NV Highlights & Do you know the way to San Jose?

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Between Lake Tahoe and our return to the RV (which is actually all serviced and awaiting our return in Redwood City, but I like this title so much better, don’t you?) we saw some pretty cool stuff and I thought I’d just share some of them with you.IMG_1648
@Lake Tahoe

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@Lake Tahoe (are you sick of how beautiful it is here yet?)

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Along Truckee River – Random cute dog with life vest

Carson City scales
Silver (weighing) scales – Carson City Mint Museum

Carson City Mint Coins issued by year 2
Coins minted at Carson City Mint Museum

carson city mine experience
Carson City Mint basement, converted to mine shaft – pretty cool thing to experience, but you will be grateful to be back upstairs!

Reno Golf June 2014
Reno style driving range – pretty cool idea!

Virginia City Saloon Keeper with today's headline!

Virginia City Saloon Keeper with today’s headline!

View of SF from Oakland Bay bridge

View of SF from Oakland Bay bridge

Michelle & Dan North Beach

Michelle & Dan North Beach

Wild horse near Virginia City

Wild horse near Virginia City

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Re NO Thank You

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Lake Tahoe is the polar opposite of her nearby city of Reno – touted as the World’s biggest little city, according to the sign in the center of town, at least the second part is true.
 Reno sign

Who knew….people still smoke, (and they do it) indoors in Nevada- GASP!

Our arrival to our hotel in Reno found us in room #226 – a smoker’s room with no other option as management tried very hard to convince us that the “ozone-ator” running inside our room would make things as good a new in a few hours – which it did not. The hotel was sold out so we endured the rough night and early morning shower (you gotta love the smell of aged smoke in your towel while drying off) and an escape from the hotel leaving them with a plea to move us to a non-smoking room somewhere, anywhere.
It’s time for some “alone” time today – Dan found a Harley Dealer, oh-so conveniently located about ½ mile from the hotel and he’s off on two wheels for the day! Me, I’m off to find a nice manicure and pedicure with a side of shopping at a local mall area. Much as we love each other, we really need some time apart so we ensure everyone’s mortality for another day or two.

All my needs met, I headed out to explore the edges of Reno to see if this place could be a contender for our new home. Only a few minutes into my city drive-about, Dan calls me to let me know that the hotel has called him on his Harley while he’s drivings a pretty small city) to get out things moved to the new room.
Our new room is on the same level but in a different building (across the pool and down the walkway about 11 doors) so I inquire about a cart to use to move our ten plus bags (don’t ask) of “stuff” to the new room. Yes, the hotel has a luggage cart but it’s on the first level and no way to move it upstairs. Ugh – well, it’s a nice day and I could use the exercise, so I start lugging various bags to our new room.
At the new room, I immediately notice that we now have two full-size beds instead of our king, we’ve lost our frig/microwave and this new room’s not made up yet from the last guest (who apparently does not move while sleeping because only about 1/4 of the bed needs making). Least that stop me from getting the hell out of the “ashtray”, I continue to move all of our belongings into the new room. When the last item is stashed in the new room, and my workout completed, I head back to the front desk to return the key to the “ashtray” for the next (not so) lucky guest.
I am greeted at the front desk this time by two women; the newest woman, advising me that the first woman has put us in the wrong room and again the hotel is sold out for the night and (woe is them) and now they don’t have enough rooms with double beds to meet the needs of their guests for tonight and regretfully, unfortunately, most apologetically, they will need to move us (meaning me) back to a king room. Apologies for the error “runnith over” from management (and the damn luggage cart is still on the first floor); so I set off again to move our countless bags of crap out of room 263 back down past the 11 doors of building C, across the pool, past the “Ashtray” room and down five more doors to a thankfully non-smoking, clean king room with all the bells and whistles!

Now tomorrow’s workout is also complete and I’m in need of a little rest while waiting for Dan’s return from his enjoyable day riding through the mountains and back out to Lake Tahoe!  Why wasn’t I born a man?

We managed (thanks to Yelp) a great Mexican restaurant in town called Miguel’s, the red chili and the margaritas are fantastic! The servings are huge – and there’s always a wait (unless you go on Monday when they are closed – which we did). We learned our lesson when we ventured back out on Tuesday and shared an entrée. Food was just as great on the second visit and everyone should visit there when next craving some excellent Mexican food.
Miguels Reno

In a shopping center near the restaurant we also found a little neighborhood bar called Coach’s which reminded us of our favorite little bar in Fort Mill. Both (the new found) Coach’s and (our old time favorite) Towne Tavern have a bartender named Matt!

Coach’s also has a great little Problem flowchart for their patrons.
Reno Problems Flow chart

On a return visit here later, we found quite the cast of characters in full motion in this pub, and we spent an enjoyable (for us) “people watching and crawling” some mightily funny intoxicated folks in the bar.

 

Sell Everything and Meet Us in Lake Tahoe

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After a near-tearful farewell (on Dan’s part) to the RV at the repair center, so Victor and his service guys could service the coach for the next 7 days, we headed out on a mini “Toad” & hotel vacation up in Lake Tahoe/Reno area.

This is Dan’s first visit to the area and as are all those who’ve been to Tahoe, he too was quickly enchanted with the place.  The lake’s color is so many shades of blue that it borders on being surreal.  The 76 miles of coast are made up of a combination of beautiful white sandy beaches aside rocky portions of the mountains that run down to the water’s edge dotted with native pine trees and other native shrubs alongside cliffs, and waterfalls.Image

Boats are moored around the edges of the lake and they all bob on the mooring lines as the wind gently blows across the water like so many diamonds glistening upon the water.   The sky is yet another shade of blue and sometimes is dotted with fluffy white clouds for visual interest.

The mountains surrounding the lake are majestic with lifts that carry snow skiers up to places with names like Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Incline, and North Star, The tops of them still are coated with snow as a memory of winters past and as a promise of winters still to come.

This place is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true.  Walking, hiking, running, swimming snow and water skiing, biking, horseback riding, motorcycle riding, river rafting, boating, paddle boarding, wind surfing, just to name a few.  Less strenuous options of napping on the beach or taking in a great novel or watching some of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises available to those who paying attention.

We were surprised (and sadden) by the number of nice wooded RV parks that are available in the area; and we were both wishing that it had made the trip with us.  We’ve acclimated well to the coach, and it is so much nicer than the hotel we selected resulting in us both being more than anxious to get back to it, sooner rather than later.   

We drove around the lake and proceeded up along the Truckee River where we found a great patio where one can watch the river rafters coming in at the end of their three mile run.  While we were watching, we couldn’t find one unhappy face disembarking from the soaking wet rubber rafts! 

From there we followed the river into town of Truckee where we found the weekly Thursday Street Fair in full sing.  There were lots of great vendors, bands, and local artisans hawking their wares to packed streets of shoppers.

On our way back to the hotel, we opted for a steakhouse that we had passed on our way around the lake.  The Old Range Steakhouse was a throw back all the way to the 50s.  We’re talking deep red leather circular booths, dark walls, and lighting décor that everyone’s grandparents had when it was in fashion, back in the day!  We were greeted by the owner who escorted to the booth and then our server, Alex (the new guy on the staff, having only worked there for 8 years) set the perfect pace for us with dinner.  A welcoming cocktail, followed by fresh bread, a huge fabulous Caesar salad, and the main course – excellent steaks!  From where we sat, it appeared that we were the only customer (which was not the case) and that us enjoying a leisurely dinner was everyone’s only goal for the evening!  Happily satiated, we continued along following the shore back until the sky turned a glowing shade of pink, which is when we pulled off and took some great sunset photos to remind us of our perfect day!Image

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We agreed that we should sell everything and move to Lake Tahoe so that we could be a permanent part of this magical place, until we pulled a For Sale flyer from a small (1500sf) cottage in the area.  Dan’s guess was $699,000, but as is usually the case, he was light by $2,100,000.  It was then that I checked the weather and found that shocking as it may seem, it snows here!  So while I will always now “pine” for this place during the two summer months of June and July, we unfortunately will not be making the area our home, but it will remain a great memory for us both!

So long, ‘Frisco – band is leaving…minus the tour bus

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First off, I would just like to say it’s pretty expensive to stay in the City by the Bay. I keep hearing “You’re in the big city now”, but it doesn’t help when I keep seeing the dollars floating away. The problem is, there is a lot of stuff to do for free, for sure, but when you’re in San Francisco, no one wants to do the free stuff – everyone wants to do the “good” stuff! Like take in a Giants game (everyone knows you pay through the nose for hot dogs and beer at any MLB park, right?), or eat lunch at Sausalito on the water (expensive, but worth it), or visit Napa/Sonoma/Russian River wineries (who isn’t going to buy some wine there?), or just about everything else that’s fun – they all cost money. OK, I’m over it – I just wanted to get my “bitch” on for a minute.

All that being said, our visit was great!

Number One, we got to spend a lot of time with Michelle, who just moved into a new apartment in the city. She has a great location, with lots of things that she likes (places to run, walking to her new job, places to shop and restaurants/bars) all within a few blocks. The best part was we got to do almost all that stuff with her! We biked in Golden Gate Park, we ate lunch and dinner at some great places in the city, we shared a Father’s Day lunch at Louis’ overlooking the ruins of the Sutro Baths, we took in a Giants game, visited some new wineries, met some new friends (thanks Joel and Margie – Sam’s parents – for a VERY wonderful dinner and evening). Here are some pictures from our visit:


Because there just aren’t many RV parks located near the city, we ended up at San Francisco RV Park in nearby Pacifica. It had its pluses and minuses -Pluses…we were right on the water’s edge overlooking the Pacific, and it was convenient for going into the city, which we did almost every day. They had a small store on site, and a laundry, and the staff were very nice and helpful. There were restaurants and a grocery within walking distance, as well as a bakery, a couple of bars, and an Ace hardware store. Paisano’s Italian restaurant we visited twice, it was so good. When the weather was good, you had beautiful views down the beach toward Pacifica’s pier. We did get one nice sunset while we were there, although there may have been others, but we were always in the city at sundown. -Minuses…we were right on the water’s edge overlooking the Pacific (yep, same as above), with which the wind deposited salty, misty fog over both our vehicles every day, rusting everything it touched that was “rustable” – our bikes, the RV’s wheels, mirrors, etc. We couldn’t get to our roof to check it out, but I’m sure it’s in need of a good cleaning also. I think anything that is left there for two month’s or longer ends up in the rust pile. Naval Jelly, here we come! All the RV’s were parked pretty much door to door in what amounted to being a very large parking lot, so the “ambiance” just wasn’t there , even with the fact you were right on the water. Would I stay there again? – maybe, if I had too.

OK, minus the tour bus – what’s that? Well, when we were in Pacifica, we noticed that we had a leak somewhere in the city water plumbing, it looked like. I think it was because we didn’t have a water pressure regulator installed on the water line, and the water pressure was pretty high there. We had planned on getting the annual fluids change done in Oregon, anyway, so we just found an RV repair place in the SF area and left our RV with them to change fluids, fix the leak, and a couple of other repair items that needed fixing. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, for sure. In the meantime, we’re off on a RV-less adventure for a week or so – more on that in the next blog.

Editor’s Comments – I think I like this role reversal of Dan drafting the blog and me just popping in with some comments! We had a GREAT time in Frisco and spending time with Michelle. Her new place is great and she’s getting settled nicely.

Loved the Giant’s game experience – all except the part where the fans sitting around us we heckling the outfielder for the Washington Nationals – but you cannot beat the AT&T ballpark as a venue for a great time at the ball park! Good planning on the part of the city.

At the ball game

At the ball game

Had a fun time at the Jelly Belly factory and found the mandatory hats to be a little overkill because we were so completely removed from the production process by glass windows, but I was just a visitor. Conveniently located at the end of the tour is the Jelly Belly store where we bought various sweet treats that were sent out to one lucky neighbor and to our kids and grandkids! In case you didn’t know, Jelly Belly now makes some not so yummy flavors like Barf, and Rotten Eggs. Those two flavors were in the samples that grandkids got and we saw a great video of two of the girls braving the daunting task of each eating one of those! Certainly not new and improved by any stretch.

I cannot believe that Dan did not mention that there was also a Budweiser factory tour at the same exit, so he too got to indulge his inner child and we enjoyed a beer flight tasting at that factory. I had no idea that some many brands of beer are part of the Bud family! My personal new favorite is Crown Black, which was created by the Van Ness Brew master.

Budweiser Factory  Fairfield, CA

Budweiser Factory Fairfield, CA

Other highlights: We drove down Lombard Street (us and 5000 other people) What a zoo! Can only say we only went once, and I would HATE to actually live on that street!!!

A view from Lombard Street

A view from Lombard Street

We hiked in Muir Woods – oh what a beautiful place that is! The giant redwood trees are amazing and there are many levels of hiking difficulty available but the on-site parking was a mess. So glad we rode the shuttle up to the park.

Muir Woods creek

Muir Woods creek

We also went to the Oakland Swap meet which covered an entire landing strip at an old airbase across the bridge. Everything under the sun was available for sale!

We popped into a Pacifica bar called Winters, which had live music one night. I loved the sign on the wall that read: “What you see here, what you hear here, what you say here, what you do here, when you leave here, let it stay here” and the band was enjoyable also.

We had a wonderful BBQ with Sam’s family one glorious sunny Sunday afternoon. Sam was a workmate of Michelle’s that I had the pleasure of meeting when I visited her in Austin, TX earlier this year. He’s an amazing guy and a heart of gold and swore then he was going to introduce us to his parents when we came out. Sam’s a man of his word, and his parents, Margie and Joel are some of nicest people – ever. They shared their beautiful home to us and made us a great dinner which was only topped by the evening of great conversation that lasted way too late for a Sunday night!

Dan also finally decided to go in for a trim on his outlaw (and out of control) boy band hair. It was a giant leap for the guy who’s now been retired for more than 2 months.

And now we’re really homeless, it’s just us and “Toad” the CRV so were off to amuse ourselves while Victor and his team of experts service the coach and solve the mystery of the green leaking fluid, among other things!” More adventures await us, I’m sure!! .

Be sure to always double check who's driving that rig!

Be sure to always double check who’s driving that rig!

Until then – Carol

Yeah, I’ve played ‘Frisco

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So we were visiting Michelle in the city Sunday evening, and were going out to dinner. Michelle happened to point out a corner bar on the way, named The Page, so we stopped in for a pre-dinner drink. They had a Bourbon on special named Oola, and, taking a “page” from Bob Coen’s drinking style, I ordered myself a shot of whiskey and a beer (although I had a Guinness, not a Coors Light). Keep this in mind for later on in this story.

We finished our drinks and then headed off to the dive Mexican place Michelle was taking us to, which happened to be next door! I had no idea we were so close! OK, so we go in this place (The Little Chihuahua), and it is much better than expected – it’s tiny, but it has a salsa bar, with all kinds of delicious hot sauces – red, green, habanero, etc., and believe me when I say, they were all good. I ordered a chicken taco and a Corona, telling Michelle I’d split her burrito with her, but after I ate my taco, I didn’t have enough room (if you can believe THAT) for the burrito, so we wrapped it up for Steve. I did manage a couple of bites, though, and it was awesome as well.

So where is this all leading up to? And what does any of this have to do with the name of this post? I’m about to tell you…hang on…Dave and Carol, if you’re reading, this is for you guys! Matt, too.

On the way back to Michelle’s, we come across this other bar (I can’t remember the name – see above and following drinks schedule) and decide to have a nightcap. I think it’s about 7pm, but hey, anytime is good for a nightcap, right? We get inside the place, and it turns out it’s open mic night! I’m intrigued, but as we listen to the other performers, I can tell they are all much better than I am, and I definitely haven’t had enough to drink. Couple of guys were playing guitars, they had a beatbox drummer, and a piano, and various people playing various instruments and singing. I order a fantastic Manhattan, then another, and finally Michelle flags down the guy staging all the performers and tells him “Hey, we have a guy here that wants to play guitar and sing”. She’s talking about me, who by now is almost drunk enough to follow through with it. The guy (named Tom – http://www.facebook.com/spikesmicnight) says “Welcome, sure, you want to use my Martin or the Yamaha guitar?” A Martin? Now, I’m hooked! I told him I didn’t necessarily want to follow the guy currently singing, because he was good, so Tom says “No worries, you’re up after Mongo, and everyone sounds good after that”. Relieved, I went back to drinking to bolster my courage. Mongo played his computer through the PA system, and sang weirdly out of tune. Things were absolutely looking up. Then, it was my turn. Tom got me a chair to sit on onstage, handed me the Martin (acoustic, but with a pickup so it could play through the PA), and set the microphone up at singing height. It was about then that my knees started shaking and I couldn’t recall what song I had decided to sing, much less any words! I stumbled my way through Taxi, by Harry Chapin, only missing one verse and switching the order of two others, but no one seemed to care – I think everyone was in a drinking mood that night, thank Gawd! I was actually enjoying myself, and after Taxi, I said I wanted to do another, to which Tom graciously allowed me to do, so I sang I’ve Just Seen a Face, by the Beatles. Strummin’ and yellin’ all the way. Two people actually applauded – well, either that or it was the sound of their drunken faces hitting the bar tables as they passed out. I managed to step down from the stage without falling (another major accomplishment) and re-joined Carol and Michelle, who had moved into this little booth by the stage to egg me on (and tell me the words to the songs I’d forgotten). All in all, a rather so-so musical entertainment debut, although Carol and Michelle were going wild with praise and applause (maybe THEY were the two people I heard clapping). I had fun – AND, I got to play the best guitar I’ve ever played, live, in front of a crowd, with amplification – how good does it get?

Tom setting me up - feeling a little apprehensive...trying to remember the song.

Tom setting me up – feeling a little apprehensive…trying to remember the song.


My solo musical debut.

My solo musical debut.

So the next couple of songs had 4-5 guys playing, and Tom, the Host, got to get his songs heard, which he thoroughly enjoyed singing, and then he says “Hey, these guys want to play House of the Rising Sun, does anyone know the words?” Of course I do! So, for my finale of the night, I sat on the front edge of the stage with a pretty much full band (two guitars and a beatbox) and sang House of the Rising Sun. One of the guys playing earlier (the one I didn’t want to follow) sang harmonies with me, and it was just a blast! Wildest dreams come true!!!

Me and the band - House of the Rising Sun!

Me and the band – House of the Rising Sun!

So, have I ever played ‘Frisco? Yeah, I’ve played ‘Frisco. Summer of ’14.

Dan

WordPress is challenging me……..

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Well for all of you who read Dan’s post on Down the Rabbit Hole from Paso Robles and my post from yesterday on Pacific – you were lucky!  Not sure what happened, but both were pulled back (somehow) and this morning I finally found them residing back in  my drafts!  VERY FRUSTRATED by that and so now – once again I have published them, but in the wrong order (remember when I told you to lower your standards?) 

Many changes that once were in the posts are now gone, and I’m sorry about that as I really liked my revisions that were wiped out when the posts were posted (oh- no, not really, only joking) unpublished! 

But let’s not dwell on the past……………..

Looking down the rabbit hole

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I woke up this morning not necessarily anxious to go out and play some golf, as Carol and I had our share of food and libations last night. However, there is a course about a mile from the park we are staying in (Wine Country RV Park) here in Paso Robles that has a special going for $25 for 9 holes before 8:30. I call to see how crowded it is, and it isn’t, so I talk myself into going out for some fresh morning air and swinging my sticks at little white balls for a bit. It turns out Hunter Ranch at Paso Robles is a very nice course, at least the back nine was very enjoyable, and the price was right (always a plus).

I was playing right along (bogie, bogie, par, bogie) and then I hit hole #13. I was playing from the back tees, and this par 3 hole was about 185 to the pin, with garbage in front of me (undeveloped land – in other words, no fairway), the green framed on both sides with large oak trees limiting my view of the hole, and a large sand trap to the right. Because it was also uphill, I hit my 190-200 yard club, a 3 hybrid. I pulled it to the left, and when I got up to the green I saw that it was way off the left side, down a steep (again, undeveloped) slope in the trees, marked with a red stake. I inched my way down the slope to the ball, only to discover it wasn’t mine. I looked around a bit and found mine a few feet away, but without a clear shot to the green. So, I cheated. I dropped my ball where I had picked up the other one because there I could take a clear (almost) shot up to the green. I hit it, but didn’t make it all the way to the top edge, and it rolled back down into the middle of this large tree with branches hanging down, which meant I’d now have to go into the branches to retrieve my ball. I tried to part the branches, and reached in as far as I could with my wedge and drag the ball towards me. It started coming towards me, and then slipped away from my club, and I watched from my precarious perch inside the tree limbs as my ball slipped down the slope, then took a slight u-turn and rolled directly back into what I’m assuming was a huge (about 6 inches in diameter) Rabbit Hole! I freed myself from the branches, and took a quick look into the hole, but all I could see was blackness, and I wasn’t about to go sticking anything into that hole to try to get my lost ball back! So, at the end of the day (or the end of that hole, at least), I had traded my Pro V1 for a Pinnacle (isn’t that always the case?) and took my first double-bogie (even after cheating) of the day. What a hole!!!

After that, I had a few good shots, but carded a couple of triples before I was done. The only problem I had was I parred #18, a beautiful 400 yard hole with an elevated tee box looking down into a valley with the clubhouse perched up high on the other side overlooking the hole. It made my round worthwhile, and made me think that maybe golf isn’t such a waste of time after all.