Being a tourist in Denver – Day #4 of our trip to California

LOCATION:  Arvada, Colorado – a cool suburb of Denver
WEATHER:  Unbelievably nice.  Sunny.  High 70

This is our second day here in the Denver area, on our way to California. 

We walked about 5 minutes and got on the light rail to downtown Denver.  I imagine it is busy with working commuters during the week, but today (Saturday), it was empty.

After a 20-minute ride, we arrived at Union Station in downtown Denver.  We took the free 16th Avenue bus that goes up and down the mall.  It is full of restaurants, shops, and bars.  We saw a LOT of “interesting” people! 

Our first stop was the historic Brown Palace Hotel, an icon of the city, opened in 1892.    It was interesting to walk around the interior reading about famous people who have stayed there.  They were setting up for “tea” in the main lobby while we were there.

Then, on to lunch.  We found a very authentic British pub where we had some beers and wings.

With full tummies, we tackled the Denver Art Museum.  It is massive.  The exterior looks like a medieval fortress.

The museum has beautiful views of downtown Denver with windows placed strategically around the museum.

After several hours viewing art on 7 floors, we went back outside where the weather was just glorious.  The trees were shedding a lot of leaves.  We walked to the Capitol Building. Denver is known as the “Mile-High City”.  This dot on the Capitol steps marks exactly 5280 feet above sea level.

We encountered this young group of Latinos in front of the Capitol. Perhaps they were going to a fiesta or to entertain somewhere.  Beautiful bunch of teens!

We caught the bus back to Union Station, which is a beautiful building with a European feel.

Then, light rail back to Arvada.  A really nice day!  But being a tourist is tiring!!! 

DINNER:  We walked to an Indian/Nepalese restaurant called Yak and Yeti.  We shared an order of vindaloo. Just the right spices and heat level. 

I think Arvada is a town where I could live happily… the spring/summer/fall. If I lived here, I would not have a car. Public transportation is great and the town of Arvada is very walkable. Who knows? I am always looking for the “perfect” town/city….

Discovering one of my new, favorite towns – Day #3 of our California trip

LOCATION:  Arvada, Colorado – a suburb of Denver
WEATHER:  Amazing!  Sunny.  High 74

We left Kearney, Nebraska and headed west, and west, and west.  Nebraska is full of prairie and cornfields.  Not much else.  Thankfully, the wind had died down overnight and it was a much easier drive.  We saw a semi-truck blown over by the wind.

There are a lot of trucks barreling down the road.  I blame Americans’ new habit of buying everything online.  We saw a lot of FedEx, Amazon, and UPS trucks, many of them tandem (pulling two containers). 

Then, we entered eastern Colorado.  It looks like the sets of cowboy movies. 

The landscape is pretty barren, other than a lot of cows.  We also saw huge feed lots with thousands of cows fattening up.  Finally, we saw several trucks full of cows, on their way to their deathbed.

The drive was mostly uneventful, but there was one scary moment…..I was passing a very large motorhome that was pulling a car.  Suddenly, he veered over to my lane.  I was able to miss him.  George did a lot of cursing…..

I had chosen Arvada as we plan to spend 2 nights here.  I read that Arvada has a cute downtown and is also on the light rail line to downtown Denver.  The hotel I spotted online was Hilton Garden Inn.  It looked perfect, but was a little spendy.  So, George found a nearby cheaper hotel.  Big mistake.  We pulled in the lot and were immediately approached by a drug addict.  It is right on the highway and the truck noise was bad.  There was a lot of garbage in the parking lot.  George went in to register at about 2:30 and they said we could not check in until 3:00.  Bad vibes.  He said the lobby stank. And….it was not near to Arvada at all!  So, we went to the very nice Hilton Garden Inn.  After a long telephone call with, we were able to cancel the cheaper one without a penalty.

The Hilton Garden is located perfectly.  I would highly recommend this hotel for its location.  Arvada seems to be an up-and-coming suburb.  We are amid many high-end, new condos.  Very quiet.  This is the view of the historic water tower in Old Town, Arvada from our hotel room. 

After getting settled, we strolled over to Old Town.  Most of it is pedestrian only.  Very, very cool.  Lots of neat shops, restaurants, and bars.

Where was our first stop?  To a brewery, of course!  Inside the brewery is an Airstream food truck.

They were having Trick-or-Treat night.  Children in their costumes were collecting candy while their parents sipped on drinks from one of the bars.  Cute idea.  It became quite busy as the evening wore on. 

We found a seafood restaurant for dinner in Old Town, just a few blocks from our hotel. We arrived at 5:59 and were able to get happy hour prices that ended at 6:00. (Our tummies are still on Central Time). We had some sushi and sashimi small plates. Very good.

There sure is a lot of corn in the Midwest! Day #2 on California trip

LOCATION:  Kearney, Nebraska – in very central part of state
WEATHER:  45-50 in AM.  Up to 60 in PM.  High winds in PM

We are on Day #2 of our drive from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Santa Barbara, California.  We drove extra far today as we are hoping to get to Denver soon, before some cold and snowy weather arrives. 

We got a pretty good start in Rochester, MN and soon passed over to Iowa.  The corn in Minnesota and Iowa has mostly been harvested.  We drove by a LOT of fields.  There were spots of beautiful fall colors.  And rain.

Lunch was last night’s  leftover pizza….not too exciting.

By afternoon, we were in Nebraska.  It is 450 miles from east to west, and we will be driving them all!  😦     Nebraska is pretty boring.  Here, the corn has not yet been harvested, and again, there are a lot of fields.  We experienced really high winds the last 100 miles of today’s drive, buffeting the car around the road. 

We will be on Interstates almost the entire trip.  Especially in the mountains, there is no alternative.  Surprisingly, the traffic wasn’t too bad and the roads were in good condition.  Here is our route so far:

We learned that Kearney is the “Sand Crane Capital of the World”.  However, we are only seeing motels, restaurants, and gas stations. 

Our motel is right next to a Red Lobster restaurant.  We haven’t been to one of these for years, but found a gift card as we were packing for this trip.  It had $25 on it!  So, we walked there for dinner.  We shared the Baja Shrimp Bowl.  We also ordered a crab cake appetizer.  We will have the crab cakes and the complimentary biscuits for a picnic lunch tomorrow.  The service and food were quite good!

BOOK:  “The Cruelest Month” by Louise Penny.  This is a part of a series by an author I really like.  The characters and location (a fictitious town in the Eastern Townships of Quebec) are really well-developed.  5 stars out of 5

Let’s go to California! – Day #1 of trip

LOCATION: Rochester, Minnesota

WEATHER: Mild for Minnesota – 55

When I learned that my brother was going to ship his car from Minnesota to California, I offered to do it for him. Why not? An opportunity for a road trip and to spend a few days in California’s wine country.

So, today we flew from Harlingen/South Padre Island to Minneapolis. A nice direct flight on Sun Country for only $150 each! Our kind neighbors drove us to the airport and we were in Minneapolis by late afternoon.

I met up with my brother at the airport, got oriented to his car, and took off for Rochester, where we lived for many years.

We met up with our daughter Alexis who lives here. She was able to get a night off from work, so we met up with her at Forager’s Brewery. While we ordered pizzas to go, we had some of their good beer.

Then we went to our friend Pat’s house where we spent the night. We enjoyed pizza and great conversation. Good times!

Tomorrow we continue the journey. If the weather looks good (no snow), we will go via Denver. If not, we will head south toward New Mexico and then north.

Mexican culture in south Texas

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Hot and muggy.  High 97

After morning aerobics and some house-cleaning, we were off to the town of Mission to run some errands.  First, we dropped by the pet rescue center and donated some pillows and bedding (spring cleaning of our trailer Joy).  Then, we found an authentic-looking Mexican restaurant.  The parking lot was full of pick-ups – a good sign.

This is the kind of place we love – nothing fancy, no English spoken, delicious/plentiful/cheap Mexican food.

I ordered a taco filled with scrambled eggs, minced vegetables, and diced unidentifiable meat. 

George had their Mexican platter – a combo of enchiladas, a taco, refried beans, rice, and a gordita.  All muy bueno!

The TV was blaring a Mexican TV show.  Most of the customers were workmen.  No one, including the waitress, spoke English.  I think the waitress was new, as she kept running back to our table with questions….Did George want beef or chicken on his taco?  Did I want a flour or corn tortilla?  Then, she checked on us periodically and acted pleased that we liked everything.

Then, a guitarrist/vocalist came in and gave the customers a serenade.  Even though this is definitely not a tourist restaurant, the customers all tipped him a few dollars, and paid little attention to him.

Our bill was a whopping $10!

Back home, we prepared for another happy hour here at the house with another set of friends.  I made my “world-famous” margaritas and served chips with salsa. 

DINNER:  The last of the chicken sausage, paired with Stove-top stuffing and salads. 

Life in Retama Village

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Still hot.  Seems unusually hot for late October  – 94

We are getting back in the swing of things in our community – chair yoga and water aerobics classes for me;  biking around for George.  This is a 55+ community with about 200 houses.  About 75% of the people are “Winter Texans” – living here in the winter and traveling in the summer.  There are a variety of styles.  Ours is called a tiny house.  It is 12′ by 40′.  It has a pedestal for RV hookups – water, electricity and sewer.  Our house has a bedroom, bathroom, space for laundry, kitchen and dining/living room.  We live in it while we are here, and use the Airstream as our guest house. Our HOA fees pay for lawncare, so when we leave for our road trips, we just lock the door, and we are off!

There are other kinds of houses – some smaller coach houses that have the RV pedestals.  The residents normally live in their RVs (mostly large motor homes) and use their coach house as an extra room – mancave, sewing room, TV room, or guest room.  There are “regular” houses, too.  These are popular for people who started out with RVs, then decided to just live here without an RV.  Another style is called casitas which are a bit larger than our house, but also have the RV hook-ups.  Finally, there are port homes – about 800 square foot living space with a HUGE port that houses the gigantic motor homes.  I like the fact that we have a nice varieity.

We have a nice clubhouse with a Hispanic theme….

Inside, there is a beautiful library, meeting room, kitchen, card rooms, and pool table. 

The pool area is nice and we have a lot of get-togethers on the patio.  This is where I do my water aerobics classes faithfully

For more info, check out the website –

We like to get together with friends for happy hour.  Some neighbors came over this afternoon and I served Dragon’s Breath Blue Cheese, a really tasty cheese from “That Dutchman” cheese shop in Nova Scotia.  It comes in a hard waxed shell…

DINNER:  Flat bread pizzas.  First I toasted 2 naans.  Then, I topped them with leftovers – chicken sausage slices, blue cheese, toasted bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and sauteed onions.  I like to make these fairly frequently, as I can easily change up the toppings. 

NEW blog address

Hopefully readers who follow this blog were automatically directed to this new address.

If you know someone who types in the address, please notify them the address is now

So sorry for this. I had hope to write this new address on the former url, but WordPress “cut me off” before I had a chance to do this.

Thanks for being a faithful blog follower.

George and Karmen Reid – who are traveling with Joy (our Airstream) and traveling with joy (in our hearts)!

6 Weeks in Nova Scotia – a Reference Guide

We just wrapped up a superb 6 weeks in Nova Scotia, part of a 7-month spring/summer/fall road trip.  We had whizzed through the province a few years ago, but this time we spent some quality time there, visiting many different parts of the province.

This post is meant to be a reference for anyone planning a visit there.  We have Nova Scotian friends who planned most of the trip, so their “expert” recommendations made the visit even better.

We started with a visit to our friends who live in Aylesford, in the middle of the Annapolis Valley.  We “camped” in their driveway, but if you have an RV, there are several parks in that area.  The area is full of wineries, breweries, farm markets, and apple orchards.

One fun thing we did was to pick up the “Good Cheer Trail” passport and we got the passport stamped at various wineries and breweries around the province.  It takes you to some interesting places!  We managed to get 28 stamps out of the 94 places in the passport.

Then we visited other friends near Lunenburg, a quaint (touristy) town.  Again, we didn’t have our RV, but there are several parks in that beautiful area.  In addition to Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove as well as a drive down the South Shore towards Yarmouth are great trips. 

Halifax deserves at least a 2-day visit.  We were without our RV and stayed in a lovely inn near Dalhousie University (walkable to downtown).  If you are with an RV, there are RV parks in Dartmouth, across the river, and you can take the ferry into Halifax.   We spent two days walking around the city, hiking in its many parks, strolling along the waterfront, and poking in to old cemeteries.  A highlight was a drink at the upscale Bicycle Thief Bistro – highly recommend. 

Then we were off for 5 weeks traveling with our friends.  We have an Airstream; they have an R-Pod.  (The two get along fine)……:-)  We stayed at each campground 4-6 nights, making day trips from each. 

Campground #1 – a small, private RV park on Spencer’s Island called Old Shipyard Campground.

We were RIGHT on the water – Bay of Fundy – with its dramatic tide changes of up to 50 feet every 12 hours or so.  The nearest town is Advocate Harbor.  While there, we did some hiking in the nearby Cape Chignecto Provincial Park and around the Cape d’ Or.    We made a day trip to Joggins, which is world-famous for its fossils.  A high point was to have dinner at one of Nova Scotia’s finest restaurants – Wild Caraway – in Advocate Harbor.  A real treat!

Campground #2 – Caribou Munroes Island Provincial Park on the Northumberland Coast.
  The closest town is Pictou, home of the first Scottish settlement in Nova Scotia (New Scotland).  We did a lot of hikes in the park and along the beach.  We did a day trip on backroads to Antigonish (a cute college town with a nice brewery).  On our way, we stopped at Steinhart Distillery which has food trucks and music in the summer months.  Highly recommend.  We had drinks at the Pictou Lodge and Resort, next to the campground  Opened in 1920.  It has hosted sports figures, like Babe Ruth, movie stars and famous US politicians.  Quite upscale. 

Campground #3 – Battery Provincial Park in south central Cape Breton.
It is one of the nicest parks we have camped in.  We were lucky to get site #34 -with the best view of the bay.  The closest town is St. Peters – conveniently walkable from the campground.   Lots of hiking around the park.  We did day trips to Isle Madame and around the Bras d’ Or (Arms of Gold) Lake.

Campground #4 – Mira River Provincial Park in SE Cape Breton.
The closest town is Sydney, which is quite large, and is fun to explore.  We made day trips to the Miner’s Museum (highly recommend) in Glace Bay and to the famous Fortress of Louisbourg. 

Campground #5 – Whycocomagh Provincial Park – in north central Cape Breton, and on the fabulous Cabot Trail.
Lots of day trips – to cute Baddeck, home of Alexander Graham Bell Museum, to Big Spruce Brewery, drives around Bras d’ Or Lake, and to Inverness – right on the ocean with a famous links-style golf course.  The area is very Celtic.  Signs are in Gaelic.  It is called Nova Scotia’s “Music Coast”, and we were able to find places to listen to Celtic music, including the Red Shoe in Mabou.  We did some backroad trips, including one to Nova Scotia’s northernmost winery – Eileanan Breagha – with its Scottish heritage and beautiful views of the lake.

Campground #6 – Cheticamp Camground in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
This national park campground is in north Cape Breton on the western side of the Cabot Trail.   This was our longest stay –  6 nights –  hiking the park’s many trails with views of the Bay of St. Lawrence, and making  lots of day trips up and around the Cabot Trail.  During our drives up and down the coast, we had oysters-on-the-halfshell twice at the Hideaway Campground and Oyster Bar.  We had camped here on our previous trip, and you might want to add that to your camping list.

We made this trip from mid-September to the end of October.  This is the perfect time to visit – fewer people, campgrounds with lots of space, and breathtakingly beautiful fall colors.  Days were mostly warm – highs mid-60s to mid-70s; lows mid 30s to 50ish.  Perfect temperature for hikes, sight-seeing, and evening campfires.  In addition to all the sites, we enjoyed Nova Scotia’s bounty – chowder, oysters. wine, beer, ciders, and spirits – and VERY friendly people. 

For detailed information about the trip, including a review of the campgrounds,  an account of our daily activities, and every night’s menu, go to each day’s blogpost – from Day #177 through Day #218.  The blog is

Yummy hamburgers!

LOCATION: In our tiny house in Mission, Texas

WEATHER: Hot, hot, hot…100+

I got up early this morning to haul laundry to the laundry room, before the day got too hot. I know I’m back in south Texas…..It was still dark (7:00 AM) and the Border Patrol truck was parked on the street, looking for undocumented people passing through our neighborhood. Later, their helicopters hovered overhead….they must have spotted some people. So sad….

Next up was a much-needed haircut, then some shopping at Target.

We did more cleaning and organizing in the afternoon.

DINNER: George made some delicious baconburgers, using a recipe from Cook’s Country (from one of their TV shows).

He first cooked some sliced pork jowl (you could substitute bacon). After draining the grease, he added it to raw hamburger patties. After he grilled the burgers, he topped them with blue cheese. How decadent!

Sides were sauteed calabaza, a popular Latino squash, and oven-fried potato slices.

While he had the grill going, I asked him to grill some chicken sausages that I will use later in the week.

Running errands while back at home

LOCATION: Mission, Texas


We only have a week here before we take off again, so we are very busy running errands, and working on “to-do” lists.

We went to our local pharmacy and got both our Covid booster shot as well as this year’s flu vaccine. Both arms are a bit tender, but we are just so happy that we could get the shots.

A neighbor had picked up our mail while we were gone, so we went through 7 months worth of mail. A big stack!

Then, to the grocery store to stock up. One thing we love about living here is the wonderful fruit and vegetable selection at the market. And…! Limes were $.25 each, cilantro, $.30, peppers $.25, etc. I filled up the grocery cart!

I hand-washed the wool gloves, ski cap, and scarf that I had used while we were in Canada. I put them out to dry in the 96-degree weather – seemed so odd to think I wore these last week!

DINNER: A really tasty and easy recipe, using any kind of fish fillet. I used tuna since I bought 2 tuna fillets for $5 in the grocery store today. This has a Tex-Mex vibe

Ranchero Tuna (or any other firm fish)

Ingredients: 4 fish fillets (4 to 6oz. Each)

1 C. finely crushed tortilla chips

2 tsp. Chili powder

1/2 tsp. Salt 1/2 tsp. and ground black pepper

3 T. lime juice

1 T. vegetable oil

1 C. of your favorite salsa

1/4 C. fresh cilantro, (minced)

Prepare Preheat oven 450*. Lightly spray baking sheet. Cut fillets in half. Mix crushed tortilla chips, chili powder, salt and pepper in shallow dish. Mix lime juice & oil in another shallow dish. Dip fish in lime mixture, then dredge in seasoned tortilla crumbs. Place on baking sheet & sprinkle with any remaining crumbs. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Place on dinner plate and put salsa over to your own taste. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Side was a medley of sauteed peppers – jalapeno, poblano, and bell, along with a few mushrooms and onions.