Visiting St. George with Jonathan. 2/26/21

We decided to take a week’s trip to St. George to enjoy the sunshine, the beautiful scenery, and to celebrate our vaccines. We invited Jon to come along since he is a great lover of the St. George area. He can play tennis, golf, and hike as well as accompany me to the grocery store and cook while he is here.

We have rented accommodations at the Villas at Entrada where we know the units are fastidiously cleaned and the tennis courts are a short walk away. We have stayed here before and are always interested in how one unit varies from the other. In this one, 2502, there is a separate potty room in the master suite bathroom and a powder room for communal use. We are up pretty high in the development so the views are spectacular. The kitchen is equipped rather poorly but we have brought along things that we felt we would need and can manage quite well.

Living/dining area

On our first day here we take a trip to Harmon’s to get our groceries for the night’s dinner. Shopping is a special mom and Jon activity. In the afternoon we play tennis. It is pretty chilly here but out in the sun even temperatures in the 50s are okay when we are running around.

Jon about to hit backhand
Jon set up for forehand
John about to hit forehand

After we are cleaned up we take some pictures from the little table and chairs in front of our villa. It has a great view of Snow Canyon.

Jon enjoying a Negroni Sbagliato
Mary and John
John and Jon

Our welcome dinner is the always fabulous Kenwood shrimp. It is a group effort with Jon and me cutting the veg, me cleaning the shrimp, and John doing the cooking. I think it turned out the best we have ever made it. Could it be that adding all the cream makes a difference!?

Kenwood shrimp – shrimp in a Pernod/white wine sauce with brunoise vegetables served over rice
Close up

Tennis and lunch with Jon. July, 2020

One of the events that helps to keep us sane during the pandemic is that Jonathan comes over every weekend to play tennis and have lunch with us. Outside of grocery shopping and playing tennis with John, it is about the only thing that we do.

It feels like a real event. I spend time planning what we can eat for lunch and enlisting Sarah to help. We have had burgers, sausages, tacos, and fajitas so far. I am running out of good ideas!!

Jonathan setting up for a shot
John hitting a forehand
Mary with Jon and Sarah
Steak tacos and spicy beans!


Mini-vacay to Indian Wells. 3/2-3/7/19

John and I decided quite a while ago that we would take a little vacation to Indian Wells to see the beginning of the tennis tournament. The first two days which are mostly the players practicing and qualifying rounds are free. We now have the exciting incentive of driving our new car!

Originally we were going down the coast road, CA-1, but the weather has changed our plans. It is either raining or blowing or threatening all along our route so we are going to take US 101 southward and cut over at some point to go to Bakersfield for the night.

Our first stop is at Soledad for lunch.

Welcome to Soledad

When we first used to visit this area to hike in the Pinnacles the town’s motto was  “Catch the Momentum.” Now it is the much less exciting “Gateway to the Pinnacles.” Our favorite Mexican restaurant has closed so we decide to try a new one, Taqueria Pacheco. Surprisingly it is in the La Placida grocery store.

Taqueria Pacheco

John orders a chorizo taco and a tripe one. I have two shrimp tacos. John says his are great but mine are a little overcooked. The roasted jalapeños are delicious! We are the only gringos there.

As we travel further south the sky is fabulous!

Traveling through the orchards of almond trees, the fallen petals look like a dusting of snow.

Almond orchards

We pull into Bakersfield and John unloads our suitcases. After a dinner of eggplant Parmesan at Macaroni Grill, we read and enjoy an early night.

John unloading the car in Bakersfield
Yum! Eggplant Parmesan!

The next morning we are ready to complete our trip to Indian Wells. At check-in at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel we are asked if we would like to participate in their “no housekeeping” program  for a bonus of 500 Marriott points. What!? They claim it is a “green” initiative. Sounds like bullshit to me. How does my making up my own bed and wiping around the sink translate to helping the planet? I think they are just trying to not pay their staff more in a very competitive labor market. For over $400 a night someone can clean my room!

Our nice room at the Marriott Renaissance, Indian Wells

We go down to their very nice lounge for some drinks and sushi. We spend all our evenings here having a kind of snacks and drinks dinner at the hotel. We are not keen on driving in the dark plus we get to see random pro players who are also staying at the hotel. After dinner we spend some time hanging out at the fire pit in rocking chairs. So relaxing!

Edamame and hamachi!
Fire pit

In the morning we catch the shuttle bus over to the Tennis Garden. During our two days here we watch some practices and lower level matches. It is such a pleasure to be here on days when it is not so crowded.

Indian Wells practice courts
Feliciano Lopez talking with his coach during practice session
Milos Raonic serving

On our trip back north we can see the beginnings of the super bloom in the desert and encounter torrential rain, dense fog, and local flooding – an exciting ride home!

Flowers blooming in the desert along I-10