Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sorry for the long delay... Let's make hay!

Hey'all.. sorry for the long blog delay, but internet access was spotty and we were driving hard or seeing beautiful stuff. You know the old saying.."Make hey when the sun shines"?... well, the sun (my internet connection ) is shining, and so I'll make hay(blogs).
I'll combine a few stops to get us caught up. From California we drove North on Rt101 through the Redwoods and to the Oregon coastline(which was one of the most beautiful places I've seen). We stopped and stayed at a few parks along the Oregon coast then went up to Seattle and stayed for a day and a halh and got an oil change on the way out.

Oregon coastline Dunes! (have to actually see it.. it is awesome)

Jeffrey near tide pools

Life within the tidepool


Florence, OR... cool little village with eateries, pubs and shops... we ate Chowder at Mo's... and had some suds. This is a cool place to hang out... as are many villages along the OR coast. I liked Yachats ("ya-huts")

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Route 101 - Northern Cali... nicey-nice


We rode up Rt 101 through Northern California from Novato to Crescent City...then I stopped as I was tired and it was getting dark. What a prety ride ! You start driving through rolling hills and the scenery is a mix of golden fields of grass and lush green vineyards of grapes, then the vineyards yield to the mighty redwood forests and the striking coastline. The road occassionally lets you take a side road for more scenery and we took advantage . We drove through giamt redwoods (which are truly amazing..huge trees everywhere) and elk grazing in meadows, and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox protecting the netrance to Mystery Trees ( http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/CAKLAtrees.html )

Boys pose outside the Aquarium in Crescent City, CA

another thing I liked to mention is that as we drove through Orick, CA, the marquis on the downtown theatre said the playing attraction was Casablanca... there is something so right about that.

Ciao'! more to follow

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I love The City by the BAy...and Wine Country

remeber to Spot the Bus!....http://www.skgourmet.com/spotTheBus2.jpg

We made history as the 1st tourists in Novato ,CA! Well, that's what Uncle Neil told us anyway. Novato is just north of San Fran and just south of Wine Country. Novato is a quaint little town with a nice downtown shop area.. it could really act as the gateway to wine country .. just needs a little push and some more eateries/wine tasting bars. We stayed at Novato RV Park.. easy access to everything.
Thanks to all our friends in Novato for making our stay here super convenient and SUPER FUN, especially Terry, Mitch, Chris, Tony and Reese Nilsen... you guys are the best!

This place is the culinary epicenter of the world... I could live here... I may live here some day. You have everything gourmet here from wine to cheese, you have the MArket in San Fran (we took the ferry over from Larkspur).. what a great place, bought some mushroom salt...DELICIOUS.
Here are they boys chillin' on the ferry ride to San Fran..and a view of the city as we approach to dock.
Here we are hanging outside the market at Taylor's Refresher, which has its origins in St. Helena as a great roadside burger/shake/diner kind of a joint, but opened a location dockside in San Fran.. serves a large list of MicroBrews also... I think my buddy Mitch likes this place. What a great day this was. http://www.taylorsrefresher.com/ . Also had breakfast/lunch at Mijita, a great mexican joint... http://www.mijitasf.com. One night we ate at Moylan's Brewery, check out the site at http://www.moylans.com

The Spice Bus is parked here at an undisclosed location in Novato,,, it is said a famous portfolio manager lives here.
Enjoying the scenery at Gloria Farerra as we await the bubbly.
lunched at Angele, a fantastic French restaurant in Napa. This was an exceptional meal. http://www.angelerestaurant.com/

Hanging around the cellar at Gunlach Bundschu Winery. http://www.gunbun.com/
We finished the dy at Arger-Martucci Winery ( http://www.arger-martucci.com/ ), small family run place with exceptional wines. We enjoyed a very relaxing end of the day sitting in the backyard at Arger-Martucci with a bottle of red. We then sat down to a home cooked dinner of Abalone prepared by Terry. The Abalone was caught the day prior... this was a real treat... oh yeah... and more wine.

We finished up our time here with a dinner with Neil & Kathy at Cacti in Novato (http://www.cactigrill.com/ ).

Ciao Novato.... Hello Oregon Coast!

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Oooh.. look cows!
The Spice Bus made it to Yosemite after a day of driving in the dessert of Nevada

While in Yosemite there is no need to rough it... here I'm trying the WoodFlame grill to make steaks and grilled peaches, which we enjoyed with a great bottle of wine... this will bring the bears in!
My superheroes
posing with BIG TREES!

Michele with Sentinal Dome behind her. We hiked t the top and the view from there was awesome...you could see all the major features in Yosemite...it was breathe-taking.

Here it is.. the big panorama from atop Sentinal Dome.. really AWESOME!


Friday, August 18, 2006

The big map update.. more to follow...


Here it, the big map following our progress so far. I am behind on blogs, but this is due to some problems we encountered and we were also in wilderness areas with no internet. We are just outside Yosemite NP, and I had internet access, but we are leaving i an hour.

Stop #23 (petaluma, CA) will be where we service the RV and get rested and see some friends.. I can probably get up-to-speed with blogs on Vegas, the Sagebrush dessert, Yosemite, etc.

Hope everyone is doing well. Oh yeah, I tried the new Wood fuel grill i got (uses a chunk of wood and a fan to create like 50,000 btu's), made steaks in Yosemite using Max Mojo and BBQ blend.... YUM! with a nice bottle of Marrietta Vinyard Angelee Cuvee it proves that even in the wilderness you do not have to totally rough it.

bye ya'll!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Grand Canyon... or as the kids say, The Big Hole in the Ground

Well I can safely say I have not seen something so awe inspiring as The Grand Canyon. The day was overcast and rained a bit so visibility was not perfect, however, it did not take away from the awesome feeling you get as you aproach the edge and look out forever over the canyon.
Michele and the boys strike a pose... see that familiar grip Michele uses? Notice it from atop Whiteface Mountain in the Lake Placid region last year? YEs, it is her patented "overhand baby-holder grip" (U.S. pat # 9033476991)...she puts it into use whenever she is with the kids and within 50 feet of a deadly drop.
Lucky me.. I caught a condor on my first photo at the canyon. These things are huge. Apparently they have reproduced in the wild and so it looks as if they have a chance to come back.
We took The Grand Canyon Railroad up to the Canyon from Williams, AZ. This is a cool Route 66 town that has an old railway with a great scenic trip up to the canyon. Here, Wild Bill is sawin' on a fiddle with Barry(the railroad provides great entertainment for the 2 hour trip, including Barry, train roberies and a U.S. Marshall, that can shoot you dead with absolute impunity... at least that's what I told the kids).
Here Jeffrey and I cool off in the Bright Angel Lodge before our trip back. It rained and flooded the tracks, so we offloaded onto a bus in the middle of nowhere... once back in Williams we walked over to Ponchos, a good MExican pub/restaurant with music.

remeber to get free spices , see details

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cadillac Ranch & Albuquerque Turkeys

As we headed out of Amarillo our ultimate goal is to get near Flagstaff for touring the Grand Canyon. Leaving Amarillo I realized the windmills are here for a reason... IT'S WINDY! There would be occasional crosswinf gusts that would really knock the bus around.. I would rather drive in a hail storm. So I white-knuckled it all day .

We took a brief side tour on Route 66 to see the Cadillac Ranch... the guy that thought this one up was smoking something. Anyway, I needed to get a photo of this one.

THEN CAME THE BIS SUPRISE between Santa Rosa, NM and Albuquerque... BOOM....flat tire in the middle of nowhere.

The good news is roadside assist guy was there and swapped with the spare within an hour and we got to the gold old KOA in Albuquerque before dark. Next morning we saddled up and got the spare replaced locally within an hour also!

Here is a photo of San jose' De La Laguna Mission, which I took from the side of Rt 40... before the flat tire.


Friday, August 11, 2006

When in Texas, ya gotta go BIG.... especially in Amarillo

That means The Big Texan Steak Ranch ( http://www.bigtexan.com/ ) where they pick you up in a free limo with Texas Longhorns mounted on the hood!
This place gives you a FREE 72 oz steak diner.... if you can finish it and all the trimmings in under an hour.
The boys thought they were up to the task, so off we went in the long horn limo....

The boys even made a few friends and sat down in a Texas sized rocker to digest their beef.

Well.... I guess everything ain't big in Texas. Here Billy hauled in a... ummm, lunker from the fishing pond at Fort Amarillo RV Park.

more updates to come tomorrow..

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Grand Ole Opry.. just couldn't pass it up

We drove from Gatlinburg to Nashville and Two Rivers Campground, just next to the Camping World store, which was convenient (http://tworivercampground.com ).
We headed over to get tickets to the Opry and had dinner at Tony Romas in the Mall across from the Opry.

Sorry for the late updates.. I have to move onto Flagstaff today (8/10/05) and I expect to update you on Amarillo, the excitement on I-40/Rt66 between Santa Rosa, NM and Albuquerque and others... will get this sucka up to date soon.