Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for the ‘OnTheRoad’ Category

We made it …

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… barely.missed_flight_100
Had we scheduled our return trip home ending our three-week R & R (relatives and reminiscing) hiatus a day later, we might still be in Toronto.
Our Air Canada flight home lifted off at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. That same flight Wednesday was among the dozens cancelled or delayed because of the massive rain/snow/wind storm that flopped over much of the eastern portion of the continent.
At the same time, Bev and I basked in 78-degree San Diego as we refilled our larder – er – freezer with goods from WalMart and Sam’s Club and settled into the sparkle that Mike created by painting the interior of our home while we were away.
It wouldn’t have been all that bad if we’d been delayed. It would have extended our visit with brother Lou and his wife Jean. We spent a week with them for Canadian Thanksgiving and drove down to Pennsylvania to visit with Bev’s uncle Donald and aunt Nancy Linderman for a week, during which we attended a 90th birthday party for her cousin, Bernice Kleinsmith. Then it was back to Toronto for a week to help celebrate Jean’s 75th birthday. She chose dinner at Rodney’s Oyster House for tuna tartare. Bev selected the chowder and mussels while Lou and I washed down a couple of dozen oysters with Canadian beer.
Now, it’s back to catching up on paying the bills…

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 30, 2015 at 7:47 am

Take the Red Eye …

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… if you’re traveling  during the summer — or any peak travel season — to avoid getting jammed into a packed jetliner wedged between a dozen or so screaming, yelling, crying, complaining and bawling kids. Toddlers may be cute when they’re playing hideyseek around the airport boarding gate but they can  throttle any pleasure out of your flight because you can’t escape the destruction they do to the decibel level at 35,000 feet.

This jaunt was our first summer one in a few decades and  I discovered they’re also making the little people a lot louder these days. The red-eye out was peaceful and permitted us passengers to nod off for a few hours so we could enjoy the arrival day OK. We began the return flight to the West Coast from Back East at 3 p.m  and were left with no doubt it’s the last midsummer flight we consider for leisure travel. It was even difficult to read.

I did learn something else. While the arm rests in middle seats can be lifted out of the way simply by pulling up, the ones on the aisle always stubbornly refused to budge for me. A friendly fellow passenger showed me there’s a little button at the rear underside of the aisle armrest that you push to pull the armrest out of the way. It makes getting in and out of the seat much easier.

The hiatus in Pennsylvania and Canada was wonderful fun but it’s grand to be back home.

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

August 7, 2014 at 8:06 am

R & R time really means …

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… relatives and reminisces, which is what Bev is relishing this week. It’s my turn next week back in Toronto. Her aunt and uncle have been doppling us with fresh fruit and fantastic home-made — really made at home here — Pennsylvania-Dutch desserts — can you get a whiff of shoo-fly pie??? —  between jaunts here there and everywhere that reverberates Bev’s early years in this region. We also lunched and lollygagged with her other aunt and uncle and with a friend she made at her first job out of high school.

Yesterday was a quick jaunt up to Hershey, which prompted me to start the argument: who came up with chocolate kisses first?  Was it Perugia with its baci (kiss) and did Hershey copy it, or vice versa?  Today (Saturday) we’re sked for a gathering of the clan at a Kutztown tavern. Eldest will be in late 80s and youngest in early 20s. We’ll report later because we’re set to go.

Rambling and rogue thunderstorms are forecast for this area for the next three days. If we can get by Syracuse Monday in half-decent weather, that’ll be a plus. Our trip down here Monday was the first time in more than a dozen trips we’ve ever had decent weather getting through and by that town.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 26, 2014 at 8:36 am

Surprisingly pleasant…

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… the hot muggy weather just hit us today here in eastern Pennsylvania.

Toronto’s layover was a gem. Bright and cool — AND NO MOSQUITOS — and Lou’s 75th birthday gathering could not have moved into history so well. Everyone schmoozed with everyone else and the food and family and friends were all mellow.

Drive to PA was eventless — took about 9 hours — and we’ve managed to squeeze in a quick tourist jaunt to Jim Thorpe (hadn’t been there before). Took some fotos and had some excellent food and then slept it all off before the heat hit today. It was 97 when I checked at 2:20 p.m. and the humidity was off the charts. Bev drove for about 15 minutes through an intense thunderstorm with rain drops that sounded like hail on the windshield. Seems to be cooling off in the evening.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 23, 2014 at 11:24 am

Time for a change…

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…not only for this blog but for us, too.

 

 

 

We’ve taken the luggage down to get ready for an about-a-month-long visit Back East.

We have our house sitters lined up and calls made to credit-card companies to let them know we’ll be on the road and alerted the alarm company, cops, relatives and neighbors so all we have to do now is decide what color slacks and tops we want to take. And how many.

We’re traveling in middle of summer — ugh — the unpredictable-weather and busiest-travel time of year to attend brother Lou’s 75th birthday. We agreed several months ago we’d attend his and he’s to attend my 80th later this year. We’ll be in Toronto for a few days for the festivities, drive to visit Bev’s folks in the Reading, Pa., area for a week, and back to Toronto to hang around with Lou and Jean, play some cards, sip some scotch, drink some wine, and snag a table in some of Toronto’s fine restaurants. In Pa., we’ll do our usual shopping at the Bethlehem of outlets —  at the Vanity Fair complex in West Reading — and get our Amish-food fix at one of the several such eateries peppered over the rolling countryside.

We don’t worry about gaining weight during these sessions because we do a lot of walking. As those of you who are familiar with the cities back there, they’re more conducive to walking around than the stretched-out metros of the Southwest, like Phoenix and San Diego and Los Angeles, where it’s normally long-haul to walk anywhere from where you are.

As always, we anticipate a fine R & R (relatives and reminiscing) time but do not look forward to the airport and airplane crunching and scrunching both going and coming. But the excitement of being there and enjoying the folks is beginning to build. And we’ll take a few photos to accompany the travel pieces we write when we return home.

— Cecil Scaglione

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

Free Lunch

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

After a lifetime of being told there’s no such thing as a free lunch, I got one this week.

Well, sorta.

It was during a date made by my wife, Bev, to meet a long-time friend at the Valley View Casino in north San Diego County. The casino-restaurant-hotel complex calls itself “San Diego’s Favorite” and boasts about featuring lobster under a portion of its glass-covered buffet counters.

The event dictated that we not worry about what didn’t get done around the house after the kids and grandkids returned to Phoenix Tuesday, wrapping up a weekend visit. We got most things re-arranged and cleaned up but the rest was left until after Bev’s auld-lang-syne appointment because she didn’t want to be so weary she couldn’t enjoy re-gossiping about the old days and catching up on the new days with her former neighbor, who had moved to Hawaii for several years before returning to Southern California after her husband died.

It took us about an hour to drive up to the casino, one of a dozen or so in the county. As the name suggests, it’s perched on a high hill overlooking the countryside that’s made up mostly of a deep valley surrounded by scrubby-looking hills peppered with scrubby looking rocks, shrubs and trees.

As the ladies dived into reminiscing while feeding a couple of slot machines, I went to a nearby counter and registered for a Player’s Cub card so the San Pascual Indian tribe could track how much money I lose. And I was told I get a free buffet, either lunch or dinner, with my new card.

I rushed back to tell Bev and she decided to get herself a free lunch — er, Players Club card — too.

As it turned out, the ladies quit feeding the machines and decided to feed themselves about the time I was ready to build my fortune. Bev’s wins and losses had bounced up and down and she wound up around $20 down. Since the buffet costs $19.95, she broke even. And, since I never got the opportunity to test my luck, I got a free lunch.

The operators have every right to boast about the buffet. It was extensive and fresh, with plenty of variety. But no lobster at lunch, only at dinner.

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Bay-Area Attractions Blend in Monterey

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADeer manicure a Monterey Peninsula golf course.

 
 
 
Story and Photo

By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

MONTEREY —- The cops warned us about the raid.
The man in the police uniform announced a few decibles above Rosine restaurant’s late-lunchtime chatter: “You have 17 minutes to move your cars.”
We either had to finish eating in that time or rush out and move our vehicles from their
downtown parking spots before a fleet of tow trucks swooped down Alvarado Street to move
them for us.
Right behind them was an army of vans and pickups that swarm into the commercial core of this
city of 29,000 to set up a weekly farmers’ market and craft fair that has been pleasing penchants ranging
from popcorn to porcelain, and puppets to pumpkin bread since 1991.
The rush is repeated every Tuesday throughout the year. Most of the produce on sale springs out of the neighboring salubrious Salinas Valley. It has been dubbed the Valley of the World by Salinas’ native son, Pulitzer- and Nobel-prizewinner John Steinbeck. It is also the model for “East of Eden,” one of his many renowned novels.
Cradled between the Coastal Range on the west and Pinnacles on the east, this funnel of fertility
stretches some 100 miles south to the Paso Robles-San Luis Obispo-Morro Bay region.
Earlier in the day, we covered the Presidio and Fisherman’s Wharf, smaller but more comfortable
versions of their similarly-named counterparts several miles north in San Francisco. They’re
much more accessible in this City by the Bay – Monterey Bay.
Within strolling distance are Cannery Row, also made famous by Steinbeck, and its world-
renowned aquarium. The carnival atmosphere of the Wharf, with its cotton candy and pull taffy, is so permeating you
begin to look for fire eaters and bearded ladies. Spielers shout enticements and offer cuisine
samples to lure you into whatever restaurant they happen to be standing in front of.
Dining is not to be pooh-poohed here. Menus at eatery entrances feature dishes ranging from
abalone to zucchini. If there isn’t  enough there for the gourmand, you’re still  here, just minutes away in Cannery Row with its eclectic array of boutiques, saloons, and dining dens. It also serves as a megaphone proclaiming the
dozens of wineries and their products in the Monterey Peninsula as well as reminding visitors
this is Steinbeck country.
The late author’s home town is 30 minutes east of Monterey’s neighbor, Marina, with its spume-
sprayed sand-dune beaches. There’s a Steinbeck Center in Salinas that fleshes out the author’s
course from farm laborer to literary lion with such memorable titles as “Tortilla Flats,” “The
Grapes of Wrath,” “Sweet Thursday,” and, of course, “Cannery Row.”
This agricultural hub feels longitudes away from the scenic and storied 17-mile drive, Pebble
Beach and Big Sur. Aiming your auto west for just half an hour gets you right back to the
brisk Pacific breezes that constantly massage these shores.
Our first approach was made by taking the winding 100 mile coastal Highway 1 from Carmel to Cambria.
If you plan to make this drive, take plenty of time and film. There are vistas at every curve of the
road, and there are hundreds of curves. You can also take time to visit the fabled Hearst Castle at
San Simeon or stop for a respite at the Arthur Miller Library tucked into a rock-and-tree-walled
nook alongside the road.
A pleasant surprise at the northern tip of the Monterey Peninsula are the vistas from Ocean View
Boulevard, which borders the coastal edge of Pacific Grove, Monterey’s western neighbor. And
you don’t have to pay the $9.75-per-vehicle required to take the 17-mile drive. It was
worth the price because we got to see the famed California mission at Carmel, Monterey’s
southern neighbor, before we began the scenic drive from that city’s entrance.
We also got to see deer pottering about on the golf greens overlooking Spanish Bay. This was
reprised the following morning when a doe and fawn traipsed below our balcony at the Asilomar
Conference Center, a rustic retreat on the Pacific dedicated to the simple life. It was a culture-shock away from our previous night’s stay in a luxurious Marina Dunes suite on the opposite side of Monterey Bay.
Mature Life Features, Copyright 2004

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 23, 2013 at 9:06 am