Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 5 - are we done yet?

We started out the day (Thursday) eating another breakfast at the Waffle House on E. Irvington. This is where we had the BEST service in all the restaurants we ate at in Tucson. In fact I think Waffle House should give lessons on proper restaurant customer service to quite a few other places in this town. I don't know if all Waffle House restaurants are this inviting - but I hope so! When you walk in all the staff sings out a hearty "Good Morning"! They do this for everyone who walks in. They sit you as quickly as possible (but when the place is full you may have to wait a bit for a table). They quickly bring you coffee or juice or whatever you want. Your breakfast is made to order and if you need something cooked a bit more they happily take it back. I know this because I like my scrambled eggs cooked well done and dry, bacon and hashbrowns cooked well done and crispy and they err on the side of not quite as well done as I like. But they took it back and cooked it some more until it was perfect. I absolutely enjoyed my breakfast all 3 times we ate there. And their cinnamon raisin bread is great! It is loaded with cinnamon - just the way I like it.

Some folks call them "Awful House" or a greasy spoon - but I expect some grease (or oil) when I'm eating bacon and hashbrowns and I hate greasy food but thought my breakfast was delicious. My eggs weren't at all greasy. They also didn't put a pound of butter on the toast - just a light swipe with more on the table if that wasn't enough. So - I highly recommend the Waffle House on E. Irvington for a hearty, welcoming breakfast. They are open 24 hours so you can try them anytime. I didn't try a waffle - but they have maple syrup which gives them another plus in my book! Here's a picture of the morning staff and the front of the restaurant.

Our next stop was Electric Park. This place ended up being a blast. They had boxes and bins of rough, polished chunks, petrified wood, tools and I don't know what else. There aren't a ton of high grade gems here - but one of my favorite gemstone dealers, Royal Quality Gems, was here and I had to pay him a visit. I also met one of my online friends, Robyn Hawk. She has a running blog about Tucson, Tucson Gem Show - Live!, every year and it is always interesting. And, since my mom grew up in Barstow, we had to stop and say hi to Diamond Pacific Tools. They have some awesome looking tools - tumblers, grinders and polishers, grinding and polishing wheels and lots more. And, small town that Barstow is, Don Depue (technical director) knew some of my mom's cousins who live in Barstow. Here's a picture of Robyn and I and one of Don and my mom with some tools in the background, of course!

We next wanted around the pavilion and found a company that uses pressure to inject gold, silver and copper into quartz. This creates some beautiful stones! The company is Gold in Quartz. I absolutely loved the cabs they had for sale and my mom had to buy the cutest seahorse! I'll get a picture of it to share with you next time I visit her. I should have saved some cabachon budget for this show! But I have their card so I can give them a call once I have some sales from all the beauties I bought in Tucson this week. Here's a picture of Onnik Arakelian and his wife at the show.

We wandered through all the outdoor tents and I made a stop at Peru Minerals where I got some pyrite cubes and hearts (including a broken heart!) and some rhodocrosite hearts. They had many carved animals, hearts in many sizes and stones, tumbled rocks and lots more.

We wandered around more, talked to some vendors, saw a LOT of beautiful polished and unpolished stones and generally enjoyed ourself. We went back into the pavilion to say goodbye to Robyn and the one booth she kept trying to visit was finally open. This was Miland Tools and, darn her, she got me hooked on more tools. Miland Seuss is the tool maker. He will gladly demonstrate any tool you want to see. I bought a texture hammer (rain pattern) and cuff making plier today (synclastic). Both Miland and his son are so very gracious and helpful and love to talk!

After Electric Park we went in search of food. The food situation in the southern part of Tucson is really pitiful if you don't like a lot of fast food. We hoped that if we drove toward downtown we might find something that looked good. We both like taquitos so we stopped at The Taco Shop Co. It doesn't look like much on the outside but the taquitos were fresh cooked, the guacamole was good, the lettuce and tomatoes were fresh and they had Dr. Pepper to drink. We spent a total of $7.50 on a not too filling, but still tasty lunch for two. You can't beat that!

Our next stop was back to Holidome. I had a list of places to see and did a pretty good job of sticking to it. Our first stop was Opex Opals. I bought some gorgoues 5x7 cabs. I also found out the 2mm beads I looked at earlier were actually synthetic so I passed on those. We then headed into the big tent in search of some center drilled keshi and apatite rondelles for some gem friends. I didn't find the pearl place initially so we cruised by booths as we looked for BV Gems. My mom slowed down at a place with hair jewelry and I found BV Gems and started shopping. I picked out the apatite rondelles and then started looking at other beauties. I snagged bags of rubies, tourmaline and amethyst rondelles from the $10 sale box. I also picked up 2 strands of pink topaz long beads - beautiful! Here's a picture of Sunil and his wife and some of the beautiful gems I bought.

Our final stop was Ta Pearls. Another gem friend had already picked through the center drilled keshi so by the time I got there most of the good strands were gone. I still dug through and was able to get a nice looking strand of white and bronze center drilled.

And that was it for the day. We ended our day early and went back to the hotel to rest a bit. I thought I would do a quick stop at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show - but I just didn't have the energy. After several hours of just vegging we drove north for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (good food, so-so service) and called it a day.

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