Route 66

This week has been a blast as we motored along the Mother Road from Albuquerque to Kingman Arizona, making plenty of stops along the way to check out the scenery, purchase some treasures and visit some fantastic sites.

WP_20160425_13_59_38_RichOn the first day we went from Albuquerque to Grants, New Mexico and from there took a detour through El Malpais National Monument (aka the Badlands) and stopped at the Ice Caves  and Bandera Volcano.  Both were very cool with the lava landscape and the ice cave which remains frozen year round.

WP_20160425_19_23_03_RichFrom there we continued onto Gallup, New Mexico – a very cool town where we stayed at the historic Hotel El Rancho.  This is where many movie stars have stayed, particularly when western movies were being filmed in the area so the roster included stars such as John Wayne and others such as Spencer Tracy and Kirk Douglas.

Lobby of El Rancho
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Bar was decorated with dollar bills signed by people from all over the world.


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I splashed out and we stayed in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Suite.  We had some of the best margaritas for a while in the lounge (which was decorated with numerous dollar bills) while also indulging in some Mexican food.


WP_20160426_10_31_04_Pro [1145562]The next day we made our way into Arizona, stopping just over the border for some Indian Trading Posts that clearly had seen better days.  Situated a little down the road was a replica of Fort Courage from the F-Troop TV series (you have to be older to remember this show).


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Replica of Fort Courage from the “F-Troop” television show.
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Further along the way we had to drop into the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, where Alice decided she had to ride a large jackalope.


WP_20160426_11_11_36_RichIn Holbrook, we stopped at the very famous Joe & Aggie’s Café in Holbrook, which was featured in Pixar’s “Cars” movie and also checked out the Wigwam motel – the rooms are individual teepees with cool old vehicles parked outside as part of the décor.

We stopped in Winslow, made famous by the Eagles song “Take it Easy” where of course we had to stand on the corner for the obligatory photos.

Standing on the corner taking it easy.

WP_20160427_07_06_51_ProNext it was onto Flagstaff, a very well maintained town that is primarily a University town.  Here we stayed in the haunted Hotel Monte Vista.  This evening was a change from following in the footsteps of Presidents as we stayed in the Michael Stipe REM room.   Fortunately our room wasn’t haunted so we had a peaceful evening.

We also stopped in for a drink at the Museum Club, which we both agreed was the best roadhouse / dive bar we’ve been in for a long time.


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We had a complete change of pace the following day with a ride in the parlor car on the Grand Canyon Railroad.


WP_20160427_09_17_54_ProThis was a great day complete with comprehensive commentary on the train, an excellent hike along the canyon rim, and live entertainment in the form of country singers and a train robbery by cowboys (should I call them outlaws?) on horseback.

We also had a couple of cocktails on the way back including a champagne toast before staying in the very well revamped Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel.

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The grandeur of the Grand Canyon is hard to capture.

To change the pace up a little more, the following day we made our way to the Grand Canyon Western Ranch where we stayed in a cabin on a working ranch complete with horses, cattle and bison.

Grand Canyon Western Ranch

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On the way we stopped in yet more Trading Posts as well as Seligman where the revitalization of Route 66 was first championed.


WP_20160428_09_52_55_Pro (2)Here we checked out the famous Snow Cap Diner and many other cool buildings and made some purchases from the gift stores selling Route 66 memorabilia.

At the Grand Canyon Western Ranch, Alice had fun in the saloon and jail.






WP_20160428_20_36_29_ProOver dinner we were entertained by Casey, the cowboy singer before gathering around the campfire for more songs accompanied by s’mores and some adult beverages.

We started the next day with a hearty cowboy breakfast followed by a horseback ride over part of the 106,000 acres that belong to the ranch and along the way stopped for a champagne toast (yes there is a theme emerging here).

Nothing like a champagne toast on horseback!

Then it was on to Kingman, where we ate at some great places including Rutherford 66 Diner, Mr D’z Diner and Oyster Mexican and seafood and then got ourselves ready for the fun run and classic car and motorcycle show. We went downtown a little early to wait for the cars coming from Seligman and amused ourselves in the Route 66 museum in the old Powerhouse.

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Even though it was raining and plenty of water rushing down the gutters, many classic, and some not so classic cars showed up.

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The finish was mostly in front of Mr D’z diner – where we ate some great road trip food.


Who’s a happy girl?



This was a most excellent week – perhaps best summed up by the photo of Alice having another large, very nice margarita 🙂


Sabbatical Part 2

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About to leave Seattle
I’m taking another road trip – this time along Route 66 and then up Highway 1 along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts.  First I needed to get my car to Albuquerque to start the journey westward (I decided not to do the whole route that starts in Chicago).  Initially I intended to have the car shipped, but then decided to drive instead to ensure it arrived when I needed it as I’d planned out the stops and booked hotels.

WP_20160420_16_29_48_RichIt was a great drive from Seattle over the Cascade mountains, down through Oregon and into Idaho before stopping for the first night in Boise where I stayed at the very pleasant Modern Hotel and Bar.  I enjoyed Boise – very livable city but who knew that Idaho was made famous by a candy bar!

WP_20160421_14_20_14_RichIt was then on through Idaho and into Utah where I stopped in Salt Lake City to visit the Mormon Tabernacle Temple.  I was surprised at how poor the drivers are in Salt Lake City – I was on edge the whole time, so it was a relief to head out to the mountains where I stayed the night in Midway in a replica Swiss resort.

The following day was a long drive to Albuquerque as I needed to get there in time to pick up Alice as she flew in that evening. We stayed down town near the old town in the Hotel Andaluz, which was the first hotel Conrad Hilton built and has been renovated but kept very authentic to the New Mexico architecture.

San Felipe de Neri Church

We had a great time in Albuquerque.  We visited old town and the San Felipe de Neri Church which was founded in 1705. On the walk back we stopped at the open air market where Alice made the first of many purchases.


ABQ RulesThey have some interesting rules in Albuquerque.  I’m pretty sure I was good at following these, but I’m not so sure about Alice – particularly the last one.


ABQ Kimo TheaterOf course we had some great New Mexican food and took in a number of the landmarks along historic Route 66.

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These included the Kimo theater, the old Dog House (which was always busy), and Garcia Café.



WP_20160424_08_50_17_Pro [796080]We just had to eat breakfast in the Route 66 Diner which was very authentic and filled with memorabilia.


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WP_20160424_11_17_03_Pro [796000]We enjoyed visiting the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and watched some native American dancers perform and Alice bought some small local art and other items from the gift store.


The Jag had collected a lot of Idaho and Utah bugs on the road so the last stop of the day was to a car wash 🙂

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The Police pay a visit

Police 3It’s getting closer to the new boating season – the opening day is typically the first weekend in May.  Maybe in anticipation of the new season, the police boats on Lake Union have been more active recently.

They have several boats in the fleet and on busy weekends like the opening weekend or July 4th all are on active duty.

What I haven’t seen before is one of their largest boats maneuvering so close to ‘Alice’ and the rowing club dock.  This weekend, the boat made a pass down one side of the dock before backing up and coming down between ‘Alice’ and the rowing dock – there’s not a lot of room left as you can seen below!Police 1


Police 2There was no incident, no arrests (thank goodness) and no explanation, just a friendly wave as they backed off, turned around and went on their way.

Spring comes to Seattle

The days are getting longer (from 7am to 8pm), the birds are singing and the weather has changed from gloomy to gorgeous!  It is definitely springtime in Seattle.  With Spring comes a number of rituals.  This week I had the top down on the Jag convertible for the first time this year.  It was also time to get the KatieG serviced.

WP_20160401_09_18_38_RichI took her down to Seattle Boat Co where they hauled it out, did the annual maintenance and cleaned the bottom.  She stayed overnight so I could pick it up this morning and what a great morning it was. They quickly had the KatieG down from her perch and splashed into the water.


WP_20160401_09_31_34_RichAfter picking up the KatieG, I took her through the cutting to Lake Washington and went for a great run – my justification was to charge up the batteries and blow the carbon out the engine, but of course the real reason was pure fun!

I was soon screaming across the water at 45 mph and KatieG still had some more to go – just brilliant!


Then back home where I successfully docked against Alice with no drama (whew!).  Then it was time to clean and prep the inside of the boat for the upcoming boating season.

Nothing beats the fun and joy of living in Seattle in Spring and Summer.





Of course the best way to enjoy spring in Seattle – having a beer on the back deck 🙂