Saturday, July 30, 2011

Driving to Cotati

Oh what fun to travel for 12 hours straight with these two. Loved it!

I am finally catching up with all the goings on of late. I think I put my car in cruise control and automatic and it finds its way to California to be more exact to the City of La Puente.

My new motto is STOP and read those darn maps before you hit the road.

Last week I took a small vacation and headed to La Puente right after work on Wednesday, the plan was to leave for Cotati the next morning but for one thing or another we didn't leave until Friday at around 10:00 a.m. The as fate has it I immediately took the wrong freeway but not to worry because that one too would meet Hwy 5 too. Once on the 5 and back on track we pushed north.

It wasn't until I was in this town and saw the freeway entrance signs said I was on Hwy. 99 and not on the 5 as I should have been.

Up the hill past Gorman you will find the split for the 99. I was driving on the far left lane so I assumed that lane would continue to be the 5, wrong! I guess at the split it does a crisscross and I did not notice so a few miles ahead we stopped for lunch. We walked the dog and had some hamburgers and then it was back in the car to hit the road. As I am entering the highway I notice that it says 99 North... What? 99? How in the heck did this happen? why am I going towards Fresno instead of San Francisco, grrrrrr for the second time I took the wrong highway.

Not realizing we were on the wrong highway we enjoyed a couple of hamburgers and walked the dog in a nice little park across the restaurant. At that point all we cared was that we were traveling together and having fun. Which is what makes a road trip that much more enjoyable. Oh, by the way, that little thing on the leash is appropriately named "Cosita" (Little Thing)

Now going back would have meant an hour delay so I decided to push forward on 99 event though I knew it was adding many miles to my trip, but I also knew that eventually it would lead to a pass to cut across to San Francisco. Sure enough, we went through Los Banos and it was at this time Abby called her son for instructions.

Well, he said take such and such highway but be careful as it splits even though it remains the same number, do not go towards San Francisco but take the one that says
Berkley. Well my co-pilot and I missed that split so guess what, we we found ourselves in a mess of traffic to cross the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. Can you see a pattern here, once again we took the wrong highway and found ourselves in a city that was so enclosed in fog that the sun (and it was a sunny day all day long)would not shine through.

We crossed the Bay Bridge into San Francisco and just like that somewhere along the middle point we went from nice sunny skies to dark, foggy, gloomy weather. It wat really cold too.

I started climbing up some streets that went up, up, up a hill into a residential area. I am one of the few men that will actually will stop at a gas station to ask for directions. So I get off the car and bam it hits me, it was freaking windy and cold and I am wearing Phoenix summer attire, so I run into the convenience store and ask the attendant whom had a thicker accent that mine.

"Excuse me but I am heading to Sonoma and somehow I am here, can you get me back on the right track" I said. "Sonoma? Then what you doing here my friend, you no need to come to city to go to Sonoma, so go and cross the bridge and you will find the 101, take it going north" he said. "Crap that means I have to pay six bucks again right?" I said, "Oh no, come into city you pay, you say bye bye you no pay" he replied.

No matter what the situation is I always know there's light at the end of the tunnel.

By this time we had Abby's son found us new route again to get out of this mess and it coincided with what the guy at the gas station told me. We were instructed to cross the Golden Gate bridge and go about a mile, then we would find a mall so we were to wait there.

Yep, 15 later they showed up to pick us up. lol I tell you, this is the last time I go out without printing my mapquest maps as I always do. While Abby was here in Arizona her phone's GPS led us everywhere but somehow in Northern Cali it kept freezing and repeating the same instructions. Grrrr frustrating, and my phone was not any better as I know I have a cheap service so I expected for it to malfunction, except mine was actually doing semi-good too.

Yeppers! That is actually me walking Cosita at the mall's parking lot.

Before jumping on the 101 we had dinner a Cheese Cake Factory restaurant, ummmm my chicken enchiladas with black beans and rice were most excellent.

Finally at around 10:30 at night we were finally at our destination. But to me it was all fun and part of the experience, we got to see many places that normal tourists will never see, unless like me they keep taking the wrong highways.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

St. Vincent de Paul Church, Los Angeles, California

St. Vincent de Paul, Los Angeles
W. Adams Blvd. and Figueroa
Image borrowed from the Internet.

St. Vincent de Paul Church is a Roman Catholic parish and Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM #90) in the West Adams section of Los Angeles, California. The church was built in the 1920s and designed by architect Albert C. Martin, Sr. Dedicated in 1925, it was located in what was then one of the wealthiest sections of the city, on land adjacent to the Edward Doheny Mansion and Stimson House. It was the second Roman Catholic church in Los Angeles to be consecrated. Composer Amédée Tremblay notably served as the church's organist from 1925-1949.[2]

The climactic scene of the 1999 film "End of Days" featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger's battle against Satan was filmed in the church. The church's altar is featured prominently in the film's final scenes. The Church also appears in the movie "Constantine (film)".

Well as I mentioned before, the wheels are turning and eventually in a not too distant future this is the church were Abby and I will say "I do". We visited Fr. Ruben about three weeks ago and he already gave us the pep talk along with a bunch of instructions on things we must do before the big day. Better get moving.

Back in the day when I lived in L.A. we were about ten minutes away from this church and seldom attended services there. My little sister had her "Quinceanera" there too, so when my niece suggested it for the ceremony and got the wheels moving with Fr. Ruben I was thrilled.

Here are a few pictures I took while there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weekend in La Puente

Abby captured this image while almost drawning my mom in the back seat. She opened the window of the car while I was doing close to 90 miles per our. My mom screamed and we laughed for the nest half hour or so.

Weekend in La Puente for Crystal's fiesta.

My niece decided to throw a big fiesta for her 25th birthday and pretty much all of us from Phoenix drove to La Puente, California for the event. As you all may remember Abby was in Phoenix visiting and after three weeks this was her return ticket. My mom always the wise woman she is told me that I should have just kept her in Phoenix. "I don't know why you are taking her back, she was already here" were her exact words. Ummm I guess she told me.

This is Tallynna the oldest of my grandkids. We were trying hats at the truck stop in Chiriaco Summit. I like the way she came out on this picture.

So I decided to once again make a weekend out of it. So on Thursday right after work we hit the road and headed for California. This was to be a dual purpose trip as we would formally go to Abby's parents house and ask for her hand in marriage. Wait, but she already have three grown up kids and so do I, ummm well that doesn't mean that good customs need to die. It was fun and it was exciting to be able to do that, of course my sister was my spokes person but I was just happy that my mom was there for the occasion but better yet that she wanted to be there.

My sister the spokeperson and my mom.

We also got to talk to Father Ruben a friend of ours from Phoenix whom now is at St. Vincent de Paul in Los Angeles. Yep, the wheels are moving and they are moving fast... but not fast enough for me, but I will be patient.

We also got to go and have our mandatory marriage classes, it was sort of fun to be the oldest couple among all the rookie couples. Yep we stood out like a sore thumb but in a good way.

So, all in all it was a fun as well as productive weekend. We are now officially engaged.

This is my niece Crystal and the reason why we all made the trek to California on the weekend of July 9. She turned 25 and had a big family gathering. It was lots of fun.

My granddaughter Alayna, Abby, and my daughter Nikki at the party. Did I mention it was hot an humid that night. Still we had a blast.

Everyone was dancing, by the end of the night I was soaking wet.

My daughter Michelle with my nieces Alexis, Jessica, and Becca.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ABC Wednesday -- "B"

Click here for more ABC Wednesday participants.

So today it's Letter "B" for ABC Wednesday. Let's start by saying that the letter "B" is for...


There are way too many of these running around me and I love every minute of it. They are giving me a break right now but on any given moment you can find all my ten grandkids running around the house and driving granpa loco. But most of the time I just love to see that they are all healthy, normal, noisy kids.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ABC Wednesday -- "A"

Click here for more ABC Wednesday participants.

OK let me try this again, I have started this game and never finished it as it is hard finding certain images on some of these letters but I will try and do my best this time around.

So today it's Letter "A" for ABC Wednesday and for me there's only one logical choice these days. "A" is for...


And as if my magic one December 31st of 2010 Abby came back from the past to very much become my present and future and I couldn't be happier. Not too many people get a second chance at happiness as I am getting it. I say it was God sent and I am pretty much appreciating her with all my heart and soul.

Monday, July 18, 2011


My Fat Boy ready to ride.

OK the idea was to keep the momentum going and to carry the bike ride to Saturday, she wanted to go further than just a couple of miles away so we decided to go to Prescott the following Saturday, that meant we needed to go out shopping for comfortable and suitable shirts for riding.

The first time we went to a store about a month ago she would say "Oh I like this and then just kindda pass her hand over it and that was it". She did this repeatedly so I asked her to please stopped touching the clothes and to grab some of them so she could try them on. Alas, that did not happen. That's why this time I started carrying the shirts she hinted she liked and then we headed to the dressing rooms.

It was funny cause there were two other guys there with their wives, one of them couldn't care less what she was trying on, I think he just wanted out of that place, then Abby came out and showed me what she was trying on, I think first I gave her a thumbs down, then she went back in and out she came again with another blouse, this time my thumbs were pointing up, then the other lady comes out with whatever she had tried on and heads for the registers, and her husband goes, "hey, you didn't even show me", she just looked at him like are you nuts? What is it I have to show you? I started laughing cause Abby came out again with yet another blouse. I guess I am just lucky that way, cause I was having a ball. The shirts were pretty cool so we decided not on one, not on two, not on three, but on four shirts.

You can't deny that I picked a cool t-shirt for her.

A friend of mine was going to ride with us but at the last minute he couldn't join us and add to that the fact that the forecast for that day called or 117 degrees the Prescott trip had to be severely cut so we decided to get up very early and to just go have breakfast in Wickenburg.

Street scene.

Welcome to the high desert! Just 60 miles northwest of Downtown Phoenix in the Northern reaches of the great southwest’s Sonoran Desert. Wickenburg is noted for its clean air, good country living, western hospitality and all-around high quality of life.

Abby, the third wheel. lol

From my house, Wickenburg is exactly 52 miles, so we got there in no time. I don't know what it is with Arizona's little towns and even Phoenix adding those turn around thinggys at the intersections to me they are annoying and confusing, needless to say I could not find the restaurant I was looking for so we back tracked a couple of blocks and went into a restaurant that had a bunch of bikes parked in the parking lot, I think it was called Country Kitchen or something like that. Not the best food but it wasn't all that bad either.


Inside I started playing with my phone app that point you to places you want to go and actually did find the restaurant I wanted to go to in the first place and wouldn't you know it, it was only a block away past that turn around thinggy they have on the street. I hate those things.


Well we were not the only crazy riders out there that morning, I did see quite a few bikes go through Wickenburg but Abby and I were ready to hit the road. Now that we knew where I wanted to go we headed that way, took some pictures and headed back to Phoenix. The last 45 minutes or so we rode in very hot weather and I thought for sure Abby was not going to be able to take it but she was a real trooper and did not complain at all.

Shadow riders!

We were back before noon and we just kindda vegetated the rest of the day. Who wants to be out when the temps are over 115 degrees.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Film Bar

Best of Phoenix award winning and my brother "DJ Melo".

With nothing planned to do for a Saturday night we sat at the kitchen table talking to my mom and listening to her stories, which by the way she has plenty of them. She said, "What? You guys are not going out tonight?" Well we really have no plans, so I asked Abby if she wanted to do something. I then took out my phone and went into facebook. My brother had just posted that he would be spinning some records at the Film Bar in Phoenix and that he would be doing a cumbia set.

Oh yeah! "DJ Melo" always get the crowd going.

I called him and asked him what this place was about and after some hesitations he said, that it was a small theater, not a night club and that it wasn't the regular type of dancing place we were used to but to come down never the less to join him.

Oh yes I had to unbutton my shirt, the AC was only working partially and it was a hot night.

And Abby's face here posing with my lil bro was red as a tomato from dancing so much.

Abby said let's do it, so we got ready and we were on our way. His set was to start at 11:00 p.m. and we got there way before that so we went inside and waited for him. No cover charge meant more drinks, now don't think I am a drunk or anything but if you go out dancing with a beautiful lady there have to be some drinks, je je je. The Film Bar only offers sodas, locally brewed beers and wine.

"DJ Melo" doing what he does best. He truly is a Master Mixer.

The crowd was eclectic and young. When we walked in the DJ played some world music highlighting music from Pakistan. Against the walls there were long benches with a small table in front but everywhere else you would find lots and lots of vinyl covered ottoman like stools that you could grab and drag around the place to sit. We immediately liked this place and just had fun looking at the people dance while sipping on our wine.

Just before 11:00 my brother showed up but he didn't start his set until midnight. So we had some drinks with him while we waited. He said the cumbias he was about to play were really not the conventional cumbias we know but said we would like it. Not only did we like it but we danced his whole set with Abby and I opening up and little by little the place was full with people dancing.

Nawww, people say we do but we don't look alike... or do we?

George introduced us to his friend whom organizes the event and later on he gave us a couple of shout outs, that made us feel kind of special.

All in all, a wonderful night very different to what we were accostumed but very enjoyable nevertheless.
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