On the road to great northwest

Aug 28, 2006 4:53 AM

Carol, I know you want to play some real poker. Well, now that we’re back home you can play all the poker that you wish to.

The past couple of weeks we’ve been on a driving trip to the Northwestern United States, and you’ve only been able to play poker on the computer. And it is a lot different than playing with real poker players.

I will try to get back to poker in a few minutes, but right now I would love to tell the folks about Yellowstone and say a word or two about Napa Valley.

Yellowstone is one of our natural treasures and just to visit the world’s first national park that was established by Congress in 1872 inspires awe in travelers from around the world.

New Zealand and Iceland are known for their geysers, but nowhere in the world will you find as many as there are in Yellowstone.

The magma tic heat powered by the volcanism of the past and present causes the park’s geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots.

Rugged mountains flank the park’s volcanic plateau — vegetation ranges from near-desert to sub-alpine meadows and forest.

Lodge-pole Pine covers over 60 percent of the park, which helps forms the scenery and the habitat for a large variety of wild life, ranging from the giant Bull Moose, Bull Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Coyote, Wolf, Black and Grizzly Bear ,Bison and Pronghorn and others.

Birds are in abundance everywhere; you can see American White pelican, Lesser Scaup, Trumpeter Swan and a very large variety of the different small birds.

If you love to fish, Yellowstone is a heaven for the fisherman. In the streams you will find the fighting Cutthroat Trout, among other game fish.

The Yellowstone National Park has become a model for many nations and is an example of a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.

Yellowstone is perhaps best known for "Old Faithful Geyser" and it is without doubt the world’s best know geyser. Its eruptions have varied from as few as 40 minutes to as many as 126 minutes. In the lodge there is a large clock with the estimated time of the next eruption.

Yes, Carol, I found you a poker game at the west gate to Yellowstone, but I will not give its exact location here. Just a little private game; I was invited to play a few hands and I will ask them if you may play. And I will not tell them that you play better than I do.

Now on to the wine country of California.

Napa Valley is just 45 minutes north of San Francisco. Mother would never let me drink, so I never became a connoisseur of wine.

But, Carol, I will tell the world of poker that you and our daughter "Oklahoma Sarah" are the best wine tasters in the world.

When we were visiting the Cake Bread Winery in Napa Valley — while I ate a handful of grapes from the vine, you tasted every wine they had, and bought a good supply to take with us. And I know that you joined their fan club and are on their list to send you their very best vintage several times each year.

The last time we were in Napa Valley, you took me to the Vegas airport and I did not know where I was going until we arrived in San Francisco. Then you took me out into the wine country and got me to ride the hot air balloon, but I remember the balloonist lost control and we landed in that tree. So this time no balloon ride!

What a wonderful county. What a nice two weeks, just traveling about.

Now that we’re home, go play poker and break a leg.

OK-J Poker Tip of the Week

If you are losing when you play poker, try this. Be more selective with the hands you select to start with.

Play only the name brand hands — the top 10 hands, you know, in which A-A is No. 1.

For the other nine best starting hands, email me at [email protected]

If you select your hands carefully you can take the money home and count it there.

Until then, remember to stay lucky.