This year we were able to enjoy Thanksgiving in southern California, which due to the pandemic we didn’t do last year. We started out the trip in San Pedro CA, staying with Liza’s mom.
Thanksgiving day was really special – all of the Ursich side in mom Alpha’s house, with wonderful food, wine, pies, family football – such a treat to be able to spend time with everyone! The next day we went to see Robert’s mom Claire, who at 92 is very frail, so our visit was sadly limited.
That Saturday we were joined by our friends Joanne and Mark from Brooklyn, who had flown in the day before, at the USC-BYU tailgate on the USC campus. Not the best year for USC football (lol) but the campus is always beautiful to visit, and of course fun to hear the USC band up close.
Following that we were on our way on a road trip with Joanne and Mark, first heading up to Morro Bay after an ice cream stop in Santa Barbara. Liza had expected cool, maybe foggy mornings, but instead we had clear blue skies and great weather. We visited two wineries in the Paso Robles area, Tablas Creek and Opolo, and also made a visit to Pasolivo for a tasting and Liza’s annual olive oil purchase. (We were curious to see the Pasolivo ranch after having been in olive country in southern Spain in September.) Morro Bay State Park offered up some nice walking and good looks at the local birds, too.
Leaving Morro Bay we returned (via Santa Barbara and breakfast burritos at The Daily Grind!) to Solvang, the Danish village in the Santa Ynez valley. Good to see that Solvang appeared to have survived the pandemic, it was a little quiet the first night (Wednesday) but Thursday it was busier. Mortensen’s Bakery is happily still there, although to be honest Liza thinks her butter ring is better than theirs now! 🙂 Buellton, a few miles away at the 101 freeway, seemed to have a lot more going on than we remembered; a highlight there was the Figueroa Mountain brewery. The Zaca Mesa winery was our only wine tasting in the area, and it did not disappoint.
We were then on the road again, first to Vazquez Rocks (classic Star Trek, anyone?) then on to Twentynine Palms, best known for having a Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. Maybe not the best place ever we’ve spent our anniversary (38 this year), but it was conveniently close to an entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, where we spent the following day. From JTNP we returned to Blythe (another hot spot haha – seriously when will they get a decent restaurant) after having lunch in Palm Desert at another Robert-online-scouted location Grill-a-Burger.
We dropped off Joanne and Mark at Sky Harbor in Phoenix the next day, after a mandatory In-n-Out Burger stop, and continued on to Tucson. There we saw Lindsey Buckingham in concert at the Fox Theater, finally getting home the day after that. (The concert was great, and Liza had to reflect on how she’d met him 42 years ago when the USC Band recorded “Tusk” with them. Sigh, where did the time go?)
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