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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!