Category Archives: Grilling

Exploring Reno/Sparks

After I wrote my last post Saturday morning, we headed out on the Spyder. We rode to the Reno Riverfest – a summer kick-off held at Wingfield Park near downtown Reno. Wingfield Park is an island in the Truckee River, which flows right through town, accessible via pedestrian bridges, two on the north side and one on the south. The Riverfest featured a number of events including a kayak competition, several bands on two bandstands, vendor tents and beer gardens.

Entry was free and a sunny Saturday meant huge crowds in the park. The temperature was around 80 degrees.

Pedestrian bridge on the north side over the Truckee River

We watched the kayaks on the south side for a while. The competitors had to paddle upstream through rapids and maneuver through a series of gates. It looked very technical as they had to quickly change direction to get through the course.

Kayak competition

We listened to a guy performing an excellent blues set with just his acoustic guitar and a great voice. He was good!

Great blues set

We didn’t hang around for too long. It was very crowded and Donna had left her I.D. back at the coach, so we couldn’t go into the beer garden. On the way back, we stopped at The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery. We sampled a couple of tasty brews made onsite – they were okay with Donna not having her proof of age. They also have five stills for distilling spirits, but we didn’t try any liquor.

On the way to the Riverfest, Donna spotted a storefront with a sign advertising hand rolled cigars. We made a stop there on the way back. It was Ruiz Cigar Lounge. This is a cigar shop featuring Ruiz cigars – rolled onsite by Marvin Ruiz and also some Ruiz cigars from his family’s factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Marvin is an interesting and very friendly guy. He moved to Nevada from Nicaragua in 2005. He imports tobacco from his family’s farm and rolls cigars. He learned the trade in Nicaragua, first working at the Padron factory where his father and grandmother also worked at one time. Later he worked for Drew Estate and then Perdomo.

We talked cigars for a while as he showed me his selection and described many of the cigars in the Ruiz line up. I bought one to try, then he surprised us with a treat. He brought out some tobacco leaves and described the different leaves. They were all Nicaraguan from Esteli and Jalapa. He realized I knew a little bit about cigar construction as we discussed different leaf types and methods of rolling the filler.

Then he proceeded to roll a cigar. It was like watching a magician. His movements were quick and precise – he had the filler bunched and rolled in the binder so quickly that there must have some sleight of hand involved. He was almost done with the cigar before I could start snapping photos.

Already rolling the filler bunch with binder leaf
The bunch and binder are hidden by his right hand as he makes a cut with a chaveta – a special type of knife for cigar making
He laid out the wrapper leaf to finish the cigar
Finished cigar – old school style without using any molds

He gave me the Churchill cigar he’d just rolled. How generous is that?!

Off the shelf Ruiz cigar on the right – the shaggy foot Churchill he made for me on the left

I puffed the shaggy foot Churchill after dinner. It was a very nice cigar and I enjoyed it immensely.

On Sunday, Donna rode her beater bike to do some shopping nearby. While she was out, she went to Petco and brought home a surprise for Ozark the cat. Ozark has only been outside of our coach a few times in the four years since she joined us. She likes to sit on the steps behind the screen door or in her window bed to watch the outside world, but she isn’t inclined to go out.

Donna brought home a cat harness and leash. We fit the harness to Ozark and Donna took her out. She seemed to like it. She rolled in the synthetic turf in our site and they took a short walk. I’m wondering if this will encourage Ozark to go out on her own – that wouldn’t be a good thing.

Our site with fake grass at Sparks Marina RV Park
Donna and Ozark exploring

Sunday afternoon, I went back to Ruiz Cigar Lounge and sat with Marvin and shot the breeze while we puffed our cigars. He told me a lot of interesting stories about growing up in Nicaragua as a third-generation cigar roller. Another fellow from Nicaragua came into the lounge – I don’t recall his name – he told me Marvin is a Master Torcedor – a title given to only the most highly skilled cigar rollers. I bought a few more cigars from him.

While we’re back on full hook-ups, Donna is taking advantage by catching up on laundry and preparing some fine dinners. Saturday night she made one of our favorites – chicken enchilada skillet casserole.

Chicken enchilada skillet casserole

Sunday she whipped up coconut cauliflower risotto while I grilled chicken thighs. She served it with steamed spinach.

Grilled chicken thighs with coconut cauliflower risotto and steamed spinach

This morning we returned to the Evelyn Mount Community Center for pickleball. The games we’re all high level and we had fun. We’ll go back again.

The weather here in Sparks, Nevada has been holding up fine. Daily highs are in the upper 70s. It should be cooler Wednesday with a possibility of rain on Thursday. We’re scheduled to depart on Thursday – with any luck we’ll beat the rain. I’m not sure where we’re going next – maybe Susanville, California. I’ll be sure to top off our fuel tank before we enter California – diesel fuel prices are about a dollar less per gallon in Nevada than they are in California.

Full Spa Treatment

After the full-adult dose of Belize, it took us a couple of days to recover. But, recover we did and we’re comfortably back into the full-time RV lifestyle. Easter week was not the best time to make our re-entry – it’s traditionally a very busy time here at Mission Bay RV Resort. With kids having the week off from school, the park fills with weekend warrior families. By Friday, the park was packed and there were more kids on bicycles, skateboards and scooters than ever. It was okay though – most everyone behaved well and the park quieted down at night.

We met some new friends two sites down from us – Jeremy and Erica Cohen from New York. They were here for a week with their two kids in a somewhat unusual circumstance. Their friend set up his Fleetwood motorhome in site 140 and left it here for their use. They flew in, rented a car and moved into the motorhome for the week.

Saturday night the park had an Easter parade for the kids. Most of the kids adorned their bicycles with LED lights on the wheels – they were selling them at the snack shack – and followed a golf cart through the park.

Kids Easter parade – photo without flash
Kids Easter parade – photo with flash

As expected, the park began to empty on Sunday – many people had arranged for a late check-out and didn’t leave until well past noon. By Monday afternoon, the park was less than 50% occupied.

Our neighbor in site 143 has a 2003 Monaco Diplomat. He hired the guys at Elite RV Service and Detail to detail his coach. They worked on it for most of the day on Monday. His coach has half-body paint, meaning that all of the white parts are gel coat. Gel coat can oxidize and it’s really hard to get the luster back, but they did a great job and his coach came out looking practically new.

Donna said our coach could use some love. I ended up paying Elite RV for the full spa treatment. We had the coach detailed including polish and wax of the full-body paint job. It took four guys about four hours to get the job done and it wasn’t cheap, but the coach sparkles now.

Full spa treatment

This week we’re back on track again with pickleball in the mornings and I hit happy hour at Dan Diego’s Monday afternoon.

Westmalle Belgian dubbel at Dan Diego’s

We’re also back to eating good, wholesome home-cooked meals. Monday night, Donna prepared a salmon filet which I grilled. She served it with onion marmalade (onions cooked with olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a foil packet on the grill) over arugula. Very tasty!

Salmon with onion marmalade over arugula

The weather has been agreeable here since our return. While not as warm as Belize – there the daily highs were in the 80s and the temperature only dropped about 10 degrees at night – we’ve had daily highs in the upper 60s to low 70s, mostly clear skies and overnight lows in the upper 50s.

Yesterday Donna dropped her sister, Sheila, off at the airport. Sheila is still hobbled by a broken leg and is getting around on crutches. She’s off to a seminar in San Francisco, so we’ll have her car for a few days. Today we’re driving up to Menifee to visit my step-dad, Ken, for lunch.

SMM Three Gun

I’ve become a little lazy about posting lately. I haven’t written a post in 10 days! It’s mainly due to the routine we’ve fallen into here at Viewpoint Golf and RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here for almost three months already. Our routine consists of pickleball games most mornings, tennis lesson a couple of times per week for Donna and I instruct a pickleball class on Wednesday afternoon for players graduating to intermediate level play.

I have happy hour with my friends at Lucky Lou’s a couple afternoons every week. I spend time with some of the guys I knew and hung out with when we lived here 10 years ago. In one week, we’ll be moving on – back to San Diego for a month. With the coach set up at Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego, we’ll take a week off and kick back in Belize.

Last week, I finally got the Traeger wood pellet fired smoker grill out of the trailer and prepared my famous babyback ribs. Our neighbor across the street from us, Dick, was a bachelor for the week as his wife, Roxie, had to take care of business back at their home in Spokane. We invited Dick over to have a smoked rib dinner and we enjoyed the company and a few adult beverages. Originally we intended to include our other neighbors, Chuck and Sue from Illinois, but Sue’s brother unexpectedly passed away and they hastily packed up and headed back to Illinois.

There’s an outdoor shooting range up on Usery Pass – a couple of miles up Ellsworth Road. They hold an annual competition there for three gun competitors. Three gun competition is exactly how it sounds – you must be proficient with three types of firearms – pistol, shotgun and rifle. I went to check it out Friday afternoon – there’s no charge for spectators.

Rio Salado Sportsman Club at Usery Mountain

The event is called the Superstition Mountain Mystery Three Gun. Competitors complete various scenarios in different settings called stages – this competition had 12 stages. In each stage, targets are engaged from different positions and distances and the competitor has to transition from one gun to another.

In the picture below, the shooter is knocking down steel plates with a shotgun. He started on the left side of the helicopter chassis and knocked down six plates, then he had to move to the right side to knock down six more plates – he’s shooting at the last plate.

In another stage, the competitor is shooting a pistol at a variety of targets, then he drops the pistol and picks up a rifle as he scrambles onto an inclined board to engage targets 500 meters away with his rifle. This is a long shot! Five hundred meters is about 1,600 feet – well over a quarter of a mile. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking so they have to make the shots as quickly as possible and don’t have time to catch their breath during a stage.

Pistol shooting – judges and time keeper behind the shooter
Transition to 500 meter shot with a rifle from prone position

I had the opportunity to meet a legend in the speed shooting and competition shooting world. Jerry Miculek (MITCH-e-lek) was competing in the Superstition Mountain Mystery three gun event. Jerry has been at the top of the game for as long as I can remember. I think he’s been sponsored by Smith and Wesson for nearly thirty years. He holds several world records for speed and accuracy. He has a TV show on the Outdoor Channel called Shootout Lane that I enjoy watching.

The greatest shooter of all time – the Legend, Jerry Miculek

I had to opportunity to meet and speak with Jerry. He’s truly a nice guy – if you’ve ever watched his TV show, he is just as soft spoken and humble as he appears on TV. Jerry’s 64 years young and still at the top of the game. His daughter, Lena, is also a top competitor sponsored by Sig Sauer – she was the top female shooter in the world in 2014. She wasn’t at this competition – she’s concentrating on Pistol Cartridge Carbine (PCC) competition at this time.

Saturday morning, I competed in a men only pickleball tournament. We started with a series of round-robin play to establish the qualifiers for the semi-final and Championship round. I played nine games of round robin and qualified for the championship round. Unfortunately I lost the in the end and wound up in second place again. It was fun, but I was whipped after 10 games. My S-Health app recorded nearly 15,000 steps on Saturday. You can see from the bar graph that most of them were before noon during the pickleball tournament. I keep my phone in my pocket while I play to record the steps.

14,873 steps!

On Saturday afternoon, we went to a pool party and barbeque at Jeff and Krissy Van Deren’s house. We had a fun time with plenty of good food and drink. The only person in the pool was Mike and Kim Child’s granddaughter Abigail. We said our goodbyes to Mike and Jodi Hall there as they’re heading out for week-long vacation in Jamaica.

Pool party

My post wouldn’t be complete without a dinner plate picture. Thursday night, Donna made Chicken Lombardy. It was absolutely delicious served with forbidden (black) rice and asparagus.

Chicken Lombardy

The weather has been very pleasant although we had a couple of cloudy days and gusty winds last Tuesday. The daily high temperature ranged from 70 to 80 degrees. The week ahead looks a little warmer with mid-to-upper 80s. I’ll have to get busy and finish a few maintenance chores before we pull out of here next Sunday.

Who Let the Cat Out?

This blog is written on a template from WordPress. Periodically, WordPress updates the platform. I was told, by someone in the know, to always update to the latest version. Sometimes the update fixes bugs or plugs vulnerabilities. So that’s what I do. Well, the latest “upgrade” changed the whole platform. My photos no longer are reduced to a smaller image that can enlarged to their original size by clicking on them – they are sized to fit the page automatically. I don’t see this as an upgrade.

It’s taken me a while to figure out how to insert links in the new format. The biggest issue I have is with the sidebar widgets. I have affiliate links in the sidebar. Some no longer work – for example, I’m an Amazon affiliate. If you go to Amazon from my website link, I earn a small referral for anything you buy from them on that visit. You pay the same price – I just earn an small referral fee. It isn’t much and now that the link has broken, my last statement showed I earned all of 54 cents in the last month. I’ll have to figure out how to fix it. I’m never going to get enough referral money to even pay for the web hosting cost of a blog, but a few bucks here and there doesn’t hurt.

I don’t have much to report on the RV side of things. We’re settled in and I haven’t had any real projects here in Mesa. We stay active at Viewpoint Golf and RV Resort though. I’ve been busy playing pickleball and instructing pickelball lessons. Giving lessons has helped me focus my own play – so it’s beneficial to both me and my students.

We enjoy the birds here at Viewpoint. When I bought the second quail block to attract and feed birds, I wondered if I could keep it up. The birds demolished the first one in about 10 days. At $14 per block, I wasn’t sure if I should keep it up. Now that we have much warmer weather, the birds have an easier time finding more naturally occurring food sources, so the block isn’t disappearing as fast.

Ozark the cat loves the quail block. She sits on the bottom step of the entry and watches the birds through the screen door. She doesn’t try to go outside though. I think she had enough of the outdoors when we found her as a young kitten hiding under our coach at Turkey Creek near Branson, Missouri. She’d much rather stay dry and well fed in our coach.

Ozark the cat stretching out on the dashboard

Our friends Mike and Jodi Hall have a rescue kitten that looks a lot like Ozark the cat. We were talking over happy hour at Lucky Lou’s and Jodi told us her cat story. Apparently, the night before, their kitten, unbeknownst to them, went out the back screen door sometime after 10pm. Jodi knew something wasn’t right when the cat never came to snuggle in bed all night. In the morning, she couldn’t find the cat and it didn’t come when she put food out.

She checked the backyard fearing the kitten may have fallen into the koi pond or got into the pool and ended up in the filtration system, but the cat was nowhere to be found. In the backyard they have an aviary built around a tree. In the afternoon, Jodi looked at the tree carefully. Sure enough, the kitten was up in a crook in the tree. Jodi had to climb up on the aviary, then into the tree to bring the cat down. Mystery solved and now their cat doesn’t seem as inclined to go outside anymore.

While I don’t have any RV related things to post, I want to post a few meal pictures. I know this seems like a food blog at times, but I like to make the point that full-time RV living doesn’t mean always mean eating out, grilling hot dogs or microwaving frozen food. It doesn’t always have to be fancy either. Last week Donna diced leftover pork tenderloin and prepared street tacos. Yummy!

Street tacos

I took advantage of the fine weather and grilled steaks on Sunday.

Steaks right off the grill
Steak with baked sweet potato and asparagus

Monday Donna made a dish called chicken Gabriella and served it with mashed potatoes and roasted Brussel sprouts.

Chicken with mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts

Speaking of fine weather, we’ve had daily highs in the mid to upper 70s over the last 10 days and even hit 83 degrees yesterday. The forecast looks good although we may have a couple of cooler days with rain showers next week. Overall, we can expect upper 70s and low 80s in the foreseeable future.

It’s Not a Vacation

We’re halfway through our sixth year on the road. When we started this journey, I told Donna it wasn’t an endless vacation, it’s a lifestyle. She responded with, “So we’ll still take vacations, right?” Well, she had me there. In reality, we’ve had many mini-vacations on the road. Like when we stayed at East Glacier or West Yellowstone or destinations like Nashville and countless other places where we played the tourist role.

Last week, I thought maybe it was time to change things up. I surprised Donna by suggesting a cruise or tropical resort. We spent a day or so looking things over on the Internet and made a decision. We’ve booked a week at the Costa Blu Resort on Ambergris Caye (pronounced am-BERG-ris Key) near San Pedro, Belize. We plan to travel there from San Diego in April. The flights to Belize from the West Coast aren’t easy. We’ll have to go from San Diego to Miami, then to Belize City. From there we can take a taxi to the port and a boat to San Pedro where we’ll rent a gasoline-powered four-seat golf cart for transportation to Costa Blu – about 6.5 miles from town. We’re looking forward to it and it should provide plenty of fodder for a future travel post.

Donna and I played in a pickleball tournament here at Viewpoint Golf and RV Resort on Saturday. Donna played in the 3.0 bracket while I played in the 3.5. The format was seven games of round-robin play, then the players were ranked by the number of games won and total points scored. The top four players were matched up in the finals to play for first and second place. The next four faced each other in a semi-final to determine the bronze medal winners. I ended up in the semi-final with five wins and 67 points scored, but we lost the semi-final round. Donna also made the semi-final in the 3.0 bracket and won the third step on the podium. It was a fun tournament and I’m looking forward to playing in another next month.

The weather last week was pleasant with highs in the upper 60s to low 70s. I usually go to Lucky Lou’s for cold one at happy hour on Thursday and Donna joins me on Friday when we meet several of our friends there. Mike Hall and I puff a cigar out on the patio and swap lies over a cold beer or two.

Of course, Donna keeps me well-fed as usual. A couple of examples of RV cooking from last week are a plate of grilled turkey breast served with sweet potato spinach hash and grilled peppers, onions and asparagus.

Grilled turkey breast, sweet potato hash and grilled peppers

After the tournament on Saturday, Donna went to the grocery store and found New York strip steaks on sale, so she grilled steak Saturday night and served it with a baked potato and grilled bok choy with shishito peppers.

Steak, potato, shishito peppers and bok choy

On Sunday, Donna hiked the Pass Mountain trail at Usery Regional Park with her friend, Beth Welch. They hiked about 7.5 miles and had some great views. I watched the NFL playoffs and wondered why at the end of the day. The officiating was so poor in the playoffs, I have to wonder if something rotten is going on.

The weather for the week ahead looks great – mostly clear skies, sunshine and moderate temperatures with the daily highs continuing to reach the high 60s and low 70s.

Pickleball Camp

I haven’t posted for a week again – things have been pretty routine here at Viewpoint Golf and RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona. This is our third winter here – we typically stay for the first three months of the year. Lately our day starts with pickleball. They have nine outdoor courts here now – four were added in the last year.

It almost seems like we’re at a pickleball training camp. I play four or five days a week and Donna plays two or three times. The level of play is fairly high. Courts are reserved for different levels of play – Donna and I play with the 3.0-3.5 group and the games are very competitive. Our skill level is progressing. Playing with others that are at the same or higher level improves your game. Playing against people that are less experienced or skilled tends to drag your level of play down. We’re enjoying the challenge and we’ll play in a tournament this coming Saturday. Donna has joined the Viewpoint tennis club and is taking tennis lessons a couple of times a week as well.

Other than that, our days are filled with mostly mundane tasks – shopping, normal chores and so on. After two or two and half hours of pickleball, I need some recovery time, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading and relaxing. I’m working through a couple of series of novels written by Barry Eisler that I’m really enjoying. The genre is international espionage and political action. Some readers may find the stories to be a bit slow as the author is very detailed in his descriptions of locales and also the characters often philosophize over their actions and the way of politics around the world, but I find the stories to be well-written and plausible.

We haven’t spent too much time grilling – the evenings are cool here and the temperature drops quickly around sunset – about 5:30pm. Donna has manned the grill a few times in the last week though. I’m planning to get the Traeger out of the trailer soon – we want to invite a few neighbors over for smoked babyback ribs.

Sunday night Donna grilled a wild sockeye salmon filet topped with caramelized red onions and served it over a mixed green salad. Excellent!

Grilled salmon over mixed green salad

The weather for the past week was agreeable – highs in mid 60s to low 70s. Monday morning I was up early again for the pickleball round-robin and it was cold in the morning. Overnight lows have been in the mid-40s. We usually run the heat pumps for an hour or so in the morning while we have coffee and breakfast.

Today’s weather started off fine, but clouds moved in and it stayed cool – it reached the mid-60s but a breeze and passing rain showers made it seem cooler. The rest of the week looks good weatherwise – with a possibility of rain showers late Thursday or early Friday. We hoping the weekend forecast holds true with a sunny day predicted for Saturday’s tournament.

Our Friendsgiving

We’re more than halfway through Thanksgiving weekend as I type this on Saturday afternoon. This was the first year since we hit the road that we didn’t have family members to share Thanksgiving with. But, we weren’t lonely. Our friends, Jeff and Deb Spencer, made the drive down from Dana Point where they are camp hosting at Doheny State Park. It rained early on Thursday morning but the sun came out and it was dry after 9am.

Donna grilled turkey breasts and a drumstick and thigh on the Weber Q. Deb brought down a salad plus asparagus and cherry tomatoes for roasting. Donna sauteed some corn with peppers and onions and made mashed Yukon gold potatoes and turkey gravy for Jeff and I  – the mashed potatoes and gravy didn’t fit the Bright Line Eating Plan that both Donna and Deb are following.

Grilled turkey

Round one

Deb and Jeff arrived around 2pm and we soon had the outdoor picnic table set. I poured a Belgian golden ale to go with my turkey. In lieu of pies for dessert, Donna baked Bartlett pears with cinnamon and chopped walnuts, then served it with a drizzle of balsamic reduction sauce and blueberries with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Deb said it was as good as apple pie!

Belgian golden ale

We dined and talked for a few hours. Before sunset, we made a quick lap around the RV park to stretch our legs and have a look around. The park is nearly full – but not quite as full as it was over the last couple of years. We actually have an empty site next to us which is a pleasant surprise. Deb and Jeff hit the road for the drive back up north after sunset.

Jeff, Deb, Donna and me after sunset

My friend Gary Stemple sent me a text saying he was visiting people over in site 71 and invited us to stop by. We went over and sat outside by their fire pit and talked for a while and made plans to get together on Friday.  Then Donna and I came back home to watch the end of the football game while I puffed a cigar.

Gary came over Friday at noon with a power boat that he beached outside of the park in De Anza Cove. We weren’t sure how many people were planning to go out on the boat – Gary, Donna and I planned to take a boat ride over to Paradise Point and have lunch at the Barefoot Bar. We thought others would be joining for a cruise after lunch.

Looking north from the boat as we cruised across the bay

Lunch at the Barefoot Bar started with Bloody Marys for all three of us. They make a great Bloody Mary and garnish it with wedges of lemon, lime, olives, celery and bacon!

Bloody Mary with bacon – because everything is better with bacon

I ordered the muffaletta sandwich and Donna had a salad with seared ahi tuna while Gary went for a bowl of clam chowder. The food was good although the service could’ve been better with a more attentive waitress. One thing I saw on the menu bugged me.

Hidden charge in the small print

If you click on the photo above to enlarge it, you’ll see a surcharge notice. It says they support increased minimum wage and other mandates – so they add 3% to the bill to cover them. In other words, they hide the additional costs of these government mandates with a surcharge – that way they can say we haven’t raised our prices on the menu – but you’ll pay more.

At the Barefoot Bar, they have a small lagoon that has water from the bay pumped through it. There are a variety of fish in the lagoon including small sharks. They had fish scraps brought out from the kitchen and fed the sharks while we were there.

Feeding the sharks

It turned out that everyone else bailed on the boat ride, so Gary dropped us off back at De Anza Cove and left. Thanks for the boat ride, Gary!

I mentioned the park is nearly full. As usual, many families and small groups came to the RV park for a long Thanksgiving weekend. People have been fairly well-behaved and although the kids run wild until about 8:30pm and parties in some sites are a bit noisy, it mostly settled down by 10pm. I hope that holds true tonight as the weekenders have their final night here. Tomorrow there will be a mass exodus as the park empties. I almost expect to hear a whooshing sound as everyone pulls out.

Monday we’ll have to leave. We’re restricted to a maximum stay of 62 days here before we have to leave for 24 hours. We’ll pull out Monday morning and head down to the Elks Lodge in Chula Vista for the night. Then we’ll be back to site 112 for another month-long stay. The forecast looks great for next several days with highs near 70 and mostly clear skies.


Back to Normal

Things are settling down to some semblance of normal around here. When I wrote my post last week, I thought I’d turned the corner and beat the flu-like symptoms. It wasn’t to be. Tuesday morning I woke up feeling like I’d relapsed. I didn’t do much but sleep all day.

Donna returned from her two-week trip to Vermont Tuesday night. Two weeks is the longest we’ve been apart since we married over 12 years ago. While she was in the northeast, the climate was little different from here. She had to wear winter clothing! We don’t do much of that. She also wore the Lucchese boots I bought her last year. She probably wore them more in the two-week period than she has all year.

Donna dressed for New England weather

I wasn’t very good company when she got home – in fact I was dead to the world asleep in bed. The virus lingered and I wasn’t good for much for the next few days. Donna did a pile of laundry and also restocked the refrigerator and pantry. I’m eating a higher quality diet again!

Grilled chicken thigh and veggies with feta cheese

Thursday night Donna grilled chicken thighs and a medley of vegetables with feta cheese. She came home in time to see the best sunset of the season so far.

Nice sunset – I wish I was up for a walk to the bay at that time

Friday was my break-through day. I finally felt rested and better. While Donna was in New York, she went out with her friend Joan for dinner. Donna ordered a poke plate and wasn’t impressed. They left out a few details – like sesame-soy dressing and scallions.  Friday night we went to Offshore Tavern and Grill and ate there during happy hour. I had the poke plate made with cubed ahi tuna, sesame-soy dressing, cabbage, scallions, avocado and fried won ton wrappers.

Poke plate

Donna went for the seared yellowfin tuna made with sushi grade seared tuna, scallions, cabbage, soy sauce, ginger & wasabi. The meals were delicious as always.

Seared yellowfin tuna

Donna’s boots had a couple of scuffs – mostly on the heel stack and edges of the soles. I broke out my shoe-shine kit in the morning and went at it. First I cleaned the boots with saddle soap, then went over them inside and out with Bick 4 leather conditioner. I dressed the edges of the heel and sole with Fiebig edge dressing and finished up with a light polish with Kiwi shoe polish. The boots look new again

Saturday was a beach weather day. We ran a few errands then walked the boardwalk at Mission Beach. It was perfect beach weather – the temperature topped out just over 80 degrees with abundant sunshine and light wind. We had lunch on the corner of Mission Boulevard across from Belmont Park – Mr. Ruribertos Mexican Cafe. We ate at a table on the sidewalk.

The forecast calls for cooler temps with highs around 70. We’re heading over to Ocean Beach to play pickleball at the recreation center this morning. Like I said, things are returning to normal around here.



I was sitting outside watching the Sunday Night Football game and puffing a cigar when a guy walking by alerted me to an unusual sight in the clear, dark sky above. It was a rocket streaking by west of us, heading southwest. I called for Donna to step outside – we watched as its glowing trail sped away leaving a “V” shaped wake in the sky. It abruptly disappeared when it escaped the earth’s atmosphere. It was the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching a SACOM-1A Radar Imaging Satellite. The first stage had already separated by the time we saw it – I wish I could’ve witnessed that.

Other than that, we haven’t been up to anything too exciting. I play pickleball on Mondays and Wednesdays in Ocean Beach and Tuesdays and Thursdays in Pacific Beach. Donna joins me about 50% of the time. The weather has been pleasant – low 70s in the afternoons and cooling by about 10 degrees overnight. We’ve had more cloudy days than I expected though. September and October are usually fairly dry and offer up great beach weather. We haven’t had that so much this year. The humidity remains higher than usual with partly sunny and breezy afternoons. We can’t complain though – there’s been plenty of rough weather in the other parts of the country.

On Monday night, Donna grilled wild Coho salmon with ginger scallion topping and served it with grilled shishito peppers and baby bok choy. It was a great combination.

Grilled salmon, shishito peppers and bok choy

Monday and Thursday I meet up with the guys for a cold one at Dan Diego’s. On Tuesday and Friday we hit happy hour at Offshore Tavern and Grill. Tuesdays are Taco Tuesday at Offshore and it’s a treat. They have oversized tacos with your choice of steak, chicken or carnitas for $3. If you want fish or shrimp, it’s a dollar more.

Wednesday night Donna made walnut crusted tilapia which she served with green beans and acorn squash with sage and nutmeg.

Walnut crusted tilapia with green beans and acorn squash

Donna is still following the Bright Line Eating Plan, so she has to meet certain requirements on portions and proportions of protein, fat and carbohydrates. It hasn’t affected me too much – I think I’m getting more vegetables and fiber than I usually eat though.

Before this turns into a food blog, I’ll mention one minor project this week. One of the door catches on the laundry room – that’s what we call the utility closet housing our Splendide combo washer/dryer – broke. There’s an Ace Hardware in Pacific Beach that’s an old-time full service hardware store. They had the replacement part I needed and it was an easy repair.

Tomorrow Donna plans to spend the day with her 13-year old nephew Connor while her sister is away at a wedding in Los Angeles. She’ll be gone from morning until late at night. I don’t have a plan at this point. I’ll have to get used to it – on Tuesday, Donna is flying back to Vermont to spend some time with her parents and visit with friends she hasn’t seen in a long time. She has a girls’ weekend planned in Wilmington, Vermont with two college pals who met 38 years ago when they were on a foreign exchange program in England. And there’s also a reunion planned with a group of people she worked with at one of her first jobs. I’ll be on my own for two weeks. I better get another quick lesson on how to operate the Splendide washer/dryer!


Birthday Surprise

We’ve had a relatively quiet week here at Mission Bay RV Resort. Most of my days were consumed with pickleball. I played from 10am until noon or 1pm Monday through Thursday. Monday and Wednesday I played at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center. Tuesday and Thursday Donna joined me at the Pacific Beach Recreation Center. By Friday, my legs were heavy – I’m not used to this much time on the courts – so I took a day off.

On Wednesday morning, Donna went out for breakfast with her friend Jana. While I was at pickleball and she was at breakfast, we had a delivery. I wasn’t expecting anything and Donna sent me a text saying she picked up the package at the office. When I came home from Ocean Beach, I had a surprise. Donna gave me my birthday present a few days early. She and Jana had set up a flat screen TV in one of the basement compartments. Donna figured I would enjoy sitting outside in the evening to watch football and enjoy a cigar – great idea!

New outdoor TV

Friday evening Donna made a variation of the pizza chicken dish called Sheet Pan Chicken with mozzarella, grape tomatoes, red onion and pepperoncinis. She served it over spaghetti squash and with steamed baby spinach.

Sheet pan chicken

Saturday was my birthday. I’m officially an old guy – I qualify for Social Security and I can get a senior lifetime National Parks Pass since I’m 62 years old now. Donna ran in a 5k race in the morning benefiting the Wounded Warriors Project. We’d planned to spend the afternoon at the beach, but sometimes the best laid plans go awry. The day kind of got away from us. Around 2:30pm we set out to find rental electric scooters. There are a few companies providing these in San Diego and they are usually plentiful around Mission Bay and the beach areas.

I downloaded an App from a company called Bird. We found one scooter right here in the RV park after searching around for a bit. Then I found another one by the Mission Bay Boat Club. Donna had activated the first scooter with her phone and I tried to activate the second one. For some reason, my phone wouldn’t connect with the scooter and I couldn’t activate the rental. I found another scooter near Campland where someone had left it off the path in weeds. I couldn’t activate this one either – my phone wouldn’t read the bar code. By then it was 3:30pm and we gave up on the scooter and beach idea.

The weather for the last week hasn’t really been beach weather. Usually at this time of year, there’s a marine layer of moisture that creates cloudy mornings. It’ll burn off by noon and the afternoons at the beach are nice. So far this year, the cloudy skies have lingered on most days and it’s been breezy. The weather pattern is being affected by hurricane storms south of here. The humidity has been much higher than normal.

Donna grilled bacon-wrapped filet mignon for my birthday dinner. She smothered them with sauteed mushrooms and onions. It was delicious with a side of grilled broccolini with tomatoes and roasted delicata squash with feta cheese.

Bacon-wrapped filet mignon with mushrooms and onions

After dinner, I treated myself to a glass of 20-year-old Speyside Single Malt Scotch paired with a Perdomo 20th Anniversary Epicure Connecticut cigar. I sat outside and enjoyed the smoke and drink while I watched TV. Donna’s out for a training run this morning – she’s running in a 10k in a few weeks. I’m going to watch Moto GP racing from Thailand, then NFL action.