Motorcycle Ride and/or Eating Reports (mostly)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Eating Report Part 2

Eating Report – Tonopah, Kanab, Las Vegas Part 2 of 2

Since there was a long delay in reports, here is a brief recap of the particulars.  The ride route was from Stockton, CA to Tonopah, NV to Kanab, UT to Williams, AZ to Barstow, CA then back to Stockton.  There were just two of us, me and Don Mardle, a friend and neighbor of Jazz from Down Under (Howard Asplin).  The route included three National Parks, Yosemite, Zion and the Grand Canyon.

Actually since this is an Eating Report there is a Prologue and an Epilogue.  But that is later.  Day four finds us eating the Marriott’s “free” breakfast.  It was okay better than the Holiday Inn that Tiny and I had at Boise.  The Holiday Inn had NO advertised cinnamon rolls – terrible.  So off we head west on I-40.  Shortly we leave I-40 and travel the old Route 66.  Our first eating stop is at Seligman, AZ and the Roadkill Café.  The food across the street is a lot better.  I had eaten there on a previous trip to the Grand Canyon and the food was excellent.  But the Roadkill Café has a great T-shirt with the Roadkill Menu on the back and the Kiwi, despite promising not to buy any more T-shirts (he had gotten 7 already) had to have one.  We both had hotcakes that were mediocre at best.  Again, eat across the street and buy your T-shirt afterwards.

We continue to ride along Route 66 with Don M in the lead.  He has never ridden on the “right” side of the road.  In fact, I had a piece of white tape cut into the shape of an arrow pasted on his tachometer pointed to the right.  But this was Day four of the trip plus one day of riding around Stockton before we left, so he was in tune to our “crazy” road rules.  Anyway, we kept looking for the prairie dog village and missed it.  Not much on Route 66 except the railroad that is constant companion.  We never did see the prairie dog village that Jack 4E told us to look for.  Guess we are not too observant.  A few towns are left but there are also a few abandoned places along the road.  As we get near Kingman, AZ and to a lower altitude it starts to get hot.  We make a gas stop and a stop at McDonalds for a senior soda.  (I now get Senior discounts without having to ask for them anymore.) 

Take off to Las Vegas on Hwy 93, what a straight, hot, boring road that was.  Finally came up to a curve in the road after about 70 miles.  There was no reason for the jog in the road.  I guess the highway engineers got tired of drawing a straight line and decided to throw in a curve or two.  As we approach Hoover Dam everyone is pulled off the highway for an inspection.  Since the highway still goes right on top of the dam, it is a Security Checkpoint.   We get to the dam and pull into the parking lot.  It costs us each $6.00 to park, the same price as an SUV or auto.  I take Don M. over to the Tour ticket booth.  I decide not to take the tour since I had taken it just a year ago.  Besides, I am wearing my riding boots, which have a high heel left boot.  It compensates for the fact that I “lost” an inch and a half from my left femur in an auto accident back in 1968.  Anyway the boots are not comfortable for walking and the street shoe storage was not big enough for boot storage.  Could not get anything to eat at the dam.  The prices for food are the same as in SBC Park, the home of the SF Giants.  I am too cheap to pay $4.50 for a skinny hot dog.  The dam duly impresses Don M., but it is hot and we still have a little bit to ride to Harrah’s, our stop for the night in Las Vegas.  We have a $45 room reserved via the Internet.  The same room the next night (the start of the Labor Day weekend) cost $139.  It is nice to be retired and travel whenever. 

Las Vegas traffic proves to be a nightmare.  Never having traveled the revised roads, I rely on the trusty AAA map.  We manage to get to I-15 that has become a long parking lot, remembering not to split lanes.  We do ride a little bit of shoulder to get to the first exit and over to Las Vegas Blvd. and the Strip.  Don M.’s predisposition was that Vegas was a sleazy neon town.  He is astounded by the Strip.  It is much grander than he could have imagined.  We check in at Harrah’s and take a shower.  It is 4:30 PM and 103* outside.  Eating in Las Vegas is much more of a choice of what to eat.  There are too many options.  Anyway we settle on one and have a wonderful meal.  But you could go to a hundred different places and get good food in Las Vegas.

The wind starts to kick up as we head out on the Strip by foot.  We stop to watch the outdoor show at Treasure Island.  It has changed to include scantily clad women and is a big disappointment from the Pirate shows of the past.  We visit the Venetian and view the indoor Gondola ride.  We walk through the Caesar’s Palace shops.  We head over to watch the water show at the Bellagio.  But after a long wait we find that it has been cancelled because of high winds.

Early Friday morning we head south on I-15.  We stop at Prim for gas, since we wanted to get out of Vegas quickly.  We stop at Baker, CA to view the world’s tallest thermometer.  It used to be a tall analog thermometer that could be seen for miles.  But it is now a tall digital thermometer.  Baker is the southern gateway to Death Valley and can get to 120* in the summer.  Breakfast at the Bun Boy Restaurant is excellent.  I have the Quickie breakfast, with bacon instead of sausage, which is a pancake sandwich.   Don M. orders an assortment of stuff, all very good.

Back on the road we ride through Barstow on old Hwy 58.  Then we head toward Mojave.  We stop at a State run Rest Stop near Edwards AFB.  We give some travelers from Kentucky a mapped route from there to Eureka, CA.  They wanted a route that avoided traffic.  So off we go with our next gas stop past Bakersfield.  It is still early so we decide to ride all the way to Stockton rather than over night some where along the way.  My headlight burns out about 5 miles from home, but by then we are in the I-5 heavy traffic corridor on a Friday night and just keep going.


We were supposed to stop for dinner at the Wool Growers Inn in Los Banos, a Basque restaurant.  But decided to drive back from Stockton with my parents and my sister on Saturday night instead.  Don M.’s flight does not leave SFO until Sunday night.  Basque restaurants, at least the old fashion ones are marvelous.  The Wool Growers is in an old building with rooms upstairs.  The bar is in the front and the open dining room is gotten to by either a narrow hallway or going through the bar.  The main dining room is just a big rectangular room with the kitchen walls at the far end.  There are long tables with red and white checkered tablecloths set up in three long rows.  Folding chairs are set along each side of the tables.  Everything is served Family Style (even to one person).  Dinner starts with a vegetable soup and Portuguese beans and a bottle of house wine.  Then comes the green salad with vinaigrette dressing and also potato salad.  The entrée is lamb stew tonight, but could be chicken and rice or pigs feet.

The main course is your only choice.  Tonight the choice is New York steak, Prime Rib, pork chops, baked chicken, roast leg of lamb or lamb chops.  The main course also has freshly fried real French fries.  Dessert is anticlimactic, a cup of institutional vanilla ice cream, the 3 ounce cups that you get in schools or hospitals.  But you are too full to eat it anyway.  Also bring your own containers for leftovers.  The restaurant only provides plastic baggies for leftovers.


I know that prologues are supposed to precede the main text, but hey, it is my story.

The Sunday before the Monday start to this Ride was spent riding the River Roads of the San Joaquin Delta.  I thought everyone had rivers where the water level was 10 feet higher than the surrounding ground.  Anyway on the tops of the levees that keep the rivers where they are supposed to be there are two lane roads.  So we traveled these roads as a prelude to the Ride.  Brunch was at Ernie’s Saloon in Isleton, CA (home of the Annual Crawdad Festival).    It included a couple of pounds of crawdads as well as eggs benedict.  Ernie’s makes a mean eggs benedict.



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