I first met Joyce and Ed Burke in Montana where we converged for the Beartooth Challenge, an Oldsmobile tour through the Beartooth Pass near Red Lodge, Montana in June of 2011. I flew in on my own and was the guest of the organizer, Greg Childs, once I got there. All I had to do was take pictures and write an article. What a great invitation!
Since I didn’t have an Olds, I bummed rides in the vintage Oldsmobiles for the various activities and there were many. Ed and Joyce took me under their wing and I rode in their awesome 1958 J2 convertible much of the time, including during our two attempts at crossing the pass. We had a great time and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. They lived in California at the time but when I caught up with them at the 2014 NAOC Meet in Minden, Nevada, they had relocated to Henderson, Nevada. Once again I was flying solo and we quickly renewed our friendship. When we said our goodbyes at the banquet, Ed said, “Come see us.” I told him to be careful what he wished for. We were already moved into the bus and I put them on my list of Places to Visit.
When we were heading for Lake Mead and I saw the signs for Henderson, I finally realized how close we were. I sent them a message and we made a plan to get together. They came out to the bus to pick us up and we headed back to their place for margaritas and dinner.
The margaritas were sublime! Joyce’s recipe: Six ounces of tequila, six ounces of beer and six ounces of frozen lemonade mix. She mixed them up in an industrial sized blender loaded with ice and we enjoyed them several evenings while we were there. OK, every evening.
After the first night, we moved the bus to their place where we had electric and water. This was excellent because the temperatures were climbing and we ran the A/C during the hottest parts of the day. Ed had the motor out of the ’58 due to a blown head gasket and he and Jim spent several afternoons in his very nice cool garage working on it. He also has a 1966 Toronado that he recently acquired at an estate sale. And a 1965 Starfire convertible. He’s a convertible kinda guy. Except for the Toro.
Joyce is one of those people who is good at everything she touches. And she makes it all look effortless. She was working on some craft projects while we were there and we got to check out her very creative efforts. She does upholstery, makes gold and silver personalized Christmas trees and decorates old bowling balls she finds at thrift stores. She also introduced me to coconut oil and gave me a coconut oil lotion bar that she made. It is divine.
Their house is cooled by a swamp cooler, no A/C, and it was very comfortable, even when the thermometer approached 100 degrees. Even the courtyard covered with sailcloth is cool, as Carmella found out when she got brave enough to enter.
We spent a lot of time there drinking margaritas. And sangria. And eating and talking up a storm.
A few of her projects. The porch was great for practicing yoga.
They have a lovely garden with hummingbirds buzzing all around. Carmella liked to lay under the Mexican Bird of Paradise and watch the hummingbirds.
And Ed’s garage is a treasure trove of not just Oldsmobiles, but Olds memorabilia and awards.
Joyce and Ed and the Toro.
Henderson is just about 25 miles from Las Vegas and we had a great view of the city lights from the bus. One night we went in for dinner and a show and a tour of Fremont Street. It was fun to see the lights and over-the-top characters busking on the street in “old” Vegas, which I had never seen.
Joyce and Ed are former (whole other story!) RVers and assured us that we could just park and go about our business, no interference from them. They have guests who park there often and just do their own thing. Of course, we ended up spending most of our time hanging out with them. Joyce and I hit several thrift stores and I found some much needed shorts. Jim and Ed worked on the head gasket project and Jim discovered that Ed had a staggering amount of music on his computer that he ended up copying and adding to his collection. We took turns cooking dinners that we enjoyed together and had a most delightful time. And the margaritas… As usual, we ended up staying longer than we planned but that is the beauty of not having a schedule or reservations.
How can I describe how lucky and blessed we are? After we blogged about our initial Olds visit to Rocket Ranch in Arizona, and our planned visit to Olds LA to visit Mike and Char Izzo, Ed said he began to wonder if we were going to pass them by. GAH! I am so glad that my memory kicked in when I saw the mileage sign to Henderson! We wouldn’t have missed connecting with Ed and Joyce for the world! In fact, if we had, we would be headed back there right now. We will never get within any range of Henderson without connecting with these two. Gracious, easy-going, thoughtful, fun, unpretentious down-to-earth real people… We can’t thank them enough for their generous spirit and friendship. This is our tribe.
See Flickr for more pics.