Category: Cuisine

The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway

August 29, 2022 

42 deg at 6:00, high 79

Listed as one of the top things to do in Taos is to drive The Enchanted Circle. It is a 2.5 hour drive if you don’t stop, or an all-day trip if you take your time and enjoy the sites, which is what we did. 

Heading east, we crossed into the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and down into beautiful Moreno Valley, stopping at Eagle’s Nest State Park along Eagle’s Nest Lake, fed by the Cimarron River. At 8,200’ it is an alpine lake that is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, Kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass and northern pike.

We poked around in the little town of Eagle’s Nest, but it was early. There were some cute, little shops and a coffee place, all of which weren’t open yet. Eye of The Jewelry was open, so we checked it out. A very nice, gregarious lady greeted us and showed us around. They had some interesting things, including a whole wall of cast iron cookware, both new and old. There was an interesting assortment of baskets. Martha bought some soap that looked like mineral rocks.

This is a ski area in winter and a place to escape the heat in summer. We continued north through this beautiful valley on 38, but had we continued east on 64 across the Sangre De Cristo mountains, it would have also been beautiful. This follows an alternate of the Santa Fe Trail. 

We arrived at Red River and walked both sides of the street. Once a gold and silver boom town, its income is now derived from tourists, with skiing and cool summer weather. 

Next stop on the tour, now heading back west, was Questa. We expected a town similar to Red Rock, but it was much smaller. Googling a good place to have lunch, Wildcat’s Den came up. It’s a small diner where four highway crew workers were waiting for their orders. A cute, young girl took our orders. The Bobcat Burger seemed to be the highlighted choice. I was disappointed to hear it was a hamburger. With fries and a soda, it was $6.95.

We wondered about our choice as more locals came in, many placing take-out orders. For a while there was only one guy cooking and the girl taking orders and calling names when it was ready. Fortunately, another cook came in as the line got a bit longer. It was probably 15-20 minutes before our order was ready. It was good, and it was great people watching – a happening for sure.

We turned south on 522, crossing the Red River. About 20 miles later, we turned northeast to Arroyo Seco. The little mountain town is only about a block square, but it is very cute, with nice, little shops and a great ice cream place with chairs and tables out back by a small stream. A big storm loomed in the background as we enjoyed our ice cream. We got rained out before we had a chance to really explore. Maybe we’ll come back tomorrow. 

Devil’s Bridge Hike, Sedona, AZ

Thursday, August 18, 2022 

From AllTrails:

Try this 3.9-mile out-and-back trail near Sedona, Arizona. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 39 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking and off-road driving, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

A lot of this hike is on a dirt road that is used for off-road driving. The rest of it is pretty good, some parts challenging with steep steps. A lot of people use this trail. Then everyone gets their pictures taken out on the bridge.

With over 200 trails covering more than 400 miles, Sedona is a hikers destination. It seemed every trailhead parking lot was filled. There are lots of restaurants and stores, so it is a popular outdoor destination.

My Vasque hiking shoes are pretty worn out, and it was time for new ones, so we went to The Hike House. I have loved the Vasque shoes. They are light, comfortable and they have great grip on any surface. I think I could trout fish in these. Unfortunately, The Hike Shop didn’t have these. A nice, young lady helped me, and I ended up buying a pair of light weight Oboz for easy hikes and a pair of Kenes for rocky, more challenging hikes. The Kenes are heavier and sturdier.

We went back to Judi’s for dinner. Two guys were singing all my favorite songs.


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Karen set up an ATV self-guided tour at Bryce Wildlife Outfitters. Martha opted out for this one, because they only seat four in the vehicle. Jeff got out a map and asked who the navigator was going to be. Josh said he was the navigator. Jeff has a great way of explaining as well as keeping the attention of a boy. Josh has always been good at directions, and he was paying full attention. I guess they have had all kinds of experiences over the years. He showed a picture of a recent wreck when someone was going too fast. We had two hours to do our tour, go up this road and say hi to the prairie dogs, then go up here and hug some of some very old trees. Come back and visit the prairie dogs. “At the reservoir, you can take the short way or the long way around, but watch your time.”

Jeff and another man led us up a gravel road to the first turn and wished us well. Karen drove very well, and I was surprised how well it took the bumps. Sure enough we stopped at the prairie dog village admiring the cute little critters. On up the road Josh hugged an old tree

After the tree-hugging area with a view, Karen let me drive. I have never driven one before, and I liked it. All the wheels can move up and down, smoothing out the ride. These are Honda machines with good engines. I think Jeff said they go for $13,000. I can see how people get attached to them. They just make too much noise. Maybe when they make electric ones.

Whenever we came to a turn, Josh looked at the map and made the right decisions. We saw a few deer and some cows and took the long way around the reservoir. I gunned it a couple of times for fun, but quickly remembered my precious cargo. We made it back to the outfitter with the red roof a little late, but not bad. It was fun, and I thank Karen for handling everything. It was a nice change.

It was late for dinner at the campground, so we stopped at Rustler’s Restaurant for dinner. I called Martha to see if she would like to join us, but she had already eaten. They do an outstanding job with good food and good service. I had a nice red trout, whatever that is, and good vegetables.

Cannonville and Tropic are nice, little towns outside the park, with good stores, gas stations, food and ice cream. Nice! I like it here! I also like our Bryce Canyon RV Resort, that used to be a KOA Journey, but has been recently bought. They are doing a great job. My air conditioner continues to trip the breaker though. I have to baby it!

Golden Throne Trail, Capitol Reef National Park

July 8, 2022 at 7:51 PM

In Capitol Reef National Park, Karen and I got up at 6:00 to hike the Golden Throne hike at the end of the Scenic Drive, then down a gravel road to a parking lot in Capitol Gorge. I had some big concerns, too many to list, but I knew we had to hike up a very large mountain. How vertical would it be? 

I was glad to see it wound its way around the cliff, deep into a canyon, across the other side, winding again. It could not have been made any easier, and it was very pretty. I stopped to catch my breath several times, as Karen let me set the pace until I took a wrong turn. Then she took the lead.

Looking back down at the Canyon parking lot

We arrived at a plateau looking up at the Golden Throne, which I suppose is golden in the right light. It took us about 45 minutes to get there, and it would be an easy down hill going back. We walked around to see if we could get a better view of the canyon, the only way through this massive 100-mile wall that is compared to an ocean reef. People have been coming through this canyon for thousands of years. Ancient petroglyphs decorate the walls, as well as Europeans who came through in the late 1800’s.

I tried not to take this personally

It was a beautiful morning with great views and an easy walk down. Driving back to our campsite, I let Karen out to run the last three miles. She is training for a 50-mile race.

It was moving day, so we began the process of packing up. Everyone pitched in, and we were beginning to get into a process that made it a lot easier. Melissa was in charge of closing and locking all the windows while Josh put up the stabilizers. Martha got the inside organized and ready while Karen and I hitched up.

We drove north to Torrey and turned southwest on Utah Rt. 12 where a sign declared it an America’s Highway. Martha looked up what that meant. There are Scenic Highways, but an America’s Highway is a step above. It deserves its designation. The changes in scenery were dramatic. First it was green on this side of the mountain and through a valley. Then we began a long climb up another series of mountains that were green, with pine trees covering everything.

Climbing to 9800’, we pulled over to a beautiful overlook. You could take all day stopping at overlooks on this drive to Bryce Canyon. Down the other side, now winding its way through solid, almost white rocks. Then back up on top of a ridge with incredible views on both sides. An Airstream was perched on top on one overlook where they had probably stopped for lunch. One stretch was along the top of a ridge barely wider than the road. I know the views were spectacular, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the road.

Back down the other side, we stopped at Escalante Mercantile for some lunch. A lady was training a young lady the ropes on her first day on the job. It is a very nice store/restaurant/bakery. It took us a while to figure out how to order, what to order and to get it ordered as locals and travelers stopped for lunch or a snack. It proved to be a great, little stop. 

Then it was only 35 minutes to our campground at Bryce Canyon RV Resort. It was a KOA, but it now has new owners. It took a while to park in our tiny spot. A nice man across from us was nice in moving his truck so we could wiggle in. We started to level as we looked at some bigger and nicer spots on the other side. 

Martha and I went back in and asked if we could move. The very nice ……, gave us some choices, explaining how they had recently bought the campground. I’m sure I had picked a spot away from the highway, but the sites were bigger and had some shade. It was a good move.

Josh was happy to see a basketball net with a paved playing area, so we went over and played Horse. Of course I won every game……NOT! …….came over to take some promotional pictures of the court being used. At 12 years old, Josh’s basketball skills have improved dramatically.

Tomorrow there is a half marathon and a 5K race. Karen signed up in a park in the cute, little town of Tropic. There was a fund-raising spaghetti dinner this evening, so we decided to come back for that.

Half marathon sign-up

Then we drove up to Bryce Canyon National Park to get the big picture. It was busy and crowded, but it was OK. We went to spectacular sunset point. I would have to stay up for another sunset. Then we drove the 15-mile scenic drive atop a grand mesa. Surely we would see lots of wildlife in the early morning or late evening. More pretty views in the land of Hoodoos. Like Goblin Valley, you could go down and walk among the giant Hoodoo maze. 

We drove back to Tropic where the crowds gathered for the marathon spaghetti dinner, which was better than I expected, and very efficiently served. We talked with a man next to us about the race tomorrow and about the hike to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. He said it is a typical government-run drawing for tickets. Everyone lines up at 8:00 or 11:00 for tickets, then they all go for the hike together. Too many people for his liking, but they did it. I think Karen will be the only one to do this.

Josh lost his Apple Airbuds somewhere on the Scenic Drive in Bryson Canyon. All that getting in and out of the truck at different stops. Surely they will be gone tomorrow, but we will go look and check Lost-and-Found.

Little Wild Horse Canyon, Utah

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Just outside Goblin Valley State Park is Wild Horse Canyon, which can be a four-mile or eight-mile hike. We opted for the four-mile, which meant we would hike up the slot canyon until it meets a gravel road, then go back down. A sign warned to check weather before hiking. Flash flooding can put you in danger in a slot canyon. “Be aware of your escape route.” Capitol Reef National Park had big flooding issues three weeks ago. Six people had to be rescued and 60-80 people were stranded in a parking lot.

Although an incredibly beautiful storm came through last night, there was nothing expected today, and it was a beautiful morning. It starts out walking up a dry stream bed. We talked with an experienced family with three small children, who said the forecast was good. They were obviously experienced hikers with all the right gear. The husband had climbing gear and a rope over his shoulder. I felt good following them, but when we stopped to photograph a few lizards, they were gone. I’m pretty sure they were doing the 8-mile loop and would come down the slot canyon on their way back.

As the canyon narrowed from 60 yards to four feet, to 3 feet, we had to negotiate rocks and puddles of water. Once we surrendered to getting our feet wet, it became easier, but still challenging. Karen and Nathan are tremendous athletes and the kids are too. Melissa, usually silent until after noon, was leading the way, talking and laughing the entire way. I couldn’t help but laugh. She is a gymnastic star and cheering team member with strength and flexibility that are incredible. She was playing a Disney star describing the challenges presented.

As with most hikes, Martha and I were glad to get to the top, but already wondering if going down would be even tougher. Fortunately it was easier. I think everyone rated it one of their favorite hikes. It was pretty, challenging and very different. I kept looking for mountain lions or goats, but never saw anything. Karen, however, spotted several pronghorn on the way to the hike.

Abingdon, Virginia Farmer’s Market

Saturday, May14, 2022

One of the highlights of the Virginia Airstream Club’s Silver in The Streets rally is the farmer’s market at the end of Remsburg Drive. It is one of my favorite farmer’s markets. Seemingly small, there is a lot of good stuff. One guy is so well-know for his strawberries, they are usually sold out within an hour. Some people order in advance. Martha was right there at 8:00 and there was a line behind her. People were buying cases! As I watched the show, a young boy standing in line told me there is a great bakery on the other side. “Is that your bakery?” I asked. He nodded and smiled. I went over and bought a few things and told the ladies of the little salesman. I think his name is William. They just raised their eyebrows and continued their busy orders.

Since we were traveling, we had to pass up lots of beautiful produce. A cider shop had all their varieties out. There was a great coffee stall with a line of people. A woodworker displayed butcher-block tables and cutting boards. At 8:15, the place was hopping. I spotted Martha talking to a man who made pork rinds. Behind her was William talking to a lady. I walked behind, listening to his great pitch. He was so nonchalant and engaging – the perfect salesman at 9 years old.

From 10-12:00 we had an open house, where anyone from town can come look through Airstreams. I was surprised by the turnout. Lots of people were asking questions and going through trailers. During breaks in the action, I went into other Airstreams. It’s a great opportunity to see how people do things. Mindy had a great solution for shoes, which are often stacked by the door. Pat McLemore did some great things with pictures. He has a similar solar system, also done by Lew Farber. I liked Jeff’s bedspreads.

In the evening we went with Gary and Lynn Brink to dinner at the Tavern, which started as a tavern in 1779. It is one of the oldest buildings west of the Blue Ridge. It has served as post office, bank, bakery, antique shop, hospital and once again, a tavern. Maybe I was still in New Orleans mode, but I ordered Jambalaya in Abingdon, Va! It was excellent! Everyone enjoyed their dish in a very pleasant, outdoor, environment.

The only available time for seating was 5:00
Martha ordered soft-shell crabs, also excellent

Then on to the Barter Theater to see “Kentucky Spring”. From

June 10, 1933

Barter Theatre opened its doors, proclaiming “With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh.” The price of admission was 40 cents or an equivalent amount of produce. Four out of five theatregoers paid their way with vegetables, dairy products and livestock.
To the surprise of many, all the seats for the first show were filled. The concept of trading “ham for Hamlet” caught on quickly. At the end of the first season, the Barter Company cleared $4.35 in cash, two barrels of jelly, and a collective weight gain of over 300 pounds.
Today, at least one performance a year celebrates Barter’s history by accepting donations for Feeding America Southwest Virginia. Barter Days happen in the month of June as a birthday celebration for Barter Theatre, and we will list those performance times on our Ways to Save page.

The theater is in great condition. We have been to another play across the street, a smaller, intimate venue. It was a very enjoyable play, receiving a standing ovation at the end. I hope to be back for many more. Maybe I can coordinate with Cadence’s softball games.

Abingdon, VA

Friday, May 13, 2022

18 Airstreams lined Remsburg Drive in downtown Abingdon for a Silver in The Streets Rally. Coffee and breakfast sandwiches brought everyone out on the street on a beautiful morning. It’s interesting to see how other Airstreamers do things. I enjoyed talking with Bruce Campbell and seeing how he had setup his bikes in the back of his truck.

Peter Davey has a great truck-top tent by IKamper, so I checked that out. It would be great for fishing the backcountry of British Columbia or Montana. He has also recently installed an impressive solar system.

We walked one block to the new Visitor’s Center, once a beautiful brick home, and now so nicely restored. A nice young lady gave us some history and advice on where to go and what to see.

One of the great attractions to Abingdon is the Virginia Creeper Trail, a wonderful rails-to-trails that follows beautiful Laurel Creek. The usual ride is from White Top Laurel down to Damascus or Abingdon, but Martha is getting ready to walk the El Camino Trail in Spain, so she opted for an out and back from Abingdon. It’s a beautiful trail that we have walked and ridden a number of times. My bike got a tune-up after this ride, and the technician advised me to clean the braking part of the wheels, as my brake pads had worn a lot. The cinder of this kind of trail will surely collect on it, especially in the rains we got.

That evening, after a shower and some rest, we walked two blocks too Greeko’s Grill and Cafe for a greek salad with chicken. Then to Anthony’s Deserts for some home-made ice cream.

World War II Museum, New Orleans

Friday, May 6, 2022

Ed Brownfield told me not to miss the World War Ii Museum. Then several other people told me the same thing. On a rainy morning, Mark and I decided to go, and we were not disappointed. But be sure to get fueled up before you go.

“We have faith that future generations will know that here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.” Franklin Roosevelt
Makes you feel you are in the middle of the scene

The World War II Museum is a great place where you walk through history, following the arrows through the war, in rooms set up to make you feel like you are in the war, on the beach or on a ship. Like most museums, you can’t take it all in. Like Ed said, you have to come back many times.

Lunch was at Port of Call on the corner of Esplande and Dauphine, known for their hamburgers and steaks. We waited for 45 minutes, but it sure was good.

The walk back was good. Walking in New Orleans is always good. Well, I go to bed early, so I don’t see the city in the middle of the night.

My thanks to Mark for all the planning, scouting, teaching and expertise. Great job Mark!

New Orleans Walking Food Tour

Thursday, May 5, 2022

We are on a Photography/Cultural Tour of New Orleans with After a great swamp boat tour this morning, we were scheduled for a walking tour of New Orleans. We grabbed a quick lunch before getting to the tour, so I had this delicious smothered chicken and rice dish that I didn’t quite have time to finish.

We got to the tour inside a restaurant with eight other people seated at tables with white linens and settings. Our guide told us he was going to take us to eight places to sample signature dishes of New Orleans! Soon a lovely, dark bean and pork stew was delivered as we sat staring and smiling at each other. We had no idea!

Between restaurants, we would walk a few blocks, so we got to see some places we hadn’t seen before, and one we had just been in the day before – The Pepper Palace!

We had visited yesterday. Every hot thing imaginable!
Cool place making brass gas lights
Every kind of praline
Passing shops with decorative costumes
Decorative beads of Mardi Gras
Love these open air restaurants
Love the porches and iron works
All kinds of Po’Boys, a sandwich on crusty French Bread
Thankfully, small samples of a usually large sandwich
St Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square

It was a fun tour. If we just hadn’t eaten lunch before we started 😊

Oak Alley Plantation

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

We are on a photography workshop with Mark Zablotsky ( in New Orleans. Driving north, we crossed the Mississippi River, that always impresses me. It is big, appears to be rather fast and is heavily trafficked by barges shipping products.

We visited Oak Alley Plantation. Oak Alley is.a beautiful place with its oak-lined drive, gardens and slave quarters. Turning away from the house, I saw a ship making its way up the Mississippi. The plantation has rooms and cabins for rent as well as an excellent dining room, where we had breakfast.

After some initial shots, we went into the restaurant for a good breakfast.

Picture on the wall of he restaurant

Back outside, we walked the grounds and gardens.

Heading back, Mark had found an eagle’s nest with a young one taking short flights.

Then on to Middendorf’s Manchac Restaurant at the Manchac Swamp Bridge, known for its thin-sliced catfish. A lot of other things also looked good on the menu.

Back at the hotel, Mark reviewed and helped us with our images, pointing out ways to improve and showing us editing techniques and sequence. In the evening, we took a ghost tour, but it was rather disappointing, so we dropped out.