribed to Garden Life and threw himself into planning and executing 2 very different garden types.

First stop was the well known lily pond with flanking Japanese style bridges. The luscious greenery provides a cool and serene reprieve from a hot summer day.

Due to our early arrival the lilies were still pretty closed but a small sacrifice to avoid the masses of tour groups who would soon follow.

For his main flower garden Monet cleared the original pine trees himself for a symmetrical house garden with 65 sq ft beds bordered by irises and split down the middle by a grand alley flanked by lavender. Imagine 38 different colors of plantings.

Today, a crew of eight full time gardeners keep the gardens pristine for the thousands of guests who will visit during the spring and summer seasons.

These seasonal plantings offer interest and charming photo opportunities especially with the back drop of those rose covered arched arbors.

The irises and poppies were spent but we had the late July blooms of dahlias, mums, lilies, hollyhocks, and mimosa to name a few.


Monet's house itself was charming inside with window garden views from each room and  Japanese prints, photographs and his own sketchings donning its walls. He entertained friend artists in this country setting  dining in his warm, yellow dining room with a checkered red and white floor.

The kitchen walls were covered with Delft blue wall tiles (or are they called French Country Blue?) and an amazing stove.


Chickens who provided the daily eggs were not far away outside the kitchen door along with a coop and yard. 
This guy added atmosphere crowing
The large gift shop area was the studio where he worked on his famous murals. 

Two million seeds created quite a palette for Monet's canvas. His masterpiece was not only a special place for him but for all of us as well...