The Latest, Greatest, Newfangled Diet Device

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The Cook’s Muzzle

May 9, 2016

San Diego, CA

Introducing…The Cook’s Muzzle. I invented this device last week, when I realized that I consume about a zillion calories, while I’m cooking dinner.

I always seem to start cooking about an hour too late, when I’m way past the point of making rational decisions about anything. And before you know it, I’m eating anything and everything in sight.

And so, I invented this simple device, which you wear while you’re cooking. It makes it impossible to consume unauthorized food products.

See!!! It's impossible to eat while wearing The Cook's Muzzle. No food is getting in here!

See!!! It’s impossible to eat while wearing The Cook’s Muzzle. No food is getting in here!

The Cook’s Muzzle isn’t just for cooking dinner either. You can wear it to prevent mindless gorging anytime you’re around food. My personal favorite….wearing it to parties where they’ll be lots of cakes and cookies. It’s also quite the conversation starter, except that you can’t really conversate while you’re wearing it. But, whatever! I assure you…you will meet interesting people nonetheless.

I “Heart” Shiny Trailers!!!

Following behind one of many shiny trailers

On the way to the Fiesta grounds. Following behind one of many shiny trailers

Day 116        October 3, 2014

Albuquerque, New Mexico

First thing in the morning, we lined up with all the other Airstreams, to caravan into the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta grounds. That in itself, was super fun! Shiny trailer after shiny trailer, parading down the highway, and finally coming to a halt in our designated area next to the balloon launching field.

Morning line-up to start the caravan to the Fiesta grounds

Morning line-up to start the caravan to the Fiesta grounds

Following behind one of many shiny trailers

Following behind one of many shiny trailers

Fiona, in her designated spot for the next 5 days

Fiona, in her designated spot for the next 5 days

There wasn’t a whole lot going on in the afternoon, so after getting all settled in our spot, Mark and I took a bike ride to…well…to somewhere. I don’t really know where we were. We just followed the bike path along the aqueduct, and meandered around until we found a proper coffee shop.

We found a nice coffee shop.....

We found a nice coffee shop…..

And found some nice stout at the coffee shop!

And found some nice stout at the coffee shop!

I love a beer that gives you instructions on what time of day to drink which beverages....

I love a beer that gives you instructions on what time of day to drink which beverages….

The evening was spent hanging out with the other ‘streamers, and making new friends. The crazy fun wouldn’t begin until the morning!

The Well-Connected Travelers…Nothing Like A Good Foodie Hook-Up!!

or...for Nancy & Mark's Space Shuttle

or…for Nancy & Mark’s Space Shuttle

Day 115           October 2, 2014

Santa Fe  to  Albuquerque

Our friends, brother/sister combo, Scott and Piper, own Back Road Pizza in Santa Fe, so that was our main destination for the day. We were treated like royalty. We were given the primo parking spot right out front, and then we feasted on some pretty awesome pizzas!

The infamous & delicious Backroads Pizza!!

The infamous & delicious Back Road Pizza!!

or...for Nancy & Mark's Space Shuttle

or…for Nancy & Mark’s Space Shuttle

Before we left the Santa Fe area, we went to see Las Campanas. Las Campanas is a huge golf/spa/housing resort outside of town. Mark had worked on this project many years ago, and had made a couple trips here while the the project was under construction.

The golf club @ Las Campanas

The golf club @ Las Campanas

The golf club @ Las Campanas

The golf club @ Las Campanas

The golf club @ Las Campanas

The golf club @ Las Campanas

@ the spa @ Las Campanas

@ the spa @ Las Campanas

I love concrete floors!

I love concrete floors!

Gigantic chandelier

Gigantic chandelier in dining room foyer

Beautiful view surrounding Las Campanas

Beautiful view surrounding Las Campanas

After our pizza feast, and architectural pilgrimage, we had only a short drive to get to Albuquerque, where we’d reserved a spot at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta with the Airstream club. The festival didn’t start until the next day, and our meet-up spot for this night, was at the Enchanted Trails RV Park. We were thrilled to arrive in the evening and to find shiny Airstream trailers everywhere throughout the park! This was gonna be a fun time!!

I Want Beer, And I Want It NOW!!!

Great choice for dinner!

Great choice for dinner!

Day 111            September 28, 2014

Little Rock, Arkansas  to  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

For a minute, I thought we’d time travelled back to the dark ages. We tried to buy a 6-pack of beer to restock our little fridge. But guess what?! The great state of Arkansas doesn’t sell alcohol on Sundays. WTF??? And so, we left Arkansas.

Leaving Arkansas. No beer, no stay.

Leaving Arkansas. No beer, no stay.

There seemed to be an unusually large number of motorcycles also heading west on I-40. I talked to a couple of the bikers at a rest stop, and found out they were all driving home after attending a huge bike rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And I’m guessing they were leaving on a Sunday ‘cause they couldn’t buy any freakin’ beer!

All the bikers leaving Arkansas, in search of beer..

All the bikers leaving Arkansas, in search of beer..

Onward to Oklahoma City. There’s a funny story about Oklahoma City. A story that happened many years ago when we were driving across the country to move to California. I’m not gonna tell you the story, as it’s quite long, but it involved Mark getting locked outside our friend’s house in the middle of the night. Just a little story that we laugh about to this day…..well, I laugh about it.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City

I knew it’d be depressing, but, we went to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial. You know, the one that honors the victims of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building. It was depressing to see, but it was also very beautiful, and I’m glad we went to see it.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

The museum @ Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Personal mementos on the fence @ Oklahoma City National Memorial

Personal mementos on the fence @ Oklahoma City National Memorial

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After the somberness of the memorial, we needed a little pick-me-up, so we headed to the Bricktown district for some margaritas and beers. We had the most delicious dinner at Bricktown Brewery…meatloaf, fried okra and black eyed peas…totally gourmet…totally yummy!! And did I mention the awesome stout that went along with it?

Looking for margaritas in Bricktown

Looking for margaritas in Bricktown

Bricktown district

Bricktown district

Great choice for dinner!

Great choice for dinner!

Photo does not do this justice. It tasted freakin' awesomely gourmet!!

Photo does not do this justice. It tasted freakin’ awesomely gourmet!!

We docked for the night at Council Road RV Park.

Leaving the city...

Leaving the city…

Is “The South” Making Me Fat?! I’ve Yet To Meet A Food I Didn’t Like!

Just like the sign says, it's "World Famous"

Memphis, Tennessee

Day 109      September 26, 2014

West Memphis, Arkansas   to   Little Rock, Arkansas

As soon as the sun rose, we got out of bed to watch the barges navigate up and down the Mississippi River. It was a classic American scene, and amused us for over an hour. But we couldn’t just sit there all day, ‘cause we were going to Memphis. The real Memphis. Memphis, Tennessee. Not the fake Memphis, West Memphis, Arkansas, where the RV park was.

Sunrise, as seen through the condensation on the Space Shuttle windshield

Sunrise, as seen through the condensation on the Space Shuttle windshield

River barges!

River barges!

Morning on the river

Morning on the river

Sun coming up on the river

And…here comes another barge

Such a great location for an RV park!

Such a great location for an RV park!

Graphic detail of concrete

Graphic detail of concrete

Memphis, well, especially the Beale Street area, was touristy, but fun!  And the people there were so nice. Trixie and Dax were especially popular with the peeps in Memphis, and were lavished with attention everywhere we went.

Beale Street

Beale Street

Beale Street

Beale Street

Photo excursion on Beale Street

Photo excursion on Beale Street

Just like the sign says, it's "World Famous"

Just like the sign says, it’s “World Famous”

Fun streetscape and signage

Fun streetscape and signage

Fun streetscape and signage

Fun streetscape and signage

Colorful buildings and signs

Colorful buildings and signs

Tribute to W.C. Handy

Tribute to W.C. Handy

Just like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but different

Just like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but different

We walked around and took lots of photos, bought a couple more t-shirts, and had lunch at the Majestic Grille. Yet another awesome meal. We were gonna be so spoiled by all the great food we’d been eating.

More fun with neon signs

More fun with neon signs

The colors and architecture of Beale Street

The colors and architecture of Beale Street

Beale Street

Beale Street

Always look up....the ceiling in the Majestic Grille restaurant

Always look up….the ceiling in the Majestic Grille restaurant

Amazing ahi salad!!

Amazing ahi salad!!

Streetscape detail

Streetscape detail

Love these flags!

Love these flags!

Things we did NOT do in Memphis:  We didn’t go to Graceland ‘cause we’ve been there before. And we didn’t go on a tour of the Gibson Guitar factory ‘cause we didn’t have time to stick around town. If I owned a Gibson, we’d have made the time, but, I own a Martin, so we skipped it.

Tempting....the Gibson guitar factory

Tempting….the Gibson guitar factory

Our next stop would be Little Rock, Arkansas, where we checked into the Downtown Riverside RV Park. The place was full, but they gave us a spot in the overflow section. Perfect! You couldn’t beat the location of this place. It really pretty much was “downtown.”

Hello again, Arkansas

Hello again, Arkansas

As soon as we were settled into our spot, we leashed up the dogs and went on a big outing. We walked across the pedestrian bridge, which was right next to the RV park, and which landed us right at the Clinton Library. The library was even more beautiful and cool looking in person!

Pedestrian bridge by our RV park

Pedestrian bridge by our RV park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not just any old pedestrian bridge....the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge!

Not just any old pedestrian bridge….the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge!

Downtown Little Rock in the distance

Downtown Little Rock in the distance

Our first look at the Clinton Presidential Library!

Our first look at the Clinton Presidential Library!

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Weird red things in the fountain…??? Chihuly’s??

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

So many graphic angles to shoot!

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Mark and Dax, sniffing around the Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Near the Clinton Presidential Library, beautiful public art

Near the Clinton Presidential Library, beautiful public art

We continued our walk into town, and settled on having dinner at Cache, where we filled up on delicious tuna tacos and topped that off with whiskey bread pudding. The pups weren’t allowed on the outdoor patio, so we had to tie them to the railing next to us and keep our eyes on them to keep ‘em from getting into scuffles with other doggies walking by.

Part of our dinner discussion surrounded one topic. We’d found out that there was a big charity cycling tour the next day, The Big Dam Bridge ride. And even though we were still on deadline to get to Albuquerque, it was just so tempting to stay in Little Rock and do this ride in the morning.

After dinner, we walked all the way down to the convention center, where the cycling tour registration and registration packet pick-up was being held…just to check it out. And, of course, we ended up signing up for the ride! Our timing was just too perfect to pass up the opportunity!

By time we walked all the way back to the Space Shuttle, it was late and dark out. We were tired too, but instead of going to sleep, we spent the next hour scrambling to find where we’d packed our cycling clothes and helmets. Couldn’t find the helmets, and finally gave up looking and just went to bed. We’d have to wait until the morning to continue our search.

Another Day, Another Ticket-Free Parking Violation

More chocolate goodies!

Chocolate heaven in Knoxville, TN!

Day 107         September 24, 2014

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee  to Gadsden, Alabama

On our way out of Pigeon Forge,  we went to see if we could get a peek at Dollywood. I mean, a peek from the outside, without paying to go inside. All we could find was the entry to a parking lot. I guess the likes of cheapskates like us weren’t welcome there, so we left.

Our actual first stop would be in downtown Knoxville, where we lucked into the most perfect parking space. Well, it wasn’t perfectly perfect, as it was in a 30 minute zone, but that had never stopped us before. I’m not condoning breaking the law or anything, but, when you have 27’ of vehicle to park, you often just take what you find, and take your chances. And hey, in almost four months, we’d only gotten busted once, so, whatever. We could afford another $45 parking ticket, so we took our chances.

So, the risk of getting a parking ticket was well worth the goodies that we found in Knoxville. We were parked right by the pedestrian mall, right out front of an amazing coffee and chocolate shop, right down the block from some really cool boutique shops.

First we hit the coffee and chocolate shop, appropriately named, “Coffee & Chocolate. ” Among other chocolatey things, we had a dark chocolate truffle that was to die for! The bacon truffle, uh, not as great, but still pretty darn good!

@ Coffee & Chocolate

@ Coffee & Chocolate

More chocolate goodies!

Deliciousness!

Yep, tried one of these jalapeno ones too!

Yep, tried one of these jalapeno ones too!

After checking out a few of the small artistic boutiques, we took a walk through the pedestrian mall, where we discovered the mid-day farmer’s market. And within the farmer’s market, we discovered the Good Golly Tamale food cart. 

We bought a few tamales to share…the “Classic,” the “Calabacitas,” and the “Vegan Soul.’ OMG! OMG! Best tamales we’ve ever had, and believe me, living in Southern California for so many years, we’ve eaten a lot of tamales. But no tamale I’ve ever devoured, could hold a candle to the tamales from Good Golly Tamale!!

How did tamales this divine end up in Knoxville, Tennessee??!! No offense to Knoxville. Knoxville seemed like a really great city. It’s just not the city, state, or region of the US of A that one would expect to find spectacular tamales!

Now the trifecta of our little downtown visit, was finding the coolest t-shirt shop, “Nothing Too Fancy.” Mark and I both love and adore, and live in, t-shirts, so this place was a bonanza discovery for us. Their t-shirts were all super soft, with awesome graphics by local graphic designers. It took a lot of self-control, but we walked out of there with only two t’s for Mark, and one for me. Seriously, I could have bought about 10 t-shirts, but I knew I didn’t really “need” them. Damn. I’m way too practical.

Having overstayed our 30 minute parking by at least an hour, we got back in the Space Shuttle and went on our way. No parking ticket, by the way. (smiley face emoticon!)

We stopped in Chattanooga to have a quick look around. Sucked in by the billboard advertisements, we purchased tickets to ride the Incline Railway to the top of Lookout Mountain. Glad we did! It was pretty cool riding up (and down) the 72.7% grade in this open-air rail car of sorts.

On the Incline Railway

On the Incline Railway

The view down, from inside the rail car

The view down, from inside the rail car

Nice views from the top of Lookout Mountain

Nice views from the top of Lookout Mountain

An old fort, turned park.

An old fort, turned park.

The view from the fort/park

The view from the fort/park

The view from the fort/park

The view from the fort/park

The view from the fort/park

The view from the fort/park

Statue in the fort/park

Civil War memoria in the fort/park

Downtown Chattanooga

World of Beer in downtown Chattanooga

Climbing wall on the exterior of this building in downtown Chattanooga

Climbing wall on the exterior of this building in downtown Chattanooga

On our way out of town, we took Rt 59 south, to Gadsden, Alabama, where we spent the night at the River Country Campground. All in all, we’d had another great day…coffee, chocolate, tamales, t-shirts, railway rides…pretty much a perfect day!

Free Food At The Mercedes Benz Dealer!!!

@ KOA in Townsend, Tennessee

@ KOA in Townsend, Tennessee

Day 105       September 22, 2014

Wytheville, Virginia  to  Townsend, Tennessee

The morning, once again, went to the dogs. Our campground had a huge fenced in doggie play area. Trixie and Dax had it all to themselves. Oh the joys of chasing a tennis ball! There was a lot of driving to be done today, so after doggie play time, we got on the road.

Heading south on Rt 81

Heading south on Rt 81

Heading south on Rt 81

Hello Tennessee!

The Space Shuttle was due for a scheduled service appointment. I had found a Mercedes Benz dealer in Knoxville, Tennessee that was able to do our service in the afternoon, so Knoxville was our target.

The peeps at the dealership were super nice, and they had a finely stocked customer lounge. While Fiona was getting serviced, I feasted on freebies…mini Peppermint Patties, cookies, coffee, other miscellaneous candies. They also had a fabulous wifi connection, so I was able to get a few blog posts up and running. And, as usual, Trixie and Dax got lots and lots of attention from the employees and from the other customers.

As far as service appointments go, this was a pretty nice one! The only disappointment was that, ‘cause the service was completed so late in the work day, they didn’t have time to give Fiona a bath. Damn!

We docked for the night at the KOA in Townsend, Tennessee, right next to the Great Smoky Mountains. We’d have to wait until the next day to have a look around!

@ KOA in Townsend, Tennessee

@ KOA in Townsend, Tennessee

Nice campsite, right next to the river

Nice campsite, right next to the river

Same Political Crap, Different Country

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal, Ottawa

Day 100        September 17, 2014

Montreal, Quebec  to  Ottawa, Ontario

Canada

When we saw the awful rush hour traffic heading into Montreal in the morning, we made the last-minute decision to not go back into the city. Instead, we pointed the Space Shuttle west, and drove to Ottawa.

We hadn’t heard much of anything about Ottawa, but we figured since it is the capital of all of Canada, we were obligated to stop there. Passing it by would be like driving by Washington DC and not stopping.

Ottawa turned out to be a fantastic city! The only disappointment was finding out that the Royal Canadian Mint had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Junior Mints! WTF? Completely misleading.

Ottawa

Ottawa

The US Embassy building

The cool and hip US Embassy building

The US Embassy building

The US Embassy building

Locks on the Rideau Canal. Downtown Ottawa

Locks on the Rideau Canal. Downtown Ottawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal

The back of some fancy hotel

The back of a fancy hotel. Looks almost like Parliament!

The Canadian Parliament buildings were pretty cool, as was the fact that we walked right into a political rally on the front steps. The Ukrainian President was speaking at the rally, and from what we could figure out, he was asking the Canadians for weapons and money. So, what’s new? Same old political bull shit so matter where you go!

Some action on the front steps of Parliament!

Parliament!

Political rally in front of Parliament

Political rally in front of Parliament

The flag of Ukraine

The flag of Ukraine

Parliament

Parliament

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parliament

Parliament

Parliament

Strolling by Parliament

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Parliament. This old stuff is quite pretty!

Due to the political rally on the front steps, the Parliament building was closed for tours. That’d have to wait until the next day.

At the recommendation of a local Ottawanonian, we completed our day with dinner at The Black-Thorn Cafe. Delicious beers and food!

Libations @ The Black-Thorn Cafe

Libations @ The Black-Thorn Cafe

The Black-Thorn Cafe

The Black-Thorn Cafe

It had started raining, so after dinner we took just a short stroll around the neighborhood, and then drove off to find a campground for the night.

Another Day, Another Brewery? Maybe, Maybe Not!

Following Mark and Dax on the hike up to Signal Hill

Following Mark and Dax on the hike up to Signal Hill

Day 88     September 5, 2014

St. John’s, Newfoundland

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Since arriving in St. John’s the day before, we’d already sampled some local Quidi Vidi beers. However, we hadn’t yet actually visited the nearby village of Quidi Vidi, or the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company. That was Priority #1.

Had we been warned, we’d have parked outside of the little village and walked the rest of the way. But, we hadn’t been warned, and we drove right into the village. Not so smart. The streets were super narrow, winding, and hilly. A test of our driving skills and of our patience. We almost got stuck at the end of a street with almost no way to turn around….almost.

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi

We checked out the Quidi Vidi brewery, hoping to get a tour and have lunch. Unfortunately though, they don’t serve food. Even though it’d mean missing the brewery tour, we were way too hungry to stick around, so we moved on.

We found lunch and beers at the Inn of Olde. And by “lunch,” I mean, soup, ‘cause that’s all they served. Not one of our finer meals, but you couldn’t beat the atmosphere. This place was kind of a trippy pub with all kinds of crazy crap and memorabilia hanging  on every square inch of the ceiling and walls.

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Front door to Inn of Olde

Mark & his beer @ Inn of Olde

Mark  @ Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Inn of Olde

Old church that's now a private residence. Quidi Vidi

Old church that’s now a private residence. Quidi Vidi

After a good walk-a-bout the village, and satisfied that we’d “done” Quidi Vidi, we left and drove to the Johnson Geo Centre. The Geo Centre was a cool place. It’s basically a museum built underground, dedicated to geology. Hard to believe, since I almost failed geology 101 in college, but, I loved this place! There were movies, and interactive exhibits, and, just fun shit!

Johnson Geo Centre

Johnson Geo Centre

When the centre closed for the day, we retrieved the pups from the space shuttle, and went for a little walk across the street. But first we had to pose the pups in front of the big dog statues in front of the Geo Centre. One of the statues was a Newfoundland dog, and the other statue was a Labrador Retriever. We hadn’t thought about this before, but this far away Province had two namesake dogs! Impressive!

The Newfie, the Lab, the Trixie, and the Dax

The Newfie, the Lab, the Trixie, and the Dax

What started out as a short dog walk, turned into an epic hike. We had inadvertently found ourselves on this cool hiking path that wound around a little village by the harbor, around the sometimes precarious hillside, and all the way up the backside and up to Signal Hill. It was magnificent!!

Beginning of our epic hike

Beginning of our epic hike

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

On the hike up to Signal Hill

Following Mark and Dax on the hike up to Signal Hill

Following Mark and Dax on the hike up to Signal Hill

Looking back at the path we'd hiked up on.

Looking back at the path we’d hiked up on.

We finished off the day with dinner at Tavola, on Water Street. Sweet potato soup, salad, ravioli, and some sissy pink lemonade spritzers that were oh so delicious! Great end to a great day!

Raviolis @ Tavola

Ravioli @ Tavola

Pink Lemonade Spritzers. Not just for sissies!

Pink Lemonade Spritzers. Not just for sissies!

Cape Breton: Booze, Beer, Beauty (And Fiddlers!)

@ Inverness Campground

@ Inverness Campground

Day 75   August 23, 2014    Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Another day, another morning dog walk. It rained like cats and dogs in the middle of the night, but the morning was sunny and beautiful. Perfect celestial timing.

@ Hyclass Campground

@ Hyclass Campground

We got an unusually early start on the drive up to Cape Breton. Good thing, ‘cause we arrived in Judique at the Celtic Music Interpretive Center just in time for the lunch time Ceilidh.

Celtic Music Interpretive Center

Celtic Music Interpretive Center

If you’re a fan of traditional music, this place is a “must” on your travels. We ate lunch while listening to the local, but world-class fiddle/piano duo, spent a good amount of time in the museum learning about the local music and musicians, took a mini video celtic dance lesson, bought celtic bracelets, and bought some amazing cd’s by Cape Breton musicians (world-famous Natalie MacMaster, and a group called Coig).

A typical Cape Breton combo...fiddle & piano.

A typical Cape Breton combo…fiddle & piano.

Lunch. Fish tacos. Note to self...when you're not in California, do not order fish tacos. Other folks just don't know how to do them right.

Lunch. Fish tacos. Note to self…when you’re not in California, do not order fish tacos. Other folks just don’t know how to do them right.

Fun facts about Cape Breton fiddle music!

Fun facts about Cape Breton fiddle music!

Our dance teacher. We were rockin' it!

Our dance teacher. We were rockin’ it!

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the Mark & the doggies

Post-lunch hike with the Mark & the doggies

On the drive north, we took a side road, which turned out to be a whole other adventure. The pavement eventually ended and we were stuck on a long, windy rough dirt and gravel road as it started to downpour. At some point, we decided we were too far in to turn back, so we just kept going.

Stuck on the long, winding, rough road

Stuck on the long, winding, rough road

Fiona stops to pose for a portrait

Fiona stops to pose for a portrait

The reward was beautiful views

The reward was beautiful views

Eventually we met up with the main paved road, and made our way to Mabou and to the famous Red Shoe Pub. We’d already eaten lunch at the Celtic Music Interpretive Center, but we ate lunch again anyway because we’d heard so much about this place. The extra calories were worth it, as we had what may have been the best meal so far on the whole trip! This place is famous for it’s live local music too, but unfortunately for us, that all takes place in the evenings. Food, beer, and ambience would have to do.

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

The Red Shoe Pub, in Mabou

Great food!

Great food!

Great beer!

Great beer!

Now you know, we’re not afraid to eat two lunches in one day. Well, we’re also not afraid to drink at more than one sitting in a day. And so, up the road a bit, we had to make a stop at the Glenora Distillery in Glenville. Glenora Distillers is one of only two single malt Scottish-style distilleries in all of Canada. We got the tour. We got the free samples. We were happy!

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery. They claim it's that pristine water running through the property that makes their potion so magical.

Glenora Disillery. They claim it’s that pristine water running through the property that makes their potion so magical.

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery

Glenora Disillery

@ Glenora Disillery. Sampling more product...priceless, but not free!

@ Glenora Disillery. Sampling more product…priceless, but not free!

$25 CDN for this little baby

$25 CDN for this little baby

We stopped for the night up the road in Inverness, at the Inverness Campground. The campground was on the most gorgeous site, perched up on the gorgeous ocean bluffs. We hiked down to the beach with the dogs and let them have a much-needed off-leash run. OMG!! You’ve never seen such joy! Running, digging in the sand…doggie heaven! A great ending to a great day.

@ Inverness Campground

@ Inverness Campground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@ Inverness Campground

@ Inverness Campground

Trixie & Dax running wild on the beach @ The beach @ @ Inverness Campground

Trixie & Dax running wild on the beach @ Inverness Campground

 

 

 

 

The beach @ @ Inverness Campground

The beach @ @ Inverness Campground

Trixie & Dax running faster than the speed of light!

Trixie & Dax running faster than the speed of light!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dax

Dax

Trixie

Trixie

One Perfect Day In Nova Scotia…Nude Beaches, Ice Cream & Beer! Part 1

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Day 72    August 20   Part 1    Nova Scotia, Canada

Prior to checking out of The Ovens campground near Lunenburg, we took a hike along the coastal path. It was a nice easy hike, and we were rewarded with great views of the rocky coastline, the caves (the “ovens”), and the crystal clear water.

Our campsite @ The Ovens

Our campsite @ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

On the hiking trail @ The Ovens

On the hiking trail @ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

Mark, going downstairs @ The Ovens

Mark, going downstairs @ The Ovens

Cool geology @ The Ovens

Cool geology @ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

@ The Ovens

Nice campground pool @ The Ovens

Nice campground pool @ The Ovens

Dog-tired after her hike with us @ The Ovens

Trixie. Dog-tired after her hike with us @ The Ovens

When we left the campground, we were drawn to follow the road sign that clearly stated “No Exit.”  Ends up there was no exit, but there was more beauty, nice houses, and a nude beach (or so said the sign!). We turned around when the pavement ended, and headed back on the main road.

On the dead end road. Cute mailbox.

On the dead end road. Cute mailbox.

And here it is...the nude beach?!! Canadians are funny!

And here it is…the nude beach?!! Canadians are funny! Sign says, “Nude Beach, No Photography”

Our next planned stop would be in this very cool little fishing town, Chester. But, we discovered that in tiny, narrow little Chester, there is no place to park an RV, so we just kept on driving right on out of Chester.

Look what we found on our way out of Chester! An old Airstream trailer that’d been turned into a fish and chips food truck! Of course, we stopped and had fish and chips. And we bought some strawberries from the mother & daughter that were selling fruit and veggies out of the back of their car.

Fish and Chips from a cool old Airstream.

Fish and Chips from a cool old Airstream.

Fish and Chips from a cool old Airstream.

Fish and Chips from a cool old Airstream.

Mark, ordering lunch.

Mark, ordering lunch.

Fruit, veggie, and flower stand next to the fish and chips trailer.

Fruit, veggie, and flower stand next to the fish and chips trailer.

Back on the road, we made our way towards Peggy’s Cove. On the way to Peggy’s Cove, we discovered the most amazing memorial site for the crash of Swissair Flight 111.

Swissair Flight 111 crashed off the coast of Peggy’s Cove on September 2, 1998. This was probably the most beautiful and profound memorial I’ve ever seen, paying tribute not only to those who perished in the crash, but to the local residents who welcomed and housed the victims’ families during the recovery effort.

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial

The crash site memorial

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

The crash site memorial grounds

Onward, to Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Cove turned out to be both beautiful, and completely overrun by tourists. Still, I’d recommend stopping there to have a look around. And the crowds did thin out later in the day, which was nice.

We had a climb on the rocks by the lighthouse, and then walked around to look in some of the art galleries. I bought a cool necklace at one of the little galleries, made special by the fact that I actually got to meet the artist that made it.

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Art gallery where I bought my necklace

Art gallery where I bought my necklace

Mark, as a pirate, @ Peggy's Cove

Mark, as a pirate, @ Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy’s Cove

There is one more compelling reason to visit Peggy’s Cove….the ice cream at Dee Dee’s. It’s just a little walk-up shop, serving deliciousness! I got a two-scooper….one scoop of Haskap (a local berry), and one scoop of spicy Mexican Chocolate. Probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had!

Since we knew it would be impossible to top the ice cream experience at Peggy’s Cove, we left town. Next stop, Halifax, the capitol of Nova Scotia.

How I Prevented The American vs Canadian War

Mark, getting a few last shots off before the rain started

Mark,  rockin’ the Modern Times Beer sweatshirt as we head to Nova Scotia

Day 70    August 18    Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia, Canada

What a mess!! We did it again. Left our chairs and stuff outside all night. And it rained. Once again, everything was soaked. Still, such beginners!!!

Spent the morning doing laundry. Almost got in a fight with a French Canadian dude who was pissed that I was using both of the washing machines. In the name of international relations, I acquiesced and crammed all of my laundry into one machine….the ultimate sacrifice. War was averted. You Canadians can thank me by sending me Canadian swag.

With everything clean, and dry, we set off for the ferry terminal, and caught the ferry to Nova Scotia. Turned out it was a good day to travel, as it ended up raining most of the day.

Low tide at the PEI ferry terminal

Low tide at the PEI ferry terminal

In line to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia

In line to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia

The space shuttle, all tucked in on the ferry to Nova Scotia

The space shuttle, all tucked in on the ferry to Nova Scotia

Last look at PEI

Last look at PEI

 

 

 

The ferry boat...

The ferry boat…

Goodbye, PEI

Goodbye, PEI

Goodbye, PEI

Goodbye, PEI

Ahoy...thar's Nova Scotia

Ahoy…thar’s Nova Scotia

Mark, getting a few last shots off before the rain started

Mark, capturing the first site of Nova Scotia

Once we landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia, we headed south. When the rain finally stopped, we paused for a couple photo ops in Mahone Bay, and then made our way to Lunenburg for the night.

Crossing the bridge to Halifax.

Crossing the bridge to Halifax.

Mahone Bay

Mahone Bay

We stayed at the Lunenburg Board of Trade Campground, which was not so much a campground as it was a gravel parking lot. However, the upside was two-fold. First, the “campground” was virtually right in Lunenburg, so, location, location, location! Second, we met a hilarious couple, Steve and Janet, from Toronto who were in Lunenburg for a wedding. Steve and Janet invited us over to their motorhome for dinner. Not only did they provide the best burgers I’ve ever had, but they also provided non-stop pee-in-your-pants humor all evening long! They were funny as hell, and we had a great time!

Good Thing Our Brains Are Attached…..Things We Left Behind

@ East Point Lighthouse

What is this sign trying to tell me? @ East Point Lighthouse

Day 68   August 16   Prince Edward Island, Canada

Neither of us are usually super scatter-brained, but apparently the potential is there. Seems we left a few things behind in Canada. First we left behind, at a campground, our floor mat. And today, we drove off without our bike lock. What would be next…our brains? I guess it wouldn’t be a great loss, since we didn’t seem to be using them all the time anyways.

We enjoyed a nice morning/afternoon walk-a-bout in Charlottetown, PEI. There’s lots to do and see around this quaint small city. We visited, and by “visited” I mean “walked past” some interesting shops and restaurants, churches, art galleries, and stuff like that. When you’re visiting a city or town with your dogs in tow, often times, you just have to enjoy “walking past” stuff.

Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI

Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI

Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown, PEI

Art Gallery in Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown

Downtown Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Pho Hung, in Charlottetown.  Perhaps the cousin of Low Hung.

Pho Hung, in Charlottetown. Perhaps the cousin of Low Hung.

Charlottetown

Charlottetown

A big Basilica in Charlottetown

A big Basilica in Charlottetown

Charlottetown

Celebrating 150 years of Confederation in Charlottetown, the birthplace of Canada.

After grabbing some fish and chips for lunch, which I must say, was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had (Not saying much, since I only eat fish and chips about once every 10 years or so. However, it was super tasty!!), we headed up Route 2 to explore the sites along the East Coastal Drive.

Lunch stop in Charlottetown

Lunch stop in Charlottetown

Obligatory cool church and graveyard on the East Coastal Drive.

Obligatory cool church and graveyard on the East Coastal Drive.

The hi-light of the day had to be discovering Greenwich National Park. (This is also the place where we ditched…uh, forgot/left behind, our bike lock).We took a little hike, and then returned to the space shuttle to grab our bikes and ride down to the beach, to the Greenwich Dunes. The scenery was gorgeous!

Hiking instructions at Greenwich National Park

Hiking instructions at Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Look that way......

Look that way……

Portrait of our shoes

Portrait of our shoes

And we reached the ocean. Greenwich National Park

And we reached the ocean. Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Man (Mark) and bike. Greenwich National Park

Man (Mark) and bike. Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Greenwich National Park

Next stop…the end of the world. We knew it, ‘cause the sign said so. East Point Lighthouse. This place had it all….great views, funny signs, gift shop with good music cd’s, and a cafe with delicious ice cream.

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

Roadside scenery on the East Coastal Drive

End of The World @ East Point Lighthouse

End of The World @ East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

East Point Lighthouse

Great view of the super red rocky coast  @ East Point Lighthouse

Great view of the super red rocky coast @ East Point Lighthouse

End of the road @ East Point Lighthouse

End of the road @ East Point Lighthouse

@ East Point Lighthouse

I guess this means “caution” @ East Point Lighthouse

Continuing on the East Coastal Drive, we stopped for dinner at the Blue Fin, in Souris. The meal started out wonderfully, with an order of mussels, and seafood chowder. And the meal ended bizarrely, as we sampled a side order of Poutine.

Mark had insisted we give this national dish a second chance, so, we did. It was just as awful the second time. Poutine…..French Fries, covered in cheese and gravy…yuck!! I fail to see the appeal of this food.  How and why is this the national dish of Canada? Come on Canada, I know you can do better than this!

Souris

Souris

Dinner time in Souris

Dinner time in Souris

Old church in Souris

Old church in Souris

After dinner, awesome sunset in Souris

After dinner, awesome sunset in Souris

We stopped for the night at Red Point Provincial Park Campground. Really nice campground, with ocean views! Hard to beat! Loving life!

Clean Underwear, Lobster & Ice Cream!

Bar Harbor Lobster Pound

Bar Harbor Lobster Pound

Day 62     August 10

August 10th was a slow day. We did laundry, hung out at the pool while waiting for our laundry, sorted laundry and put laundry away. We also walked the dogs and cooked lunch. Like I said, it was a slow day.

Mark's magical lunch concoction

Mark’s magical lunch concoction

Soaking in the sun while waiting for our laundry

Soaking in the sun while waiting for our laundry

August 10th was also a delightful day for food. We hung low and cooked up a nice lunch for ourselves at our campsite. But dinner time was another story. We walked across the street to the Bar Harbor Lobster Pound and got us a feast!

Bar Harbor Lobster Pound

Bar Harbor Lobster Pound

Them lobsters are in there somewheres!

Them lobsters are in there somewheres!

Lobster roll, crab cakes, corn on the cob, cole slaw, and two pieces of blueberry pie! And then for dessert (gasp!!), we walked down the street and got us a couple of ginormous ice ream cones, each with double scoops.

Too full to do anything else this evening, we relaxed around our campfire and played music. A perfect lazy day!

Our beautiful campfire

Our beautiful campfire

Don’t Mess With The Fritos, and other horror stories…

Another corn field?!

Another corn field?!

Day 30    July 9

Dax and Trixie went off to a local St. Charles dog groomer today. They were past due for baths and haircuts, and the space shuttle was starting to get just a hint of dogginess to it.

With the pups away, Mark and I were free to play for a couple hours, so we went for a bike ride on the Katy Trail.  I noticed that nobody on this trail says hello to fellow cyclists. Quite a contrast to riding on the bike trail in Boise, Idaho, where everyone said hello to the point of annoyance! After getting dissed by at least 10 other cyclists, I decided to embrace the fact that I didn’t have to be social, and I could just enjoy my ride.

In the early afternoon, after picking up the pups, we went to the service appointment we’d made at Mercedes Benz of St. Charles. Nothing was wrong, we were just due for our “Service A,” which was basically an oil change. The guys there took good care of us, and we enjoyed having a good internet connection for a couple hours.

We hit the road again, with a bag of Chili Fritos in our laps. Didn’t really dig those so much. You shouldn’t mess with Fritos. There’s just no justification or need to mess with regular Fritos. If you need some flavored junky chip snacks, try Doritos. They come in all kinds of flavors. But leave the Fritos alone!

Crossing another state line. Always thrilling. Never boring!

Crossing another state line. Always thrilling. Never boring!

Mark said we were heading to Carbondale, Illinois. I told him I didn’t want to go there. He told me that when he mentioned it before, that I’d said, “OK.”  No, I had to set him straight.

“I did not! I said, I don’t want to freakin’ go to Carbondale. That’s me. Saying “OK,” that’s so not me. I would never just say “OK.” But saying F-No…that would have been me”

And so it went. And so did we…to Carbondale, via Rt 3, The Great River Road. We never saw a river though. Just lots of nice countryside and corn fields and cows.

Turn left! Turn Left!

Turn left! Turn Left!

I spotted some beautiful white cows in a field, and I wondered…If I was going to buy a couple cows, would I buy two white ones, two black ones, or one of each? Don’t even get me started about the multi-colored ones.

As we drove, a song came on the radio that I decided was the perfect travel song. Don’t know who sang it or what it was called, but the words were, “Roll in to town, Step off the bus, Wipe off the “where you came from” dust.” Perfect!

And, we rolled right into Carbondale, Illinois and then parked ourselves for the night at the Crab Orchard Campground.

Crab Orchard Campground

Crab Orchard Campground

Crab Orchard Campground

Crab Orchard Campground

Jello…A Gateway Drug

IMG_1676

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Jello. That’s normal, right?

 

Swimming makes me think about Jello, and I’ve been swimming a bunch in the last couple of weeks. And now, every time I think about our RV, I think about Jello.

 

And because I’ve been thinking so much about Jello, I’ve really had lots of time to analyze a lot of stuff about it, and about its role in my life. And I have come to the conclusion that Jello is one of those so called “gateway drugs!”

 

In the Beginning There Was Jello

When I was a kid, I was a competitive swimmer. Way back then, it was a fairly normal practice for us kids to bring small boxes of jello to our swim meets, and to actually eat the stuff right out of the box. The “science” behind this, was that the sugar would give us energy. True, in the most basic sense. Just needed another 20 years to evolve into a sports nutrition/energy plan that actually worked!

 

Anyway, this is how it went down….first you’d lick your index finger, then stick it into the open package of Jello. The jello granules would stick to your finger, and then you’d lick the sugary stuff off of your finger. And then you’d repeat the process.

 

Did I mention that you’d share your package with 2-3 of your swim buddies? Yep. Double dipping at its best. Perfectly acceptable in the 1960’s and 1970’s!

 

And so began my long-time like of Jello. Not LOVE. Just LIKE. Since my competitive swim days, I believe I’ve had a normal relationship, and normal consumption rate, of Jello.

 

Then There Was Booze

Right around Halloween time in 2013, is when my relationship with Jello changed dramatically. At a Halloween party, I was reintroduced to Jello shots. These were not the run-of-the-mill college Jello shots. These were sophisticated grown-up Jello shots. More refined, more delicious than I remember them ever being back in the day.

 

And Now There Is The Airstream

I’ve spent the past 5 months obsessing about those Jello shots from Halloween. Can’t get them out of my mind. And then I had one heck of a bang-up idea.

 

I’ve decided to make Jello shots to take with us on our RV trips! It’s gonna be, like, my gimmick…my thing…an ice-breaker at campgrounds….my little party on wheels. This is gonna be great fun!!!

 

I just bought some jello and some booze so I can do some recipe testing. Once I make a batch, I’ll have to see how many I can store in the tiny RV fridge. I do want to leave  room in there for some food.

 

Now you can see why I’ve had Jello on the brain lately. Swimming = thoughts about Jello. RV road trips = thoughts about Jello.

 

If you run into us on the road, come over, say hello, get a couple Jello shots. We are actually only lite drinkers/shooters, so these are really meant to be shared with our fellow campers, glampers, and travelers!

 

So Party On, and Long Live Jello!

 

Contemplating Life As A Peppermint Pattie

Image

I decided that I want to be reincarnated as a Peppermint Pattie. I’m not in any hurry. Just sayin’ that when the time comes, that’s what I’m looking forward to coming back as.

 

I can’t really tell you much more than that. As I was eating a Peppermint Pattie the other day, it just struck me as the perfect plan. I love Peppermint Patties. Always have. They are, to the mint world, what a Reese’s Cup is to the peanut butter world…PERFECTION!!

 

Now, go on out and have yourself a perfectly fun and spectacular weekend!!!

 

3 Perfect Days of Bikes, Fiddles & Wine….Part 2

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This is Part 2 of our trip to Murrieta and Temecula last weekend. Most of the funny stuff happened in Part 1. Although Part 2 isn’t full of funny stuff, I promise it’ll be super informative!! Well, almost. Maybe just a wee bit informative, with some pretty pics.

This past Saturday afternoon, after Mark’s second bike race of the weekend, we had free time to go out and explore Murrieta and Temecula. From what I can tell, there’s not much exploring to be done in Murrieta. It’s just a really small place. However, they seem to have at least a couple of great little places to eat.

The day before, we’d had that amazing pizza at The Mill. And on this Saturday afternoon, we grabbed lunch at this hole-in-the-wall bbq place that was across the parking lot from The Mill. I never even noticed the name of it. I’d make a horrible travel writer.

Now, if you go to Murrieta, you have to go to this bbq place. Just ask someone where The Mill (restaurant) is, find it, then look across the parking lot, ’till you see the smoke coming out of their meat cooker (big bbq thingy outside of their place).

Mark and I both ordered sliders, and they were delicious. That is probably the first and last time you will ever hear me say that about bbq. Meat’s not usually my thing.

But, here’s a warning….Their sliders are unlike normal sliders. Their sliders are huge, big thick packed-with-meat sized monsters! We made the mistake of getting the combo plates which included two sliders each, and a side each. I was shocked when I saw how gigantic they were. I intended to eat one and save the other for dinner. But, I couldn’t stop eating, and I ate both. We also polished off our sides of potato salad (good stuff!) and baked beans (equally delicious!). Quite gluttonous. Don’t make the same mistake!!

With lunch behind us, we took off for Temecula.

Our first stop was to do some reconnaissance at the Pechanga RV Resort, which is adjacent to the Pechanga Casino. We did a drive-through, and it looked like a very nice, clean, very well kept RV park, complete with a nice sized fenced in grassy dog play area. If you’re looking for an RV park with hook-ups, and a pool, laundry, etc., this would be a nice place to stay. If you’re just looking for a free place to park for the night and don’t need hook-ups, you might just want to dry camp in the parking lot of the casino.

Reconnaissance mission complete, we headed off to check out the wineries in the area. The first winery we stopped at was Alex’s Red Barn. But we didn’t stay. We peeked inside the barn and it was kind of dead inside. So we drove across the street to the Longshadow Ranch.

IMG_1510

Longshadow Ranch was a great find. The property was pretty, the place was alive with wine lovers, and they had four big beautiful horses (not sure what kind they were) on the property that you could pet. Sweet things!

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 1.36.28 PM

Drinking and driving don’t mix, and so we shared one tasting. $16 for 5 samples. The wine wasn’t fabulous, and we didn’t buy any bottles, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The bartenders were nice, and the other patrons were completely amusing. There were at least three bachelorette parties going on, and those young ladies knew how to have a good time. I was relieved to see that they had all hired limos and private busses to drive them around.

We hit the road again, and headed northeast to check out Lake Skinner Recreation Area. Good choice. The two miles of flat winding road from the ranger station to the campgrounds and lake, were very scenic. And we were there right before sun set, so the light was spectacular.IMG_1517

The campground itself was huge. The whole place was  jam-packed with families and kids. We decided we’d have to come back and glamp sometime soon, but that it’d have to be during the week when the rest of these peeps were at work or at school.

IMG_1523

 

Sunset @ Skinner Lake. You can just get a peek of the lake in the distance

 

 

 

 

 

 

We headed out of the park, and back towards Temecula, where we’d planned to get a bite to eat. This also turned out to be a good thing. Temecula was pulsing with energy. Not sure if that’s normal for that town or not, but it was a “happening” place that evening.

The Rod Run (hot rod show) had taken place that day and all of the hot rod owners were still hanging around town. The entire old town was teeming with the coolest cars and trucks you’ve ever seen! Many of them were parked on the street, and many of them were enjoying cruising back and forth on the main drag. We loved seeing them all, each one more beautiful and more cooler than the last!

Having had enough adventures for one day,  we drove back to Murrieta. We parked off of the side of the road, behind a couple other RV’s, where Sunday’s bike race would be starting. The end of a fun day! One more day to go!

The Fear of Eating Dessert First

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We’ve all heard it before, “Don’t eat that cake. It’ll ruin your appetite.” You know what? I’ve decided that that’s just total B.S.

Besides the obvious downfall of eating dessert at the end of the meal…you choke on a piece of meat and die and never make it to dessert….besides that, there is just no good reason to eat dessert at the end of the meal.

Mark just asked me what I want for lunch, as he was going to run downstairs and grab a couple of sandwiches from Brooklyn Bagel. I told him I’m not hungry, that I already had a piece of cake. (Yes, that leftover birthday cake that I said I was going to detox from starting today. That one. Detox will start Tuesday).

Mark said, “Oh, you ruined your appetite.” And that’s when the B.S.-ness of it all struck me.

No, it didn’t ruin my appetite. I was hungry, I ate cake, I’m no longer hungry. Pretty straight forward. No different than being hungry, eating a sandwich, and then no longer being hungry.

I say, the cake quenched my appetite, and I no longer require further food. Others might say their sandwich quenched their appetite and they no longer require a piece of cake.

Whatever. I’m not trying to make anyone wrong here. I’m only pointing out the obvious, the ridiculousness of the fear of eating dessert first.

So, go ahead. Fight conformity. Eat dessert first. And if anyone gives you a hard time about it, let me talk to them and set them straight!

Bon Appetite!

107 Years of Fun and Mayhem and Pie-Cake!

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I had a birthday this past week. And so did my friend Mike. I love parties, and I love cake. And so does Mike. And so, we threw a dual birthday party on Saturday night.

We celebrated 107 years of fun and mayhem. I’ve been claiming 35 of those years, and tagging Mike with the other 72 years. But, in reality, it is almost an even split!

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Here’s a pic of Mike and me with the chocolate cake. When you flip the “107” upside down, it looks like “LOL.” For some reason, we got a big kick out of this.

Anyways….so, along with 30 of our friends, we celebrated with pizza, adult beverages, and Pie-Cake. What is Pie-Cake? Pie-Cake is what happens when two people disagree on what kind of birthday cake to buy.

I like chocolate cake. Mike likes cherry pie. I told Mike, “Dude, cherry pie is not a birthday cake.” But then I thought, really, who am I to judge or to rain on his birthday parade?!

And then I realized that, if we bought one of each kind, we could put a slice of each on a single plate and enjoy the flavors together. A dessert joint-venture.

And there, my friends, was the birth of the Pie-Cake.

But you know, there were little nuances in the making of the Pie-Cake. Mike put his slice of chocolate cake on top of his slice of cherry pie. I, on the other hand, layed down a big slice of chocolate cake on it’s side, and then I smashed the cherry pie on top of the cake, rendering the two inseparable.

Although we couldn’t agree on the best way to assemble and eat the Pie-Cake, we did agree that it was freakin’ delicious!! Best, best, best Birthday Pie-Cake ever!!!

This is a bit embarrassing, as it makes us seem like real pigs, but, we also had a third cake….a carrot cake. We had to, because, well, carrot cake is really good.

So there you have it. Yes, I had three pieces of birthday cake. Or maybe it was just two…One slice of Chocolate-Cherry Pie-Cake, and one slice of carrot cake.

At the end of the night, I was happy to be done with the big sugar binge, and I was looking forward to starting a sugar detox this morning. But when I opened the fridge this morning….Holy Freakin’ Jiminy Cricket….this is what was staring back at me…

Image….a mangled mess of leftover carrot cake and chocolate cake, just sitting there, tempting me to eat it for breakfast.

I quickly slammed the fridge door shut. Mark brought home the left-overs. Oh well, maybe it’s better to start my detox on a Monday after all.