I started the week with an uneventful drive across the desert in Debbie’s little sports car, headed to Vegas for the International Master Gardeners’ Conference. The conference was wonderful! I had tried to sign up for sessions on topics that were new to me and that worked out great – not a dud speaker in the lot and I learned lots of new things. The key note speakers were good too. Surprisingly, there was a big emphasis on organic gardening, which I practice and have heard little of since moving to chemical happy Nebraska. But I digress...
Anyway, the conference was great (it’s hard not to get excited about hundreds of gardeners all in one place) but Vegas – not so much. The conference only included breakfast and lunch so we were on our own every evening. One night we went down to the strip for the required viewing of the Bellagio – the Chihuly glass was gorgeous, as were the garden displays, and the fountains were fun to see. But that’s it. I’m done! We walked a bit of the strip after leaving the Bellagio and that was plenty for me. Call me jaded but it’s hard to get excited about a fake Eiffel Tower when you’ve seen the real one. And I’m probably the only person who was in Vegas and never put so much as a nickel in a slot machine. I would have lost anyway . : )
The conference did end on a downer. Lorri had arrived with a bug that she picked up from one of her grandsons – vomiting, diarrhea, the whole shebang. Lucky me (you see why I didn’t gamble?) I woke up with it in the wee hours on Wednesday. The problem with this was I couldn’t keep down even a sip of water and had to be able to take an immodium so I could drive home. On my second try, I laid in bed and willed myself not to be sick until it took effect. I left the hotel promptly at check out time and drove straight back to Debbie’s, only stopping once to throw up in the dessert. I made it home just in time and sent Debbie and Felicia out for more immodium and some coke syrup (Felicia’s old-fashioned but effective remedy for an upset stomach.) I was down for the count Wednesday and felt pretty crappy still Thursday (I missed our planned dim sum in China Town) but was back to normal by Friday. Other than going out for a Trader Joe’s run and lunch, I didn’t do much, saving my energy for my big Saturday.
Kelley arrived early Saturday and we headed to the Salton Sea. We stopped to visit Jonathan, grabbed some breakfast at BK and then headed out. I had estimated the drive at just over 2 hours but in reality, it was 3 with traffic. I was pretty bummed when we arrived at 2:06 because Norm Niver was at the Chamber until 2:00 so we just missed him. We went to his house (I was stalker-ish and had looked up his address so knew where to go) but he wasn’t there. I left a note asking him to call my cell and we grabbed lunch at the Travertine Grill (OK food and they were very dog friendly) and then headed back north to Salton Sea Beach. Despite missing Norm, it was all good. I got to see all the places we hadn’t seen last year and got some great pictures. We found the trailer with the pink stove, saw North Shore Yacht Club in daylight and spent quite a bit of time below 5th Street in Bombay Beach, exploring the flooded out buildings. We got to Salvation Mountain just before dark and I got to meet Leonard, which was a good way to end my Salton Sea trip. I did get to talk to Norm briefly as we headed out, which was nice. He's a hoot and I'll definitely have to meet him next time. We grabbed some Starbucks (our second that day) and headed home. I got up Sunday and headed right to the airport for an uneventful trip home. I’d been gone a long time (ten days) so it was good to be home but I missed drinking coffee on the balcony with Debbie and Felicia. I’ll have to head back soon.