Saturday, May 5, 2012

Santa Rosa to Eureka

Our stay in Santa Rosa was brief – just 2 nights – but we enjoyed some time with Don’s Aunt Della and hubby Gene McKamey.



Della’s a great cook, and she prepared something for appetizers that I’d never seen.


They are shrimp flavored chips and they come in a package and look like fruit leather.



Drop the pieces into a bit of hot oil, and they are transformed into light, flavorful chips!

I admired several pieces of art hanging on the walls, created by a friend of Della’s. The artist used yarn for the first, indoor-outdoor carpeting for the next one, and paint sample cards for the third of these interesting pieces.




Della and Gene’s Westie DeeDee is so cute. We enjoyed watching her play with her toys.


The next day her coat was whiter and shorter after a trip to the groomer.


Thursday night we went to The Italian Affair for dinner.


It’s a favorite of Della and Gene’s, and we all enjoyed our meals.


On Friday, Don and I drove to Eureka. It’s great to see so much green in California, and amazing to see even more vineyards.


And more wineries, of course.



This looks like a lovely place to live, just outside Willits, CA.


We stopped for fuel in Willits, then had lunch at a rest stop a few miles down the road. Don knew we were getting close to the famed redwoods, both from previous experience and Willits’ sign claiming to be the gateway.


The route through the redwood forest is always interesting, to say the least. The road is narrow and some of the giant trees seem to be growing in the middle of the road! I didn’t get any pictures because I was driving that leg. The last time we went through here, Don drove. The memory of that experience was still so vivid, he insisted that I do the driving. How kind was that? But the drive was without incident if you don’t count the deep breaths I took when we met a large truck on a narrow stretch with huge redwood trees encroaching on the pavement on both sides of the road! Whew!

To read more about the California Redwoods and see great pictures of the enormous trees, click these links: National Park Service and Avenue of the Giants, which parallels the route we took on U.S. 101.

We arrived at the Elks Lodge in Eureka early in the afternoon and were greeted by our friends Ken and Jan Tilton.


Their 37th anniversary was Thursday May 3, so we joined them in a belated celebration at the lodge’s Friday night cook-your-own steak dinner. Their blog Tiltons Travels tells about our dinner, so I won’t write about that, but I just had to show you what the meal looked like. Yummy!


It’s nice to get together with them again after sharing a bit of our Alaska experience last summer. We’ll have a little more time with them before they head out.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Modesto Visit

When we left Lodi (after 3 weeks in the same place!) we headed south about 40 miles to Modesto and parked at the Elks Lodge. Our favorite site was available. It’s in the back of the lot, with a grassy spot on the driver’s side where Shadow loves to roll. It’s a bit unlevel, however, so we had to put blocks under the front wheels and jacks, and use the extra folding door step.


We were there for Don’s appointment for an eye exam and to visit his in-laws Frank & Dottie Azlin, parents of his late wife Jodi. We enjoyed several meals together and played lots of games, such as Cribbage (Frank & me), Spite & Malice (Dottie & Don) and Mexican Train (all).


Their dog Bella is a happy pooch, and a lot calmer than when we first met her about a year ago.


Shadow was happy to take over Bella’s bed, and didn’t get any opposition. I guess we know who’s the alpha dog!


A side note about Shadow: You can see a bit of the drain inserted in his neck where his salivary gland is swollen and infected. The problem was discovered in early March by his groomer in Benson, where he then saw his regular vet who put him on antibiotics. The problem persisted, so we took him to two different vets in Stockton and Lodi. The first one inserted a drain; it was removed too soon, and the second one was inserted by the second vet. Meanwhile, he’s been on 4 regimens of antibiotics. We’re hoping to get this cleared up soon.

Here’s the entrance to Frank & Dottie’s nice garden apartment.


We often go in their back door through the bedroom, since it’s closer to the parking lot.


These beautiful roses grow just outside their dining room window.


A neighbor’s garden is colorful.


Don Juan Foods sells hand-made tamales. We bought some for dinner and some for the freezer.


They also sell pan dulce…


…lots of canned and packaged goods…


…a wide variety of piƱatas…



…and colorful threads and yarns!


A simple dinner, but yummy!


It was a nice visit, and it was great to see Frank and Dottie doing so well.

Whenever he finds a nice, fresh batch of yellow roses, Don buys them for me. What a nice touch!