Category Archives: Out And About

Road Trip ~ Florida Back Home To Arizona ~ Oct-Nov 2019 ~ Part 5

Why don’t we continue with more American History and head to Natchez Mississippi.

Here is another locale that DH has been trying to get to, the Natchez Trace Parkway and Vicksburg.

Our plan was to start off on the Parkway in Natchez and take it North as far as Tupelo, MS. From there we planned on making a bee-line for home.

But for now, let’s take a down day, have something nice to eat and just rest up.

 

 

I had found Roux 61 Seafood & Grill long before this road trip started and it was delicious!

On the table was a Club Salad for DH and for myself, the Grilled Gulf Shrimp with Dirty Rice and Seasonal Vegetable, which was Sautéed Squash.
I’d never had Dirty Rice before, it was quit nice.

It’s been a very long day and we need to get some shut eye.
Tomorrow is another city.

Bright and early the next morning, we started this section of our road trip at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

 

 

I wasn’t the only little Hawaiian Gal that visited this Park today. “Tita” in Hawaiian is Sister 

 

 

I must say, this National Park is beautiful! You can walk or drive it, we chose to do both.

Yet again, we spent the entire day here and by now we were pretty hungry.

 

 

The nice Park Ranger gave us a wonderful lunch suggestion that was down on the River front and what a find it was!

Rusty’s River Front Grill

We made it there within 30 minutes of them closing.

THAT was fantastic!

Each of our meals included a salad that was heavenly, I’d never had Pickled Okra before, YUM!

My husband ordered the Fried Oysters and his side was the Veggie of the day, Southern Style Green Beans.
OH MY!!!

I went with the Two-Way Combo of Gulf Shrimp and a Crab Cake, my side was their Pasta Salad, very different.

We needed to have a piece of Key Lime Pie, so we took it back to the hotel room for later.

Now, I did make mention that we had planned on driving the Natchez Trace Parkway, but Mother Nature had other ideas the next day.

 

 

It was so foggy, nasty cold and raining like mad, that we decided that we’d give that part of the Road Trip up and turn our wagon train towards home.

So we spent that morning re-arranging our accommodations for different cities on a different route than expected.
But ya know, that’s what’s great about Road Trips, you can change plans when ever you like.

Road Trip ~ Florida Back Home To Arizona ~ Oct-Nov 2019 ~ Part 4

Next Up …

Civil War history.

My husband is a huge history buff and he has been trying to figure out how we could fit this site into our itinerary for a number of years.

Andersonville National Historic Site.

This is bit off the beaten path, with the closet city being Americus Georgia, where?
It wasn’t far from our last stop, so let’s go!

Well, thank goodness there’s a Walmart close to the hotel we chose. Almost all of the hotel/motels that we’ve stayed, for all of these years of our traveling, have had a mini-fridge and microwave oven, that does me just fine.

So let’s begin our tour.

 

 

This is a very solemn place and you could hear a pin drop. We spent the majority of a full day here.

Phew! Let’s look for lunch.

 

 

We walked around the downtown area of Americus to this gorgeous old building that now houses a hotel. There’s a sandwich shop in the lobby area that I thought would be okay, not!  A half cold sandwich and small bowl of cold soup (both were suppose to be hot) was something $12 USD, not good.

It’s been a day and we need to get some shut eye, so it’ll be dinner in our hotel room. Tomorrow is another city.

Road Trip ~ Florida Back Home To Arizona ~ Oct-Nov 2019 ~ Part 3

Well, let’s spend another day in St. Augustine Florida …

There’s so much to see and do here, so we’ll just scratch the surface. It’s been so hot and humid whenever we’ve been away from the beach, but let’s brave it. We decided that it would behoove us to start this day as early as possible.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument opened at 9am and I’d say that we parked the car shortly thereafter. Way back when, we purchased an America The Beautiful Lifetime Senior Pass for just $10 USD, such a deal. We can go to these National Treasures at no additional cost to us.

 

 

What a fascinating place!

 

 

The “bricks” are made of Shells. This was well worth it.

 

 

Ponce de Leone smack in the center of town, just over the Bridge Of Lions… wish I got a picture of that!

We had loaded the parking meter for several hours, that way we could walk around the Downtown area and have some lunch too.

 

 

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine was jaw dropping gorgeous. The oldest Catholic Parish in America, in the oldest city in America. We just sat there in awe, taking it all in, while others scurried about, we simply sat … well, truth be told, it was air conditioned and we kinda didn’t want to leave. 

 

 

Ponce de Leone Hotel slash Flagler College. I can’t imagine actually trying to study in such a famous, architecturally beautiful site. We decided not to take the tour, mainly because we had seen it on You Tube.

We walked all of the “Square” in the Downtown area and it was getting on to lunchtime and we were HOT!

 

 

As I’ve said in most of my posts, I research places to eat long before we even leave for a trip, anywhere and this was no different.
I found PizzAlley and Chianti Room. We went in through the “Alley” on the historic St. George Street and decided that we wanted table service and AC, so we toddled to The Chianti Room in the back, much better choice!

Did you look at the time? Our parking meter was about to expire and we should head back to the hotel for the day… our pool and hot tub awaits!

Arizona To Florida Road Trip October 2019 ~ Part 2

Florida Here We Come! …

We like to plot out our Road Trips long before we leave.
We map out the roads we’ll take, the hotels we’ll stay at and look for attractions as well as places to eat.

Well, there was a small hic-cup the night before we started to head East towards Florida.

I got an email from the hotel we’d booked in Key West Florida, right across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. It seems that they were closing their pool and were so sorry for any inconveniences this may cause.
I thought, oh well, that’s okay, there’s the beach, right?
My husband thought otherwise…

“Nope! You need a pool when you’re in Florida, it’s just too hot and humid. Call them up and cancel our reservation, we’ll look for something else.”
It’s a good thing this happened actually, because I found an even better place that was cheaper! A fairly new hotel/resort, so there you go. But we’ll talk about this more once we get there…

So off we go …

Our first overnight stop was in Ft. Stockton Texas.
I had thought ahead and made us one of our favorite meals prior to leaving that lovely apartment with a gas grill: Teriyaki Chicken, Steamed White Rice and my Quick Cucumber KimChee.

 

(file photo-I forgot to take a snapshot, I was too tired)

 

This made the long day of driving easier, let me tell you.
We’ve learned that it’s better to have a pre-made meal that can be microwaved once we set-up camp in our hotel for the night.
Sitting in a restaurant sometimes can be unpleasant at times like these.
It was a fast continental free breakfast the next morning and we were off to …

San Antonio Texas.

My husband booked us into a wonderful historic hotel just a coupla blocks from The RiverWalk and The Alamo.

 

 

I think this was one of the nicest places we’ve stayed yet! 

 

 

The included breakfast at our hotel was a full hot meal with the coolest Waffle Iron!
Can you see the selection of syrups? Man!
I didn’t take a picture, but I had THE BEST Grits that I smothered in Sausage gravy, scrambled eggs and sausage on the side.

 

 

After breakfast, we wandered down to The RiverWalk, and really just walked around, beautiful!

But man howdy dowdy let me tell you it was sooooo humid! 
I had some forethought though and brought along my paper folding fan that I had bought at Marukai back sometime ago… do you know how many folks remarked “smart gal!” YUP! I also stashed a washcloth from the hotel into my bag so that DH could mop his brow. 

 

 

It was so hot and humid that we were in search of any sort of air conditioning we could find!
Landry’s Seafood Restaurant on The RiverWalk had just opened, so we scooted on in. We were the first guests for the day and got a fabulous table, inside, overlooking the water.
As we looked over the menu both my husband and I agreed that when possible on this Road Trip, we would eat fresh seafood as much as we could; we were in the right place!

 

 

We also decided that we would each order a starter and than share an entrée, if we were still hungry there’s always dessert.
DH ordered a dozen Oysters; I had a Caesar Salad and we shared the Snapper, marvelous!

The following day, we walked over to The Alamo, WOW!

 

 

This was so worth the short walk in the humidity, but now we needed AC!!! 

 

 

Schilo’s, what a find!
This was not on my radar but so glad that we found it.
Homemade Root Beer, Soft Pretzels with yummy Hot Mustard and the biggest Chef Salad I’ve ever seen in my life, which we shared by the way.
Our waitress was so nice, she brought us an extra bowl and two different salad dressings.
Didn’t know that you get refills on the Root Beer, so dessert was out of the question. What a fantastic lunch! 

 

 

We waddled back to our hotel and decided that since this was our last night in San Antonio, we’d stay in. In the lobby were many different frozen meals and dessert items, 💡 DING!  Dinner’s covered.

Tomorrow we ride at dawn …

 

 

 

 

Catching Up

Has it really been SEVEN MONTHS  since we last spoke?  I am so sorry!  It’s been such a wild and crazy time of late, and apparently getting more so every day.
So let’s get to the meat of it straight off, shall we?
Back in August of 2019, DH and I went to California to visit with my Mother …
… And some BEACH time in Newport Beach/Huntington Beach.  This is our favorite place to get a Pacific Ocean fix, besides going home to Hawaii that is.
Home again home again, jiggity jig
Every so often, we take Day Trips locally.  This time we discovered Montezuma Castle National Monument.  Ya know, we got that “Old Man Pass” that gets a carload of folks into NPS for free!
Now, we can’t forget DH’s birthday, now can we.  He’s my Super Man!
Next up, ROAD TRIP!!

Packed and ready to go!

To be continued, so stay tuned …

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!

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.