Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Trailer Trash Shanty Town

Leaving Las Vegas we head out across the desert to DeathValley.  We stay two weeks at the Furnace Creek Ranch RV Park.  This is a full hook-up park that is filled with the full time and seasonal workers in the park and a few spaces for the general public. We are parked next to an ancient trailer who’s resident seems to be a collector of the discarded.  It gives the place a trailer trash shantytown feel, but not in a bad way. After two weeks, we want to stay longer and move about a mile down the road to the NPS campground at Furnace Creek.  Here we have water and sewer, but the park service is waiting on Washington to give them the price with electric… so we rely on our solar panels and generator for power.

The ranch also boasts a couple of restaurants and the Corkscrew Saloon.  Our first night we treat ourselves to cocktails and a chorizo and jalapeno pizza. (This is by far the best dish offered in all of the Furnace Creek restaurants.) 

It's not really a Valley...
But we are not here for the food… we are here for the breathtaking scenery and the magic that is Death Valley.  We were here four years ago and discovered the joys of exploring and driving on the unpaved roads.  Then we ventured out in our BMW X5, which is not really the best choice for any serious off road adventures.  BUT NOW we have Dave with his new beefy tires and the gravel and dirt roads call to us.  Heading out on the West Side Road, we explore the side roads and eventually end up at the Queen of Sheba Mine.  Aware of the dangers, we carefully explore the abandoned buildings and peer into the blocked mine shaft and think about the people who came to this desolate basin searching for wealth and adventure.

We visit Bad Water and take in a ranger talk on the area.  The extremely salty Bad Water Pond is home to a small water snail and pickle weed and not much else.  The salt flats beyond are decorated with beautiful polygon shapes.  We also attend another ranger talk up at Dante’s View, which is directly above Bad Water.  Here we have a bird’s eye view of the entire basin:  one hundred miles to the north, eighty miles to the south and twenty miles across.  Stunning!  We tour the historic Furnace Creek Inn.  (We styed here four years ago and it is fun to learn more about the history of the inn.  We hike up Golden Canyon on a ranger-guided tour and learn about the geology of the area.  After, we continue up the canyon to the Red Cathedral and up into the badlands behind Zabrinskie point. We drive the road through the Artist’s Palette a couple of times and soak up the colors of the hills.

In the evenings we attend some of the nighttime programs at the Visitor’s Center.  We hear about the history of the early visitors to Death Valley, the boom and bust cycle of late the nineteenth and early twentieth century miners, the ghost towns and sites that are now no more than piles of rusting cans and broken glass. We also learn about the geology of the area and the night sky. A talk on the volcanos is one of the best!  All of the ranger programs and guided hikes give us a greater understanding and appreciation of our second largest National Park (3.4 million acres.)

How the Rocks move...
One of our favorite spots in the park is the Race Track Playa.  Before heading out we check the road condition and are warned by the rangers that the road was damaged in the last flash flood, it is extremely wash-boarded and it can cost thousands of dollars to have your vehicle towed if we were to break down out there.  Armed with this knowledge we head out and discover that the road is really, really bad but nothing that Dave can’t handle.  We are rewarded with perfect winter lighting to photograph the mysterious moving rocks of the Racetrack. 

Rhyolite Ghost Town
Abandoned Mine
After the road to the Racetrack, all of the other unpaved roads in the park are a piece of cake!  We drive up to Beatty, NV to pick up a few groceries and return via the one way unpaved road through Titus Canyon.  Along the way, we explore the ghost towns of Rhyolite and Leadfield see some ancient petroglyphs and marvel at the layered colors of the canyon walls. Another day we explore the back roads up to and around Greenwater.  Greenwater was a copper mine that lured investors and miners based on a small amount of high grade copper from a test hole. Unfortunately this was the only copper and the mine went bust and investors left with huge losses.  Some say that this was the first domino to fall in the crash of the great depression and all that remains is scattered rusting cans and a pile of early twentieth century trash. Visiting Ghost Towns is a really great excuse to use 4WD so we spend another day up and around Skidoo (as in 23 Skidoo.)  More abandoned mines and piles of rusty debris.

Scotty's Castle
The hike up Mosaic Canyon is an adventure in rock scrambling as we make our way to the final dry waterfall at the end.   We stop at Salt Creek and walk the boardwalks looking for pupfish that remain hidden. Up at Scotty’s Castle, we take two guided tours. First of the wonderful Spanish style villa and a second underground tour of the water and power systems that supplied this millionaire’s vacation home in the desert with the modern conveniences of indoor plumbing and air conditioning in the early twentieth century.

Dave in Titus Canyon

Yuccas in the Snow
During our third week it snows in the higher elevations and the surrounding mountains are dusted with white.  We hear that the road to the Racetrack has been graded so we head out and are treated to Yucca’s in the snow. We also head up to Beatty to refuel since diesel is $2.00 per gallon cheaper than in the park and return again via Titus Canyon. 

Click for More Photos...

With the holidaze rapidly approaching, we reluctantly leave this magical desert experience and head to southern CA to spend some time with our families before heading off once more, into the sunset. 

Checking our Mayan Calendar, we see that December 21st is the end of the world… and what better way to celebrate…


We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012


We dash across Arizona and stop in Nevada at Lake Mead.  We get a spot right on the lake at the LakeMead RV Village. This is a full hook-up park in the National Recreation area with limited WIFI and stunning views.  It’s the perfect place to sit in the sun and just chill with no agenda or pressing engagements.

For Thanksgiving dinner we research the plethora of dining options and ultimately make a reservation at the Fix at the Bellagio.  We are so NOT disappointed.  We start off with a yellowtail sashimi appetizer and a couple of glasses of Chandon.  The thin slices of fresh seafood are topped with jalapenos, cilantro and a drizzle of yuzu.  (YUM)  We opt for the traditional turkey dinner, which is tradition on steroids. The plates are loaded with dark meat comfit and piled high with thick slices of perfectly prepared white meat; a cibatta stuffing and giblet gravy complete the plates. The accompanying sides of: garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato puree and Brussels sprouts braised in bacon are simply wonderful. We enjoy glasses of pinot noir and linger over dinner.  Desert is a lovely bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream.  We top off the meal with espresso martinis.  All in all this is one of the best thanksgiving meals we can remember.  There are also enough leftovers to bring home and we feast on fat turkey sandwiches with all the “fixins” the next day.
We avoid black Friday and spend the day hanging out by the lake.  But on Saturday we venture out and do a little shopping.  We pick up some low voltage connectors at the Bass Pro Shop and we stop at Camping World to get some replacement tire sensors for Dimples.  After this boring fixit shopping we head to the Town Square and enjoy some real retail therapy.  

After all this urban hiking, we are parched and hungry.  The last time we were in Vegas, we enjoyed a great meal at Texas deBrazil so we head over and arrived about 45 minutes before they open for dinner.  However, the bar is open so we opt to rest our weary shoppers feet and enjoy some adult beverages.  The pours are generous and we sip and talk until our table is ready.  Texas de Brazil has a unique twist on the buffet.  We start at the salad bar, which is loaded with every imaginable topping – we’re talking prosciutto, hearts of palm, salmon, roasted veggies and on and on… taking only one small portion of most – we end up with overflowing plates that look like platters of antipasti for a family feast.  Once reseated, handsome young men with swords of skewered meats stop by our table to slice off tender portions of roasted beef, pork, chicken, lamb and sausages.  Our favorites are the roasted lamb and the lamb chops. (The chops are simply to die for!) Our server Thiago and his assistant Suelen are attentive and keep our wine and water glasses filed.  We enjoy talking to them.  The General manager, David Parra stops by our table a couple of times and we enjoy his easy nature and gracious brand of hospitality.  Dave and Dimples tip: stop by Texas de Brazil at the Town Square center next time you’re in Las Vegas, and enjoy a truly tasty experience.

Somehow this week lends itself to just relaxing and doing very little. Our friend Brandy Erickson, (resident of Las Vegas with the distinction of being a Milliner for Cirque de Soleil) rides out to Lake Mead on her Harley. She brings us a bottle Almond Champagne that we share while admiring the views.  We have a great time catching up.  We also meet up with her on Fremont Street another day and have fun hanging out. This reminds us of how much we really do miss our friends.

Our next destination is Death Valley, and having first hand experience as to the lack of decent foraging in most national parks, we stop in Boulder City at the City Market. Their butcher shop reminds us of Taylor’s back in Sacramento. So we stock up, and get ready for some more warm weather adventures.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The days are warm but the nights are getting increasingly colder. So we head towards the setting sun.  We stop at the Acoma Pueblo, well the Sky City Casino to be more specific.  We arrive at their RV Park and we are the only ones there.  Ahhh… alone at last LOL….  It’s a parking lot with gravel spaces and small islands between each space. But for $13.50 per night with a Good Sam discount there is no complaining.  They also offer a package that we purchase for one night that includes: the RV space, Sky City Pueblo Tour, Photo Permit, a breakfast buffet at the Huwak’a restaurant in the casino, entrance to the Haak’u museum and lunch at the Y’aak’a Café in the Sky City Cultural Center.  Since this is off-season, the Pueblo tours are only given on the weekends, so we originally plan to stay three nights.  However, by the third day we are having so much fun a forth night is added. (Gotta love the ability to change at any whim.)

The Sky City Casino is probably one of the nicest small casinos we have visited.  Everything is really clean. All of the employees are extremely friendly and the general atmosphere is comfortable.  Security is ever present and absolutely no one under 21 is allowed on the gaming floor.  The restrooms and restaurants are located along the perimeter and can be accessed without entering the casino.  The slot machines are loose enough to keep us playing for a long time and by the end of our stay, we have won enough to cover the cost of our stay and are a few dollars ahead. **

The Hakuu restaurant has great reasonably priced buffets.   A $2.00 discount is offered with: a player’s card coupon, an out of state driver’s license, if you’re over 50 or if you’re a truck driver… there are probably other discounts, but these are the ones displayed at the entrance.  The best buffet is the Friday night seafood buffet.  Thankfully we arrived early, because after 6:30 there is a line and a 20-30 minute wait to be seated.  This meal seems to bring in all of the locals with their families. (Plates piled high with King Crab Legs explain it all.) Everyone seems to know each other and it feels more like a crab feed at the community center than a casino buffet.
Huwaká on Urbanspoon

The Sky City Pueblo is located about fifteen miles from the casino.  We park at the cultural center and a shuttle takes us with our guide up to the mesa top to the oldest continuously inhabited village in North America. The people of Acoma migrated here from the four corners region.  They originally settled on top of the nearby Enchanted Mesa, but did not stay there very long as lightening struck and destroyed the only access route to the top of the mesa.  So they moved a couple of miles over to the current location and have been there for over a thousand years.  The homes are all built from stone and adobe, similar to the ancient structures in the four corner’s area. The connections between the ancient pueblos of Hovenweep, Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon and the Sky City are evident.  There is no power, water or sewers on top of the mesa.  There are natural cisterns that collect rainwater, but this water is not considered potable and is used only for making adobe.  Potable water, firewood and propane are hauled up and outhouses line the perimeter of the mesa.  There are about twenty households who live year round in here and a hundred or more who stay seasonally.  Originally everything was carried up pathways in the side of the cliff, but in the 1920’s a Hollywood production blasted a road up the side of the cliff and later in 1975, while filming “My Name Is Nobody,” Henry Fonda paid to have the road paved.

The San Esteban Del Rey Mission built in the 1600’s during the Spanish occupation of the area still stands.  The original fifteenth century paintings of Saint Stephan and the Stations of the Cross hang on the walls.  Because the mission stays at a constant cool temperature and there is no direct sunlight, these works of are in exceptional condition. 

Local artists display their artwork, pottery, jewelry, and crafts in the cultural center patio and along the roads in the pueblo.  We are impressed with the pottery of Daniel Lucario his designs are more contemporary but do not completely abandon traditions.  We meet Conran Levantonio a Flint Napper.  He creates beautiful arrowheads and blades from obsidian and other stones.  A translucent obsidian arrowhead is added to the decorations inside of Dimples. From Bellamino we purchase a small talisman for good luck and to protect us from evil spirits.  (It works – see above ** above.)

Meteor Crater

After leaving Acoma, we stop at the Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona.  This is one of the places we both have wanted to visit since we were kids. We spend the night at the Meteor Crater RV Park just down the road from the crater.  The park is good for a no frills overnighter.  We each get a $2.00 discount off admission since we stay there.  Total cost: $26.00 to tour the museum and a giant hole in the ground.  All in all it’s fairly pricey and it’s really quite underwhelming.  Well, now we can check this off our bucket list and move on.

And moving on… it looks like Vegas, baby Vegas…

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


So one extra week in Santa Fe morphed into two more weeks.  We are still enamored with this town and the surrounding area.  We stick around for Halloween, Dia de los Muertos and Election Day…. (Yes, even though we are on the road, we can vote by mail.)  It’s been an interesting two weeks… and thanks to John Stewart, who we can sometimes watch on-line we have a new vocabulary word… “cluster-fuckery.”  (check out theNovember 7th show over at Comedy Central.

More Museums are on the agenda, and fortunately at most of these establishments, we are not banned from taking photos  ;o)

We drive up to Los Alamos the home of the atom bomb and tour the Bradbury Science Museum.  This Museum is dedicated to the history of Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project.  We watch a short documentary, “The Town That Never Was” that explains the decisions behind the project, and focuses on the people who are involved in the development of the atomic bomb. The exhibits are somewhat informative and put a face on the scientists and support staff.  Years ago, when we visited Nagasaki Japan, we toured the Peace Park.  This put a face on the people on the other side of the bomb. All in all the Bradbury history exhibit is a nifty piece of propaganda designed to justify the use of atomic weapons against a civilian population and the Nagasaki Peace Park, shows the horror of this device.   Regardless of what position one takes regarding the decision to drop the bomb, we all hope that as humans we never have to cause or witness this kind of destruction and human misery.  The museum claims that the scientists at Los Alamos no longer develop nuclear weapons and deal more with containment of nuclear fuel and development of nuclear power used in space exploration.  There is an exhibit featuring the Mars Rover and advances in nuclear medicine.  OH… enough of all this serious shit… this blog is supposed to be about fun!

The Museum of International Folk Art is whimsical and fun. (OK back on target here!) Their ongoing exhibit, “Multiple Visions, a Common Bond” treats us to displays of colorful toys and folk art from over 100 countries.  Two current exhibits we enjoy are: “Folk Art from the Andes” and “Young Brides, Old Treasures: Macedonian Embroidered Dresses.”  Both collections are visually stunning and a joy to view and photograph.

The Portland Panels
The New Mexico Art Museum is a real treat.  Their ongoing exhibit, “It’s About Time” traces art in the Southwest from 14,000 year-old arrow points to contemporary works from the area.  It is both comprehensive and inspiring.  Their current exhibits include a wonderful collection of fused glass featuring the works of Klaus Moje, including The Portland Panels. 

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum offers a great insight into the artist’s life and a comprehensive collection of her works. It illustrates the significance of O'Keeffe's art within the context of the history of American Modernism.  In Addition to works by O'Keeffe the collection includes stunning photographs of the artist taken by many notable photographers and artifacts owned by the artist.

We enjoy a great brunch at Santa Fe’s oldest and famous Plaza Café. Chris enjoyed his chicken fried steak and eggs and I noshed on the crispy fish tacos. The service was attentive and the atmosphere comfortable and laid back. No wonder this has been a local’s favorite since 1918!
Plaza Café Downtown on Urbanspoon

Sticking in one place for an additional two weeks also gives us a chance to make a few upgrades and repairs.  Chris starts replacing all of the interior the fluorescent lights with LED’s and the Moen water filter that came with Dimples is dumped in favor of an Everpure system – since Moen filters are virtually impossible to find (except on-line) and Everpure filters are readily available.  Also Chris installs this filter in a better location under the sink, so we now have improved use of space.  Chris also orders and receives a sewer macerating system.  We held off on this type of system in favor of the standard fat hose sewer line, since it is relatively expensive and we couldn’t justify the expense. But in the five months we have been on the road we have encountered 3 situations where the simple low-tech system didn’t work.  (Shit may float, but it doesn’t flow uphill… sigh….)  Watch… now that we have this system we will never encounter a messed up sewer connection… LOL.

Well... this week we've has a dusting of snow and nights down to the high teens... so now it's off to lower elevations and warmer places....


Thursday, November 1, 2012


Spiral and Chili-Rista
So we crawl out of Chaco… and head back to civilization.  We stop in Espanola, NM, which is about 22 miles north of Santa Fe.  We check into the Cottonwood RV Park.  The park is for sale and has seen better days but it’s reasonably priced, has WIFI and a Laundry room.  Dave needs his oil changed and Dimples is frankly a mess inside and out. 

On the suggestion of one of the park workers we stop at El Paraqua for lunch.  El Paraqua is a hidden gem in Espanola. (Well not all that hidden.  Every major food critic including the NY Times, Frommers and Gourmet Magazine have positively reviewed this restaurant.)  We are so NOT disappointed! With the first bite of my Stuffed Sopapilla smothered with Carnitas, my taste buds are singing arias! Chris practically licks his plate as he finishes his Huevos Rancheros.  In fact the food is so outstanding that we return later that evening for dinner.  The margaritas are mixed to perfection, the clam strip appetizer crisp and juicy, the Trio of Enchiladas (ground beef, chorizo and steak) mouthwatering, the Chili Rellenos Y Carnitas are light and the beef tender and flavorful, And the Sopapillias… ah the Sopapillias… that accompany each entre…. are light, and puffy, with a family secret seasonings… (I think it’s heroine because I now dream of these LOL) We finish with a couple of Mexican coffees and the flan, yum yum yum!!! This is Northern New Mexico cuisine of the highest caliber.
El Paragua Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The next morning Dave goes in for oil change and lube job at the local GMC dealer.  On the way back, Chris stops at El Parasol, (The original take out taco stand that spawned El Paraqua)  for some quick take out.  The breakfast burritos are to die for.  This is fast food for the foodie in all of us!
El Parasol - Española on Urbanspoon

Santa Fe Style
Although Espanola is relatively close to Santa Fe, we would like to get more urban. We e-mail a former neighbor Moni Vancamp, (who with her husband, Gregory Kondos owns a home in Santa Fe) asking for dining recommendations etc.  We are pleasantly surprised to learn that Moni and her girlfriend, Barbara will be in Santa Fe the coming weekend.  So after taking Dimples to a self-service car wash and cleaning off the desert grime, we head into Santa Fe.  Here we stay at the Trailer Ranch RV resort. Although it’s located on a busy thoroughfare, it’s quiet and has great WIFI.  There is also an El Parasol take out right down the street… YEAH!! When checking in we meet some fellow full-time Airstreamers and discover that they are the creators of the Ginger Goes Glamping Blog! (Woo Hoo… rubbing elbows with celebrities!)  But wait… it gets better…

We meet up with Moni and Barbara on Saturday morning at the Tesque flea market. Barbara is a producer of organic extra virgin olive oils from a grove planted in 1888 by her grandfather on her family’s ranch (Martell Ranch) in Solano County, CA.  I wish I could direct you to a website where you too could purchase some of this wonderful olive oil, but alas the website is pending… but the oil is spectacular (thank you Barbara!) Moni introduces us to Alex, who sells museum quality turquoise jewelry.  We learn a lot and admire but we let Moni and Barbara do all of the purchasing LOL.  We did get some great spices from Chef Abdul Wasabi.  Afterwards we have brunch at the Tesque Market where the Green Chili Stew is spicy and flavorful and the Huevos Rancheros heavenly.  Northern New Mexico chefs sure know their stuff!
Tesuque Village Market on Urbanspoon

We return to Santa Fe and leave Dave at Moni’s house near downtown and head off to do a little shopping and gallery browsing.  Browsing galleries with Moni who is an art consultant is always informative and entertaining.  We finally end up back at Moni’s where we meet up with Barbara’s friend Joe Dan Lowry.  Joe Dan’s family owns the Turquoise Museum in Albuquerque and is the author of THE most comprehensive book about these lovely blue and green stones.  Joe Dan answers questions about turquoise, but he’d rather talk about all of those things we are supposed to avoid in polite company.  The discussions are lively and thought provoking and revolve around our common humanity.  It is refreshing to have real adult conversations without any avarice or hurt feelings.

Santa Fe is a mecca for seekers of great: shopping, food, art galleries and Museums.

Native Vendor
So let’s talk shopping.  Outside of the downtown there are strip malls and big box stores.  We stop at Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up a replacement for our Simple Human soap dispenser. Our model has been discontinued, but they have a floor model and they swap out our broken part at no charge. (SWEET!) The shopping downtown offers a plethora of boutiques and Native American vendors selling handcrafted jewelry and wares.  Here we pick up a small Acoma pot by Anne Lewis to add to our small collection, some tin Dia de Los Muertos figures to decorate Dimples, and a lovely Indian inspired belt to hold up Chris’ pants that seem to be increasing in size as we travel about.  At Diva jewelers, Chris has the broken opal in his wedding ring replaced with a piece of spider web turquoise.  I also have my wedding ring sized down… it was falling off due to weight loss.  Overall we are good and don’t go too crazy with the purchases.

Now Food… ah… if we keep this up… all of our advances in weight loss may be lost!

Rooftop Pizzeria on UrbanspoonOur first attempt to grab a bite is at the Plaza Café.  Somehow we are invisible and after sitting for over fifteen minutes with no acknowledgement and watching patrons who were seated after us get drinks and service.

Plaza Café Downtown on UrbanspoonWe leave and head across the plaza to Rooftop Pizzeria where we enjoy a Chicken pizza with green chili and pine nuts and nice glass of Chardonnay and a dark draft oatmeal stout.

Blue Corn Cafe on UrbanspoonOn another foray into town we grab lunch at the Blue Corn Café.  Their enchiladas are wonderful and the Corn Chipotle Chowder filling and bursting with flavor.  Their Sopapillias don’t compare to El Paraqua, but they are nevertheless light and tasty.  

with a twist

A hankering for sushi leads us to San Q  in Burro Alley where we sit at the sushi bar and allow the chef to prepare his choice of offerings of his freshest sashimi and a custom unagi roll with a Santa Fe twist. It’s fun to eat off the menu! Chris finishes off his meal with a wonderful bowl of Oyako Donbori (a Japanese comfort food.)  At the New Mexico History Museum’s Cowden Café we share a Frito Pie, a tasty (albeit junk food) regional favorite. 
El Parasol on Urbanspoon
Of course, we stop at El Parasol a couple of times to grab, some of their tasty burritos and yummy Chilaquiles. (Chris is exceptionally fond of the corned beef burritos.)

Art Galleries are everywhere offering pieces by local and international artists for every taste and pocketbook.

Loretto Chapel
And then there are the museums.  Wonderful world-class museums!  Our first stop is the Loretto Chapel to view the “miracle staircase.”  This is something I heard about as a child and although we don’t buy into the mysticism it is part of the cultural heritage of the city.  Since we are seeking culture, we purchase a Culture Pass that grants access to 14 museums and monuments in the state. Four are located in Santa Fe. We spend three days exploring two of them.  

Museum of Indian
Art & Culture
The New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors gives the visitor an in-depth comprehensive view into the stories that made the American West, from the prehistoric indigenous people through the colonial occupation by Spain, The Mexican era, Statehood, the development of the atomic bomb and on up to the present.  The Museum of Indian Art and Culture is a real treat.  A panel Native American Curators and others designed the exhibits.  The ongoing exhibit, Here, Now and Always takes us on a journey from the pre historic beginnings to present day experiences of the Southwest indigenous peoples.  Relics from Chaco Canyon fill in some of the gaps in our understanding of the complexity of the culture and a museum employee points out a thousand plus year old net made from human hair measuring over 150 feet long and tells us of its unlikely discovery in a cave buried in bat guano. Fascinating!  This is one of the most comprehensive collections of Southwest Indian tools, art and artifacts. The current exhibit featuring works by third generation native contemporary artist Margarete Bagshaw excites us.  “Breaking the Rules,” says it all! Her works are modern, visually stunning and retain a native sensibility in fresh and exciting ways. Much to our dismay... photography is not allowed in any of these museums :-(

We also catch a showing of the film Cloud Atlas at the local Cineplex. Although this movie has received mixed reviews, we found it stimulating and fully enjoyable.

Chili-Rista's everywhere!

Santa Fe is in the news this week… seems the actor Gene Hackman bitch slapped some homeless guy who called Gene’s wife the C-word…. We didn’t see it but we were just around the corner in the museum when it happened…

So after a week here in and all of this blatant name dropping… We think we should stay another week… the weather in perfect and there is just way too much more to do here!