Additional Christmas pictures are added to the photos for this entry. We had a very nice Christmas Day with a great ham for dinner. Larry injected Anejo Tequila into the ham prior to cooking. The host at the Jose Cuervo Tequila location in Cozumel had told us about doing this during our Caribbean Cruise last November. Aaron and Tonye were here and it was a nice family time. The day after Boxing Day Aaron found an older model Class C motorhome on Craigslist that he wanted to look at. He ended up buying it and began a journey that, looking back, he almost wishes he didn't start. The RV was only $2,000 and it looked pretty good. We should have known that since it was being sold from an estate by a man named Johnny Walker - it was too good to be true! Aaron's done a fantastic job fixing up the inside, replacing moldy rotten wood, painting cupboards. The model is almost the same one as our first RV. Pictures will probably follow next month! They moved into it on March 1. It is now situated at the farm near Port Mellon where Aaron will be working.
Maureen spent January clearing up the projects in her sewing room. She is making kids clothes to either sell or donate, from inexpensive pieces of fabric from the local thrift stores. The cat enjoyed spending time in the room, often falling asleep on the directions that Maureen was currently working with. With the cat's disposition, Maureen had to go away and come back later!
Our first adventure of 2018 began on February 5. We left the house at 5:20 am for the 6:20 ferry. It was on time and a decent day for travelling. There was no lineup at the border. We used NEXUS and were asked a few questions about where we were going. We had our itinerary with us, along with our hotel bookings, which he asked to see. Our first stop was at Costco in Tacoma for gas, then Subway in Portland for lunch and Costco for gas. We had heard that Oregonians were finally able to pump their own gas but apparently this is only for places that are open all night. They still pump your gas for you during the day. We arrived in Eugene about 4:00. We stopped at our usual Costco to be full of gas for tomorrow's drive then went to the hotel - Best Western New Oregon. We were able to walk next door to Sam's On Franklin for dinner. Very good food.
February 6 we filled up on the free breakfast and were on the road just before 9 am. We timed our arrival in Medford so we could have our first taste of In N Out Burgers. So yummy! We filled up on gas in Medford and also found Joann's Fabrics to buy a set of threads for Maureen - she had a 40% off coupon! We arrived in Roseville CA just before 6 pm. The room smelled like bubble gum - really strong - so we're assuming it covered up something. We went looking for a Japanese restaurant called Yoko Sushi - the GPS said we were there but it wasn't! We ate at Claim Jumper instead.
On February 7, free breakfast again and on the road by 8:45. As usual when Larry can he likes to follow the ocean to wherever we're going. We followed I-80 all the way through San Francisco to the coast. We had to pay the toll at the Oakland Bay Bridge - only $4. It was incredible. The traffic built and built up to 14 lanes. We go through the toll booth and suddenly it was down to five lanes! It happened but it took a while then smooth sailing over the actual bridge. We stopped at Sam's Chowder House on Highway 1. A lobster roll was on the menu for $26.50. Needless we just had chowder, oyster crackers and bread. We arrived at Cynthia and Mike's in Watsonville about 2:30. Mike had to go to Texas to see his ailing mother so we took Cynthia for Japanese food for dinner (Mike doesn't like it!). We had a great evening and really appreciated our accommodations for the night.
We were up early the next morning and on the road by 8:15 after freshly baked muffins and gorgeous California strawberries (Cynthia gave us the leftovers to take with us). We took Hwy 101 to Paso Robles, Hwy 46 to I-5, I-5 to I-210 to Hwy 57 to I-10 to Ontario CA. We arrived at the hotel just after 2 pm. Even though it said our room was ready on the computer, it was not. So we wandered around for a while, scoping out somewhere to eat for dinner. We were staying at the La Quinta Ontario Airport and there are lots of restaurants and shops nearby. It seems to be quite a new area. We chose BJ's Brewhouse for dinner. It was very good. We were able to sit outside under the heaters and we had to ask them to turn ours off as it was 74F. Of course all the locals were freezing!
We had a small breakfast from the free breakfast in the morning because we knew we would be getting a buffet lunch as part of our tickets at the race track. It was a good day at the NHRA drag races, except that Brittany Force had a bad crash. She was ok but had to be checked out at the hospital. John Force also had an explosion that day and blew the body right off the car. We checked in at Racing Electronics for our ear protection. Buddy and Kay, who we had made friends with over the years, have since retired so it wasn't quite the same. We also touched base with Skylar Blades who works on Clay Millican's crew. We're friends with him on Facebook and follow him all year. We also saw Anthony who is the NHRA Marketing Manager and he had got our tickets for us (we originally met him when we had the coach in the RV sites). It was a nice warm day! We had to take Larry's scooter up to the room because there were no electrical outlets outside.
The 10th was another good day at the track. We met up with our friend Monica from a few years ago. Her boyfriend that we told you about before passed away not long after we had last seen them. She is doing fine and was happy to see us. We went to Applebee's for dinner.
The final day of racing was a little cooler but still nice. We went to BJs Brewhouse again for dinner but we couldn't sit outside because they had closed it because of wind and chilly temperatures. We would have been game but no way! The last two mornings we ate Red Lobster cheese biscuits and strawberries for breakfast.
On the 12th we drove to San Diego, which is not that far. We drove around and saw all our old haunts and went to PB Sushi for dinner which is always excellent. We are staying two nights at the Best Western Bayside where we stayed a couple of years ago with Aaron. The next day we went to Coronado to see a potential rental for an upcoming trip - they had gotten rid of the king-sized bed so that was a no go for us. Some friends from White Rock spotted us on Facebook that we were in San Diego - they were currently in LaJolla. We met them at Henry's Pub for Happy Hour. We went to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner.
Happy Valentine's Day February 14. We drove to Yuma which is only about a 3 hour drive. We drove past two 10 mile stretches of road construction on the way and saw varying stages of new highway construction. They make their roads out of concrete - miles of hand laid re-bar then the concrete is poured into a machine that smoothes it out. Interesting to see! We are staying the next four nights with Joan and Eric at The Palms in Yuma who we met originally in St Andrew's New Brunswick in 2011. They have a small casita (bed and bathroom) on the site they purchased last year. Perfect for us! We went to DaBoyz Italian Restaurant in old Yuma for dinner. We had a 55 minute wait. We also saw a person waiting for his dinner sitting and noticed that he was packing a gun on his hip, holy crap.
On the 15th we went to Algondones MX for a few hours. We started off by ordering Larry's new sunglasses. As we were leaving the store, he banged his right rear tire into the cupboard and the tire quickly went flat. He and Maureen had to push the scooter out and to the car to fix it. Larry always travels with spare parts for his scooter. We begged our way into the very long line to get through the border, then we had to come back in again. We met Joan and Eric having an early drink and went for a bit of a walkabout. Then we went for lunch and a margarita. Then we picked up Larry's medication and some vanilla from the Purple Pharmacy and headed to pick up the glasses. Amazing that in 3 hours a new pair of bi-focal sunglasses can be made and for quite a low price. Then it was to the line-up out of town. It was well over an hour. None of us were really hungry so we didn't have any dinner.
On the 16th we all went to the Foothills Eatery for breakfast. Very good and very inexpensive. No lunch! In the afternoon Larry and Maureen visited with Cheryl - who we had met in Yuma years ago and we try to visit her whenever we can - either in Yuma or in Reno where she lives. Her dog Rocky is still around! Then we met Larry's brother Glenn and wife Marlene at the Texas Roadhouse for an early birthday dinner. Larry turns 65 on the 21st and Glenn turns 68 that day as well. We had an hour and 10 minute wait to get in!
On the 17th it was the Burger Bash and Car Show at Yuma Palms. Always lots of fun! On the way to Yuma we had bought four beautiful lobster tails at Costco. This was our last night to eat them. We went to Fry's and got four nice filets and baked potatoes. A very nice last dinner with Joan and Eric!
The 18th we had arranged to meet some Swan Lake people for lunch. Dan and Rick (who we know from White Rock), Rick Head (Sherry couldn't make it) and Jeff and Erin were able to join us at Red Lobster in Goodyear. We were staying at the Residence Inn in Goodyear.
On the 19th we drove to Palm Springs. On the way, in Blythe, we had lunch with some more friends from Swan Lake and two other couples who Larry had booked on a 14 day Scenic River Cruise later this year. We finally arrived in Palm Springs late afternoon. We are staying two nights at the Best Western Palm Desert. On the 20th we did a little shopping for things to take back home and went to Diane and Larry's (Swan Lake folks) for happy hour then to Maracas for dinner. So great to see them! We are going on a 29 day cruise with them in March 2019 from Buenos Aires aroound cape Horn to san Diego,
Happy 65th Birthday Larry! Fresno was our target destination on the 21st. We took I-10 to I-215, I-215 to I-15, I-15 to Hwy 138, then N2 to I-5. N2 was nice but quite winding. We saw some buffalo in a pen and also an ostrich farm. The temperature was only 2 deg C at the highest point! We had a wonderful dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Fresno. They did a really nice job - personalized the menus, confetti on the table, everyone wished him a happy birthday and shook his hand, lovely dessert. What a great meal but holy moly expensive, $209.00 including tip! We stayed at the LaQuinta Fresno Riverpark.
We were a little doubtful about how far we would make it on the 22nd. The weather seemed like it would be ok going over the pass but you never know. We had a reservation in both Redding and Medford. It was raining in Redding so we pushed on. We encountered hail, snow and sun along the way arriving in Medford about 4 pm. We are staying at the Springhill Suites.
There was lots of sand on the road just past Grant's Pass on the 23rd and there was lots of snow on the trees but the roads were pretty good. We stopped in Tigard OR for gas and lunch. We found a restaurant called Sushi Hana where the food went around on a conveyor belt. You were charged by how many plates you took. Our lunch only cost $16.80 and was excellent. We made it to Tacoma (actually Dupont - south of Tacoma) on the 23rd after two long days of driving. We are staying at the Fairfield Inn & Suites. We chose McNamara Pub for dinner because the menu sounded good and it was very close by. The food was just ok and the service wasn't great either. Not the way we wanted to end our trip! We left before 8 am on the 24th. It was pouring rain/snow going through Seattle. We stopped at Haggen's for some final shopping (corned beef) and hit the border. All the agent said was "Anything?", we said "Pardon?", he said "Do you have anything?", we said about $400, he said "Go". Shortest conversation we've ever had at the border! NEXUS lane. That's the way it should be! We hurried and caught the 11:55 ferry. Nice to be home!
The trip was great. All our accommodations were great with the exception of the first two at Best Westerns where they sparyed something in the room to mask something. Larry was able to get travel agent rates at most of them. It was great touching base with friends and spending some time in the sun (although not as warm as it is supposed to be). Food was pretty good and certainly plentiful everywhere. Can't believe how many people eat out though. Every day of the week was busy.
The next trip is to Hawaii on April 8 for 12 days in a condo and then boarding a cruise ship for a 11 day cruise around the Hawaiian Islands and the cruisng back to Vancouver. Til next time!