New Mexico – The land of enchantment and some cool funky shit.

This year I took dad to New Mexico for Father’s day. We headed to Albuquerque & Santa Fe, New Mexico with stops in Flagstaff, AZ, Winslow, AZ and a final stop in Sedona, AZ on the return ride home to Las Vegas. By car this trip takes about 8 to 9 hours to Albuquerque from Vegas so I feel better splitting up the drive and spending a night half way along the route. We considered driving to Kingman, taking an Amtrak and renting a sleeper room, but the cost didn’t justify the investment so road trip it was. Flagstaff is the perfect stop for such a short night trip. We stayed at a Courtyard Inn by Marriot which is well maintained and close to the 40 freeway exit. I ordered takeout BBQ and had some amazing chicken wings that you can see below in the gallery of photos. The next day we hit the road at about 11 am and drove an hour to Winslow to see, what else? The “Standing on the Corner” exhibit made famous by the rock & roll legends the Eagles. Needless to say the place is pretty cool, with several dining options and souvenir shops that you’ll most likely go into when you are there. We had tacos at BoJo’s that was served with rice and beans. The food was tasty, but it was time to move on to our destination. From Winslow to Albuquerque it’s another 4 hours of driving, but it’s a nice desert landscape with plenty of options to stop and buy Native Indian jewelry and visit the reservations. However, we just wanted to get to our hotel, eat and rest so we could explore Albuquerque. Keeping to our tradition of ordering takeout during the pandemic, we chose Italian. The place we chose is called Saggios. The restaurant is located at 107 Cornell Dr SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106. They have pizza, pasta, salads and also serve beer and wine. The location was just a few miles from our hotel at the Fairfield Inn and right across the street from the University of New Mexico. The next day I played golf at the University of New Mexico’s golf course which I’ll write about separately in another blog post. We ended up staying in Albuquerque 3 nights, then drove through the turquoise trail with a stop in Golden, NM and a final stop in Santa Fe. I wish we had more time, but we spent just one night in Santa Fe and it was time for us to drive back. Next time I visit New Mexico I would like to visit with a date and explore more of the dining options. In addition, I would like to learn more about the native Indian population since we didn’t get to do a lot of that. Until next time New Mexico! Thanks for having us and treating us to some good food and awesome photo opportunities.

Reserva Conchal Golf Club- A tropical layout nestled in the hills of Guanacaste Costa Rica

Ocean views, crocodiles, iguanas coati-mundi(raccoons) and one hell of a practice facility the Reserva Conchal Golf Club should be on your bucket list in Costa Rica if you enjoy golf as much as I do. This is a Robert Trent Jones designed layout that offers golfers a fantastic experience and challenge for players of all levels. My favorite hole is the number 4 par 5 that faces directly into the pacific ocean. The view is just spectacular off the tee and gets better as you approach the green. I was lucky enough to be one of the only golfers on this course during a nice, but very steamy hot day. I really enjoyed the golf cart as it had a terrific GPS system and also the staff in the bar & clubhouse who treated me like a king. You can book a tee time by calling or on their website, and you will receive a discount if you are a hotel guest at the W or Westin resorts. The Reserva Conchal is ranked 2nd in Costa Rica according to Top 100 golf Courses and you can find the Reserva Conchal at Playa Conchal Guanacaste Cabo Velas, 50308, Costa Rica.

Valley of Fire – A Nevada state park and awesome day trip.

Like most things in life I saw this park on Facebook and thought it would be a great trip for my dad and I to explore the beautiful red rocks of the Valley of Fire. I have driven by the entrance several times unknowingly on the way to Mesquite and Southern Utah in the past. This time however, was a full deep dive into one of Nevada’s hidden gems. Just off the 15 N interstate on the way to Salt Lake City from Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire exposes it’s magnificent landscape for park attendees. Admission is $10 or $9 with a veterans discount and the park closes at sundown. I got out of the car several times to take short hikes around the natural wonders and snap photos. I was fascinated by the red sand that is extremely fine like the white sand found at Pebble Beach located in and around the rock formations. The park also boasts ancient hieroglyphs from long lost tribes of the southwest and many unique rock figurations including an arch that is quite simply cool. My dad and I made the trip in late March and it wasn’t hot at all. After several hours in the park we decided to stop for a bite to eat at a restaurant named The Inside Scoop. The food portions were most generous and the milkshake was killer. I highly recommend this day trip for locals and tourists looking to get away from the strip. You can find the Valley of Fire at 29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV 89040.

Oak Quarry Golf Course – Hit your ball of the rocks and score!

Wow this course is a one of a kind. Big rocks that you can ricochet your ball off onto greens and a track that you will never forget. One of my Facebook friends posted this course on her timeline and I knew I had to go check it out. Living in So. California for over a decade, I had never heard of it. The clubhouse and cart barn are pretty standard, but the golf carts are top notch with awesome GPS and big comfortable chairs. The layout is unique to say the least with challenging tee shots and slick greens. I was hitting the ball well that day, but I found the course to be a perfect challenge of the need for distance, control and accuracy. My only complaint was the tightly packed grass in the fairways which have a matted down feeling when hitting iron shots, but that was probably due to the time of year in early spring. I highly recommend this course for the challenge and photo opportunities. Oak Quarry can be found at  7151 Sierra Ave, Riverside, CA 92509. Their website can be found by clicking here.

Pelican Hills Golf Resort

If you’re in Newport Beach, California and you want to play golf this is the premiere course(s) to play. Pelican Hills was designed by Tom Fazio, offers 2 courses to choose from(the north and south course), is open to the public and tee times can be made on their website or sometimes on GOLF NOW. Like most things in Southern California the resort was closed for intervals during the Covid 19 pandemic, but opened back up at the end of February 2021. I was looking for a spot to play with my friend Dave and jumped on the opportunity once I found out we could tee it up on these beautiful grounds. Situated just above the historic Pacific Coast Highway, with views of the ocean and Balboa Peninsula, Pelican Hills offers golfers of all levels a chance to test their skills. Although not the most difficult of layouts a golfer must keep their ball in the fairway in order to score well as the hazard areas will engulf your ball and will be unable to find. I recommend setting up a tee time in the afternoon to take advantage of the reduced twilight rate. The practice facilities are top notch with an uphill driving range, and a beautiful putting green next to the pro-shop. If you have time grab a nice lunch or breakfast at the Pelican or Coliseum grill which has a great view of the Pacific Ocean, or stop in for a drink after your round to soak up the experience. You can find Pelican Hills at 22701 S Pelican Hill Rd, Newport Coast, CA 92657. Please see my photos below to get a feel for the course.

2020 a beautiful and dangerous rocky road! A year we will never forget.

Rocky Road

It started off as a new decade, a glimpse into uncharted territory . An election year, a leap year, and the year of the rat in the Chinese Zodiac. I found myself starting a new business,. Nomadic Nolan’s Travel and kicked off things with a trip to Mexico City to give a review of North America’s largest metropolis and explore my roots. On that trip, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on my last day before returning home. I remember getting a work out in at the hotel gym and shedding tears while I exercised. As expected I had great food in Mexico, and went to the ancient city of Teotihuacan to visit the pyramids. A few weeks later I went to Miami for more business and had great Cuban food. Then came March and along came Covid. Our economy was floored, months of lock down and gaining weight. I spent many days wondering when things would be normal again. Things got worse, then got better and then we were somewhat free again during the summer. I decided to take road trips with my dad. We visited some of the greatest parks and attractions in the SW United States including Zion, The Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Sedona Arizona, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, Bryce Canyon and I played golf at some of the most epic courses these eyes have ever seen. The Lakers won the NBA title, and the Dodgers won the World Series. Joe Biden defeated Trump. I made a trip to LA to play Wilshire country club with my good friend John and saw my friends Ryan, Dave & Jenny while I was there. Drewski was in the mix and Rachel Rach was there to have some fun too. I even made it to Hawaii to see Jamonica, Mike, Kayla, Aden, and Vanessa. CJ, Chris and Garrett were there for me this year and countless others reached out to me to see how I was doing. 2020 was a time for growth, a time of reflection, a time of conspiracy, a time of fear, and a time of appreciation. There are so many things that happened that I am thankful for in 2020 and as bad as things were, there were so many wonderful bright spots I will never forget… Cheers to all of you and Happy New Year! Let’s have a great 2021. God bless you all from Nomadic Nolan!

Nevada & California 2020 Pandemic Travels – 4th stop Mammoth Lakes, California

Papa Bear

Mammoth Lakes is about a 3 hour drive from South Lake Tahoe and was one of our surprise stops since we didn’t plan on going here. The drive is quite beautiful and scenic. We took the NV highway 207 and then the 395 south which is pretty much a straight shot south from Tahoe. I was able to find a decent rate on a hotel room at the Empeiria High Sierra and there was a great little BBQ spot down the street that my dad and I ate at called Uncle Jimmy’s. After checking into our hotel we went for a drive into the mountains and discovered a plethora of activities that people were enjoying including horse back riding, mountain biking, fishing, camping & taking photos. Mammoth Lakes turned out to be one of my favorite spots on the trip to take pictures which I have included below. After our drive I took off on foot for a walk around town to check out the local shops & Golf Course called Sierra Star. As I was walking I ran into some people that spotted a bear which made me quite nervous so I decided to cut through the golf course to get back to the hotel. All in all Mammoth Lakes is a nice quaint sleeper town and I would love to go back and engage in more outdoor activities.

Nevada & California 2020 Pandemic Travels – 3rd stop Edgewood Golf Course South Lake Tahoe, NV,

I booked a reservation for 2:45 pm which gave me plenty of time to get an early morning walk around town.  I headed down toward the lake and then veered off of State Line PKWY toward the golf course to see what I was in store for.  The scenery around the property is breathtaking, and the climate in July is quite lovely.  I snapped off a few photos, spoke with the guard at the course and found out I could get there as early as I want to practice on the range and putting greens.  There were no time restrictions due to COVID-19 as you will find with other courses in Las Vegas.  So after hearing that news I started walking back to the hotel to get ready and find something to eat.  I noticed a BBQ place that was open, but the line was longer than I wanted to wait so I opted for the Fat Burger inside of Harrah’s.  This Fat Burger was unlike any I had been to before.  The staff made the burgers right in front of the customers on the grill and I noticed the employees making massive milkshakes with heaping gobs of ice cream.  After ordering a couple of burgers, fries and two shakes I headed back up to the room to feed my dad and got ready for the round of golf.  When I arrived at the course I spent some time in the pro-shop and opted to buy a beautiful light blue baseball hat that had the Edgewood Logo on it and a divot tool also with the Edgewood logo.  After paying I grabbed a beer and headed to the practice facilities.  The practice experience alone was enough to write home about.  I had beautiful views of the lake and mountains while hitting balls.  I thought to myself this is a little sliver of heaven.  As my tee time approached I snapped off more photos, worked on my putting and chipping, and was finally paired up with two other guys who were local to the area.  They were extremely friendly and we had a great conversation during our game.   As the round progressed each hole had it’s own character and I found each one so intriguing it was like each was designed for a post card moment.  The tall pine trees, lush greens, manicured fairways, and bunkers filled with sand from Pebble beach made for a most memorable golf experience.  Looking back I would have to put Edgewood in my top two golf rounds of my life.  Edgewood can be located at 180 Lake Pkwy, Stateline, NV 89449 and more information can be found on their website or by clicking here.

 

Nevada & California 2020 Pandemic Travels – Second stop South Lake Tahoe, NV, Harrah’s Hotel and Casino

We woke up early and left Tonopah for South Lake Tahoe on Tuesday morning June 30th…  On our way out of town, we stopped for some photos at the Clown Hotel.  The drive starts to get interesting around Walker Lake, then again as you near Lake Tahoe on the Nevada 207 West.  Other than that expect a rather desolate drive.   As we drove into Tahoe, climbing the massive winding highway, we were looking for something to eat before we checked into Harrah’s at 3 pm.  We found the perfect place near the beach named Jimmy’s Restaurant which is nestled at the base of the Landing Tahoe Resort and Spa.  We ordered fish tacos with Australian Sea Bass and the Caesar salad with blackened shrimp that were absolutely out of this world.  I would go back just for the shrimp they were that good.  After our meal we checked into Harrah’s and we were happy to see all the precautions the hotel was taking to address Covid 19.  Everyone was required to wear masks, there were temperature checks upon arrival, and some amenities were closed like the valet, room service, and housekeeping during the stay.  The staff took good care of us and got us a room on the 11th floor with amazing views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding forest.  The hotel is a solid 3.5 and could use some additional upgrades, but overall it was a good choice for our stay… Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is located right on the Nevada/California state line and the address is 15 US-50, Stateline, NV 89449.  To be continued.

Nevada & California 2020 Pandemic Travels – First stop Tonopah, NV

After being locked in the home for months due to Covid 19, my dad and I decided it was time to hit the open road.  Our destination was Lake Tahoe for it’s pristine waters, golf courses, and historic nature drive.  We had no idea what we were getting into so I hit the net to plan out a route.  After a few articles, trip advisories and YouTube videos, I decided we would drive from Las Vegas to Tonopah, NV.  Tonopah is home of the Stealth Bomber and about a four hour drive from Sin City.  The town is known for its star gazing and a few iconic hotels, one in which is haunted by ghosts!  The Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah has a century’s worth of history and some supposed paranormal activity.  I thought it would be cool to run into a ghost and have a story so here is what happened.  I wanted to see what the vibe was like before committing to a room for the night, and upon questioning the front desk attendant I decided I would give it a green light.  After all we were only staying for a night, and right next door there is a casino, dining available in the lobby restaurant, and a few shops and restaurants all within walking distance.  Tonopah, is a really cute small town and is basically all on one street so think of it as a perfect place to stretch out half way between Vegas and Lake Tahoe.  We checked into our room and had 3 hours of relax time before the restaurant opened.  This would be our first dining experience since Covid took over our lives, and we were happy to see only one other couple in the restaurant and the staff wearing masks.  My dad is 77 and has a compromised immune system, so this hotel and restaurant passed all of our tests.  We had a few drinks before eating so we were all giggly and ordered way too much food.  My dad had a massive burger with fries, and I ordered the chicken fajitas with a appetizer portion of buffalo wings.  WAY TOO MUCH FOOD!  Hah! After that it was nighty night for the both of us.  We headed back up to the room and crashed, no ghost sightings, no casino, just about a 30 minute get up session to pee and I walked outside to see what the stars looked like, but we were in too much light and I wasn’t about to walk to the star gazing spot by myself in a small town.  I went back to the room thinking I might see one of the small children or the lady in red dress spirits the receptionist and Mizpah paper told me about, but nada.  I crashed and the next morning dad and I had coffee, checked out and stopped at the Clown Hotel, the other iconic hotel, and snapped some photos by the enormous Clowns outside of the reception area.  Then it was on to Tahoe…  Tonopah, Nevada can be reached very easily from Las Vegas by taking the 95 North highway.  Both the Mizpah, & Clown Hotels are on the 95 North as well.

I would give the Mizpah a solid 3 stars for it’s history, country club vibe, and on-sight museum.  Although very small, basically just a room, the hotel has a nice collection of artifacts from the surrounding area, a cool bar, and lovely little restaurant called The Pittman Cafe, named after Key Pittman a former Senator from Nevada.  You can find out more information about the Mizpah here.

To be continued… In my next post I will cover our route to Tahoe, our stay at the Harrahs South Lake Tahoe, and the golf experience at Edgewood Golf Course.

 

Pandemic travels road trip 2020.