Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1,076 Miles of Adventure

In the past five days, I've logged 1,076 miles just in quick road trips. This doesn't count all my running around from football practice to work to grocery store to work to football practice (you get the idea).

My long weekend of road trips began with a phone call from Rob on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. asking if I'd drive to Cedarville with him that night. Cedarville is a little over 100 miles from here. I've never been there and I looked forward to a few hours in the car with Rob so we headed out around 5 p.m. The drive was beautiful and the fairgrounds were well-maintained, quaint, and quite pretty. I found this building interesting in a "I bet it's haunted" kind of way.

Desert Rose Casino, Alturas CA
 A warning about Cedarville and its neighboring town of Alturas: If you wait until 9 p.m. to search for dinner, you'll get a romantic evening of burgers, fries, and Jersey Shore while the sound of slot machines serenade you in the background. You see, everything closes at 9 p.m. and your choice for dinner will be either A) a burger from the Casino or B) cheetos and jerky from the gas station. We ventured out to the Desert Rose Casino. After traveling down a dirt road we arrived at a triple wide trailer. The "cafe" was open and consisted of a closet that had been converted to a kitchen with one of those half-doors through which you order your burgers. Tables are in the bar where Jersey Shore has captured the attention of the only other occupant in the bar. While the atmosphere wasn't five star, the burger was decent, the food was made to order, and the service was friendly (and the drinks in the bar were cheap!).

Welcome to Christmas Valley!
 On Thursday, Rob had to "repay" the favor and travel with me to Christmas Valley, Oregon (roughly 124 miles one way). We were dropping my kids off with my sister for a camping trip. Christmas Valley is remote - it's often referred to as the Oregon Outback and I've heard the population is around 150. I drive through Christmas Valley often and I never, ever think of Christmas! The roads in town are aptly named Jingle Bell Lane, Candy Cane Street, or Elf Way. You can shop at Santa's Hardware and Santa's General Store.

Cowboy Dinner Tree, Silver Lake Oregon

After dropping off the kids, we ventured to the Cowboy Dinner Tree, a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Reservations are required and portions are generous. This was my favorite part of the trip. Rob ordered the steak and I ordered the chicken. The meal starts with salad (I was pleasantly surprised to have a delicious salad with lots of different veggies instead of just iceberg lettuce). Your pink lemonade is served in a quart size canning jar. The silverware and plates do not match. For the second course, we were served the best beans I've ever eaten with the best homemade dinner rolls ever (don't tell her but they put my grandma's to shame). You then receive your entree. Rob's steak was 32 oz and served with a baked potato. My plate arrived with a WHOLE roasted chicken and a baked potato. They follow it up with apple crisp for dessert. Simply delicious. And we have enough leftovers to last a week. I definitely recommend it if you're in the area and looking for something fun and different to do.
Cowboy Dinner Tree Dining Room

On Friday I was in charge of our 8th Annual Hula-Palooza Putting Challenge, a fun team-building event that we put on each year for our members.

Rob and his son Zach serve bbq to the cyclists.
Which brings me to Saturday and my next road trip. I offered to help Rob with a catering job he had up near Crater Lake, actually at Fort Klamath. It was the day of the big Crater Lake Century Ride - a bike ride that brought in over 300 cyclists from around the world. We fed the cyclists, their families, and the volunteers. It was fun to talk to people from Germany, Iowa, Illinois and many other places. We served food from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Rob does catering for a local barbecue place - ribs, pork, chicken, and beef - delish. For this event, he had to offer a vegetarian option and so he smoked tofu and made a quinoa salad. The smoked tofu was surprisingly delicious and the quinoa salad is going to become a staple in my household - so refreshing! Crater Lake is breathtaking and I can imagine the bike ride was beautiful - luckily I don't have to imagine because my friend Brian took photos at the event. Just look at the beautiful ride the cyclists had!

On Sunday, I got up and headed to Burns, Oregon to pick up my boys. They had spent the weekend camping with Aunt Tara and the grandkids. Burns is about 240 miles one way. I get to travel back through Christmas Valley. It's a beautiful drive the first time you do it but I've now been through it 10 times a year for the past seven years. About 100 miles from Burns, you lose most radio stations and your only option will be talk radio (which I happen to enjoy sometimes) or Retro Country (Baby's got her blue jeans on). I chose Retro Country, rolled down the windows, and sang my little heart out while remembering dancing with my dad.

We took some time to visit my mom at the airport. She drives fuel truck for the helicopters on wildfires. Here are a few photos:

The Grandkids in front of Grandma's truck

The helicopter landing (with the fire in the background)

 On the way back home, we traveled across the Klamath Marsh at sunset and it was the most beautiful I've ever seen it. I stopped to take this photo:

As we came across the last part of the marsh, Marcus (my oldest) asked if he could take a photo. He captured this image (good eye kid!):

I enjoyed my crazy beautiful hectic weekend but I'm so glad to be home!

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