Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WE ARE NOT ALONE?

Believe it or Not...
It’s a beautiful drive from Las Cruces to Roswell.  Coming over the hill into Roswell we spot a large silver object at the skyline.  Is it a flying saucer?   Nope, it’s just the dome of a silo sparkling in the late winter sunshine.  Suppressing our imaginations, we drive through town and stay at the Red Barn RV Park a couple of miles outside the city.  It’s a small intimate park with only a few spaces available for travelers.  We are fortunate to get the last open space.

Mention Roswell New Mexico and you think of Aliens but there is more to this town. It’s a farming, dairy and ranching community. The former Walker Air Force base here is now an industrial incubator for economic growth, and the International Air Center hosts hundreds of aircraft in various states of repair.  It is home to the International Law Enforcement Agency and the largest Mozzarella Cheese Processing plant in the world, (remember this next time you call Domino’s or Pizza Hut.) But we’re not here for the cheese… unless seeking out cheesy alien tchotskies qualifies.
UFO Museum

The “Roswell Incident” was unsuccessfully covered up for almost 30 years.  The UFO Museum here is dedicated to presenting all of the available information regarding the incident and other documented UFO phenomenon.  They have some pretty compelling evidence, but only strive to present the facts as known and let you decide what to believe. We spend a whole day exploring the museum and all of the Alien themed shops in downtown.

Bottomless Lake

About fourteen miles southeast of town are the bottomless lakes. (They are really about ninety feet deep but seemed bottomless to the cowboys with a short rope who named them.) This was New Mexico’s first state park comprised of nine small, deep lakes surrounded by cliffs. There are rumors that items lost in these lakes have shown up in Carlsbad Caverns some eighty miles to the south and also in the Gulf of Mexico. We spend the afternoon hiking and taking photos but we don’t try to prove the theory of traveling objects.

Carlsbad Caverns

After getting our “Alien Fix” we head south to Carlsbad.  The Caverns open at 8:30 AM and we are some of the first of the day to start hiking in from the natural entrance.  It takes all of the morning to explore the self-guided portions of the caverns.  After Lunch we take a ranger guided tour of the King’s palace.  These caverns are enormous and grand and should be on everyone’s bucket list.


Well that’s about it for New Mexico this time through.  Next, it’s Texas Y’all…

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

THE 3:10 TO ENCHANTMENT…

THE 3:10 TO ENCHANTMENT…

The 3:10 to Yuma
Stops here
Heading east from San Diego we stop in the border town of Winterhaven, CA along the Colorado River.  The River’s Edge RV Resort is full of snowbirds escaping the freezing north. Although located right on the river, there’s no Wi-Fi or paved roads, but it’s ok for a quick stop before dashing across Arizona.  We venture across the Colorado River into Yuma, AZ for a quick tour of the infamous Yuma Prison.  In addition to the ruins of the prison there is a museum that gives us a glimpse of prison life. 

After blasting 395 miles east from Winterhaven, we pull into the Visitor Center just west of Lordsburg, NM.  Dimples is injured.  A road gator has damaged the sewer hose carrier, the hose is long gone and the black water release handle is ripped off.  So we spend a free night of legal boon docking in the visitor center parking lot and figure out the best place to do the repairs.

8-9-10…blast off...
The next morning we head for Las Cruces where the SunnyAcres RV Park is home while parts are ordered and repairs completed.  Our Space is wide and level and even has a small workshop complete with a work bench, just what's needed to make all of the necessary repairs.  It’s times like this that I am truly grateful that Chris is handy and inventive.  Not wanting to play favorites, we give Dave a little attention too. He heads over to the local GMC dealer for a spa day. (AKA 50k mile service.) 

White on  White
There are a few sights around Las Cruces worth visiting.  In nearby Alamogordo is the New Mexico Museum of Space History and planetarium.  We peruse the exhibits that include the International Space Hall of Fame and catch a short IMAX film about the Hubble. 

On our way back we stop at the White Sands NationalMonument.  275 square miles of gypsum sand, the largest gypsum field in the world, to view and play in.  We drive to the end of the 8-mile park road and then hike back into the dunes.  Surprisingly gypsum dunes are much easier to hike on than sand dunes.  The late afternoon sun gives us some great contrasts for white on white photography.

Mesilla Church
Adjacent to Las Cruces is the town of Old Mesilla.  Lots of historic adobe structures, tchotchke shopping and most excellent $5.00 green chili Bloody Mary’s on Sunday at the Double Eagle Restaurant Bar. This is also the town where William H. Bonney AKA Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced to hang.





It’s great to be back in the land of enchantment and now that repairs are complete, it’s time to hit the road and seek out Aliens in Roswell…

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

UNAPOLOGETIC SLUGS…

OK so we’ve been slugs for a while.  Well not total slugs… just not traveling slugs.  The last five months have been spent with friends and family in Reno, Sacramento, Santa Cruz and Southern California (Holidays, weddings, and fun oh my!) and just enjoying the warm Southern California winter. 

It’s kinda hard to think about heading out into the 2014 polar vortex…




So while waiting for the rest of the country to warm up, we perfected our version of the Far East Café Hom Yu:

HOM YU

8 OZ GROUND PORK – (50% ground pork & 50% Ground pork fat - half pound total)

.2 OZ SALTED MACKEREL (minced) approx 1 tsp

.7 OZ FUN YU (Chinese fermented bean curd) approx 4 tsp

.7 OZ WATER CHESTNUTS (minced) approx 2 Tbs

¼ TSP FRESH GROUND GINGER

¼ TSP SALT

1 TBS CORN STARCH

DASH MSG

DASH FRESH GROUND PEPPER

Chop pork for a finer consistency.  Chop mackerel, fun yu, water chestnuts and ginger into the pork.  Mix in salt, cornstarch, MSG & pepper.  Wrap & let sit in refrigerator for 30 to 60 min.  Press into ramekins (or small shallow bowl) and steam for 20 minutes.  Serve over steamed rice.

Enjoy!






Now that the weather is finally starting to cooperate, we are finally ready to get back on the road and head east…
k



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

PDX REDUX…


Columbia River View
Every home needs some TLC every now and then and Dimples is no exception. After chilling out in Toppenish we stop at Maryhill State Park for a few days and chill some more.  Our spot is right on the Columbia River with outstanding views. We visit Maryhill Winery where we pick up a couple of vintages and the museum where we revisit some of the permanent collections and enjoy some of the newer acquisitions.

Art and Power
Then it’s on to the Portland area where Dimples gets new tires and rims, a new cook top, convection-microwave oven and new rock guards.  The leaking back window is re-riveted and sealed and some popped rivets on the body replaced. We take advantage of the area’s diversity to stock up on Asian foods for the pantry, and spirits form Portland’s boutique Distilleries.  Of course we stop at Fong Chong and get a huge order of their Hom Yee.

Since Dimples needs to stay overnight, at Airstream Adventures NW, we check into the McMenanins Edgefield in Troutdale. The Georgian revival style lodge and surrounding acreage was originally a poor farm, which is fitting considering what we are spending on Dimples LOL.  The resort hosts a restaurant, distillery, brewery, winery, pub, and dine-in movie theatre (where we catch the cinematic experience of World War Z...


How can you top zombies, cocktails and farm to table cuisine?   It’s a perfect spot for an overnight away from home.

Checking out the new tires
Once all of the repairs and upgrades are completed we head to Dayville and spend some time in our favorite of all time park The Fish House Inn.  Now it’s time to keep heading south...  

We try not to make too many plans in advance but we have plotted out the next month… We’ll be in Reno visiting with family this next weekend, and then we’ll head over to Sacramento and if our friends there haven’t forgotten us hopefully spend a week reconnecting. After Sac, we’ll head to Santa Cruz and reconnect with friends there… (Call us… you have our cell #s)

k

Thursday, September 12, 2013

BLASTING THROUGH CANADA… eh?


Chena to Tok… across the border into Canada… on to Whitehorse… to Boya Lake… to Bell 2 Crossing… to Houston… Prince George…  to Little Fort… to Penticton… across the border at Osoyoos and back into the US… finally arriving at Toppenish, WA 2,300 plus miles in ten days whew! Not our favorite style of travel but effective and necessary. The heavy rains in Denali revealed a leak in Dimples’ back window that was replaced last summer.  The work is under warranty and we need to get down to Portland to Airstream Adventures NW and have them check it out.  While there we’ll also give Dimples a few upgrades… change out her tires and rims to the 16 inch Eddie Bauer style Michelins and swap out the range for a cooktop and micro-convection oven.

 In Tok we stay again at the Tok RV Village, do the Laundry and use their limited (one free hour per day) Wi-Fi to check weather and finalize our route.  We planned to eat again at Fast Eddies, but when we arrive the parking lot is filled with hunters; bloody caribou and moose antlers proudly displayed on top of the tarps covering their trailered ATVs.  Inside the restaurant the hostess is overwhelmed with the number of large parties and it looks like getting a table will take awhile.  Since our appetites are pretty much diminished by the carnage in the parking lot, we decide to go back to Dimples and heat up some soup.


Crossing the Border into Canada is a breeze.  The border guard is grumpy but he simply checks our passport cards and waves us on.  The road from Tok to Whitehorse is rough and gets increasingly better the further we venture into the Yukon Territory. At one point, rocks blast us, when a semi passes us at high speed through a gravel patch.  The two Plexiglas rock guards over the front cured windows now sport multiple star shaped cracks… (This is why Dimples has rock guards over the front windows, and it looks like we’ll be adding new ones to our list-o-fixes in Portland.)

Klondike Rib
and Salmon BBQ
Whitehorse is the Capital and largest city in the Yukon Territory. We stay at the Hi Country RV Park, go into town and do a little shopping and grab a late lunch at the Klondike Rib and Salmon BBQ.  The decor here is vintage tapper tent with log beams and canvas walls covered with lots of turn of the last century memorabilia and dead art. We order the Rib Tickler (tasty baby back ribs with generous side of fries) and Robert Services Seafood Baked Dip with their famous focaccia bread.  The Ribs are melting in your mouth delicious. The dip creamy and filled with artichoke hearts and fresh seafood…yummy!

After checking maps, weather and road conditions we opt to take the Cassiar Highway south through British Columbia. We stop for the night at Boya Lake.  Our space is along the lake with spectacular views. 

Bell 2 Lodge
Traveling down the Cassiar we spot five black bears along the highway. Four active and one road kill :-(  We stop at The Bell 2 Lodge.  The lodge resembles a mini village with fuel, lodging, restaurant and RV Park. In the winter months the lodge is home to Last Frontier heli-skiing.  It is considered to be one of the premier heli-skiing operations in the world and boasts the largest single Heli-ski area on the planet!  The ambiance is charming with pathways winding between the sod-roofed log cabins.  The restaurant serves up fresh fare worthy of a high population urban eatery.  The daily special of Shrimp with Fettuccini is creamy and loaded with succulent crustaceans and the BBQ ribs are fall off the bone, melt in your mouth delicious.  Service is relaxed, friendly and efficient.  When we asked about their beers, the waitress queried as to what type and promptly brought out an assortment to choose from. The next morning we arrive for the breakfast Buffet to find that most of the fare has been devoured by really early risers.  The tailings look really good and the assortment is impressive.  They are preparing more, but we’re hungry now so we opt for the traditional Bell 2 breakfast of eggs, potatoes, toast and sausage or bacon. Ironically by the time our breakfast arrives, the buffet has been replenished.  Next time we’re in this area we’ll definitely stop here again. 

We stop overnight in Houston (not the Houston we have a problem but Houston B.C.) at the Shady Rest RV Park. It’s clean and perfect for an overnight stop.

Dino
In Prince George we stay a bit out of town at the Bee Lazee RV Park.  After settling in, we head towards town and grab lunch at Ric’s Lounge and Grill.  Cocktails, salad, boneless beef short ribs and a grilled duck breast were perfect to sate our appetites and tickle our palates before we cross the parking lot to the Treasure Cove Casino and deposit our small amount of Canadian Currency in their stingy slots.  After checking on line for not to miss attractions in Prince George we visit Fort George Park and the Exploration Place.  This is a small regional museum with an impressive Paleontology Gallery, a Prince George Sports Hall of Fame, A First Nations Gallery and a lot of information on local history and local celebrities.

Rivermount Resort 
The Rivermount Resort in Little Fort is a real gem.  This is a full service river front resort with restaurant, hotel, RV Park with electric, water hookups and dump station, laundry, showers and tent camping. The owners Derek and Melanie purchased the resort last spring and have obviously been busy upgrading and improving.  Melanie is an accomplished chef and she offers her brand of  “Home Cooking” at the resort café. Home cooking is a bit of a misnomer though… the dishes may be of the home style but her interpretation is modern and fresh.  Her Chicken Kiev is mouthwateringly melt-in-your-mouth wonderful, the Pork Schnitzel delectable and the accompanying sautéed vegetables (snap peas, mushrooms and garlic slices) vibrant. They have a decent wine and beer selection and an assortment of quality spirits for cocktails.  We are so impressed with our dinner that we decide to return for breakfast and again we are so not disappointed.  We order traditional eggs Benedict and a variation with fresh tomato slices and bacon strips. Perfectly poached eggs and satiny hollandaise sauce satisfy our craving for this breakfast treat.  Another place to return to.

We spend one night at the Park Royal RV Resort in Penticton and then head across the border in Osoyoos. One Border patrol officer inspects the back of Dave and another rummages through the fridge and cabinets in Dimples and after finding no contraband send us on our way. 

Although we pretty much bombed through British Columbia, we did note the area’s riches, especially the wine country around Penticton and Osoyoos.  This is a must return to area in the future.  

We’re now back in the lower 48, and we head to Toppenish to chill out while we wait for all the parts for Dimples to arrive in Portland…