Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Road Trip #2 - 2012 - Day 10

Saturday, August 25 - Pioneertown, CA

Beginning odometer: 44,215

The family was up at 7:30 a.m. to go for breakfast, but I skipped the party and went treasure hunting at a local swap meet. I picked up some pieces of Hull's Autumn Leaf to re-sell, so I was quite happy.

I phoned The Sister from town to wish her happy birthday and picked up some donuts for The Husband's breakfast.

At 9:00 a.m., family and friends gathered to organize the wedding reception area for the evening's festivities. The bride's 2nd cousin (and good friend) works as an art director for television shows filmed in Los Angeles. She had a site plan for the area and put everyone to work.

Hanging lights:

Moving tables:

Cutting burlap and linen to use as table coverings:

At this point, we took a little break for a trip to town to stock up on bottled water, diet coke and tonic. We returned to the room and took a short nap, before showering and dressing for the wedding.

We returned for final prep work at reception site.

Napkins, silverware and flowers on the tables. Unfortunately, the flowers were a bit top heavy and there was a steady breeze, which kept knocking the jars over. We just poured the water out of the jars and laid them on the tables!

Pictures of the bride and groom were displayed:

The band set up:

Before we knew it, it was time to walk down the street to the small church for the wedding. The church was not air conditioned, nor did all the ceiling fans work, so we were thankful for the provided fans!

The ceremony was short and sweet and, yes, there were tears and laughter!

We hustled back to the reception area ahead of most of the guests.  We needed to direct folks on where to pick up their table assignment cards, which were vintage postcards.

Guests enjoying the cocktail hour:

The bride and groom arrive. Isn't she lovely? (He's handsome!)

The Bride and Groom with her parents, siblings and spouses.

Dinner was scrumptious and then we had CAKE!

Here's a close up of the detail on the cake. Isn't it pretty?

The Bride and Groom live in Los Angeles and many of their friends are professional muscians, just like the Groom. There was never a question of who was going to provide the music for the reception. Everyone provided music for the reception! I would imagine there were at least 30 people who participated in the evening's musical entertainment. So. Much. Fun!

The reception ended at 10:00 p.m. and as guests began to leave, family and friends scurried around to remove photos, flowers, table coverings, gifts, etc. from the reception area. It is always amazing how long it takes to decorate for a party and how quickly it all disappears when the party is over!

We retired to the desert side of the motel and enjoyed adult beverages with the family and re-lived the perfect day.

We were in bed by 12:30 p.m. and glad of it!

Ending odometer: 44,235
Miles driven: 20

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Road Trip #2 - 2012 - Day 9

Friday, August 24 - Pioneertown, CA

Beginning odometer: 44,126

We had a great night of rest in the Hopalong room at The Pioneertown Motel.

Another shot of the motel. It is charming.

We drove into town for breakfast at John's Place. It was a good breakfast at a reasonable price. The service was fast and friendly. We would eat there again.

We then drove 30 miles into Palm Springs. Neither of us had ever been there and I didn't want to be so close and miss seeing the place.

On the way into Palm Springs, you drive past a huge wind farm. My picture in no way does justice to how many turbines are there. Click here for some awesome photos.

I've always liked how wind farms look. The seemingly lazy movement of the blades is hypnotizing to me. I must admit, however, there were so many of the turbines in this place, the lanscape began to look alien and a bit sinister. Perhaps it was a hangover from my recent time in Roswell, NM?

I must say, Palm Springs is a pretty town. However, they have taken a patch of the desert and landscaped it into a green oasis that looks a bit strange in the middle of the desert. We drove down the main street and saw lots of high-end shops, restaurants and hotels. I could vacation there, for sure. Not that I could afford it, but what the heck!

We did stop and take a couple of corny tourist photos. You expect that of us, don't you?

Hello, Marilyn!

We drove back to Yucca Valley and stopped in an antique store. I found a Kabob-It for $30. I had never seen one before. Have you? I could not get The Husband excited about it, so I left it for someone else to purchase. I found a video of one on YouTube.

I also found some California pottery with which I was not familiar. The name of the pottery is Vallona Starr. I saw examples of their corn line and fell in love. Click here for images. I think it would be a lovely addition to my personal corn pottery collection, but The Husband disagrees. I'm really going to have to start leaving him at home!

We returned to the hotel for a little nap and at approximately 4:30 p.m. there was a knock on our door. We opened it to find Cousins Charlene and Shannon! What are they doing here, you ask? They are here for the same reason we are, a family wedding!

Yes, the entire purpose of this road trip is for us to attend the wedding of The Husband's first cousin's daughter, Sonia.

As family continued to arrive at the motel, we laughed and joked and caught up with each other. In the evening, we attended the rehearsal dinner at the Rimrock Ranch. This was our first opportunity to meet the groom and his family, who were all very nice. I did not take one photo of the party (bad blogger). Trust me that it was fun and lovely and just right for this couple as they begin their married lives together.

We returned to our accomodations afterwards and sat out under the starry night sky with family until late in the evening (or early in the morning!)

Ending odometer: 44,215
Miles driven: 97

Friday, August 24, 2012

Road Trip #2 - 2012 - Day 8

Thursday, August 23 - Phoenix, AZ to Pioneertown, CA

Beginning odometer: 43,741
Departure time: 10:00 a.m. (Mountain Time Zone)

We packed our belongings, loaded them into the car and headed out to a local Waffle House for breakfast. My hashbrowns were smothered. How do you take yours?

Family members know I spend a lot of time poking around at garage sales, flea markets and antique malls. They frequently tell me, "If you ever see X, let me know because I've been looking for one." On this trip, The Husband spotted a vintage school map for one of the nieces. Once we were able to confirm she still wanted it, we agreed to pick it up on our way out of town. So back to the first Brass Armadillo we went. We negotiated a bit of a discount on the original price and finalized the deal. I love it when things work out like this!

We drove out of Phoenix on I-10 West and drove and drove and drove. Hello, California!

We made our way to The Pioneertown Motel and got checked into our cute room. We made an ice run downtown and returned to enjoy an adult beverage. Internet connectivity works outside so we were able to catch up on a few things.

The porch for the backside of the motel, where our room is located.

The view from our chairs.

The temperature started cooling down and because we were the only guests at the motel, it was quiet and peaceful.

We went to dinner at Pappy and Harriet's, which is a minute's walk from the motel. We had a great meal, got to listen to some good live music and met people who we will see again this weekend at the restaurant.

We returned to our chairs after dinner and could see thousands and thousands of stars. It was magnificent!

Ending odometer: 44,126
Miles driven: 385
Arrival time: 5:00 p.m. (Pacific Time Zone)

Road Trip #2 - 2012 - Day 7

Wednesday, August 22 - Phoenix, AZ

Beginning odometer: 43,711

We had breakfast in the hotel lobby and returned to our rooms to read and generally be lazy.

The Husband went to the Diamondbacks afternoon ball game. He bought a $7 ticket and this was his view from the seat.

I opted to visit the second Brass Armadillo location. Once I found it, I realized a laundromat was located nearby. Because we had been on the road a week, our dirty clothes bag was full. I took the opportunity to do our laundry at the Clean Livin' Laundry.

Once I finished my chore, I walked the entire antique mall. This vinitage maxi skirt caught my eye. Oh, to be younger and thinner! If I were both those things, I would definitely wear this skirt. Ain't it cool?

I left the mall to drive back to the hotel and it rained on me almost the entire way. What's the deal with us visiting the desert and getting rained on?

The Husband enjoyed his afternoon, just as I enjoyed mine. You don't have to be together 100% of the time to enjoy vacation!

Mario, the hotel shuttle driver, drove us to the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails for dinner.

We walked in and I felt tragically unhip and old. Everyone was YOUNG and TRENDY and oh so COOL. Oh well, we were also back in the day!

We shared the following dishes:

Cheddar Scallion Biscuits: bacon jam with sunny side up quail egg 
Sopes: caramelized onion, pork belly and pasilla chile jam 
Kentucky Fried Quail: foie gras cornbread, red beans, sausage gravy 

They were all very tasty, especially the quail. Foie gras cornbread is rich!

The Husband phoned for Mario and he returned us to the hotel before 10:00 p.m. We were in bed early and I was startled awake by a big storm at 3:00 a.m. Thunder! Lightning! Rain!

Ending odometer: 43,741
Miles driven: 30

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Road Trip #2 - 2012 - Day 6

Tuesday, August 21 - Phoenix, AZ

Beginning odometer: 43,674

We were a bit lazy on this day. We slept a little later and went to breakfast in the hotel lobby at around 9:30 a.m. After a leisurely meal, we returned to the room and checked e-mail and read on-line news. 

We finally got around and left the hotel headed to one of my favorite places, a local Brass Armadillo Antique Mall. Phoenix has two Brass Armadillos. We visited the Phoenix West location.

The Husband is a good sport about going to antique malls with me, but I did find him sitting in this area at one point during the visit.

It takes quite a while to walk through one of these places, but we managed to see the entire store. We did not, however, purchase one item. Not one!

We returned to the hotel and lazed around reading and napping until it was time to walk to the Arizona Diamondback's ball park. We purchased great tickets from a scalper outside the ball park. 

We had an entire suite to ourselves for the game. Can you believe that? And, the tickets were very, very reasonable. The Husband has had the opportunity to sit in suites at other parks, but I have never had the chance. It was great!


Hot dogs, peanuts and beer taste better in a suite!

This was our view of the field.

Guess who The Husband got to meet? A Diamondback named Stryker!

As is our habit when visiting a ball park for the first time, we walked around during the later innings (of which there were 10 in this game!) and viewed the action while seated in various sections. The game was fun and it was too bad the Diamondbacks lost in the 10th inning.

We exited the ball park and guess what? It was raining! In the desert! Pouring down rain! Remember, I said we walked to the ball park from our hotel? It was not a bad walk when it was dry. It was going to be a miserable walk in the rain.

The Husband still had the card for Mr. Joey, the shuttle driver who drove us to a restaurant the previous night. He called the hotel to ask if we could be picked up, knowing that the shuttle quit running at 10:00 p.m. and it was 10:15 p.m. when he made the call. Mr. Joey to the rescue! He agreed to come get us. We did have to walk a couple of blocks to a location where traffic was not blocked around the stadium, but that was okay with us. We were soaking wet when he arrived, but not as wet as we could have been.

It was a great day!

Ending odometer: 43,711
Miles driven: 37

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Road Trip #2 - 2012 - Day 5

Monday, August 20 - Las Cruces, NM to Phoenix, AZ

Beginning odometer: 43,294
Departure time: 10:00 a.m.

Before we left the Big Chile Inn for the road, we had to take a few photos.

If you follow me on Twitter, you have already seen their official vehicle. 

What's that above my head?

Look! A sign!

How big is it?


Aren't we cute?

In addition to us taking pictures of ourselves with the world's largest chile, there was a tour group organized through a British university doing the same thing. Their tour consisted of visiting US military test sites and UFO sighting spots in the area. As The Husband said to one of them, "Oh, just like we are doing!"

After saying good-bye to Innkeeper David, we went next door for breakfast. Our room rate included breakfast, but we wanted more than cold cereal and toast.

The Husband ordered one of the specials, which was described as two eggs, two link sausage and four MINI pancakes. Do those look mini to you? Part of the American weight problem, perhaps? He ate one of them!

After breakfast we took I-10 out of Las Cruces, headed west towards Phoenix, AZ.

We did not stop except for gas and bathroom breaks.

There were no fun "world's largest ______" to be seen.

Interstate highways get you were you are going faster, but take a good portion of fun and silliness out of road trips.

We did see a number of pecan groves in Arizona, just like in New Mexico. We also saw a sign for walnuts. We didn't recognize the walnut trees as we were whizzing down the interstate at 75 mph, but I'm sure they were there. 

We arrived at our hotel 2:30 p.m. Phoenix time. Arizona is in the Mountain Time Zone, but doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time in most of the state. How confusing! Click here for more information.

Our room is very nice and look what we see out the window! Why, it's the Arizona Diamondbacks Stadium. I think there might be a ball game in my immediate future, what do you think?

We settled into our room and rested. We spoke to the hotel front desk staff and received a listing of local restaurants. Fortunately, our hotel offers a free shuttle in the downtown area. Mr. Joey took us to The Arrogant Butcher.

Chuck, the bartender, made us great cocktails and served us good food. A nice evening, in our opinion.  The Husband phoned after we finished our dinner and Mr. Joey arrived to ferry us back to the hotel. Wouldn't it be nice to have a Mr. Joey to drive us around all the time? It would be like "Driving Miss Daisy" only it would be "Driving The Husband and Cindy!"

We were delivered safely to our hotel at 9:00 p.m.ish and we retired to our bed chamber.

Ending odometer: 43,674
Miles driven: 380

Monday, August 20, 2012

Road Trip #2 - 2012 - Day 4

Sunday, August 19 - Roswell, NM to Las Cruces, NM

Beginning odometer: 43,082
Departure time: 10:50 a.m.

We started our late morning with a big breakfast at Denny's.

We drove out of Roswell on Highway 70 West.

I really wanted a piece of alien yard art to take home, so we stopped when we saw this sign. Unfortunately, the cement aliens at the establishment were not cute, so none of them came home with us.

We drove through Ruidoso, NM, but did not take the time to stop. It looked like a great place to explore, so it has been added to our list of future vacation destinations, along with Silver City, NM.

One of most interestings things for us during this tour of southern New Mexico has been the education we've received in terms of the agriculture of the area. We've seen pecan groves, apple orchards, and wineries using locally grown grapes. On this day we saw pistachio orchards. We had to stop at McGinn's Pistchio Tree Ranch outside of Tularosa because it is the home of the world's largest pistachio!

See! Here I am with the world's largest pistachio!

Naturally, we toured their store and bought some pistachios before returning to the road. 

Just a few miles later, we pulled into the White Sands National Monument

Have you ever been there? If not, it's a trip you should take. It is amazing how there are 275 acres of white sand in the middle of the New Mexico desert. It's just amazing!

The Husband on top of one of the dunes.

Be careful on the way down!

He took this photo of me at the bottom of the dunes. This is a view of just small amount of the park. It's huge and full of white sand!

After leaving White Sands, we headed towards Las Cruces, NM. To get there, we had to drive past the US Army's White Sands Missile Range. Do you know the whole afternoon we were in the area, we could not get good reception on our phones. Coincidence? I think not! 

We made it to Las Cruces and found our hotel, the Big Chile Inn. We picked this hotel because of the amazing reviews on Trip Advisor. Our room was cheap, clean and spacious. The hotel has a funky, fun vibe and outside decor. The innkeeper, David, was a great chap and personally escorted us to our room. We stepped out to get our luggage and when we returned, chips and salsa were waiting in our room just as described in all the Trip Advisor reviews!

Because it was late and because we had a good experience previously with a Cattle Baron steakhouse, we opted to eat at the Las Cruces restaurant. The Husband had an excellent prime rib, perfectly medium rare, and I had the soup & salad bar. (Not the whole bar, silly, just a selection of items!)

We were both very impressed that even though it was 8:30 p.m. on a quiet Sunday night (only two other tables and us ), the staff kept the salad bar fully stocked and cleaned. We both saw the staff refilling items from the bar each time we went in to get something else. 

We returned to our room after dinner and went to sleep early.

End of day odometer: 43,294
Miles driven: 212