Road Tripping: Oxnard CA to Kingman AZ

We got up this morning and had some fruit and an English muffin with Dennis and Judy before packing up and getting back on the road. Sure did have fun with them and they are great hosts! They are leaving on a trip of their own tomorrow, off to NYC and Canada.

Rich’s nephew Jeffrey lives outside of Los Angeles so we met him for an early lunch and loved visiting with him. Rich has a very small family and only two nephews so we need to stay in better touch!  In a weird twist of fate (or something), Rich’s sister’s ex husband Bob is now living in Dallas and CEO of a hospital not far from our house. We have seen him a few times since he moved to our city a couple of months ago and now we are encouraging Jeffrey and his brother Matthew to come see their dad so we can see them too. 🙂

After our meal with Jeff, we got back into the traffic and made our way to Kingman AZ for the night. To continue our saga of bathroom problems, we stopped twice at places where the men’s rooms were out of order, and then pulled into a rest area to switch drivers only to find that the ladies’ room was being cleaned. There was a sign directing women to a one-seater unisex bathroom at the back of the building.  About ten women and two dogs were already lined up when I arrived. It sure did take a long time to go in one by one and eventually I was second in line (with even more people behind me) when the custodian came out and said the main ladies’ room was ready.  After all that waiting, at least we had a very clean and nice smelling bathroom to use. haha

We miss the cool ocean breeze of Oxnard now that we are in hot, hot, hot Arizona. It was 114 degrees when we went through Needles, CA right before crossing the state line. No more sweaters for me!

Look what 66 bucks gets you on Route 66 in Kingman!  This is a very cool retro Ramada Inn where we’re holed up for the night. There is a restaurant on site so we had some dinner and now we’re having a very quiet time, just the two of us, for a change!

Off to Albuquerque tomorrow night and then one more visit in Amarillo before home. It’s been a great trip!

Road Tripping: Kingsburg to Oxnard CA

From Vesta’s we went to Oxnard to visit our friends Judy and Dennis. We met them on our Australia cruise in 2012 and have stayed in touch, seeing them several times since then. Some other friends from the same cruise, Linda and Martin, live near San Diego and also drove up to see us for a couple of days.  Judy and Dennis are great hosts and live right across from the beach so they have a beautiful location. It’s been cool and breezy, which we have loved after all the hot temps in Texas (and even at Vesta’s).

We’ve had great fun with all of them, cooked out the first night and had a birthday cake for Martin, took a nice walk today along the beach and around their condo development, went out to dinner at the waterfront tonight and visited most of the day before saying our goodbyes to Linda and Martin. We are spending one more night and then will head out in the morning.

Road Tripping: El Dorado Hills to Kingsburg CA

After stopping at Rich’s former restaurant, we continued to his sister Vesta’s house, where we spent the next several days.  We enjoyed hanging out and I helped her sort through a bunch of boxes in her spare bedroom, plus we hung photos on the wall and generally rearranged. She and Rich cooked for us and we went to see “Rocketman,” which we all liked a lot.  We went out to dinner a couple of times and the last day she and I went for pedicures. All in all a relaxing and fun time.

Blast from the Past

On our way to Vesta’s we stopped in at The Bar B Q Pit, which is a restaurant that Rich owned from 1990-93.  We had a good lunch and Rich talked with the server, who ended up being the stepdaughter of the guy Rich sold the restaurant to. We missed seeing the owner and another guy that Rich used to work with (who still works there after all these years). It was a little walk down memory lane for Rich.

Slight Detour

Meanwhile, all of the grandkids are back to school so I have to do a little post about them. This year Aidan is a sophomore, Ally and Elle are both in 6th grade (in different towns), Emery is in 4th, Beck is in 3rd, Luke is in 1st, Ada is in Kindergarten and Jack will return to his preschool after Labor Day.  He turns 5 in September but it’s too late for Kindergarten. Love all these sweeties so much and hope they have the best year yet!

Road Tripping: Ashland OR to El Dorado Hills CA

After our lovely breakfast at the Ashland Springs Hotel, we loaded up to make our way to California.  You’re not allowed to bring (most) fresh fruits and vegetables into CA so we had to dump some of our stuff we’d been carrying.  When we got into the car, Rich realized we still had some apples. I saw a woman walking by and asked her if she wanted them. She said “sure!” and we saved the apples from the trash can. On our last road trip to CA, we had forgotten and had to admit we were carrying contraband. The officer at the state line was nice, thanked us for being honest, and took our fruit.  This time we were able to answer the question “no” and breezed right through the checkpoint.

Rich’s cousin Mary Ethel and her husband Roger live in El Dorado Hills. They are the best hosts and always make us feel very welcome in their home. Rich’s sister Vesta was already there so we had a little reunion on the back patio and enjoyed some snacks and drinks before dinner. Then they took us to a little Asian place nearby where we had a huge dinner along with lots of laughs and conversation.

The next day we went on a wine tasting tour, which was a lot of fun.  I drank more wine than I ever do but it was small portions, right??  We also had a little picnic at one winery with meat and cheese and crackers.

The last night we had a great dinner at home and their daughter Susan came by to visit. She is a hoot! She kept us laughing with her funny stories and upbeat personality.  Vesta left early the next morning to get back home for an appointment and we hung around till lunch time. Next stop, Rich’s sister Vesta’s home for a few days.

Road Tripping: Olympia WA to Ashland OR

Originally we had planned to see Rich’s nephew in Portland for lunch, but Rich and Matthew got their wires crossed on the date and he and his girlfriend were not going to be back in town from a trip until later in the day. We thought we could have dinner and maybe spend the night there but we realized we had too long of a trip the next day to get to Rich’s cousin’s on the assigned date.  So we decided to drive as far as Ashland for the night. We had been there once before, years ago, and loved it a lot. This time we didn’t have much of an opportunity to see the sights but we did have a nice pizza dinner down the street from our hotel and had a little walk to and from.  We stayed at the Ashland Springs Hotel, which is older and historic and very cool.  After dinner, we were pretty full but we couldn’t pass up the free cookies/pretzels/lemonade set out by the hotel staff. They also had a very nice breakfast the next morning.

Oh, and we saw some people on their way to Burning Man.  🙂

Road Tripping: Ritzville WA to Olympia WA

Since we left Coeur d’Alene at a reasonable hour, we drove on a little further before stopping for the night.  This was the first of two “hotel toilet troubles” on our trip.  🙂  The toilet would not flush at all but luckily the maintenance guy came up with a mini rotor rooter and took care of the problem right away. We were impressed and I think Rich wants one of those for our house. 🙂  The next morning we set out for Olympia WA.  Our original plans included a stop in Seattle where I have a cousin and we have a few friends. After finding out my cousin would be gone and so would my friend Pipa, we made plans to meet our friends Linda and Ed in Olympia instead.  They live in Sequim and said it didn’t matter where we met so Olympia would put us closer to our next destination.  We met Linda and Ed at a place called Anthony’s right on the water, with beautiful views, and had much fun discussing the state of the world and everything else with our friends.  They are great and we always enjoy our time with them–plus they are nice enough to drive a couple of hours to come see us!  The next morning none of us were in a big hurry so we met at a coffee shop for about an hour before leaving town.

Olympia was also night #2 of bathroom troubles. When we got to our hotel, the toilet wouldn’t flush. The desk clerk came up and plunged it but it didn’t seem to work very well. We left for dinner and when we returned, it was not flushing again. We called him once more (poor guy) and he came up to try to plunge it again.  He and Rich both gave it a good try but no luck.  He didn’t have one of those cool mini rotor rooters like the guy the night before!  🙂  I asked if we could be moved and he said they had no more rooms. I was kinda surprised because I figure even when hotels say they are sold out, there’s SOMETHING.  He insisted there wasn’t.  We asked what we were supposed to do and he said we’d have to use the lobby bathroom. He could move  us tomorrow.  We said we’re not staying tomorrow!  He was very apologetic but also pretty passive and not much of a problem solver. We probably would have packed up and moved to a different hotel if it had been earlier but we were too tired to do anything else. So we stayed, used the lobby bathroom a few times, and went to bed for the night.

When we checked out the next morning, who should be working at the desk but the same clerk. He had gone home at 11 PM and come back for the morning shift. Poor guy.  I asked about a refund for our troubles and he said the most he could give us was $20. I told him that was pretty sad and he kinda looked around on his computer for a minute as if to search for a better solution.  But alas, he paused and said $20 was all he could do.  I asked to speak with a manager and he said they were all in a meeting but I could take a business card, which I did.  Later I emailed the manager from my phone in the car and after awhile he did write, apologized, and gave us half our money back. And said to contact him directly if we’re ever back in Olympia so he can give us a good rate. I somehow doubt we’ll have a reason to be there again but I am keeping his name just the same. LOL

Road Tripping: Bozeman MT to Coeur d’ Alene ID

Rich’s former boss in Alaska, Laurie, lives in Coeur d’Alene; her mom Grace and another former coworker Paul also live with her. Two other former coworkers, Darlene and Chris,  live near by.  We had visited Paul and Grace on our last road trip but Laurie was still in Alaska at the time. Since then, she has retired to Coeur d’Alene so we wanted to stop by and see everyone. We all met at Laurie’s house where she and Darlene had prepared fancy sandwiches, pie and ice cream for a late lunch. Chris brought his young baby Michael, who was the hit of the day, so cute and didn’t mind being passed around!  It was good to see Grace again (though she wouldn’t let me take her photo) and to catch up with all of the “Grand Aleutian” crew.

Road Tripping: Jackson WY to Bozeman MT

We had a shorter drive this day, so that was nice! We had made plans to meet my niece Ellie and her husband Blane at their new restaurant Tanglewood for dinner. First we found my brother’s condo, took in what we needed for a night, and got dressed for dinner.  Our GPS took us on a crazy round about drive to the condo but we finally figured it out. Not sure what was up with that!

Ellie and Blane have only been married for three years and moved to Bozeman soon after their wedding to open a Sidewinders American Grill, the first of which is owned by my bro and sister in law in Jackson.  After the success of the first restaurant, they have recently added Tanglewood and a smaller place called Foxtrot, both in a big market type building across the way from Sidewinders.  They are already doing great as restauranteurs at such a young age! We really enjoyed our time with them and were so glad we rearranged our trip. They are both such nice “kids” and we had good conversations about all kinds of things on top of a stellar meal.  The food was excellent and we stuffed ourselves beyond belief.  Maybe we’ll have to go back another time and see more of Bozeman, too.