For somebody that complains about a constant state of boredom, we sure have been doing a lot lately it seems. This weekend, we dumped the puppies on some friends and headed out of town (barely) to a Bed and Breakfast called Saluti Cellars in nearby Somerset. We had purchased a certificate to stay there at a fund raiser a while back, and finally got around to using it. As in, QUITE a while back, I was a little surprised they even honored it, but luckily they did. We made it out there Friday, got settled it, and headed out to dinner at a place called Gold Vine Grill. That was definitely one of the highlights of our weekend, I would have gone back the next night if it had fit in the schedule. The dinner was great, and reasonably priced. You rarely see either of those qualities at any of the restaurants near us, and definitely not both at the same place. It was a night-ender though, we were both so full we could hardly move. The bread pudding dessert may not have been the best idea, but it was worth it.
Saturday we did the “wine country” thing. We only went to two different places and tasted, but loitered quite a while at each. We’d gone up enough in altitude to buy us about a 10 degree cooler temp, so we mostly just enjoyed being outdoors without roasting. We put the top down on the car and did some driving around the winding, hilly roads too. I liked that immensely, Donette not so much. Hey, I don’t get to drive my car very often, I get carried away sometimes. For evening entertainment, we went to a party they were having back at the B&B. It was maybe something of a forced attendance; They had about 100 people show up and a pretty loud band, all right under our bedroom window. Hey if you can’t beat ’em… It was a good time though, we most likely would have gone anyway. Not like we had any better plans.
All-in-all, we were definitely for the place and I imagine we will go back. Really the only downside, and it was not that big of one, was that our loft or whatever you call it was right over the barn. We enjoyed watching our animal neighbors all weekend, but for whatever reason in the mornings the horse stall was a bit… “pungent.” Not overwhelming, but not pleasant. This little drawback was outweighed by having an incredible pool right next to us, great breakfasts in the morning, and fantastic views all weekend.
Well that was a much-needed vacation last week. We’ve had a trip to Yosemite scheduled all year, and it finally got here. We took off in the motorhome Monday afternoon, and made it as far as Merced where we parked for the evening in a Costco lot. It was… Tolerable. Factored into that rating was the camping cost, a grand total of zero. That came with a few caveats though, mainly the issue of triple degree heat and parking on blacktop. Wow it was hot. We loitered in Costco for quite a while enjoying their air conditioning, but when they closed it was back to the hot box. We finally had to turn on the generator in the middle of the night and run the a/c, it was too hot to sleep.
Tuesday we got up early, gassed up, and headed for Yosemite. It was nice to break up the drive a bit, because once we got in the mountains it was brutally slow going. For all their conveniences, the motorhomes just ain’t no sports car on the road. We got there though, in about double the time google maps quoted. We got all set up and went to enjoying the park, and were soon joined by our friends Ed & Kim. They’d flown into southern California for a wedding earlier, then rented a motorhome and drove up to the park to join us. For the rest of the week we did the camping thing; A few hikes, a few dinners, and no small amount of swimming in the river to cool off. The campgrounds were rather… “rustic” so we didn’t have any a/c. Seems to be a thing out there I guess. The views were great though, and the price was definitely right.
Overall a great trip, we both want to return. Probably in the fall sometime, when it’s cooled off a bit and hopefully isn’t so crowded. The new vehicle performed admirably aside from a few “quirks” which I guess just come with a twenty year old motorhome. We dropped it at the shop when we got back home and hopefully some of them will get worked out. Worth the drive for sure, even at the cost it takes to fill that beast up. We watched “Free Solo” when we got back home, and it was pretty cool to see all the places we’d just been. (And also a little nauseating watching that guy climb that rock… Holy smokes. That thing was huge.) Need to be quicker with the cameras too; We saw lots of cool wildlife but missed it all. We even got to see some bear cubs, hated missing that shot!
We are out cruising around the country again. I’ll probably keep things brief for myriad reasons. For one, I’m typing on my iPad which is a pain. For another, we’re hunkered down in a Costco parking lot in our motor home and I’m afraid of missing out on some action. Not sure what action happens in a Costco parking lot but I don’t want to miss it when it does. I just hope we don’t get rousted in the middle of the night by The Man, telling us to move on. I’m not entirely clear on the rules of motorhome slumming yet.
The weekend was relatively tame. Saturday I fired up my smoker and did a few pork shoulders for the trip we’re on this week. I got a new toy for the cooker, so I was pretty excited to try it out. It’s one of those fancy temp controllers; basically a fan that hooks up to the intake of your smoker, then cycles off and on to maintain whatever temperature you program. Overall, I call it a success. Hit a few snags, but it’ll go better next time. The biggest problem was when the battery died and the fire went out. No bueno. That cost me a few hours. Note to self, make sure batteries are charged when starting.
Sunday we hosted a brunch at the house. I feel like we’re really hitting our stride on the brunch front. We had biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and bacon with not much effort or mess another couple brought some great corned beef hash so we fried some more eggs for that. Way too much food as always, but it was darn tasty. If I’d have been on my game I would have thrown together some kind of green Chile with the pork I cooked Saturday but I didn’t really think of it until everybody was gone. Oh well I’ve got several pounds in the freezer, next time.
And so ends my longest hiatus ever on this site. I’m sure dozens of my readers have stopped coming by and checking. I’m OK with that. Honestly I sort of thought I was just done with it. Hey, this thing has been running a long time though, it seemed a shame. Plus I just paid for three more years of domain registration. In retrospect, maybe I should have gone with the one year option. Oh well, hind sight and all that.
It would of course be impractical, if not impossible, to cover all our amazing adventures since Float Trip. Or “both of them,” or whatever. We had a few highlights; Our annual Bottlerock music festival, a few nice camping trips in our motorhome, a big BBQ party to officially unveil my new smoker… That is what comes to mind right off. I also very nearly, and very permanently, screwed up my website. I was “fixing it,” (not that it was broken, naturally,) and all of a sudden it was just gone. Quite gone. Just a blank white page where years and years of typing had been. Luckily, I have been very good about taking backups. The problem was, I didn’t really know how the backups worked… I just turned it on and left it, several years ago. Well, after some reading, I figured out how to do a restore. I picked a date in mid-May, clicked the button, and boom it was magically back. Whew. Back until I fix it again, I imagine.
I s’pose that’s about it. Another good thing, I have a lot of pictures to post. Hey, content is content. I think I’ll post a few this week, and a few next week, until I’m all caught up. I don’t want to overwhelm everybody with information overload.
I have been quite busy, so if this is a typically brief entry it is not for a lack of subject matter. My adventures kicked off a few weeks ago with a flight to KC. I tend to divide all my trips up into segments, so the first leg was a full day of travel to Kansas City, where I then picked up a rental car and headed over to pick up some camping gear from Donette’s mom, who was nice enough to fix me up. One of the things preventing my Float Trip attendance the last several years is the sheer logistical aspect; How do you take a bunch of camping gear on a six hour flight? Well, after evaluating my last two dozen floats, I decided I could survive with a few blankets and a cooler. Todd had rented a cabin, so that took care of lodging. After picking all that up, I headed over to Munkirs house to spend the night. We enjoyed a late dinner, then headed out to experience the Johnson County club scene. I had no idea there were so many all-night dance clubs in OP, it was quite a time. Or, we may have watched SportsCenter in silence… I can’t remember.
The next day, I got up ready to roll down south to the Float. Due to a minor miscommunication or a total lack of attention, it turned out Munkirs wasn’t actually leaving until Thursday. Huh, interesting. This was a small setback; I had my own car, so I just headed off by myself after first having breakfast at First Watch. I only mention breakfast because of my menu choice. I was dead set on biscuits & gravy, as they just don’t do it right in CA. Imagine my surprise (shock? horror? disappointment?) to find that all they had was gravy made with turkey sausage. Well, that’s what I wanted so that’s what I ordered. Please, midwesterners, never make fun of the admittedly sketchy NorCal food again. All my bragging about how superior the food back home is, all my whining about “this was so much better in KC,” the 1,000’s of statements about “If you want some REAL food…” undone with one unfortunate menu entry.
OK I’m tired of typing, let’s wrap this up. Float Trip was good, if a little muddy and cold. After that I got to spend a few days with my mom, including a road-trip to my sister’s house in Emporia for a fantastic Easter dinner. I considered that “leg two” of the journey, then after that I headed back to my old midtown stomping grounds to see my buddies around there. Our friend Susan was nice enough to get everybody together so I got to see them all in one fun evening. My closing leg was Tuesday, when for some reason I had scheduled a 7:30 PM flight back to Sacramento. I really have no recollection of why I made my flight so late. Historically I am more than ready to get back home after a week of traveling, so I know I wasn’t trying to stretch things out. It must have been $10 cheaper or something, who knows. At any rate, Brice came through with an offer to throw some ribs on his smoker and kill the day. That ended my trip on a high note, not to mention the ribs came out fantastic.