Friday, June 29, 2018

Prime Parking

This Prime Inc. truck has a perfect parking spot at the T/A in North Bend, Washington. 

Usually, this place is pretty busy, but I like it because the view is great and the air smells like pine.

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The Home Of The Twelve Dollar Burger

2016: Monsoon Mountain
2015: Patriotic Blooms
2014: Someone's Going Home With This
2013: Hey Cutie!
2012: I’ll Have To Pry It From Her Dead, Cold Fingers
2011: Straight Talk
2010: Who Knew There Were Things To Do Other Than Eating Pie?
2009: 157 Years Of Light
2008: Call Me. We Have Telephones In Nebraska Now.
2007: Reach For The Sky
2006: Sorry, no post on this day.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Drive On In!

Yes, this is an 18-wheeler parked in a retail store.  A retail store located at the Kenly 95 Truckstop in Kenly, North Carolina. 

This is a truck stop for when you have a little extra time on your hands.  We stopped and had lunch while I did three loads of laundry.  They also have a barber shop, gift shop, driver lounge, "quiet" room (which I love), convenience store, custom shop for personalizing hats/shirts/jackets, truck stuff you didn't know you needed, and more!

2013: "License, Registration and Insurance Card, Please"
2012: Welcome To Hell
2011: When She Passes Each One She Passes Goes Ahhhh
2010: The Key To Being Funny
2009: Wishes Really Do Come True
2008: Eddie Plays It Safe Friday
2007: What Road?
2006: I’m STILL Looking To Get Me Some Good BBQ
2005: Say Cheese!!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Korean Fire Meat

I wanted Bulgogi.  I had to have it.  My mouth was watering for it.  I was having a craving.

Confession:  It was something I'd never eaten before!

I was reading about it, then researched recipes, realized it had everything in it I liked that thought it was something I would definitely enjoy.  Before I had a chance to make it myself though, I thought I should try it in a restaurant that makes it the way it's supposed to be done.  So when Ed and I were in Las Vegas, we found a place that was highly rated on Zomato (previously known as Urban Spoon)

The restaurant was called Ko-Mex Fusion.  Korean, Mexican, and American food.  What kind of mix is that?
Ed ordered the Bulgogi Rice Bowl (Bulgogi, Rice, Baby Greens, KoMex Slaw, Kimchi, Jalapeno, plus a Sunny Side Egg on top) seen above.  I've had a fried egg on a burger before, but I wasn't interested in mixing a fried egg with my food this time.

We also both tried the Fusion Taco (Beef, Chicken, Pork, or Tofu topped with KoMex Slaw and pico de gallo) because hello?  Korean tacos?  We opted for the beef.  They were delicious.

And I decided to go with the Bulgogi Plate (Beef, Chicken, or Spicy pork, served with white rice and stir-fried vegetables)  I went with the classic bulgogi choice - beef.  It was deeeeeelicous!
The place was small, modestly furnished, and clean.  It is family owned and operated and we were served by the owner's son.  It was an inexpensive meal that satisfied our hunger and fueled my desire for more bulgogi.  In fact, writing this is making me hungry.

I'm off to look for a Korean restaurant!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: Passing Through

2016: Man With A Plan
2015: Don't Try This At Home
2014: This Place Is For The Birds
2013: Get Your Travel On
2012: An Art Deco Tower In The Panhandle
2011: Traffic Might Just Have Saved My Life
2010: Joining The Ranks
2009: The Daily Rant Goes Farther East Than Ever Before
2008: What He Does When I’m Sleeping
2007: Now You Don’t Have To Go To The Ghetto To Get Crack
2006: Satchel Pitches A Great Question
2005: A Night In Yakima

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Okie Eye Talian

Pete's Place in Krebs, Oklahoma has been cooking up Italian food since 1925.  We've passed the place a few times but had never stopped in.  Well, as luck would have it, last we were stranded overnight in the area and needed food.  Ed decided it was time to try Pete's.

We were led to our table, which turned out to be in its own private room.  We learned that Pete's Place had twenty-seven private dining rooms.  Kinda cool, but a little weird to be sitting alone in a room.  No people watching.  No activity.  No window. 

Not that I don't love spending time with my handsome husband, but I am three feet from him virtually twenty-four hours a day.  I like the atmosphere of a restaurant when we go out and this was, well, just odd. Please forgive the terrible picture - I didn't notice the glaring light until after I uploaded the pictures.

The menu was pretty straightforward, nothing fancy.  Although, Lambfries was something new to me.  I didn't even ask what they were because I don't like lamb, so I knew I wouldn't be trying them, but when I was writing this post, I Googled them.  Holy lamb balls!  I'm SO glad I didn't feel adventurous enough to try lamb that day.  Because, uh, the menu doesn't mention anything that would remotely tell you what they really are. Just eww.
You'll notice at the top of the menu, it states that all the entrees are served family style and include Spaghetti, Meatballs, Ravioli, Salad, Anti-Pasta Plate (um, it's antipasto), and Garlic Bread.

Every entree. 

So if you order a steak, or chicken parm, or fried chicken, or any of their main dishes, you're going to get salad and bread, an antipasto plate, spaghetti and meatballs, and ravioli.  Um, that's a meal in itself.

But, when in Rome...

We ordered a chicken parmesan and a lasagna and got all of the above.  The antipasto plate had 4 pieces of cheese, 4 green olives, and 2 pepperoncini.  The spaghetti and meatball platter had enough spaghetti for two people to have a generous serving and two meatballs.  And on the side of that platter were two homemade ravioli.

We had a small portion of everything and took most of the food home with us.  The salad was plain iceberg lettuce with their own dressing - a light, sweet dressing that turned out to be soy oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and spices.  I grew up on eating iceberg lettuce salads and still love it, the crisp crunch of it, and this dressing was surprisingly good.  I couldn't place what it was and would have never guessed apple cider vinegar.  They sell bottles of it in the lobby if you're inclined to take some home.

I thought the meatballs were delicious, but I wasn't thrilled with the flavor of the sauce that was on everything else.  The spaghetti was the standard thick spaghetti, I prefer thin.  The ravioli were meat filled, which I don't like, and the homemade dough was thick and well, doughy.  And the lasagna was meat-only lasagna, no ricotta, no mozzarella.  I put meat in my lasagna but always include the cheeses and prefer it that way.

The guy who started the place is from Italy and I wondered where since different regions prepare some of the same dishes in different ways - I thought that might be why they served meat ravioli and meat-only lasagna.  It turns out he was from the Campania region, where my family is from, but his style of cooking those items was definitely different.  Maybe it was just how his family made them.  Who's to say?

Overall, I wouldn't say the food was bad, but I can't say it was that great either.  
Oh, I'm sure it's just fine for Krebs, Oklahoma (or most of Oklahoma for that matter) but it wasn't what I would consider great Italian food.  

There are a few other Italian places in town (which are connected to the family that runs Pete's - there were a few marriages between the families through the years) that I think we'll try next time we're in town. 

They are The Isle of Capri and Roseanna's, which I will definitely try because they have gnocchi on the menu!

And like we did this time, we'll make a stop at Lovera's to pick up a few must-haves.  This visit I picked up cheese, biscotti, pizzelle, and for our dessert, cannoli!  They were delicious!

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2017: After I Stop Laughing
2016: Manly Ribs
2015: My Brush With Nature
2014: Dear Summer,
2013: I Wrote This After A Day Of Doing Nothing, Sitting On My Ass, While I Watched TV  
2012: The Beautiful Strangler
2011: Art Enables Us To Find Ourselves And Lose Ourselves At The Same Time
2010: Even God Can’t Help Men
2009: My President’s House
2008: Don’t Give Up Hope If You Just Don’t Know What You Want To Be When You Grow Up, You Have Choices
2007: Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready For My Close Up
2006: Stone Magnolia
2005: Fitty Nine!!!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Bull Riding Inside The Big Mac

It was a dreary, rainy day in but I still managed to get a shot of the prison rodeo rider as we traveled US-270 into McAlester, Oklahoma.  You see it and say, "Whaaattt?"

Well, that bull-riding prisoner is a nod to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary Prison Rodeo

Started in 1940, with a few breaks for World War II and an inmate uprising in 1970, the rodeo was held every summer until 2009.  By 2010, staff shortages and lack of funds to repair the rodeo stadium brought the rodeo to an official end.

There was some talk in 2015 about bringing the rodeo back, but so far nothing has moved forward and it might have something to do with the animal abuse allegations.

Whatever the reason, the inmates in OSP are no longer riding bulls.  It's probably a good idea to limit the aggressive activities of inmates.  Perhaps OSP should consider a knitting group.

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Thirty And Eight Twenty

2016: Saturday's Child Works Hard For A Living
2015: Along The Shores Of The Unpredictable Cat
2014: I Think I Saw A Nimbostratus
2013: Ed Breaking Bad In The Lap Pool
2012: View From The Bridge
2011: Small Place, Big Flavor
2010: La Vita รจ Bella 
2009: He Looks Much Better Here Than On The Penny
2008: One Of The Few Places In Iowa NOT Under Water
2007: We Need A Manager On Register Three Please!
2006: Mobile Misses

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Reason To Go Around The Bend

After traveling in southeastern Oregon last week and eastern Oregon this week, I can confidently say the only part of Oregon I like is the eastern third of the state.  From Hood River, east.  From Bend, east.  From Sisters, east.  From Klamath Falls, east.  The coast is beautiful, the higher elevation mountains are beautiful, but have you ever driven from Bend to Burns?  Oh.  My.  God.  Horrid.

We went from Bend to Burns to McDermitt, the can-you-even-call-it-a-town? town on the Oregon-Nevada state line.  I thought I wasn't going to make it out of the state without crying.  And then I had to drive through Nevada.  It was truly a slit-my-wrists moment.

And let me tell you, for a truck, Bend may as well be Manhattan.  No parking.  No truck stops.  No stores with easy access.  Nothing.  Not a damn thing.  We considered having dinner there but couldn't find a place to park.  And even if we wanted to eat in our truck, there wasn't a slice of land to pull into.  And for a small town, the traffic was insane.  WTF??

Usually, we have no problem finding a place to park, even if it means slipping in behind a grocery store or a Home Depot, but unless I completely missed something while I was scouring the aerial map, there wasn't a thing. 

Then I got kinda pissed.  You know, these communities need trucks to bring them all the shit they're buying, eating, selling, wearing, etc.  This is one of those places where a trucker gets all indignant and wants to boycott bringing goods to the town.  Where they write letters to heads of local government telling them they wouldn't exist without trucks.  I usually don't get all heated about that subject.

But in Bend?  That's exactly how I felt.  And I'm pretty sure I'll never go back.  And at the twenty-one cents a mile we have to pay for road tax while in the state, I'd rather stick to the coast. 

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Resting In The Open Range

2016: Dinner On A Stick
2015: The Good Deeds Of Summer
2014: The Mountain Was Out
2013: Small Town Bullshit. Big City Nothing.
2012: She’s Political Coming And Going And Doesn’t Even Know It
2011: Old As She Was, She Still Missed Her Daddy Sometimes
2010: Crafty Little Bugger
2009: Beauty For A Buck
2008: What My Thoughts Sound Like When Left Uncensored And Ultimately, Formed Into Words
2007: New York Style
2006: I.H.O.P.G.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Out To The Pacific

These photos were taken from the Deception Pass Bridge that connects Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island in the state of Washington.  The photo above is looking west, out into the Strait of Juan De Fuca, the Salish Sea's outlet to the Pacific Ocean.  Someday I'd like to be at water level to get a picture of the actual bridge - this is the best I've gotten over the years.

The photo below is looking east, into Puget Sound.  The small island was named by Charles Wilkes, an American Naval Officer, who named it Hautboy after a variety of strawberry he found on the island.  It is now known as Strawberry Island
The weather was GORGEOUS.  I wish we could have stayed the entire weekend!

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2017: Feeding Time For Dad

2016: May The Best Friend Win
2015: 140 Characters Just Doesn't Cut It
2014: Wyoming In June
2013: I Will Not Be Decaffeinated 
2012: Sweeeeeeet
2011: Summer On The Farm
2010: This Should Be The Next “New Parent” Handbook
2009: Would You Like A Little Screech To Go With Your Whine?
2008: Jane’s Anatomy
2007: Plus People Are Here To Stay
2006: Baiting The Hook
2005: Purgatory

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thank You For Your Courage

My father died 12 years ago but it doesn't feel like it was that long ago.  I think about him a lot, have things I'd like to ask him, photos I'd like to share with him.  I'd love to hear his voice again.  I had a voice message recording on my cell phone before he died but it was automatically deleted by the system.  I was devastated.

This photo was taken in November 1968 in our kitchen in the Bronx.  My father was wearing his blue post office uniform shirt.  My brother, as you can see, was only 2 months old.  I was 14 months old.  And yes, I was always that happy.  And my father was always amazing.

My brother now has three boys and I'm thankful he gets to spend today with them.  And I hope other fathers out there are taking the time to be with their kids and appreciating these fleeting moments.  They really are precious.

To all the men out there who have taken on the role of dad - Happy Father's Day!

As Barack Obama, and others in similar fashion, have said, "Any fool can have a child.  That doesn't make you a father.  It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father."

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Live Bait

2016: Love County
2015: Razorback Storm
2014: Go About Three Miles And Turn Left At The Rocket
2013: Puffy And Distorted 
2012: A Woman’s Work Is Never Done
2011: Old Timey Road Trip
2010: Are You Ready For Some Football?!
2009: Hangin’ In The Sea Cave
2008: Weekend In Wyoming
2007: Ready For Nautical Knots
2006: Australia Isn’t Far Enough Away For These Bitches To Hide
2005: Texas Suicide

Friday, June 15, 2018

Play Two Credits

This is my favorite slot machine of all time - the Double Diamond Deluxe.  Known as a straight slot or flat top slot machine, it's pretty basic.  Three reels, one payline, one jackpot, no extra crazy bells and whistles.  It's a classic old-school slot machine and I look for this particular machine in any casino I go to.  There's usually one, even if it's tucked away in the back.  I'll play quarters or dollars but I prefer the dollar machine, like this one.  And I always play the max bet.

I'm not really much of a gambler, but I do like a happy slot machine.  I also don't really know how to play any of the tables games - blackjack, craps, roulette.  Oh, I know how to get to 21 in blackjack, but the strategizing and the math stresses me out.  That's Ed's game and he usually wins enough for us to get a hotel room and have dinner.  I usually just pass time on "my" slot machine while he's off winning money elsewhere.

I've gotten lucky in the past, winning over $700 one time and $2,500 another.  The $2,500 win was awesome since I only sat down with $20.  I totally scored on that one.

Here you can see I'm up to $2,104 dollars.  I started my play with $100.  At one point, I was up to $2,400 dollars!  I should have cashed out and left at that moment.  Let's just say I didn't end my night with $2,400.  But I sure had fun!

Long live the one-armed bandit!

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Whale Or Mermaid?

2016: There's A Steak Sandwich Waiting At The Intersection Of 82 And 83
2015: I Have Turned Into My Mother
2014: Ed Drops A Bomb
2013: Guarding The Life Of My Eddie
2012: Crash Test Dummy
2011: No Fudd Found Near This Fountain
2010: The Very Thoughtful Man
2009: SPAM: Not The E-mail Kind
2008: How Casting A Memory Begins With A Fish
2007: A Weekend At The End Of The Rainbow
2006: If I Were In People Magazine
2005: Free Mudflap

Thursday, June 14, 2018

High Roller

We arrived at the T/A in Sparks, Nevada just in time for lunch.  

I handpicked our spot at the back of the lot because, unbeknownst to Ed, after we were done with lunch I had a plan to visit my favorite slot machine at the Western Village casino, which is adjacent to the lot and a short walk away.

We did go to the casino and I quickly located my favorite machine, the Double Diamond.  Ed headed to the blackjack table.

I was offered a player's card which I usually don't get but the lady made it so easy I accepted.  When I went to check on my player's card balance later in the evening, I must have dumped so much money into the machine that the front desk manager came out and started to chat me up.  I thought he was just being nice, which he was, but he offered to comp us a room for the night.  I looked at Ed, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Why not?"

So we stayed at The Western Village Inn for the night.  It's not my normal caliber of hotel, but the beds were made with crisp white bedding and four pillows each (they only had a room with two queen beds available) and the decor was high-end 1980s.  It was clean and quiet, which was perfect since we'd only be sleeping for one night.  The photo above shows the view from our third-floor room.  Just beyond the end of the parking lot, you can see the truck stop.  Lovely, dontcha think?

I hope you can hear the sarcasm and humor in my voice when I say this...

It pays to be a high roller.

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2017: Eighty Years In The Big Apple
2016: I've Still Got It
2015: It's Peony Season
2014: The Long Haul Home Stretch
2013: The Power Is Everywhere
2012: A Patchwork Of Farms
2011: Dwarfed
2010: Kansas Needs A Few Other Representatives
2009: Something’s Afoot
2008: The Color Of Aging
2007: Ahhhhhntipasto
2006: The Great Equalizer
2005: Almost My Town