I added a page with some of my custom POI files this morning. The three files cover the California state parks, the California missions (and Costcos in California, Oregon and Washington, with notes on which have gas stations. If you have some to share, drop me an e-mail. Check back for more lists and I may even share my fishing spot POI file… You can also download the files via the links below.
Though I didn’t spend Memorial Day weekend as expected (no cabin or fishing), I did get out and about. Saw “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “MI:III” and “Over the Hedge”…all good films. “X-Men” is great and “Over the Hedge” is hilarious. “MI:III” is definitely full of action, but seemed too polished, if you know what I mean.
Also got in some bowling with one son…I won two out of three games, but soon enough I may be on the losing end more often. Also got to Home Depot to stock up on screen material and spline. Re-screened about half the windows in the house. (One of the simpliest home-improvement projects I can think of.) As the house approaches 20 years old, just gotta do some of these things.
In between the above and video games, sat down with Chris to sketch out plans for a possible chicken run/coop. He wants a chicken or two. Zoning says it’s okay, so we shall see…
Oh, also tweaked my blog’s appearance. I’m getting better at this. A tweak here and a tweak there and there’s whole new look to my blog. Thought this was a much cleaner look. Let me know!
The good news is that Hwy 108 over Sonora Pass is open. The bad news is that Chris is sick, so we aren’t going up for the long weekend. Washed the cars yesterday, so figure we’ll do some around-the-house work, maybe go to the office, where Chris will help me plow through some old computers and prepare them for recycling. Will be nice to not to have to get up for three days.
Headed out toward Half Moon Bay on Sunday with Chris, even through the horizon was hidden by clouds. We were given a hint of things to come as we passed through Hayward, where heavy rain slowed our passage. But we were given to a bit of optimism in San Mateo, where it was relatively dry. It was a bit odd to drive westbound on Highway 92 during daylight hours as we usually drove this road on the way to a day of rock fishing, at oh-dark-thirty in the a.m.
We pulled onto Half Moon Bay’s Main Street shortly after the noon hour and walked around looking for a place to eat. Nothing struck our fancy, so it was time to head north. Soon after passing the intersection of Highways 92 and 1, we were greeting by a funny, improvised sign. We pulled off at Pillar Point and quickly decided to give the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. a try. We enjoyed some very good fish and chips, and I drank a very good Bootlegger’s Brown Ale. (Too bad it’s not bottled!)
After lunch and after the rain had slackened, we headed south on Highway 1, taking in the dray and somewhat dreary view. Stopped briefly at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, then headed towards Pescadero. I was going by my limited memory of a street name that might lead us to the Harley Farms Goat Dairy, and with the help of an almost-too-small sign, found the turn. Even finding the cheese shop was a bit difficult as it’s tucked behind a farm gate with no prominent sign. Luckily, we were at the gate when Dee Harley, the driving force behind the farm, passed by leading a tour and invited us to poke around the shop. Chris and I probably ate more of the cheese samples than might be considered polite, but that speaks to how good it was. I would definitely recommend that anyone who enjoys goat cheese stop here. We bought two plain chèvre logs and a small block of goat feta cheese.
Just about the time we turned on to Highway 92, headed for our reason for this trip (my nephew’s baseball game), I got a call that the game had been called due to rain. But that didn’t stop us from heading over to my sister’s for a fun visit and good food at Windy City Chicago Style Pizza, also home of “Knuckle Suckin’ BBQ.” Even got to listen to my other nephew play a bit of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on the piano. It was a good day.
I won’t be heading to Sacramento to server on a U.S. District Court jury afterall…seems that after reading my letter regarding the professional, personal and financial hardships that I and my family might incur, the clerk decided I wasn’t worth the trouble.
What an end to a weekend! Not having opened the mail, I was surprised to find that I received, for the first time in my life, a summons to report for jury duty in the United States District Court, Eastern Division of California, Sacramento Division. Somewhat of a nightmare to consider that I might be empanelled on a jury in a relatively well-known case. (I can’t tell you which case under official admonition.) Not looking forward to making the 62-mile drive on June 1st just to find out that I won’t be selected. And the $40 a day will barely cover gas and food expenses, much less the stress! We shall see how this plays out…
But the weekend was good. Spent Saturday in “The City” with my son. Caught lunch at the waterfront, then walked around Chinatown for the first time. Saw some interesting sights there. I now suggest that any tourist who wants a souvenir head to Chinatown, where the same shot glass you might get for $5 at Pier 39 is $1.59 in Chinatown. After Chinatown we headed to Sony’s Metreon to look around and play a few games. About 4:20 p.m. we picked up Karen and it was off to St. Vincent de Paul’s church for mass, then to Tomaso’s Famous for a great dinner with my in-laws.
Sunday was supposed to be a lazy day, but I jumped into the task of replacing all of our 18-year-old sprinkler valves (two were failing) and installing a new automatic timer. It went better than expected, and in between I was able to sit back and relax. Have a great week!
At 11:15 a.m. Friday, my tour of duty ended with the closing session of the conference. After quick trip to my room, a change to shorts and after dropping my luggage off with the concierge, I joined the midday rush to lunch. During the walk I took on my first night in town, I passed by the Wells Fargo museum and found the Phoenix Police Museum, which I had planned to visit if time allowed. I first stopped at the Wells Fargo museum. It is typical of a small corporate museum, but in perusing its exhibit I learned of Arizona’s own little gold and silver rushes and spent time looking over a collection of guns accumulated by one of the banks former presidents.
Thankfully, it was cooler today, so my stroll through Patriots Park was nice. But again, I found it odd. Patriots Park is one block by one block plaza. It’s relatively new, with trees, brick walkways and planters, and a lawn in front of a stage covered by sweeping canvas panels. It’s quite nice. But it is used by only a few souls, some homeless, to get out of the sun. Kitty corner to the opposite end of Patriot’s Plaza is the Phoenix Police Museum.
This is a stop I can recommend to anyone who even has a passing interest. The Phoenix Police Museum is small, but full of interesting tidbits related to the history of Phoenix law enforcement. I was lucky enough to visit on a day during which the first female police officer was working as a docent. She and her daughter personally regaled me with tales of her experiences; tell me how the first uniform for women police officers was based on the uniform used by the WACS, but when she was told that her uniform was going to cost $167 (an there was no uniform allowance), she prompted made her own, which was accepted by the department. As she was required to wear a skirt and could not wear a belt, all her gear ~ gun, sap, flashlight, ammunition ~ when into her purse, which tipped the scales at 47 pounds! Also, the high-heeled shoes she wore pretty much prohibited running, so she became adept at throwing her sap or flashlight to stop fleeing suspects. She also solemnly showed me a room in which officers who fell in the line of duty are memorialized. Quite a woman.
After spending more time than I expected a the Phoenix Police Museum, I headed back to the hotel to catch a shuttle to Sky Harbor. The shuttle company also runs Lincoln Towncars and, apparently, it is first-come/first-gives-the-customer-a-ride at the top of the hour, I rode in luxury back to the airport, where I grabbed a leisure lunch.
Airports can be great places to people watch (and listen). An old couple argued over the solution to a Soduko puzzle. A young lady consoled her boyfriend about her leaving, blaming her departure on her mother. Folks of all shapes, sizes and ages bee-bop to music fed to them via Ipods. Cells phones sprout from the ears of just as many folks. Another couple seemed to revel in their new-found ability to pick up and head out of town, now that their youngest child was out of the house. It was a good thing that people-watching kept me entertained…my flight was 30 minutes late. Out my window I can see topside of fluffy clouds kissed by the last rays of the setting sun. We’re plying our way home at 30,000 feet. For a trip that I viewed as disruptive to my routine at work and at home, it sure had some highlights.
P.S. It is a funny site to see folks, who are waiting for the bus in the late afternoon, scattered about in a seemingly random manner until one realizes they are all seeking any shade they can find.
The conference Thursday went as planned and about 5:45 p.m. I was free of my suit and free to do my own thing. Having “virtually” scoped out Phoenix in advance online, I had decided that I would sample what is called one of the greatest neighborhood Sonoran (Mexican) restaurants. It would be a 2.3-mile hike, but I felt up for the adventure. What I couldn’t anticipate was how rapid the change from neighborhood to neighborhood. I walked east on Jefferson Street past Chase Field ~ where, if I were a baseball fan I would have gone to see the Cubs visiting the Diamondbacks ~ and proceeded south on 7th Street. After passing Chase Field and descending the 7th Street “bridge” (it crosses railroad tracks), without any transition I exited the city center to find myself in a heavy industrial area. The inventory of various companies ~ huge hydraulic cylinders, pipes, slaps of metal, bricks and the like ~ lines the roadway. Trudging along I next passed used car lots and abandoned service stations.
About thirty minutes in my walk I finally reached East Mohave Street, which would lead me to Carolina’s Mexican Food Restaurant. With my right turn onto Mohave, I was suddenly in a residential neighborhood most kindly described as low income. And in the early evening, was eerily quiet. Within this neighborhood’s five or six blocks, only three children were outside, riding their bikes. Various homes’ windows were decorated with those wrought iron bars that despite all artistic efforts never truly look ornamental. One resident, maybe in a moment of levity, had squished yellow rubber duckies between the bars on one window. I got a chuckle out of that. By now I was trudging along, when I spied a restaurant ~ an abandoned restaurant ~ to my right. I was worried. I had passed numerous homes that had been bought up by the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (planes now fly above and parallel to Mohave Street) and I wondered if Carolina’s had met the same fate. But it was at the wrong address. I breathed a sigh of relief and in within a few more steps spotted Carolina’s just ahead.
I will never recommend Carolina’s to anyone who doesn’t have a sense of adventure in sampling the local cuisine. The building that houses Carolina’s was probably built long before I was born. Stripping the paint from its walls would be the equivalent of a vertical archeological dig. The menu is simple. Almost everything comes with a homemade tortilla with the diameter of a Stetson. It serves good, solid food of the neighborhood. I chose a “burro,” which is known elsewhere as a burrito, filled with chorizo, beans, cheese and potatoes. Not only is it the closest thing to a self-contained meal, it is very good. Worth the walk. (Of course, I justified eating this monster because I walked.) So, not only did I find a good, local, ethic restaurant, I had one heck of an adventure in walking there.
I’ve been in Phoenix for about 90 minutes; here to attend a conference put on by my employer. While I can now say I’ve see this Southwestern city, it’s not a city that will rank high on my list of vacation spots to which I might return. I was booked at the Wyndham Phoenix, a nice enough hotel in the city “center” and surrounded by downtown and civic buildings. My arrival was heralded by a blast of hot air that snuck between the 737’s fuselage and the jet way…still hot at about 7:00 p.m. Settled into the hotel to find that something had leaked on one of my dress shirts and, after procuring some Woolite from the concierge, took off for a walk. I set out a few blocks east, then south, on a route that ended up being approximately 2 miles. The atmosphere of the city was strange. At 8:00 p.m. the streets were what one might call “sterile.” There was no one else out for a walk, and the only people I saw along the way were numerous police officers and parking lot security guards. Even the homeless were conspicuous in their absence. (Only saw two street people and one was snoring away.)
Interesting. A few short weeks after I write American Honda Motor Co. about my disappointment with the design of the new Civic’s seat/seatbelt latch (see the blog entry here), my inbox receives the following: “The Honda Division of Honda R&D Americas…would like to invite you to be a part of a select group of Honda owners to participate in our Honda ‘Power of Dreams’ Panel.” Coincidence? I wonder. And yes, I did sign up, just to see what might happen. Could be fun.