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Camping, Princess Style


Marlene
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27 minutes ago, lindag said:

How long has that been?

 

I think our first visit was 2013. Maybe 2012.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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One more look at Llano, and then I'm stepping backward in time to the first place we stopped for more than a night. (I told you there's be timeline whiplash.) Most of this is just things I spotted along the way, when I was out walking to and from the shops. There won't be much discussion.

 

The City gets duded up for the holidays. We've never stayed past Thanksgiving, so we've never seen the "Starry Nights at Llano" celebration in action, but we enjoy watching the displays being installed. It must be beautiful at night. The Courthouse Square decorations were also going up, but I didn't get pictures of any of them.

 

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The Inks Bridge is the way across the river from our park to downtown. It's difficult to remember now that the river flooded so badly only a few years ago that the bridge was threatened. Now, the riverbed below the dam has open space for walking, and people have room and time for rock art or, for one special artist, tree carving. That rock art pattern is a couple of hundred feet below the bridge, and quite large.

 

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Here are more of the shop displays near the restaurants I showed you before. I thought the pumpkin turkey was very clever. The piano was cute, but no fun to play because the keys felt disgusting from the paint. Don't ever do that to a piano!

 

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There's a wood-smoked pizza place just down the road from our park. I got pizza there last year and liked it. My darling more or less nixed the idea of a repeat, so I just admired it.

 

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Right next door is the county historical museum. I've still never visited it, but I love the facade.

 

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The knickknack stores are fun. I stayed out of them, mostly, but couldn't resist going into one because of the wine glasses I could see from the doorway. I didn't buy any. I did enjoy the sign at the entrance to Badu 1891's (now closed) patio.

 

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And that's it for Llano for now. Next up: of missed chances, regrets, and unexpected opportunities...and yet another grocery store.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Now I'm going back to the start of our trip. It already seems ages ago.

 

For the first time ever, we spent our first and second nights out in the same place. The travel rule has been that we leave when weather is good for driving, and keep driving long distances until we reach warm weather. This time, we left ahead of a Minnesota storm, but it was stormy in the southern states along our route. For the first time we changed the rule, parked at the Lakeside Casino RV park in Osceola, Iowa for two nights, and enjoyed using their electricity while a cold front passed and the rain to the south cleared out.

 

This would have been a perfect time, finally after years of talking about it, to meet @IowaDee. We've had the invitations. We have no idea whether the Princessmobile would fit there, so it would be a day drive over. We had time. Except...well, now I'll never have the chance to meet her. It is to my lasting regret that we never managed it when there was time. It was a missed opportunity.

 

That said, I'll also say that we finally had the opportunity to explore the town of Osceola. What a charming place! It seems like a clean, quiet Midwestern town. Fall was still in the air, rather than the winter we'd left behind.

 

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We discovered a wonderful mural painted on the side of some building.

 

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The building was next to a grocery store! It looked like a pretty good one, too.

 

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We'd only been on the road one day. We had a fully packed trailer ... except for the few items we knew we'd forgotten. We went in to investigate. That's our story, and we're sticking to it.

 

Produce section looked really good. We did need fruit for his breakfast fruit salad. This is where we caved to the idea of buying it, presliced, in clamshells.

 

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We liked this sign over a bakery display, even though the baked goods didn't tempt us. We did ask about Monte. In fact, we met him! It's that sort of place...everyone seemed easygoing and friendly, with good senses of humor. I love small towns. And yes, he assured me that it was all delicious. :) 

 

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The unfamiliar sauces, and the good prices on decent wines, caught my eye. Apothic is no longer a favorite, but at that price it's acceptable to me.

 

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We absolutely, positively didn't need any meat. We went to check out their meat counter anyway. Wonder of wonders, they had actual butchers with actual knowledge! That's almost a thing of the past.

 

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The adjacent deli counter was also a delight. I get a kick out of seeing the hand-prepared foods, ready to eat, that can be found at places like that. I also enoyed the banter with the men nehind the counter. More joviality. What a great place!

 

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Of course, good personalities are a great sales tool. Before long my darling was picking out pork steaks and I was picking out stuffed chicken breasts.

 

Osceola didn't seem to cater to hunters the way Llano did, but that doesn't mean deer are forgotten in the state. On the way home, we saw this:

 

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Here's what we unpacked from our shopping expedition:

 

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...and what the kitchen looked like after mixing fruit salad and cole slaw (not together!) and cooking those stuffed chicken breasts.

 

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It isn't easy to cook much with the Princessmobile closed, but those chicken breasts worked well along with freshly-dressed cole slaw.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

Sure am glad that store's not near me.  Too much temptation.  What is in that garlic butter sauce that it stays in liquid form?  Those hams look great too.  Everything looks good.

 

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I'll report back on the taste after we try it.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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27 minutes ago, heidih said:

Oh!  Several eGers have that colander and I had it from from MIL - can't find it!  So loved. I may have to go on a garage hunting expedition the next time my son is here. Has to be  here

 

Yes, this one's a "family heirloom" in the sense that it was in our household from my earliest years. Mom gave it to me  when I graduated from college and set up house. I don't remember now whether she had two or used the giving-away as an excuse to buy another.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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On 11/24/2021 at 6:39 AM, Smithy said:

 

We still have brisket! I mistreated it a couple of nights ago, in an attempt to warm it gently that ran far too long. It still tastes good although the texture has suffered. Last night was going to be brisket tacos,

I’d love to know your favorite uses for leftover brisky. I get some on occasion from ZEF but I don’t think I’ve made the best of the leftovers. Might be some still in the freezer. I hadn’t thought of Mexican but tacos sound good, as do quesadillas. Any other faves?

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6 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

I’d love to know your favorite uses for leftover brisky. I get some on occasion from ZEF but I don’t think I’ve made the best of the leftovers. Might be some still in the freezer. I hadn’t thought of Mexican but tacos sound good, as do quesadillas. Any other faves?

Still in the Mexican area, I'd do enchiladas with a red sauce.

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16 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

I’d love to know your favorite uses for leftover brisky. I get some on occasion from ZEF but I don’t think I’ve made the best of the leftovers. Might be some still in the freezer. I hadn’t thought of Mexican but tacos sound good, as do quesadillas. Any other faves?

 

16 hours ago, Shelby said:

Still in the Mexican area, I'd do enchiladas with a red sauce.

 

I floated the idea of tacos, or enchiladas (the red sauce would be the right note) and he liked the ideas but kept coming up with other things to eat. (He's on a hash kick right now.) I also considered chopping, then gently reheating the brisket, then using it as a topping over mashed potatoes. I also considered chopping it finely and stuffing jalapenos with it to make yet another attempt at making my own "armadillo eggs".

 

In the end, I suppose I made my other favorite with the remainder: a brisket sandwich. Sourdough bread, mayo, lots of lettuce, pickles. No tomatoes at this time of year, alas. Mine, all mine! (Greedily rubbing her hands...)

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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34 minutes ago, Smithy said:

In the end, I suppose I made my other favorite with the remainder: a brisket sandwich. Sourdough bread, mayo, lots of lettuce, pickles. No tomatoes at this time of year, alas. Mine, all mine! (Greedily rubbing her hands...)

Yep, a brisky sando of some sort has been what I've been doing, too.  I've been chopping the meat very roughly, just for easier eating, and warming gently on steam-bake in the CSO with any juices that have collected. Max Halley would mix the juices into the mayo for a gravy-mayo situation.  Mmmmm!  I need to deep fry some of those sweet potato starch noodles so I can riff on this one: Braised Beef and Kimchi Sandwich Recipe

Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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1 hour ago, Kim Shook said:

Oh, my.  I would have been all over those vintage Xmas ornaments.  And irritated my husband on the rest of the trip nagging him to "DRIVE CAREFULLY".  😄

 

LOL yes, those ornaments called to me - direct from my childhood memories! - and that's why I had to take the pictures. I'm glad they spoke to you too. :) 

 

I broke down recently and purchased some Christmas dishes. Can't wait to see what he thinks about that! They're snug in the Princessmobile at the moment, tucked away with the rest of the holiday decorations.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I wrote before of opportunities, both taken and missed. Our second night in Osceola, Iowa was of the "formerly missed, now taken" variety. It was a bit of a letdown, thanks to the pandemic.

 

In past years we've often eaten dinner at the Lakeside Casino, which owns the RV park where we staying.

 

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In pre-pandemic times we've ordered from the bar menu. I've always drooled at their all-you-can-eat buffet, but we've passed it up because of its high price ($22/person, I think) and the unrealistic amount of food available compared to the quite adequate bar food. This time around, the bar was open for drinks only, and the only food choice was the buffet. Their supply chain is so poor that they gave up on menus about 2 weeks before our visit. Indeed, the waitress said there was no knowing from one night to the next what would be available at the buffet. I've searched in vain for pictures of the buffet back in its day as well as the buffet this trip. Can't find any, sorry.

 

The buffet back in its day had: prime rib, sliced to order; roast chicken; fried chicken; various potato treatments, a broad selection of vegetables; probably some sort of pork dish; seafood - shrimp, crab, and fish; several choices of vegetable salads with dressings of your choice; fruit; more than one type of bread; a massive and gluttinous selection of great-looking desserts. I know I'm forgetting things, but you get the idea. It was big. 

 

Still, we chose the bar with its sandwiches and outstanding fries, for half the price and plenty of food. Here are the best pictures I can find, from this post a few years ago:

 

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This time the buffet was much more limited - and, to be fair, about the same price as the erstwhile bar food. As I recall the choices were a few types of pizza; fried chicken; ravioli in some kind of sauce; mashed potatoes; home fried potatoes; canned corn, canned green beans and some other canned vegetables; pre-portioned green salads in bowls with a selection of dressings also portioned into serving-sized containers. The desserts didn't look interesting enough for me to remember. Probably pie of some sort. I'm afraid none of it looked like our memories or lived up to our expectations, but we didn't have the heart to have a drink or two and then go back to the Princessmobile for dinner. These folks are struggling. We want them to survive.

 

Our plates, and drinks:

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A final note on the supply chain issues: it isn't that we need more glassware(!) but my darling wondered whether he could buy one of their beer glasses. I wondered the same about the wine glass, because I liked its shape and I'd broken some of the stemware earlier. The waitress went away to ask the manager. When she came back she said the answer was a very firm but apologetic "No". Normally it would be possible, but they barely had enough for their own service, and had no idea when they'd be able to get more.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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We've moved on: out of Texas, where we had happily tarried, but we wanted to be in Tucson for Thanksgiving.

 

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Along the way we ate sandwiches, or microwaved pea stew. One night he snookered me into cooking his beloved Superburgers on a stovetop skillet: he was going to, he had his taste buds set for it, they were already thawed...but then he was too tired! One good thing about it was my inspiration to cook some of the smoked corn in the skillet with the burgers, so that it could warm up in their spicy fat. A new favorite! Corn is not my favorite vegetable although he adores it. I like this smoked corn that his daughter gave us. Browning it in the spicy burger fat was just the ticket for both of us.

 

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We were going to spend Thanksgiving in Tucson...but it didn't work out that way. You may have read about how America is taking to the roads in record numbers, between the pandemic and the Boomers beginning to travel more. That seems to be the case at Tucson Mountain Park, where we've always had our pick of places during the fall. When we arrived at noon, there were only 4 places left. The one definitely large enough for us to open out was taken while we drove around. We'd have had to shoehorn ourselves into a spot too small to open out fully. Add to that the fact that even the traffic in Tucson had been off-putting, and we decided to press on. 

 

I hope that wasn't our last opportunity to spend time there. I was looking forward to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and the Babylon Market (we're getting low on some items), and the Mission Garden, and Bianchi's Italian Ristorante (which he hasn't experienced yet). I was hoping to visit the H.F. Coors factory and perhaps pick up more Mimbreño dinnerware. There are all sorts of culinary adventures to be had in Tucson, and I was sorry to miss them. But I won't be sorry to miss the crowds.

 

At least the list isn't all of missed opportunities. We've been to most of those places at least once.

 

It was only noon. We could make California. Perhaps our favorite camping spot would still be available.

 

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It was! It is! Our campfire structure was undisturbed from when we'd left it last spring, right down to wood he remembered and rocks I remembered. People had camped nearby, but not there.

 

Sometimes, one missed opportunity makes room for another to be taken.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Last night's campfire cooking was a comparison of two types of Polish sausage: Schweigert's, brought from home, and a Texas company's version of the same.

 

As with potato salad, my darling has never met a Polish sausage he didn't like. I'm more meh about them. A good one can be very good, but there's something in far too many of them that screeches a one-note flavor whine to my taste buds. I can't figure out what it is: overwhelming garlic? (It's difficult to believe there is such a thing.) Some sort of salt/fat/nitrates combo? I can't put my finger on it but I also can't ignore it by the time I'm halfway through the first sausage. I've learned that browning the sausages helps a lot. Schweigert's has been our go-to Polish sausage at home. 

 

We had fun with our compare-and-contrast dinner. Schweigert's has been my favorite until now. The Kiolbassa brand put it to shame: a coarser texture that made the Schweigert's seem like run-of-the-mill hot dogs, and balanced flavors without that one-note flavor whine that I dislike. I thought the Texas brand seemed a bit less porky. Could it have beef? I wondered. He pointed out that surely the price of beef would dictate against putting it into a Polish sausage. After dinner we looked at the labels.

 

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We also tried a new potato salad flavor. Not bad. He loved it, of course. I still prefer mine (which he also loves) but the convenience of buying it ready-made keeps me trying new varieties.

 

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Not shown in the dinner photo: the condiments, and a broccoli salad, for which I fried a bunch of bacon on the camp stove a few days ago, and which supplemented our dinner.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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27 minutes ago, Smithy said:

We had fun with our compare-and-contrast dinner.

I think this is a fun way to play with your food. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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