February 05, 2006

Aunt Tiny, Elton John and Jerry Miller

Press HERE to see a slideshow from LA to Phoenix.

Betty, Aunt Tiny and Judy
Me, Betty, Tiny, Loren and Steve
View from Our Rio Suite
Lake Mead Side of Bolder Dam
Great-Great Granddad's Sorgum
Jerry, Esse and Me

Last Tuesday, we drove less than 200 miles from Santa Monica to Victorville. Tiny, the last living sibling of my mother, lives there with her husband, Loren, and two of her sons, Randy and Steve. Their other son, Chuck, lives in the house next door. When we arrived Randy was waiting for a call to go to work. He is a cross-country truck driver. To our surprise, Tiny's daughter - Judy Bosic - was at there house. It was a surprise, because her home is in Florida. It was great to see Randy, but before we knew it he was off to work. We talked a lot. It was so great to see Judy; it has been years since we last spoke. I told Tiny about all the relatives that we had been visiting along the way. Chuck came over for a while, too. That night we had Chinese take-out food. There is nothing like those little white boxes. We continued chatting late into the evening.
The next day, Betty and Judy headed off to a salon for some well deserved R-and-R. They were back in the afternoon. While they were out I updated my website. Judy had to return to her sister's house and was flying home in couple of days. I got the oil changed in the afternoon. In the evening we all went out for a wonderful dinner at an Italian restaurant.

Steve can get free rooms in Las Vegas from time to time. So, we asked if he could set something up for us. He did and on Thursday, February 2nd, Steve, Betty and I drove to Las Vegas. He got us a great room at the Rio. We stayed on the 24th floor. The view was spectacular. We could see the strip, the old downtown and the mountains. Steve stayed at the Stardust. That first night we saw the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana. It was an old fashioned burlesque show and it was great: great dancing, great singing, great breasts, great costumes and great entertainers!
The next day we found a nice cheap place to have breakfast. Then we walked out on the strip in the afternoon. We asked Steve to find tickets for the Elton John, Red Piano Show. He got them. We had told him to get hundred dollar tickets. To our surprise the seats were pretty good. It was an absolutely fantastic show. Elton played his hits for two hours with one elaborate multi-media scene after another. We were just stunned. The only other surprise was when we looked at the tickets and discovered that they cost almost twice as much as we had expected. I figure that the hotel is grossing more that a million per show, two shows a night. We were beginning to feel like we were in OZ or the Twilight Zone.

To me, Los Angeles is more desert than coast. The drive to Victorville and to Las Vegas had all been desert. Midday on Saturday, we continued our drive across the great American wastelands of the great Southwest as we drove to Phoenix, Arizona. The only great source of water here is the Colorado River. Seventy years ago it was dammed in Boulder City by the Hoover Dam. We stopped to take a strong look as we passed by. It was nearly night fall before we reached Phoenix. It is a large city with maybe two million people. It is amazing and strange, all these people living in a place where no rain has come since last October. We could not find a place to stay for less than $90 - everything has gotten so expensive in the US and especially in the Southwest.
Today, Sunday - February 5th, we spent visiting with my mother's cousin and his wife, Jerry and Esse Miller. They have lived in the Phoenix area about ten years. We share an interest in our family's history, which we talked a lot about. Later in the day he showed me some wonderful photographs of my great-great-grandfather's family. His name was Charles Franklin Miller. Charles had a farm in Forest Township, Rice County, Minnesota. They raised fruit and vegetables and corn and sorghum. He had a sorghum mill and made lots of sorghum syrup every year. Amazingly a barrel was found some years back that still had some of the syrup in it. Jerry has a big gallon jar of it and another smaller pint size jar of it. It had been made by my great-great-granddaddy one-hundred and ten years ago. I tasted a bit of it and it was still good and sweet. Jerry said I could have the small jar. I told him that I would pick it up later this year, after visiting Mexico. We really enjoyed our visit.
Late in the afternoon we headed south. We were going to stay in Tucson, but could not find a reasonably price room. Tucson is in the midst of its annual gem and mineral show. So, the prices were twice the normal rate. We continued south, stopping at the border in Nogales.

Tomorrow we will be in ole Mexico. My next entry will tell the stories of that wondrous land. Hasta Luego!

Posted by bill at February 5, 2006 10:53 PM

It¥s wonderful hoy you travell. Muy lindo su HASTA LUEGO!

Posted by: susana at February 8, 2006 12:54 PM

Loved the jar with the hat! At first I thought it was an urn - what a great way to have an ancestor around! :-)

Posted by: Ingo at February 10, 2006 03:19 PM

!hasta manana! Let me know if there are any good Spanish speaking towns, homes, etc. where one may domicile briefly (a month) for intense Spanish training!,Greg g_etz@yahoo.com

Posted by: ge at February 11, 2006 08:37 PM