A Quick Trip West

Sometimes my trips are so quick I feel like I haven’t even been anywhere. This weekend was one of those times.

Last Friday I left early to get to the airport … for the long flight to San Francisco. BTW San Francisco is a greater distance away than any other large U.S. city in the lower 48. Yes, even further than Los Angeles.

So after getting my car from a more complicated than usual car rental place, I headed north, through the city, pass Fisherman’s Wharf, pass the painted ladies (the ones you always see on TV) but I had no opportunity to stop for pictures – I had a long way to go and didn’t have time to look for a parking place.

But on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, I did stop at the viewing place. The place was jammed with tourists and wind whipped across the bay. I then did the long trek north to Santa Rosa – bumper to bumper the entire 50 some miles.

Saturday was the conference … good leaders, good response, good encouragement.

And then Sunday I left at 6:00 a.m. to start the long ride home. Traffic was good until the Golden Gate when all lanes (both ways) of traffic were stopped so that 100 or so old cars could go by.

Otherwise I went a different way through the city, pass many more painted ladies, but not quite the decorative ones that are by the bay and featured on Full House.

I made it home 13 hours later, came in the house and collapsed.


Overlooking the bay. Alcatraz in the middle of the picture – the city in the background.


Bridge as I’m heading north.


What was waiting for me at the place I stayed on Saturday night.


Sunset over Santa Rosa.


Bridge on Sunday morning.


Cripple Creek

Cripple Creek, Colorado is located at the base of Pike’s Peak. Back more than a 100 years ago the area was the focus of all those prospectors who went West to get rich. Now it is more a casino and tourist town than mining. (In other words, people are still attempting to get rich in Cripple Creek.)

Although the miners are long gone, their donkeys are still there. Well, not exactly their donkeys, but the descendants, of the descendants, of the descendants …

When we got there, Roger and Sally said we might not see them, sometimes they’re off in a pasture somewhere, but we went up a hill and alas … the donkeys of Cripple Creek.



New Food – Pumpkin-tomato Soup

I was a little concerned this week – I didn’t have a new food. I’ve done one each week all year, but this week got away from me.

However, I have been rescued!


The tearoom – you truly need reservations.

Today I met some ladies at Emerson Creek Pottery and Tearoom for lunch. This is a farm that you get to by driving down a long, gravelly road – surrounded by subdivisions. But when you get to the actual place, you feel as if you’re in the country in spite of the rooftops in the distance.


The wedding venue which was bustling with activity today as they were setting up for a wedding.

The complex consists of the tearoom, a huge venue for weddings and other events and a shop. On this beautiful September Saturday, they were preparing for a wedding and the barn was beautifully decorated in shabby chic.

We were seated on the “porch,” except it wasn’t really a porch – the porch was outside – we were enclosed in a small room off the porch – but not the main dining room where  I sat last time I was there.

And on the menu was pumpkin-tomato soup. Normally I wouldn’t have ordered the soup, but it was something I had never had before. Several of the other ladies ordered it too.


The soup was thick – like a puree rather than soupy soup. The color certainly looked pumpkin-like, but the taste was definitely tomato. They served big bowls … and I think just one of us finished it. The taste was ok, but I think I’d give it a 4 out of a 10. However, my turkey sandwich with cranberry-creamcheese dressing was delicious.  I don’t think the soup was bad – I think you just needed a taste for it, which I guess I didn’t have. (But I did get a new food out of it.)

Later we went over to the shop which was full of signs and candles and cookbooks and capes and … pumpkins.


The afternoon was so gorgeously pleasant, we ended with a walk to the pond.


New Food – Juustoleipä

IMG_8216Halfway between my house and “up north,” is a little town called Westfield. I think most of the town’s excitement is out by the highway, because I think this is halfway for anyone going from here to there.  The small group of buildings includes several businesses including a sit-down restaurant, a McDonalds, a Subway, a Burger King and the necessary gas station.

I usually stop there and head for the Amish store, a place filled with homemade noodles, candy, spices, jams and jellies. My purchase is usually a jar of honey for the fam.

But this last time I noticed something different – a package of something called bread cheese.

Instead of being a smooth yellow or creamy white, this cheese looked burnt. Curious, I IMG_8217asked the non-Amish clerk. She explained that unlike regular cheese, this cheese didn’t melt. She also explained that she would fry it and put it on bread and it was a favorite.

So I bought some.

Doing research, I discovered that the official name is: juustoleipä and it’s made from the milk of cows who have recently calved. Sometimes goat or reindeer milk is used too.

IMG_8218After the cheese is curdled it is baked or fried or grilled to give it char marks.

The bread part of the name is because it looks like toast.


So I brought it home and fried some (which you’re supposed to do). As promised, the cheese did not melt, but did become soft. I ate a couple pieces and then ate some more between crackers.

The cheese was mild with a smooth texture. I liked it a lot! I could understand why the non-Amish clerk at the Amish store liked it on bread.

I would give it an 8 out of 10.  I think if someone did have a complaint about it, it would be that it doesn’t have a strong flavor.

If you see some at the Amish store, I’d recommend you try it.


Victor, Colorado

Victor, Colorado is called the City of Goldmines and reached its peak population in 1900.  The town is 10,000 feet above sea level on the southwest side of Pikes Peak. The town has an authentic old-town atmosphere with a lack of stoplights, chain stores or traffic (so says their website).

We wandered through a combination antique/odd collectible store that looked as if it had been there since 1900. We then walked around town and looked at boarded-up shops with fascinating architecture.

Roger and Sally had a lunch place in mind, so we just needed a snack – which the “grocery” store had …. well, not a big choice, but a big enough choice. While we were in the store, a storm brewed outside and before we knew it, the bright, blue sky turned gray and hail began bouncing off of everywhere.


About the town …



Notice the dates on the buildings



this picture has so much – an abandoned mine shaft, the remains of antique ad and a building with no windows.



We were standing in front of the “grocery” store here, watching it pour rain … with blue skies in the distance.


Hail poppin’ on the street.

Evening on the Lake

I have always loved water – whether it’s being mesmerized watching a barge sail down the Mississippi, listening to the sound of river water bubbling over the rocks or … canoeing on the lake.

I mentioned that I wanted to take a picture of the sunset so Jeff said he’d go out on the canoe with me. I could take pictures. He could fish. (Last year I got my fishing license, but didn’t take the time to do it this year.)

No sooner had we gotten in the canoe, then the clouds rolled in. But we stayed … and sometimes clouds make for a more interesting sunset than no clouds.

Here are just a few of the pictures I took on the lake.



New Food – Crickets

I was “up north” and my daughter-in-law said, “You know they sell crickets at the candy store in town.”

Crickets? Definitely a new food.

So Liz and I headed for the candy store to buy chocolate and …. I mean crickets.

They had two different kinds: salt and vinegar or bacon and cheese.

We chose the salt and vinegar box.DSC_0041

Once home we slid the bugs onto the table and did our taste test.


Jacob was the first one to try …


He tentatively puts it in his mouth.


And swallows …

His comment was that all he could taste was crunchiness and salt.

I ate one and agreed.

Jeff then ate one and said it was like eating a salt-and-vinegar peanut shell – which was a good description.

I asked him how he would rate it from 1-10.

Jeff’s response – “In comparison to other bugs, I’d give it a 10 because I’ve never eaten a bug before, but compared to other food, I’d give it a 2.”