"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Family, Friends & Italian Festivals - AZ & NV

Surprise, Arizona
Happy Trails Resort 

After our visit with Lee & Tracey, it's on to the Great Italian Festival in Reno, Nevada.  But first, a stop in Surprise, Arizona to visit with Bunny.
The Gang!

Crossing over the border with California and Arizona.

Our site in Happy Trails Resort.  FHU.
Our visit was shorter than usual and we were quite busy.  Strangely the only thing I took a picture of was this bag of Canadian Cheezies that Robert brought back from British Columbia.  They were very tasty!
We didn't do much but bike ride, help out around the house and watch the sun go down.
It was a nice visit, as usual, but time to head on up to Reno.  Here we are driving over the Hoover Dam and crossing the Colorado River again.

Las Vegas coming up.
The deserts sure are green this year with all the rainfall.

Always funny to see the wild Donkeys around Beatty.  They just meander around.

I've mentioned this place last time we drove through.  The ornate metal work is really something.  I wasn't sure what it was going to be but this time it's a little further along.  It's going to be, what else, a casino!  A steampunk-themed casino and coffee shop. It should hopefully open in 2024.

Tonopah, Nevada
Miller's Rest Area
It was a long 9 hour drive from Surprise to Tonopah but we decided to chug along a bit more and stay at the nice rest stop at Miller's.  This way we wouldn't have such a long drive tomorrow.  Plenty of room for large RVs spread out around a nice shady grass area.  There are bathrooms and garbage.  We just ate some soup, watched a little TV and crashed.  We needed to be up early to get to Reno in time for the Friday night pre-sauce competition event!
It was a beautiful, super clear night and we could see the milky way bright as can be.  It didn't  come out too good in the picture but it was gorgeous!
So many stars!
The rest of the drive was about 5 1/2 hours through more of the gorgeous green desert.  The snow topped Sierra was a pretty contrast to the rest of the desert.
Always something neat to see of the past.
This flag in the town of Hawthorne, Nevada is HUGE!  It's almost the size of the McDonalds.
Walker Lake, while much more full, is still very low from long ago.

I don't know when we've ever seen this much water still around in the deserts after summer!
Colors were out along the Truckee River coming into Reno.
Reno, Nevada
Shamrock RV Park
We have stayed here before.  It's a nice park close to downtown Reno.  $60, FHU, G19.  While it was on the end, it was still a snug fit with the tree. 

Checking out the sauce competition area the night before.  Pretty empty.
Here it is the next day with a full crowd sampling homemade sauces from different regions of Italy.
Steve made some awesome Bloody Marys to start the morning off.  This year we added shrimp to the bacon, olive, pepperoncini, celery, green bean accoutrements. Next year, maybe we'll add mini grilled cheese sammies?
This is John & Tina's baby.  John's family is from Pico, Italy and their booth is decorated with lots of family items and pictures.
Their sons' girlfriend did a great job of decorating it all.  See the picture in the bottom right just left of the rooster?  A little SNL humor touch.
If you know, you know!
Click the link above to watch the short skit.  SO FUNNY!  Just a little harmless raunchy SNL comedy.

John has been working on his sauce all morning.  It's delicious!  He won 1st place a couple of years ago.
So many people out enjoying a great sunny day and sampling all the delicious pasta sauces.
We snuck off for a bit to check out the rest of the festival.  Plenty of music, food and entertainment. All things Italian!

Time for a new license plate frame.  We also bought some delicious Cuccidati (Italian Fig Cookies served at Christmas).  They were yummy!
It was a very busy and fun day.  On our way out we ran into my old childhood family friends, Pam and Christine.  We knew each other were going to be there and I'm glad we actually crossed paths just before we left.  Our Dad's used to work and hunt together.  We spent every year camping and cutting Christmas trees down with their family.  Good Memories.
What Italian Festival would be complete without some Meatballs?  So here's a couple!  Jaxon is 3 1/2 now.  Starting to lose the toddler look and getting that little boy look.
Ciao for now!

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Visiting Friends in LA and Palm Springs - CA

Burbank, CA
Elks Lodge 

On the way to our usual fall visit to Arizona, we were excited to fit in a couple of stops along the way to visit some friends.  We left Placerville early Sunday to drive straight through to Los Angeles to visit with Lee and Trace who are staying in Burbank.  We stayed at the local Elks Lodge for 3 nights.  It's a small RV area with W/E for $25.
Since Steve and Trace are still working, they drove over for dinner the first night.  It was Taco Tuesday at the lodge and we went in for dinner after catching up a bit.  
Thanks guys for dinner!  The tacos were delicious!
The next night I made lasagna.  Trace gifted us 2 of the beautiful bowls she had made in her ceramics class.
This one is really cool.  It destems herbs.  I used it for my Italian Parsley.
Dinner came out good and it went very nicely with the bottle of Valpolicella wine they brought. 
We enjoyed their company and were very happy we were able to stop by.
All comfy!
We asked them to bring Jack with them.  He's such a sweet boy.  He was one of Hurley's buddies.
It was a short stay but really nice.  Always too short. Just before we left to head to Palm Springs, one of our friends, Scott, told us we HAD to go to Vic's Food to Go.  It's a Thai place near where he lived that just happened to be a couple of miles away.  I stopped by and grabbed Scotts suggested items and we ate it before we hit the road.  It was delicious!  So much food there was enough left over for lunch the next day. 
Pulling out of the Elks Lodge.
Driving along I-10 this beautiful bridge and building come into view.  I think it's a Court House but not sure.  I know some of you are from this area.  Anyone know what it is?

Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs Resort
It's a good thing we stopped at Vic's for that Thai food as the traffic was horrendous!  It took us over 4 hours for what should've been a 2 1/2 hour drive.  There were several crashes along the way and it was dark when we pulled in.  Luckily we've been here a few times and know the campground well.  It was an easy pull through site. 
This visit will be with Dave and Marge who were our neighbors when we lived in Brockport in  Upstate NY.  We were so excited when we knew they'd be here just as we were driving through.
They were staying in a nice bungalow with beautiful grounds and pool.
We only had one day so we spent the day taking the tram up to San Jacinto State Park. 
It was a very nice day and the place was packed.  We had to wait 1 1/2 hrs for our tram time.  We snacked at the cafe and walked around the grounds outside.

We've been on this tram before and it's a very nice ride up.  It's $30 each.  The tram rides up through a canyon with views of Palm Springs below.  The tram rotates around so everyone gets a good view through the windows.

The top platform up top sits at 8,516 feet.  The park is beautiful and has many hiking trails.
One of the decks with a nice view of the back in the mountains.

Looking down over Palm Springs from the front viewing platform.

We had a nice lunch then took the tram back down.

The Tram moves very fast.  Here's a short video showing it leaving the upper platform.
Once down from the tram we headed to downtown Palm Springs for dinner.  Along the strip is their version of the Walk of Fame.
Marge with Sonny Bono's Star. He used to be the major years ago.  If you haven't been to Palm Springs, it's a fun town.  There's plenty to do here including nearby Joshua Tree National Park.
Next to the Star is a statue of Sonny Bono at the fountain.  Next to that is Maraca's Mexican Restaurant.  We had great Top Shelf Margarita's and some yummy food.

The outside tables made for some great people watching.
There were people dressed up in all kinds of outfits.  Some classy, some horrible and some funny.

Evening was very pleasant with the warm weather.  We had some Gelato and Sorbetto.  Thanks Dave and Marge for sharing part of your vacation with us and the ornament and pictures.
It was a short but fun week.  On our way to Palm Springs we had the truck and trailer washed.  Boy did it need it as it had been a year for the trailer.  It's still nice and shiny from when we had it professionally deoxidized and waxed last year.  We still recommend Chi Girl if you're in the Pheonix area.  That blog HERE.

On to Surprise for a short visit with family before heading to the Italian Festival in Reno with more friends who will be cooking in the Sauce Contest.