Thursday night I got a call from Dad saying He and Mom were in Oxnard. They are headed back home… The trip in the RV has turned out to be a little bit more than they expected and so they are going to take it home to Oregon and consider alternative means of transportation to visit friends and family. The Beast has been….well….a beast. It is getting far less mileage then expected and while totally comfortable to stay in, not so fun to travel in…it keeps causing Dad tension that he just does not need. So it is going to be parked and probably sold when they get back to Oregon.

So…they parked the Beast at Zeb and Cara Claytons house here in Ventura and came back to my house. I was thrilled….so here is a review of their week in the Beast in Southern California.

When they left my house the Friday before…they went down the Coast, the one with the bikinis..Dad says there were people everywhere. Lots of surfers were out, sitting on the boards waiting for their next ride.  They drove down the 10 Fwy, and through LA…But then he made a mistake and got off on Alameda…and drove through bumper to bumper traffic to get in to Huntington Park to see Joe and get the RV diagnosed. 

They parked the RV and walked a couple of blocks to have lunch at a “delightful” place…chili relleno, rice and beans for five bucks. Quite a buy and good too. They had some difficulty communicating with the lady, who spoke only Spanish, so a Lieutenant in the Salvation Army, a young man, served as interpreter.

After Joe worked on the RV, replacing all the headlights, found a shorted wire and corrected it along with a number of other things, including the ignition module, they hit the road.  As previously reported, the City Ordinances on Parking, caused them to leave South Gate without visiting anyone.  They stayed in Santa Fe Springs, had dinner at a “joint”…fast food and spent the night in Lowe’s parking lot.

They got up the next morning and headed to Riverside. Visited Donna and Pete, saw some of their children, stayed with them and totally enjoyed their visit.

From Riverside, off they went to MiraLoma to visit Glorine Quidor. Glorine is a true blue friend from our Covina days. When they left Glorines, Dad reports that it was “so dang hot” that the smoke alarm started screeching in the RV. There was no smoke, no fumes, just heat. They ignored the thing and it finally quit. I am sure that did wonders for Mom’s blood pressure…not.

Down the 60 FWY…and the Beast started acting up in heavy traffic, chugalugging and finally quitting when they got near Rubidoux. Dad pulled over alongside the freeway and it just did not want to start again. Finally, after 10-15 minutes, it finally started…but the traffic was so furious, so he had to wait to move on over. As Dad started away, he said he looked behind and there was a tow-truck parked behind him and the tow truck driver was coming towards them…but Dad kept going. He says the tow truck driver followed him down the freeway like a vulture, waiting for the Beast to lay down and die again. That must have scared the Beast, because it stood up straight and ran beautifully.  The vulture passed them and found another piece of road-kill…there was a stalled pick-up truck in one of the center lanes that had caused the traffic to jam. When they cleared that, the Beast was on her best behaviour and they moved on down the road.

They arrived in Cathedral City, pulled into a strip mall and parked. Called Ruby Fitzgerald and left a message. Mom and Dad went to a Chinese Cafe and shorthly after that, Ruby joined them for dinner. They followed her to her home and caught up where they left off…back in 1967. Lot’s to talk about. Old times revisited.  They were thrilled to see her again.

Ruby arranged for Mom and Dad to park the beast at the Spa Casino where she works..so you had a nice and quiet night.  Dad and Mom went into the restaurant the next morning and had a nice buffet breakfast. Dad said the Casino was opulent and beautiful. After their breakfast…they headed out to see more great friends.

Helen and Bob Nudo also live in Cathedral City. They are friends from South Gate. The Beast proved to be to big for their mobile home park. 91-year-old Bob came and picked them up from down the street and took them back to their home for their catch up session. They did not get to visit with Bob very long, he had to head out for his dialysis session. Helen was delighted to see them, but when it was time for them to leave…they walked back to the RV..Helen thought the heat would kill them. So she went and wet some papertowels and made them wet neck collars to save them from the desert air from Hell. By the way…Bobby is you ever read this…you and me gotta talk buddy.

So back into the Beast, they turned back North, headed to Covina.  Doing things the Ray-Way, he parked right in front of our old house on Fairvalley in Covina, without calling ahead to warn he was coming. Mom went next door and knocked on Allison (Whittaker) Sanchez house. Allison ran out and had a happy reunion. They also visited with the owner of our old house, a Deputy Sheriff for L.A. County. He had bought the house, did a bunch of upgrades and now is upside down on the morgage, just like a whole lot Californians. He replaced the roof, put in a new driveway, put in French doors….got new windows…etc. Looks much better than when we lived there.

Don’t you think it is ironic that Allison lives right next door now from where she used to hang out as a kid?  They had a wonderful few days with Allison. They attended Allison’s Congregation…and saw some of our old friends,:Joyce Whittaker, Sister Wedde and Laurie Spalino, Verda Potter, Cindy Barella. Darlene Behr and more, whose names slip their mind. Mel Behr came to visit them at Allisons. Bob Santoyo also dropped in with his two grandchildren. All in all, a very nice visit with the other Cook girl. Allison spent enought time at our house to qualify as the sixth child.

From Allison’s they travelled back to Joe Alvarez’ shop to try and find out what the heck is going on with the Beast. It runs good and then starts cutting out again. Joe found a bundle of wires that were lying on the manifold. He repositioned them. He replaced the oil pressure sender unit and did a few other things and they thought they had the Beast subdued. Joe would not accept any payment…he’s a real sweetie. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad were dining at the same restaurant where they had the great lunch, “La Quebrada de Acapulco”…The Cliffs of Acapulco. Mom had a shrimp tostada and Dad had a repeat on his former lunch.

After lunch, back over to Joe’s where the Beast sat waiting all nice and polite, with a promise to behave. Casi Saldana’s car was also receiving attention from Joe and Casi was supposed to be headed in to pick it up. Casi is our dear friend from South Gate. He was one of Randy’s groomsmen in our wedding. Mom and Dad hung around for a while so they could see him. He was sure suprised to see Mom standing there. After a brief visit…Mom and Dad climbed into the Beast and headed my way.

The Beast ran smoothly all the way up here, but then it scared the living daylights out of Dad. They got off the freeway and the beast died, and so did the power to the brakes and Dad almost took out the truck in front of him. Fortunately, he pulled the hand brake and squealed to a stop before biting the butt of that truck. Whew. He reports that his heart almost stopped. NOT GOOD!

Dad and Mom came to my house and on Friday, I took the day off work. (Thanks Joe…my boss.) Dad replaced something else on the beast and hopefully that will resolve the problem. Everyone bend your heads in prayer.

Friday night, Chris and Liz invited us over to dinner for a beautiful dinner. Micheal had set out paper and crayons so we could draw and we sat down to color while Chris and Liz performed magic in the kitchen of their new place in Camarillo. Soon, wonderful smells were wafting out way…Little Chris sat down and just started writing his name for the very first time. Not only did he write his name, he started writing the names of everyone in his class and then he started writing his numbers. I have to tell you, it was quite exciting and we were thrilled to share that memorable occasion. Mom and Dad loved their visit with Chris and Liz. Fine food, Fine Wine and Fine Family…what more could you want….except of course Everlasting Life and Peace?

The next morning, we met Dustin, Kate, and Kate’s mother, Brenda (visiting from North Carolina) at Cafe Neuvo…a favorite place here in Ventura. Carlos the Owner is a sweetie and the place has such a great atmosphere and the best bisquits and gravy around, along with home-made syrup, and omelets from Heaven. YUM…We had a great visit and then headed back to my house, while Kate and her Mom went off to the Spa for some much-deserved pampering.

Back at home, I made brownies and then some guilt-inducing, sky-rocketing calorie loaded, gooey, yummy macaroni and cheese for the Congregation Picnic we had to send Liz and Chris and the McDonagh on their way and say so long. The picnic was at a local park and it was well attended and FUN. The kids and adults alike had a great time playing ball, flying a kite and eating some good ole fashioned picnic food. Mom and Dad had a nice relaxing day visiting with all our Ventura friends.  GREAT DAY!!!  I’ll post some photos in the album…go see.

That night, Dustin brought over a tri-tip to BBQ and Chris and Liz brought the kids and a crisp yummy salad. The boys were thrilled to be able to spend so much time with Mom and Dad…We had a great evening.  Mom watched Mama Mia with me and we giggled at sexy Pierce Brosnan trying to sing…Somehow it just did’nt work watching 007 blow it on the tunes…but he is still a hottie.  We had a great time…missed Kate though, who was at home with a high fever. (She’s better now)

Mom and Dad got up the next morning and ate the pancakes I prepared for them…but they had the nerve to say they weren’t as good as Art’s Corner Cafe..OUCH!!!  I guess I should fry my pancakes in butter so they can be crispy.  Anyway, Dustin drove over and followed us over to the RV to see Mom and Dad off on their way…OUCH again.

I am gonna miss them hanging around my house…they are pretty good decorations. We had a great time relaxing and laughing and lots of really good hugs.. They could give lessons on hug-giving.

So the Beast is now rumbling toward home with it’s precious cargo eager to park it in an Oregon driveway.

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