Where we at

Friday, January 26, 2024

Back to FLA

Having checked the weather a huge "polar vortex" was going to happen later in the week, smashing Texas and moving east. That should fit in well with our plans to travel back as we'd be behind it all the way, staying relatively warm. It was in the 70s in San Diego when we left. 

Rocco's Pizza. A damn fine pizza, too.
We went from San Diego to Tucson. There we spent 2 night, so we could 1) catch up a bit with Jesse, Russ's son, and 2) eat at Rocco's. With Zachary's fresh in our minds it would be an easier comparison. Both pizzas, mind you, are amazing, so both are worth trying. But I like Zachary's just a bit more (I like their crust better).

From Tuscon we headed east back to Van Horn. And that's where the weather, being the morass of chaos it is, took a turn. Big winds came up, snatching that freezing air east of us that we were trying to travel behind, and sending it into our faces. We went to bed in temps in the upper 60s, we woke to 20s.

So we headed south-er! Skimming along the bottom of the country we went to Del Rio. While cold the skies were clear and the sun was out the whole way. 

Keeping south to stay as warm as we can.

From Del Rio it was back to Katy, Texas then onto Gulfport, Mississippi.

Del Rio to Katy

Katy to Gulfport

You might notice a stop at Dong Fuongs near New Orleans. This is an awesome Vietnamese place that makes the world's best bahn mi sandwiches. Vegetarian ones, too. It was a favorite of ours when we lived in NOLA. We stopped, got in line, and picked out 3 we wanted to have. We were the next to order, watching the ladies behind the counter making up about 10 sandwiches for some customer ahead, when a man came out from the back and said, "No more sandwiches! We're out of bread." I was so bummed! It wasn't like we were that late (it was after 3 pm by this time) but I was SO looking forward to them!

The temps remained cool and blustery as we drove from Gulfport to Panama City. 

Gulfport to Panama City... there's a tunnel under
Mobile Bay.
On the way Russ asked if I wanted anything special to eat. Being back in Florida I thought a grouper Rueben would be nice (if you haven't had one, they're great sammiches). He did some research and found one right off the beach in Panama City. We go there (still cold, and windy), park, and walk up to the place where we're greeted with a sign that read, "Closed today and tomorrow for maintenance." We were beginning to feel a bit cursed.

From there we headed more south to The Villages, to see my folks before heading to Tampa.

To the villages...

Then onto Tampa

We have some time to kill before we need to go to Key West, so we thought we'd stay a few days in Tampa. During our loop in 2019 we stopped here for a couple of nights and remember being pretty impressed. We had a great Indian meal at Rasoi in Ybor. We thought we'd see how it all faired through Covid.

While small the kitchen has a
fridge, an induction cooktop,
and a dishwasher.
Gotta tell ya, it's awesome. We're currently in a residence/hotel in a studio with a small kitchen. 5 years ago this place didn't exist. The area around the Amalie Arena (where "the Bolts" play) has boomed and bloomed. Lots of eateries, lots of gyms, lots of students (we think medical), and convenient stores all nearby. And the free street car is 1 block away to take you to Ybor, and the still amazing Indian restaurant, Rasoi.

Eating outside at Rasoi

...with the chickens of Ybor.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Cruisin' California

The trailer...
With the trailer and the cargo carrier delt with, we started heading southward. Ideally we wanted to stop in San Francisco for a few days -- do a lot of walking, eat at some of our favorite places -- but we really didn't have the energy. Russ was mostly recovered, but I was still hacking and sneezing.

... and the cargo carrier we no longer own.

Not wanting to rush things on Tuesday we traveled just an hour south to Pleasant Hill, where we stayed at a hotel near Zachary's Pizza. This is one of my favorite pizza places, and it did NOT disappoint. 

The following day we went to San Jose, staying at a hotel in Sunnyvale, also one of the towns we lived in while in the bay area.

From Antioch to Pleasant Hill, and awesome pizza.

Then south to San Jose.

The next three days we took slow trips following the coast. The clouds had moved along, so the Pacific views were wonderful. Certainly living up to its name. 

Just south of Santa Barbara is Carpinteria, 
a quaint little town.

The hotel here was a lovely Spanish place.
The pic does no justice, but the hills in the back are stunning.

Skittering along the coast we headed for San Clemente.

Lovely sunset from our hotel room at Volare.
You can see the ocean.

South, taking slow roads through lots of beach towns,
we made our way to San Diego.

With a heat lamp we sat outside a nearby 
pub and had fish and chips. The stadium
(which you can see in the distance) was hosting
a rodeo this weekend.
Eventually we got to San Diego, where we stayed a couple of nights. Again, we wanted to walk a bit, or take the transit into old town. Still not up to either. At least we got some pretty views.

From San Diego we head east, starting our way back to Florida. Once we got to Gila Bend we'd completed the "west coast" loop. We won't take 10 all the way back, but from here on out it's all east.

You can't see it clearly, but that's the Costco gas station in the distance. The cars in front of me are
in line for it. That line started waaaaaay behind me.
At $4.19 a gallon, this is the cheapest fuel in all of 
San Diego.
Back in Tucson. Now that we're feeling better we're going
to see Russ's son, and eat at Rocco's, another awesome pizza place.
With Zachary's fresh in our minds, we're decide who is better!

Monday, January 8, 2024

Starting off the new year with a road trip

December 31m 2023. I arrived with a fever.
Sad way to end what was an amazing year.
Also starting of "not well". As in we're sick. Feeling better now, though.

Despite our ailment we were committed to taking this long driving trip back to the west coast to tie up a few things. Many years ago we RVed instead of boating. We've been boating for the last 5 years now, and all this time a trailer has been sitting in a storage lot in Antioch, of which we diligently paid monthly. This had to stop, and this seemed a perfect time to do that.

Barring getting sick, however.

Traveling west, after a Teladoc call and some drugs.
Feeling better.

Taking care to mask and social distance ourselves from the rest of humanity, we toodled across the country in 7 hours-or-less increments. Even sick this wasn't too bad. We stopped often to stretch our legs, eat a bit, and bunk down early for the night, getting into hotels by 3 pm, when we just could check-in.

We stayed at a Best Western in Antioch for the last 4 nights. Russ sold the trailer and we gave away a cargo carrier in that time. Now we're free to head back. We're hoping to dawdle a bit in this direction, but neither of us feel awesome yet. 

We traveled for days in Texas.

Stayed in the El Capitan in Van Horn. It's a historic place,
and was once a "destination" to the rich and famous. 

Next stop, Tucson, of just passed it.

Then onto California. This route had us miss Phoenix and its
traffic, and stay north of LA and the Grapevine.
We've done both enough to know to skip 'em.

Then NORTH! To the great city of Antioch.
We wanted so spend some time in San Francisco, 
but neither of us are well enough to. Walking was something
we loved to do there. Just not up for it this week.

Not a lot of pics since I haven't had the wherewithal to take them. As we head back, I will.

We spent a lot of time exploring the high deserts in this area.
This area being "California, Nevada, Arizona"... they all look a little like this.