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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Bibbling With Darla - Part 3

Friday, November 29, 2019
Hi Blog!

Wow! It's hard to believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. After the six hours driving to Thanksgiving and the three hours driving back, we needed a little sleep in. Darla graciously agreed to drive us down to Jackie's house on Friday, so we could hang out, play with the puppies and kitties and eat at their favorite Chinese restaurant, Bamboo! Jackie and Darla already know what they want.

With mai tai in hand, we are ready to begin our feast. Sorry, no pictures of food, we were too busy eating all the good shrimp with candied walnuts, barbeque beef, slippery pork and silky tofu. The leftovers sustained us for days!

Back at Jackie's house, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

We didn't end up with any puppy or kitty pictures, we were too busy solving all the problems of the world. It is always fun to catch up with friends. It may be a couple years between visits, but it always feels like coming home.

However, you can never have enough Christmas light pictures.

Saturday, November 30, 2019, was our last full day in Riverside. It was time to say goodbye to Little Ruby. Auntie Darla agreed to kitty sit while we travel to visit family. After getting Ruby settled in her room at Darla's house, we took off on a culinary tour before leaving for the deserts of Arizona.

First on our list, was some real cheese. We made a stop at the Cheese Cave in Claremont where we picked up some 10 year old cheddar and Rogue River Blue Cheese. The Rogue Creamery took top prize at the World Cheese Awards with this cheese. It is delicious.

We were also in need of some more fresh roasted coffee beans. Our next stop was Lucky's Coffee Roasters in Upland. Below, Dave is searching for that perfect bean.

Our mission to stock up the RV would not be complete if we didn't add more beer to the pantry. Dave may have had a little too much coffee at our last stop.

Deciding which ones are coming home with us is always a challenge, but Darla and I are always up to the task. While Dave is happy to snitch some from our tasters, he likes to pick a beer and just sit back and watch the show.


It seems appropriate that we end our visit with one last dinner at Anchos.

Darla promises she'll take good care of Ruby while we are gone. We are sad to give her up, but we know we will see her again next month. Thanks Darla!

One last chore before we go. The 27 tortillas have to be carefully packed and frozen so they will be there for us when we return from Myanmar.

This may be our last blog for a while. We hope to take lots of pictures during our family visits, but we won't have our laptops with us to prepare blogs. So, we'll take this opportunity to wish all our family and friends Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

Thanksgiving Adventure 2019

Thursday, November 28, 2019
Hi Blog!

One of the reasons we camped in Riverside was to be with Darla for Thanksgiving. When our friends, Lee Ann and Jim moved from California to Wyoming, Darla "stole" their two daughters, Janis and Stacy. Darla is like a second Mom to them. Last year, we all had Thanksgiving at Janice's house in Pinon Hills. Unfortunately, Lee Ann and Jim couldn't make it this year, but Janice and Stacy invited us to join them this year.

By now, you probably all heard of the big storm that hit California over Thanksgiving. The weatherman predicted heavy rain in the valleys and snow in the higher elevations.  In order to get to Pinon Hills, we had to drive I-15 over Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino Mountains. We were hoping to avoid the worst snow, by taking SR 138 before actually getting to Cajon Summit. You know what they say about best laid plans.

By the time we got the exit, SR 138 was closed. There was no way to turn around. The only option for us was to go forward by an alternate, longer route. The drive would normally be an hour and a half. By the three hour mark, Dave and Darla were getting a little punchy.

By the five hour mark, Darla was not amused!

The folks in Pinon Hills had no choice but to proceed without us. Stacy and her family, who left just a half our before us, made it through before the road closed. No dips and chips for us. It was beginning to look like Thanksgiving Dinner was going to a Cliff Bar!

As the four lanes of traffic creeped and crawled, we eventually merged down to one lane and passed all the spun out cars and folks stranded on the side of the road. By the time we made it down toward Victorville, we could see the entire area was in total gridlock. Nothing was moving south.

As we turned West, we could actually see a break in the snow. We were beginning to feel optimistic that we might actually get our turkey dinner after all. The snow was actually looking kinda pretty.

While we were valiantly trying to get there, Janis and her husband took the opportunity to play in the new fallen snow. Unfortunately, we later learned that Janis fell off the sand board while sledding down the driveway and broke her ankle. [Janis - we wish you a speedy recovery.]

Stacy and her clan joined in the snow fun. Look at those smiles. Little did they know that after dinner, they, too, would be stuck in traffic for six hours. [Stacy - hope you recovered from your drive.]

As for us, we arrived at 5:05 p.m. to the most beautiful sight a hungry person could ever ask for. The
three of us tucked in and tried to tell our tale through mouthfuls of tender turkey, creamy potatoes, sweet corn and fluffy stuffing. There was also salad, cranberries and biscuits.

While all the deserts were amazing, we had our sights set on Scott's homemade apple pie.

By 6:30, we were back on the road again. We decided not to go anywhere near Cajon Pass. We mapped a route that took us west through Acton and down CA 14 to I-5 to I-210. The route was two and half hours, but there was very little snow or traffic, and we kept moving. We were home by 9:00 p.m.

It may have been the shortest Thanksgiving visit ever, but it will definitely be one we will remember for a long time to come.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Bibbling With Darla - Part 2

November 25-26, 2019

Hi Blog!

On Monday, November 25, 2019, we continued our adventures with Darla. Our first stop was Old Town Temecula. The City of Temecula is a tourist and resort destination filled with all the cute shops you would expect to find. We came in search of fresh roasted coffee, craft cheese and balsamic vinegar. However, the coffee was too dark and the cheese shop was closed on Mondays. We did, however, come home with some nice vinegar.

While in town, we walked among the historic buildings.The historic jail was not built as a jail. It was a storehouse for the Welty Hotel. It is thought to have been used occassionally as a temporary holding cell for drunken patrons, hence the reference to a jail.

After a quick spin around Old Town, we headed out Rancho California Road toward Miramonte Winery. Located in the heart of the Temecula Valley, Miramonte was founded in 2000 and has emerged as one the most forward thinking boutique wineries in Southern California. We were eager to give their wines a try.

Dave and Kathy went with a red tasting, while Darla opted for white. At $17.00 for six tastes and generous pours, we felt we got our money's worth. All of the wines we tasted were well made. D&K took home the Cabernet, Touriga Nacional and Tempranillo, while Darla went with the Albarino.

After the tasting, we walked over to their Flower Hill Bistro where we enjoyed tasty flatbreads with a glass of our favorite wine of the tasting.

Our next stop was Doffo Winery, the 2018 Winery of the Year in Temecula Valley. The story of Marcelo Doffo, an Italian immigrant from Argentina is compelling. Before starting his vineyard, Marcelo and his brother, Jorge, owned an auto body shop where he learned to restore motorcycles. The Winery boasts a collection of over 200 vintage bikes. As for the wine tasting, we felt the $25.00 tasting fee was overpriced, the pours were skimpy and the wine just ordinary. As you can see from the photo below, they do draw a crowd, but it's mostly for the motorcycles. Kathy ended up with a bottle of port.

Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events 
by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

So, what are the odds that our friend Kim who lives in the UK would suddenly be called to a meeting in Corona, California, just five minutes down the road from Darla on Kathy's birthday! We agreed to meet with Kim at the Toasted Barrel right next to her hotel. Kim was able to join us in time for birthday creme bruele. Before long, it was time to wish Kim safe travels, as she had to fly back early the next day.

In keeping with the whole serendipity theme, the Galaxy Quest Documentary was in theaters one day only - November 26th. Darla arranged for tickets in advance. After a yummy dinner at Yards Brewery, we walked over to the movie theater.

For the few of you who have not seen Galaxy Quest, it is a parody of science-fiction films and series, especially Star Trek and its fandom. The film stars Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, and Daryl Mitchell. The film depicts the cast of a defunct cult television series called Galaxy Quest who are suddenly visited by actual aliens who believe the series to be an accurate documentary, and the actors become involved in a very real intergalactic conflict.

Galaxy Quest went on to achieve cult status through the years, especially from Star Trek fans for its affectionate parody, but also to more mainstream audiences as a comedy film in its own right. Several former cast and crew members of Star Trek also went on to praise the film. It was included in Reader's Digest's list of The Top 100+ Funniest Movies of All Time in 2012, while Star Trek fans voted it the seventh best Star Trek film of all time in 2013.

Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary” explored how the science-fiction comedy became an enduring fan favorite, a movie that helped launch the sci-fi- and fantasy-driven movie and TV industry that dominates global entertainment today. By all accounts, it was a movie that beat all odds: Surviving a set fire, the loss of a powerful director, and a studio that didn’t understand what it had, “Galaxy Quest” turned into a pop-culture phenomenon that would “never give up, never surrender.” The cult classic which premiered on December 25, 1999 nears its 20th anniversary.

The documentary was a funny as the original movie. All of the cast returned for interviews. The death of Alan Rickman hit them all really hard. The all had funny stories to share. Event the Galaxy Quest fans were involved in the project. We are now looking forward to going back and watching Galaxy Quest all over again.


Until next time, Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Bibbling With Darla - Part 1

November 21-25, 2019
Hi Blog!

As noted in our prior blog, we made it safely to Riverside, California and rescued a kitten. Ruby continues to be a source of endless entertainment for our other two cats, Flip and Baxter. As for our entertainment, we plan to camp here in Rancho Jurupa through the Thanksgiving weekend. We arrived early so we would have time to explore. Our friend, Darla, lives just down the road from our campground. She came up with a list of adventures for us.

On Thursday, we started our visit with Darla with a trip to Anchos Southwest Grill & Bar. A visit with Darla would not be complete without at least one visit to Anchos, the best Southwestern restaurant this side of the border. During our scrumptious dinner, we planned our week.

On our first full day, we drove to Disneyland! When we were here last Thanksgiving, the Star Wars Land wasn't open yet. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge open on May 31st. For the first few months, you needed a reservation just to get into this area of the park. Now, its open to the public, but you still need a reservation to go into Olga's Cantina.

As soon as we arrived in the park, we went straight to Galaxy's Edge and queued up for the one ride that was open - The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run. This attraction takes six guests to man the Millennium Falcon. Each guests is assigned to one of three roles: pilot, engineer, or gunner. Each role has a significant impact on the success of the mission. We were matched up with three other people. Darla was a gunner, while Dave and Kathy both ended up as engineers. Here was our first look at the Millennium Falcon and the Black Spire Outpost.

We had a 50 minute wait, which is not bad for a main attraction at Disney. The ride was a combination of motion control, video and gaming. You need to push buttons and pull levels in order to complete the mission. We are not really sure exactly what we did, but somehow we flew the Falcon, shot down the enemy, retrieved the cargo needed for the resistance and returned safely. Having survived our mission, we went over to Olga's Cantina for a galactic cocktail.

The cantina's music is provided by R-3X, a droid that was first seen as RX-24 (a.k.a. Captain Rex) in Star Tours, and is now the cantina's DJ.

After quenching our thirst, we did a little shopping. We tried to stay out of the way of the Storm Troopers. However, we did see Chewbacca and Rey in the market place. Before leaving the Galaxy's Edge, we shared a glass of Blue Milk.  Also known as Bantha milk, it was a rich blue-colored milk produced by female banthas. Cheers!

We worked our way back to Main Street one ride at at time. After some Christmas Shopping, it was time to say goodbye to Mickey and all his friends.

As we left Disneyland, we realized we were close to Placentia and the home of The Bruery, one of the best craft breweries in the world. With 42 beers on tap, there was no way we could try them all. We picked 10 of the beers we thought we would like best and tried them as a taster flight. We picked our favorites and then brought home a couple crowlers for later.

Sunday was another beautiful, blue-sky Southern California day. To take advantage of the nice weather, we headed toward Laguna Beach. Before hitting the beach, we did a little more Christmas shopping at the Sawdust Art and Crafts Festival. Let the shopping begin!

The festival grounds had been transformed into a winter wonderland where 180 artists create, display and sell original creations. It is marketed as the most unique holiday shopping in all of Southern California. Art media includes jewelry, clothing, fused and blown glass, ceramics, woodwork, forged metals, painting, photography, sculpture, clothing and textiles, not to mention Santa. Unfortunately, Santa was "out" when we arrived.

We worked our way up and down the aisles. We found a wine and beer vendor, which made for relaxed wandering.

Actual sawdust covers the streets of the Christmas village.

The festival grounds are just as impressive as the crafts for sale.

With bags full of booty, it was time to check out the surf.

Our ultimate destination was Beachcomber Grill in Newport Beach. The little restaurant sits right on the beach. If you don't make a reservation 24 hours in advance, the first-come-first-served wait can be over two hours. We put our name on the list and went for a walk on the beach.

While Kathy explored the tide pools, Dave and Darla solved all the problems of the world.

We spent the rest of our time in the bar enjoying tropical drinks and the best mahi mahi spring rolls we ever had. The time passed quickly. Before we knew it, the sun was setting. Folks lined up along the shore to get the best view.




We were seated shortly after sunset. Before our meals arrived, Dave had a near-death experience. If not for the bravery of the restaurant staff, this blog may have ended differently. A group of 8 were seated across from us - grandmom, three young children and two 30-something couples. The men had obviously spent their two hour wait drinking to excess. While one guy was very happy, playing with the kids and chatting with everyone, the other guy was very sullen and belligerent. He ranted and raved about the two hour wait time, the service wasn't quick enough, their table wasn't good enough, etc. After sitting less than five minutes, he told the entire family to get up they were leaving. As the family quickly left, Mr. Belligerent continued to get louder and louder. He was screaming at our waiter. Dave politely asked him to keep it down. He tried to turn his wrath onto Dave, but was intercepted by an armada of wait staff who quickly formed a wall between Dave and the drunk. He was eventually ushered out, but not before threatening to kill our waiter and (which we guess he thought would be so much worse) leave bad reviews on Google and Yelp!

In a matter of minutes, the family's table was reset, new guests were seated and the restaurant continued to buzz along. We were soon tucking into our salmon stuffed with crab...

...and ahi tuna with roasty toasty brussel sprouts and asparagus.

Because of the aforementioned incident, our waiter advised that the restaurant was treating us to desert. He asked us what we would like and we each picked something different. We hadn't realized the desserts were big enough to share. By the time we left, we had to be rolled back to the parking lot.

These are just the first of many more adventures we hope to have this week. Stay tuned.