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June 28, 2006

Wrong Japanese Dishes

Keath were tired of working and wanted to go out for dinner. So we decided to explore the little town of Morgan Hill and found a Japanese restaurant. Actually, we had choices of Pizza, Vietnamese, Indian or Japanese. Take a look at Pizza parlor. – Not in a mood. Vietnamese? Hhhmmm. Maybe. Oh, wait! It's hard to see it from outside (because both Pizza and Vietnamese restaurant has it's own main front door), these are same restaurant inside. Only entrance is separated. Arrhh… No thank you. How about Indian restaurant? Looks nice sit-down restaurant, besides coconut curry sounds good somehow tonight. But, Japanese restaurant has salted mackerel! My favorite! OK, we go in.

They have sushi bar in the middle of the restaurant with toy train keeps going around the bar top to carry various sushi, just like revolving sushi. Train goes around and around forever… Seems nobody touched those sushi for a while. Eating sushi with raw fish at a sushi bar I've never been always makes me nervous. Why? Just because I cannot trust the quality of fish and sushi. Como on! I'm from Japan. I'm used to eat sushi with market fresh fish.

Anyway, Keath felt the same atmosphere. – No fresh fish here. We decided to order something non-sushi items. Salted Mackerel for me, Ten-zaru (Tempura and cold buckwheat noodle called soba – pronounce so-baa). My Mackerel was little bit greasy but OK. Keath's tempura was OK even they served only 1 shrimp and veggies instead of 3 shrimps with veggies like picture on the menu shown. That's not a big deal. The true problem was, when they brought the dipping sauce for Soba and Keath made funny face as he tasted the sauce. His first reaction – "waaaaay toooo sweeeeet". I thought he's kidding. Sweet soba dipping sauce? Never heard about it. Let me try --- Yuck!!! It's sweet! Almost taste like Teriyaki sauce thinned with some water. This is not right. We immediately asked the server to check the dipping sauce. It might be some confusion and they brought different sauce which meant to go to other customer. Could be possible.

here comes the train too fast to grab sushi

The answer is "this is the right dipping sauce according to the chef". Really? Maybe they are not familiar with Soba. Why don't we ask an old Asian (Japanese looking) woman again. She looked surprised when we explained the sauce is way too sweet. Disappear behind the curtain to the kitchen. We waited and waited. Finally she brought other dipping sauce. Keath looked upset a little bit after tasting. Told the woman it's OK. Guess what. This time, the dipping sauce became really sour. It must be Ponzu with water. Poor Keath. By the time, he lost appetite and disappointed very deep as Ten-zaru is his top 5 favorite dish. This is really wrong. Including chef, they must have no idea what Ten-zaru is. Due to serious misunderstanding and I wanted to warn all the customers in the restaurant "This is not real Japanese!! It's wrong Japanese!!" with a Big Red Card.

We promised ourselves to NOT to come back to the restaurant and decided to spill words to friends to avoid further misunderstanding of what Japanese Ten-zaru is. Never ever eat at Sushi Ichiban in Morgan Hill!

June 17, 2006

Flowers for Standing Bear

Today was the funeral of Keath's mentor - Standing Bear. Standing Bear had been supporting and guiding so many young men for over 3 decades. He was the great guy with incredible influence over people who met him. As a spiritual leader, he's shown us how to respect / appreciate lives. He was at our wedding and blessed our new step as married couple. He was really like our 2nd father. I believe Standing Bear's spirits will be with us whenever and wherever we go. Here are some beautiful flowers for the beautiful person. We miss you, Standing Bear.

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June 7, 2006

Good bye, Morro Bay

Morro Bay to San Benito
Sand Dollar
Today is the last day in Morro Bay. We really enjoyed nice and cool weather and beautiful scenery here. We stayed here only for 3 days so finish up packing pretty quick. Then, why don't we walk on the beach one more time? It's getting the low tide and we found a lot of sand dollars. Most of them are in good shape. Keath told me his mom used to collect these sand dollars and sell them at Venice beach. We got some good collections today. I didn't know that sand dollars could be in different colors. Here my collection has various color and size. I like it better this way than just plain white sand dollars.

Left Morro Bay after 10 am. Took #41 East to #101 North. Road conditions are good. A couple of 30mph turns to deal with, but those were easy enough for our 34-foot RV. (Thanks for safe drive, Keath)

I did check the gasoline price among the freeway we are taking in advance. It seems Salinas area has the best price. Average $3.15! WOW! Almost $0.10 cheaper than Valley. Someone told me that the gas price is more expensive as we go up north. I guess it's not true. Glad compare the price first. Good job, Mikki.

Hollow tree Thousand Trails San Benito park is located in the area kinda unexpected area. On the way to the park, we didn't see any "near RV park" sign. No big trees, no lake or river (there is a small reservoir), nothing! We just drove through farms, vineyards and golf course. Keath and I were wondering :is this park that good like other Rvers said?" But, you'll be surprised how beautiful and full of nature the park is once you get to the park! Big and old trees, many birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer, etc. Their newsletter mentioned to keep a camera handy at all times because the Preserve has large variety of wildlife and birds. That sounds great. I'll make sure to carry my old CyberShot with me wherever I go. Meanwhile, cell phone coverage is not that good. Cinguler – no good at all. Sprint – with booster, it works. Verizon – works best here.

June 4, 2006

Fun at the beach

Morro Bay
Keath & KodiakWe are in Morro Bay now. Staying in Morro Bay wasn't in our original trip plan, but some uncontrollable situations happened last couple of weeks and we needed to adjust our plan a little bit. It's a good change, though. We wanted to spend some relax time in Morro Bay last year. Expect there should be some RV spot available for no reservation people like us. Nahhhh. Wrong. We tried RV parks, State parks, and more. None of them were available since it was already in busy season. So this time, Keath made reservation in advance. See? We learned from our experience, right? His pick of the place is Morro Dunes. Clean & quiet RV park right in front of Morro Rock. Takes no time to get to beautiful dune and beach. How convenient! Morro Dunes is a nice park, however, there are some down side, too. Like almost no space between neighbors and no warm showers available. Their shower is the same kind as beach shower; timed for 1 minute and lukewarm. Well, there's no perfect place on earth. Anyway, let's go check the beach!

Sand CrabsKodiak used to hate water. If his paws get wet, he starts limping and acts like seriously injured. Since we started Rving and took Kodiak with us to any outdoor activities, he now doesn't mind getting wet legs. He'd rather stay "Adventure mode" and search around the area for any interesting object. Look at the picture above. Kodiak is at the beach enjoys playing with sand crabs. What a weird looking creature sand crabs are! I thought it's a head of dead crayfish at first, Keath is really good at catching them. According to Keath, look for their tiny eyes (or antenna?) when wave is fading away. I couldn't figure out how. That's fine. We all had fun at the beach (and became soaking wet & sandy). That's all matters. *smile*

June 3, 2006

Happy B-day, Keath

Keath - climbing with only one handFrom Rancho Oso
Today is Keath's birthday and the last day at Oso so we decided to spend nice and relax (and packing) day. Starting with tri-berry muffin, bacon, fresh pineapple and coffee. The new muffin pan we just got works great. It fits inside the toaster and matching size for my muffin paper. I was little bit skeptical about using regular toaster to bake muffin. No way. It came out really great. Crispy outside and moist & fluffy inside. Mmmm, yummy! After breakfast, Keath did bike/car maintenance. He ran to TT Market to pick oils for Geo and found out it's only $5 for unlimited climbing pass. TT got a movable climbing wall as one of the weekend attractions. What a perfect timing! So he grabbed his climbing gears & shoes then headed down to the climbing area. When Kodiak and I got there, there he is having a great time; racing with other guy, climbing with one hand, etc. Took some pictures then go back to RV. Since we will have dinner at Stone Lodge tonight, I wanted to make some birthday special lunch for Keath. (Kinda surprise lunch). I don't have enough time… What should I cook… It's hot today. OK. I'll make Japanese style cold noodles. Angel hair like wiry noodle called Somen is very popular dish during summer in Japan. Cook noodles for 5-7 minutes and rinse in cold water (remove starch). Serve cold, usually sprinkle thin sliced green onion in dipping sauce. But today is Keath's B-day. Add some toppings to Somen and make it special version! Cut shiitake mushroom (sweet soy sauce flavor), thin fried eggs, ham and zucchini into Julienne and add to Somen. Taddaaaan!! Look gorgeous and taste great. (and really easy & quick, too)

KodiakDinner at Stone Lodge was better than I expected. We sat outside patio to enjoy the beautiful nature. Even it's still bright outside, one ranger started campfire. I thought it's kinda early for campfire. Half way the dinner, other ranger started giving out S'more. It's for everybody. (even for adults). I see. As we were watching how people roast their marshmallows, it was interested. Some people just couldn't wait and set marshmallows on fire. (Really. One boy actually looked happy to see burning marshmallows). Others are really patient. Spend almost 10 minutes to slowly roast it. No matter how you make, S'more is fun and tasty treat. Both Keath and I love slow roasted marshmallows. It's worth waiting for. How do you like your marshmallow?