Jun 16, 2012

Post KIT™, Family & Friends I

Tuesday, we got in a great workout at our Marriott hotel, then headed down to the Santa Monica Pier.  Our first objective was to get a bite to eat, so we headed out to the Mexican restaurant at the end of the pier, and filled the hole, but is was horrible service and the food was only so-so.  The only redeeming factor was watching the Pigeons grab chips out of the basket on the tables outside.

Next on with our mission, which was twofold, first was to make sure we could find the End of The Road Kiosk owned and operated by Dan Rice.  Dan was not there, but Matt (Dave's nephew) was there and he was most helpful and full of information.  We picked up a few souvenirs.  Second, we wanted to get pictures of the entrance of the pier.  Mission Accomplished!

Then the highlight of the day, dinner with Mr. Marty Gordon (thanks Marty), a resident of Santa Monica, a gracious host, and the first fellow blogger we met in person (2009 in Las Vegas).  We have been following him at Heard At Starbucks for many years.  We had a lovely meal at Coast, outside on the terrace, with the ocean as a backdrop.  Great end to a great day.

Wednesday morning, it was up early and then we headed to 7th and Montana to witness Heard At Starbucks in person.  While we did not experience any true loons, it was a great visit and fun to meet some of Marty's friends and neighbors.  I was even able to turn the tables so to speak and get a picture of Marty and post it to Facebook before he even knew it happened (Who Dat Under Da Hat :o).   It really is a little community there.  We will definitely return for another visit.

After our visit to 7th and Montana, we headed out toward the Fontana/Yucaipa area.  Our first order of business was to visit Green Acres, where my Grandparents, my father, and my uncle are buried.  Not getting out to this area frequently, I wanted to pay my respects.  I love the setting, looking over a Masonic garden, with lush lawns and trees...

Next up was Cousin Ros's house and a visit with family.  Ros, her husband Glen, daughter Kristi (she just graduated high-school and we had a card and gift for her, she was so appreciative), and little Richard-Wife-Son, my deceased cousin's family.  We had a cookout, lots of talking, and they wanted to see our Route 66 pictures, so we hooked up a projector and screen and fired up our blogs for a recreation of our journey.  It was fun to share our experiences.  We were so busy we did not take any pictures, but here are some recent ones of Ros, Glen, and Kristi.

Thursday morning, after a workout and some laundry duty, we headed over to the in-house care facility where my Aunt is being looked after.  I had reservations about visiting her, wanting to remember her for the vibrant lady that she always was.  She has dementia, but there was definitely some recognition there - especially when I mentioned her brother, my Dad.  Ros, Beth and I were all glad that we went.  Sigh...

Today was a special day.  We headed over this morning to the campus of CalTech to attend the PhD graduation of our great friend  Andrew Joseph Downard (now known as Dr. Andy).  He received his PhD in Chemistry for detection and measurement of particulate (less than 10 nanometers) aerosols.  It is a beautiful campus, was a great ceremony, we attended the graduate lunch with Andy and his colleague and friend who arrived via CERN last night (she is from Greece but now studies in Frankfurt), and they met us tonight at our hotel where we treated them to a wonderful dinner and we had lots of conversation and laughs.

Last but not least, after the ceremony, we came back to our hotel while Andy and Linda took care of some business, and had a toast and a celebration.  You may have noticed a countdown timer on my blog, that is now complete.  This timer was to celebrate the graduation today of our friend Andy, our great vacation for the last three weeks, and also the end of any need to associate with a very negative force in our lives for the last 10+ years.  It was definitely worthy of a toast!!!


  1. happy june 15th.

    gonna email my real dad and stepmom and tell them how much i appreciate them as a part of my life and how much they've helped support me in my journey since we had our reunion and first time for me to meet my stepmom and sisters when i was 21.


  2. This has really been an exceptional visit to Southern California. And we've still got the weekend to go!

  3. The proverbial END OF THE ROAD has arrived. How sad. A perfect ending to a wonderful trip, though. Love those birds on the table. Heard at Starbucks is definitely a FUN page. Glad you got to EXPERIENCE it up close and personal. CONGRATULATIONS to DR. ANDY. An accomplishment indeed. Since you invited me along on your journey via your blog, I'm raising a glass to toast your NEW beginning. this has been a delightful travelogue. I hope you do another, somewhere down the road. take care.


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