Posts Tagged With: beer

The Way of St. Francis: Italian warmth



“Everything hurts.”

As we climbed to our rustic hotel in Valfabbrica, those two words summed up our day on the Way of St. Francis. We celebrated warm showers, beer at the Pinky Bar, and dinner up the hill at a ristorante with linen tablecloths, the works. My birthday calzone was as big as a football, and I ate the whole thing.

To be fair, Saturday had been a relatively short, easy trek, but we paid for it today, Sunday. We climbed 3,500 feet and descended 4,400 feet.

Umbria did its best to distract us with natural beauty as well as medieval castles and churches. But the moment we will most remember came as we climbed to a home with commanding views of the valley we had left behind. A woman pulled out two plastic chairs and pointed. Sue and I sat. Our feet oohed and aahed. We had a conversation that no one understood. But it didn’t matter. Smiles and kindness said it all.




Categories: The Way of Saint Francis, The Way of St Francis | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Way of St. Francis: Birthday Boy


After a long day of steep climbs, beautiful views and long descents, we’re celebrating Reg’s birthday at Pinky Bar in Valfabbrica! Cheers!

Categories: The Way of Saint Francis, The Way of St Francis, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Backroads Across America: More Than Bad Weather Brewing For Us

We opted for a second night at our Dubuque, Iowa hotel as we waited for wind and snow flurries to blow through the western part of the state.  To fill our rainy day, we decided to follow the scenic Mississippi River drive outlined in our guidebook.  It seemed simple enough, but wouldn’t you know it…another wrong turn led us 30 miles off course.  At least there were no toll roads!

As I studied the atlas in an effort to get us back on course, I realized we were close to the National Brewery Museum in Potosi, Wisconsin.  Reg thought I was kidding.  

Curious, we decided to see if it was for real.  

We learned beer was first brewed in Potosi in 1852.  The Potosi Brewing Company was founded in 1906, ceasing operation in 1972.  The Potosi Brewery was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

In 2004, the American Breweriana Association chose the site as the home for its National Museum of Beer Advertising Memorabilia.  In 2008, after a $7.5 million renovation, the museum and brew pub opened. The 2015 addition of their $5 million brewery allowed Petosi to finally bring all its beer back home again.

Categories: Backroads Across America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Backroads Across America: Stayin’ Alive in Tombstone

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe unhitched the trailer, hitched up our pants and drove our Taco(ma) to Tombstone, Arizona today for a rip-roarin’ time. Once home to 10,000 silver miners, 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, as well as numerous dance halls and brothels, Tombstone attracts about 450,000 city slickers each year.

We were determined to fit in like locals from the town’s beginning in 1879. We paid homage to the dead at Boothill Cemetery and tapped our feet to some mighty fine tunes while downin’ some satisfying grub at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. We also barely survived a gunfight show that was labeled comedy.

Funny place, that Tombstone is.

Afterward, we were tempted to catch the next stagecoach right on outta town. Instead, we saddled up the truck and headed back to our home on wheels for a most un-cowpoke meal of soup and salad. (I did have a coupla Sierra Nevadas first, though!)







Categories: Backroads Across America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sierra Nevada: Good times, as usual



An evening of beer tasting and dinner at Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico was a highlight of our weekend visit with son Brad and his girlfriend Ashley.

Categories: Road Trips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tour du Mont Blanc: Time to return to this amazing trail


Look to the left for a slice of Courmayeur on the left after our climb.

The TMB is clearly marked in Italy. It was not so well marked in France.

It was “ciao” to Courmayeur, Italy today after a day of rest in the Alps resort city. The Tour du Mont Blanc has been more than challenging for us, so we needed the break.

Walking into a new country was a new experience on Saturday. We heard “buon giorno” more often than “bonjour” almost immediately and by the time we walked into Courmayeur, it was clear we were no longer in France. We will leave the specific cultural differences for another time, but we noticed them in the city and most definitely along the trail.

Of course, today started with a steep, 2,500-foot climb, but after that it was the easiest hiking day of the Tour so far. We walked about ten miles at 6,500 feet overlooking a steep glacial valley. The Mont Blanc range on the other side seemed close enough to touch. It was stunningly beautiful.

After a steep descent, we found our hotel in another resort town, Levechy, next to a roaring river at the foot of the Alps. A shower and a beer on the deck made for a perfect cap to the day. Dinner tonight in the hotel, part of the package deal.

The warm weather is supposed to hold for at least another day and the guide book says we will have another amazing look at the Tour's namesake as we cross into Switzerland at 8,000 feet tomorrow. That means another steep climb and “ciao” to Italy for now. We will return!

At the bottom of the Italian side of the Alps, if you look closely, is the tunnel entrance. The road goes under Mont Blanc and comes out in Chamonix, France.

This is a closer look at the tunnel entrance.

Sue sits in our shady picnic spot next to the trail. The Mont Blanc range was in the perfect spot.

This was the TMB for much of the day. Few rocks, relatively flat. The first day we have seen such a path on this trek.

Is it the view or the beer that makes the trek worthwhile?

Thank you, Silvia, at Follow the Camino tour company, for finding us lodging here.

Refugios have been so welcoming, allowing us to have our picnic even though we only bought a coffee at their bar. Today, we found one with a most unwelcoming message in each table. We found a warmer place for lunch.


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France: Life hums on the sidewalks

We discovered a new area of Strasbourg tonight. Just ahead, on the right, was a string of bars and cafes, some on boats.

A couple of young guys at a French bar ordered this bière on tap!

Notes from France

Does anyone drink and eat at home in France (other than us)? Tonight, after our dinner at our Strasbourg apartment, we went for a long walk. There were thousands and thousands out and about. And it did not seem crowded, although most seats were filled. That's because Strasbourg has more cafes, bars, squares and neighborhoods than people (only slightly exaggerating). Of course, it was the same in Paris. Every day and evening have been like this.

Families and couples. Young and old. College kids. Teen-agers. Walking, sitting at sidewalk cafes and bars. Kids riding carousels, yelling “cou cou!” or “yoohoo!” Some are tourists, but most are not (I have a sense about this.) Is this socializing a reason the French live so long?

There is another side to this coin and it is smoking. So many people, from teens on up, smoking, one cigarette after another. Other than inside stores and restaurants, it is okay to light up. That romantic table outside in the square can quickly be surrounded by smokers. We were able, most of the time, to avoid it when we drank or ate outside, though.

Do you think Europe is becoming more Americanized? We feel as though it is. More English language, spoken and written, especially on menus. McDonald's, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King. Baseball caps, worn by locals, not necessarily Americans. T-shirts with brand names or other words written on the front and back. Hamburgers and fries on most menus.

We don't remember it being this way when we lived in Scotland and visited France 19 years ago. Our trips the past four years have revealed a different Europe. But, we saw much of the same in China in 2007.

On the one hand, some of this makes our travel easier. But … (Anyone want to finish this? We would love to hear from you…add your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of this post.)



Categories: Paris and more | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spring brings the top of southern Oregon into focus

Mount Ashland offers some challenging ski runs, including a steep drop off just behind us.

Trees frame Mount McLaughlin in the distance.

Skis mark a lunch stop on Mount Ashland.

We revisited Mount Ashland today after we aborted a recent summit attempt due to wind, cold and terrible visibility.

What a difference two weeks make!

Our snowshoes and encouragement from friends Judy and Chris got us to the top at about 7,500 feet, where more than 22 feet of snow fell this winter.

The ski resort is closed on Wednesdays, but skiers face good conditions for some spring skiing tomorrow. It is just a 40-minute drive from downtown Ashland, Oregon.

A beer and pizza stop at Growler Guys on the way home topped off a glorious day.


Categories: Ashland life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Santa Barbara is the place for us!

A wall of pennies covers the outside of a Funk Zone coffee shop.

A highlight of our visit was a chance to visit with longtime friends Rebecca Fox, top photo, and Carolyn Shupe.

Santa Barbara welcomed us back to our longtime home with brilliant weather.

We walked around a relatively new area near West Beach that features wine bars, beer tasting and art galleries. It is aptly named the Funk Zone.

As usual, food was a highlight of our travels. We had fresh fish with mountain and harbor views at Brophy Brothers for lunch and more fresh seafood in the evening at Fish Enterprise. The night before we tried a good, new Goleta restaurant called High Sierra Grill and Bar.

A parade of St. Patrick's Day revelers strolled down State Street, encouraging bystanders to join the fun.

Santa Barbara has so much to offer, but if you want to live here, you need a cool million for the median-priced home.

St. Patrick's Day revelers asked us to join their stroll down State Street. Bars were mostly packed and one even featured a swing.



Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Ashland flights

No, we're not flying off on another adventure, but we did discover a great deal on flights in Ashland. Flights of beer that is. A recent visit from our friends Doug and Kathy prompted an afternoon trip to Ashland's own Standing Stone Brewing Company.

Doug wanted to taste some local brew and this was a bonanza! Reg was thrilled to have a drinking buddy and Kathy and I were good sports, joining in the fun. The restaurant serves great food, so we ordered a couple appetizers to pair with our tasting…then headed off to catch the free Green Show on the grass in front of the Shakespeare theater.

Standing Stone Brewing Company is a popular spot in downtown Ashland.


Categories: Ashland life | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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