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

Loading Kaia's car onto the CRV to take it the shop for...

Can I drive it now???

Kaia working under the hood

Kaia, Dennis/Papa and Jimmy B (owner of the shop where most of...

Kaia and Meme/Cheryl with her car

Echternkamp family after the wedding rehearsal

Curling Kaia's hair for the wedding, no curling iron burns on her,...

End result of Kaia's hairstyling

Bridal party

Kaia with the beautiful bride, Jennifer

Always the flower girl...I can wait to be the bride!

Did I do a good job, Papa?

Kaia and her mom after the ceremony

Kathy and I breathing a sigh of relief after the wedding!

Kelli, Kathy and Cheryl enjoying the ceremony

Kaia and her daddy "Cutting a rug!!"

Merlinda "gang"...Tiffany, Veronica, Allison, Carolyn and myself

Our niece, Claire, with her current co-star, Claudio

We didn't have a current picture of Brandon...here is one of our...

Greetings and Happy Fall! We completed our trek to the Northwest and we are already planning our return trip; as with any of our travels, we thoroughly enjoyed our new adventures but want to go back to each and every place so we can delve into the sights more thoroughly or explore the sights we learned about and didn’t have the time to see.

We surprised Kelli, Dan and Kaia by arriving home a few days early. They opened a new chapter in their lives as Dan started a new job and had to be out of town for a convention two days after he was began the job. We surprised them as they were watching football a few Sundays back and it was an exciting reunion for all of us. We also surprised my parents the next morning when we showed up for coffee unexpectedly!

On September 24th, Kelli’s best friend, Jennifer Herfert, married Will Wantz in a stunning sunset ceremony at the Black/Gold Club. As we have mentioned before, Kelli, Dan and Kaia were all in the bridal party; Kelli was co-matron of honor, Dan a groomsman and Kaia was the flower girl. Dennis and I brought the motor home along so Kaia could relax, eat and take naps before the ceremony. We, along with my sister, Kathy, had a fun (and exhausting day) getting Kaia ready for the ceremony (try curling a 3-year olds hair so she can wear her it up for the wedding!) and assisting Jen by setting up the reception area. It was a fabulous wedding and reception that was befitting such a special couple!!

We have had fun visiting friends and family since we returned to the area; Charlene and Dennis (my aunt and uncle) came out from Boulder City, Nevada to go to the LA County Fair. Their son, Kevin and his family visited one evening and we all enjoyed hamburgers and catching up with our respective lives. We had a pleasurable dinner at the Elks Lodge in West Covina with our son, Brandon-we hope to see him more while we are home. I got together with some of my colleagues from Merlinda Elementary (where I was Principal) for dinner one evening; we caught up on their lives and gossiped a bit about school issues. It was wonderful to see them and we plan to get together again soon. As I mentioned earlier, my sister, Kathy, came out for a the wedding but was only able to stay a few days as she is busy with Claire (her daughter) who is a senior in high school and a VERY busy young lady. She recently starred in a Cabaret show at her high school, is preparing for another show and is applying for college.

We are keeping busy with yearly appointments and working on Kaia’s car. Dennis has done a lot of research on it and we have discovered that it was made in England and is modeled after the Austin A-40. Kaia’s car is made from the same metals as the adult sized car; in fact, the car was built as a post World War II work incentive program requested by the government for coal miners who were too ill to work in the mines any longer. They would use the left over metal that was stamped out from the A-40 for the J-40. The J-40 (J for juvenile) was primarily produced as a pedal car “Just Like Dad’s” touted the ads for these cars. However, some, like Kaia’s, were converted into carousel cars. Best we know, hers was produced in the early 1950’s and was at an amusement park in Colorado. At this time, we have taken apart the entire car, had it sandblasted and primed for body repairs. Dennis is planning on making it a fully functioning car with an engine, blinkers, horn and windshield….who knows what else ☺ It will be a showstopper when completed and Kaia is helping every step of the way in the restoration process.

We have short trips planned for the next few months before taking off on another extended trip to the South and Southeast early in 2012….all our best!

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