20160229_180141Leon and I left our campground in Los Banos, CA this morning with plans to drive northwest towards wine country.  But as usual, plans don’t always work out.  As we were filling up at the gas station, I noticed the hubcap on the front passenger side was coming loose.  I hate to lose another one as we are already missing two.  Leon tried to kick it in but it came off all together and revealed a wheel bearing cover that was loose.  We’ve just had those repaired before leaving so we decided to find a Midas shop and have them take a look, just to be safe, before getting back on the Interstate.

So, backtracking 35 miles, we stopped and had it serviced.  It turned out to be nothing at all, just a loose part that needed a mallet to push it in.  We have been on a few rough roads (the paved kind) lately, so perhaps that’s all it was.  By then it was already 11:30am and I had lost my gumption!  So we changed our plans and headed north to home.

In terms of routes, we had gone from Hwy 99 to the east to Interstate 5 to the west, back to Hwy 99.  Both road are similar, driving through a huge valley that is bordered by the Coastal mountains to the west and the Sierra Nevada to the east.  Unfortunately, the Sierras could barely be made out for all the fog or smog.  Many of them are snow-capped and would be quite lovely to view.  At any rate, had we gone to our original plan, that would have meant going west again.  What a zig zag!

olive pitSo we stayed on the 99 until we found the fabulous olive store we had stopped at going south last month.  The Olive Pit, Corning, CA!  Mecca of olives, nuts, dates and great foodie items.  I simply had to go there.  By then it was 3pm and I though perhaps Leon would like to stop for the night as we had driven several hours the past 2 days.  I, of course, was busy finishing a pair of socks which I had to rip out because one sock was too tight.  Grrrr!  Hopefully it will be done by the time we get home in 2 days.

We had a look at the RV park in Corning, then I thought we might as well go to the nearby casino.  Perhaps we could have dinner at the restaurant and park for free.  Well it turned out they have an RV parking here for only $28.  That includes showers, wifi and a quiet place to stay. Compared to most of the campgrounds in California that have been in the $35-50 range, that is a bargain!

20160229_180049We took a walk to the casino before dinner to check it out.  I had $2 left in my wallet. I gave one to Leon and played the other at the penny slots.  I was up to $3.63 in no time so I cashed out and watched Leon play until his dollar was done.  I figured we could buy ½ a glass of wine with my winnings.  Leon found more slots and I played my $3.63.  I started winning immediately!  I got as high as $44 but Leon kept telling me to play until I’d hit a round number like $40.  Which I did!

And that’s why dinner was on the house.  We went to the buffet (I know, too much food, again!) and enjoyed dinner for two and a glass of wine each.  The wine cost us an extra $3 above my winnings.  After dinner, I played another $1, while Leon tried his luck with $3 at the same machines.  No luck this time!

Although I always say I don’t gamble and hate to spend money on casinos, I have to say I had a fun time and felt very fortunate on February 29.

PS:  This casino actually had some non-smoking areas, including the restaurant.  So much more pleasant than Las Vegas!