What a packed week! It’s hard to believe all the places that we’ve driven to and things we’ve done, since the end of the last blog (only 12 days ago)!
From Washington, we drove south to southern Oregon to a town called Jacksonville. For only 1 night there. It’s located between Medford and Ashland, Oregon. Our AirB&B was like a little cottage, it was adorable!
We found a little wine bar there and did some wine tasting that evening. The next morning, on to Middletown, California, to another AirB&B for 2 nights. Long driving days. We thought we would be closer to Napa and wine tasting, and were a bit disappointed in the limited wine tasting opportunities. It IS September, and not high tourist season, so many of them were only open on the weekends. We did find a vineyard and ranch, WAY out into the mountains, called Six Sigma Vineyards (seemed like it took us forever to get there, on dirt roads!). It was pretty good wine, but that’s the only one we found.
Next stop…on to Lake Tahoe where my good friend, Sandy, lives on the north side in Incline Village, Nevada. We had a wonderful 2 days with her. We visited the city of Genoa, Nevada, which boasts of having the oldest bar in Nevada. Of course, we had to check it out with a beer!
After visiting Genoa, we headed to Gardenerville, Nevada, where many of the “Basque” sheepherders settled. Apparently these shepherds came from the basque region of Europe (from Wikipedia: Ancient DNA cracks puzzle of Basque origins: DNA from ancient remains seems to have solved the puzzle of one of Europe’s most enigmatic people: the Basques. The distinct language and genetic make-up of the Basque people in northern Spain and southern France has puzzled anthropologists for decades). I never knew this was a completely separate European culture! Early Basque immigrants to America were for the most part single men who came seeking sheepherding work. Many arrived by railroad, with little or no English language skills. For this reason Basque hotels and their restaurants were frequently located near the train station, and some of them still are. Mostly are located in the Northern Nevada and central valley of California. So Greg did a google search and found J.T.s in Gardenerville.
The granddaughter of the original immigrant still runs the restaurant, and she came over and talked to us about the Basque culture.
So dinner went like this, it was served “family style” with a bottle of local restaurant wine included with dinner. They first brought a large bowl of homemade soup and a ladle to help yourself. After the soup, they brought a pork and beans dish and an ox-tail stew. AMAZING! OH, and a salad. Then we each ordered a meat: sirloin, lamb, chicken or stroganoff. Sandy and I each ordered the lamb, and Greg had the stroganoff. AMAZING! Oh, the homemade wine was pretty darn good too! THEN, to top it off, ice cream for dessert, and coffee. The entire meal was a very nominal fee, and we took leftovers for Sandy’s dinner the next day. It was an amazing experience! And highly suggest if you ever have a chance to find a Basque style restaurant, TRY IT! Here’s the link:
From Sandy’s in Nevada, we drove the long day to Logan, Utah, to visit and stay with Gregs high school friend, Tony. What a desolate drive! On one stretch of the desolate road, we were running low on gas and was hoping and praying that we’d find a gas station! Well, we did, but it was still pretty desolate out in the middle of no where!
Our final long day arrival in Logan, Utah: a rewarding, beautiful sunset.
During our stay in Logan, Greg and Tony (and his dog Keno) hiked Logan Canyon, and we all 4 (Greg, Tony, Keno and I) hiked Providence Canyon. Beautiful area.
Toto didn’t care all that much for Keno, she’s a big blood hound with lots of energy and just wanted to play with Toto. After a while, although she was curious, she left Toto alone.
Finally, we moved on to a more permanent location. From Logan, UT, we drove to Superior, Colorado, which is maybe 10 miles from Boulder, CO. During our drive, we drove through snow-not fun! I guess I got my “snow fix”!
We will stay at this AirB&B for the next month, visiting Jeni and family, and getting in lots of hikes. Today, we hiked to Gem Lake in Estes Park (trailhead):
It was a great “saunter”, as John Muir would put it, with amazing views of the snow covered mountains.
We had lunch at Gem Lake.
As we were leaving the parking area of the trailhead to Gem Lake, we noticed all these cars parked on the side of the road! There was a huge herd of elk hanging out under an area of trees! The bull elks were moving around and bellowing. It was pretty cool to see. Not too sure these photos do it justice, but here they are:
It feels good to stay in one place! I don’t think we want to do anymore 1-2 overnighters. I think in the future, we will stay in one place by the month. It’s nice to just unpack and and be “home” for a while.