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