Hello again, world.

Two very legitimate and possibly obvious questions are “Why a blog?” and “How is that different from what you’ve been doing?” I probably can’t answer either of those questions to everyone’s satisfaction but I’m going to try by tackling the “How…?” question first.

I never refer to DennyGibson.com as a blog. I know some people do and I’m OK with that but my idea of a blog is something different. Web stuff does not need to be produced by things like WordPress or Blogger to be a blog but the stuff that WordPress and Blogger produce are certainly blogs. In my view, if it looks like something that could have come from WordPress or Blogger it might be a blog. If it doesn’t, it probably isn’t. My trip reports definitely have some similarities with blogs. The biggest one being that both have chronological entries. But a multi-day trip report at DennyGibson.com is treated as a unit and tied together with a “cover page”. If it’s big enough, there might also be some other pages related to just that trip. Maybe you see the difference and maybe not. The truth is that there is no rigid definition of the word “blog” that precisely distinguishes what I’ve been doing from what Gizmodo has been doing so it’s a good thing that I’m not trying to convince you that I haven’t been blogging but just explain why I don’t think I have.

What I’ve just added and what you’re now reading is clearly a blog. It qualifies as “something that could have come from WordPress” by coming from WordPress. It will have a single chronological flow of entries which will be archived monthly and which can be commented on. That last bit is starting to get at the “Why…?”.

Ever since that first reported trip in 1999, I’ve looked for ways to interact with readers. I received some emails throughout that trip which led to some one-on-one conversations and that made me want something more. In 2002 I added a guestbook. People could post and I could answer but the conversation either ended with that single exchange or became one-on-one and private. A forum seemed like a good idea so I added one just before my 2003 Route 66 trip. There was some initial interest and some folks signed up but there was very little activity. I retired it not long after I returned home. I tried again in early 2010. Again there was some interest and even a small flurry of activity though it soon faded. The forum is still there but it’s been more than seven months since anyone other than me has posted. A blog won’t permit others to start conversations but it will permit them to comment on ones I’ve started and it may be more familiar and accessible. I haven’t removed the forum yet but I intend to shortly.

The other “accessories” will stay. Namely the guestbook, the newsletter, and the home page RSS feed. There’s already some overlap there, especially between the newsletter and RSS feed. Now there will be some more. On the other hand, some misuse should go away. Both the newsletter and the RSS feed were intended to be ways that people could learn of road trip related activity without repeatedly visiting the site to see if something had changed. But I’ve used them for decidedly non-road trip stuff, like web server issues, because there was nothing else. Now this blog should handle things of that sort and the feed and the newsletter should be left to their intended function.

Most of the overlap between the newsletter and the RSS feed is intentional. The newsletter came first and when I added the feed I received some email from concerned and potentially disgruntled subscribers asking if they had to change. They remained gruntled when I assured them that I was definitely keeping the newsletter and was merely giving them another option. I hope to do the same with the blog. RSS is automatically produced by WordPress but email is not nearly as natural. For that, I’ve gone to FeedBurner, a service that lets people sign up to receive RSS feeds via email. A widget was available for subscriptions to the blog’s post feed and I included it. To make that work, I had to register the feed at FeedBurner and I registered the site’s other feeds as well. Those are the existing RSS feed from the home page and the blog’s comment feed. A new page, accessible here and through the “FBurner” link on the home page, supports signing up for email delivery of any or all of the three feeds. FeedBurner delivers email once a day so any “real-time” aspects of the original RSS feed will be lost but it’s there if you want it. As previously mentioned, FeedBurner email of the blog’s post feed can be subscribed to on the blog’s main page plus email of comments on individual posts can be subscribed to via the post itself. Of course, all RSS feeds can be subscribed to directly through any reader you may be familiar with.

EDIT 9-Jan-2016: As of October 2011, DennyGibson.com no longer actively supports Feedburmer and the subscription page referenced in the preceding paragraph no longer exists. This edit finally makes note of that and removes the obsolete link.

The most important thing to stay is everything else. I am not changing the way I do trip reports or post photos. I’m merely adding something new to the site and you can completely ignore it without missing a thing. Oops, that’s not exactly what I meant to say. Hopefully I’ll have some things in the blog that are worth reading but you can ignore it without missing anything you’re seeing now.

Blogs should be fed regularly and I hope to feed this one at least once a week My goal is to have something posted every Sunday sometime between noon and midnight. See you next week.

14 thoughts on “Hello again, world.

  1. Good idea on the blog.

    I enjoyed your Ohio Dixie Highway trip. Regarding LeSourdsville Lake – I have seen one real photo postcard of the Lake mentioning Dixie Highway.

    I reviewed the Dixie Highway routing instructions yesterday in the 1921 Automobile Green Book and found a few alignments heretofore unknown or little understood. I will outline these soon when I get my Dixie Highway website up and running.



    • I’ve driven most of that road many times never thinking of it as the Dixie Highway. I also never thought of LeSourdsville being on the DH but figured that was just me and that the early owners would have made a big deal of it. Maybe not.

      P.S., Thanks for breaking the ice with your comment. I think I was so excited with that first response that I initially forgot to let you know how much I appreciated it. Posting on the web is always like talking on the radio and even more so when it’s on a new “station”. It’s always nice to learn that somebody is listening/reading.

  2. Trip reports. . . blogs. . . websites. Oh, who cares! I like everything you write, in any form, and I plan to continue reading all of it. Just keep it coming. So there!

    Incidentally, just now where they asked for my website, I put my blog URL instead. I’m not sure why. I guess I just wanted to confuse you as much as you’ve confused me by your definitions above. 🙂

    • I’m really not trying to confuse and, if I’m honest with myself, things like this post are as much for my benefit as anyone else’s. Someday, when I ask myself just why the heck am I doing this, reading it might help me remember.

      I’m very pleased to see you here and assure you that inexplicable decisions regarding URLs are always welcome and even encouraged.

  3. As always, I read what you post. Really have enjoyed you writings and trips over the years and I’ll learn how to use this site also. I am a little disappointed–no a Lot disappointed– in missing you on your last trip through southern Calif. By the time you posted that you had hit SoCal, you were gone!! And you were within 40 miles and we could have shared some good ‘lies’. Oh well, next time–or next time I get back that way. Keep up the nice posts and pics. think about a rough guide as to cost on some of the trips. Although I know the cost of travel–every tip helps and might entice others to join in the fun.

    • Looks like you’re a quick learner 🙂 I’m hoping that most folks are sufficiently familiar with this style blog that there won’t be a whole lot of learning required. And remember, other than the forum, everything else stays as is.

      Regarding that SoCal trip, it was all a little off the cuff. Of course, I’ve long thought of driving the PCH south of SF but I really thought the trip might end at Tahoe and that’s where any serious planning ended. Looking back, I see I could have done a whole lot better.

      I’ll think about some sort of cost thing. I’d have to come up with a definition of “rough” that made it not a whole lot of work.

      • Copy on the ‘work’. I just made a quick trip to northern Cailf. My $100 night in Garberville is an example of ‘rough’: $77 for an old motel-cabin, $22.50 for 3 chicken strips and $2.58 the next day for a coffee refil in my own cup. Makes me think your planning pays off.
        Seriously, This is easy to learn, even for this dummy. And I do miss seeing that nice Vette in some of your pictures.

  4. What I really meant about cost was how you find such nice places at such fair prices. Time and again you wind up in an ‘older’ motel that looks about perfect. Tips on how you choose motels and ‘eateries’ could be very helpful.

    • I wish I had a secret method that guaranteed success. It’s largely just thrashing around the Internet. But it does sound like a decent topic for a future post and one that I’ll probably do.

      • I have tried many ways over the years. Low cost–Super Eight: Motel Six, etc and soon tire of the same thing–usually deteriorating service. Then I move to the Hamptons, etc. and in a year or soon—the same results. I always look for the ‘mom and pop’ establishments but soon find they exploit their status. You seem to find the more ‘out-of-the-way’ places that are just good because they should be. Often you find places that are really superior to the ‘upscale’ business places–both in lodging and food and those are the places we all want. If your ‘luck’ was as good in Vegas, you could easily drive the new Vette every year.

        • You may have a slightly skewed view of my luck. Between those nights in cool mom & pop motels, are plenty of nights that don’t get mentioned. Many are spent in nondescript chains like Motel 6 and Super 8. In fact, those two are, in that order, my current favorites. The only time I tried to stir up some action in the forum here involved a post on my rediscovery of Motel 6. I may reproduce that post here before I scuttle the forum.

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