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.

The W at Playa Conchal in Guanacaste, Costa Rica – A tropical oasis with howler monkeys.

From the moment you drive into this property you can tell you are in good hands. Greeted by a security guard at the gate and making your way up the winding drive it becomes clear that the W Conchal has it all for the seasoned veteran traveler who prefers the finer things in life. Park your car in valet, it’s included in your stay and the bell service is top notch, friendly and ready to cater to your needs. The reception desk is located in an open air lobby with an enormous center bar and a pool behind it with a swim up drink station and also a Dj spinning relaxing tranquil beats. Take a look beyond the pool for breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Playa Conchal. The setting is quite comforting to say the least. There are 3 towers in this hotel with elevators and easy access for the handicap. If you need assistance with your party, you will need to reserve a wheelchair or request one upon your arrival as I had to for my dad. Have a welcome drink in the lobby as you wait to check in and just enjoy the process. We were upgraded to an ocean view double queen room with a sizeable balcony. These rooms retail for over $500 a night depending on the season, but you might just book a standard room and see if you get lucky with a complimentary upgrade. Our bathroom was enormous and was all windows that you can leave covered or uncovered while you shower above the jungle. The hotel offers 24 hour room service, a gym, sauna, and steam room. You can also find a beach club, just steps away from the ocean which comes with a restaurant that offers Caribbean cuisine. The W also shares the hotel grounds with a neighboring Westin which is an all inclusive resort and an awesome golf course that I will write exclusively about in another blog post. There is also a ton of wildlife that you will hear and see. I was lucky to spot several Howler monkeys on a walk down to the beach, a coati (Costa Rican racoon) on the golf course, and a ton of green and black iguanas. You can reach the W Reserval Conchal at Reserva Conchal, Guanacaste  50308 Costa Rica and book rooms at Nomadic Nolan’s Travel Site.

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.

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.

Over 22,000 comments. Thank you for your support!

Hello world, I wanted to thank those who took the time to visit and comment on my blog.  I just approved over 22,000 comments that have been sitting in my inbox.  I know many of them are fake, or provide links to various pharmaceuticals, but to review that many comments would take weeks.  I will just have to go back and remove the bad apples one by one, but for those of you who commented with good intentions I wanted to let you know I do appreciate your participation.  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

 

 

Bali, Indonesia

Arriving at the Densapar airport in Bali, Indonesia gives you quite the feeling of tranquility as the facility is rather large, modern, and not as busy as many others throughout S.E.  Asia.  One thing I did love about this airport is that I was fortunate to meet a new friend, our driver Oka.  Not only did Oka drop us off at our hotel in Seminyak, he was our guide during our entire trip.  He drove us to the site where you can purchase the world’s most expensive Luwak coffee.  Oka also took us on an ATV adventure ride, to the monkey sanctuary in Ubud, to the beach, golfing, and he even hung out with us at the clubs.  I cannot tell you how grateful I was to meet him.  My friend Hector and I stayed at The Haven Bali hotel in the Seminyak region of the island which included a daily breakfast buffet, wonderful all you can eat dinner options, an awesome pool, and a free shuttle to the Double Six beach located on the southwest side of the island.  One of the most memorable moments was getting to the ocean and having a light rain cool us off, followed by a dinner and hookah at the La Plancha Beach bar and restaurant.   We also went to the clubs in Seminyak including the famous and funky La Favela which is surrounded by  other night venues like the Red Carpet Champagne Bar.  I will not however, I feel the better night life options can be found in Kuta Beach.   Finally, if you are a golfer like me I highly recommend playing the Bali National Golf Club near Nusa Dua Beach.  Bali National is one of the best courses I have played on the planet and I’ve played some great ones.  Whatever you decide to do in Bali let, please let me know if you need a driver as I am sure Oka would love to take you on a tour of this beautiful island in Indonesia.

 

 

 

Gout – God’s gift to those who can’t say no

I’ve had gout for years and it wasn’t until recently that I had to take this disease seriously.  I’ve suffered flare ups from time to time that usually last a day or two, but this last occurrence which I am still dealing with has lasted almost 3 weeks now.   It all started with an ankle sprain on a trip to Costa Rica.  I had also broken my ankle several years ago and the trauma brought on from a twisted ankle made me believe that I had broken it again.  After a few weeks of healing I was fine, but during those weeks of healing and feeling sorry for myself I really turned up the calorie intake for foods I should be staying away from and over indulging in beer and alcohol.

Sure enough on a business event at a “Beer Fest” taking place at Lake Las Vegas, I felt a flare up come over me.  At first it was a little tingle in my big toe and then I could feel it swell up my foot.  The next day I took about 6 tablets of aleve and in about an hour the pain had gone away.  I decided I was good enough to play golf.  As I hobbled around the course hitting my shots, and taking photos, I felt fine, but when I got back to my room the pain erupted all over my legs and feet.  Gout had officially taken over.

Gout is a disease that creates too much uric acid for a person to digest.  The acid then forms crystal like substances that attack the joint of the person carrying the disease.  For most people the joint attacked is usually the big toe.  For me this is also the case, the joint on my left foot leading to my big toe is always where the flare ups begin.  Gout can also move to other parts of the body and also create swelling and discomfort.

Foods and beverages that are high in purines are what can trigger a gout attack.  The disease is also hereditary.  From my research the number one cause for a gout flare up is beer, then alcohol, then consuming foods high in purines, like beef, chicken, pork, seafood, and other proteins.  Also, some vegetables like asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, and mushrooms.  Basically all the things I like so for a person like me this is a drastic wake up call to change my habits.

For treatment while I’m dealing with this attack, my Doctor has asked me to eliminate all the foods and beverages I mentioned above  and also put me on daily doses of  Celecoxib and Allopurinol.  In addition, I have been given 4 days of pain medicine to numb the flare ups.

My best advice to you, don’t get Gout, and if you do don’t subject yourself to foods and beverages high in purines.  It’s just not worth it.

Here are some useful links:

The Mayo Clinic Gout Diet

Health Line Best Diet for Gout