Taking a break for Café Bustelo at Gila Blend inside a casino

The play on words on this Café Bustelo sign — assuming it was intentional — might not be so obvious if you haven’t spent much time in Arizona. Gila Bend is a small town in Maricopa County, located near a bend in the Gila River, about an hour’s drive from Phoenix. However, it wasn’t the … Continue reading Taking a break for Café Bustelo at Gila Blend inside a casino

Camping with a fake but pretty propane fireplace

Before our last camping trip, Kathryn got on the interwebs and found us a nice, portable propane fireplace. We had looked into this idea before, but most of the fireplaces we found in the past would have taken up half the trunk. This one was a bit pricey, but it’s smaller than our cooler. Since … Continue reading Camping with a fake but pretty propane fireplace

Repent! Remember, man, that thou art dust

Valentine’s Day? Arizona Statehood Day? Any other year, that’s how we might refer to February 14. This year, however, February 14 is, first and foremost, Ash Wednesday. I like to get a jump on my Lenten repentance, so I arrived at Mater Misericordiae Mission in Phoenix at 6:05 this morning to get in line for … Continue reading Repent! Remember, man, that thou art dust

Just a random sunrise photo from Shaw Butte in Phoenix

Apropos of nothing, here’s a random photo taken during a sunrise hike at Shaw Butte in Phoenix last year. We’re looking north from near the summit, with the residential communities clustered around Thunderbird Road and Coral Gables Drive appearing closest below. Usually the low brush appears brown and the rocks appear grey, but with the … Continue reading Just a random sunrise photo from Shaw Butte in Phoenix

Hockey and Popeyes, recent news items out of Montpellier

Montpellier, France, is still one of my favorite places in the world, so I try to keep up with the local media there. I thought I’d share a couple recent news items that caught my attention today. First, our second favorite hockey team, the Montpellier Vipers, finished the regular season with an 8-0 home win … Continue reading Hockey and Popeyes, recent news items out of Montpellier

Sunrise over Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood

The downside of crystal-clear blue skies is they produce some rather unspectacular sunrises and sunsets, mostly involving changing shades of blue. However, when we woke up on our last day of camping in Cottonwood, there were just enough clouds on the horizon to give the sunrise a little bit of color. The car in the … Continue reading Sunrise over Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood

A perfect weekend with no television, camping in Cottonwood

Kathryn and I have been in Cottonwood, Arizona, since Friday afternoon, enjoying a rare three-day weekend of camping at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. It has been gorgeous weather for tent camping, with crystal-clear blue skies, an occasional light breeze, and high temperatures in the 70s. Yesterday morning we did a five-mile hike in the … Continue reading A perfect weekend with no television, camping in Cottonwood

Fortune Garden, Chinese restaurant in El Centro

Our lunch several Saturdays ago at Fortune Garden, a Chinese restaurant in El Centro, California, was something of a happy accident. Dan, Kathryn, and I left Yuma around 11 am with every intention of driving to Calexico, parking, and walking across the border to a Chinese restaurant a few hundred yards away in Mexicali. However, … Continue reading Fortune Garden, Chinese restaurant in El Centro

Only six weeks later, we’re on the road again to Yuma

If it seems like Kathryn and I were in Yuma just six weeks ago, it’s because Kathryn and I were in Yuma just six weeks ago. Now we’re on our way back, not just as a stop this time, but as a destination. Our good friend Dan is in town for a few days on … Continue reading Only six weeks later, we’re on the road again to Yuma

More Chinese food in Mexicali at Restaurante Dragon

We couldn’t miss a chance for more Chinese food during our trip to Mexicali over Thanksgiving weekend. Our baseball game Saturday night and our early departure Sunday morning left us only one chance, at lunchtime Saturday. We were staying at Hotel Araiza on Boulevard Bénito Juárez, so we chose Restaurante Dragon, which was just a … Continue reading More Chinese food in Mexicali at Restaurante Dragon

Making a run for it, back in the United States

Kathryn and I just finished a late lunch on the northern side of the border, in Yuma. I looked at the CBP website around 10 am to get an idea of border crossing times, and I was a little shocked to see two-hour wait times so early in the day. Thinking it would only get … Continue reading Making a run for it, back in the United States

Baseball in Mexicali, a lively evening of winter league action

Last night we saw our first ever Mexican Pacific League baseball game, a matchup between the Obregon Yaquis and the Mexicali Águilas, at Estadio B-Air in Mexicali. The Mexican Pacific League is a “winter” league. The season starts in mid-October and runs through the end of December, making for rather pleasant baseball-watching weather in Mexico. … Continue reading Baseball in Mexicali, a lively evening of winter league action

Earthquake instructions and baseball in Mexicali

The only apprehension I’d had about seeing a baseball game in Mexicali was not knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake. We just sat through the earthquake instructions at Estadio B-Air. Stay calm and stay in your seat until the trembling stops, then follow directions from staff. I think I can handle … Continue reading Earthquake instructions and baseball in Mexicali

Laguna Azul, tasty, unpretentious seafood in Mexicali

As much as we enjoy the Chinese food in Mexicali, last night we decided it was time to try some Mexican seafood here. I turned to the internet for suggestions, and Mariscos Laguna Azul was a place not far from our hotel that was mentioned over and over again. I liked the ambiance at Laguna … Continue reading Laguna Azul, tasty, unpretentious seafood in Mexicali

A cortado almost makes it worth the trouble

A cortado from a Cuban café almost made it worth the trouble of flying through Miami International Airport. Kathryn got a cappuccino from the same place. Her larger cup had a description of the café on the back. Honestly, I’d never heard of this place, but I remembered enjoying a Cuban coffee in the airport … Continue reading A cortado almost makes it worth the trouble

Patiently mingling with the unwashed masses in Miami

We’re at Miami International Airport, waiting for our flight back to Phoenix. What a shithole. For once, TSA wasn’t the problem at the security checkpoint; it was totally clueless passengers. I mean, signs were posted in nine languages, and it seems like half of traveling public here can’t read any of them. Ugh. On the … Continue reading Patiently mingling with the unwashed masses in Miami

Reaching Key West through the aftermath of a hurricane

We’ve reached Key West. I wasn’t sure what to expect about the drive through the Keys so soon after the hurricane. Some of what we saw literally made me gasp. Route 1 had mountains of debris on both sides, some so high the backhoes had to drive up them to remove them. And people were … Continue reading Reaching Key West through the aftermath of a hurricane

Somewhere in southern Florida, grabbing a bite

We’re somewhere in southern Florida — Florida City, I think — having a coffee and some fast food on our way to Key West. I was able to get some sleep on the flight, so I’m not a total wreck behind the wheel. Getting a rental car in Miami took some patience. There’s such a … Continue reading Somewhere in southern Florida, grabbing a bite

Waiting in Montevideo for a flight to Miami

We’re in the departure area of the airport in Montevideo, Uruguay, waiting for our flight to Miami, which should board within the hour. The security checkpoint seems to have been handled by the Air Force. It was mostly young men who appeared to have a sense of humor. The woman at the immigration desk gave … Continue reading Waiting in Montevideo for a flight to Miami

Photographs from Punta del Este, Uruguay

After a nice breakfast and a long morning walk through the city here in Montevideo, Kathryn and I are having a bit of a siesta in preparation for what will likely be an enormous steak lunch. That gives me time to post several leftover photos from Punta del Este. Just a few blocks from our … Continue reading Photographs from Punta del Este, Uruguay

Value-added tax refund scheme for foreigners in Uruguay

Now that we’re back in Uruguay for the last few days of our South America trip, I thought I’d share an interesting value-added tax scheme being used to promote tourism in Uruguay. Apparently, if you dine at a restaurant in Uruguay and pay with a non-Uruguayan credit or debit card, the value-added tax — which … Continue reading Value-added tax refund scheme for foreigners in Uruguay