Long Sword Vineyard & finding old friends

Still on our way up to the Seattle area we wanted to try for the first time a program called “Harvest Host”. Once in the program we can use their website to find members that allow us to park our rig overnight for free, but without hookups. Most of these are vineyards, but there are farms, museums, golf courses and others. You are expected to patronize the hosting business but it isn’t mandatory.

The first one we tried was “Long Sword Vineyard” in southern Oregon just west of Grants Pass. It was a small vineyard and the width of the gate I had to drive through was just barley larger than the rig. But it was nice countryside and we were the only ones there. Leslie ended up liking their wine and bought a case.

While in the tasting room Leslie had a phone call about her cruise travel job. While she was on the phone I started talking with the young woman working the tasting room counter. She said she was from Grants Pass and I mentioned that Leslie’s best friend from middle school, Gigi, had moved there 23 years ago with her husband Harry, and we had eventually lost track of them. It turns out she knew the daughters of Gigi and presto 20 minutes later Leslie and Gigi were on the phone talking as if they had seen each other yesterday! We were able to change our agenda and made plans to see them later in our trip. I will blog on that later when it happens. What a wonderful bit of random serendipity!

Leaving Reno – Burney Falls

Both sadness and excitement filled us as we left Reno heading to the Pacific Northwest. Sadness to leave behind our family and friends for a while, and excitement for the adventures ahead.

Almost at the beginning of our drive just 30 miles north of Reno our check engine light popped on. I immediately pulled over and called Freightliner. After going through some diagnostics over the phone with we determined we could go ahead and sure enough te light went off not long after we started again. We will have this checked the next time we are in the shop anyway.

Our first over night stop was at the Hat Creek RV Park. The first spot they gave us was too small for our rig but we found another spot that worked. More on the RV Park in our RV Park reviews.

When we told our friend Jim Garavente the route we were taking up towards Seattle he said we had to hike to Burney Falls. We had time that afternoon so drove over and was it ever worth it! One of the most beautiful falls I have ever seen. It is a long hike with major elevation changes but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

The GSR in Reno July 2-23 (week 3)

As I have said our time in Reno was very full, and one reason was the fact that July is “Art-Town” in Reno, a month long celebration of art of all types. Steve Rubin, one of our local friends, wrote, produced and starred in a production of “Euthanasia the Musical”. It also featured our talented musician friends Jim and Ken. While the subject sounds morbid, it was actually very enlightening and positive. Great job by Steve and friends to support something he truly believes in.

We had a fun cook out at the coach with a bunch of Patrick’s friends, all of whom used to hang out at our house when they were in school. It was great to see them all. As I mentioned we had dinner with Roy & Jean at PF Chang’s 3 times during our visits to Reno. But on the 18th we had dinner at their house and their daughter Paige joined us. A really fun night and I really appreciated the effort they made to have fun foods for me that night!

The next night Leslie and I saw Steve Martin and Martin Short perform in the GSR showroom. Leslie was a little disappointed, and while not as good as I had hoped it was still a fun time. Our friend Darren showed up from Phoenix that day but didn’t join us at the show. Leslie and Darren went down to Carson City on Sunday and did the “Taste of Downtown” walking food tour/charity event with Leslie’s cousin Deanna and her husband Jeff.

We finally checked out of the GSR on the 22nd, but parked the coach overnight in front of Ruthie and Jim’s house. This is because Leslie wanted to see s jazz group she had seen San Diego previously called “Sammy Miller and the Congregation”. Sammy is the son of a friend of Sara Butler Gold and they performed as part of Art Town month and were an absolute blast.

We left Reno on the 23rd of July after wonderful action packed weeks. We really loved our time there mostly because of the people we spent our time with. Thanks to all of you who were part of our special month.

The Vasovagal event- July 11

On July 18th Joe, Rich, Dominick Leslie and I went over to the GSR to have dinner at “Cantina”, a nice Mexican restaurant inside the casino. Before dinner we gathered at the coach for cocktails and everyone was having great fun. As I don’t drink I was taking the (legal in Nevada) candy edibles with THC. I perhaps over did it slightly. In any case during dinner I started to feel very light headed and eventually got up and told Leslie I had to leave. While standing next to the table getting ready to leave I just completely passed out and hit the floor. I woke up with several strangers standing around me and I had no idea where I was and what had happened. Leslie and others assumed I had a stroke or heart attack. I was still very light headed and knew I had not had a stroke as I had no symptoms. They called the paramedics who showed up in 15 minutes or so. After the paramedics got there I passed out again and they told me my heart rate dipped to 30 and my pressure was 60/40. Then I started to vomit for a few minutes and was obviously still feeling very poor. They hooked me up to an IV and took me to the hospital in an ambulance. After getting and EKG and a series of blood tests the emergency room doctor told me I had this “vasovagal” event which I had never heard of before but apparently is very common. Basically my issue was dehydration, which while still very serious in the short term is fine if dealt with quickly as it was. It is the most common diagnosis for fainting from standing too long, too much pressure , stress or in my case dehydration compounded by the THC.

While it was very scary at the time I am happy to report I am fine! Thanks to all who expressed concern and support.

The GSR in Reno July 2-23 (Week 2)

Dominick, Rich and Joe all came to Reno July 9th to spend some time with us. They all stayed at the GSR. On the 10th we had a large meet and greet in our coach with Dom, Rich and Joe + locals Jim, Ruthie, Steve, Julia and Ken. This was a precursor to our river cruise in October that they are all coming to Europe with us for. I made a vegetarian stew called “Ratatouille” which is basically my spicy marinara with sauteed eggplant, zucchini and squash added. I will add the recipe to the blog.

The next evening Dom, Rich, Joe, Leslie and I were having dinner at the Mexican restaurant in the GSR when I had a “special medical” experience I will detail in my next post.

But I survived and Rich & Dom left the next morning. Joe stayed for a few more days and Leslie drive him around Lake Tahoe. We went to Food Truck Friday which was great fun for all of us. The three of us also went to the movies and saw “Yesterday”. This was a sweet fantasy that has only a couple of people who remember the Beatles after a global event.

After Joe left, Noam flew up from Phoenix and stayed a few days. He and Leslie went to “Pops on the River” and we generally had a great time.

The GSR in Reno July 2 to 23 (week 1)

We moved down to the RV Park next to the Grand Sierra Resort (a local hotel/casino) because we had a series of friends coming to visit us who stayed there and we could walk back and forth easily. Lots of activities those 3 weeks including: dinner at PF Changs with Roy and Jean Lassiter (3 times actually as this has become one of my favorite things with them); Madison and Joey came to town and we had a brunch at our coach with them, Patrick, Mysha and Ronan, + Jim & Ruthie; Noam flew up from Phoenix for a few days (he and Leslie went to “pops on the River” with Ruthie and others); dinner at the coach with Dawn, Jon and Kai. And this was just the first week!

On to Sparks June 17 to July 2

Moved to the Sparks Marina RV Park to be closer to town and friends. I really like this RV Park and we had great visitors. Made grilled cheese on my outdoor Blackstone Griddle for the Kelleys (visiting from LA) one night and the Fine family (Leslie’s cousin Deanna, Jeff, daughter Delany and friend). Also had our old neighbors and great friends the Dekays over for my homemade Marinara sauce one night. Patrick took me to see “Avengers: Endgame” movie for Fathers Day. Great movie and a great time thanks to my son Patrick. Leslie went actual tent camping with her cousin Deanna while I stayed back in Elsie. She was going to go for two nights but came back after one.

Our first stop in Reno June 8-17 and a wedding!

We stayed out at Bordertown RV Park 20 miles north of downtown Reno because it was close to Patrick, Mysha and Ronan. No visitors other than them, but we drove into town and met some old friends. While there we took a side trip to Lake Almanor to attend the wedding of Rhonda and Dave, two very dear friends. We are also very close to Rhonda’s kids Dawn, Daniel and their families. The wedding was very touching and well done and we really enjoyed the time with everyone else around the pre-wedding dinner and gathering.

Bordertown in Reno

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Located next to a very small (and smokey) casino on the border with California about 20 miles north of downtown on 395 (towards Susanville). Nice place with good hook ups and friendly people. Casino has a small to-go deli and a coffee shop that serve pretty good food, including pizza we have had with Patrick adn Mysha a couple of times. It is very close to Patrick, Mysha and of course Ronan so that part is great. But it’s a long distance from Reno activities and friends. We only stay there part of out time in the Reno/Sparks area. Leslie likes it more as it is low key, but too far away from town for me.

Sacramento and lots of friends

Our great friends Rich and Dominic live in Sacramento and through them we have made may other friends so this is one of our favorite places to visit. We have a couple of nice casual dinner parties in our rig of eight people each night and they fit inside the rig very nicely. While Dom and Rich came both nights, one night was Chile with Denise, Leticia, Jeff and Arthur. On the other night I made my own version of Ratatouille for the first time with Dana, Cara, Scott and Colby joining us. We had great fun both nights and we can’t wait to see them all again.