Friday, July 31, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Aaahhh, we're home. It's good to be home!
A loooooooong days drive yesterday, and it looked just like this:

Miles and miles and miles of that. It was hot, there was lots of road construction, many "pit" stops (if you know what I mean!), but DavOd got us home safe and sound.

Today in Spudville: Laundry, groceries, Dr. appt, and clean the car. DavOd says there is "dust everywhere around here" so we need to clean house. Bren--have you two been talking secretly?? So help me, if he whips out a pair of white gloves....................!

AND---please note the nice new design on my blog header--Thanks John, what a nice surprise that was! I would have never figured it out. So nice to have a blog genius in the "family".

Off to do chores--ugh!

While You Were Away

Your AK Geek Squad was happy to play.....................

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Redwoods, and Another Charming Town

What a couple of days it has been! Many miles of road, most of it winding, two lane highway. All of it beautiful!

Yesterday we left Monterey and drove east to catch the I-5 freeway north for a few miles (to miss all that traffic mess around the San Fransisco Bay) then back west because we really wanted to be near the ocean and follow the coast highway up to the California/Oregon border and through the redwoods. Whew!! Remember that Johnny Cash song "I've Been Everywhere, Man"? I think that's our theme song for this trip!

The redwoods were beautiful and BIG: We drove as far north as Fortuna, California, and spent the night. Had a fine dinner at a brewery/restaurant near our hotel.

This morning we backtracked south a few miles to the wonderful town of Ferndale. The town dates back to the late 1800's, and has beautifully restored Victorian architecture. Here's a picture of Main Street:

Here are some of the beautiful buildings and homes:

Even the public restrooms were cute:

After we spent a couple of wonderful hours exploring Ferndale, we drove thru more redwood groves, and MANY windy roads along the beautiful Smith and Rogue rivers in northern California and southern Oregon. It was a long day in the saddle!

Tonight we are in the not so charming town of Klamath Falls, Oregon. As all good things must come to an end, tomorrow we are headed home to Spudville. It will be a long, hot drive--but it's always GOOD to be home!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Carmel by the Sea

Today was a LARGE day, as my dear friend Donna would say!

We started out with coffee at Starbucks, then off to beautiful downtown Carmel. What a lovely little town. Did lots of window shopping--can we say $pendy? Very $pendy! Lots of fun to window shop, though. David and I had a nice, leisurely lunch at a sidewalk cafe (actually, I think they call them all Bistros in California!) David had a portobello, fresh mozzarella, arugula and sundried tomato sandwich; and I had a caesar salad with grilled shrimp. Was delish!

We then headed south to Point Lobo State Park--a very pretty place. Not at all "beachy", but rocky with lots of crashing waves. We walked along the hiking path for quite a ways and sure enjoyed it. Here we are! Next on our itinerary was to head inland to Salinas. Yet another charming small town--they even still have diagonal parking on the street. I just love that! Can you tell I was raised in Alaska where we didn't have any of that charming small town stuff?? There was also a really big and fun antique store, but don't tell my friend Deb!

Salinas is most famous for two things: John Steinbeck was born and spent most of his childhood there. Here is a picture of his birthplace and childhood home: The other thing that Salinas is famous for (or so the sign says!) is that they grow 80% of the lettuce that we eat in the U.S. They call themselves the Lettuce Capitol of the U.S. Well, they also grow ALOT of artichokes around here, especially in Castroville. Yup--you guessed it!! They call themselves the Artichoke Center of the World! Says so right on the sign as you drive into town, complete with a BIG 3 dimensional artichoke! Now, you also remember that Gilroy calls themselves the Garlic Capitol of the World? That's alot of pretty important real estate, huh? I noticed a town called Capitola--It must be the Capitol of all those Capitols. Only in California ;)

Well, after visiting all these agricultural wonders it was dinner time--and we were hungry! We had spotted a restaurant in Moss Landing that we wanted to try--Here is the wonderful view we had during dinner: As you can see, the view was beautiful, we enjoyed watching the pelicans, the boats come in, etc.
Dinner was scrumptious! David had grilled shrimp on eggplant, with a chipotle lobster cream sauce; and I had grilled shrimp on crab stuffed ravioli with a lime cilantro cream sauce.
A nice touch was when the owner came around to several of the tables to chat. He asked where we were from (do you think we LOOKED like tourists???) --I should have told him that we were food critics for the Spudville Times!

It was a most excellent day!

Tomorrow--we are bypassing San Francisco, and heading north to Redwood country.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monterey Bay

Today we explored some of the Monterey Bay area, Cannery Row (very "touristy"), drove down towards Carmel just a little ways, and then decided to head up north.
We just happened upon a Street Fair/Antique Show in the cute little town of Moss Landing. We got there late, but managed to get in almost 2 hours of browsing. Was a great street fair, with LOTS of cool antiques--we will for sure come back again next year! (Or so Di says--DavOd has not agreed, yet!)

David and I had a great dinner at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing. Phil's is a funky old restaurant that is right on the docks, and is really a "lean-to" with garage doors tacked on to the fish market! We saw it on Food Network a few months ago, so decided it was probably worth a visit--and we were not disappointed. This place is very popular with the locals- there was a huge line out the door the whole time we were there. Definitely worth the wait! We started with fire roasted artichokes, and then both had cioppino. It was a wonderful meal! They don't have food like this back in Spudville!

You'll note that I did not mention garlic in our dinner menu (or lunch, for that matter), we are still on garlic overload from yesterday!

Tomorrow we plan to head south a little bit and explore the Carmel area.
Hope you have all had a great, relaxing weekend. (Except for you Deb--I know you had to work )

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We REEK!!!

We just reek of garlic, along with the several thousand other people that were at the Gilroy Garlic Festival today. We are talking a serious case of garlic overload here.

Oh, my--this was a huge festival! The line of cars just to get in to the parking lot to take a shuttle bus to the festival grounds was at least a mile long. But the wait was SO worth it.

We had a great time, and sampled our fill of all things garlic, such as: garlic marinated mushrooms, garlic kettle korn, garlic sweet potato fries, chocolate covered garlic, etc. Everything garlic that you could possibly imagine, and then some! A garlic lover's dream!

We spent quite a while watching the Garlic Cookoff. MANY thousand recipes are sent in each year, and just eight finalists are chosen to do a live cook-off. It was interesting to watch, and believe it or not, the winner this year was a Garlic Butter Cookie! We bought the cookbook, and will be trying out some recipes on our friends and neighbors back in Spudville! (Kelley--are you paying attention??)

David and I were all garlicked out by early afternoon, so headed back into town, and spent some time at the local outlet mall, again with what seemed like several thousand other people!!

After all that, we were hot, tired and thirsty--decided it was definitely time for a cold beer! We drove into the town of Morgan Hill and found a nice local brew pub. I had the BEST beer--a black raspberry ale, very yummy! Then off to find a place for dinner. We found a great BBQ place "The Gold Dust" and had super good ribs and tri tip. Did you think we wanted GARLIC?? Not on your life!!! We are all garlicked out--at least for a day or two.

I'll leave you with a couple of pics of some garlic goodies:

Garlic Escargot--Very Yummy!! David ate some, too! We really ate snails !!!

I saved the best for last:

Actually, we were not too fond of it. I don't think it will be flavor of the month at Baskin Robbins any time soon. And I'm pretty sure Ben and Jerry's won't be interested, either!

Tomorrow: Monterrey, Phil's Fish Market and his world famous Cioppinno.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Road Trip!

We left home early Thursday morning, and had a nice drive thru Nevada. Boy, is that drive flat, boring and HOT!

First stop here:

For one of these:

Played some poker to earn the rest of our trip funds and pad our favorite son's inheritance, then on to a wild night of dancing, drinking and partying!! We fell into bed (with our big poker winnings) about 3:00am.

You don't believe a word of it, you say? You're right. The sad truth is we were in bed by 8:30pm. We did flush a little change down the slot machines, though, and went for a very yummy sushi dinner.

Today we drove from Reno to:

That's Gilroy, California. We are here for their annual Gilroy Garlic Festival! A few years ago we saw a show on the Food Network about the festival and cook-off, and it really looked like fun. So here we are!

When we drove down out of the hills into this valley, we could actually smell the garlic! There are LOTS of garlic fields here! Just for a comparison, here is a picture of our garlic field, back in Spudville:

I don't think we'll be having our own Spudville Garlic Festival anytime soon.

We are both looking forward to tomorrow--pickled garlic, roasted garlic, garlic fries, but best of all Garlic Ice Cream!!! I'll let you know how it is!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Sad Day in Spudville :(

I had to surrender my Alaska Drive N Slicer today.
I just hated to part with it:

*It was the only Drive N Slicer I've ever had.
*It was a great picture, and I was much younger in that great picture!
*There was an mysterious, low number in the "weight" box :) I liked that number better.

I didn't even mind taking the test-- and yes, I passed! But the new picture isn't nearly as good as the old one. I think they used their "wrinkly" lens. Oh well.
At least I have a great ROAD TRIP to look forward to. With a valid Drive N Slicer.

Oh--were you wondering what in the world a Drive N Slicer is. Or did you think I was seriously spelling impaired (or just plain impaired)? Well, Drive N Slicer is what our favorite son once called a Driver's License when he was 4 years old, and it just stuck. He was such a cutie! OK--he is still a cutie, but he probably doesn't say Drive N Slicer anymore. Do you, dear?

Well, I'm off to pack for our ROAD TRIP, yippee!

Hint #2: We are headed West, and there is a festival involved! Bren--any guesses??

Monday, July 20, 2009

Birthday Girls!

What a great weekend --106 on Friday and 103 on Saturday. I love it!
Saturday we had a very nice double birthday dinner at the G's. Since Pat and I were the birthday "girls", Kelley and Dave did the cooking. Actually--I think Kelley grilled and David "stupidvised"! It was a delicious meal--thanks Pat and Kelley. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAT!! I love sharing my birthday with you

Sure wish I had a picture to post, but I forgot to take my camera. I'm not quite used to this blogging stuff yet!
But --WAIT!!!! Will this picture do??
It was a party. We had fun. (obviously) I'm pretty sure we even grilled something.

So just pretend it's our birthday picture, OK? Pat and I always wear sombreros on our birthdays, don't we Pat??

Next week: A ROAD TRIP!!!

HINT: Garlic ice cream, anyone??