Blossom Trail Cafe, Sanger CA

May 21, 2014

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

During one of my visits to Fresno, CA,  I asked around for opinions of non-corporate (roadside diner) eateries with good breakfasts.  Dawn, Karen’s hairdresser who also cuts my hair when I up there and it’s gotten shaggy, gave us a list of places to check out.  This review is of the last of the three places she suggested- one was out of business, and one has been reviewed already ( Rodeo Coffee Shop, Clovis- April 15, 2014 post).

The Blossom Trail Cafe is sort of out in the country and seems to be frequented primarily by the locals.  As I grew up on a farm and Karen in a small farming community, we didn’t feel too much out of place walking in.  Granted we didn’t have bib-alls on as some of the patrons did, but we felt OK with our Levi’s and very casual shirts.  Close enough.  We got there late morning- few were in the place.  We were at the breaking point between breakfast and lunch.  But within 10 minutes it started to fill up and this reallllly nice, newer 5-series BMW pulled up outside of our table’s window, driven by a grey haired guy dressed in Levi’s and a patterned flannel shirt.  He did not appear to be a tourist, especially when he joined a bunch of local folks at a table near us.  Farming is good…. check out the license frame.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

After all of the excitement of seeing the car and it’s inflammatory plate frame (only if you’re a traffic cop, parent or auto insurance agent), our server finally appeared with a couple of menues.  Breakfast was still being served so I ordered the usual for me- eggs (omelet this time- very tired of listless slimy fried eggs), hashbrowns well done and crisped through and through, rye toast and coffee.  Karen decided to be more conventional, ordering a burger sandwich for what would be lunch.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Her burger was very good, very tasty.  My omelet was very good, the rye toast was quite good, the coffee was mediocre- tasted like vending machine stuff.  Who knows, maybe it was out of some sort of an automated brewer.  The cooking and prep area was to my back, so I never got a glimpse of that questionable machine.  And as to the highlight of the whole dining experience, the reason for being there in that particular establishment in the first place, the anticipated crowning moment of that day, the vaulted hash browns- they were very nicely browned and crisped but as to the taste, (bleep bleep bleep) horrid.  Awful, horrid, just plain naaassssty.  I’m guessing the oil used in their cooking was used to deep-fry unwashed cow butts.  Probably the worst I’ve ever tasted.  But as bad as they were, a LOT of Tabasco and ketchup covered most of the offending flavor.  End result, eating very spicy ketchup with the texture of hashbrowns.  But that’s not all that bad- I love ketchup.

And at this point you may say- “So if those potatoes were so bad, why did you eat them??”  Well, I was hungry, I’ve long since learned that sending food back is non-productive because of the amount of time that it takes to get back the corrected order (if it comes back at all), and if enough condiments will cover it up that’s good enough.  And never order it again.

 

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Posted in food review, photography, road trips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amargosa Cafe, Death Valley Junction

April 29, 2014

Karen and I undertook an impromptu road trip to Death Valley to celebrate my birthday- not mentioning which one- and we stayed at the very old and historic Amargosa Hotel and Opera House in Death Valley Junction as part of the overnight trip.  This place is literally out in the middle of nowhere.  Getting meals in this part of the country always has been a bit problematic as there is only the cafe attached to the hotel, and in the past there’s been a “disagreement” between the cafe operators and the non-profit operating the hotel/opera house as to exactly who is in charge as to operating hours.  There either just aren’t enough employable people out there to man the place for more than one shift, or there aren’t enough customers to justify hiring more.  Or both.

amargosa cafe

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens at 48 mm.

During a visit a couple of years ago the cafe was open from about 7 am until 3 pm, which was great for breakfast but bad if you wanted dinner.  Now the hours are 10 am to 6 pm, which is fine for late sleepers, and great for getting something for dinner.  We arrived in Death Valley Junction on the 28th, checked in to the hotel and unpacked, and then took to wandering around the grounds and surrounding area.  There may have been another checked-in party, but we were it as far as parked cars by the rooms.  Later in the afternoon a few more did show up- I was beginning if it was worth the bother to make reservations.

Taken With A Nikon D300, Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens at

Taken With A Nikon D300, Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens at 24 mm.

The room was complete with a beautifully executed painting of a headboard and drapery on the wall.  Many of the rooms are similarly painted with varying subjects, as well as the interior hallway through the building.  All of these were painted by Marta Becket.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The hotel, cafe and union hall (now the Opera House) were built around 1925 as a part of a small town/village to support a borax processing operation. The borax operation eventually ceased and the town fell into disrepair and abandonment until Marta Becket, a former New York dancer and singer, came through in 1967 and saw the abandoned hall.

She fell in love with the place, leased (and later purchased) the entire 280+ acre property, fixing it up as a performance hall for herself.  Her last regular formal show was in February 2012, with her retiring at the age of 88.  She later gave a small performance in the latter part of 2013.

After unloading the car we got some dinner at the cafe and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening wandering around looking (gawking if you will) at all manner of things.  This large primitive and possibly still functioning hydrant was in the weeds behind the hotel.  There are a number of them scattered throughout the area, as well as a few very old fire hydrants- some of which are still hooked up to the water system.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens at

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens at 52 mm.

The part of the compound with what used to be company housing is now fenced off to protect the site from looters and vandals.  The fence may also serve to keep the local BLM herd of wild horses out of the buildings.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide AngleZoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

Looking over the wire fence, we were able to catch a glimpse of some of the old houses.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

Wandering back to the hotel area, we found a collection of very old road construction equipment, including this primitive tractor-drawn road grader.  Karen’s wind-blown look is courtesy of some pretty strong breezes and gusts.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 42 mm.

The property includes the area across the highway (California State Highway 127) from the hotel, which has an old gas station and other industrial buildings.  This bit of guerrilla art was on some wood facing away from the roadway.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 48 mm.

Walking further from the highway we came upon a dumping area for metal junk- seems like rusty steel stuff can be found just about anywhere in the desert.  I’m wondering if all these bedsprings came out of the now-abandoned company housing- or perhaps some long-gone pleasure palace that entertained the workmen?

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

The sun was getting low enough that it was becoming difficult to see where we were walking, and rattlesnakes are a definite hazard in deserts at dusk.  But before starting back to the road I had to get this shot of the old water tanks that had served the borax processing operations.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 34 mm.

By the time we got back to the area of the hotel it was nearly dark, and the night lights were on at the Opera House.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Lens At 30 mm.

We had noticed a smallish nondescript cement block building across the street at the intersection of Highway 127 and State Line Road earlier in the day, but gave little thought to it.  One of the hotel people said something about it being constructed and owned by some world famous photographer.  The building has dark windows and no conventional doors, so we didn’t give it any more thought.  That is until nightfall, when its interior lights went on and we could see what was inside.  Turns out the photographer built it as an exhibit for some of his works.  Out in the middle of nowhere.  The little block near the roofline with the vertical lettering is the only clue as to who this person is.  Googling “lik” I discovered that it’s Peter Lik, a photographer from Australia currently in Las Vegas.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 28 mm.

Walking down the exterior covered walkway back to the rooms.  The ceiling lights in the walkway were so bright the room was lit up as though it were daytime even with the (flimsy) curtains closed.  Or so it seemed.  So, after a few minutes of trying to sleep with all that light blasting through my closed eyelids I went outside, grabbed a metal chair sitting outside the door, stood up on the chair in my boxers and loosened the bare bulb (actually a CFL) ’till it went out.  Much better.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 62 mm.

You tend to wake up early in the desert, certainly before 10 am, the opening hour for the cafe.  We briefly thought about just bailing out and heading north a number of miles to a small casino for breakfast, but after a bit of rethinking decided to wander around the area some more until opening time.  After all, this cafe is a true hole-in-the-wall place, certainly worthy of a review of their finest breakfast offering.  We had eaten dinner there the night before and it was OK.  The house specialty is their homemade pie, which is actually homemade- not just some junky canned filling dumped into a shell and baked locally.  I can’t remember what I had for the dinner- probably something like a chicken fried steak- but the fruit pie was outstanding.  The crust was sooo flakey, even more so than a handmade croissant at a French boulangerie.

We had noticed an old cemetery on the southern outskirts of town as we drove in the day before, so that’s where we headed.  This cemetery is still active.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

The wind was blowing pretty at a good clip for much of the trip, which for us just added to the experience- we had no complaints.  It made for some interesting hair-in-the-face pics.  Fortunately there was no dust.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 28 mm.

We got back to the now-open cafe by a few minutes after 10, went in and plopped ourselves down at a window seat looking out onto the highway.  The waitress (“server” in current PC times), a lively attractive German-Irish gal with very striking blue-grey eyes, came over and dropped off a couple of menus, promptly apologizing for what would be a delay in getting any food out of the kitchen.  The cook hadn’t shown up yet.  So we talked to her about her and Karen’s (Danish) respective heritages.  Turns out both the waitress and the cook live some distance from the cafe- as much as 45 minutes or so.  Just not that many places to live out there.  At 10 minutes and counting after 10 am, the waitress was fired up enough that she was heading over to the grill to light it up and try her hand at fixing something.  Fortunately for everybody involved, the cook walked in thus saving the day.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

I ordered up scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, well-done and crisped hashbrowns, rye toast, coffee.

The ‘taters came in the form of a molded oblong patty, probably from the freezer.  They actually were pretty good though.  Surprisingly.  The coffee was good, the sausage patty had a nice robust flavor and an appropriate amount of grease (nothing worse than a dry sausage patty), the rye toast was outstanding- probably the best I’ve ever had outside of a German deli.   The only thing I could knock this cafe for is the fact that they don’t have a restroom- you have to go outside and trudge over to the hotel’s lobby area.  Which, following that breakfast, we both did- we had already checked out of our room.  Live and learn.

We headed north on California State Highway 127 a couple of miles to the junction with  California State Highway 190, and headed west on 190 into the Death Valley National Park.  First stop, Zabriski Point.  And of course, Karen blinked at the moment I triggered the shutter.  Even though I checked the image on magnification at that time I didn’t notice that-

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 35 mm.

Further down the road is Furnace Creek- this was taken on an alluvial fan near the Furnace Creek Inn.

Taken With A Nikon D300 And A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 And A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

From here we went a bit further west to Badwater Road and headed south to Artist’s Drive, a loop road that goes through some spectacularly colored rock formations.

Taken With A Nikon D300 And A Nikon 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At

Taken With A Nikon D300 And A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

From there it was back to the area of Furnace Creek for lunch and then home.  All in all a good trip.

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Mad Greek Cafe, Baker

April 28, 2014

This was my birthday on Monday the 28th.  Happy Birthday To Me!  My younger daughter had planned and executed a fun wine tasting/picnic thing at a winery in Malibu on Saturday as she had to work Sunday and Monday- so on Sunday the 27th in the afternoon Karen asked me “What do you want to do tomorrow?”  “Death Valley!  Let’s go to Death Valley for a day.”  That just popped into my head.  No idea why.  So I went online and got a reservation at the Amargosa Hotel in Death Valley junction for Monday, and we packed light- a change of socks and underwear.  Why make things complicated?

Monday morning we were off, heading north on the I-15 freeway to Barstow and then east to Baker, home of the world’s tallest thermometer.  We pulled into Baker midday for a food and gas stop before heading north to Death Valley Junction.  According to many, Baker’s at best a stagnant little town.  Others will say it’s dying- and it’s appearance lends credence to the dying opinion.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

There are several contemporary fast food places in Baker, but in a place like this you want to eat at an authentic establishment, and the Mad Greek Cafe fits the bill.  This place has been here seemingly forever, and has exceptionally good grub.

It was lunch time and neither one of us felt like breakfast food, so we settled in with a burger for me and a chili dog for Karen- and milk shakes.  No hashbrown review today, but there’s a lot of odd stuff to look at around the town.

I love strawberry shakes, and that flavor is the best way to tell if a joint knows how to make a good shake.  I got the strawberry, and it was GRRREAT! as Tony The Tiger used to say.  No artificial taste, lots of pieces of strawberry.  Aaaand little paper parasols.  The burger and the dog were outstanding.

Taken With An iPhone5

 

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

After stuffing ourselves we decided to wander around the little town taking in the sights- but not before making a head call.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Baker Thermometer, which is no longer functional- but the family of the original owner of it has reacquired it with plans to rehabilitate and upgrade it.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With Nikon 24 - 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With Nikon 24 – 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

The Old Fisherman- abandoned.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With Nikon 24 - 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 40 mm.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With Nikon 24 – 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 40 mm.

The closed and abandoned Royal Hawaiian Motel.

Taken With A Nikon D300, 24 - 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 42 mm.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With Nikon 24 – 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 42 mm.

Preferred parking at Alien Jerky.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A 24 - 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 52 mm.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With A Nikon 24 – 85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 52 mm.

Karen and an alien checking each other out- the alien was an animatronic thing.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With a 24 - 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

Taken With A Nikon D300 With a Nikon 24 – 85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

After this encounter and of course buying some hot jerky, we drove out of town and north on Calif State Highway 127, next stop Death Valley Junction.

 

 

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Rodeo Coffee Shop, Clovis

April 15, 2014

I’d been in Fresno for a few days and it was time to find a place to go to for breakfast so that I’d have something to blog/complain about.  Karen’s hairdresser (Dawn) also cuts my hair (she actually uses scissors, does a great job) when I’m up there, and she’d mentioned a few places to try out as far as good breakfasts, among which is the Rodeo Coffee Shop.  So it was a natural.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

So in we went, grabbing a seat and a menu.  Just as a bit of background, Clovis (CA) is one of those little re-invented communities- when I was but a small tyke growing up on the farm Clovis was a cow town- a small red-neck town who’s claim to fame was the annual Clovis Rodeo, an event on the pro rodeo circuit.  I had a totally unruly Tennessee Walker horse that got donated as a prize for some event- more like a booby prize.  That horse was a real bitch- she bit, bucked, trashed everything, just was a monster plain and simple.

Nowadays, Clovis is the “in place” to live in the Fresno area.  Upscale housing tracts, an “old town” area complete with antique stores and wanna-be coffee shops, the works.  The Rodeo Coffee Shop fits right in.  The menu didn’t include hashbrowns per se, but instead had cottage fries.  So I ordered those potatoes well-done along with a breakfast burrito, coffee, and as an included side, biscuits and gravy- the usual.   I am trying to control my weight and keep that 32 inch waist after all.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The breakfast was quite good overall, but a bit on the large size- the potatoes were good, being well done and nicely seasoned. The biscuits and gravy were average at best for these days.  I doubt that there was any meat base of any sort  in here.  And as to the size of the portions, we really need to take obesity more seriously.

Following breakfast Karen and I walked around the old town district, taking in a couple of antique/junk stores- I was looking for vintage bottle and can (church keys) openers.  I’ve managed to garner a number of those things, but this time around the vendors just wanted too much moola.  We had to be satisfied with our adventure at the Rodeo Coffee Shop.

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Beach Street Cafe Santa Cruz

March 25, 2014

This was one of those last-minute sort of trips- Karen had been to Santa Cruz a week or so earlier with a couple of acquaintances to go to the Bargain Barn, a last resort sales outlet for Goodwill- what doesn’t sell there goes straight to the landfill.  They had stayed in some little berg about 15 miles south of Santa Cruz and hadn’t really seen or done much in Santa Cruz itself, so we decided to go there and do it up good and proper over a day or two.  I’d been there before long, long ago as a little kid- therefore remembering next to nothing other than my mom had taken my sister and I to a burger joint on the pier that had the absolutely best-ever greasy burgers in the world.

We drove from Fresno south to Coalinga in the Central Valley, then west through Priest Valley to California State Highway 101 north.  Along the highway in Priest Valley we encountered a bit of local color- I’m guessing this person was a bit miffed at passers-by/tourists taking his “stuff”.

Taken With A Nikon D300, 24 -85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 65 mm.

Taken With A Nikon D300, Nikon 24-85 mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 65 mm.

Along the way we passed through Castroville and Moss Landing, home of some really big artichoke farms.  What’s a trip without a dumb touristy pic in front of a roadside stand… those are supposed to be artichokes.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

We had seen roadside signs advertising deep-fried artichoke hearts, but it was a Monday and not much was open.  We never found those deep-fried ‘choke hearts.  So disappointed.  Maybe some other time.  We also need to go kayaking in Elkhorn Slough near Moss Landing.

Santa Cruz is a great place to spend a lot of time- lots of kitschy beach front places, scores of very old Victorian era houses, cliff-top walkways, an ecological preserve to walk through.  We had to look around quite awhile for interesting places to eat that weren’t too touristy , finally finding a promising looking diner for breakfast down a few blocks from the motel and across the street from the beach and arcade- it was a bit hard to find however even though we had the address.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

At least it was for us “older peeps”.  We had the address from Yelp, but walked by the place several times before actually seeing it.  There’s no eye-level signage, only that which can be seen from a distance- like from across the street or down the block.  That’s our excuse. Period.

Going inside we found a booth in a well-worn but fairly clean place, grabbed a couple of menus and set about looking for moderate-sized selections.  You shouldn’t have to have a doggie bag for breakfast.  The first thing I noticed was that they didn’t have hashbrowns on the menu- just potatoes of some sort, like “cottage fries” or whatever.  And by the way who came up with that name?  But anyway, I had to order something with their version of breakfast potatoes.  And I was getting tired of eggs- so I got a short stack of pancakes with bacon and a side of their version of fried potatoes.  They may have labelled this a “bacon/pancake sandwich”.  Over-indulgence at its best.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

This really was an overabundance of food for anyone, even for a serious trencherman.  But what with the beach weather (actually cold and rainy) and a lot of walking ahead of us, I figured it would all be worked off.

The pancakes and bacon were pretty good, but waaay too much- especially when combined with the side of potatoes.  But I was compelled to add the spuds so that I’d have something to write about.  And as it turned out, their potatoes are good- red potatoes spiced up a bit and nicely browned.

Karen ordered a couple of fried eggs with the potatoes- a much wiser choice as it turned out.  She is a healthy eater (all 120 pounds of her) and seems to have a little more common sense when it comes to food than I sometimes do.

Following our (my) bout with gluttony we took a walk along the beachfront down to the surfer museum, only to find it was closed.  That was a bummer, fer sure dude.  On the way back we took a detour through a recently restored ecological preserve.  This is an amazing place, apparently what’s left of an old homestead.

two trees

Taken With A Nikon D300, Nikon 24-85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens at 24 mm.

Taken With A Nikon D300, Nikon 24-85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 40 mm.

deadfall

Taken With A Nikon D300, Nikon 24-85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

dead tree

Taken With A Nikon D300, Nikon 24-85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

This Looks much better as a black and white pic.

bw tree

Taken With A Nikon D300, Nikon 24-85 Wide Angle Zoom Lens At 24 mm.

Santa Cruz definitely is one of those places worthy of a second trip.

 

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Redlands Family Restaurant

March 15, 2014

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

It was a Saturday morning in March- a balmy SoCal morning and I had this undeniable urge to go get something for breakfast so that I could blast it in a critique.  My right hand/thumb was still recuperating from an accident on the Harley in January, so this little excursion was in the Acura as the hand couldn’t take gripping a handlebar even for this short distance.  Driving the car was much more sedate, almost “elderly style”- but not quite, even though I quality chronologically as an “old fart”.

What makes this Acura TL a little more interesting is it’s advanced V6 engine, a 6-speed manual transmission, locking differential, oversize Brembo brakes, really good Michelin tires etc.- so it was an invigorating drive for the 1.5 or so miles from the house to this place.  The coolant temp almost got up to normal- mainly because I let it warm up in the driveway before zooming out.  Woo hoo.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

This place is now the Redlands Family Restaurant, a rather well-rated place on Yelp.  It used to  be Coco’s, I think.  Or something else.  Whatever- the point is this was some chain food stop in the past that bailed out of town and some local brand took it over.  So I had to try it, still searching for those Nirvana-like hashbrowns.

Sadly to say this establishment didn’t make the cut.  The sausage patties, the scrambled eggs (yes, I finally remembered to order something other than “easy-over eggs”), the toast, the coffee, the OJ were all fine.

But those potatoes- good golly Miss Molly- WTF!  Those weren’t hashbrowns under anyone’s definition- at best they were sort of fried mashed potatoes.  My mom made the best-ever potato patties- left-over mashed potatoes formed into patties and crisped up in a frying pan in Crisco,or if we were REALLY lucky, left-over bacon or other meat grease.  Those were astonishingly yummy- these were I’m not sure what.  But a lot of salt, pepper and ketchup solved all of the taste issues.  Too bad, as the rest of the plate was actually pretty good.  Skip the hashbrowns, go for one of the other choices.

 

Posted in food review, photography, road trips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breakfast House

March 10, 2014

At the time of this outing the Harley is still in the dealer’s Collision Center awaiting body and other parts to repair damage sustained from being dumped in avoiding an errant pickup truck (post dated January 19, 2014).  So this trip up to Fresno, CA was in the Acura- and just as well as the weather in California’s Central Valley this time of year isn’t exactly the warmest or the driest.  I was in Fresno both to see Karen and to go to the 60th annual Danish smörgåsbord at the Lutheran Church in Easton- a little community south of Fresno.  The Lutheran Church is across the street from the high school I attended.

I was fascinated by the idea of going to an authentic smörgåsbord, with Karen having told me of some of the items that would be served- using the Danish names of course.  I had no idea what the stuff would actually be.  That didn’t daunt me though- my parents (mostly my dad) always made a point of telling me that there was no such thing as bad food, at least from a taste standpoint.  But he liked liver and pickled pig’s knuckles.  Go figure.  He was from another century.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The smörgåsbord was on Saturday, March 8 in the late afternoon.  As I was driving up from southern California I decided to meet Karen and her family at the church rather than go to her house, then to pick up her aunt Mary east of Fresno, and then down to Easton- south of Fresno a few miles.

Walking up to the front of the social hall I was met with the sight of Danes (they really are) cooking æbleskiver, a pastry cooked in oil in a half-round cast iron mold.  As it cooks the pastry is repeatedly turned to create a ball- while the guy here is using a fork to test for doneness, the preferred and authentic way according to lore is to use a knitting needle to probe the pastry.

Going inside, we cruised through a buffet line checking out a lot of hot and cold food items.  I was quickly informed by Karen that the beans (either baked or BBQ’d) were NOT authentic Danish fare, and that there was no sound reason as to why they should be offered.  Most of the offered items actually looked familiar, so I felt a little more at ease.  I had been apprehensive about facing some notorious Scandinavian pickled fish dishes and the like, but my worries were over.  Some of Karen’s “fond” childhood memories are of having to shred the cabbage used in one of the dishes, and having to wear little cloth hats and aprons reminiscent of the old country.  She was a bit of a rebellious child.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The first run through the line netted the not-authentic beans (a safe choice just in case other items proved not so yummy), pickled shredded red cabbage (rødkål), meat balls (frikadeller), sausage (medisterpølse), sliced Danish ham (skinke), cold potato salad (kold kartoffelsalat), deviled eggs and a jello side.  All pretty good.  On the second trip through the line I snagged more of the frikadeller, medisterpølse and a cold rolled pork cut (rullepølse).  And a few more deviled eggs.  You can never have enough deviled eggs, but the wary diner will be sure to eat them slowly- like eating peanut butter out of the jar. There’s nothing like swallowing a couple of deviled eggs whole- I’ve never claimed to be a delicate eater.  Stuff can get stuck halfway down, a verrry uncomfortable feeling.  Been there done that with both the eggs and the peanut butter.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

And for dessert, two items- the æbleskiver that was cooked out in front and a type of fruit pudding with cream (rødgrød med fløde).  According to Karen the æbleskiver is normally eaten hot out the cooking mold with some syrup over it- but by the time they got these items to the buffet line they were cold.  And mine was a bit overcooked, but still not bad.  The other item, the fruit pudding and cream, in this case plum, was very good, with a firm but velvety texture.  And of course I just had to ask- why no Danish pastry?  I had been so looking forward to an authentic Danish.  And I was somewhat curtly informed that this day’s event was essentially a dinner affair (4 to 7 pm), and Danish pastries are for breakfasts only.  Dumb yank.  But I’m learning.  Sort of.

The following Monday (the 10th) Karen and I went out to breakfast.  After searching Yelp for a small, non-chain type of place with good reviews we settled on the Breakfast House in Fresno.  This turned out to be a rather curious (odd) experience all around, hence this review includes a critique of several things beyond the food itself.  Normally I’ll pick on only the food with maybe a passing shot at service or “decor”.  But this place was just too far outside my sense of “what fits well” to be left alone.

The place was easy to find, but the actual entrance to the inside wasn’t.  The place is in a small commercial center and has an outside covered atrium for a dining area surrounded by a decorative barrier of sorts.  We had to go through this outside dining area to get to the front entrance to the interior, but nothing was clearly marked- the front door wasn’t marked at all.  At first I thought it was just me what with being old and all, but Karen had the same difficulty and she’s younger than me.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

It was a very nice day and late enough in the morning that it was almost balmy, but none of the outside tables had set-ups on them.  The tables and chairs were of a style reminiscent of a 1950’s cafe but the atrium was anything but that in appearance- large ornate fountain, coarse tile floor, clay tile roofs, formal drapes on the windows, etc. etc.  Eclectic, I guess.

There were a lot of potted and planted plants, but many were dead.  There was a lot of clutter- junk- stashed along one of the sides of the outside dining area.  We were beginning to wonder if the place was out of business, but then then looking in a window we saw the outline of a customer seated inside.  After finally finding the unmarked entrance we went inside and waited for a greeter.  Stood and waited.  And waited and stood.  There were employees wandering around in the back, but no one glanced towards the front for what seemed forever.  There was no little bell to ring.  About the time I decided to show Karen what a man I was by going to the back to retrieve someone, someone came out (finally!) and seated us- inside.  The outside was “closed”.  My demonstration of manhood would have to wait ’till another time.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The interior was furnished in just as an “eclectic” manner as the outside.  The dining area is a bit formal with drapes, styling and colors, nice carpeting- but the chairs and tile-topped tables would be a better fit for the outside.

The greeter took our orders for water and coffee.  The water came immediately, but no coffee.  It was heading downhill fast.  If Karen doesn’t have her morning coffee she can get  “irritable”.  Or she can fall asleep and simply do a face-plant in her plate.  Neither are pretty.  I’ve seen both.  Maybe another opportunity to show off my maleness was coming up- I could holler out “Garçon! Coffee!”.  But I didn’t.  Probably just as well.

After awhile the server came over to take our food order, and seeing only the water glasses on the table asked us “water only?”.  I said “coffee for both also”.  I probably didn’t come across so much as the “in-charge guy” as I would have liked to have, but after the server left with our orders the greeter came over with coffee.  Then the server came back with coffee.  This was beginning to look like a Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy routine from way back.

Mercifully the food finally showed up.  The plates, saucers and cups were a hodge-podge of differing styles, looking like they had been picked up at a bargain mart.  I’m sure the owners were trying for a cute “eclectic roadside diner look”.  Unfortunately the look they achieved didn’t match the rather stiff interior decor.  Aaand, Karen’s knife had a questionable stain/smear on it.  Maybe they were aiming for the “greasy spoon” look?

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

This time around I remembered to order the eggs scrambled rather than some variety of nondescript tasteless fried- these eggs came out pretty good.  The sausage patty was very good, the coffee was passable, the raisin toast was good, and while the hash browns were well done and had a good enough flavor they had a lot of oil or grease on them.  Too much.

All in all, if all you care about is the food, this place is good enough.  But if clashing interior designs/decor/furnishings/settings and discombobulated service bothers you, you should reconsider.

 

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The Baby’s Back

April 3, 2014

Following a couple of months at the Harley doctor, the Sporty is finally back after about $3,000 is misc. repairs following a mishap with a pickup truck that pulled in front of me at an intersection HD homecoming reduced( see post dated January 19, 2014).  Not having the Harley to cruise about on I’ve been pretty lax in searching out new diners to rant about, but I have managed to hit a couple in the last few weeks.

I’ll get around to posting those soon hopefully, although they will be out of date order.  Life is ruff sometimes- such as the broken thumb still being painful enough that riding the bike is still out of the question for awhile, perhaps months.  Grip strength is non-existant, so operating the right-hand controls (front brake, throttle) is dicey at best.  Even though the bone is healed, there is a lot of pain somewhere in the vicinity of the joint- tendons, muscles, who knows.  Soft tissue doesn’t show up on xrays.

And the best part?  The other driver’s insurance company is denying all financial liability because their client didn’t actually make physical contact with me or the bike.  Their client’s actions only caused me to take extreme evasive manuevers resulting in me dumping the bike.  So, I’m thus far responsible for my collision deductable, medical insurance co-pays, helmet replacement cost overages above my insurance coverage, etc.  Isn’t life grand…  but on the plus side my insurance company is going after the other company, with an arbitration hearing set for early May.  We’ll see how that goes.

And hopefully I’ll get back into the never-ending search for those illusive perfect hashbrowns.

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Tailspin Tommy’s Aerodrome Eatery

January 29, 2014

As of late I’ve been spending some time in Fresno, CA- a few days here, a week there- been doing this since last October.  I grew up just outside of Fresno on an 80 acre farm, and somewhere around my 3rd year in high school we moved to the little rural community of Easton located a few miles south of Fresno.  Over the years I’ve come back to Fresno to go to reunions, weddings, funerals- but seldom to just visit.  I’ve never really considered moving back as I’ve become so enamored of southern California (lived in SoCal since 1967), and the  air in the Central Valley in which Fresno is located is rated as the dirtiest there is, in terms of dust and other particulates.

Then towards the end of October 2013 I went to my high school’s combined-years triennial reunion, and re-connected with Karen, a nice Danish girl from my very distant past (see post dated November 8, 2013, photo captioned “missed opportunity”).  Easton was founded in the late 1800’s as a Danish colony, and Karen’s ancestors were among the founding members of the colony.  We’ve since become very close (wouldn’t have happened in the old days what with me being French/German and the Danes not going outside of their own), and my trips up to Fresno more frequent.  I’ve also found that with advancing years the need to visit old stomping grounds seems more pronounced.  There’s something about the comfort levels with the people and places that we grew up around.

During these trips amongst other things we’ve explored and photographed the historical parts of old Fresno and re-connected with more of our old (both age-wise and time-wise) friends- one such connective activity is a late breakfast on the last Wednesday of each month at Tailspin Tommy’s Aerodrome Eatery, a diner at the old Chandler airfield in Fresno.

Photo credit- Karen Klemple

Photo credit- Karen Klemple

So, on the 29th Karen and I met up with several other old people at 10 AM, the opening time of the diner.  I’ve not been a part of this particular group before, so it seemed like a good opportunity to both see some people as well as check out the eatery’s fare.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

It’s a quaint little place dating back to who knows when- very clean and well-lit inside, good service, well-maintained.  They didn’t have hashbrowns on the menu, a bit of a surprise.  Just cottage fries.  Seems like everyone has hash browns, although the victim of the just-past post of January 19 didn’t have them either.

As Dirty Harry so famously said, “Every man’s got to know his limitations”.  Wise words.  Maybe these places have figured out theirs.  Ordering up my usual of a couple of easy-over eggs, sausage in one form or another, toast and well-browned/crisp ‘taters, I anxiously awaited.

Would I yet again be disappointed and relegated to crabbing about half-raw and tasteless potatoes, or would I find Nirvana?  Life in general and waiting for breakfast orders to come would be more bearable if they served gin and tonic- one ice cube, a splash of fresh Mexican lime, Hendricks gin, real quinine tonic water.  Not some crap out  of the nozzle.  But they don’t, so I had to wait it out with coffee. But the coffee wasn’t bad.  And I had remembered, finally, to order the toast “dry”.

The order finally arrived in all its glory- the sausage links were well seasoned, the cottage fries were well-done and crisp, nicely seasoned.  I was beside myself with joy, even without the benefit of a Hendricks G&T.  And the eggs?  Meh.  Same-o same-o.  WhatEVER.  Fine.  Eye-roll, head flip, shrug.  Think I’ll start ordering scrambled for a change.  Cynicism aside, it’s a good place to eat if you can wait until their 10 AM opening time.  And all of us old folks had a nice chatty time gossiping about those who weren’t there.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

After leaving the diner Karen and I went to an honest-to-goodness junk store in the old Nabisco building- this place is amazing.

Crap- excuse me- merchandise- is piled everywhere inside and out, in no discernible order.  You honestly take your life and limbs to risk when you climb around in here.  Outside we saw this extraordinarily gawd-awful tacky (re: eclectic) mirror thingy leaning against debris in a puddle of rainwater.  Couldn’t resist the pic.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Moving through the isles inside we for the most part saw nothing of particular interest, but every so often an item would stand out.  Like this- it was the size of and looked like a cat that had been stuffed to look like a tigress with her kitten.  A lady bought it while we were looking at it… she had all sorts of weird stuff in her tote.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Or, how about an opened screw-top bottle of CRS (cheap red shit) wine… a good buy at $3.00.  It may even be good for fueling your lawn mower.  If not that, it may cure jock itch.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Something that seems to be omnipresent at swap meets and junk places is taxidermy.  This place is no exception- but this goose has seen better days.  It’s condition is that of an Adams Family or Munster’s prop.  Musty, dusty, mite-ridden, disturbing.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

This place seemed to have an unusual number of old dolls piled in boxes- all without clothes, most with rather upsetting countenances.  Very disturbing, so disturbing- the thought came to mind that this would be one seriously spooky place to spend the night, particularly if money or coupons for Dairy Queen were involved for those successfully staying through.  We both decided against asking the proprietor about that.  You know the old saying- “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

So odd.  Just f…’n weird kind of odd.  Chucky was probably lurking nearby.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

And as for this little gem- clearly it’s hand-made, and a really poor job at that.  It’s lost its head over something- it sort of looks like a large version of a voodoo totem… For sure now not spending a night here.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

On that note we got out of there, fearing that any longer exposure would give us nightmares.  We had better things to do to occupy our time in the upcoming evening than wait for the things that go bump in the night to come for a visit.  Seriously.

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McDuff’s and The Salton Sea

January 19, 2014

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Let me preface this installment of crabbing about fried potatoes by saying that most of the typing this time round and for the next six weeks is by a modified hunt’n peck- conventional on left hand, hunt’n peck on the right.  I just want to make sure that you appreciate the extraordinary effort (whine, snivel, whimper) that I’m putting in here to further the cause as far as finding the perfect hashbrowns goes.  And also I’m blaming any difficulties in writing, typing, whatever, on 800 mg Tylenol taken with rum’n cokes.  As to how I came to this condition, that will come out later.

I hadn’t been on a ride for some time and since this day was an unseasonably warm one, it seemed just the thing to do.  I made this momentous decision around 7 AM, which is late in the day to get moving for a ride.  First decision- where to go to eat.  Most of the hole-in-the-wall breakfast destinations that I prefer are out on the road, and I’ve been to most of them within a reasonable distance.  So I clicked on the Yelp ap on the iPhone, did a search for breakfast in “local area”, coming up with two promising places- Carolyn’s and McDuff’s, both small hole-in-the-wall and well rated places.

I hurried (at least by my definition)  through the shower-brush teeth-dress out routine, checked maps to decide where to go after breakfast (decided on the Salton Sea), checked the weather along the route (cool to cold), loaded a camera, water bottle and map into the saddle bags.  I rolled the iron horse out onto the driveway, opened the fuel valve on the tank, pulled out  the enrichener (modern constant-venturi carbs don’t use chokes anymore), turned on the key, turned on the “run” switch, hit the starter switch.  Nothing.  Tried again.  Nothing.  Yet, the headlight was on.  And I’m positive that I charged the battery a week or two ago.  But in my defense, my daughter says I always say “week or two ago” or “two or three years ago” regardless of what the actual time lapse is.  Maybe I do.  So what- it’s a convenient time frame, easy to remember.

But this battery thing occurrence isn’t unheard of in the winter, even in our mild SoCal “winters”.  And forgetfulness isn’t something new to me, at least as far as I can remember.  So I hooked up the charger for a few minutes, switched the charger to “start mode”, hit the bike’s starter, and my wonderful American-Japanese mix of Harley, Keihn, and who-knows-what electronics roared to life again.  The sound of 1200 cc’s of unbridled, lightly muffled,  brute horsepower blasting through the neighborhood at 9:30 AM on a Sunday morning.  Makes your fruit drop, so goes the saying.  And what about the neighbors you say?  Well.  They should either be at church or at least already up and about before now.  And my start-up routine only takes a minute or so- just call me the snooze alarm.

So off I roared into the cool clear morning, full of hope and anticipation of a good breakfast and a great ride.  I found Carolyn’s after going by it twice- it ‘s buried in a small somewhat obscured strip development by the local DMV office- not the best location.  But, as it turned out that old real estate agent adage of “location location location” didn’t mean diddley squat.  There was a line wrapped around the front of the place and into the parking lot.  I hate lines.  This isn’t Disneyland.  So off I went in search of Door Number 2, McDuff’s.

McDuff’s is located in downtown Redlands in a small complex containing a barbershop and a couple of other small establishments.  The sign for the place on the main street is actually to the back door.  A bit confusing.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The rather plain main entrance to the place is actually on a side street.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Walking inside I found the place to be crowded, both in terms of a lot of people and in the layout  of the place.  It’s too small a space with too many tables- the counter space is odd in that the counter is table height, the chairs at the counter are the same as those at the tables.  I’m far from being a designer, but this furthers the appearance of over-crowding.  So anyway, the greeter tells me that it’ll be a 15 minute wait if I want a table, which I did as the counter was waaaay too crowded.  I don’t like to eat elbow-to-elbow with people I know, much less with total strangers.  At this point I didn’t feel like searching any more for a food place, so wait I did- for 5 minutes.  Surprising.  It was 10 AM now, and people were leaving.  I got a table for four all by myself.

I looked over the menu- no hashbrowns, just cottage fries.  What!? That’s un-American.  Everybody has hashbrowns.  OK, strike one.  Actually, make that strike two ‘cuz it’s way too crowded.  I ordered two eggs easy over, sausage patty, the cottage fries well done, wheat toast, coffee and water.  The coffee and water came immediately- the coffee was reminiscent of scorched bean water.  Really bad-  McDuff’s was now on the brink of strike three.  Chef Ramsey and Anthony Bourdain would be bleeped out  by now multiple times.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The completed order came within a reasonable time, considering the place was still on the crowded side.  And yet again, I forgot to order the toast dry, so it was too soggy with butter- but that’s my fault.

The sausage patty  was very tasty, and the highly irregular edges suggest it was hand-made on site.  Pretty impressive- eliminate one of the strikes.  As to the eggs- eggs is eggs these days.  Slippery, fried in who knows what- butter maybe.  But no flavor, so on went a generous amount of their salsa.  And salt.  And pepper.  The salsa had a nice flavor but no body- no bite- just well seasoned tomatoes, basically.  Should have dumped some Tabasco on.  Still holding at one strike and seriously considering reinstating the 2nd strike.

And finally, last but not least, the highlight of the whole dining exploration- the potatoes. When I saw them listed on the menu as cottage fries, I was expecting those half-cooked, soggy, limp and rather tasteless potato spears most places try to pass off as being edible.  But when the plate arrived,  it had a generous portion of coarsely chopped up potato such as you’d find in a home kitchen.  They were well seasoned, flavorful and most importantly, well browned through and through.  What a pleasant surprise!  Between the potatoes and the great service from the server, all strikes were eliminated.  But their coffee still blows big time.  You should really pass on that.

I rather unceremoniously hoovered up everything, paid the check and got out of Dodge.  It was pushing 11 AM already, and the area of Sea that I was headed to is almost two hours away.  I headed east on the I-10 freeway, transitioned to the southbound 86S freeway in Indio, and stopped at the intersection of 86S and State Route 195 (Ave. 66) for gas.  Pulling into the gas station/food outlets complex I was met by an Imperial County Sheriff’s car coming out- not unusual here.  Actually that’s happened virtually every time I’ve come through.  There’s a lot of big-rig traffic through the area and a lot of farm laborers with some money in their jeans- both seem to attract crime.  As I pulled into a pump isle I saw the object of the deputy’s interest this time around- a group of over a dozen Vago’s MC riders out on a Sunday run.

I quickly gassed up and booked it out of there, continuing south on 86S, destination Bombay Beach.  Bombay Beach is one of the last still-inhabited remnants of the 1950’s era Salton Sea developments.  There’s a store (recently repainted, at least on the outside), fire station, American Legion Hall, a huge cell tower, both abandoned/burned out shells of dwellings and some really cute well-maintained “beach” houses.  You’ll see RV’s not-so-graciously settling into the mud as well as some relatively new upper-end RV’s parked in a few driveways.

This gem is a recent addition to the “burned-out” category.  Nearly every time I go out there another one is added.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

After making a quick loop through Bombay Beach I motored further south to Niland, a very small village populated largely by agricultural workers.  Nearby are two attractions- Salvation Mountain and Slab City.  Salvation Mountain is an edifice constructed over years and years by a fellow named Leonard Knight as a monument to God.   It’s made up of adobe clay and straw bales reinforced by old trees and lumber, painted over with thousands of gallons of paint- all “found” materials.  Quite a sight.  Slab City is a remnant of an old Navy Weapons Station currently occupied by squatters of all sorts- low-income pensioners, snow birds, people with few social skills, those choosing to live “off the grid” for whatever reason.

Enroute from Bombay Beach to Niland I saw this sight – the remains of a small house(?) with what looks like an old military aircraft drop-tank stuck up in the remains of a water tank frame.  Or perhaps it’s a thinly disguised alien landing site.  It’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

This really is in the middle of nowhere.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

There’s not much in Niland- at the intersection of State Highway 111 and Main Street (yup, they have a Main Street) there’s a “food center”, a market, some sort of a historical building at the intersection- across the highway there’s some sort of a county social services building.  There used to be a gas station, but it burned to the ground a few years ago.  Turning east onto Main street I eventually came to this grand old building at Main Street and Niland Avenue- I have no idea as to what it was in it’s heyday.  It’s about the only thing of any visual significance remaining.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Salvation Mountain.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

If it sits still very long it gets painted.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The entrance to Slab City- an old concrete guard post constructed out of concrete,     complete with a gun port.  This guarded the Navy facility.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

A permanent resident.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

The “high rent district”- snow birds, somewhat removed from the more permanent residents.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

By the time I got this last pic it was getting on in the day and I was still looking at an hour and a half ride back to civilization.  It wasn’t as warm as had been forecast for the day and a breeze was beginning to stir- so I headed back, stopping for gas again at Routes 195 and 86S.  The group of Vago’s were there again, gassing up.  Apparently they were on the same tour schedule as me.

The ride back to Redlands was uneventful- in a word, boring.  At least there was no significant wind on I-10 through the Palm Springs and Cabezon areas, both notorious for sometimes severe cross-winds.  Pulling into Redlands, I decided to fill the tank before going home- saves time if I later decide to go on an impromptu ride.  After leaving the gas station I headed west on Brookside Ave, chugging along at the low speed limit, in no hurry.  Good thing, because a guy in a Chevy S-10 pickup sitting at a cross street stop sign didn’t see me coming and pulled into the intersection when I was about 50 feet or so away.  I was about a mile from the house- within the zone so oft-times quoted by insurance actuaries.

I hit the brakes, the front wheel locked up and slipped out from under me, dropping the bike on its left side.  The bike slid, I came off of the bike and rolled over two or three times,  then slid- both the bike and I came to a stop right in front of the guy.  Fortunately for all involved, especially me, he saw me at the last moment and stopped.  The bike got banged up a bit (around $2,900 worth according to the insurance adjuster), I escaped with only some really bad bruises and and a broken thumb (Bennett’s Fracture).  This pic is an hour after the crash- the next day it was totally swollen and much more colorful- it was put into a cast/splint.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

When the insurance adjuster came over to view and photograph the bike I noticed a scrape/ding on the left mirror- the location on the mirror seems to indicate the bike may have been in the process of flipping over towards me.  But it didn’t complete the flip.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

What saved my bacon from more serious damage appears to be a mixture of a full set of proper heavy-duty leathers, boots, gloves and full-face helmet combined with a good dose of providence.

Taken With An iPhone5

Taken With An iPhone5

Even with the good protective gear, other crash-surviving riders and the examining doctor have said that more should have been broken- an arm, leg, ankle, wrist, shoulder, whatever.  Plus on the second and third days after I should have been in a lot of pain and discomfort from strained muscles.  I wasn’t- just a touch of soreness in a shoulder and a sore knee.  And it’s amazing- not the usual case- that  the other driver saw me at the last instant and stopped.  That’s the providence part- no major parts broken, no lingering major aches and pains, the other guy stopping before smacking me, the bike not flipping over and on top of me.  Talk about a wake-up call…

Posted in food review, photography, road trips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment