On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip — Reports from Jim: Day 6 — Indiana Dunes to Fermi Lab

Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Indiana: Sand and Science

Day 6 – July 20, 2012

Comfort Inn breakfast had doughnuts and pastries, which we avoided. Grabbed coffee and some round scramble egg things and took them up to the room (the egg things were to make breakfast sandwiches).

Decided that our stop today would be Indiana Dunes, but first some more coffee (for Kelly). Using Yelp she found a Starbucks not too far from our route (Chai tea for me and Lattee for Kelly). Got to drive through the OH and Indiana farm country, not a lot to see or report on.  My excitement came from the car.  I found gas for 3.47 (I had seen as low as 3.33) and went to fill up. The pumps had three handles, ethanol (85%), gas (90%) and diesel.  I had never seen the ethanol before (for Flex fuel vehicles, don’t even remember what it cost).  Machine insisted that I choose a grade after removing the hose. Felt stupid as I looked to see what to press, eventually I came across the right key but no idea what it was. For the next 50 some miles I got over 53 MPG!!!!!.

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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — Day 7, Minnesota Bound

Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

A Day Without Pictures

Day 7 – July 21, 2012

A Week on the road.

Another day without a destination. When we (sort of) planned this trip I had goals in New England (Mt. Washington, Ben and Jerry’s and Lake Champlain).  We fell below our mileage quota a bit. I had two routes planned; the “Oregon Trail” route along Rt 20, the longest road in the USA at over 3,600 miles long, or drop down to rt 50, “the Loneliest Road”. I was tempted to avoid Chicago and Cleveland and see the mid of the Midwest. Two things drove us north. Kelly and I always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore since we were little kids and we were invited by friends to visit them in Minneapolis.  Could we do both?  The mileage to either appeared daunting and we hadn’t even picked a route yet. Getting to 20 would be a pain from where we were but I saw we could pick up rt 30, another road I always wanted to drive. Much of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the USA of San Francisco to New York, became rt 30.  So rt 30 it was and I would eventually pick up 20 and then later decide to push for Rushmore or Minnesota.

I always wanted to drive through the flat corn fields of Iowa (or Kansas-Kelly did Kansas once).  Is it really as boring as people say?  What do corn fields as far as the eye can see really look and more importantly feel like?

The three of us make a great team; I have been doing most of the driving, our gps, Mavis, keeps us on track in her most annoying way (but she can be muted) and the most important team member, Kelly. Armed with her trusty IPad she finds attractions, food, hotels, a bigger map perspective when I and Mavis disagree.  She also looks at the satellite radio schedule, hooks up the audio books and charges electronics.  She is also the voice of reason saying to stop hear and look.

(We both like book radio and are enjoying the Race by Clive Cussler, I enjoy Yammer Jammer Yellow Hammer about Bama football, and another Dirk Pitt by Cussler.  We also listen to old time radio as well as Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.)

She, and Yelp, recommended a Al’s BBQ shack in DeKalb, about 2 blocks off rt 30, a small hut with two nice gentlemen.  Recognizing us as first timers we were offered generous samples of pork and brisket. He then gave us brisket covered in coleslaw. Since we are trying to low carb across America (a great blog name by the way) the slaw and meet without a bun attracted both of us. Kelly went with the Brisket and I the pork.  The cook recommended, so politely, that we try some “tangy” sauce with the meal. I am glad I took his advice, the food was fantastic.  We sat on a picnic table eating and drinking our iced teas we had picked up a few minutes before at a gas station.

Soon back on the road.  Yes it did get a bit monotonous.  The hours passed and we became tired and hungry. Once more Kelly found an interesting place for dinner, Rubes.  Yelp folks compared it to Ruth’s Chris (which we love the few times we get to eat there) except you cook your own steaks.  I was apprehensive but we had a very nice waitress who walked us through it. She took us up to show us the steaks and described them all. Kelly and I both chose Filet Mignon, I had mine butterflied as I like my meat medium well while Kelly’s thicker piece was designed for medium rare.  We couldn’t resist the very fresh Iowa corn so we each had a piece.  We had a choice of charcoal or gas and both chose charcoal.  I remained apprehensive and had to put mu steak back on the coals once so I ate my delicious corn. The steak came out perfectly. Kelly’s was a bit rarer than she liked but good. The bill came to about $50 ($60 with tip). Not bad at all.

The plan was a couple more hours on the road then a hotel so Kelly started her search, when she had coverage.  This was the only day, so far where we didn’t have a “fun” event though we did enjoy the food.    While she was looking Mavis and I checked the path to Minneapolis to see our friends Larry and Roz and their great kids (LRJF from now on as it is easier to spell than Minneapolis). Less than two hours from our planned stopping time and we could be with LRJA!  A scramble to find their address and phone number ensued. Kelly and her amazing Ipad to the rescue.  I called Larry’s cell (which he almost never uses) and he answered. He promptly hung up on me! He then called me back on his home phone and we were welcomed anytime, no matter how late we would arrive. With the invitation sealed we pressed on with a 10 pm arrival planned (arrived after 11 however). Larry is a pilot and was just coming off reserve so he had the phone handy, with only two hours left on reserve he thought he was being called in.

We have been using Hotel Coupons which give great discounts, better than anything else we have found. Our book petered out in PA. We stopped at the Iowa info center and they had books for both mid west  and west (we have not however been able to use them yet).

When we pull up at Larry  and Rozz’s house it looks like they are having a party. Larry’s mom was there and it was great to see her again after so many years. She looked great . Two other guests were visiting that we got to meet. We had pie and wine and great conversation. The next morning while I was showering Larry went to buy breakfast fixings. I went downstairs and into the patio to read and enjoy the outdoors.  When Larry returned he saw that the patio door was unlocked and promptly locked it!  I never new as I was happy sitting. I did catch his eye and he came out and joined me.  Unbeknownst to me Jade and Roz were putting together an amazing breakfast of crepes and pork sausage.  Jade is the crepe maker.  Breakfast was fantastic.  A tour of the house followed. They have done an amazing amount of work on the house and it is beautiful. The girls played some piano and drums as a nice background to the tour.  With plans to meet next summer we were off by noon.

Larry gave some directions that came in handy as Mavis put us back on I 35 (I didn’t mention that we decided to use interstates somewhere in Iowa).  A nice drive through Minnesota.  Decided to stop for coffee and saw signs for a country store, restaurant that sounded interesting (and the kind of place we never stop). I got off an exit early and Kelly guided me on a frontage road to the place who’s name neither of us remembers. The pies and the apple flip were tempting. I stood in a a short line behind couple to order coffee and, if I was weak, a flip. Kelly decided to order sandwiches to eat later.  Service was slow enough to allow willpower to reassert itself and we left.  The exit forced us back on the road north with a turnaround at the same exit I had used before. I had noticed a small grocery store there and we needed ice so we stopped. It was very nice. They had food you could order. I almost never get fried chicken so I ordered 3 legs. Kelly picked up a container of chicken that turned out to hold a complete chicken.  Weakness struck me as I saw good looking pizza and grabbed a slice.  We had intended to drive and find a nice place to eat but the pizza demanded immediate attention. While I ate my pizza Kelly walked to McDonalds for coffee. She returned with iced coffee for me and iced tea for her. The Curse of the Crappy Coffee from McDonalds was lifted. It was great.  We hit the road yet again and later stopped for gas.  While I was cleaning the bugs off the windshield Kelly spotted a sign for a community pool and suggested we drive there, as there might be a nice spot to eat. I thought, and said, huh.  Turns out she was right (again) as we came to a dead end on a corn field with a pool and a picnic table. I enjoyed my fried chicken and iced cold water while Kelly ate her chicken and we shared her deviled eggs she had also picked up.

It wasn’t too much further to South Dakota. More of day 7 in the next installment.

Next installment Day 7

I started getting tired in SD and Kelly was to take over driving at the next exit, which eventually came. Pulled into a McDonalds and figured we could make the switch there.  Men’s toilet and large urinal were both out.  Got Iced coffee, the McDonalds curse of the crappy coffee was back.

While I napped signs for the Corn Palace started showing up so we planned to stop there and switch drivers.  Very hot but very interesting and worthwhile.  Did a self tour but decided to stay the extra 30 minutes for the movie and tour, glad we did.  The movie and the later tour gave us interesting information and context that we did not get on our own. Back on the road, a long day. The “Negotiator” helped get us a room off an exit.  We hadn’t eaten so the Arby’s across the way (in a gas station convenience store) provided us dinner.


On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim: Day 8 — Mount Rushmore

Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Look what George is reading! Perfect book for those lazy days. Photo Credit: A.J. McClymer, aka the kid with the weird sense of humor.

All the President’s Faces…Well, Four of Them, At Least

Day 8 – July 22, 2012

On the way to Rushmore!  Today we would complete a childhood dream. But first many, many hours of driving.  Glancing at Mavis (the gps) I saw a rt that would take us off the interstate (perpendicular to the interstate, then parallel) then rejoin. A horrible thing about the gps is that it has no scale.  The perpendicular part was about 12 miles but the parallel part a lot longer.  The road was being worked on and was closed to us for about 15 minutes as a grader or something came the other way.  The nice flag man came to each car, explained what was happening and had us read a laminated card that rocks, etc could damage our car or break a window and it was just too bad for us if it did.

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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — Day 10, No Home on the Range

Our road trip across the country on the way to our daughter’s wedding has begun! We’re taking the slow roads, avoiding the interstates, stopping to walk through the little towns we pass through if they catch our eye. For the next few weeks, we will be footloose and fancy free. And then we will be parents of the bride. So, please welcome my husband, Jim, to the blog. Jim is the photographer in the family, and he will be taking pictures and giving updates on the trip from his perspective.

Wide Open Skies, Mountains and Canyons

Day 10 – July 24, 2012

The Fairfield had a good breakfast, one we could actually eat.  We asked and received a late check out (noon) so Kelly could get some work done. She didn’t make it so I shooed her out of the room and into the lobby so we could make our noon checkout, with 30 seconds to spare.

While we have been early risers we have not been early departers, many times we start traveling after 10 am and some times after noon, such as today.  As I look back I can’t figure out what we did with those mornings.

While Kelly fought the noon deadline I loaded the car and took some daytime pictures of the monoliths. I also checked the map and gps, deciding to take a detour and head further down the new road. The road quickly became dirt and entered a canyon. A sign said something about a 20 plus mile trip. We only went about 2 but the canyon was a beautiful, reddish rock wall all around us.

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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — Day 12: Las Vegas is Not for Amateurs

What Happens in Vegas Doesn’t Always Stay in Vegas

Apologies for falling behind. At the moment Kelly is driving giving me a chance to catch up. (8/16)

The previous day we ate breakfast at a nice little place found by Kelly and Yelp. We had sandwiches by the stream in Utah, and that’s it. When we entered Vegas after 10 pm we could find no place open in Excalibur so we decided to sleep and get a good breakfast.

I decided we should do a breakfast Buffet in Paris and as you all know to get to Paris you have to go through New York. So we walked to NY,NY and as soon as we entered we were approached by a friendly woman asking where we were from, she soon handed us off to someone who offered us a show, no doubt a time share sales person.  I interrupted her spiel to say we had skipped dinner and needed breakfast. She immediately pulled out a 2 for 1 breakfast coupon for Fotunata, a restaurant in NY.  She told us to come back when we were done.  We didn’t and continued on to Paris.

Paris is an amazing casino. The ceiling is light blue with clouds, good lighting and Paris neighborhood backdrops.  It was rather late and near the end of breakfast and the line was long to get into the Buffet.  If I had joined the free Paris casino club I could have saved a few bucks on the Buffet, as it was it cost a bit over $20.

Breakfast was good, not great. The eggs Benedict was passable, the crepes were extremely good. Kelly chose a dessert crepe and I chose a savory one. Fully overloaded on food we started our trek. Since we were so far from Excalibur I suggested we walk the Strip to see what we wanted to do. Little did I know that we would not get back to our room until nearly 7 pm.

We made it down to Treasure Island where I described the pirate show. We walked back through Cesar Palace shops (Never the less we spent a lot of time outside, without sunscreen. At TI Kelly decided we need to buy some, I bough a spray can for $18!!!.  A quick trip into the bathrooms and Kelly and I were covered in sunscreen)

Exhausted we made our way back to our room and were stopped by a young lady, another runner for a time share.  We were offered shows and dinner and accepted in exchange for 60 to 90 minutes. We had a tour of the Jockey Club near the Cosmopolitan Casino. Three hours later we had bough a time share. Unbelievable.

We chose the every other year, no RSI fees and a trip to Hawaii (from the East Coast) and an intermediate 3 day vacation at our home timeshare on the way to Hawaii.

After doing the paperwork I was surprised when the sales person pulled out a $20 bill and said “We want you to take a taxi to your hotel. Your pack of papers has a lot of personal information.”  The sales person walked us to the taxi and put us in.  I had remembered the walk to be shorter and was very glad not to have to walk further.

By the time we got back to our room there was not enough time to get to the shows so we decided to go to dinner at Pampas (?) for which we had a $100 credit from the Time Share. We walked to Planet Hollywood and search for Pampas, eventually finding it.  It was amazing! Pampas is a Brazilin steak house where people bring meats to your table and carve it right there. I loved the Chinese Pork, some kind of chicken and the sausage, all was good.

It was too late to get a show (boo!) so we walked and walked among the throngs trying to get to the free shows at Treasure Island, Mirage, etc. We made it to TI but could not see much. We started back disappointed and very tired. It was over 100 degrees (at 10 at night). We were both exhausted.  My shoes were wearing out and I developed blisters in my left foot.

Except for dinner we had very little fun in Vegas. We missed all he things we wanted to see, spent about $3 gambling (I did not get to a BlackJack table-Hooters had $3 tables which is about my speed).

Our timing was such that we arrived in Vegas over the weekend where rates went from 50 to 60 a night to 160. We had planned three days but were glad to leave.  We decided to spend more time in San Francisco. But first the drive to Reno along 95 ( a depressing, boring drive).

I had become a fan of Croc shoes; I had the Yukons which were the traditional Crocks but more attractive, I had two pairs of Crock dress shoes, and Crock sneakers.  I had planned to buy a new pair of dress shoes for the wedding but Croc’s stopped making them so I had to choose other shoes.  I also bought three pairs of sneakers. These sneakers are amazingly comfortable and I have had three or more pairs before. The only downside is that the sole is soft and wears out quickly.  I bought 2 new pairs with me in the trip. While I drove with my Croc’s each day O decided the sneakers were a better bet for walking in Vegas.  I wore out the ball of the foot in only a day, it got so thin that I could feel rocks through the shoe. The result were blisters that would last most of the trip.

A bit of buyer’s remorse over the Time Share and we were both glad to leave Vegas behind. (We left the camera in the room so no good pictures of Vegas) . But I couldn’t leave Vegas without doing something! First stop was the sharks at Mandalay Bay. Since it was morning it wasn’t too crowded.  Price was a bit expensive, about what you would pay to see a first rate aquarium in a big city but we enjoyed it.Next was a stop at Freemont Street. We had $100 in free slot play (from the Time Share) at a casino there. This casino offered a lot of freebies, including a free picture of you with a million bucks in cash. We had our picture taken and intended to pick up the picture after lunch but we both forgot. We did want the picture.  We didn’t leave Vegas until afternoon.

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — Vegas Lite (aka Reno)

The Road to Reno

Vegas was 9 hrs from the wedding and cheaper to fly into than Reno, so some of our upcoming wedding guests had made plans to do that. We wish we could have warned them about the drive, though. Unfortunately, we didn’t know how boring it was until we did it ourselves, too late to do anyone else any good. The drive was through uninteresting desert with few small towns that each had a gas station, a McDonalds and a Dollar General.  Occasionally we would see a brothel in the middle of nowhere. These places were little more than shacks and were pathetic looking. A friend who did the same drive suggested doing a coffee table book of Brothels of Nevada.

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On the Way to the Wedding: Jim’s Roadtrip Reports — California, Here We Are

For those of you who have been hanging on to read about the best part of the trip, good news: we’re almost to the wedding. Today’s episode sees us arrive in San Francisco, California for a visit with Daughter  (aka Kristen) and Almost Son-in-law (aka Pete) before heading to Graeagle, where the wedding will take place. Thank you for your patience as we unfold the story. I promise the wedding pictures will be spectacular.

A Home is Made of Family and Friends, But Walls and a Pool are Also Nice

We left Reno for the 5 hr drive to Kristen and Pete’s new house. The ladies were planning to go shoe shopping so Kristen went and picked up Kelly’s mom from Kelly’s sisters place where she was staying. She then joined us after work.  Kristen had done some pre-shopping that turned out to fill all needs so shopping was cancelled. We had a tour of their house, which has a nice pool and deck. The house will be filled with friends, family and much love and will make them a fine home.

We walked with Kristen and Pete to a local pizza place and had dinner before we left Kristen to deal with the 4,327 remaining wedding details.

We were uncertain where to stay in SF. Some prices were pretty high and the reasonable priced places disappeared by the time we were ready to make a decision. I found an Extended Stay America in San Rafael that was near the Ferry terminal.

Things did not start out well; the hotel was near nothing and wasn’t what Kelly wanted (a place in downtown SF).  Since Kelly booked the room (with my urging) she went in and found that they had no non-smoking rooms available. The clerk was nice and went and checked the two remaining rooms and chose the one with the least smell.  While we were unpacking the fire alarm went off and everyone had to leave the hotel. It was someone’s smoky cooking that set off the alarm and no fire so after 10 minutes or so we could go in.

We could barely detect any smoke, many non-smoking rooms we have been in had more smoke.  The room was nice and pretty big. We slept well.

It was a short, rather easy drive to the Ferry terminal but the parking lot was filled.We were directed to the paid parking at a nearby bus station ($4 a day). We just made the ferry by minutes and were soon on our way to SF. The terminal is near San Quentin and we got a good view of the prison.  The SF Ferry building is nice, we were too late at the first place we stopped for breakfast (on the water) but the place on the street was still serving. Except for being so backward that they didn’t have Splenda, which meant no coffee for me, they were very good.

We didn’t do anything in SF except walk and sightsee. We walked to Fort Mason, went to Ghirardelli Square and resisted all the treats except for the 2 pieces of free see salt chocolate they gave us as we go in, as you all know free chocolate has no calories.

I made a poor decision to eat dinner at Bubba Gumps on Pier 33 (or was it 39?). Nothing was wrong with Gumps, food was fine and people were nice, we got good views of the Bay-which is what I wanted- it just seemed too expensive for what we got. Some of that was my fault for trying the “Corona-Rita” which is a Margarita with a small bottle of Corona pouring into it.  The drink was good but over $11 (most places don’t put prices on their cocktails, more often than not they are what I expect or cheaper, seldom more).  The meals came without salads or any extras.

We made our way back to the Ferry terminal and all the great pastries called to me but there was just enough time to make the Ferry so I missed my chance for a good dessert, but I was not done yet.

The previous day Kristen and Pete and walked us through the grocery store next to the pizza place as Kelly wanted a cup of coffee. I saw some amazing looking Danish but made the poor decision not to buy one (I knew Kristen would not approve). On the Ferry ride back over I found another member of the chain and programmed Mavis to take us there. Disappointment as all pastries were gone! I took solace in two cookies which were just ok as I wanted a good Danish!

A primary reason to visit SF was to visit Kelly’s uncle who is in very poor health. It was recommended that we not stop by however so we never did get to see him. [This was very hard for me, but in no way did I want to jeopardize his recovery in any way — fortunately, I could visit him in another way: through a report on his innovative cancer treatment: . The report captures him perfectly, in all his interesting and crazy old man ways (he was a crazy young man, too…and middle-aged man…not only rode motorcycles up until his diagnosis, but taught motorcycle safety in several countries)].

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — We Arrive at the Wedding Venue

Winding Our Way to Graeagle

It was a 5 hr trip from SF to Graeagle, where we rented a house for the wedding. We could choose to travel back on I-80 (through the Donner Pass), which we had done on the way from Reno or the back route, about same time according to Mavis (and future son-in-law Pete). We took the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (no toll in our direction-saved $5!) on 580 to 80 to Sacramento. We crossed a small bridge which cost $5 (no free lunch for us). Left SAC for 99 north to Yuba City.

The plan was to stop and get lunch, gas and groceries along this stretch. I assured Kelly we would have plenty of choices. We had none, there was nothing there.

In Yuba we stopped for gas at an ARCO that did not take credit cards (they did take debit). Decided to pass and had to wait for the guy in front of me to fill up before I could leave. Paid a bit more to gas up a few miles away but missed the Carl’s Jr where we planned to have lunch.  There would be more places  I said confidently (there weren’t) so we had “lunch” about 5 pm. Took 20 to 49. 49 was a twisty winding mountain road where I made up a lot of time.  We formed a sort of convoy with two other vehicles, an SUV and a truck carrying 5 or 6 bicycles (no idea who these people were). These two cars took curves at somewhat amazing speeds. I kept up for a long time but decided we were traveling too fast (seeing a highway patrol car helped convince me, as well as what little common sense I still possessed).

Mavis directed us pretty well with one mishap; she directed us to the “Old Golden Chain Highway”. The turn went into an apparent parking lot for road maintenance with a narrow dirt road leading up into the mountains.  I opted to skip this path and just continued driving figuring (hoping) Mavis would find another route. She did and put us on the “New” road which was paved and undergoing new paving (but minimal interruptions to our travels).

We were concerned that our rental house could be a scam (blame all those scare-tactic reporters) because we had minimal contact with the owner.

Or that it could be too small, lacking, etc. (we’d rented sight unseen except for two small pictures).

We drove slowly, with our hearts going a little bit fast, looking at every house number and comparing it to the tiny picture we’d seen of the outside.

Except for Mavis saying our house was on the right when it was on the left, we arrived and were very impressed (and relieved).

It was a beautiful house, with big driveway for many cars, 2 garages and a couple of decks.  We were not disappointed when we went in. We just wished we had food, so we could have a cookout for any other wedding guests who’d gotten into town that day.

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — The Flocking of Family and Friends

Wedding: Two Days or Bust

I forgot to mention, the previous night, after a quick checking out of the house we headed for the hotel where the Rehearsal dinner was going to be held and where most of the family would stay (The Chalet View Lodge). In an amazing coincidence all of Kelly’s sisters, mom and we arrived within 20 minutes of each other, something we couldn’t have pulled off with months of planning. We confessed the no food situation, but promised there would be a big cookout gathering at our place the next day. We invited everyone to stop by and hang out on the deck.

Since we had not eaten all day and still had not found a grocery store we decided to see what we could find.  In a town about 15 miles away we found a tiny little store with mostly alcohol. A bit more searching turned up a small grocery store with friendly people.  It was too late to plan and have a cook out so we went next door to SubWay and ordered 5 or 6 subs and seemed to overwhelm them. I feel bad for the people that came in while we were being served.

We took an upstairs bedroom at the front of the house that had a small porch we could sit out on, but instead complained of the heat and managed to sleep. It gets nice and cool in the evenings but the coolness was too shy to enter until we were asleep.

The next morning we headed back to The Chalet View Lodge to find that more guests arrived, including my brother and our mother. John was nice enough to fly to Delaware, pick up mom and fly with her to Reno and drive her to the hotel.

After checking out the hotel and the house we three decided Mom would be happier at the house so Kelly and I checked into the room we had reserved for her. This made things somewhat confusing as we had already unpacked (for the first time in over two weeks) at the house and ended up with things at both places.

The agenda for today included the previously cancelled cook out. Web searching was difficult as the internet at the house was out and I had single g on my data plan (thanks Tmobile). Eventually I found another town, about 20 minutes away that was the only town with a real supermarket; turns out they have 2! B and I, armed with Kelly’s shopping list , went in search of vittles. Our goal was a SafeWay by we first came across a SavMor, a discount chain a bit like a club but no membership.  They had everything we wanted so we loaded up the car (If we had found a grocery store on the way to Graeagle there is NO WAY we could have gotten the stuff in the car-A had ridden with us from SF taking up a seat).

Beer, burgers, and dogs-check, Already checked the grill worked (and replaced propane tank), now the invite went out.

Many family and friends still traveling but we had a great turn out and I think we all had a great time hanging on the great decks. I bought so much food (and beer) that we ended up cooking out a few more times for smaller parties.

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports From Jim — Brick Oven Pizza and S’Mores at Chalet View Lodge

1 day until the WEDDING!!!

I admit it was a bit of a blur; we met family at the continental breakfast while plans for the day were made. A hike was planned but my blister kept me sidelined and I seemed to have enough to keep me busy. Those who went on the hike climbed mountains and valleys for 5 hours and had a great time. My brother confided he worried a bit about keeping up but his pride wouldn’t let Kelly’s aunt outdo him!

The groom-to-be’s family kept with the casual and friends-and-family focus for the rehearsal dinner. Since most of the guests were staying at the Chalet View Lodge, they arranged for brick oven pizzas on the outside patio.

The rehearsal itself was very casual (Twenty Mile House, where the wedding would take place, was busy with another wedding). It was all the participants circled around the bride-to-be being told not to worry too much about it, it would all work out. And then on to the fun.

The hotel had an outside area with a brick oven for gourmet pizza so pizza, along with some great sides, beer, wine and mojitos were on the menu.  No toasts or speeches tonight, just good conversation.

Kristen is blessed with many friends with professional level baking skills so one group provided amazing desserts for the dinner (with approval from the hotel).

The hotel then set up a SMore’s area around a fire pit. The sticks were a bit short, which led to some interesting attempts to toast marshmallows. Fortunately, no one had their eyebrows singed off. The winning technique seemed to be to connect the sticks with marshmallows and then quickly eat the results before they fell apart.

After all the planning, dreaming and waiting the Wedding was tomorrow!