8-8-17 Finding Old Friends and Carhenge

This morning we didn’t know which way to go – stick with the interstate or take the back roads through Alliance, Nebraska and travel through the Sandhills area. Well, we decided to take the road less traveled. After cruising along for a couple of hours, it was time for lunch so we stopped at a Subway in Lusk, Wyoming for a sandwich. Nothing special about the place and the sandwich was as good as any other Subway provides. Just as I was about to close the car door and drive away, I noticed two people we actually know! Dale and Roxanne live in Arizona.

David, Janeen, Roxanne and Dale

We first met them in Oregon at IPNC but they haven’t been to the event for several years. Turns out they are on vacation. Roxanne’s mother lives in Nebraska and having completed their visit, they were heading to Mount Rushmore when they too decided a break and a sub would be a good idea.


Here we are in Lusk, Wyoming seemingly a million miles from anywhere and whom do we see, but two friends. We had a nice visit for a while and then we both headed on our way. Small world for sure.


After connecting with Dale and Roxanne, we continued on our journey towards the Sandhills of Nebraska. Along the way we stumbled upon Carhenge in Alliance Nebraska. This is a replica of the famous Stonehenge in England.



Carhenge is formed from vintage cars all covered with gray spray paint and built by Jim Reinders in the summer of 1987.   It was dedicated on the summer solstice. This display consists of 39 automobiles arranged in a circle measuring about 95 feet in diameter. As you can see from the pictures, the cars are in various positions.

In addition to the Stonehenge replica, the Carhenge site includes several other artworks created from autos covered with various colors of spray paint.

It was a fascinating stop on our journey along the road. We continued on through lots of small ranching towns along two lane roads for the rest of the afternoon ,until we reached North Platte for the evening.

8-7-17 The Battle of the Little Bighorn

This morning, after leaving Bonnie and David Andes’s place in Bozeman, we continued on our travels. Our goal, in a couple of days, is York,Nebraska to visit some friends from a along time ago in Michigan.

However, as we were moving along, I realized that the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument was just off the freeway – so we stopped.

Senior Pass

I also discovered that the National Park Services thinks I am worthy of a lifetime pass!



Map showing the various participants and movements taken.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and other Plains Indians  as the Battle of the Greasy Grass and commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho  anti-treaty tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment.  The battle, which occurred June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876.

Markers of fallen Cavalry. Custer’s is the only marker with color.

Needless to say, this battle didn’t turn out very well for Gorge Armstrong Custer. In a little more than 2 hours, from start to finish, the warriors was engaged and fighting ended. The total casualty count for U.S. Cavalry was 268 with 55 severely wounded. The various Indian participates, from the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho, didn’t loose that many warriors.

Upon our arrival at the Monument, we sat through a very informative Ranger Talk about the battle bringing the history to life through his story telling.

A Cheyenne Warrior marker

The one take away line, for me, was this was a battle between Euro-Americans and Native-Americans – with no one really winning on either side, and no understanding of the cultural differences that engendered the fight.

Pathway to the spot of the “last stand”.

There are several sites to view as part of the Monument including the area where Custer had is “last stand” and the spot is marked where he fell. Throughout the area there are white markers for where U.S. Cavalry fell and red markers for locations of known Indian deaths.



Monument of the Cavalry who died in the battle. Their remains were placed around all four sides of the monument in a mass grave.

This is a solemn spot with lots of history – none of which is really good for either side.

Across the road from the Cavalry Monument is an Indian Monument placed by the local Indian tribes.

The inside of the Indian Monument has a number of historical presentations about the Indians who participated in the battle.

After leaving the Monument, and getting back on the highway, it is clear the land hasn’t changed much in the last 200 years!

8-6-17 Bozeman

Our visit to Bozeman, with David and Bonnie, included a visit to The American Computer & Robotics Museum. This is a museum of the history of computing, communications, artificial intelligence and robotics and includes a number of very interesting pieces of computer history including the very first Apple created.

A complete inventory of various early computers
Robbie the Robot!


After the Computer place, we went to the Museum of the Rockies. The Museum houses the largest collection of dinosaurs in the United States. This includes the largest Tyrannosaurus skull ever discovered, T-Rex remains and lots more. It also had an interesting collection physical and cultural history of the people and animals who lived in the area.


Outside there was a living history farm which includes the Tinsley House were costumed interpreters demonstrate life in a turn of the century home.

Bonnie in the Kitchen

To end the day, we went to a Shakespeare in the Parks presentation of You Never Can Tell It was a fun evening.

8-4-17 Summary for those just joining the trip

For those of you just joining our adventure, here’s what’s happening.

We have rented our home in Alhambra (Los Angeles for those of you not in the know) and have decided to travel and see the world.  We left late June and have traveled along the west coast visiting friends and family for the last 7 weeks or so.  Our current plan is to start heading EAST in a couple of days winding our way through Idaho, Montana, a bit of Wyoming and South Dakota stopping in Nebraska before heading to Macomb Illinois to visit Janeen’s dad.  After the Solar Eclipse, on the 21st, we continue east to Springfield Virginia.

Staying with Jason, Terri and little miss sunshine until we fly to Portugal for a river cruise on the Douro River. Once we finish the river cruise, we fly to Stuttgart and pick up a new Mercedes-Benz with the stated goal of driving to Sicily. While we have some goals, we don’t have any specific plans. Our hope is to be able to stay in Europe having Christmas and New Years in Paris.


8-3-17 Bainbridge Island and FatCork

Today was a relaxing day. We contacted Janeen’s high school friend, Holly and arranged to meet them on Bainbridge Island.

Washington State Ferries

So we walked down to the ferry landing, bought our tickets and headed out around 11 this morning. It was not a clear day, due to the smoke from the fires north in Canada and east in Washington but still a nice time to be on the water.

Skyline of Seattle from the Ferry
Overlooking the harbor area of Brinbridge.
Seattle as we returned from Bainbridge Island
David, Janeen, Holly, Wade

We connected with Holly and Wade (her husband) after we got off the ferry and walked towards the town for lunch. It was a nice time to reconnect with old friends.




We have a whole lot of pictures of Janeen holding up life rings – so one more for the collection!

After taking the ferry back to Seattle, we changed and headed out for a champagne tasting at FatCork.







Bryan, David, Janeen and Abby

Bryan Maletis, owner of FatCork, has a tasting every so often and we surprised him by showing up! It was great to see his place, taste some really nice bubbles and meet some new folks who also enjoy bubbles. If you like Champagne you really need to reach out to FatCork.com and learn about grower producer champagnes from France. We have enjoyed virtually everything he has shared with us over the last 5 or 6 years.


8-2 48-17 Years – Chihuly Glass, Lunch and RN74 for Dinner

Wednesday morning, celebrating 48 years together, and we are off to Chihuly Garden and Glass. This is an exhibit showcasing the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. This is a VERY prolific producer of decorative glass and the exhibit has stuff both inside and outside in the garden. Fantastic glass – and it really makes you wonder how he has had the time to do all of this over the years. Spent the better part of a couple of hours touring the exhibit

Janeen, of course, preferred the garden portion, which reflects Chihuly’s nature designs, orange glass amidst orange day lilies, for example.


Janeen is ALWAYS happier in a garden – glass, flowers, various plants – doesn’t matter really.
Ikebana and Float Boat
Mille Fiori
Macchia Forest


After getting our fill of glass, it was time to get some lunch. We picked up a Lyft and headed to a spot near the Pike Market called The Pink Door. It took us a while to find it but it was worth the effort. A refreshing Campari and soda for Janeen and chilled Arneis for me wet our appetites.


Lunch at the Pink Door

We got to our table and had some pappardelle al ragu Bolognese, slow simmered meat sauce with fresh pasta and Insalata Caprese Pink Door, the finest ripest organic heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, torn basil, ricotta salata, first pressed olive oil and Sicilian sea salt. Lo’s ice cream trio (cherry, lavender honey, and apricot praeline) completed the experience. The patio was reminiscent of Italian alfresco and our meal was delicious.

pappardelle al ragu Bolognese
Insalata Caprese Pink Door


Now, the main event for the day in celebration of 48 years together ,dinner at RN74. After chilling for a while in our room (Seattle is in an unprecedented week of heat) , we Lyfted to a restaurant not far from our hotel. A local friend had recommended this to us; Bryan from FatCork (champagne importer) we know, and turns out, one of the managers is the daughter of our friend Beth’s best friend from college!

Emily (god daughter of our friend Beth in Sonoma), Janeen and David

Chef Adam, Sommelier Paul, and Naomi presented the RN Experience in food and wine, highlights of bubbles and seafood.




During the course of our 6 or so course dinner, we had visits from the Executive Chef, Adam who presented a couple of “new” dishes to the menu both of which were spectacular.

Black Garlic Cod

The Black Garlic Cod in curry sauce was very tasty.

We had different wines with each course – a total of 8 different ones over the course of the meal – all were lovely parings for the dish presented.

Two different desserts were presented.

The presentations kept coming – likes waves on a beach – one after another and it was a wonderful evening.

8-1-17 Lunch and an evening of Jazz

On our way to Seattle, we stopped at this cozy, waterfront restaurant with Commencement Bay views serving up lobster & other seafood dishes to have lunch with

Janeen and Janis

Janis Nelson, Janeen’s cousin. We had a wonderful lunch, as you can see, and a good visit!





Halibut fish and chips .
Seafood salad
Cedar plank Salmon

Once we got settled into our hotel in Seattle, I found a barber that we felt might be able to trim my locks – the key here is Janeen likes the final result!



Our evening included a visit to the Jazz Alley. This Jazz Club has been around for a while. Many of the groups that we have seen at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood also cycle through here. I had previously checked and made a reservation to see Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin – guitar and keyboards. We have see Lee 5 previous times and heard music the two have done together but never had the opportunity to see them live together. It was a delightful evening.

Lee Ritenour
Dave Grusin


7-30-17 Day 3 Sparkling Breakfast

The closing activity for IPNC has traditionally been a Sparkling Brunch. This year’s finale was no different. As with other events there where several guest chefs preparing various items.

Bunk Sandwiches – Loco Moco with beef patty, fried rice, wilted greens and mushroom gravy
Making the Bunk Sandwiches







Always a big hit, oysters on the half shell




Ham, smoked salmon and of course fresh melons and berries. and of course Chinook salmon sashimi.


The theme was Paris and all the Somms dressed accordingly.


After finishing off all the bubbles we could grab, we went back to the Cottage loaded up the car and drove to my sister Marilynn’s home where we will do laundry prior to heading North to Seattle in a couple of days.


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7-29-17 IPNC Day 2 Grand Seminar, Alsatian Seminar and the Salmon Bake

The Grand Seminar, Saturday morning, was a panel of five Burgundian wine makers discussing their experience in Oregon. The moderator was Eric Asimov who is the chief wine critic of The New York Times. The panel included Véornique Boss-Drouhin who started making wine in Oregon in 1988 at Domaine Drouhin Oregon and wine makers from Maison Louis Jadot – Jacques Lardére now with Résonance in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Domaine des Comtes Lafon now with Lingua Franca in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA – Dominiqu Lafon, Méo-Camuzet – Jean-Nicolas Meo now working at Nicolas-Jay in Yamhill-Carlton, and Domaine Marc Roy – Alexandrine Roy at Phelps Creek Vineyards. Each of the wine makers discussed their experiences in Oregon and why they came to the area as well. It was a lively discussion but not much of substance presented.



After the Seminar, we went outside to the shaded area on the lawn and had a lovely lunch. We had the pleasure of sitting with the wine maker from Durant Vineyards. Established in 1978 they have spent forty years producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris fruit for some of the best wineries in Oregon. Over the last dozen or so years, they have been making their own wine selling it under their label.

Lunch included some tasty treats and lovely wines from other producers as well.

Caryn, one of Somms pouring over the weekend and a delight to have met.

For the afternoon session, we went to a seminar about Alsatian wines. Alsace is best known for its white varietals (most importantly Riesling and Gewürztraminer) and sparkling Cement d’Alsace, but Pinot Noir has flourished there since the middle ages.  . A generation ago Pinot d’Alsace was a pale light-bodied red for easy drinking, but in recent years there has been a surge of media interest as it was transformed into a deep colored, powerful and complex wine through improved vineyard practices and winemaking.

Moderator Stuart Pigott, who has championed Alsatian, wines for thirty years, along with three esteemed winemakers from the region, provided an overview of Pinot noir in Alsace, and guide you through a tasting of some of the most exciting new wines. We had experienced Pinot Noir from this area some years ago but it was interesting to see how thee current generation of wine makers is moving Pinot Noir to a whole new level in this area.

Saturday Night Salmon bake


Here’s the salmon over the fire pit just the other side of the fence holding the crowds back.

A long-standing tradition at IPNC is the Saturday evening Salmon Bake. This starts off with wild salmon roasted on alder stakes over a huge custom-built fire pit. This includes other wonderful ham, roast beef, salads for days and desserts. Of course there are wines. Not only do the Somm’s from IPNC bring wines from the IPNC Wine vault, but wine makers, participants and everyone brings something interesting to share.

People start lining up a good hour before the gates open. Many are pouring wines they have brought.
Janeen and winemaker Tony Rynders
Long table of Salads
Meats! Three different kinds



7-28-17 IPNC Day One – Walk Around Tasting and Grand Dinner

After returning to the Campus, there was a walk around tasting featuring about 30 different wineries. One in particularly I wanted to meet was J. Hofstatter Winery.

Martin, from Italy and Melissa from Stoller Vineyard

I had met the winemaker two years previously, Martin Foradori Hofstattier, and as we are going to be close to his place early October I wanted to connect with him and arrange a visit. Of course there were others to taste and visit and Janeen was able to have her picture taken with

Véronique and Janeen



Véronique from DDO.

Previously, Page Knudsen Cowles had gifted us with a brand new photo book chronicling the history of Willamette Valley Wineries, and Janeen decided to get photos signed with as many attendees as possible. The mission started with the introduction of this year’s participating vintners, and continued throughout the weekend.

Janeen gets Adam’s signature in the book.

During the walk around tasting she was able to get Adam Campbell who is the winemaker and owner of Elk Cove Winery. Adam’s parents started the winery in 1995 making them an early pioneer in the Valley and he was raised on the property.






Friday evening grand dinner provided hors d’oeuvres and refreshing drinks for the waiting in line time, and assured attendees with disabilities extra time ahead of the crowd. We were fortunate to be seated with the only champagne producers presenting their wines this year, and were also able to try both new and older Pinot Noirs brought to us by Brandon.





Nate and Janeen

Nate, from Argyle, stopped by with some bubbles.


Needless to say, there were a number of wines opened and tasted at our table.

Fresh seafood was the theme of the meal, except for the Solar Eclipse dessert, which glowed with edible glitter around a globe of chocolate enclosing a sunshine bright sweet center.

Octopus carpaccio with potato an summer bean salad.
Albacore tuna tartare, onion “yolk”, charred onion dust, avocado and onion cracker