Our 'COW' trip...California, Oregon & Washington travel blog

Setting up for our picnic dinner at the Huntington Library

Mom, Dad, Dennis and Cheryl enjoying our sumptuous meal at the concert

Mom and dad enjoying the concert

View from our San Francisco hotel for the Wells Fargo event

Dennis and I with Wells Fargo CEO, John Stumpf

Wells Fargo museum at corporate headquarters

Enjoying a cold one at the Irish Bank Bar in San Francisco

Our group at the Irish Bank

Mom and dad visiting on base at Seal Beach

Mom with Kaia at the RV

Kaia and her new friend, the Manta Ray at the Long Beach...

Shark encounter

Saying hello to a Lorikeet

Visiting with our buddies, Pat and Ronny

Meme showing Kaia how to make S'mores

Papa helping Kaia with her browning technique

Kaia enjoying Seal Beach

Enjoying the ocean together (on base beach)

Seal Beach pier

Kaia met new friends at the Seal Beach playground

Outside of JFTB Los Alamitos

Kaia's new car, Dennis with seller, John

Kaia tries out her new car

Kaia works on the first step in restoring the car

Greetings from King City, California…we drove here this morning after spending a couple of days at the Elks Lodge in West Covina. We are staying in a county park campground and we love it so far…more in the next entry about our adventures here.

We have had a wonderful time with family these past few months. We did so much so I will only highlight a few of the events. We had an extremely enjoyable evening with mom and dad at the Huntington Library in San Marino. For the first time, they held a concert under the stars for Huntington Library members. You could bring your own picnic dinner or as we did, purchase one. It was the most amazing picnic basket we have ever seen complete with a cutting board & knife for the cheeses, champagne glasses (with champagne), fruit and throw away dishes that were almost too good to toss…not your run of the mill paper goods by any means! The event was held at the mausoleum where Henry and Arabella Huntington are interred; it sounds a bit odd but it is a gorgeous setting and the evening was completed by an hour –long concert by a string quintet…absolutely lovely.

As many of you know, Dennis and I have volunteered with the ESGR for over 7 years and although we have cut back on our volunteerism with them, we had continued as the writers for the California write-ups for the Secretary of Defense Freedom Awards. This is the highest honor an employer can receive from our government for their exemplary treatment of Guard and Reserve employees who serve in dual capacities as Citizen/Warriors. This year two of the three nominations we wrote up for California were winners at a National level; our record is five out six the past two years. This year Orange County Sheriff’s and Wells Fargo & Company were chosen as 2 of the 15 Freedom Award winners for 2011. In addition to receiving the Freedom Award, Wells Fargo also received the highest honor a State Committee for the ESGR can give an employer, the Pro Patria Award. Dennis and I were invited to the presentation of the Pro Patria to Wells Fargo earlier this month. Their corporate headquarters are located in San Francisco and we, along with a few other volunteers, were asked to represent the ESGR. We met some wonderful people at Wells Fargo to include the head honcho, John Stumpf. We flew to San Francisco and stayed at a wonderful hotel near Union Square. We were able to do a bit of sightseeing and reconnaissance for this trip as we are spending 10 days in the Bay Area later this month. We walked to A T & T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Even though I am a die-hard Dodger fan, we bought tickets to an upcoming game on the 24th along with tickets for an Alcatraz tour on the 25th. We took a Duck Tour (combination sightseeing on land and on water all in one vehicle) and walked all along the Embarcadero. We can’t wait to spend more time there.

We had a wonderful time with Kaia this past week, her mom and dad let us have Kaia for 5 days while they spent some quality adult time together. We took her to Seal Beach and stayed at the Naval Weapons Station. We spent two days playing in the sand and ocean, spent a day at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and went for lots of doggy walks with her. My parents came down to visit one evening, as did our son, Brandon and we had our friend, Pat Kuykendall over for dinner one night, too. We were so glad to also catch up with our buddy, Ronny, who has been in Mexico for 8 months. He had Dennis’ favorite beer on ice awaiting our arrival….thanks, Ronny! We also introduced Kaia to S’mores, she loved them and we are excited to pass on the family tradition of having S’mores while camping. Kaia is SO much fun but I have to admit, we were exhausted after the 5 days. We also got to spend quite a bit of time with Kelli and Dan, we are so proud of them and how they are raising our adorable granddaughter.

One other piece of exciting news, we bought Kaia a miniature car that once was a part of a merry –go-round at an amusement park in Colorado. All of our research and per the seller shows that it was built about 1939. It’s in wonderful shape considering it’s age but it needs a bit of TLC. Dennis plans on restoring it and enhancing it by putting in an engine so it actually drives along with a LOT of other accessories….if you know Dennis, everything he does is first class. We will begin that restoration upon our return in early Fall and we plan to have Kaia help us along the way since she loves to use tools and assist Papa in whatever he is doing.

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