Sunday, February 20, 2022

Palm Springs Virtual Office

Trip date: September 2021

I had just returned from Palm Springs when the pandemic hit in March 2020.  By the fall of 2021 I had only flown one other time and was missing my annual sun-cation. I was also missing tan lines as the pandemic had really put a damper on beach vacations! So I booked my 2nd flight during COVID, packed my bikini and my laptop, and headed south to work remote for a week. 

I actually didn't realize until I was headed to the airport that it was September 11th, and the 20th anniversary of 9/11. There was absolutely no one in the Clear/Precheck TSA area which was quite eerie. And a lot of folks on the flight were visibly anxious with the anniversary and the pandemic. So a relaxing flight it was not!

It was crazy hot when we landed and I was very happy to get into my rental car and blast the A/C. The townhouse I had rented was just 1 mile from downtown, in a gated community, and had a private enclosed courtyard with pool & hot tub. I would not have to be around anyone I didn't want to be around.

Inside was a big kitchen/dining room, comfy sectional, big screen tv complete with Roku and a gorgeous fireplace. And upstairs was a bedroom loft and a covered balcony area that looked down on the pool. As I wasn't planning on going out much, this space was absolutely perfect!

I headed to Jensen's grocery and did a big shop to stock up my place for the week. Then back to the townhouse for some rosé in the pool with a floatie. It was 108F so no need to pay for the pool to be heated!! When I finally got out of the pool I had a lovely night in the A/C and a delicious roast chicken dinner thanks to the grocery store deli.

Originally I had planned on heading out each morning for a walk through the various neighborhoods like I normally do. I had even bookmarked a couple of new-to-me hikes. But it was just way too hot to be out during the day with the temps above 100F every day (& one day 110F!). So every single day I got in the pool with my morning coffee and read on my kindle. Then I spent the afternoon working, while taking pool and book breaks. When it cooled off in the evenings I had a quick hot tub before making dinner and watching movies. It was heaven and my tan lines were back!

I did go out a few times to places requiring proof of vaccination. My friend Nathan, who lives there, and I headed to local fave Bootlegger Tiki one evening for pre dinner drinks. When it is hot, nothing cools like a tiki drink (or two)! It had been a few years since I had been and it was still just as good. 

That evening we had dinner at Sandfish Sushi which I had wanted to go to for quite awhile. It was absolutely fantastic! We ordered way to much food, and I had a few now-rare Japanese whiskeys, which are my faves! Service was fantastic and the restaurant is gorg. I'd highly recommend!

Another night Nathan and I had drinks at PSAir, a little cocktail bar hidden in the back of a local wine/liquor shop. My brother had sent me a few photos the last time he had been in town so I was looking forward to checking it out.

As the name hints, this speakeasy is all airline themed. You sit in what looks to be a plane's fuselage complete with first class leather airline seats. A screen shows aircraft taking off and landing while servers bring you "First Class Nuts" and "Paper Plane" cocktails. 

It's cheeky and silly and absolutely fun. We even ran into one of Nathan's friends there who is a flight attendant! Very meta!

For dinner we headed to the bar at Mr. Lyons for big prime rib steaks. An excellent evening!

Another evening a friend who also happened to be in town invited me to dinner and drinks at Workshop Kitchen. It had been years since I'd been and it was still great! We chose to sit outside on their large patio which was lovely albeit a bit warm!

And one afternoon a couple of friends and I braved the heat and had a lovely lunch at El Patio, which I hadn't been to before. The restaurant has a big outside patio, shaded by a huge tree and complete with misters. Our lunch was soooo good! I highly recommend the mezcalita and the shrimp ceviche! Delicious!!

I was just absolutely loving my little condo and was very sad when I had to think about packing up to head home. I had a morning flight on my last day which made sense as my checkout was in the morning too. But I was so bummed thinking about it the day before so I sent the host a note asking if there was any way I could stay all day and take a later flight home. Bingo! 5pm check out for an additional $40 and $98 for the evening flight on Alaska into Seattle. 
I spent the entire day in the pool with my book, going inside to do some work in the A/C from time to time. At 4pm I got cleaned up and packed up and left my sweet little private townhouse. Quite a different PS trip than in years past, but exactly what I needed!

All Palm Springs photos here

Friday, February 4, 2022

Rogue Valley Wine Country

Trip date: May 2021

Day 11: Tahoe City to Rogue Valley- 380 miles

My brother and I checked out of the Sunnyside Resort in Tahoe City and said our goodbyes. I was heading northwest to Oregon's Rogue River Valley, specifically to Grants Pass. It was a big drive for me, 6 ½ hours, but it was absolutely beautiful the entire way!

I drove up around the north end of Lake Tahoe, into Nevada, past Reno and then north on the 395 back into California. The mountains on the CA/NV border were still kissed with snow and were soooo pretty. At the Honey Lake rest stop the clouds were very dramatic! I drove thru snow, rain, and finally sunshine. 

I joined back up with Hwy 89/ the Scenic Volcanic Bypass and drove past Mt. Shasta and Black Butte volcanoes as I got onto I5. I was retracing my steps from my initial drive down, past Ashland and Medford Oregon, and I was excited to stay a few more days in the area. 

Finally I made it to my destination, the Weasku Inn on the Rogue River. This sweet lodge originally opened in 1924, hosting celebrities like Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, and Walt Disney. There are 5 rooms in the main lodge, a river house, and 11 river cabins.  
I had booked a King River Cabin, which had a private porch facing the river, a big stone fireplace, sitting area, king bed, and large bathroom. This was the perfect spot for me as many people were still not vaccinated. I was close to the lodge, where they served happy hour snacks and breakfast, but had my space and privacy, my cabin #16 was also on the end of the cabins so I rarely saw anyone. 

The last thing I wanted to do after my long drive was to get back in my car, so I settled in on my porch with some wine and cheese that I had in my car cooler. 

Later around dusk I headed to the main lodge to sit by the outdoor fire and have a couple of warm cookies that they bake fresh each night. On my way there I saw a wolverine!!! I actually didn't know what it was until I did some research! Wow!!

Back in my cabin I had a fire going while I watched a movie. So relaxing!

The next morning I had breakfast outside at the main lodge. It was a spectacularly sunny days and I had a full day of wine tasting planned! Southern Oregon has a large wine scene which I had no knowledge of, so I was out to change that.

First stop was Jacksonville, a historic gold rush town just west of Medford and incorporated in 1860. The main drag (California Street) looks like a movie set, historic buildings, which are now shops and restaurants, line both sides. It's super cute and only about 4-blocks long.
I walked around for a bit, and even scored some gorgeous antique glassware at Trolley Stop Antiques, before heading to my first winery for the day; Quady North on the east end of California. I had chosen the winery because I read that they were doing a pet nat and was excited to try it.
I was set up with a nice little table outside (they were not doing inside tastings because of Covid) and really enjoyed the wine. The pet nat was exactly what I wanted and I left with a few bottles as well as their Cab Franc and an absolutely wonderful boxed rosé! Highly recommend and also I'd suggest making reservations as the winery is very small. 

My next stop was Dancin Vineyards just outside of Jacksonville. I hadn't made a reservation here and it was very busy! But they were able to set me up on a cute wine barrel table on the lawn. 

I had chosen Dancin as they specialize in French clone Pinot Noir which I love. The tasting room manager explained all the offerings and then gave me 2 bonus pours from their library selections. He was a gem and their wines were lovely! A few older pinots came home with me, and he even threw in a free San Pellegrino as I was driving. Very beautiful grounds and wines. Another recommendation from me!

From here I headed to Rogue Creamery. Voted best blue cheese in the world, I was already a fan, and it's pretty easy to find around Seattle but I had read that the creamery has varietals that aren't sold elsewhere, and that's what I was interested in. 
Because of Covid they weren't able to offer tastes but I wasn't worried. I was able to buy a small whole wheel of one and a nice wedge of another. An excellent stop if you love blue cheese!

And just next door was Ledger & David wines, which Dan at Dancin had suggested if I like Chenin Blanc. Well I do like Chenin Blanc so I stopped in, explained I was only interested in tasting that, and left with 2 bottles. Unfortunately their vineyard has since been sold and the winery has closed. 

It was time for lunch so I headed off for my reservation at Kriselle Cellars. I had read that they made a great Sauvignon Blanc and also that their pizza was excellent. Kriselle is in the Upper Rogue, a bit north of Medford.

They have a huge outdoor patio and my table had such a gorgeous view! And my wood fired pizza was delicious!

The Sauv blanc was fine, I wouldn't go out of my way for it, and I didn't taste anything else since I was driving. But the food and view were lovely so if you are looking for a nice place for lunch I'd recommend!

My final stop of the day was suppose to be at Bayer which I had read did Italian varietals. When I arrived at 4pm there was a fairly large group of very tipsy tasters who were pretty loud and definitely not social distancing. It just wasn't a scene I was interested in so I left. Report back if you have tried them!

I was excited to be back at the Inn on such a gorgeous afternoon. I had planned to venture into Grants Pass for dinner but I had lots of leftover pizza so I decided to do a nice walk around the property before settling in with the Monaco Grand Prix on streaming and some wine!

The next morning there was just one last drive, the one home. I packed up, checked out of the lodge and headed north on I5.

There are a lot of iris farms in the Salem area that I noticed while taking the exit for In-n-Out Burger.

7 hours and 434 miles later I was home. It had been such an amazing road trip driving over 2,200 miles round trip. 

Mezcal Day Trips Around Oaxaca

Trip date: October 2023  Oaxaca isn't just a city in Mexico, it is also a state. And in this state 90% of the mezcal in Mexico is produc...

Popular Posts