Monday, August 31, 2015

More Golf and a nice encounter for Cathy

Close down the road is Sand Hollow Resort. It boasts a golf course that is as fine as I’ve ever seen and it is truly in the midst of what seems like that proverbial address, Plum Duck Nowhere. Or, something like that. I was out there today and it was as scenic as I have experienced on a golf course.
There's a video file attached, maybe. (First try at video.)

While I tried to be Greg Norman, (did not happen….again! darn), Cathy went due south about 50 miles over the AZ border to Pipe Springs National Monument.  This place is an oasis in this high desert area, (fresh water!), and was once sacred ground to our Native Americans of the area. As with so many other similar stories of early settling, white man came in and took the spring over. Bye bye sacred, hello commercialism.  Thankfully, this was reversed in the 20’s and it became protected land.

Cathy had a great visit and one of the highlights was the fact the park had a vegetable garden that was maintained by three Native Americans. Cathy was informed that price of entry entitled a visitor to their own harvest from the garden. She ended up meeting the garden supervisor who was more than happy to provide her with a tidy harvest of various squash, some okra, (which I am pickling in the fridge), and some corn. Wonderful small ears of an heirloom strain of no use to a supermarket. The “Supe” said to Cathy that the corn is so good, you should have it raw. Which we did in tonight’s salad dinner.  The corn had a fine, earthy/grassy taste and plenty of sugar. Yum.

Kanye Nast
So, due to limited TV access at our current Virgin, Utah campsite, we had some of the MTV Video Music Awards show on tonight. We knew almost no one who won awards. When Kanye West received some kind of lifetime achievement award, my wonderful wife looked up from her book and asked, “who’s that? Conde Nast?”

Better than the show, the evening offered some nicely illuminated sights seen from the edge of the campground.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Actually, that’s another story…

Here we now are when the moon’s phase is on full LED.  These pics are from this morning’s sunrise. No wait, I meant to say moonset?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

We took the 30 mile drive today from our camp to go to the isolated north entrance to Zion at Kolob Canyons. It is separate from the “main” part of Zion. The experience there is a 5 mile drive up with views  galore and a few hiking trails along the way. At the top is a benign walk to a remarkable vista point.  From this vista we could look SW and about 130 miles at the distant horizon was the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  About half way back down, we parked and walked the Taylor Creek Trail which leads into a slot canyon between mighty vertical red rock monoliths.  Powerful Nature.
What was an incongruous part of the day is the stretch of US 15 we were on for a dozen miles or so to get to this place. Speed limit 80! Drive that fast, (we didn’t…I have a hard time going that fast in our 7500 lb truck), then to park and amble on foot by a creek through forest with towering walls of rock looming on both sides.  It just seems kind of silly?

Gosh, it is pretty here.

Friday, August 28, 2015


I am an average golfer. I have just enough ability to enjoy the game. When I add the occasional special shot that seems to occur 2 or 3 times in a round, it offsets the golf balls lost to woods or water enough that I keep coming back. What originally got me hooked on golf was the setting and scenery.  My first game was at Napa’s lovely Silverado in 1980.  Most golf courses are attractive. Endless green lawn, trees, ponds and more. I am enjoying playing on the road. It is part of this journey’s discover America element. Yesterday was Coral Canyon in nearby Washington, Utah.  One photo kind of says it all.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Serene Majesty
Zion, day one. Soaring peaks, mighty rock facings bold in their sheerness, amazing plateaus and all accented in handsome earthy red tones.  Cathy and I have an affinity for red rock landscape. When it is magnificent, as it is here in and around Zion, it provides inspiration in a sense of awe. Red rock was one of the forces behind our scheduling a month in southern Utah as part of this journey.   We are also curious to see where all those car commercials are filmed ;-).

I write this the morning after and we are greeted today by rain. What they call “Monsoonal Moisture” in these parts. Wells up from Arizona this time of year. How nice the rain is to us drought weary folks!  This is our first rain in Vilia and the sound is delightful. The roof is insulated with 4” thick foam and it gives the raindrops a muted pleasant plop. Seriously, it’s a pleasant plop. Cathy just looked over my shoulder  and said I should stop. Stop with the pleasant plop? Okay, it is supposed to start clearing by mid day. I need to make our lunch to take with.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Las Vegas In The Heat

OK, we’ve talked enough about the heat we have been experiencing but I will say our camp site is asphalt and I cooked last night’s dinner on it. Burgers, grilled brocolli and home fries, right on the pavement.
OK, I’m kidding. We are doing pretty good with it all. Fridge is having trouble staying healthy cool for things like uncooked meat, so we are not keeping any around. It is cool enough for veggies, beer, fruit and cheese. A nice current diet. We are going out tonight for protein.
I traveled to Las Vegas often for wine business in the latter part of my career. Its rise as a fine dining mecca all happened while I was in the middle time of my 38 years in the wine trade, and it became a significant place to both sell upper end wines and also just to be placed to be seen on prominent wine lists, (for Marketing exposure purposes). I always came during buying times, late fall and into winter. That is when the wine folks are here and more are coming, and when folks who do the wine buying are looking for things to fill holes that have developed.  
Never before in the heat of Summer.  I heard many times from various local wholesale wine reps I worked with that Summer was the demolition derby and beer crowd.  I’m not sure about the demolition derby part, but it is time for beer.  It is a friendly calm crowd.  As always with Las Vegas, a good part of the reason in being here is to people watch. No shortage of that. Think about the favorite American names you’ve heard, and they are all here right now. Lunk, Thurston, Dolly, Ima, Edgar, Rhonda, Eugene, Phyllis…

We are off today to our first stop in Utah,  our camp site is in Virgin Utah. Hey, it’s the land of multiple wives and they name a town Virgin? We’ll be there a nice 11 nights. With easy access to Zion and Bryce Canyon.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Few Yosemite Pics

A Perfect Day at Tenaya Lake...warm sun, warm, clear water, a floatable, food, drink, my hubby, a good book, a comfy beach chair.....AND a spectacular view.....Loved it....Burned it into my memory!!!

No Hiking in Las Vegas for Bob and Cathy!!!

We arrived in Las Vegas on Weds (Aug 19th)….to 116 degrees!....Whoa…that is hot!! At almost 9:00 pm it was still 100 degrees……and at 3 in the morning it was 92!  .A bit of time at the pool for the first two days. Las Vegas does have some great restaurants so we went to Rao’s (Original one in New York)…..Hugest (and best) meatballs ever……..had a wine that we had had in Italy so that was a treat. Went to Roubouchan…he has restaurants worldwide but Las Vegas is only USA one….very French, multiple courses.….we sat at  bar and were able to watch the chef’s prepare the dishes….had a foie gras, topped with a wine reduction and Parmesan foam…..a liquid appetizer…Haven’t had a good Parmesan foam in ages :)  .  Spent one day at Mandalay Bay’s fancy pool on a day pass.  Saw “O’, the Cirque do Soleil production…which was breath-taking….actually felt like I held my breath for half the show…If you go to LV I highly highly,highly recommend it….it is so unique and such a spectacular!,Went to the Clark County Museum, a small, low-tech museum in Henderson, away from the LV glitz......This area has an interesting history....just love small museums!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Note that Bob and I are both contributing to this items not always in chronological order.....

We had a great time hiking in Tuoloumne area of Yosemite...Think Yosemite is the most gorgeous place in the world....Did part of Glen Aulin Trail (which I've done in the past with 3 great people...Gayle Cook, Barbara Carey and Ali Keyes)....also did part of Sunrise Trail which I did last summer with Carolyn Bond....Remembering those fun times! At an erly dinner at the famous Tioga Mobil Gas Station....It has great food!  Cathy
More Hot
August 18 in Barstow CA.
4:30 PM, it is 109 degrees out. Our living area air conditioner is going full blast and we are at 86 inside. Our Vilia came from the manufacturer with a “cut out” blank in the ceiling in the bedroom, (which is up front, hangs over the truck bed when connected), to add a second air cond and we had that done just before our departure. Good call! The bedroom is currently a comfy 74.  That aside, 109 is really hot but what else should it be? After all, we are in the Mojave Desert, and it is August.  Actually, I have always tolerated heat well and rather enjoy it. But the wisdom gained with age says to take it easy at times like this and I do. My cousin John uses the term Elder instead of Senior Citizen. I like it and this Elder will not be jogging this day. Of course, I would not go jogging if it was 50 out, but my exercise habits are fodder for another post.
Specifically, we are not in Barstow, we are in Yermo. Here is what Wikipedia says about Yermo, and, this is the type of on-line wandering one does when living in an RV and it is 109 degrees outside.

When the Interstate 15 highway opened in 1968, Yermo was immediately bypassed by traffic traveling to and from Las Vegas, Nevada. As a result, 90 percent of its local businesses were required to close.[citation needed] During its heyday, Yermo had 27 gas stations with mechanics, seven bars, two grocery stores, a hardware store, a pizza shop, four real estate offices, three motels, a thrift store, several restaurants, roadside camping sites and two parks.[citation needed] In 2009, it had one grocery/general store, one bar, one thrift store, three restaurants, four gas stations, one park, and one motel three miles south of town.[citation needed] The fast-food restaurant chain Del Taco was founded in Yermo in 1964;[2] the original structure remains active as a local fast food restaurant, The Burger Den.

Monday, August 17, 2015

We are in Lone Pine CA. Located on US 395. As mentioned earlier, a fantastic scenic highway. As it turns out, currently, we are not catching it at its best.  But more on that in a bit.  Lone Pine is the home of the Alabama Hills, a marvelous geological area of sagebrush, shrub and boulder that won location honors to so much Hollywood Western filming of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s. If you ever watched Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers and myriad other westerns, and noted those big rounded rocks they were galloping through, this is where it was filmed.

We are glad we visited these hills on a prior trip. Here in Lone Pine this time, for 2 nights, we are going nowhere. It is 5:43 PM on August 17th and it is 105 degrees out and the sky is loaded with a deep haze from wildfires near and far. So very unpleasant and not very healthy. Our rig is cranking along in our campsite with its two rooftop air conditioners and keeping us at about 83 inside. At times like this, Vilia is a moderately insulated tin box, with the sun beating down upon it without mercy. But, it is sure better than being outside. I just came back from a short walk to drop off a bag of garbage and I do not recommend the experience. Prisoners in a 5th wheel!  Ack! Tomorrow we are off to Barstow for 1 night, (and our last night in CA),  then to Las Vegas for a few nights before we enter the Utah red rock country, starting with Zion and Bryce Canyons. Las Vegas was something like 115 today. A cool down from the heat is forecast yet a few days away.   What was that classic line from Wizard of Oz…”I’m melting”

Saturday, August 15, 2015

St Helena Star

A thank you note to this week’s St Helena Star, the hometown newspaper. Cathy sent a note to the community news page to mention our journey and they added some nice words about this blog. Gotta love small town America!

The morning sun on my “office” today inside Vilia seemed photo worthy.

California Burnin'

California Burnin’

All the state is brown and the sky is grey
It’s all from the smoke everything is ablaze
But you can’t burn concrete, so I’d be safe in L.A.
California Burnin’ on such a windy day
(With apologies to the Mamas and Papas)

Covered well by the news, the state of California, is on fire.  As winds shift, we have been in and out of smoke in our sightseeing drives.  Our state’s resources for fighting the conflagrations will be well tested until the rains return.  But today at Bridgeport, it was spectacular clear. We returned to Yosemite to spend some hours relaxing on the surprisingly soft sand at the beach at Tanaya Lake. Cathy will put up some photos of the “looks fake” awesome views from this lake beach.  Here is a photo from our current campsite of the day’s sunset. ( Clouds, not smoke...)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Graeagle with the Sanchezes and friends

Arrived in Graeagle on Aug 3 to a glorious campground, River's Edge....Yes we were right long the river with many Lodgepole and Jeffrey Pines. This area of California is very "undiscoverd" and chains, just charming places. Great hiking and golfing..we did both! Also lovely lakes for favorite!! Sanchezes came for the weekend along with Heather (Amy's bud) and her two girls, Dalyce and Elsie. The girls all get along so well. Lots of fun as you can see in the pics!