Category Archives: Out And About

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #4 ~ Day Two Of Our Great Western Adventure

Can you believe it? I was up at 5 am!

We got ready and went down to breakfast in the hotel. It was okay I guess for the free fare that you get in most hotels; then it was out the door with us.

Bryce Canyon National Park, WOW!

Even the drive up there was beautiful, going through those red rocks. We’ve got our America the Beautiful annual pass, which will get us into all of the National Parks for a year.

Bryce Canyon Utah

What I had read before hand, was to drive all the way to the top of the road, which was 13 miles, and then work your way back down to the front gate. That was perfect! We got to see the red rocks and formations in the different changing light and then on top of that, the pullouts or vistas are all on the right hand side of the road going back down, it made sense.

BREATHTAKING!

We had a picnic lunch at Sunset Point which was the only stop with water and flushing toilets. It was a very pleasant day, starting out at 45 degrees when we woke up, but by the time we had lunch it was in the high 60’s.

Dinner was at Ruby’s Inn again; I ordered a baked potato with the trimmings all on the side and a cup of chili; I topped my potato with everything, yum.

It was Rainbow Trout for my husband and we shared an apple pie ala mode. We’ve found it best to go to eat dinner by 7pm; I’ve never seen so many Germans in one town that wasn’t in Germany. We were told that 88% of visitors to the National Parks for NOT Americans.  #SeeAmerica people !!!

Oh, I forgot to tell you, there was this campground just outside of the entrance to the park that has TIPIs, for real kind that you could camp out in! I didn’t get a picture though, shucks!

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A Lunch Date At The Grand Canyon National Park

Since DH and I moved to Central/Northern Arizona, we are now so much closer to one of the Seven Natural Wonders, The Grand Canyon.  What makes it that much better is, we purchased a Senior Pass back a-ways when they were still only $10 for a lifetime of entrance to any of

¹  “… recreation sites managed by six federal agencies: National Parks Services, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, US Army Corp of Engineers’.”

The card holder, in a private vehicle (as we were) can even take along 3 other adults, FREE! WOW!  We were trying to think how many times we’ve used DH’s America The Beautiful Lifetime Senior Pass over the years as well as how many other folks have tagged along for the ride… a lot!

As of the end of August 2017, the price changed to $80, but if you think about it, that’s still a great deal.  Here’s a good example of that value: it now costs $30 per carload of 4 to get into the Grand Canyon, which went up too.  Both of us were pretty sure that it was $20 or $25, so there you are.

Last week, DH and I were talking about a day trip somewhere, seeing as we hadn’t gone or done anything in a while.

My suggestion was to start out really early in the morning on a car trip; we could have lunch at the El Tovar Restaurant in the Grand Canyon.  YEAH, let’s go!

What a fascinating building.  Originally a Harvey House, servicing the Santa Fe Railway, the El Tovar Hotel was built in 1905 and is still in operation more than 100 years later.

We decided once we got up to the hotel that we’d walk around for a while, along the South Rim Trail.  **Hint: You’re at over 6772 feet above Sea level, take your time, it’s not going anywhere – walk slowly and take small sips of water to overcome becoming dizzy.

There are some very unusual rock formations for sure.  Everywhere you turn is a wonder.

DH and I are still trying to figure out why there are pennies embedded into the pathway every so many feet???

Okay, so are you hungry yet?  😀

The restaurant in the El Tovar Hotel is “white linen service”, but don’t let that stop you from having lunch or breakfast for that matter.  It’s much more relaxed during the daytime hours.  And that view, I mean, come on man!  Be sure to go early and ask for a table near the windows, or call ahead for a reservation.

Sylvia, our server today, took our order and promptly brought us a basket full of these heavenly rolls.  I’m not sure exactly what was in them, but do try them.  And I think that it was salted BUTTER  to schmear all over them.  We asked for a second basket.  😉

DH had the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich and I, the Rib Eye sandwich.  Both were very good and generous.  We were stuffed.  So we walked around a bit more, exploring the gift shop and then out to the veranda to simply sit in their Rocking Chairs and stare at the beauty.  I requested a glass of wine and DH a coffee.  Aahhh!

What an afternoon!

*Hint # 2 : I suppose folks think that there’s going to be a ton of snow, ice and general crummy weather at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim (the North Rim closes from October through May) in the Winter.  Check the weather reports before you do go, but we had a spectacular, sunny, warm day (it was in the sixties).  And guess what?  There were very few people.  That was the first time that DH and I have not been elbow-to-elbow with humanity at the Grand Canyon!!!

 

¹ Quote from http://www.nps.gov

Another Girlies’ Lunch Date At Gabby’s Grill

Missus Dear Friend and I try to get together every so often and it’s just us, no boys!  Sometimes we do some retail therapy first and then go to lunch, on this occasion we went over to Gabby’s Grill (the four of us have breakfast over at their sister restaurant Gabby’s Kitchen).

A glass of wine was the first order of business; aren’t these glasses cute?

Mrs. DF said that we simply must try their Crispy Avocado Egg Rolls.  Howdy Doody!  I’ve got to find a recipe for this.  It seemed pretty straight forward, sliced Avo, some diced Tomatoes and a bit of Cilantro, Lime Juice and maybe chopped Jalapenos…  and that dipping sauce was outta sight!  Not sure what it was but it was really good.

On to our entrees.  My friend had the Fresh Strawberry and Spinach Salad, asking that it be Dairy-free as well as Gluten-free.   I can’t recall what all was in it but it sure looked tasty, and that dressing!

I had the Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich with my side being a Garden Salad.  WOW!  That was a lot of food!  I wound up taking the salad home.

We lingered for awhile over our lunches, chatting and sipping our wine.  What a lovely way to spend on afternoon.  Thank you Dear Friend.

Return To Granite Creek Vineyards and Block Six Catering

Well, it took us long enough but we finally made it back to Granite Creek Vineyard.  The last time that Mister and Missus Dear Friend’s joined us here was more than three years ago… WOW how time flies, right?  On our last adventure to this organic winery, we had some great food provided by Block Six Catering and on this outing, this was no exception.

Mrs. DF ordered the Hummus with Pita and Veggies, MMM, very good Hummus!

DH requested the Philly Cheese Gyro on Pita, stuffed with NY Strip Steak, Red onion Aioli, grilled Peppers, Tomatoes and Mixed Greens; oh, for sides some nice pickles, pepperoncini and a Pesto Pasta salad with Sundried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and we think that was a bit of Feta Cheese too.  There was enough for all four of us to share.

Of course, this go-around at the winery we bought a bottle of wine to share, WONDERFUL!  Superstition Gold is a nice crisp, clean easy drinking wine.  This wine pairs so well with just about anything.  Next visit, I’d like to try the Prairie Sun Pinot Gris.  You can order by the glass and keep the beautiful glass or go for it with a flight or tasting of five different wines.

But wait, there’s more!  Live music, featuring local artists that will entertain you during the “season”.  This week Pat Beary had his acoustic guitar and was softly playing in the back ground, what a perfect day!

On this fine blustery Spring day, we were informed that they were hosting their first wedding of the season!  That’s right, these beautiful grounds make the PERFECT setting for your nuptials.  They were setting up the event next to all the vines, so Mrs. DF and I didn’t get a chance to go looking around as we had hoped to, but there’s always next time!

As we were all leaving, DH noticed this basket …

… how thoughtful Granite Creek Vineyards!

Girl’s Day Out At The Raven Café

In the past month or so, Missus Dear Friend and I have been doing a Girl’s Day Out every other week.  We’ve been meeting at different local restaurants for lunch and then we go grocery shopping together.  My favorite green grocer, Sprouts, opened a second location in our area and we both wanted to check it out.  So what to do about lunch?  The Raven Café, they offer lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options and a lovely menu of beers and wine, that’ll work for us.

This a cool, funky, laid back joint; they have loads of unique works of art for sale on the walls.  You order your food and drinks at the bar; you get a “letter” and find a seat.  We both decided that it was close enough to noon that a glass of wine would be a good thing.

Mrs. DF ordered Sweet Potato fries and Guacamole with Blue Corn Chips.

For myself, I decided on a Turkey Panini and a side salad.  Everything was yummy.

What I enjoyed about the Raven Café is that we never felt rushed.  We sat, chatted and savored our wine for more than two hours.  As we looked around, we noticed that there were several “business meetings” being conducted over lunch.  I mean we’re talking about folks with their easel stands, presentation boards and all!  We’ll need to go back again and try some of the other dishes as well as the upstairs outdoor patio.

Happy Aloha Friday From The Beach

Newport Beach California

I know it’s not Hawaii, but this will have to make do, for now anyways!

On the Pier in Newport Beach California

DH and I went to Newport Beach California awhile back to get our fix of the Pacific Ocean; what a great trip!  We sure did need this, let me tell you.

Enjoy Your Aloha Friday!

The Bestest Birthday Road Trip To San Diego

I got a call from my Husband’s Sister a few weeks back and she was saying that she and my Brother-In-Law were headed to San Diego to visit with their oldest daughter and her family; wouldn’t it be fun if we came out too?  YOU BET!  As the date got closer and I called her back just to confirm our arrival time by car, she asked me, “Isn’t this your birthday weekend?”  YUPPER!

Birthday Breakfast, and I didn't have to cook!

My Brother-In-Law made Birthday Breakfast for all 10 of us in our Niece’s home.  Homemade Malasadas or Portuguese Doughnuts (in the middle of the table), Fresh Fruits, cut up Sausages (easier for little ones-there were 4 of them, all under the age of 9) with BACON  too; Scrambled Eggs and Juice… Thank You Dennis and Miley, what a treat to have someone else cook me breakfast; to be able to sit down with family to enjoy it and still be in my PJs.

After breakfast, my Niece asked “Auntie, what do you want to do for your birthday?”

BEACH!!!

What birthday isn’t a blast with these 4 monkeys at the BEACH!?

Let’s throw in a couple of adults too …

Now, what about dinner Auntie Doni?  Hmmm, let me think, OH YEAH, cold Beer and some Local Food.

We called in an order to L&L Hawaiian BBQ (the same as the L&L back home in Hawaii) for a Family Pack of Chicken Katsu, BBQ Beef and Teriyaki Chicken; this all came with Macaroni Salad and Rice, BUT WAIT! 

I NEED some Kalbi Ribs AND Spam Musubi, MMM!

Birthday Dinner, YEAH BABY!

Oh my gravy all over my two scoops rice (that’s OMG! in my world) THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT!!  Can you say, very happy camper?

So what else do we need for a birthday celebration, HMMM…

CAKE!

My Sister-In-Law had bought an Ice Cream Cake for all of us to share, what made it ever better was these Four Little Monkeys singing Happy Birthday Auntie Doni.

THE BESTEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!

Fun at the Beach, Cold Beer, Great Food and my family around me,

I am so blessed