Sunday, March 31, 2013

A quick trip to Ma's

Hello all:
It has been quote a while since I made made my last post. Did ya miss me? That question was somewhat rhetorical since I believe you as the wise and tender hearted public that you are can decide if you did or didn't. Regardless.....

The evening before our departure a few preparations were made. We did a little grocery shopping and one of the things Scooterchick was keen on, was making some more hot sauce since we had finished the last batch before our departure south. Accordingly, peppers of several varieties were purchased, processed, fried and preserved in a jar, ready for tasting upon our return. This picture I call "The Incipient Incendiary Experience." Let me tell you, this stuff packs a wallop. Several wallops in fact.

Scooterchick and I had a little work to do on Thursday before a quick drive uphill of about 250 mi. to visit my Aging Mater. We had to make a few stops in town first. One of the things I like most about spring is the profusion of color. Here we have primula in a bed near one of our suppliers.

As you can tell from the trunk of the car, we don't travel light unless we are on our scooters, and the trunk is packed with just the necessities for the weekend. Oh yeah there's also some more clothing, shoes and a cooler in the back seat.

Just a couple hours east of Vancouver and we are climbing up toward Manning Provincial Park. It is named after Ernest C. Manning, a very distant relative who was the Chief  Surveyor for the Province of British Columbia. As you can see winter still has a grip on Manning Park.

My intentions were to fuel up in Princeton and use the facilities at that time. Sadly my body was convinced it should not cooperate and demanded that a roadside stop be necessitated at Sunday Summit, that second pass on the Hope Princeton Highway some 25 minutes west of Princeton.

 Fortunately no "dash for the bush" was required as they have toilets immediately adjacent to the highway.

Here is a picture of my Ma and Scooterchick discussing something of great import upon which the fate of the world and all it's inhabitants may or may not depend.

My Mother appears to be holding forth in fine oratorical style, though my beloved looks somewhat dubiously upon her assertions.

This is a picture of Okanagan Lake from the deck in front of my Mother's house. It's a pretty view and there is almost always a cooling breeze blowing either up or down the Lake.

After many hours of inflicting tedious vacation picture viewing upon my Mother who was at various times enthralled, interested, attentive or dozing, I finally came to the end of the narrative (a new fangled version of the old fashioned slide show) and travelogue, and only now have a minute to update you.

Here is a picture of such rare beauty that it cannot be reproduced often enough to suit me. One image on my laptop, the other by HDMI cable to my Mother's TV. That's right it's my beloved Scooterchick.

I shall have to continue our conversation later. Thanks for riding along.......

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's What We Do

This post will include a couple days in the life of Scootard and Scooterchick. Whenever things slow down (as they will form time to time), it seems my darling gets inventive in the kitchen. One of  stops of late was at a restaurant where they served some redonkulously good food and Scooterchick has been itching to try to replicate it.

This masterpiece of cuisine has a creamy Alfredo base, and added to that are artichoke hearts, Portobello mushroom, fresh spinach, sun dried tomato, fresh squeezed garlic, thyme, basil salt and pepper all drizzled over grilled chicken and farfalle paste. Then for the piece de resistance it is topped with some crumbled Stilton cheese...........yowzuh! Here is pictorial proof.

Someone was brash enough to inquire about tasting the leftovers. I was straight faced when  I replied "what leftovers"?

As you can imagine after our absence there were things to be attended to so we needed to go to town and deal with some customers. It was a pleasure to see so many in one day, and to help with their needs. Soon enough it was time to eat so we went to one off our favorite dim sum places.

In the elevator I took a shot of Scooterchick, looking cool as the breeze in her go to town garb.

She thought I should get a picture of us together getting ready to chow down.....okay then!

I tool a couple of shots inside the restaurant in a surreptitious way. If you look at the first shot you may notice the absence of a certain type of person.

Here's another shot to illustrate my point. Yep, the place was packed and nary a fan quai loh to be seen. That's a sure fire way to tell if you're in the right place. If there aren't any white folk, it's are in for some really good food.

The meal starts off with a pot of Jasmine tea. This arrives at your table before anything else. They know you want it. Want something else? You'll have to order that special.

At this particular restaurant they have been kind enough to place a rudimentary English description alongside the Chinese characters.

First on the list today, barbecued pork bun. These guys have a unique twist on them. They give them a light coconut icing. I love them.

Next we have garlic prawn spring rolls. Simply divine. Crispy, oozing with garlic and filled with fresh crunchy prawns. I think I'm in love.

Now we have some dumplings of prawn and scallop, wrapped in a rice noodle sheet. These were delightful, and topped with herring roe.

Last but not least was the pork spare ribs with chicken feet and sticky rice. While the chicken feet are a lot of work, they are delicious.

This is what's left after I have sucked, chewed and slurped every bit of goodness off that foot. Yum.

Here we have two happy scooter folk leaving the restaurant. Gao Dim, m'goi m'goi (all done thanks a lot).

We shuttled around the city for a few more hours. We ended up around 5 p.m. down by Coal Harbor. We had a reservation at Kobe for dinner. We spent a few minutes admiring the yachts and then found a place to park. Be forewarned though. Vancouver has adjusted their downtown parking rates, and a meter is now $4.00 per hour. These rates apply 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

We were fortunate to have been gifted a certificate for dinner. We were ushered into their lounge and found some comfortable seats. The menu had some interesting offerings. 

We had a dynamite roll, which is a fairly standard West Coast offering. It has a tempura prawn, cucumber and cream cheese along with the rice and noritake.

I apologize for not getting a better picture of the calamari, which were delicious.

We had a sashimi salad, which was sashimi tuna, combined with avocado and green and white onion and served with handmade tortilla chips ( for a little mexican twist.) It was spectacular.

We had enough room left over for beef short rib. This was so fall off the bone tender and delicately and sweetly spiced that one's tongue rejoiced with each bite. By the time we finished this little morsel, we had no room for anything else. 

After we finished eating, we drove to North Vancouver to take in a movie. By the time we got out off the movie at around 9:30, we drove home and got back around 10:30. A long day but a satisfying one, spent with my favorite person doing what we do.

Thanks for reading along, coming along and I hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

We return

We continued our travels northward from Grant's Pass. We stopped at a Rest area and noticed that they have a program to employ the disabled at these facilities. I have never been in a cleaner rest room. Kudos on the concept and effect.

The Gardenia are in bloom and are a well known harbinger of warmer days to come. These are in Coburg Oregon, which was a town with a lot of RV industry until the bottom fell out in lat 2007.

We arrived at our destination for the night and checked in. The sun is setting on Renton WA.

Earlier in the day we had stopped at a McDonald's before we left Oregon and this picture is out of order, but I included it because of the water feature. A little entertainment whilst in the drive through line?.....why not.

This is our hotel for the night. W e have stayed here on 2 previous occasions. The rooms are large and the beds are soft.

We met a lovely couple for dinner. Bubby and Shawna are good friends with whom we minister and all round fun folk to share a meal and a good time with. We went to Claim Jumper.

I can's see this chandelier without thinking of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, when he sings "I use antlers in all of my decorating" My what a guy that Gaston.

I decided to forgo the Motherlode Chocolate Cake this time, last time I ordered it it took me three days to finish it and I had help from two other people.

This really is the Motherlode if you likes your chocolate cake. It's massive and at about $10 a slice it's actually underpriced.

The doors are etched with their logo which includes a miner with a Pick, hat and bandana.

We did get The Brownie Finale, which came with whipped and iced cream, a maraschino cheery and chocolate drizzle...............oh my.

We also got a Raspberry Cheesecake. It was equally scrummy!!

After a rapid night's rest we ended up attending an appointment and then having breakfast at Shari's. I chose the Cinnamon Tastetation, which had a cinnamon bum cut in half then dipped in egg and fried like french toast, together with scrambled eggs, hash browns and thick cut applewood smoked bacon.

Scooterchick elected to go with the Garden Omelette which had Spinach, Chopped Tomato, Green Onion and garnished with Sliced Avocado....oh yeah.....and sausage.

The final picture in our little odyssey is one more oil change. This makes four oil changes since we left, and we had it changed just before we left. I like these guys, LOF and a fresh air filter for $52.
This service would be about $70 in Canada. I prefer the $52 thanks.

And so our little trip comes to an end. We covered 23 states, a little over 10,000 auto miles. as well as about 2,000 scooter miles and 1,000 rental car miles 10 time zones as well as uncountable mountain ranges and at least 8 deserts. We also drank gallons of water coffee and Gatorade and ate at least 10 bags of Beef Jerky...........what a long strange trip it's been. A wild ride indeed.

I have been blessed with the company of good friends, the good wishes of inumerable strangers (yes Ganin I'm referring to you) and the prayers of many who labor with us in ministry and have been doubly blessed by having the love of my life the incomparable Scooterchick for my riding and travelling companion. Mad props to my baby for putting up with my hijinks and foibles all along the way!!

Thank you also to my faithful readers, who, although you don't often comment support my musings
Here's to you, you know who you are.....until next time....

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

If You're Going........

We looked out of the hotel as we waited for the elevator. The weather report called for rain, but I made a confident pronouncement that it would not rain until the evening. Let's see shall we?

We parked the car at the San Bruno CalTrain Station, and boarded the train. In short order we arrived in San Francisco at the terminus at 4th. & King St.

I took a picture from the N line trolley, of the ball park where the San Francisco Giants play.

I also took a picture of the Oakland Bay Bridge. Trust me, the bridge is not leaning. It is a trick of perspective since the horizon is fairly level.

We transferred from the N Train to the F Train for the next stretch of our journey. This is in the vicinity of the Ferry Building, where they have a Farmer's Market on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Here is another building. I am old enough to remember when the tallest buildings in Vancouver were the Sun building at 17 stories and the Marine Building at 22 stories. I am sure architects of the period would be astounded by today's "supertalls".

We arrived at our destination. Pier 39 is the lesser known brother of Fisherman's Wharf. There are a lot of opportunities for the well heeled traveler to divest themselves of their dinero. We chose to eat lunch and by a coffee, but resisted the siren song of chotchkies and kitsch all labeled San Francisco. I didn't even get one of my souvenir pennies.

There are many pleasure yachts moored on both sides of the pier.

This fellow is dancing at the beginning of the pier. While I am not sure he is doing the "come spend" dance or "hey howdy how are ya" dance he waits for all comers.

This is a view down the pier. All the bright colors make a nice contrast to the weathered woodwork.

Ice cream anyone? The only reason I didn't get some because it was a cool day with a fresh breeze. "Amateur" I can hear some of you say.

This is the carousel. If you look closely you can see that it is a double decker. Tickets are 2 for $5. That means one can ride on the lower and upper deck for a fin. We chose to forgo these cheap thrills.

One of the things for which Pier 39 is famous are the seal lions which haul out on the floating rafts moored in the harbor. The make a comical noise and not a little smell....

We decided to eat at King Neptune's Palace restaurant. Food above average, service was okay, but the view was great. We could see from the Golden Gate across to Sausalito, Angel Island, Alcatraz and Tiburon, and up to Point Richmond El Cerrito, Berkely, Treasure Island and down to Oakland. Panoramic is the only way to describe it. This is Alcatraz.

Here's a picture of the Golden Gate.

The tulips were in full bloom along the pier.

This was almost too good to pass up, but pass it up we did. How I'll never know, since I am a huge chocoholic.

Here is a store that sells everything SF related. A very helpful gent inside gave us some directions.

There are topiaries at the entrance to Pier 39. This one is an octopus.

Before we leave, you should see the takeout window at Wipeout Cafe. It is an actual VW Bus that has been sectioned, and mounted like the trophy it is.

This picture is for my friend Rick. I can see him at the wheel careening down the pier, swinging a Keystone Cops nightstick....hahaha.

The trees are close cropped in winter, and they will be riotously leafy in another month or two.

We boarded the number 47 bus and took it to a transfer point at SF City Hall.

There we caught the number 5 and rode up to Golden Gate Park. It looked flat on the map. It wasn't, and we had to hike up a steep hill, walk down a gradual one and limp into the Conservatory. What follows is a series of pictures I took inside the Conservatory. The colors are spectacular....almost edible!!!

This is a "green wall". A fibrous felt like fabric is folded, then nailed and the pockets in the folds filled with dirt and planted. One waters from the top with the thirstiest plants on top and the most drought tolerant at the bottom. What a great idea.

In one section of the conservatory they had a section devoted to SF history. here is a topiary garden worker. Who thinks this stuff up. Amazing!

There are historically themed building models and toy trains.

This plant is weird.

A giant hibiscus.

Orchidae minisculus?

I have no idea. Tiny perfection?

More flowers hanging from above.

Another species of orchid. Well it's settled...God has a great imagination.

Here are a couple California sized trees, with a Toyota Corolla thrown in for scale.

These are the gardens that greet you exiting the Conservatory and walking toward JFK Drive.

Here are the happy, but tired travelers heading for the bus, with the Conservatory in the background.

Here is another large tree, with tourists agape at it's size.

This is McLaren Lodge. It was built in 1897, and was the residence of the Park's superintendent until 1947. It now houses the Park Headquarters Office. Note the shadow in the foreground.

This is the cause of the shadow, another large tree. This one is familiar to all westerners. Red Cedar.

We caught the number 21 bus, which passed Alamo Park, and a row of historical homes known as the "Painted Ladies".

This is Saint Ignatius Church. I don't know who St Ignatius was, but the church is imposing.

Everywhere in the city are houses in bright colors. Perhaps this counters the infamous SF fog...

Here is a statue in front of Symphony Hall. It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

This is City Hall from the other side.

We got back to the Caltrain station to catch our train back to San Bruno.

Here sit we exhausted but ready to find some dinner.

There are numerous signs reminding one to tag off. That explains how the Clipper Cards we purchased ran low so quickly. On our last trip here.....was it really only 3 weeks and 2 days ago????? we negleted to tag off with our Clipper Cards and so were assessed a fare all the way to the end of the line. Regardless there was still enough on the cards for the transpo we needed and there is still about $8.00+ left for our next trip...

After a little driving around we found this place.

It looks as though they opened relatively recently, and it is decorated to look old.


We started with Dolmates and Cheese Sticks.

Then I had some Chicken Tacos

And my beloved Scooterchick had Lamb Stew with veggies in a tomato base.

This is where we ate, on Broadway in Burlingame.

An so we end our busy day. Good thing we ate light because collapsing into bed was the next order of business. And So good night as well to you. Thank you for coming along with us.