Merry Christmas 🎄⛩ from Seoul.
Laura has settled in nicely I see. One of the perks of having your own business. Points, points rewards and points consumption, have become an art that almost everyone in our family has learned to master. Why pay for coach class, when everything you do everyday, can award you free first class?
Packing over the past few days was a non-event. We had planned things out pretty well and had plenty of time to prepare. It was nice to be able to use the kids bedrooms as our own personal staging areas. I think Laura started lay-out sometime last week. I start a couple days ago. It’s a Venus/Mars thing.
The hardest part however, was saying goodby to the dogs. They’re all in good hands, but I miss them more than the kids. We sent the Doodles to Intelligent K9 Training, for a 3 week obedience/boarding camp. The owner CJ, met with us, gave a demonstration and the most thorough and detailed presentation I’ve seen, for K9 training. He’s a former Marine and it shows in every aspect of his operation. I fully expect the girls to come back with high and tight cuts and marching in unison. He’s also very smart with his social platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, You Tube…. He broadcasts on them all and we’ll be seeing the online post of the girls real soon. I’ll be sure to link it here for a good laugh.
The older girls are staying with a local family in Escondido that we found on rover.com. They have two small kiddos (that LOVE the girls) and 3 mid-aged dogs. For the past several weeks now, we’ve been taking them over for “play-dates”, so that our girls could get used to the surrounding, people and their dogs. It would be the death of Liberty, if we just dropped her into the DMZ, without prior recon. They’re a really great family and we feel very comfortable leaving the girls there. We’re constantly getting pictures of the dogs napping together. I’m at peace with it.
The ride up to LAX was a breeze. We cheated and hired a black car. That was the easiest 2hr drive ever. The airport was very busy and the security line was a mile long. But I’ve never seen anything like that run so smoothly. I was really impressed with the new procedures and technology they use now.
A quick jaunt upstairs to the Sky Lounge for several cocktails, dinner and a celebrity sighting of Phil Keoghan (a good omen), and here we sit waiting to take off. Ahh, the friendly skys (and my Zantac) await.
Laura had a little issue the other day and thought it might be a good idea to visit the dentist, before the trip. Seems something was bugging her teeth/gums. No big deal, she only ended up having a tooth removed today, and new bridge built, a mess of other fixes identified, put on antibiotics AND (the worst of it all), she can’t drink for the next week. WTF !?!?!
The Doc said her mouth could have exploded from the infection, during the airplane flight. (Does that count as terrorism?) I think we should tell ISIS that it does and give them all gum disease. Payback bitches!!! The day of reckoning is upon us.
Anyway, she’ll go back under the knife, for some new choppers when we return. And while that all went down, I got spiffed-out from my boy The Barber Andrew, got some last minute shopping done in hell, and still managed to keep my stress level at a 15 (out of 100). It’s good to be me 😎.
I’ll have the crunchy taco plate and 2 margaritas please. My wife will have the bowl of chicken broth and a glass of warm water.
The blog is back, the travel plans are well laid, and the clock is running. The Griswold’s take Asia, is about to go down.
We don’t actually leave until Friday afternoon, but I’ll take the next few days to sharpen my writing skills and kick the dust off the keyboard. Incidentally, I found out that more than 3 people actually read the last trip blog, so I’m super stoked that we may hit (dare I say) 4 or 5 readers this time?? But I really do appreciate the feedback I received and am glad that you found my writing fun and entertaining.
Ultimately, we’ll get to see Rudy for a week in Okinawa. But until then, Maddie is flying in from NYC and we’ll spend the holidays together eating, drinking and being Merry Americans. It’s what we do.
For now however, so much to do and so little time to do it. TTFN
All things considered, I’d do it again tomorrow. Not so sure what Laura would say about that…
So here are the totals & tallies I promised. I don’t know whose been reading this blog as we went along, but if there’s anybody out there, I thank you. It’s been fun and entertaining.
We’re headed off to Korea, China and Japan to see Rudy for the Holiday’s. I’ll fire-up the old Mac Book again and we’ll see what kind of mischief we can get into over there. Until then, be compassionate humans 🙏🏻
Miles Driven - 10,581 Diesel Fuel Purchased - $2,628.68 MPG Average - 10.2 Traffic Accidents - 0 Speeding Tickets - 0 States - 28 Territories - 5 Maritimes - 3 Countries - 1 (countries kicked out of - 1) Dog Poops Picked Up - 557 Dirty Dog Washes - 6 Dog Beds Thrown Away - 4 Dog Trips to the Vet - 1 Oysters Consumed - 144 Clams Consumed - 76 Lobster Rolls - 6 Hudson Burgers - 12 Chowders - 8 Blog Posts - 34 Nights away from home - 55 Places we're going back to - 5 Days Til the Next Adventure - 98 Trip of a Lifetime - 1
54 nights and almost 11,000 miles later, it has all come down to this. It’s only fitting that our last night on the road is here, at my favorite place, Mammoth, CA.
Where did we leave off? Oh, those hamburgers. Those little devils that still haunt me. Beckon to me in my dreams and fill my mind with dirty thoughts of over-indulgence. Sorry, I have issues. So we left CdA and spent three nights on the road to Minden, NV to see Ron, Leslie, Carson and Hanna. We had some easy driving days with some really beautiful views. Mostly because we finally got away from the smoke and haze and could actually see what we were doing. The skies cleared and we traveled some new miles on my favorite highway, The 395.
We set ourselves up for a quick 2.5 hr drive on Saturday so we could spend the day watching Hanna and Carson’s soccer games. Both of which they lost unfortunately, but we really enjoyed the family-time nonetheless. In between games, Ron and Les took us to the oldest town in Nevada, Genoa. Where we proceeded to have a fantastic lunch and a round of drinks at the oldest bar in Nevada, The Genoa Bar, established in 1853. Luckily, the beer wasn’t that old.
A great dinner back at their house, 3 bottles of wine, 6 filthy dogs and an RV in their driveway capped off a perfect day. Today was another quick drive down to Mammoth where we quickly set-up camp for some football games and the last three episodes of GOT, Season 1. BTW, never saw that coming (episode 9, you know, if you know 😉)
Tomorrow will be our standard, 4 times a year, 6 hour-drive home from Mammoth. I could do it blindfolded. We’ll stop at Schat’s Bakery for my favorite veggie sandwich, Laura will grab a turkey pot pie (and a couple for the freezer) and we’ll start down the most beautiful 100 miles of highway in all of North America. And believe me, nobody is more qualified than me, to make that statement.
Not sure what we’ll do with ourselves after this, having full shower water pressure, a yard to run around in and someone other than ourselves to talk to. It will all be so foreign. Give me a couple of days to tally-up all the important stats and post them on one last blog before we take a short recess.
Thank you for tuning-in. Whomever you are. It’s been fun.
Three nights in Coeur d’Alene and we didn’t get to see much. No time on the water. No time on the trails. No time at the local eateries. Just kidding. Of course we found food and booze. But the one destination we were looking forward to spending more time doing and less time consuming, has us working backwards.
The fires were (are) nowhere near us but the entirety of the Pacific Northwest is completely consumed with smoke, haze and bad air. The schools have a no-recess order and the weather-persons are constantly issueing “stay inside” warnings. So we did just that. We stayed inside……. the bars and restaurants and did absolutely nothing to exert ourselves. We were perfect tourists.
But as a result, we’ve added another “come back” city to our list of towns to revisit. I can however, report that I have officially ended my search for the perfect hamburger. As I recently reported on FaceBook, we accidentally found the most famous hamburger joint in the PacNW. We weren’t searching for anything, other than a parking spot, when kismet provided us a spot right in front of Hudson’s Hamburgers. A 110 (yes I said ONE HUNDRED & TEN) year old, family owned hamburger shop.
The place was tiny, tidy, clean, friendly and unbecoming. It has been reviewed and written-up by the NY Times & Sunset Magazine, along with numerous local and regional papers. It is a living time-machine. I thought Marty McFly was gonna drop down next to me and order a Tab.
There were 4 seats available at the counter of 17 stools. Just as the man pressing patties and flipping burgers in front of us asked how many we wanted, the lady behind the counter slid some waters in front of us with a smile and a “welcome”. They serve two kinds of burgers. With or without cheese. And you can have those burgers with 2 toppings, pickles and/or onions. They don’t have tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, french fries, onion rings, seeded buns, or even regular mustard. They have three bottles in front of you, regular ketchup, spicy house-made secret recipe ketchup and spicy house-made secret recipe mustard. That’s it. Nothing else. Don’t ask.
In brief conversation with the owners and patrons, our good fortune was revealed to be even deeper than we first realized. Normally, the line is 30-40 minutes long, out the door and around the block. We were eating the freshest, tastiest burgers we’ve ever had, within 5 minutes of sitting down, all because the fire storms kept most people away. The Burger Gods cast their light upon us, through the thickest of smokey skies, and we knew instantly that we were in the middle of something very special.
There is only one man working the grill. There’s no room for anyone else. He hand presses every patty, smashes it down on his cutting board and slaps it on that time-seasoned cast iron grille. While those babies are sizzling away, he preps the buns with exactly 6 slices (hand sliced at that exact moment) of dill pickle and a 1/4″ thick slab of hand-sliced white onion. A simple, plain, white-bread bun is the perfect delivery device for that hot & juicy burger. Add whatever sauce you want to it and take your first bite. The clocks stop. The conversations hush and every action around you seems to freeze. Yeah, it’s like that.
We visited 3 times total in a 24hr period and had 6 burgers each. I took special care to observe and commit to memory, the ingredients, process and procedures. I WILL replicate these burgers at home. Trust me, I got this!
Other than that, we’re outa here. Time to head South to find clearer skies and visit my cousins near Reno. Home is coming soon. I think we’re finally ready.
Oh, we finally saw a moose 😜
Hey, you can’t park there!
2 days. We are officially two days ahead of schedule now. Not that we ever had a schedule, but we wanted to be home by the 13th because we’d been invited to a very important cocktail reception at Mr. A’s on the 14th 😃🍸. Those long, last days of boredom helped push us through Canada. We even skipped Calgary, just to get out of Dodge (sorry Calgary, but we promise to come back for your Stampede weekend in the next few years). Only to arrive in Montana, to be welcomed by wildfires. Everywhere. We know this haze and smell in the air, all too well. Tonight we raise a glass to the rain Gods and ask for a little help.
The last day, through Alberta, brought us new things to look at. The World’s largest Tee-Pee, Al Capone’s Canadian hideout, a really big Potato Head thingy, and some really beautiful farm land. But those last couple of miles to the border, were the best views we’d seen all week.
What did we have to declare (besides a windshield full of bugs)? A few bottles of wine, some Canadian Rum (right?), 10 lbs. of PEI potatoes (the BEST EVER!), a fridge full of groceries, a cooler full of Canadian IPA’s and a bunch of misc souvenirs. All things considered, the Country was beautiful, the people were VERY friendly, the prices for everything were on -par and the experience was well worth the effort. Despite my boredom quips.
Glacier National Park was, from what we could see, gorgeous. The fires have left a thick stain on the view and a light sting in your throat. The park is much smaller than I had anticipated and while the drive was scenic, we were prohibited from driving on the one road everybody should drive on. The Going To The Sun Road. Not just because it was closed due to the fires, but the RV was too big to drive on it anyway. Note to self; come back and rent a car.
We’re down in Coeur d’Alene now but all the air is out of our balloon. The smoke and air quality is really bad and we’re questioning our plans to stay for 3 days. I’ve really been looking forward to coming here. I’ve seen and read so much about CdL, that I always thought that this might be “The Place” for us to retire to. Unfortunately, we really can’t see much (literally), and spending too much time outside, is just uncomfortable. Fingers crossed, we’ll see what tomorrow brings.
There is absolutely NOTHING to write about, other than the fact that we are doing 9hrs @ 500+ miles per day right now. The pictures below are all we see. One was taken in the morning and one was taken in the afternoon (like the bugs?). Yes, it’s beautiful. I get it. But this is all we’ve seen for the past 3 days and we have 2 more to go before we hit Glacier National Park. Let me guess, they have trees too?
We amuse ourselves with pictures of the dogs, playing trivia and visiting obscure Walmart’s in towns we can’t pronounce. The interweb teases us all day with reception and there are no radio stations for hundreds of miles. This is boredom to the 10th degree.
Oh, and the next moose, bear or deer I see, will be the first. Every 2km they advertise “Beware of Moose”, or “Night Danger” with the moose picture. I’m beginning to think that Canada is full of shit. They just advertise this to get us dumb American’s up here to leave some greenbacks. I’m on to you Canada….