Soaring at Warner Springs

Crunches mix with the sweet juices released with each bite of fresh white corn. This reminds me of the fresh ears I would buy after a day of soaring in Warner Springs. Picking out a few at a crossroad farmstand, I’d get a bag with the avocados just picked off the nearby trees that were also a steal .

corn

Corn – Photo credit: zqf503 via Pixabay

 

Friends make fun of the way that I eat corn. I like to plow through the kernels row by row like a typewriter. No one ever made fun of how Ernest Hemingway ate his corn, I’m sure. Okay, maybe there’s a huge difference between the prolific writer who embodied manliness, and me. But, hey, give a guy a break!

On the drive up, I had noticed the makeshift shack for selling local crops about halfway to the airport. I snapped out of my daydream.

Things had gotten complicated in my life between work and family. I was glad to leave it all behind, if only for a bit.

Driving between hills covered by remnants of some giants’ boulder wars, I got lost on the rural two-lane that snaked between hordes of avocado trees descending on the surrounding valleys.

Breathing deeper and taking in the warm Southern California sun put me into a zen state of mind. Only the thought of dinner plans broke this trance.

The engine whirl of a climbing white and goldenrod Cessna made it clear that I was getting close to the airfield, where I’d meet my instructor.

When I wanted to forget about budget reports and Powerpoint presentations, these weekend mini-escapes were just the cure. No obsessing about bills or child support payments – just finding lift among the red hawks.

sky-hills

Photo Credit Unsplash via Pixabay

It’s amazing – the things that humans are able to do. Put together an aluminum can with wings, tow it with a rope.. and FLY!

At the same time it’s funny how we have to take lessons, get certified and signed off on what birds do naturally with hardly a thought.

Funnier still was that my instructor was really a kid. Younger than me, he was also much more laid back than the hardcore instructor pilots back in navy flight school. But we still briefed and did our pre-flight checks in much the same routine as the military.

But, unlike the lunchtime patterns of showers in Pensacola, Florida by which you could set your watch, Warner Springs really had only two shades of summer – hot and hotter. So, the trick was to drink more water than what escaped your pores. If you didn’t crumple into a dust heap by the end of the day, then somehow you succeeded!

On the way home I had to stop off for a slice of pie at Julian. In spite of the heat the warm smell from inside the shop still made my mouth water. Fresh out of the oven, the crusty delight of berry goodness easily melted the frosty scoop of vanilla ice cream.

julian-pie-company

Julian Pie Company via Yelp

Racing the sun that was quickly disappearing behind the surrounding hills, I stopped off for my dinner ingredients. At the time I had no idea that what I was really doing was making summer memories of my time in San Diego.

It’s funny how moments like these seem so ordinary at the time, and it’s only later that we polish them off for the gold within.

What summer memories are you making right now?

Best Restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga – Behind the Scenes

Recently, I decided to to make a short video on the best restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga. So, I asked my neighbors on Facebook what their favorites were.

After everyone gave their opinions with “Likes” and comments, I more or less added the most “votes” and compared these with Yelp reviews and comments. That gave me a working “shot list.”

Gathering a few pictures from reviews, I added some music and voila here’s the final result –

1) The Deli (16 likes + 5) – it surprised me with how much people raved about this little place. But it reminds me a bit of a hot dog shack in the New Jersey town, where I grew up. Sometimes we just have fond memories of places, and that’s that!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-deli-rancho-cucamonga

2) Fonda Don Chon (9 likes) – besides their Mexican lunch buffet they’ve got a massive molcajete that, even though I didn’t know what it was, I want to check out!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/fonda-don-chon-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://fondadonchon.com/

3) Corky’s (507 reviews) Open 24/7 – they offer breakfast all-day and is known for their fresh-made food.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/corkys-kitchen-and-bakery-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.corkyskitchenandbakery.com/

4) Vince’s Spaghetti (4 likes +3-4?) – popular local favorite from the Route 66 days of the town. Do we really need to talk about what they’re known for..?
https://www.yelp.com/biz/vinces-spaghetti-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.vincesspaghettiroute66.com/

5) Red Hill Coffee Shop – (also located in Fontana) 5 likes for this establishment know for their HUGE portions. Look at the size of that pancake!
https://www.yelp.com/biz/red-hill-coffee-shop-rancho-cucamonga

6) Ken’s Japanese ( – 273 reviews) – you wouldn’t think that an Inland Empire family restaurants would be known for fresh seafood or Japanese, but that’s what you have here.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/kens-japanese-restaurant-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://www.kensjapanese.com/

7) Salsita’s (5 likes) – if you want a BIG burrito, this is the place to get it. More sit down than fast food this Mexican restaurant has truly adult-sized portions.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/salsitas-mexican-grill-alta-loma
Their website – http://www.salsitasmexican.com/

8) China Point (3 likes?) – they have a sign that basically says “quality takes time.” Looks like that’s how they like to differentiate themselves from the typical Chinese food under heat lamps. They make your food when you order it.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/china-point-rancho-cucamonga

9) Kolya Indian Restaurant (3 Likes) – I’ve tried their lunch buffet and enjoyed it as a decent value. There’s also a new “kid in town” Rolls ‘n Wraps that opened a few months ago and now also offers a lunch buffet worth checking out.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/koyla-indian-restaurant-rancho-cucamonga
Their website – http://koylarestaurant.com/

10) Juanita’s (4 likes +4?) – your basic “hole in the wall” Mexican fast food that has quite a following, especially for their nachos.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/juanitas-iii-rancho-cucamonga

Honorable Mention:

Wok This Way
https://www.yelp.com/biz/wok-this-way-rancho-cucamonga

Sal’s Pizza (3 Likes +3?)
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sals-pizza-alta-loma