It was very early on a dark, cloudy morning. LA was shrouded in a thick marine layer, one day after my little grandson, Nico, turned 9-months old. Five hours on the road meant to me, pack a picnic! A bunch of beautiful red/purple kale became the base for a chopped salad with slices of pear and cashews. Egg salad I made the day before was finger food as a dip for organic potato chips and slices of cucumber. Now we’re packed and ready to hit the road at 7am for Las Vegas! Above the marine layer just outside of Victorville on I-15, the heavens cleared and blue skies greeted us the rest of the way. We rolled into Vegas around 2pm to reunite with our Hawaiian extended family, Don and Nani. The last time we saw them was three years ago at The Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi, the local hang for residents of North Kohala on the Big Island. Nani is seventh generation born in Kohala, originally from Okinawa. Don, a Norwegian, was sailing around the world and landed on the Big Island well over thirty years ago. That’s about when they met and they have been in love ever since. To say they are family is an understatement. I feel we have known them since the beginning of time! We wisked them off to Red Rock Canyon, about 30-minutes from Sin City. Nani was already expressing gratitude for relieving them from the extreme stimulation and excesses of Vegas. The gorgeous Red Rock formations in the vastness of the desert were a contrast to the jungles of the northern-most tip of the Island of Hawaii, absent of the fragrance of orchids and plumeria, jasmine and gardenia. Instead, a pre-historic stillness permeated the air. Ancient swirls of sandstone footprints and petroglyphs dating back to ancient times had a familiarity to the ones Nani was familiar with in Hawaii. Two hours cruising around the canyon flew by. We were all getting hungry, so Jered punched in “organic Indian restaurant” into GPS. We drove back into LV to a strip mall atmosphere. Opening the door to Origin India was like opening a treasure chest. We had a deliciously delightful meal reminiscing and bringing each other up-to-date on family and friends. I’d go there anytime, but with Don and Nani it was paradise. Well, it was time to return them to their hotel. Aloha, dear friends.
Turning again to the GPS, we tuned to our next destination in Henderson, where we would spend the night. My friend Candice and her family have lived in Nevada for over a dozen years. They decided to base themselves in a dry desert environment because it is a conducive climate for their internet business, making robotic parts. I’ve known Candice since she was in the sixth grade. Her friendship began with my youngest daughter at a Montessori school in LA. Now she’s a mom of three darling boys and married to her college sweetheart. We were welcomed by Tek, her oldest at 5, and Kip, 4. Looking down, a little baby, her youngest Sen, crawled up to see who in the world was visiting! Candice’s joy is astronomical. She’s a very hard-working wife and mother, really keeping a very tight ship. She graciously showed us to her guestroom and began getting her children ready for bed. That was the exit sign for Jered and I to take a long walk after driving for so many hours all day long. In Candice’s subdivision was an amazing display of Halloween decorations… a real sense of community spirit. Next day we were treated to a a tour of their business, Pololu. It is so rewarding to know two young people making a life together that is booming in business as well as family. From their days at MIT to now employing sixty people, these are two kids who started from the ground up in middle class families and are making their way in the world. Hooray!
By noon, we said our goodbyes and headed to the nearest organic restaurant before driving back to LA. What a find! In a nearby industrial park we found another treasure called Panevino. OMG! The manager gifted us with his latest creation: vegan chocolate pudding! I will show you the recipe asap.
We feel so blessed to have friends like these folks. It was a whirlwind 36-hours of travel. So much so that I slept until 10am the next morning!