Return to Ashland, Oregon and Oakland, California in May-June 2019

Return to Ashland, Oregon and Oakland, California
May – June 2019

Ashland visitor map 1

Ashland, Oregon Visitor’s Map

It’s been a year (and a half) since we planted my father’s body in the ground in Southern Oregon. The headstone unveiling, after a year of mourning, is a Jewish tradition, so we returned to Ashland for the dedication, to see family, and to take care of a little business.

Dad 1

Lee Weisel RIP

NOTE: We started this Blog Post in June after we got back and now it is October.
It is finally time to finish and publish it as promised. There are a lot of previous Blog Posts about Ashland, Oregon! If you are interested in more travel and tourism info, you should search for them using the SEARCH BOX or checking out The Archives.

ROAD TRIP to Ashland, Oregon!
Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon via I-5 north
Thurs 10:15pm – Fri 8:25am

“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hand’s wet on the wheel
There’s a voice in my head that drives my heel”

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We have found the drive from Los Angeles is much better at night. Interstate 5 between The Grapevine and Sacramento and Sacramento and Redding is a long flat drive through the Central Valley of California. There are a lot of “big rig” trucks and only two lanes most of the way, which makes for slow tourists trying to pass, and that creates dangerous situations when other drivers “can’t wait” and do stupid things. So, there are not a lot of tourists if you drive after 9pm, most are asleep for the night, and the truckers have restrictions on the hours they can drive, so many of them have to stop and rest. And that means less traffic, less stupid drivers, fewer cops and better road conditions if you don’t mind driving at night and the bugs on your windshield. Also, the heat and sun can be terrible during the day (even with air conditioning) so there’s that too.

Sunrise at Lake Shasta

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Sunrise at Lake Shasta, California

If the timing is right, you will get a beautiful sunrise sometime after you pass Redding! Sunrise on Mount Shasta, or coming through the Siskiyou Pass, is a fine experience. There are nice places to stop along the way if you get tired: rest stops, motels, casinos and trucker rest areas along the highway (both commercial and off-ramp/road-side turnouts). We like to drive straight through, stopping only for gas and rest breaks, if we’re doing it at night. We pack food, drink and a change of clothes. Our car is prepared for roadside emergencies, and we have the enhanced auto club coverage with 100 miles towing for our long road trips.

Breakfast at the Morning Glory Cafe in Ashland, Oregon!

We arrived in Ashland early morning and decided to stop for a big breakfast at the Morning Glory Cafe. We like the place but it can get very busy. Free parking next door at the M-otel. We parked, stretched, and then we got a seat at the counter without having to wait and enjoyed our food.

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The Morning Glory Cafe in Ashland

On The Menu: Belgian Bacon Waffle with walnut butter, marionberry jam and maple syrup, fresh orange juice and coffee

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After breakfast we drove to the motel and tried to get an early check-in, but no luck. So, we went thrifting/antiquing for a couple hours. We drove to Medford and back, made a few stops, and drove to The Ranch. We hung out until it was time to check-in, then drove back to the motel and moved into our room.

Family stuff all weekend and then Dad’s headstone unveiling on Sunday afternoon.
Most of the family activities were small and personal and we didn’t take pictures. We had family dinner at The Ranch on Friday, dinner at Beasy’s on The Creek in Ashland on Saturday, and a post-ceremony gathering at The Ranch after the unveiling on Sunday.

Our accommodations for the weekend:
Comfort Inn in Ashland, Oregon – 3 nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Breakfast and Free WiFi included

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Comfort Inn in Ashland, Oregon (at exit 19)

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The room was spacious, clean and equipped with a fridge and microwave. There was also a large “Jacuzzi Tub” in the room, set in a weird space adjacent. We were told it was the only room with this kind of tub. There was also a skylight in the weird space, and there was no way to cover it or block the light from the rest of the room, which was a problem because we like it dark. We got some black trash bags and tape from the front desk and tried to jury rig a “blackout” shade, but it was not very successful.

We could have moved to another room, but it was also graduation weekend for the local high schools and Southern Oregon University in Ashland, so everything was booked solid on Friday night everywhere in Jackson county, so we just decided to go with it and enjoy the tub.

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Bubble Bath in the “Jacuzzi Tub” at the Comfort Inn

We stayed here last year for the funeral weekend and it was a pretty good “no frills” option, convenient to roads that lead to The Ranch. And yes we were invited to stay at the house, but we would be surrounded by family, and without private space, so we spent the additional money for the motel room and “peace of mind”.

The Comfort Inn has a nice daily Breakfast Buffet served in a large dining room next to the lobby. The start serving the hot breakfast early and it’s a pretty nice spread with good options. And they also have FREE coffee all day and night.

On The Menu: scrambled eggs with bacon or sausage, Mexican egg scramble, waffles (make them yourself), fresh fruit, cereals, milk, juices, coffee, tea, bagels, bread for toasting, mini-croissants, donuts, muffins, yogurt and more.

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View of the Rogue Valley from The Ranch

Family Dinner at The Ranch on Friday night

After checking in, cleaning up, and taking a short nap at the motel, we drove back to The Ranch and had a nice dinner with the immediate family. After dinner we stopped at the market, bought provisions for the weekend and a bottle of Mister Bubble, and then returned to the motel and took a long hot bubble bath in the in-room “Jacuzzi Tub”.

We slept and woke up early on Saturday. After enjoying the breakfast buffet at the motel, we went back to bed. We woke up, got ready and went up to The Ranch to be social, and then went into Ashland, and then up to Medford, before returning to the motel to clean up and get ready for dinner.

Dinner at Beasy’s on the Creek on Saturday night

The family went out to dinner at Beasy’s on The Creek in downtown Ashland. It was Dad’s favorite restaurant for entertaining, the Chef/Owner is a good friend, and we had his “Bilbo Baggin’s” Farewell Party for all his friends there. It was a great meal but there was a lot of emotional stuff happening at the table during dinner.

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Chef Rob in the Kitchen at Beasy’s on The Creek in Ashland, Oregon

On The Menu:
6oz filet with 2 prawns, broccoli, potatoes au gratin, clam chowder, bread and butter, wine, a coke, and pot du chocolate for dessert.
Pressed pinot noir red wine with dinner.

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“Surf & Turf” Dinner at Beazy’s on the Creek in Ashland, Oregon

After dinner we went back to the motel and tried to sleep, but we couldn’t. Too much stuff going on in our head and not tired/insomnia. It was a long night at the motel. We finally fell asleep for a little while and then hit the Sunday breakfast buffet. We hung out until it was time to caravan over to the cemetery for Dad’s headstone unveiling.

It was a truly beautiful day and the weather was absolutely perfect. There was a gathering of family and close friends at the gravesite, and the Rabbi performed a brief service to dedicate the headstone. It is a Jewish tradition to wait a year (and mourn the dead) before placing the headstone at the grave. And so, we gathered and the headstone was unveiled, and it was a very emotional afternoon. Then after the service we went back to The Ranch for a reception and celebration of his life with more food and drink.

After the reception we went back to the motel and took a nap, and when we woke up we hung out until we got hungry. We drove up to Medford to the In-n-Out Burger (the first one in the state) and got some late-night food.

Dinner at In-n-Out Burger in Medford, Oregon on Sunday night

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In-N-Out Burger in Medford, Oregon

Got that In-n-Out Urge! Also, there aren’t a lot of late night options on Sunday in Ashland, so two Double-Double cheeseburgers and a chocolate shake was a terrific choice for familiar and inexpensive comfort food after a long and emotional day.

 

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In-n-Out Double-Double Cheeseburger

We returned to the motel, took another hot bath in the “Jacuzzi Tub”, took a hot shower, and tried to sleep. When the morning came around we woke up and enjoyed the breakfast buffet again. We packed up our stuff and loaded the car and checked out of the Comfort Inn at noon on Monday.

Family stuff is just exhausting! Our brother flew in Saturday morning and left on Sunday afternoon. Our east coast aunt left on the early morning flight to New York from Medford with a layover in Denver. Our sister left on a later flight Monday for Los Angeles with a layover in San Francisco. And our other aunt and uncle (and their caregiver) left Tuesday around noon on a flight to Phoenix, Arizona.

We moved to The Ranch for the next two nights (Monday and Tuesday) after my brother, sister and east coast aunt had left town. We checked out of the motel and moved into our east coast aunt’s guest room, which used to be my father’s office. It was weird being in the space and sleeping in a bed located where his desk once was, and there were still remnants of his office stuff and the same pictures on the wall to add to the weirdness….

We stayed around the house and there was an afternoon nap, before we went out to dinner in downtown Ashland.

Dinner at Lark’s Kitchen at the Historic Ashland Springs Hotel on Monday evening

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The Historic Ashland Springs Hotel (from an earlier visit)

We went out to eat again with our aunt and uncle (and their caregiver) and stepmother at Lark’s Country Kitchen in the Historic Ashland Springs Hotel. Our aunt and uncle wanted a good burger. and they have a good burger on the lunch menu, also available “off the menu” at dinner on request. We called and confirmed this and made an early reservation. There is no theatre in Ashland on Mondays, the stages are dark, and the OSF has the day off, so there was no pre-theatre dinner rush to worry about. We enjoyed a wonderful relaxed dinner in the dining room with a nice view of Ashland’s main drag, also less crowded on Monday, but alway good for people watching.

On The Menu:
Fried chicken breast with bacon gravy, mashed red potatoes, and sub asparagus for collared greens. Sea Smoke Southing pinot noir red wine and a coke to drink.

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The fried chicken breast was excellent! And everyone enjoyed the burgers too. After dinner, we returned to The Ranch and tried to sleep. It was another long night.

Tuesday was a “take care of business” day. We had a mission to document the details of the Music Master Tape Library and go through a few boxes of Dad’s family photographs. It took all day to complete the tasks, and we had leftovers from the weekend for dinner, packed most of our stuff, and went to bed early.

Ashland, Oregon to Oakland, California on Wednesday morning 8am – 1:30pm

We woke up very early, loaded the car, had a quick breakfast sandwich, and hit the road headed south on Wednesday morning with our friend’s house in Oakland, California as our afternoon destination. It was another beautiful day and the drive was pretty easy. We stopped for gas in Santa Nella and missed the I-505 intersection at Winters. So we had to go further south (80 to 680 to Walnut Creek) to go east into the Bay Area. The “detour” added a little extra time, but it was another beautiful day, so we didn’t mind too much. There was a little traffic coming into Oakland, but it was a really nice drive.

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Mount Shasta, California (from the I-5 freeway)

NOTE: WATCH OUT FOR THE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL!
There were a lot of cops on the road during the daytime. They drive marked cruisers, Ford Mustangs and SUVs, as well as unmarked cars (white and blue spotted this trip). Watch your speed, watch your mirrors, and watch out for hidden speed traps!

Wednesday Afternoon in Oakland, California (well, actually in Piedmont)

We arrived at our friend’s house and parked around 1:30pm in the afternoon. And after a quick stop there to refresh and relax, we decided to go afternoon day drinking at a local bar within walking distance and then have something to eat TBD nearby in the neighborhood.

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Kerry House in Oakland, California

First stop was Kerry House, a divey neighborhood bar with cheap drinks, on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.  Asked if they had “fresh cream” and ordered a White Russian (aka “a caucasian” made with vodka, coffee liqueur and fresh half&half) when the bartender said yes. Then we waited while the doorman went to the corner store and bought small cartons of milk and half&half, so yes it was fresh! We also had some chips and our friend had a couple of Cosmopolitans (vodka and cranberry juice).

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We offered to take our friend out to lunch or dinner, whatever they wanted. The sushi restaurant didn’t open until 5pm, and with our day drinking and another stop at the nearby coffee house for an Italian espresso with whipped cream, we could have gone there. Instead it was decided that we would cook dinner for our friend, so we went to the local market and bought some good food to prepare and consume at her house.

On The Menu: Chef JoshWillTravel did a great job!
Big Thunder Ranch BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs and steamed broccoli for dinner
with pita chips and hummus appetizer to start

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Big Thunder Ranch BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Steamed Broccoli

We prepped the food and put the ribs in the oven to cook for an hour and a half.
Then we had a little nap during the Basketball Game which was being played in Oakland.

Final Score: Toronto Raptors 123 – Golden State Warriors 109 (series tied 1-1)

After the game was over, we enjoyed a very nice dinner and hung out until 11pm.
Then we hit the road again for another long night drive to Los Angeles. Because of traffic (caused by the game and construction) we had to go north to go east to go south and we added some extra miles, but probably saved some time by following Google Map back to I-5 south.

“No more speed, I’m almost there
Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care”

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TunnelVision!

Oakland to Los Angeles, California
Wednesday night 11pm – Thursday morning 5:30am
Antioch Bridge $6.00 Toll Fee (crossed it around midnight leaving the Bay Area)

Antioch

Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Photo of the Antioch Bridge

The least-traveled and probably least known of the region’s toll bridges, the Antioch Bridge, is a steel plate-girder automobile/bicycle/pedestrian bridge that crosses the San Joaquin River. The Antioch Bridge links Antioch with Sherman Island in southern Sacramento County, near the city of Rio Vista.

Once we reached the I-5 south it was an uneventful drive, with a stop to fill the gas tank and empty the bladder and a rest stop to stretch and use the restroom. There was a lot of construction work and one bad traffic accident ( a car went off the highway and into a deep ditch off the elevated road) and we were pretty sure there were fatalities as we passed. Another obvious reason to ALWAYS DRIVE SAFE and PAY ATTENTION!

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Incident on the I-5 Freeway South on Thursday Morning

We arrived in the San Fernando Valley just before 5:30am and as we reached the 405 freeway north, there was already “stop and go” traffic at the 101 intersection, so we exited and took surface streets home, with a quick stop at our PO Box to pick up the mail.

Comfort Inn – Ashland, Oregon

Morning Glory Cafe – Ashland, Oregon

Beazy’s On The Creek – Ashland, Oregon

In-n-Out Burger – Medford, Oregon

Lark’s Country Kitchen (at the Ashland Springs Hotel) – Ashland, Oregon

Kerry House – Piedmont Av, Oakland, California

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Lebowskis Bar in Edinburgh, Scotland

Lebowskis Bar in Edinburgh, Scotland

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NOTE: This is not an advertisement or paid ad or sponsorship. We just think it’s cool that there’s a Lebowskis Bar in Edinburgh, Scotland. Our friend just visited and sent a pic. And we support small businesses that provide a useful and quality product or service!

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Somewhere in Scotland
They have a Lebowskis Bar
Go and have a drink!

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Lebowskis Bar in Edinburgh, Scotland

From their Facebook page:
“Lebowskis offers you the very best Scotland has to offer and not a white table cloth or intrusive waiter in sight. All our food is hand-prepared from scratch with only the very best of Scottish fresh produce and simply choose from our main menus and exceptional daily special boards. If you’d prefer you can stay true to ‘The Dudes’ relaxed attitude and enjoy an eclectic taste of Scotland with our Scottish Tapas whilst enjoying a drink with friends!”

Have a White Russian
Next time you’re in Scotland
At Lebowski’s Bar

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Have a drink at Lebowski’s Bar in Edinburgh, Scotland! (Sterling’s Pic)

Salted caramel
with butterscotch pieces
Hellacaucasian!

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Lebowskis Bar- 18 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, United Kingdom EH3 8BJ
+44 131 466 1779  www.lebowskis.co.uk  Open daily 11am – 1am
They have a cool Facebook page too> www.facebook.com/LebowskisBarEdinburgh

This weekends special is called Raspberry Richard the Third:
Edinburgh Raspberry Gin
(or substitute Stolichnaya Raspberry Vodka for a Raspberry Russian)
Mozart White Chocolate Liquor
Milk&Cream and Raspberry purée

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Raspberry Richard the Third (White Russian?)

“We’re big fans of Richard in here,
he was a good dude and his legacy lives on in this delicious White Russian”

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“Careful Man, there’s a beverage here!”

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Las Vegas, Nevada! “Vegas Baby! Vegas!”

Las Vegas, Nevada!
“Vegas Baby! Vegas!”

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Back from Las Vegas.
A fun trip to “Sin City”
Happy to be Home!

JOSHWILLTRAVEL! And travel to Las Vegas last week is what we did.*

*well, it wasn’t last week…. more like last month. Tempus fugit!

We were invited (very last minute) to our friend Frank’s 65th Birthday Adventure:
(via a series of text messages)
– Come to Vegas if you want we have extra rooms
– We arrive Wed and lots of different rooms. Party on Saturday
– The party at Topgolf should be good even if you dont golf. Has a private pool for us
– Then we got a big cabana by our pool Friday Saturday and Sunday

So, let me think about it….. and Road Trip to Vegas!
Left the beautiful San Fernando Valley at 1:30am on Thursday morning.
Highways to Las Vegas: 101north-134west-210west-10west-15north
We drove a rental truck, a no-frills silver Nissan Frontier, with unlimited miles.
No traffic! Driving 285 miles at night with the truckers on I-15 north.

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“World’s Tallest Thermometer” in Baker, California

Stopped along the way in Baker, California, for gas and to see the “World’s Tallest Thermometer” once again lighting the side of the 15 freeway. It was “non-operational” for many years, but has been repaired and now it is again a beacon at night on the desert highway.
NOTE: Gas prices were “too f*ckin’ high” in Baker! 

Stateline! No stopping until we get to town.

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Stateline! Primm, Nevada

Arrived at South Point Hotel and Casino before 6am on Thursday.

We have always heard good things about the SouthPoint. People regularly recommend their buffet as being very good. They were also recently featured in the Showtime series “Action” about legal sports gambling, so as we rolled into town we decided to stop there.

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SouthPoint Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada

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Self Parking at SouthPoint is FREE. We parked outside, instead of in the structure, and it was only a short walk to the Casino entrance. We had to go to the High Limit Slots counter to get a Player’s Card because the Club Desk doesn’t open until 7am. We played some blackjack and a little video poker and won a little money.

We also earned 300 club points which entitled us to “spin the wheel” and we won 5000 points (so we cashed them out for $15.00), wandered around the casino, and then headed for their Breakfast Buffet.

NOTE: Get the SouthPoint Player’s Card and the Breakfast Buffet is only $9.95 + tax
(Really nice breakfast buffet for ~$11.00 + $5.00 tip for our server/waitperson)

Breakfast Buffet Time! The Las Vegas “Buffet Experience”! And we were hungry…..

On The Menu: Everything. It was a Good Buffet!

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After breakfast we headed out and drove to the Wyndham Grand Desert Resort near the MGM Grand and across the street from TopGolf at the south end of the strip.
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Wyndham Grand Desert Resort

Parked near Tower 3, walked to registration at Tower 2 and Checked In.
Our friends had the rooms reserved and a quick phone call was made, our ID was checked, and we were handed a keycard and welcome instructions. We walked back to Tower 3 and met one of our friends in the lobby. She gave us the “nickel tour” of the resort property and showed us the adult pool and the cabana they had reserved for our party weekend. We walked back to Tower 3 and grabbed our luggage and weekend supplies out of the truck and rode the elevator upstairs.

The SMELL in the hall.
Okay, something died. rotting trash beyond rotting. it was terrible. really terrible.
FOR THE WHOLE TIME! It was disgusting. It reeked. It stank.
Yes, we complained. And they tried to mitigate the smell with deodorizers and sprays, but they should have called for sanitary cleanup immediately. They were really good about apologizing and they gave our hosts credit for the inconvenience.

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“It’s Kubrickian!”

The Sweet Suite!
Tower 3, Room 392 at the Wyndham Grand Desert Resort:

Happily, the smell was only in the hallway. Once inside the room, a “lock-out” connecting room, adjacent to the first room our hosts stayed in…. they moved to the Presidential Suite, and her brother moved into their room. More on that later.

Each room had a nice kitchen area, living room space and private bedroom and bath. Mine was a little smaller than the room next door which also had a bar and bar seating in the living room space. I was very happy with the accommodations and also the fact that it was FREE! My hosts were treated to drinks, gifts and other forms of thanks all week long in appreciation for the invitation.

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After the little tour of the resort the it was nappy time. Then once we were awake and active again, we joined our friends for a quick visit to the TopGolf mega-entertainment center across the street. We met our friends in the inside bar and had a cocktail while they finished their food (we were still full from the morning buffet).

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Our friend’s birthday party was scheduled for Saturday afternoon in the Chairman’s Suite, complete with private pool and lunch buffet, so they went to check it out.  More on that party later……
We wandered around and toured the massive four deck facility. There were lots of bar and seating areas, and a public pool area with lounges, private cabanas and a “swim-up” bar. There were televisions and monitors everywhere, and really big multi-screens by the pool and in the gathering and game areas. And there were a ton of people having fun at midday on Thursday! The Golf Area has private driving areas for rent, with computer monitoring, that tracks your ball and gives you distance, replay, and other fun golf info. And of course there is plenty of food and beverage service available everywhere.
Just mind the warning signs and watch for errant golf balls and clubs!
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And then back across the street to the resort.
Our friends moved their stuff to the Presidential Suite with a Private Veranda and we hung out there and waited for them to get settled in.
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We made a run to the local market and picked up provision for the week. And then later we went back across the street to TopGolf for a late dinner.

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TopGolf Photo Op!

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On The Menu: More cocktails
and Boneless BBQ Wings w/veggies & ranch dressing at one of the bars.
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FRIDAY at the Wyndham

Good morning! Cabana Time!
Our Large Private Party Cabana in the shade for Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

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Large Private Party Cabana in the shade for Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday began the same way each day: Tiki drinks for brunch! And some kind of food from the resort kitchen, along with snacks we brought from the room.

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The cabana was equipped with a nice television and a noisy ceiling fan, and the public smoking area was right next door and there was a public cabana in that area. Most of the pool cabanas were positioned in the sun, and must have been really hot inside, while our cabana was on the other side and in the shade set back but facing the adult pool area.

 

Dinner time on Friday, and we had a meeting in the Presidential Suite to decide where to go to eat. There are many choices, so the group reviewed them, and eventually decided to go to Burger Bar (inside the Luxor Hotel, which we didn’t know at the time).

NOTE: Everything we did took a long time to get it together and actually do it. It wasn’t a problem, and we resolved to just ride along and see what happens (most of the time).

And then it started raining. A real Desert Storm! And a wet Friday night.
One of our new friends was the non-drinking designated driver, and he was a cool dude. But his driving was not cool. And it was dark and wet and it took a long time to get there. And then we toured the parking lot, for a long time, before finally parking.

We made our way into the Luxor and found the Burger Bar. Basically a $20 hamburger without anything else, so we decided to go spend our money at The Peppermill instead.

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MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on a Rainy Night in Las Vegas, Nevada

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And so, after another wild ride in the rain around Las Vegas, we arrived for Dinner and Drinks at The Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge!

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We had dinner and tiki drinks in the restaurant and then went into the lounge and had more drinks. The rain was really coming down and we were in no hurry to leave, so we rode out the storm in the lounge and met some fun new people.
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On The Menu: Tiki Cocktails!
A Lava Flow and a nice Beef Dip Sandwich with fries and extra au jus

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A good time was had by all! We enjoyed our dinner and drinks at The Peppermill. Frank had a big Scorpion drink (in a glass, not a bowl) and the rest of us had a few different drinks from their cocktail menu too.

One more drive around Vegas in the rain and back to the resort. We survived! We returned to the Presidential Suite and then back to our suite in the other tower. We decided to take a hot bath and then sleep in the next day.

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“Wanna take a bath?”

SATURDAY at the Wyndham and TopGolf

Cabana Time! Basically the same routine as Friday: tiki drinks, food, people hanging out and new friends stopping by until it was time to get it together and head over to TopGolf for the big shindig!

Frank’s 65th Birthday Party in the Chairman’s Suite at TopGolf – Saturday 2-5pm
Golf, balls, a buffet, more drinks and a private swimming pool just for us.

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Party at TopGolf in Las Vegas, Nevada!

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The Guest of Honor in the Private Pool in the Chairman’s Suite

On The Menu: Tacos (chicken, steak and pork), Sliders (cheeseburgers, battered fish and pulled pork), chips with salsa and guacamole, salads, and of course more tiki cocktails!

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The party was a lot of fun, we got out drink on, and there was too much food! We ended up taking a lot of it back to the resort afterwards. There was golfing (unlimited balls, or something like that) and swimming too. The pictures are just a sample before it got crazy wild.

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A beautiful day at TopGolf Las Vegas!

Saturday Night in Vegas!

And so we returned to the resort and hung out until it got dark. We decided our next destination would be (more) Tropical Cocktails at Frankie’s Tiki Room! 

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Saturday Night on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada

After the wild road trip on Friday night, we decided we would drive to Frankie’s and meet the crew there. We cruised past The Strip and downtown to the bar.

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More cocktails! Famous tiki drinks! And it was really dark inside.
Here are some pics:

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We enjoyed a Mai Tai and then there was a lot of conversation and more drinks. We moved around from our table in the cabana to a seat at the bar. Lots of kitsch and weird decor to see, even in the dark. Eventually, they decided to return to the resort and we decided to go back to The Strip and have some Las Vegas fun.

We drove to The Wynn, Las Vegas Hotel and Casino – FREE SELF PARKING!
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The Wynn is a beautiful property! And it was crowded, which was nice. We played a little and wandered around taking in the different areas of the casino and environs. We had some luck and cashed out and drove back to the resort and went to bed.

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SUNDAY (Mother’s Day) morning after waking up and getting ready, we walked over to the Presidential Suite for Breakfast/Brunch and more Cabana Time! It was a leisurely day of drinking and hanging out. There may have been an afternoon nap involved.

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So we were volunteered to cook and we grilled some steaks for dinner at 9:30pm on Sunday at the community BBQ Grills. There’s a curfew for cooking at 10pm, so we had to be quick! We took them upstairs and enjoyed a great meal on the private veranda (and of course, there were more cocktails).

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Then we went on a mission to The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” Sign!
It was designed by Nevada-born graphic designer Betty Willis (1923-2015) in 1959.
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“The rounded diamond shape of the sign was inspired by the Goodyear logo and the idea for the starburst came from the one in Disneyland’s emblem, which to her meant a happy destination. The seven silver dollars were a symbol of good luck for visitors entering the world’s gambling capital. (Betty) Willis’s design was never trademarked.”

The sign was built by a small local company Western Electric Displays Inc, aka Western Neon. Western Neon was bought by YESCO (Young Electric Sign Company) and they have maintained the sign ever since. The original sign has been rebuilt, restored, and recognized as a cultural and historic landmark for the City of Las Vegas over the years.

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Safe and legal public access to the sign was finally made possible in 2008, when parking spaces and a pedestrian walkway were finally constructed. Clark County and the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office had the sign listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

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NOTE: It was “Helldorado Days” a big holiday in the State of Nevada. There was a parade on Saturday and the Rodeo and other events were happening all weekend in downtown Las Vegas and on Fremont Street. So, we didn’t go there.

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Old Vegas! Glitter Gulch!

We returned to the resort and stayed up until MONDAY morning!
“It’s HOT in the Hot Tub!” 
And sometime before dawn we hit the Jacuzzi and Pool! (the pool and jacuzzi at Tower 3 are open 24 hours) It was very Early AM, at Tower 3, after it was cleaned, before the crowd and we were almost alone.

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We had stayed up all night and after our adventures we finally decided to try out the 24 hour pool and jacuzzi in our Tower. The pool area was empty except for one couple, so we waited until they were out of the water and then we moved in. We spent about a half hour enjoying the warm, bubbly spa, and swam in the cool pool until the calm was interrupted by two small children and their mother….. as we left the pool area at 6am the mother was screaming at the children in the shallow end of the pool, “Get over here dammit, you pulled this sh*t all yesterday, I’m not gonna have it today!” 

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Went up to the room and took a hot shower, ate some leftover tacos, and went to bed.
Requested and was given a late checkout time of 12 noon via the telephone.

And then,
Housekeeping knocked on my door three different times between 9:30 and 11am!
AND THERE WAS A “DO NOT DISTURB” SIGN HANGING ON THE DOOR HANDLE!
They also started cleaning the other half of the “lockout suite” and made noise like they were doing construction next door, making it impossible to sleep.

NOTE: We complained and Dan, the resort manager, gave us a $50 credit to use at our choice of restaurants “off-property” at a Caesars Hotel (there was a list of restaurants to choose from at each hotel) for our inconvenience and also took care of our friends who invited us. That’s real good hospitality!

Checked out of the Wyndham and drove back over to the Wynn. FREE Self Parking again.

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We walked to the Palazzo and Venetian, then went outside, crossed Las Vegas Blvd and went over to the Mirage. It was a beautiful day, but it was too hot of course.

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We visited the MLife desk, and asked about a MyVegas room rate. They offered us a Monday night room for $63.00 + taxes and the ridiculous resort fee, so we passed.

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We walked through the Forum Shops to Caesars Palace and enjoyed the weirdness!

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Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino was once the best place to stay and play in Las Vegas. Then they turned it into “Disneyland”, and they threw away all the class and quality that made it great. And then they added RESORT FEES and PAID PARKING.

We went to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and got a seat a the bar, but when we looked at the menu there was nothing that we wanted to order…. so we thanked them and left. We wandered around Caesars enjoying the sights while trying to decide where to eat.

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The Bar and Sportsbook at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Then we decided on dinner at Rao’s Italian Kitchen, Las Vegas at Caesars Palace!
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On The Menu: Good bread, an excellent Caesar salad and their tasty meat lasagna.
We ate the salad and half of the lasagna and bread, and had the other half packed “to go”.
No drinks or wine because we were driving later, so only ice water with dinner.

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It was getting dark after dinner, so we started walking back, watched the sunset behind Caesars Palace across the street, and then stopped at Harrah’s and the old Casino Royale on The Strip.

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Casino Royale!

 

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And then we walked back to the Wynn. We enjoyed our after dinner walk at night and took in the sights along The Strip on our way back. We returned to our car and hit the road. Destination: Los Angeles.

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LEAVING LAS VEGAS around 9:30pm on Monday.
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Stopped at the new Mega-Gas Station Terrible’s Road House on the way back to California and filled up the gas tank and emptied mine. They have 100 pumps for “rush hour”, but the place was almost empty when we stopped in around 10pm on Monday night.

It was a quick stop, with lots of light and easy highway access. After getting gas, we took some pics and then got back in the rental truck and made a non-stop, no traffic, night drive back to Los Angeles. Home again before 2am. Had a really fun trip!

SouthPoint Hotel and Casino

Wyndham Grand Desert Resort

TopGolf

Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge

Frankie’s Tiki Room

The Wynn Hotel & Casino Las Vegas

 

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The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” Sign Webcam>
www.earthcam.com/cams/nevada/lasvegas/index.php?cam=sign_hd



 

 

Food, Glorious Food!

Food, Glorious Food!

“Food, glorious food! We’re anxious to try it
Three banquets a day — Our favorite diet!
Just picture a great big steak — Fried, roasted or stewed!
Oh, food! Wonderful food! Marvelous food! Glorious food!”

NOTE: This is a Blog Post about food. It contains pictures of food. Meat included.
If you are offended by meat, pictures of meat, or pictures of food,
please just scroll on down past this post to the next post. Thank you.

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Toasted Bagel with Lox, Cream Cheese & Persian Cucumber

Time for some HOMECOOKING! Or at least pictures of food cooked at our home.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! We are grateful to be able to dine out and bring food in when we want. We are even more thankful that we have access to and can afford such wonderful food, when so many people in the world are hungry.

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“Please Sir, I want some more.”

“Food, Glorious Food” is a song from the musical “Oliver!” The musical adaption of the Charles Dickens novel “The Adventures of Oliver Twist” the story of a young orphan who runs away to London in search of a better life.

Take just a moment to appreciate the food you eat. Be thankful you aren’t starving.

Enjoy these pictures of some of the good food we have prepared and eaten this summer:

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Surf and Turf! Steaks, spicy garlic and popcorn shrimp, chili with cheese, burritos, hotdogs, sandwiches, quesadillas, ramen, eggs & bacon, fruit and veggies! And of course dessert. More beef! More steak! More meat! “It’s what’s for dinner.” 

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T-Bone Steaks, roasted red potatoes, and steamed broccoli & carrots

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NY Steaks, cheese ravioli & sauce, and steamed broccoli & carrots

And some tasty cheese blintzes with raspberry jam!

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Cheese Blintzes with Raspberry Jam

We now return you to our regular Blog Posts. Are you hungry now?

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How about a nice Banana Split Ice Cream Sundae with whipped cream?

WHERE’S THE BEEF?
FRUIT, FRUIT, FRUIT!
and many more food and recipe Blog Posts in the archive
Use the search box at the top of the page^^^^^ and check out the sidebar>>>>>

 



 

 

 

 

August-September 2019!

August – September 2019! Rabbit, Rabbit!

AUGUST 1st – HAPPY JERRY DAY 2019!
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Jerome John “Jerry” Garcia
August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995

“Don’t cry now, don’t you cry, don’t you cry anymore.
Sleep in the stars, don’t you cry, dry your eyes on the wind.”

Be Grateful. Be Kind.

NOTE: Yes, we are STILL working on the Las Vegas and Ashland Road Trip Blog Posts.
Just taking a long time and we’ll be sharing them soon. July totally got away from us! And so did August…. and now it’s September 2019 and we haven’t updated our Blog in two months. Sincere apologies for our recent distraction! WE ARE BACK! Really. No, really.

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Burning Man – Camp Envy 2014!

Vamos a la Playa? NOPE!
burned
We were looking for ONE TICKET and ONE VEHICLE PASS for BURNING MAN 2019 this year, and the Main Sale and the OMG sale sucked. And so we are not going. It was not meant to be. Too much work to get ready and not enough time.
We will be watching watched with CAMP ENVY again this year. (more later)
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Man Burn 27

Burning Man – Camp Envy 2019

It was THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER here in Los Angeles. HOT! HOT! HOT!
And it continues to be hot into September.
Today it was only 90 degrees in the San Fernando Valley.
At least we don’t have Hurricane Dorian to contend with!
The stories coming out of the Bahamas are terrible.

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He is such a Happy Boy!

Another Birthday! And so another year flies by, and we get older.

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Happy Birthday To Me!

Happy Birthday! There was a lot of CAKE! And then a pumpkin pie.

On The Birthday Celebration Menu: Partying with Family and Friends!

Birthday dinner #1 – Sushi fest! Rainbow roll, spicy tuna cut roll, baked scallop California roll, albacore sashimi special, yellowtail special, eel & avocado roll, stuffed squid, veggie tempura, shishito peppers, green tea ice cream, hot sake and a coke. And then Ice Cream Cake for dessert!
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Birthday dinner #2 – Bone-in NY Steak, red potatoes, steamed broccoli, caesar salad, bread & butter, cran-raspberry-orange juice and Boston cream cake for dessert.

Birthday dinner #3 – BBQ chicken sandwich and corn on the cob with cran-raspberry juice. And then a birthday cheesecake for me! Four cakes in three days, so fat.

Birthday dinner #4 – Grilled filet mignon, corn on the cob, mac’n’cheese, cucumber slices with peanut sauce, bread & butter, pumpkin pie and a coke.
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And since we’re talking about food, we just had our annual Labor Day Barbecue Party!
With some killer Surf and Turf! Steak, lobster tail with melted butter, baked beans with bacon, corn on the cob, bread and butter, cornbread muffins, fruit salad, chips, tortilla chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, Mango nectar w/gin, cherry pie and vanilla ice cream

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And more cake. Chocolate cake. There was cake and then half of it was frozen, and then there was cake again. And it was really good.
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FlashbackFriday! 2 years since my iPhone was tragically destroyed! It was crushed between the door and the dashboard by Vanessa, my rental van.
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NOTE: We bought a replacement phone for $50 and transferred the chip, and we have a replacement iPhone, but we haven’t gone back from our cheap android model yet.

Are you ready for some advertising? NFL Football is On the Air!

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Why does the picture in the multi-screen layout keep getting smaller?

And so it begins! Starting this weekend and for the next 16 weekends (and Monday and Thursday nights) plus playoffs, championships and the Super Bowl, I will be watching NFL Football, drinking coffee and ignoring everything else. See you in February!

And on an interesting note, we can see the stats for this Blog, and we enjoy seeing where our readers are located (when they’re not pirating our pictures). So here’s the details for the last four days, WE ARE WORLDWIDE!>

Okay, we’re posting this at last. Watch for our future past due Blog Posts: Burning Man, Las Vegas, Ashland Road Trip, and more…. Thanks for playing!

Deep Elem Blues (acoustic) – Jerry Garcia and John Kahn
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QNjD9d4aRU

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Netflix and Chill.
Did you shop on Amazon today?
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DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!
HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER!

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HaHaHaHaHa!

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The view from the Elevator




 

 

 

 

 

 

Dim Sum Sunday Brunch at Shanghai Rose in Studio City!

Dim Sum Sunday Brunch
at Shanghai Rose in Studio City!

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Shanghai Rose Chinese Cuisine & Dim Sum in Studio City

Sunday Dim Sum Brunch! Party time with Chinese food!

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On Ventura Blvd, Sunday street parking is FREE. The restaurant has a parking lot and they validate, so parking is pretty easy.

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Black and red lacquer design (is that traditional?) with lots of cool gold accents. There is a long bar area with a cool aquarium attached to the large dining room. Table and booth seating is available. For the Dim Sum Brunch there was a steam cart circulating and a big menu with lots of other choices available for “made to order” plates.

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The spicy chicken wings were our favorite thing, and the soup dumplings were nice and juicy! We ordered a lot of food, tried tastes of many dishes, and it was good, but not great. So, if you don’t want to make a trip to Chinatown or Alhambra for serious foodie Dim Sum, this is an option in the San Fernando Valley.

Shanghai Rose12229 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604
818-762-2542 http://www.ShanghaiRoseDimSum.com

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Headspace 2: The Search for Something

Headspace 2: The Search for Something
Just a Blog Post, nothing to see here.

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JoshWillTravel

HELLO. HOW ARE YOU?
When you are asked “How are you?”
DO YOU REALLY ANSWER TRUTHFULLY?

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DON’T WORRY. BE HAPPY.

Good (Monday) morning!
One year. Missing my father.
Rough weekend for me.

Dad 1

Lee Weisel RIP

May 1st is May Day!
Laugh, Dance and Sing, it’s May Day!
Celebrate Springtime!🌷🌷🌷🌷

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REAL QUOTES FROM CONFUCIUS:
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

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Happy Birthday to the Little Boy!

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Such a Good Dog, Big Boy!

The Little Boy had his first birthday last week.
He is so full of energy and a fireball of Love.
The Big Boy is getting older and is such a good dog.
And The Little Girls are just the sweetest creatures.

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And the two Little Girls make four!

MAKE SOME ART!
CREATE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL!

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WOOF! A Dog Doodle (ink on paper)

ART: (noun) the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power

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ART: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

Happy Cinco de Mayo! (Fifth of Tequila May)

tequila shots

TEQUILA SHOTS FOR EVERYONE!

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The Battle of Puebla during the Second French intervention in Mexico (the French-Mexican War 1861-1867), took place on May 5th, 1862, near Puebla City, Mexico. The outnumbered Mexican Army of Benito Juárez defeated the invading French forces of Napoleon III. France controlled Mexico until 1867, until Mexican troops overthrew the government. The Mexican victory at Puebla is celebrated every year on the fifth of May.

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FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES!
FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES 2
FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES 3
MORE TIKI COCKTAIL RECIPES!

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The Soup du Jour!

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!
HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER!

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Jose Cuervo, you are no friend of feline!

AND NOW SOME PICTURES OF SUSHI!

Pickup some Sushi and your Monday will be better.

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Rainbow Roll and a Spicy Tuna cut roll for dinner

Sushi cut rolls yum!
Pick it up, eat it at home.
Thursday night dinner

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California and Spicy Tuna cut rolls “To Go” for dinner

Ahi Tuna Poké (hybrid Hawaiian style)
Recipe: Ahi tuna (cut into cubes), chopped onion, chopped celery, avocado, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic powder, red pepper, and red pepper flakes
Mix ingredients together in a bowl, adding avocado last. Enjoy!

And Tuna Sashimi too

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Tuna Sashimi, rice, avocado, carrots and celery for dinner

And Look, Funny Cutting Boards:
A Kitchen Tribute to Lionel Ritchie, Jessie from “Breaking Bad”,
“The Guardians of the Galaxy”, and “The Walking Dead”

DO YOU NEED HELP?
I’ll just leave these numbers here just in case.

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And in the very near future…
HBO’s “Deadwood” The Movie premieres on May 31st!

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From W Earl Brown: “You might own playing cards, but I know damned well you don’t own a set of Deadwood cards signed by the cast because there is only one of those in existence. And it could be YOURS if you bid enough.”

Support burbankarts4all (Right Click and “Open in New Window”)>
https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/item-detail.cfm?auctionID=17891&ItemID=691259&viewType=1&style=52&font=0&catName=TV+and+Movies

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Use these LINKS to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Periscope | Experience Ashland Oregon 

Return to Homepage | The JoshWillTravel Adventure Channel on YouTube

The JoshWillTravel AdventureScope on Youtube> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP3QQfRTfD-2eABWVd-JwQ

Have you seen my IMDB? http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0918756/

“Art is what you can get away with.”
Read the Blog Post> Warhol Wednesday!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/warhol-wednesday

Read the Blog Post> Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s May the 5th! Celebrate!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/happy-cinco-de-mayo-its-may-the-5th/

BE HAPPY NOW!

hiatus

WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK!

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute,
the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”
– Confucius

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The Mirage Hotel and Volcano – Las Vegas, Nevada

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I want to party in Vegas with THIS GUY!

Lebowski Fest 2019 at the Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood

Lebowski Fest 2019
at the Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood
Friday, April 19, 2019 at 7pm

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Ticket to Lebowski Fest 2019 at the Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood!

LebowskiFest Time!
At the Wiltern in L.A.
With Jeff Bridges too!

Lebowski Fest 2019
with Jeff Bridges and The Abiders!
and Trainwreck featuring Kyle Gass
and a 35mm screening of “The Big Lebowski”

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We’ve always wanted to go to LEBOWSKI FEST! So when tickets went on pre-sale in February, we grabbed a seat in the front section at The Wiltern for $50+fees and made plans to attend in April. We didn’t know when we bought the ticket that it was also the first night of Passover (a Jewish ritual holiday). “Shomer Shabbos” does not apply here.

 

We drove over the hill into Hollywood and then south on Vine Street to Wilshire Blvd (in Koreatown, not quite Downtown LA). Hollywood construction is OUT OF CONTROL! Everything has changed. It’s not even recognizable and so much traffic.

We made our way to the theatre and drove around for a bit until we found FREE street parking across from the Starbuck’s. And we got an iced mocha with whipped cream and walked around the park and adjacent neighborhood until we were ready to stand in line.

Welcome to the Wiltern Theatre at Wilshire Blvd and Western Ave in Hollywood!

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Lined Up On Wilshire Blvd – “The Waiting is the Hardest Part”

The Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood (actually now it’s Koreatown)

Built in 1931, the Pellissier Building and Wiltern Theatre is a twelve story, 155 foot Art Deco landmark, an example of French Zig-Zag Moderne styling with blue-green glazed architectural terra-cotta tile, named after the family that owned the land it was built on.

The Wiltern Theatre and the Pellissier Building are on the National Register of Historic Places and are City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments.

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Joined the line on Wilshire Blvd, and waited on the sidewalk for the doors to open with a few hundred other “The Big Lebowski” fans. Some folks came in character costumes too!

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The Wiltern is such a beautiful building! We watched the sunset down Wilshire Blvd, as the temperature dropped and the wind picked up, and they opened the doors after 7pm and the line moved quickly through the security checkpoint at the front.

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The Wiltern Theatre in Hollywood

Once inside the theatre, there was a fun scene happening in the lobby! There were backdrops for photos & selfies, artwork from the film, the bars were decorated with bowling pins and trophies, a vendor booth selling t-shirts and posters, and costumed bartenders waiting to serve you “caucasians” ($14 for a single, $21 for a double!).

Bottled Water $5.00!
There was also some snack food available for purchase: popcorn, pretzels, etc.

NOTE: A “Caucasian” is a White Russian cocktail with vodka, coffee liqueur and cream.

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The restrooms were upstairs on the balcony level or downstairs in the cool basement bar area. And the real “Mind if I do a J?” party crowd was just outside on the smoking patio.

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We wandered around and eventually went inside the actual theater space, with a bar in each of the back corners and no one waiting in line there. We checked out our seat in the front of the house, then we returned to the bar and ordered a double caucasian  from our bartender Roxanne, dressed in a Valkyrie costume, with slides from the film flashing on the tv screen/menu board beside her. We sipped on our beverage and then went back out to the lobby, sat and people watched until the first band came onstage.

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Watch the “Lobby Scene” LIVE at Lebowski Fest 2019 on Periscope>
https://www.periscope.tv/JoshWillTravel/1ynJORgZdAVGR

And then the show began. Trainwreck rocked the house! Never heard of them before we bought the ticket and Kyle Gass was mysteriously absent from the band….

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Then there was an intermission, and more wandering around, looking at all the weirdos, checking out the costumes, chatting with other Dudes, waiting for the next band….

JEFF BRIDGES and THE ABIDERS took the stage and opened with some Creedence. They played a full set of rock, country, blues and mellow music. It was a happy jam with Jeff Bridges sharing anecdotes and telling stories about film and the projected slides (black and white photographs he shot with his panorama camera during the production) on the big screens.

NOTE: My phone’s camera ran out of memory, and wouldn’t focus properly because of the lights and music stand, and we were seated so close that the sound over-modulated the phone’s microphone in the music videos we shot of the performance. We still got pics and video, but it should have been easier and the pics should have been better.

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