Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Vacation!

Hello everyone!

Well, we made it back from our little road trip, and I must admit, it was lots of fun. We drove to Reno and stayed at the fabulous Atlantis Hotel and Casino. Now, most people who know us know that we're not gamblers by any stretch. But the whole point of going to Reno was that it was on the way to Tahoe, and, the last time I was there, the rooms were cheap. Unfortunately, it turns out the rooms are only cheap on weekdays, and we were there on a Friday night. But we stayed there anyway, and the room was gaudily extravagant, and it was all amusing to us.

We then decided to go to the fancy schmancy MonteVigna Italian Ristoranté for dinner. Our waiter was this guy in his mid 20s, and it was pretty clear he was used to serving pretentious snobs who think they're some sort of VIP just because they decided to go to Reno for their one week of vacation per year because they can't afford Vegas. Where was I? Oh yeah, after I gave our waiter crap because he showed me the wine bottle before opening it ("Hey, I'm just doing my job," says he), he loosened up and the three of us were able to relax. He even started to flip me crap right back, though he was hesitant about it. The guy who kept bringing us bread was as stiff as a board the whole time, though.

But I've gotta say, the food was fantastic. And even though we may have to eat nothing but ramen and cup-o-noodles for a month to make up for the cost, that one meal was worth it.

Then I played a few slot machines. I really didn't want to, but I kept feeling obligated since we were in a casino. Within 10 minutes, I had lost $40. We figured that they had gotten enough of our money, and we headed to our room to watch good old TV. Casinos hate it when you do that! It turns out they even have ways for you to gamble over your cable TV. The greedy bastards!

The next day we went to Lake Tahoe. In many ways, it looks a lot like Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, Idaho where I lived for eight years. Here's me at Tahoe:

And here are a bunch of seagulls at Pend Oreille:

Here are the famous Emerald Bay and Fannette Island in Tahoe:

And here are a not-so-famous bay and a bunch of not-so-famous islands in Pend Oreille:

Regardless, both lakes are cool. No, I mean it. They're not just cool, they're both friggin' cold. I know because I've been in both. I didn't go in Tahoe this time (come on, it's March!), and I haven't been in it since I was a little kid, but I still remember it being butt-cold. There are some experiences that you have as a kid that are impossible to forget. The first time you feel your testicles in the back of your throat is one of them.

However, if there's one thing Tahoe has that Pend Oreille doesn't, it's gotta be its huge cones:

Look at that pair! They're enormous, I tells ya!

After Tahoe, we headed south through the California Mother Lode area. This is the area where all the gold miners came during the gold rush. There are a bunch of "quaint" little tourist towns and rolling hills through here. It's kinda cool, actually:

The yellow things on the hillside are California Poppies. The only reason I know that is because Cathy said so.

We followed the Gold Country Highway, State Highway 49. Get it, 49? Like the 49ers! No, not the football team, moron. I'm talking about the people the football team was named after. You know, the 49ers? No, not the 69ers. Never mind.

Here's another picture:


We spent the evening in Sonora, one of my favorite stops during my inventory days. We didn't quite make it to the Iron Horse Saloon, however. For some reason, I wasn't craving warm pitchers of Budweiser and an upside down pub table in the middle of the pool table. If at least one reader gets that reference, I'll be a happy camper!

The next day, we went to Yosemite. If you haven't been, you should. Everyone has seen pictures, but they just don't do it justice. I'm still going to show ours, though:

That's Bridal Veil. Here's a much closer shot:

We were getting drenched while I took that picture. Cathy had to take off her glasses because they were soaked from all the mist!

Here's El Capitan. If you look closely, you can see some small dots at the top of the cliff. Those are actually very large trees. What I'm trying to say is that El Capitan is friggin' gargantuan! No wonder it takes climbers a few days to reach the top. Speaking of which, if you look at where I'm pointing and squint just right, you might see David Lee Roth still up there wiggling his hips and singing "Just Like Paradise". Sorry Dave, you're no longer cool.

Next we went to Yosemite Falls. In case you have trouble seeing the falls in the photo, I've helpfully pointed to where the upper falls is:

And here it is without me in the way:

Now, I know it's not that impressive looking. But take a look at this photo of the lower part of the falls:

See the red, white, and blue spots? Those are people--patriotic ones, apparently. What I'm saying is that the falls is enormous. I mean, ENORMOUS!

Here's another shot of the upper falls from farther away:

This rock is called "Half Dome". Cathy helpfully pointed out that "Dome" is in fact one word, and it's not called "Half Do Me". Regardless, we have no idea why they decided to name it that. Here it is, and notice the trees along the ridge to the right:


Later, Half Dome fell over on an old lady, and I single handedly lifted it off her. Man, it was heavy. Luckily, Cathy was there to take a photo:


That was quite the workout!

Next we started to head back. We spent the night in Jackson, another favorite town from the inventory days not far from Sonora. The next day we headed toward the Coast and up Highway 101 through the Redwoods staying in Eureka. We don't have any pictures of this part of the trip because the camera's memory stick was full. We even stopped by a Target to buy a new one, but the punk ass kid who worked behind the counter got all high and mighty and arrogantly told us that our camera model is obsolete and Target doesn't carry that type of memory card anymore. You know what, my camera might be obsolete, but at least I don't work at Target!

Look, there's nothing wrong with working at Target, or any corporate retail chain for that matter. It's a crappy job, and sometimes you've just got to take a crappy job. But just because your crappy job allows you to gain some essentially useless tidbit of information that I don't have, it doesn't mean you're better than me, nor does it mean you have the right to act like you are. Yes, I realize your job is degrading and humiliating, but you're certainly not the only one with a degrading and humiliating job, buddy!

Where was I? Oh yes, our wonderful, relaxing vacation. Eureka is a cool town. I could see us living there some day. We went to the Lost Coast Brewery for dinner, and it was the antithesis of our Reno dinner in terms of formality. But it was fantastic. I had the Downtown Brown. And some food, too.

The next day, we leisurely worked our way up the coast through more Redwoods and back into Oregon and eventually home to our spoiled little cat who left us a nice, yellow, liquid present on our bathroom floor. Ah, home sweet home.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about our vacation as much as we enjoyed taking it, though I know that's impossible. Until next time!

Rob

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