Monday, February 25, 2013

Food, A departure and Return

Since so  much of our travels revolve around places we have been, people we have seen and meals we have eaten, I figured I would do a roundup of what we have been up to. Yes, we got the yard trimmed up and the fence replaced across the back of the yard and a lot of necessary work done around the house, but I know that you like myself have a keen interest in good cooking.  And so without further ado I present some food pictures.

Here is a sandwich I had at Billy Sims BBQ. If you think it looks good, you should have wrapped yourself around it. Seriously, my mouth is watering just looking at the picture.

Here is the selection that Scooterchick got. Hers is ribs, 2 beans and Texas Toast. The ribs had a good bark on them, and were tender but not overly juicy......alas/

All the pictures of the food are not of the human variety. We have been feeding the birds for the last couple days, and have had House Sparrows , House Finches, Rose Neck Finches, a Summer Tanager, a pair of Cardinals and 2 pairs of Ring Necked Doves.

We started with one feeder, then two and finally three. We ended up with every songbird within a 30 mile radius dining at our house. Those little buggers can eat too, we've gone through 150lb. of bird feed and they still look hungry.


Time for more human food pictures. We went to a favorite Chinese food restaurant that Scooterchick has been patronizing for the last 20 years. They have some interesting presentation ideas. This one is called Sea Food Peacock Nest. It had Shrimp, Scallops, Crab, Vegetables and Mushrooms in Sauce.
Hold on that's a Taco bowl.....ok.....Chinese with a Mexican Twist!

The next dish we couldn't pass up. It was called Happy Family. It consisted of sliced Beef, Chicken and Shrimp with Broccoli, Mushrooms. Baby Corn and Bamboo shoots in a brown sauce. I don't know what's in the brown sauce but I'm a sucker for anything with the Baby Corns and Bamboo Shoots.

This was served up with a side dish of rice, and we couldn't eat it all.

The next picture is a well know chain restaurant that you may have been to if you have ever traveled to the center of the country. I think the antler chandelier at the entrance may have been faux. Still guessing?

Guess no longer. One of their promos is to serve your drink in a plastic cup that they refill and cap before you leave to head home. You can imagine a cupboard full of Rib Crib cups urging you to return.

I decided to go with the Rib Crib Club and what a sandwich it was. Although you can't get it on Sourdough, that's the only thing that could have made this sandwich better. Large chunks of smoked Turkey, thick cut crunchy-crisp Bacon, Cheese, lettuce and Tomato. This was one crazy good sandwich and was served with Spiced Fries, crispy and hand cut. Altogether satisfying.

Scooterchick opted for ribs, and they came with Corn, Fries, Texas Toast ans what was very possible the world's smallest serving of Coleslaw. I kid you not it was too small to use a fork. Two pinches at best and it was gone. Good ribs, but again not too juicy.

You may wonder why we have been filling up on Barbecue. Simple, it's because we were heading for the West Coast where they have different types of cuisine, and good BBQ is not really one of them.

You may recall from a previous post that we actually made it as far as San Francisco, but returned posthaste for a funeral, and we dutifully loaded the car to head out again this a.m. All was made ready and we left a little behind schedule just around 7:30.

We got about as far as the airport, and turned on the radio to catch a little news. The traffic report was not encouraging. All roads in the Texas Panhandle have been closed by TXDOT as impassible due to a blizzard/whiteout.  Since we need to travel through the Panhandle on our way west, we drove back to the house and unpacked again.

Since the Lord has a free hand with our schedule, I reckon we'll mosey along when the time is right. Right now I believe I'll take a couple aspirin. This wet weather moving in is playing merry hell with my joints, and a couple aspirin will definitely do the trick.     Cheers y'all!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Party, A Pucker, A Passing and A Power Peregrination

We had an invitation to a Superbowl party on Sunday, and it would be unneighborly  not to accept. First though a stop was in order. In San Jose, the second largest flea market in the US waited for us.

There are a wide variety of goods available. Although there are some individual vendors, there are some  who have a permanent locking stall, and are there every time they are open. They boast 1200 vendors on Saturday and 1500 on Sunday.

Need a chandelier? The heavily crystal encrusted ones which would probably go $1500 in a lighting store are $800. Seems like a good deal.

There are several rows of vendors who specialize in just fruits and vegetables, including vegetables that I don't recognize. I did see Chayote, Tomatillos, Jicama and Nopales but there were others that they don't normally sell in the US or Canada.

Looking for a pinata? There are pinatas of every size, shape and color. I took this picture because of the bright colors at this vendor's stall.

Here is us. Sadly Pat is feeling ill. Little did I know that she was willing to share her calamity. I was soon to find out how calamitous it was.

We left the flea market to head to the party, and to meet up with Pat's brother and sister in law.

Driving to Herb's we had another chance to admire the verdant hills of the Bay Area. They are green at this this time of year and will turn brown later on.

Here are Pat and Herb, getting ready for the struggle of the titans, on the field of combat for gridiron supremacy and the Lombardi trophy. I heard each player on the winning team will get an additional $80,000 and a SuperBowl ring, and the losers $48,000.

We watched the game with friends. The neighbors next door have an orange tree. Being from the great North Wet we are unused to seeing citrus trees in the neighborhood. Cool beans.

Our hostess Linda had a Meyer lemon tree in her backyard. The lemons ripen into orange sized fruits and are extremely juicy. I tried one. The pucker finally came out of my mouth about 15 minutes later.

Linda also has a bird of paradise at the side of the house. It was flowering now.

Here's a plant we put in planters during the summer, Do you recognize it? It's a geranium, and it's almos waist high. What a robust specimen.

Here is a screen shot of the final minutes of the game. The horrid disappointment ensued mere moments later, when the 49ers lost possession and the Ravens made their defeat achingly official. So close, yet it was not to be.

Here is a family shot. From left to right us!

Due to a death in the family, we have made a slight change in our travel plans. After finding emergency air travel to be prohibitively expensive, we drive!!!

If you remember my previous mention of Pat's plague, here is a picture of my groaning, flagging Scooterchick at Dinosaur Caves Park on Hwy 101 near Pismo Beach Ca.

Here we are in the car. She looks good compared to me. Yeah, thanks for sharing baby!!!

We started driving from the Bay Area at just after noon and made it to Colton CA. by nightfall. We were up and driving at just after 6 the following a.m. This is a picture in Eastern CA headed to AZ.

This one is later the same day, in AZ headed for NM. 

Here we stopped at a Rest Area in AZ. There is a nice overlook towards the east.

There are also piles of what look like petrified dinosaur poo. We both know it isn't, but it looks like it.

This one looks like an egg doesn't it....yeah with some more dino poo!!!

Yet some more poo. This stuff is everywhere here. It looks interesting. The trailer in the foreground belongs to the maintenance man who lives on site.

Here is a picture of Scooterchick, coming back from the facilities. hard to believe she can look so good and feel so crappy at the same time. What a beauty of a sicko!

We're still smiling though. The weather is about 75F and sunny, and we continue to drive.

When we could drive no more, we found a hotel in Las Cruces NM. The following morning we were on our way at 06:15. These are the Organ Mountains prior to sunrise.

And here the sun is just getting ready to come up.

The day dawns as we crest the pass and drop down int the White Sands area. The temperature also drops to a chilly 27F or so as we coast across this section of desert towards Alamogordo.

We found this to be a surprise. At the truck weigh scales, the Customs and Border patrol have a check point, and a dog sniffing for contraband. If your story doesn't check out, or you can't produce the correct documents, it's a free one way trip to Mexico.

We stopped to get gas and use the bathroom in Portales. Here is an F-111 that was named "City of Portales" and flew in Vietnam and Desert Storm. Hard to believe this expensive piece of military hardware is now nothing more than a photogenic blip in the desert.

Portales City Hall. Post classical architecture doesn't inspire much wonder does it?

A quick shot of the canyons coming down off the Caprock. I love the color.

And so we return home to Lawton. I was still marveling that the day before yesterday we were in San Francisco and now here we are 1,740 miles later back in Lawton.

It is now the following day, I have slept like a dead man and though still sick am doing better.
I hope you all are well. I'll chat with you later.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The family luncheon

By a wide margin the most pleasant aspect of our stopover in the Bay Area, has been the opportunity to visit with Herb and Susan, Pat's brother and sister-in law. We were invited to their home in an East Bay suburb where we were to meet and go out for lunch.

Here are Susan and Herb greeting us at the door. The one with the biggest smile is Patsy, who hasn't really seen or spoken to Herb since she was 5 years of age, when he came home on leave. It was a joyful reunion.

Here are Pat and Herb. He and his family are wonderful folks and we spent a time visiting before deciding on where to go for lunch.

This is Amber, their daughter. She was happy to meet her Aunt Pat. Pat was thrilled to meet her niece.

Since Susan and Herb knew where we were going for lunch, and we were strangers to the area, we went in Herb's vehicle. Here is a picture approaching the restaurant, everybody yakking it up like old friends. They chose an establishment we had never heard of before.

It was called The Elephant Bar. Upon entering one is greeted by this friendly pachyderm. I would imagine him to be 3/4 scale. It certainly is large enough to make an immediate impression.

On the walls are vintage looking posters exhorting one to visit distant and exotic locales. This one has several interesting elements. The distance from plane to ground is small, as evidenced by the shadow. Thus one is arriving at an African destination. The plane tree and giraffe in the background speak of a country, rather than city location for the airport, and the sundown intimates that it is the end of a long travel day......time to eat!!

To get to our table we wind our way past these denizens. They are smaller than life size but very faithfully reproduced, if you can ignore the gloss of their final coat of varnish. Very cute.

We arrive at our booth. The elephant appliques on the booth ends, and the vintage looking luggage racked above, make one think of a passenger compartment of a train, slowly chuffing it's way across the Great Savannah. These decorative touches make for an interesting experience. The surprised looking girl in blue is not one of our party, but has simply photobombed us.

We get seated, and get our jackets off and now it's time to peruse the menu. It's a popular place and we have high hopes for our dining experience.

The menu left us in no doubt as to where we were, and we selected our meals according to interest and taste. The menu was diverse and had something for everyone.

We started with 2 appetizers. I have had a taste lately for Sweet Potato Fries. These were served up with a Thai Chile Oil infused Ketchup. Very tasty.

We also ordered some Baked Garlic Bread Sticks. These were perfectly toasted and dusted with Parmesan Cheese, and served with a Tomato Basil Marinara dipping sauce.

Scooterrchick ordered the Chicken Marsala, very saucy and well presented. She found it very tasty.

Herb ordered the Prawn Adventure Platter. He adventured the heck out of that thing.

Susan ordered the Cajun Chicken. She found it a bit too, but finished it off without difficulty.

Amber decided to go with the biggest burger I have seen in quite some time. It was truly teenager sized.

I went with the Salmon Roll and Shrimp and Veggie Soup. It was served up with a large dollop of Wasabi. It was excellent and the Wasabi was very hot.

I got Amber to hold up her burger so y'all could get a better look. Now that looks like a burger you could stick both feet in!

I talked Susan into sharing a dessert sampler with me. There was a tetch of this, a smattering of that and a healthy dollop of the other. All artfully presented and delicious.

Amber went with the Mud Pie. It was more like a Mud Mountain. This would require every bit of Amber's concentration, nerve and determination to finish, but finish it she did....kudos!

Herb showed us his toy, which he keeps in the garage and trailers or drives out to the track to race. He has turned in some very respectable times. He got second place at a meet a couple years ago.

Scooterchick looks right at home. I think driving it on the road would scare the pants off her. It has a very powerful motor and a stage 2 nitrous set up which adds another 150-200 horsepower when engaged. Herb has had it up to about 200 mph, before he backed off on the throttle, of which there was still some left.

Here is a picture of the engine. The only thing I recognized as stock was the alternator bracket. Everything else is custom. It has taken Herb and Susan many years to build this car, and they have done a bang up job of it. It is tame enough to drive to the track, but will blow the doors off the unwary if the hammer goes down.

After chatting for a little while longer, Pat and I thought it time to take our leave, but Herb and Susan drove us up the hill so we could get an evening picture of the area. The sun had just finished setting so there was color in the sky and the city lights twinkling below us......delightful.

Here's another shot, looking Southwest towards the bottom of the bay. There was about 1/2 hr drive to get back to the hotel, and we crossed across the San Mateo Bridge. This bridge is about 10 mi. long including the causeway.

I stopped to take a couple pictures of the San Carlos CalTrain station. This station almost looks European. It is made of stone and is turreted. It could be in the south of France with the palm trees.

Here is a closer up picture of the turret and palms. It looks very old world.

Another view looking south. I think this would make a lovely residence. I frequently think thoughts of this nature when I see these types of buildings. Romanticism I suppose. It almost looks like a miniature castle. Pat and I would of course be the lord and lady of the manor.

This building is across El Camino Real from the station. It was built in the early 1920's  by Frederick Drake, a local land developer. It has elements of the Spanish High Colonial style.

Originally San Carlos was a land grant of approximately 5,500 sq. mi. to Don Jose Dario Arguello for a ranch, and was managed very profitably although the family did not reside there. His son eventually became the first Spanish American governor of California in 1830, and after his death the family resided at the ranch.

One last picture for this evening, this installation is outside the train station. It reads
Gather, you are beyond the generations, pay attention to things (of the) river.
What the heck?.............Yeah some things are so far out they are incomprehensible from here! haha.

Thus finishes another episode in the Musings of Scootard. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed the documentation thereof........Bye for now.