Sunday, July 29, 2012

If Life Was a Highway

In celebration of the six lane Interstate 580 soon to open, the community was invited to walk, ride, run, or drive (slowly) on the newly paved freeway. My husband and I rode to Washoe Valley from home to the Galena Creek Bridge and back. 

There were tons of people on foot, running or walking, and others on some sort of wheeled mode of transportation (bicycle, unicycle, and even a multi-passenger pedal wagon with a beer tap so they can enjoy some brew during the ride).

On our way home we stopped for breakfast at Truckee Bagel Company and later, had lunch at Pinocchio's Bar and Grill.
 
 
Some sort of pedal wagon. The people on it enjoyed beer on tap while pedaling their way along the I-580.
 
 
Find more information at the I-580 project here:
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Visit to Elko, NV - Day 2

Our second day in Elko, NV we had breakfast at our hotel and then took a scenic drive up Lamoille Canyon, the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains.  John wanted to get in some miles on his bike so we dropped him off beforehand on Lamoille Highway to ride up the summit where we will meet him.
 
Then my mom-in-law and I continued on, driving up the 12-miles road.  It's nice that the speed limit is 35 miles per hour, allowing visitors in cars time to enjoy the view and making it safer for bicyclists sharing the road.  I didn't see any runners though the gorgeous route would almost be enough in length for a half marathon!
 
(Click image to view larger photo)
Two glaciers merged here and carved the v-shaped valley to the left (in the photo below) and the u-shaped valley to the right.
(Click image to view large photo of Lamoille Glaciers)
Behind where Maggie is standing is Camp Lamoille which is available for group rental. What a beautiful place for a getaway!
 
Lamoille Creek meanders along the only road leading to the top.  It is fishable and you may find Brook Trout or Wild Rainbow Trout.
 
At the head of Lamoille Canyon, you'll find Lamoille Lake and Dollar Lakes which feed the Lamoille Creek.  You'll have to hike about 2 miles to see them (follow the link to trail info for the Ruby Mountains) or check out this interactive panorama.
 
We'll have to go back to the canyon so I can run its length or hike to the lake and fish.  This trip is for a bike ride and while Maggie sat on a boulder to read a novel rode down the road where I crossed paths with John coming up the hill.  He was on a training ride so we didn't have much time to talk.
 
We shot this photo and he was off to the summit leaving me to myself. I kept grinding the gears, turning the cranks, and pedaled my way up.
 
The view is what makes the pain and suffering worthwhile.
 
John and I would really like to go back there to ride (and run).
 
Each year there's a Lamoille Canyon Hill Climb, a bike race up the canyon followed by the award ceremony and BBQ.  This year, the event takes place on August 11th (three weeks from today) so you still have time to train!  For $35, the registration is a deal and it's not too late.  If you didn't get to mail and postmark the form by August 1st, you can still register the day of for $40.  It would be fun to do but there are no USA Cycling upgrade points if that's an important consideration for you.
 
After our ride, we drove back to downtown Elko for lunch at McAdoo's.  Recently opened in March of this year, the interior is hip and modern - perfect for a cafe serving breakfast, lunch and sweets!  We had ice tea, Coca-Cola (great post ride pick-me-up), and lavender lemonade.  The special of the day was a marinated veggie sandwich (marinated tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, and herbed cream cheese on the best whole wheat bread for $8.99) with a side of roasted potatoes -- yum-yum!!  John ordered a turkey sandwich and Maggie ordered a sandwich with applewood smoked bacon and sausage (I can't remember the name but it was superb!) and a house salad peppercorn dressing.  GREAT place for lunch if you are in town.
 
Afterwards we stopped by the Elko Convention Center to visit John's dad who was in tooling class.
 
Then we walked through the Elko Chamber of Commerce to look at the school house and other buildings. They were closed so we didn't get to go inside but what we could peek through and see was really neat!
 
 
By evening we were seated at the bar of the Star Hotel, a Basque family style restaurant and lounge.  The place was packed and even though we had reservations, our wait had been 1 1/2 hours before we decided to leave.  The staff didn't anticipate that one of the dining rooms would remain closed and apologized profusely.  As good as the Picon Punch we had at the bar were, our stomachs soon wanted some solid, satisfying food.
 
 
So we made our way to Chef Cheng's Chinese Restaurant.
 
Inside was like an old timey diner with powder blue booths.  It was smokey as if the kitchen had poor ventilation system; I knew the food was going to be GREAT!  And it sure was.  Maybe I was hungry but I thought the chow mein were the best I've ever tasted, the honey spicy chicken was absolutely delicious (it had a nice kick and excellent flavoring), and though I'm usually not a fan of fried food the hot and sour pork and salt and pepper shrimp were yummy.  I don't know how they do it but the breading was really crispy and but the inside still tender.  Most breading are halfway soggy and it's not always cooked thoroughly.  Anyway, the meal was nice and of course time with family was the best part of our evening.
John and I had a really nice time in Elko.  The places we visited, restaurants we ate at, our touring adventures and seeing John's parents made our trip just AWESOME!!
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Visit to Elko, NV - Day 1

The hardest part about leaving Las Vegas was moving away from our dear friends and family.  When we learned that John's dad would be in Northern Nevada for a tooling class, we seized the opportunity to have a family get-together in the most unlikely place--Elko, NV.

I didn't think we could find enough things to do in the old ranch and mining town but as it turned out, we barely had time to cross some things off our list by the time we left town.  We didn't have enough time to check out everything we wanted.  Well...there's never enough hours in the day when you are spending it with family.

While we were there this weekend we ate at several great places, visited museums and historical interests, and John and I got to ride our bikes up Lamoille Canyon through the scenic Ruby Mountains outside of Elko.

It was a full weekend and we had so much fun!!

The drive was easy...and scenic actually.  It took us four hours due to the 75 m.p.h. speed zone on a good stretch of the Interstate 80.  The terrain changed from grass and brushes to rolling hills with billowing clouds on a canvas of blue skies.
 
Once in Elko, we checked in to our hotel where John's parents were also staying.  His dad was in class so we went to lunch with Mom.  She had visited a place before where they had really good sandwiches and oddly enough, inside a donut shop called Donuts n More.  The sandwiches were good; made bread freshly baked in-house but for $8.00 a sandwich a la carte, one would expect a little more meat than a few slices. Lunch was still nice because it was with two of my favorite people!
 
After our meal, we walked along Commercial Street and stopped by a Weigand Gallery.  Admissions was very reasonable, $5/person and we took our time browsing the collections of leather artwork -- boots, saddles, Western wear, and ooh -- of course, a purse!
 
Then we walked along the street past some shops we might try another day. 
 
I had heard about a huge stuffed polar bear and here it is!!  The "Legendary White King" measured in at 10 feet 4 inches and estimated live weight is 2,000 pounds.  I was so glad to have witnessed it in person...safely from outside the glass case and that it was in no longer alive. 
 
Back at the hotel, Mom and I caught up on our lives while John went riding on his bike to get in his training.  When John's dad was out of class, we went to dinner at Machi's Saloon & Grill.  Inside the cozy restaurant, the place was packed.  They were unusually busy that night (we were told) but the staff did a great job even though it took us a while after we were seated to get our drinks.  Good thing Dad urged us to make a reservation or we would have been standing at the bar for a long time.
 
Dad always gets spaghetti (we tease him about it) and although I didn't get to taste it, I tried John's pasta dish and it was delicious -- nice and hot.  Mom and I ordered the Friday special - Paella.  Maybe my taste has changed but I thought it was somewhat dry and salty.  However, there was plenty of food with the house salad (yummy) and ciabatta rolls which accompanied any entree.  My dirty martini was tasty!  Of course, nothing was better than sharing the evening with family.
 
It was a fabulous day and wonderful evening!!  We were so happy to see Mom and Dad after so long.  The next day would be another day we would get to spend together.  I can't wait to tell you all about it!!
 

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Nevada Desert

I think the desert is pretty. Sometimes it makes me feel like I am on another planet.

Celebrating Another Year

A few days ago, we celebrated another birthday for my Dad. It's funny because he doesn't look much older than this photo taken of our family when we lived in the Philippines. Guess which one of the little girls in the photo is me.

Whether he is sixty-one or twenty-one years old, he will always be my Dad. Happy Birthday Dad!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time on Lake Tahoe and Pie-Face Pizza

John and I finally had a chance to soak in some sun and do absolutely nothing on the shoreline of Lake Tahoe on Sunday.
 
We live about 20 minutes' drive away from the lake so why we haven't visited the area all that much is a wonder to us.  This road is Mount Rose Highway, where John likes to ride his bike so he can climb thousands of feet in elevation.  The summit is 8,900 feet and is the highest Sierra pass open all year round.
 
The beach we first visited was Secret Cove (look it up in a search engine).  It is a beautiful, secluded cove where clothing is optional but we did not plan to lounge there that day so we continued along the route to Boaters Beach.
 
It's quite a trek to get that beach and knowing that, we packed accordingly.  You either come in by water (thus the name) or you hike up the windy path and climb over some boulders before you can get to Boaters Beach.  But it was worth it because it wasn't overcrowded and littered with trash like Zephyr Cove is.  We met some nice folks and after a few hours,  made our way back to a cluster of boulders between Boaters Beach and Secret Cove which has a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Tahoe.
 
There, on a big flat boulder pictured at the bottom of this photo, we laid out our towels and sat for a few more hours soaking in the scenery.  The water is cool and refreshing; I actually swam in it a few times when we were at Boaters Beach...or should I say doggy paddled because I cannot swim very well.
 
Far away, you can see some naturists and others folks lounging on the rocks but no one was remotely close to us.  It was nice just to sit there...just the two of us.  The temperature was warm, the water serene, and all around was quiet except the sounds of the water splashing against the boulders on which we sat.
 
And since no one was around, I changed my suit to something that I can tan in.  I had worn the triangle back pink zebra suit from Malibu Strings at Boaters Beach and already had tan lines from the few hours I spent in it.
 
 
Then it was time for us to leave.  With one last glance at the cove the sun would soon set.  Since it was Sunday, we just wanted to be at home where we could spend the rest of our day together with our cats.
 
Of course after a relaxing day, we didn't want to cook so John and I went to downtown Reno and ate dinner at Pie-Face Pizza Company.
 
We shared a signature salad which was delicious. The wings had the best sauce on them; it has won some awards so if you go there, you must try them! The pizza is the White Boy which is white garlic sauce with roasted chicken, sweet basil, asparagus, red onions, and dried tomatoes.
 
It was a nice weekend filled with food, fun, family, and friends. I know I sound like a broken record but to me, that's what life is all about!
 
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