Christmas in Joshua Tree

This year for Christmas, Meaghan and I find ourselves in Joshua Tree California. We are visiting with her parents, Greg and Jenny, and with her sister Mandy, her husband Chris, and their son Cole.

We started our journey by catching a bus to downtown Portland in 27 degree weather. It was relatively early in the morning (for a vacation day) but after changing to the MAX line downtown found us arriving at the airport a comfortable two hours before our flight was scheduled to leave. This provided us with ample time to sit and eat a relaxing lunch before crowding into our winged sardine tin. Fortunately the flights were comfortable and went by quickly. Despite a minor problem with the airline failing to transfer Meaghan’s baggage, and thus leaving her without a change of clothing for our first day here, the complete travel experience was relatively discomfort free.

Greg had to work on Thursday and we were dealing with “not at work so we can finally let down” syndrome. We had a nice relaxing morning and then drove out to Copper Mountain College to meet Greg for lunch. After a tour of the college campus we went to a restaurant called Sam’s Pizza, which offered pizza (duh), subs, and Indian food (eh?). From the outside you wouldn’t know there was much there, but once inside we discovered a gem of a place to eat. The Indian food was authentic and extremely well prepared. The girls ordered a veggie pizza (*boggle*) while Chris, Greg, and I ordered curries. Well appointed sides (raita, mango chutney, and a variety of sauces) joined a very authentic tandoor taste to create a thoroughly delicious meal.

The Bell Center at Copper Mountain College  Sams Pizza

Friday was Greg and Jenny’s 33rd anniversary. To celebrate we drove out to Temecula to visit a winery of which they are members. We began the day with a superb lunch at the South Coast Winery restaurant, and then finished with a wine tasting tour at the Wiens Winery and Vineyard. After sampling a large variety of wines, we eventually selected five as our favorites; the fantastic Temperillo Petite Syrah, Reserva Primitivo, both the ’08 and ’10 Sangiovese, a Pinot Gris (for Meaghan) and an Orange Champagne. As our penance we now have to drink the bottles that we bought over the next few days. It’s a hard life.

Browns outside South Coast Winery 2011 12 23 13 35  Wiens Winery

Today we’re relaxing, watching some football, and perhaps heading out to the movie theatre to see the new Mission Impossible.

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