Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blowing Rock hugs side of mountain

There are many times when the unexpected crops up.

And there isn't necessarily enough time to fully enjoy.

Such was the case last year on our skiing trip to Sugar Mountain outside of Boone, NC.

We took a different route and found a place we would like to revisit during either late spring, summer or early fall. It seems the place is not as bustling during the winter time.

And the place --  Blowing Rock, NC.

Their web site indicates that Blowing Rock is "only 3 square miles yet home to more than 100 shops, about two dozen restaurants and nearly 20 hotels and inns."

Its just south of Boone.

Heading north, we cut off the main highway (321) upon seeing the city's sign. The road took us through an area with homes and businesses seemingly hanging over the side of the mountain. 

There were numerous vistas, where one could see for miles.

Because our main quest was to go skiing, we just enjoyed the trip through town and headed to Boone. And then we enjoyed the visit through the town once again on the day we left Boone.

It was a place that beckoned to my sense of adventure.

Next post, Oct. 4, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chance encounters are always interesting

Somewhere amongst my notes, or my wife's notes, are the names of these two women.

Don't they look exhausted?

Well, they were. 

We crossed paths just outside of Hoover Dam on a trip a few years ago.

It was June, and hot.

We had pulled off the road into a Chamber of Commerce parking lot in Boulder City.

Our vehicle was stopped but the motor running, and we had some maps out trying to figure out which way to go.

We heard these loud roars and these two ladies pulled up next to us on their rented motorcycles.

Before we could introduce ourselves, we had barely time to open my wife's door, when they plastered their face up against the air conditioning vent on Linda's side of the van.

They needed some cool. They found a little, as a little bit later, I discovered our air conditioner was getting low on freon.

But for a moment, it satisfied their need. They had been riding all day in the Nevada sun decked out in traditional riding gear which tends to be on the warm side.

They were from the Boston area and had rented the two-wheelers in Vegas. They had a lot of chutzpah. We talked a few minutes and then we were all on different paths once again, having made new acquaintances with memories of a chance encounter to last a lifetime.

Travel is interesting!

Next post: Sept. 27, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First time was great, but you can't go back

There's a saying that one just can't go back and relive a past experience which had been exceptionally memorable.

That's so true.

And that thought takes me to Carmel, CA., where I wanted to relive a previous experience when wifey and I visited a couple years ago (actually it was the summer of '08 on what we call her retirement trip.)

Somewhere around the turn of the century, we came upon an Italian restaurant where we had supper. Must have been a well-liked place because if we had wanted to sit at a table it would have taken a while since it was so crowded and our name would have been way down on the waiting list.

Instead, we were offered seats at the display counter which was adjacent to the oven and open grill where we not only found delicious food but an entertaining time.

There were three or four Hispanics in charge of the area which seemed to be where everything of importance happened. There was a wood-fired oven which was kept busy cooking pizzas and a variety of other dishes.

But there was also an open-flame grill which was so entertaining as seafood and vegetables were readied for consumption.

We ordered salads and shared a pizza. We just sat there eating our meal and just enthralled with the way the cooks handled the orders and prepared them.

It was a great experience and we wanted to get another taste.

Alas, upon returning to Carmel, we couldn't remember the name of the establishment.

Up one street and down the other we walked, looking to and fro, trying to find it.

We finally came across Il Fornaio. We recognized the counter where we ate, but this time was different.

It was midday. There weren't the  sights, sounds and excitement of that previous time.  Nonetheless, we still decided to savor the meal.

And although a good experience, it just wasn't the same.

C'est la vie.

Next post: Sept. 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Staying put when storm's brewing

Hurricane damage from Katrina back in 2005

Labor Day has come and gone.

And although we hadn't originally made any plans to travel during the three-day weekend, it was a good thing we didn't.

Tropical storm, then depression Lee made landfall over the weekend. And whether we had gone east, west or north, we would still have been impacted.

Back on this particular day in 1985, Hurricane Elena became a problem along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and adjacent areas.

Lee's appearance wasn't as offensive.

Forecasts called for the storm to bring some 20 inches of rain to the Gulf Coast thus causing massive flooding.

We got some rain in Ocean Springs, but the downpours were intermittent and during the intermissions, the water drained off, never causing us any problems. The wind never did get very strong in our area.

That wasn't the case in other places where roads were flooded and people inconvenienced.

The storm took its time coming onto land and the whole weekend was overcast and rainy.

Being in the hurricane zone, we're prepared for power outages and have enough food to last a few days since most grocery stores usually close because of the lack of electricity.

Since the storm didn't affect any school days (I drive a school bus), we still have a weekday off in October (during cooler weather) in which to plan some type of trip.

But I digress. Between now and the first of October there is still the possibility of a strong storm that could interfere with our plans. Let's hope not.

Next post: Sept.13, 2011