Monday, September 10, 2018

Life's not a sprint, it's a Marathon

So I did something unusual this weekend.  Haven't done it since the 24th of June, to be precise.  Didn't have much choice, but it has been a slog.

The Unusual?

Take a day off.

Yeah, Yeah, juvat, we've got pictures of you on July 13 and 14 doing something other than work.  Yes, MBD's wedding was certainly not "work", and it was a celebration filled with joy and therefore, enjoyable.  However, it was definitely not relaxing nor restful.

So, since last Tuesday was Mrs J and my 36th anniversary and Wednesday was Little Juvat and his bride's 9th anniversary and Saturday was DIL's Birthday, it was decreed that this weekend would be two days completely off.

Cue Yul Brynner.

A couple of weeks ago I'd received an email from the Gage Hotel in Marathon inviting us to a dinner they were offering which was a take on a "Winemaker Dinner". In this case it was going to be a "Whiskey Maker's" Dinner.

On my first visit here, I chauffered a group of folks from Georgetown.  Wanting to save money, I stayed in the front left room which is about 50 yards from the railroad tracks.  Trains sounding horns all night long.  The Los Portales suites are much better sound proofed.

In this case it was going to be a "Whiskey Maker's" Dinner.

While I am not a big fan of Bourbon (stemming from a subconsciously remembered incident from my misspent youth, quite a bit of cheap bourbon and the aftermath), but my beautiful wife, son and daughter-in-law are.

I made the reservations to stay at the Gage and for the dinner.

The drive over to Marathon Saturday morning was sporty as the recent storm front from the Gulf was working its way north west from the Coast, very slowly and dropping a prodigious amount of moisture on the country side. Finally as we got to Sonora, we exited the storm front and Little Juvat availed himself of the 80MPH speed limit (plus a couple for the team).

Stopped for lunch in Ft Stockton and ate at the Sagebrush, where I had a most delicious Green Chili Cheeseburger. (Ask for an extra napkin.) Most delicious.

Properly and nutritionally resuscitated, we turned Southward toward Marathon, arriving around 2. Checked in and dropped our bags in the room, and proceeded to reconnoiter the entire city.

Which didn't take long.

But the effort taxed us severely, so we stopped in at the local barbecue and brewery joint. In honor of our fearless leader, I decided on a hopped beverage, although they had quite a few versions of whisky from Scotland which were calling out to me.

Properly oriented on the myriad of things to see and do in Marathon as well as refreshed and relaxed, we returned to the hotel where Mrs J availed herself of a nap, while I sat out in the courtyard and re-read Mark Berent's "Rolling Thunder".

Suppertime approached and we made our way over to the White Buffalo Restaurant and announced our arrival. (No, Beans, no trumpets were sounded.)

Appetizers were served along with a Old Fashioned made with TX Whiskey's Blend. To be kind, not my favorite. Mrs. J loved it, so she had 1 and 15/16ths.

 The salad course was next, a nice wedge salad with homemade buttermilk and candied bacon. I wasn't fond of the raisined tomatoes (Mrs J was, so she got those also), but the accompanying TX Bourbon Shandy was actually enjoyable. Very light and refreshing.

Sorry, I got ahead of photography mission and had a bite and sip first

Main Course was a coffee rubbed Ribeye Cap served with a neat shot of TX Bourbon. Took one sip of it and the Bourbon flavor was very pronounced. Tried it with a piece of beef, and it went quite well, but the overpowering Bourbon flavor was distracting.   The Whiskey Maker had said something just before this course that I thought was interesting.

He'd said he's often asked what the difference is between Whiskey and Bourbon. He said he responds "What's the difference between Merlot and Wine?" The light clicked for me at that point.

Reflecting back on our trip to Distilleries in Scotland, I'd been taught a trick to drop one, maybe two, drops of water into a neat glass of Scotch. It lessens the alcohol flavors and brings out other flavors.

So if Bourbon is a Whiskey and Scotch is also, would what works for one, work for the other?


Dipped my finger tip in the water glass, dropped two drops into the Bourbon, gave it a swirl and Voila'. Much better.

Finished off the Steak and the Bourbon and was quite happy with the discovery.

Final course was Burnt desert honey Ice Cream with the Whiskey Maker's TX Blend neat. Did the water thing again, and enjoyed the Whiskey. The Ice Cream was a little, shall we say, too foo foo for me.

Dinner was over and the Whiskey Maker finished the evening with a little pop quiz. First one to answer each question correctly won a prize. First two prizes were a bottle of the TX Blend and an Autographed Book on how to make the stuff each.
It was "Winner take all", no participation trophies awarded.

People were mad at me.

Finished the evening off with a couple of fingers of Glenlivet 24, just to make sure I hadn't lost the taste.


  1. That part of The Republic is intriguing. On my way to El Paso, back when I covered from Lake Charles to Durango, I'd drive on 90 to Del Rito Frito, and then out through Sanderson, slow down going by the Navy barrage baloon and wave... the pre-IH10 way to go out west. Did you stay and check out the Marfa lights? Run over to the McDonald Observatory? So much to do out there....

    That wide open territory beckons me at times... It's difficult to ignore, too. Thanks for the pictures and the siren song of those hills out there. I miss those trips, but I don't miss the hours it took to get to work....

    1. I've done the US90 route many times. I like it best. Far more scenic, far less traffic (unless you count white with green striped pickups and SUVs) and, therefore, much more relaxing.
      Given that it was a one day out and back, we didn't make it to any further west than Marathon. But we did make an excursion south, stand by for further posting.

    2. "That wide open territory beckons me at times..."


      My roots go back to Sanderson on my mother's side. Charles Downie was my great-grandfather. The author of this book, Alice Downie, was the wife of my grandmother's nephew. I received my copy for Christmas in 1978.

      Bottom photo is the four Downie children. Mary was my grandmother. Top photo is Edward with his wife Helen.

    3. Interesting links RHT. Thanks for sharing them. Although we took I-10 this trip, I still felt the same feeling sweep over me as we came out of the valley at Sonora and the vistas opened up. It was a feeling of peacefulness that was much needed. I get that feeling much earlier if I take 16 down to Medina and then work my way down to US90 and then westward.

  2. I'm not a big fan of the wide open spaces out there. While you can see somebody coming from a long ways, but they can see you coming as well.

    Sounds like all y'all had a good time, I need to try the couple of drops of water in the whiskey thing sometime. For experimental reasons only of course.

    Fun post Juvat.

    1. Thanks. True, but that give you (both) more prep time. If the first time you see a bandit is 3000' at 6, at best you're going to be eating punkin soup.

      Give the drops a try. It really is an interesting effect how little water is used and how much the flavor is enhanced. Literally, dip a finger in a glass of water, and one or two drops.

  3. First thought: What’s the difference between tasting ang drinking?
    I always thought tasting was what one did before filling the trunk of the car.

    1. Well, with wine, a tasting involves sticking one's pinky out while swirling, taking a sip, gargling it and then waxing poetic on "moderate tannins", "a bit jammy" and so on. Drinking wine involves a little swirl, a sip and swallow, and "Damm, that's good"

      So, tasting Whiskey is more like drinking wine. Drinking whiskey skips the swirl, involves a bigger sip, but the rest is the same. However, that's based on a sample size of one.

  4. That's how my dad taught me to drink whiskey. WouldntW let me join a frat in college .they only served it straight. Called them uncouth.

  5. We were at a family birthday party on Saturday and my sister remarked that she didn't much care for bourbon. She continued the story by mentioning she'd recently visited friends, and she tried some upper end bourbons. She then said she would have to change her statement to reflect that she doesn't care for cheap bourbon.
    I laughed and told her I had much the same thoughts on scotch.

    It's for probably the same reason as yours, but the smell of gin makes me borderline nauseous even all these years later.

    I'll try the water drops thing.

    Seems you had a good time and often that is just what's needed.

    Good post and enjoyable reading.

    1. Thanks. Fortunately I'm in a position where I don't HAVE to drink cheap Scotch, in moderation of course, so your Sister's right on target.

  6. RE: Trumpet Fanfare announcing your arrival. No, not needed. You're a fighter pilot. That means your ego arrived 2 minutes before you.

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Congratulations on the anniversaries and birfday.

    Just one question, what's up with the Aqua Compound? Someone trying to drive their neighbors crazy, good deal on cheap paint, or is it artsy?

    Looking forward to Part Le Doux.

    1. Ahhh, Beans, You underestimate us. The least of our egos is 5 minutes out front. Mine even more so. But, you ain't wrong.

      Marathon is kind of a hippie wannabe town. They're not like Marfa which has gone all in hippie. This person built the compound themselves out of all recycled material. I guess that's a badge of honor somehow. Just looks like trash to me though.

      Different strokes for Different folks though

    2. I grew up with a fighter-pilot father. So I am somewhat immune to the ego-wave that proceeds y'all.

      As to compound madness, well, yeah, Commifornians are everywhere...

    3. Immune? Nevah! Just subdued in your acknowledgment of the awesomeness of our presence!

      (If that statement doesnt generate comments, I'm hanging up my hat.)

    4. Still summerish. Your Pate needs cover. Don't hang it up, until you come inside and remove said cover, as you don't wanna look like a navieeeee man.

      As to immunity, well, I was exposed to 1st gen SH Jet Fighter Pilot egos. Y'alls 3rd and 4th gen egos? Pshaw.

  7. I've always enjoyed taking old Highway 90 west for the scenic drive and taking a detour to Fort Davis and its locale. Your photos and writeup bring back good memories.
    Two suggestions for Juvat. First is "Yellow Rose Blended Whiskey". One of my favorites when I'm not drinking Scotch. Second suggestion (since I was career Army but an Air Force brat) is the book "Thunder Run" by David Zucchino. This book provides the Army's armor strike through Baghdad. Three armor battalions racing through a city of five million. The Lieutenant leading the strike force took a wrong turn at one point but managed to recover (tanks make it easy to drive over the lanes barrier). The tail-end Charlie M1 tank (with a damaged and unusable main gun) missed the corrected turn and actually entered an Iraqi Army staging area at a high rate of speed. Lots of surprised looks on both sides.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. I'm an AF Brat and Vet, but with 2 years at ARMMMMEEEE Training at Ft Leavenworth. I'm always up for a good book.

  8. Interesting little town, and you gotta add water, just like with Scotch. I'll stick with the Scotch, thankyouverymuch... :-)

    1. I noticed it hasnt figured into your books. The Gage is a great place to do “research”, complete with a ghost.

      I’m not turning my back on Scotch by any means, just widening the available options.

  9. Interesting area. Made a business trip from Pecos to Marfa then to Alpine. Spent a night in a motel in Alpine that was hosting the Texas Cattlewomen Association. Drat! Respectable ladies, one and all. Area had an almost Wyoming feel.I could live there.

    1. It is a very nice part of the state, with good people there, in general.

    2. In my experience the more respectable a woman is, the more fun they are when they let their hair down. In a totally respectable way, of course.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)