Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Washington, Again

We drove into Washington Saturday after midnight. A navigational error was made. But we made it. Just 3200 incident-free miles.
Sunday we were out looking at the cherry blossoms and at Rachel's office, high up on 13th St. in downtown Washington. And Monday, Vicki's birthday, we toured the Capitol, thanks to Will. It was my second visit this month, but I'd do it again. The video piece especially is that good.
Peter, Rachel and Will's Large Orange Cat
From the WWII Memorial, looking toward the Lincoln
The Jefferson Memorial
Tidal cherry blossoms

Washington Monument and blossoms
Interior of Rachel's building, downtown

Indianapolis Family

A day and 600 miles later, we were in Indianapolis, visiting
Joey (father) and Joseph (son) Hatcher, husband and son of
Vicki's deceased sister Linda. More great food and visiting,
also some great basketball (hey, it was Indianapolis) and
some superb Macallan scotch for me (it was my birthday).

Fayetteville Friends

After Oklahoma, we left I-40 and headed north to Fayetteville, AR, to see college friends Leon and Tawana West. They were our upstairs neighbors in Tallahassee, married student housing, 153 Bliss Drive, in the later 60s. Wes (Leon) got his doctorate in physics at FSU, and it was Tawana who interested Vicki in school library work. Like us, they have lived all over the country, but finally landed home, some years back, in Arkansas, where Wes is a professor of mechanical engineering and Tawana is a recently retired school librarian. They are also fellow world travelers. More great company and more great food. It was wonderful seeing them.
Tawana and Wes, Vicki and me

Tawana with some of her exquisite smocking and

We made her solemnly promise to document these
wonderful labors of love and beauty

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pig Out Palace

Somewhere along I-40, in darkest Oklahoma, this piece of

The buffet
In the gift store

Everything's up to date at Pig Out Palace...

Oklahoma is better known for other things (the parking meter was invented in Oklahoma), but you can get some decent pork barbeque there, particularly at the Pig Out Palace.

East of the Pecos

A favorite panhandle landmark, east of 
Armadillo, before Pampa, the Leaning Tower
of Texas

The beautiful old Conoco station at Shamrock, Texas

Gas is still only 34 cents a gallon, but they
ran out a long time ago...

On Day 2 we crossed the Arizona Divide (c. 7500 feet), hit snow east of Albuquerque, continued on into Texas, crossed the Pecos and drove  into Canadian River country, through Armadillo, stopping finally in Shamrock, Texas, where we split a great ribeye at Big Vern's Texas Steak House. I had wanted to pair it with a 2004 Pinot de Pecos, but it was a dry county.

Road Trip! Or, "Continue Onto I-40, Passing Through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma..."

Rebecca and her new Fit

About to depart Menlo Park

Earlier in the month, Rebecca bought a new Honda Fit, and Rachel decided to buy Rebecca's 2001 Mazda truck; and Vicki and Mark volunteered to drive the truck from Menlo Park to DC (we really do like road trips), taking the opportunity to visit friends and family along the way. We left early Monday morning, drove south to aromatic Gilroy, crossed the beautiful green mountains to the central valley (always makes me hungry), then crossed the Mojave (always makes me thirsty), and on into Arizona, stopping at Flagstaff, still in winter with snow all around. I-40 straddles Route 66, visible in lots of places along the way.

California, Part 1

At Cirque du Soleil in San Jose

Inside, just before they made the no pix announcement;
a great show nonetheless

Me at Avatar (Dances with Blue Indians
with Tails and USB Sockets); it seemed like
such a long movie, and it was, too

The Chair in Rebecca's classroom at Castilleja

In her classroom

Dean Sherouse's office

United Airlines transported us from Orlando to San Francisco, where Jeremy picked us up at the airport. We spent 4 fun-filled days with Rebecca and Jeremy, lots of entertainment and lots of good food, ranging from In and Out Burger (love the protein double-burger) to Jeremy's crustacean feast Sunday night. Incredible lobster and Alaskan crab. Also an Indian restaurant in Santa Clara, The Mynt, actually a sub-continent fusion bistro that was superb. The entertainment included Cirque du Soleil in San Jose, episodes of Planet Earth on the big screen (loved the cockroaches on the cave mountain of guano), and Avatar (didn't love).

Old South Barbeque

Between St. Cloud and Weston we traveled route 27. It was
a bit of nostaliga--although much improved nowadays--we
drove it a lot in our years in Tallahassee, in the late 60s.
One of the things now missing is the Old South BarBQ in
Clewiston. It closed in 1998 or so. But I did find this one
remaining sign just south of Clewiston. The road used to be
littered with them and their Barbasol-type adages. Sic transit
gloria mundi.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

At the Weston Morris

Monday Carole and Vicki and I spent the day driving down Amnesia Lane, visiting old sites (what few there are; what few we recognize or remember, etc.) in Dade County, more generally appreciating Miami's colossal growth and change over the past half century; and the consequent Dade Diaspora, of which we are, I guess, a part. Yes, we did have wonderful Cuban coffee and pastelitas.
We started with a place we'd never been before,
way down by Kendall, Scully's, a restaurant/bar
we'd seen on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives"; it was

After Miracle Mile and Coral Way, the
customary cemetery and house visits, we
drove via Brickell Avenue to downtown
Miami, Bayfront Park, etc; you used to be able
to see Biscayne Bay from Biscayne Boulevard...

Piece of the downtown skyline

And then across the Bay to South Beach

Lots of Art Deco, nouveau Art Deco, pseudo
Art Deco, etc.

And back over the dune, South Beach beach; Collins Ave.
was nearly grid-locked, as usual

Dinner was at Shorty's, capping a week of culinary excess. It was wonderful, Carole and Jim, and not least the bottle of Bombay waiting for me....  Thanks. We'll be remembering the culinary excess for weeks, or months, to come. (Where's my pedometer?!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Water Matters

At the "Water Matters" show at Tree Tops Park, Broward
County; sort of an enviro thing

Sister Carole at the South Florida Water Management
District booth

"Making pets out of worms since 1995"; it's a Florida thing;
I guess

Good tourist that I am, after visiting all the
"Water Matters" exhibits, I hit the park's
visitor center and

Nature trail; I think the bird is an egret or a crane, or
possibly a rare albino flamingo

The park is of special interest in that a) its "ridge" was a set of small islands 100,000 years ago, in the sea off the (then) Florida coast, and b) it was one of the major redoubts of Sam Jones, aka Abiaka, Indian leader in the 2nd and 3rd Seminole Wars, who bested no less that Zachary Taylor (look him up), among others, and guaranteed the permanent Seminole presence in Florida; I just hope the Hard Rock Cafe/Hotel/Casinos give him due credit.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Personal Best at the JO

So Saturday we're at the Junior Olympics
meet in Broward; niece Lexi swims for
her school's swim club

On your mark, get set (Lexi in the yellow cap)

En route to a personal best

At the finish

A few pointers from Coach

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Disney Princess Half-Marathon; or, Do They Do a 1/512th Marathon?

At Rodent World, of course

I got there quite early, though not as early as the runners,
who had to be on their busses by 4 AM; still, I felt like I
should have been assigned to the Sleepy parking lot, or
even Goofy...

From the Mouse Monorail, near the end of the marathon

The Princess is famous for its costumery;
more than 10,000 runners; a smaller
marathon, Carole said (she's done eight
now), but a good one

My kid sister, #5290, hardly winded after
a personal best...

Washington, DC

I have visited this town 30-40 times in my life, but still get
goose-bumps seeing the great national sights...


Telling it like it is; at the Newseum with

The Unabomber's cabin, at the Newseum,
a little Montana home touch

Rachel and Will check out the oysters at the seafood
market; Will shucked, expertly, while Rachel and I
fixed the traditional shellfish bouillebaise; perfect hosts,
they even had a bottle of Bombay waiting for me in the
freezer; Peter is the largest house-cat I have ever seen,
but gentle and very friendly

The Capitol Dome; it's been--what?--days since we have
seen an apotheosis, and so the apotheosis of George
Washington was a particularly welcome sight; seriously,
I have seen my share of museums, galleries, and visitor
centers in the past 18 months, but the new US Capitol
Visitor Center was particularly impressive; damn, I was proud...