2014-southwest-trip Research Archives

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Day 23 – Apr. 11th: Vintage Cars and Campers

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<– Day 22 – Apr. 10th: Balboa Island and Pier | OVERVIEW | Day 24 – Apr. 12th: Dan’s FCs and The Lost Romanian –>


Restored 1903 Olds built to replicate one driven across the United States in 1903 from New York to San Francisco.I’m checking out the flywheel.

On Friday we left Fullerton to spend a couple nights in Thousand Oaks. Before we got to the hotel, we drove out to Oxnard to visit Murphy’s Auto Museum.


Today we travelled from Fullerton to Oxnard, before stopping at Thousand Oaks, California.

The museum began as a private collection. However, that collection was mostly sold off and replaced by individuals who wanted to store their vehicles at the museum. For the next few weeks, Murphy’s is having a vintage camper display.



Custom camper with a display that includes items found inside it. Okay, maybe the fake little girl wasn’t inside it, but the items (you can’t see well behind me) were in it.


This bright trailer includes a model that must be set up with the trailer any time it appears in public.

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COMPLETED: 2014 Spring Southwest-California Trip

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<– Day 42 – Apr. 30th: R&P 4WD and Herm | BACK TO OVERVIEW  –>

On May 1st we drove home to Pasco. We didn’t stop anywhere, so there’s nothing to report. We landed in Pasco, tired, but happy about our great southwest adventure!


Thought there’s not much on this page, I wanted to save this page due to the comments on the bottom. The overview of the trip with links to daily reports can be found here –>

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Day 42 – Apr. 30th: R&P 4WD and Herm

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<– Day 41 – Apr. 29th: Ann Flies the Goose | OVERVIEWTrip End –>


Rich & Paul (aka R&P) on the left. John and me on the right.

Today is out last day of travel and visits. Tonight we will stay at Ann’s aunt and uncle in Vancouver, and tomorrow, we head directly home.

Ann and I spent the morning with R&P 4WD. In the evening I visited with Herm (AKA Herm the Overdrive Guy) and his son Marty Tilford. In between, Ann’s uncle lost his grandkids dog (still missing), so we spent several hours looking for the dog. On the plus side, I got to know her aunt and uncle’s neighborhood really well!


Our drive from our motel in McMInnville to R&Ps location in Oregon City, Oregon, took about an hour. What surprised Ann and I about the drive through the rolling landscape of small farms was the large number of wineries in the area. We both agreed that there seemed to be more wineries, more signs for wineries, and more tasting rooms than both Sonoma and Napa combined! Or, maybe we were just thirsty?

2014-04-30-rp4wd-doorFiguring it wasn’t quite time to drink, we landed at R&P thoroughly sober and ready to look at parts! Rich and Paul, who started R&P in the 1970s, and John, who joined them a few years ago, greeted us warmly. R&P provides a variety of drive train services, including tranny/tc rebuilds, axle builds, brake products and more.

After some pleasantries, we dove into their newest items. They recently developed a bolt-on dual master cylinder installation kit especially for trucks and wagons. They had a nice demo until to show us how the adapter attached to the frame:

2014-04-30-wagon-brake1 2014-04-30-wagon-brake2They also demonstrated their new tow bar adapters and their disc brake kits. R&P was even kind enough to donate a disc brake kit for testing on Biscuit, so I’ll be doing a full write up on that when install them (thanks guys!).

Next we got a tour of their garage and parts area. Not surprisingly, there were a bunch of different axles, transmission and transfer case gears and more. Ann faced the biggest challenge during this portion of the tour as she’d put on a dress so she could enjoy the sun, not realizing she’d be inside a garage (though I’d mentioned this fact to her . . . ). She’s a good sport and did her job taking photos, risking grease spots on her dress at every turn.


We also spotted John’s CJ-6, which is undergoing some work at the moment. It seems he’s as busy as I am, which explains the state of both of our jeeps.


After that we wandered outside to look at a few more jeeps. Each of these has a variety of upgrades to meet the challenges of northwest jeeping. One update that really interested me was the vintage Offenhauser Buick V6 valve covers in the CJ-5. They got my attention. Boy do I have valve cover jealousy.

2014-04-30-offy-covers1 2014-04-30-offy-covers2

Here’s another look at some of their jeeps:

2014-04-30-jeepsWe also took a look at a few of their projects.


2014-04-30-rp4wd-projectAfter our exploring the R&P shop, the guys Kindly took us out for lunch. Yum!

With our bellies were full from lunch and a temperature of 85 degrees (pretty high for this time of year in Portland), we drove north across the Oregon-Washington border.

As we crossed the Columbia river and entered Washington State (exactly six weeks after we left it), Ann got a message from her uncle: “Can you help me find the dog?” It turns out Uncle Bob and Aunt Debbie, who live in Vancouver where we planned to spend the night, had been watching their grandkids and their new dog, Bradley, who’d been a shelter rescue. Despite Aunt Debbie telling Bob not to let the dog off the leash, Bob wanted to train the new dog, so he’d unleashed him for a moment. Bad idea. Bradley took off into the woods. Since we had some extra time before meeting with Herm, we offered to help.

Bradley had only been missing a few minutes when we arrived at the Fohl household. We immediately began to troll the neighborhood with it’s parks, tall trees, underbrush, and windy 1970s suburban developments.

Ann and I split up to cover more ground. She wandered through a local park while I cruised the nearby junior high and high schools. It was at this point that I realized how awkward this could prove to be. I’m some middle-aged man slowly driving through school parking lots asking young boys and girls if they’d seen a lost dog. Even worse, had somebody asked, I couldn’t exactly describe the dog, since I’d never seen it! The words “stranger danger” kept cycling through my head . . .

Thank goodness for Herm and Marty, because after searching for two hours, I got a call from Marty letting me know they could meet with me. Though I had to leave Ann behind to continue the search, I couldn’t drive away fast enough!


Herm’s CJ-5 with a a few M-38A1 goodies on it. The hood has special louvres that Marty made. Herm says it really does help cool the engine. He runs terra tires on all four wheels.

Many people know Herm on the web by his internet name of ‘Herm-the-overdrive-guy‘. While he’s definitely a go-to-guy for overdrives (for servicing or for purchasing new or rebuilt ones), he also supplies many more products and services than that. He’s been involved with jeeping, jeeps and parts for decades and can has earned a wealth of knowledge from that experience.


I asked Marty why his dad painted the trannies different colors. I figured there might be a system. If there was, Marty said he didn’t know it.

Herm and his son Marty gave me a peak ‘behind the curtains’ of his home-based operation, which allows him to be around his family. One good reason for working at home is that the business keeps him very busy. He says he can work on larger items like transmissions in the afternoon, then in the evening have a seat at his work bench, turn on the tv, and rebuild overdrives. He says he’s thought about retiring, but he loves what he does and doesn’t know what he’d do if he retired.


Always nice to have a few parts hanging around. Lots of cleaned parts ready for sale.

He also continues to develop new products, several of which he explained to me. He was very excited about them. He feels he has an opportunity to fill some small vintage jeep drivetrain niches, to satisfy needs for which there are currently no solutions. Since I didn’t explicitly ask to share those ideas, I won’t get more specific here.


Herm’s got a few winches for sale, too.

Unfortunately, because I abandoned my wife to the dog search, I didn’t take too many photos. It’s too easy to get talking and forget to take them. But, I’ll make sure to bring her along next time so we can get an updated photo of Herm, Marty and I. Meanwhile, I did take a photo of the home made Elk/Porl bacon that the Tilfords gave me [Ed Note: this was great tasting!]


This is some elk/pork ‘bacon’ that Herm and Marty gave me. Parts are all fun to look at, but you know me and food. I can’t wait to try this!

So, thanks to Herm and Marty for taking the time to meet with me. And, many thanks for the elk/pork bacon. We’ll eat that for breakfast with some North Coast duck eggs. 🙂

For those wondering about Bradley the lost dog, the story ends happily. The search was given up while I was gone. The grandkids were told the dog was lost and they were sad.

But, don’t despair, because at 10pm, as I was going outside through the garage, I spotted a dog peering around the corner of the house. It was Bradley. He’d found his own way home!

Tomorrow we head home for some rest. All this ‘vacationing’ has worn me out!

<– Day 41 – Apr. 29th: Ann Flies the Goose | OVERVIEWTrip End –>

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Day 41 – Apr. 29th: Ann Flies the Goose

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<– Day 40 –Apr. 28th: Firehouse #4  | OVERVIEW | Day 42 – Apr. 30th: R&P 4WD and Herm –>

2014-04-29-spruce-goose-cockpic-loresWell, what a surprise! On Tuesday the cold and rain showers forecasted by people paid to predict such things continued to be scared away by the blue sky and warm temperatures in Oregon. Such weather would have been perfect for the coast of Oregon, but our mind was too changed to change back.


We spotted this mural just as we were leaving Rogue River, Oregon.

Anyone who has ever driven north on Interstate 5 through southern Oregon knows what a pretty drive it is. Successive low mountain passes of about 2000 feet chase any boredom away.


Our Tuesday drive to McMinnville.

Our first stop of the morning was at Canyonville at exit 98. When traveling north with my sister back in December I’d spotted several jeep bodies on what I thought were shipping containers just off the Interstate. They were still there when we passed this time, so we pulled off to get a closer look at them. While there were no identifying ‘for sale’ information, I believe these belonged to Del Blanchard, who is actually operates out of Myrtle Creek according to his website [Ed Note: Del has since passed away.]


In the pic below, the body on the right appears to be a galvanized (no stainless) CJ-3B body. The one in between is a CJ-2A/3A Stainless. The body on the right is an all-stainless CJ-3B body (I saw no indications of galvanized floor parts) that includes some interesting windshield tighteners.




Here’s a 2012 ad for the bodies:

Odd note: If you use Google’s street view feature, you can just barely see the jeeps on the utility boxes if you are in the southbound lanes of I-5. However, as of now, if you try to view the jeeps from the northbound lanes, the jeeps are not present. Nor are they present from the on ramp right in front of the utility boxes.

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Day 40 – Apr. 28th: Firehouse #4

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<– Day 39 – Apr. 27th: Crying Babies and Grungie Folks | OVERVIEW | Day 41 – Apr. 29th: Ann Flies the Goose –>


Rick and I kneeling in front of men from Medford’s Firestation #4. They represent just some of the people who refurbished Rick’s CJ-2A.

We began the day with a quick trip over to the North Coast Co-op for some fresh bread, duck eggs (had to get 2 dozen), and some lunch items for a picnic at Redwood National Park. The co-op proved to be my favorite part of Eureka 🙂


Even better, there was a place that speaks “Jeep” across the street!

2014-04-2014-eureka-speakjeepThe clouds and rain promised by the weather experts on Monday never appeared. Instead, we were blessed with perfect weather for our drive up the remainder of the California Coast. Blue sky and a few clouds became a beautiful contrast to the tall, deep green forests we encountered.


Monday’s trip from Eureka, CA, to Rogue River, OR

During our drive we decided to stop at Trinidad. Dan had mentioned it in one of his comments. It turned out to have a high beach cliff with a beautiful view.


After Trinidad I expected to encounter a welcome sign for Redwood National Park. As we waited for the sign we were surprised to see a place called Trees of Mystery. Out front of the place was an enormous Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.


Yep, that’s me leaning against babe’s leg.

After Trees of Mystery we continued searching for the welcome sign for Redwood National Park, but never saw it. It wasn’t until we reached Crescent City that I realized we must have driven through the park. Thus my plans for a picnic in the National Park was thwarted by signage, or lack thereof.

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Day 39 – Apr. 27th: Crying Babies and Grungie Folks

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<– Day 38 – Apr. 26th: Finding Virginia City | OVERVIEW | Day 40 – Apr. 28th: Firehouse #4 –>


Beautiful drive over highway 299.

Well, it’s been an interesting day. My day started at 12:01am. I hadn’t been to sleep yet due to the crying of two kids in the motel room next door. Well, not just next door, but through the two doors that would have created a suite, doors so thin and porous that whatever food was being cooked in their room late at night wafted into ours. They weren’t good cooks.

The cries came and went for the next hour. Finally, at 1am, I woke up the proprietor of the not-so-fine establishment to complain. I figured if I was going to be awake, he was going to be awake. He wasn’t happy that I woke him. I wasn’t happy either. He agreed to call them. Amazingly, that seemed to help, at least for about fifteen minutes, though I can’t imagine he got on the phone with the two young children and explained the problem. I stopped caring about 1:30am when I fell asleep.


Our Sunday drive from Red Bluff to Eureka.

In the morning we awoke and got the heck out of there. So much for that deal!

We drove up to Redding and then headed west over several ranges, which appear to constitute part of the North Coastal Range. We spent three hours driving through some beautiful country along lots of two lane highway.

2014-04-27-road-to-eureka 2014-04-27-road-to-eureka3

At one point we pulled into the lumber town of Weaverville. In the driveway of the Weaverville Garage was a VEC CJ-2A that needed some work.


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Day 38 – Apr. 26th: Finding Virginia City

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<– Day 37 – Apr. 25th: Carson City | OVERVIEW | Day 39 – Apr. 27th: Crying Babies and Grungie Folks –>


I found this tree, decorated with bottles, growing out of this vintage Oakland automobile near Virginia City, Nevada.

Anyone who has met Ann knows that she has a good sense of humor. So, it probably isn’t surprising that she had all sorts of fun teasing me about driving down ‘Virginia Street’ in Reno (one of the main streets) or noting it when we arrived at Virginia City. Yes, Virginia’s name is stamped all over the Washoe Valley! [Ed Note: this is due to the book I released in 2011, Finding Virginia]


Our route on Saturday from Carson City to Red Bluff.

On Friday night it rained pretty hard, but by Saturday morning the rain had passed. Relieved at the partly cloudy weather, we ascended Highway 342 to Virginia City, which is in a valley surrounded by mountains. The landscape is pretty bare, except for the metal ghosts of mining operations.


Signs just off the road on the way to Virginia City.

We figured that given the cold and the potential rain and snow in Virginia City, there wouldn’t be many people. We hadn’t counted on a Motocross Rally! The town was packed with cars and motor homes. Just a couple of streets down from main street (actually C Street) was the start and finish of the race course. While not great timing for us, it seemed like a really great motorbike event.


The town was much busier than we expected.


In front of those awnings was the start/finish line for the motocross event.

Virginia City has the largest historic district in the West. The former boomtown is famous for the 1800s Comstock strike, its old west feel, tourism, and ghosts. Anyone who has watched Ghost Adventurers on the Travel Channel knows how much fun they’ve had at this city. The Washoe Club was one of the places they investigated.


The place has a wonderfully authentic, old, creaky feel to it. Check out how the water drains pour water onto the street! There was still a little bit of water dribbling from them.


I thought the Bank of America cash machine positioned underneath this Saloon was pretty funny.


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Day 37 – Apr. 25th: Carson City

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<– Day 36 – Apr. 24th: ‘Tire’d of Reno | OVERVIEW | Day 38 – Apr. 26th: Finding Virginia City –>


The entrance to the Nevada State Museum in Carson City

Well, it had to happen. After five weeks of mostly great weather, the temperatures dropped and the rain arrived. So, rather than drive to and walk through historic Virginia City, we decided to drive south from Reno and visit the Nevada State Museum, then head to our motel to do some eWillys updates.


Today we drove south from Reno to Carson City, Nevada.

On our way to Carson City this morning we passed this unexpected mural tribute on the side of a building to Alice Ramsey:


A mural dedicated to Alice Ramsey, who in 1909 became the first woman to drive across the United States. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/womens-history/alice-ramseys-historic-cross-country-drive-29114570/?no-ist

The Nevada State Museum was a surprising amount of fun. There was lots of Nevada history told in interesting ways, such as a rebuilt ghost ‘town’, a working Carson City coin stamp (there used to be a US Mint in Carson City) , and an underground mine in the building’s basement that was great to explore. Much of the museum of dark, so we didn’t take many photos.


Entering the mine in the basement of the museum.


Along some of the walls were a variety of exhibits showing how mines operated.


This area demonstrated that sometimes the timbers would fail. Good thing I’m there to hold them up!


This is a huge bullion scale, the type necessary for the Carson City mint.


This assayer’s scale is similar to one I have from 1895, a leftover of the family’s smelting history. We also have a neat portable one that fits in your pocket. It’s got the counter weights as well.

This overloaded stage coach was a neat photo:


Naturally, my wife found an explosive . . .


We both really enjoyed this museum.  We left the museum and decided to head to the motel; it was not the best motel experience, but that happens sometimes.

Hopefully the weather will improve for our visit to Virginia City on Saturday.

<– Day 36 – Apr. 24th: ‘Tire’d of Reno | OVERVIEW | Day 38 – Apr. 26th: Finding Virginia City –>

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Day 36 – Apr. 24th: Tire’d of Reno

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<– Day 35 – Apr. 23rd: Over the Sierras | OVERVIEW | Day 37 – Apr. 25th: Carson City –>


No, not nap time . . .

The good part about Reno is the room rates during the week: $26 a night at the Circus Circus (great rooms for the price, too). The bad part is that Reno eats tires for lunch, which just so happens to be the time of day that we discovered one of our tires was flat.


Today we stayed in Reno, visiting the National Automotive Museum, then Les Scwab.

We were pretty lazy Thursday morning. By the time we were heading to Reno’s National Automotive Museum it was noon. On the drive over I though the handling on the jeep seemed a tiny bit odd. When we arrived at the museum, I got out to check the tires. Sure enough, the front right tire was approaching flatness.

Now, you might say to me, “Dave, didn’t your fancy new jeep have a tire pressure sensor?”

By Joe, you are right! But, last winter the tire pressure sensor came on for a while, due to the severe cold. Well, yesterday the tire pressure warning lit up as we dropped down off the pass into Lake Tahoe. I pulled over to check the tires, but nothing seemed amiss. So, I figured it was a cold/altitude thing. It appears I was wrong.

So, on Thursday we found ourselves at the museum with a flat tire. Some threatening rain clouds loomed overhead. What did we choose to do? Well, visit the museum of course! I figured we could unpack the jeep to pull out the spare tire later.


Ann got all dressed up for a ride in one of the cars. Too bad they wouldn’t let us take it out for a spin.

The museum turned out to be outstanding. The collection represents only part of William F. Harrah’s overall collection at the time of his death in 1978, but it is still outstanding. Harrah’s collection strategy was to find cars of which only a few were made or of which only a few existed. The result is a collection that is unique and diverse. Both Ann and I had a good time looking at the vehicles, watching the demonstration engines, listening to the tv shows and music that acted as background, and reading some of the stories. I took a bunch of pics.


An 1892 steam powered Phillion. There was room for a chauffeur in the rear (who also stoked the fire) and a rider in front. Off to the left is a photo of the Phillion in action.


Lots of early cars.


Note the crushed rock underneath the cars. I thought it helped to make the cars really standout. Nice earthy touch.


This area was not only full of cars, but contained an array of females dresses. It was both a reminder of the times and gave the room a classier feel.



A video of the Milton Berle show was playing in this small display area.


This depot wagon was used to ferry visitors from the train to Harrah’s retreat along the Salmon River in Idaho.


The body of this Rolls Royce was built from copper.


This is Tucker #32.


Duesenbergs, Cords, Auburns, Kaiser’sand more filled this room.

The museum had several jeeps, including a few for a WWII exhibit. The Jerrarri (Wagoneer plus Ferarri) was in the museum, but I figured there are enough pics of that online.


This 1944 GPW appeared to be a mis-identified MB, given the flat tool box covers in the rear. However, on closer inspection I spotted the “Higgins” plate on the dash and the GPW cross member in the front. Thus, it is a remanufactured GPW.


Good looking Seep. According to the information aboard that accompanied this GPA, the nickname “Seep” was given to the vehicle by some of the builders who witnessed the seep leaking water into the cab while it was in the water. That’s not a story I’ve ever heard,


The 1972 CJ-5 behind this sand rail was bought to be used as an off road vehicle as part of the Jeepers Jamboree.


This is one of the finest examples of the miner hood ornament that I’ve seen. It’s a rare piece. I’m wondering if it was somehow related to the Jeep Jamboree or Jeepers Jamboree? I’ve only seen a couple of these. [Ed Note: more information the miners here]


This beautiful NellyBelle pedal jeep was part of a pedal car display when we first walked into the museum.

This very famous Thomas Flyer vehicle had it’s own extensive display. Neat rig and great history about the race from New York to Paris.


We only had one bad experience at the museum. That’s when Ann’s camera phone slipped from her hands while she was taking a photo. She reached to grab the falling phone, but hit it forward instead. The phone sailed through the air toward a vehicle that shall remain unmentioned. Fortunately, it narrowly missed the car, landing with an odd thud on the crushed rock. Whew!


My turn to get dressed up and drive.

With our museum tour finished, I had to face unpacking the jeep to remove the spare tire. Really, in the scheme of things, it wasn’t that bad, but still a pain.

2014-04-24-flat1 2014-04-24-flat2

After competing the swap we drove over to Les Schwab to see if they could fix the tire. After finding the leak, it was clear the tire was toast. Because the jeep is all-wheel-drive, we were forced to buy four new tires, setting us back $1000. You can imagine that hit the travel budget! Ann claimed we are the only people who can go to Reno and lose $1000 without ever entering a casino.

So, we spent the afternoon at Les Schwab waiting for our new tires to be installed. That’s not quite how we saw our day going. Our evening did end with one high note. We found a great and inexpensive Vietnamese restaurant called the Golden Flower right next to Circus Circus.

Tomorrow we plan to tour Virginia City and then drive south to Carson City to see the Nevada State Museum.

<– Day 35 – Apr. 23rd: Over the Sierras | OVERVIEW | Day 37 – Apr. 25th: Carson City –>

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Day 35 – Apr. 23rd: Over the Sierras

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<– Day 34 – Apr. 22nd: Old Town Sacramento | OVERVIEW | Day 36 – Apr. 24th: ‘Tire’d of Reno –>


Southern end of Lake Tahoe.

Reno was our goal on Wednesday, but not before a few stops along the way.


Wednesday’s drive from Sacramento through the beautiful Sierra mountains to Reno, Nevada.

We started by taking I-80 east, turning off at Auburn, then following highway 49/193 as it wound into the Sierras towards Georgetown, the western gateway to the Rubicon Trail. The drive is delightful, with trees, valleys and mountains all around. Many of the turns are tight and slow, but we weren’t in a hurry.


This huge statue commemorating the Chinese is much taller than the rail car behind it. Cool sculpture!

We knew we’d arrived at the right location when we spotted a “Jeep Jamboree USA” building. We hopped out and peered in the windows. Nobody was home, but there were several vehicles, including Mark Smith’s green CJ-3A and yellow Jeepster. We would have taken photos, but the glass was kind of dark.


Me looking in the window at a CJ-3A and Jeepster housed at the Jeep Jamboree USA building.

As we pondered the vehicles inside the building, a truck pulled up near us. The driver got out and he too peered into the windows. We got to talking and it turned out he was a retail rep for YETI coolers named JD Holt. He handles the area south of the Oregon border all the way to Bakersfield. He explained that YETI is trying to penetrate the Northwest better. I explained that sounded like some of my readers would appreciate. After some discussion, he told me he’d set me up with a cooler at good price so I could test and report on it. Sounded like a deal to me, so we’ll be arranging that after we return home [Ed Note: I never did hear from him … we ended up buying a Bison Cooler, which has since changed company names].


JD telling me about the YETI coolers.


Close up of the YETI.

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Day 34 – Apr. 22nd: Old Town Sacramento

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<– Day 33 – Apr. 21st: Tom, Paty, Sparky, Bill, Lucy, Snoopy, Charlie, Linus, and More | OVERVIEW | Day 35 – Apr. 23rd: Over the Sierras –>


Given the public can climb into this old Ford, it was still a pretty nice car!. They even let me jump into it!

During the spring of 2013 my son Karson visited Old Town Sacramento and said it was a great area of the city.  Ann and I didn’t know for sure what to expect when we arrived there today, but we came away pleasantly surprised.


Today we drove from our Sacramento motel room to the California Auto Museum, then to Old Town Sacramento.

We began the day at the California Auto Museum located just a little south of the Old Town Sacramento area. Much of the museum’s collection came from Edward Towe, a Montana banker who assembled a large collection of Fords in Deer Lodge, Montana (some of his collection is still there at the Montana Auto Museum). That explains why many of the early vehicles and artifacts are related to Ford.


I felt like the museum started strong, with some good explanations and backgrounds. The exhibit is organized on a timeline, starting with some very early Fords.


This is a good display of how Camp Curry at Yosemite began. It started as a tent camp in 1899 by David and Jennie Curry.


A pretty static display more typical of the arrangement of the early vehicles at the museum.

The demonstration of how/why a ring and pinion developed was particularly well done. There was a video (see below the picture of the R&P machine) of the R&P and played above a hands-on example that people could spin by hand. Well done!


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Day 33 – Apr. 21st: Tom, Paty, Sparky, Bill, Lucy, Snoopy, Charlie, Linus, and More

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<– Day 32 – Apr. 20th: A Sunday Drive to Santa Rosa | OVERVIEW | Day 34 – Apr. 22nd: Old Town Sacramento –>


Apparently, Snoopy can be a little frisky sometimes!

Fun day today! We met some great people and had a beautiful drive through the Sonoma and Napa areas.


We drove from Santa Rosa to Sacramento on Monday.

The morning began with a trip down to Tree Line Teardrop Trailers in Petaluma where we met Tom and Paty Perkins. You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TreelineTeardrops.


Tom had contacted me a few months ago about finding a flat fender. He’d explained that the first vehicle he’d driven was his dad’s CJ-2A. So, he was interested in finding another one. As we exchanged emails, I learned he was building teardrop trailers. Fascinated by them, we agreed that Ann and I would stop by during our trip.


Paty and Tom quickly made us feel at home as they showed us the two different trailers in their driveway, one an off road version and one a lightweight (700lb) road cruiser that was being picked up by the new owner that day. One look at both of the trailers and it is easy to see how well made they are. This reflects Tom’s background in construction and finish work. Both Ann and I were very impressed, from the quality of the workmanship and materials, to the choices in stove top (high quality, sturdy, high btu burners) and portable fridge (ARB). Each trailer is built to order by Tom.


Perhaps the best selling point was how easy it was for Ann to climb inside. The doorways are wide and even with Ann’s bad knee and brace, she had no problem slipping inside. So sold is Ann, that she’s reviewing each trailer option as I type this.


Thanks to Tom and Paty for sharing the trailers, the bees, the chickens and more!


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Day 32 – Apr. 20th: A Sunday Drive to Santa Rosa

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<– Day 30-31 – Apr.18th-19th: Bay Area Fun | OVERVIEW | Day 33 – Apr. 21st: Tom, Paty, Sparky, Bill, Lucy, Snoopy, Charlie, Linus, and More –>

2014-04-20-heather-nick-henryToday we enjoyed a relaxing morning and afternoon with Ann’s cousin in Belmont.


Sunday’s trip to Santa Rosa

On Saturday, we’d planned to visit downtown San Francisco some more. However, after hearing that officials were warning that the city was extra busy and that driving downtown was going to be crazy, we chose to take a quick trip into the city to get Ann’s mother something and return to the housetop spend more time with my friend Jack.

Today after visiting with Ann’s cousin and her family, we drove north to Santa Rosa. Except for narrowly avoided some jerk who almost hit us, the drive was pretty nice. We landed in Santa Rosa and were surprised to see Peanuts Character Statutes along some of the city’s streets. We didn’t have much time to explore the city as much was closed Sunday.


Ann’s selfie with Lucy

A little research informed us that Santa Rosa is home to the Shulz Museum. We’ll be exploring that tomorrow after meeting with Treeline Teardrop Trailers in Petaluma. We have a couple additional stops before we head to Sacramento on Monday evening.

<– Day 30-31 – Apr.18th-19th: Bay Area Fun | OVERVIEW | Day 33 – Apr. 21st: Tom, Paty, Sparky, Bill, Lucy, Snoopy, Charlie, Linus, and More –>

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Day 30-31 – Apr.18th-19th: Bay Area Fun

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<– Day 29 – Apr. 17th: Revenge of the Sushi | OVERVIEW | Day 32 – Apr. 20th: A Sunday Drive to Santa Rosa –>


We found a bunny at Monopoly in the Park in San Jose

Happy Easter Everyone! We found this bunny especially for the occasion!


Our drive from Santa Cruz to Pacifica on Friday.

On Friday, having rid my body of the wicked sushi curse from Scotts Valley, Ann and I left Santa Cruz for San Jose using the notoriously dangerous Highway 17. When I lived in the Santa Cruz area I drove this highway regularly and I can attest to the danger.

Fast speeds + narrow lanes + no shoulders + lots of mountain curves = dangerous highway.

Not only did I witness multiple accidents, but several times I came close, really close, to being involved in an accident myself (while going the speed limit). In each case there was a car broken-down and sitting in a lane of the highway near blind curves.

I learned that avoiding rush hour traffic on Highway 17 is one sure way to increase the odds of making it over the summit alive. On this day, I kept my ‘alive’ streak intact.


Woz way in San Jose named for Steve Wozniak of Apple fame.

Our first mission of the day was to locate the world’s largest permanent monopoly board at Monopoly in the Park. We found it pretty quickly, just off ‘Woz way’ (named for Steve Wozniak of Apple fame). We quickly discovered one downside to the monopoly board’s location. No close parking. Here are some pics once we trekked over to the board, which was smaller than we expected, yet still very fun.

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The next stop was the Pez museum in Burlingame, north of San Jose [Ed Note, the Pez museum closed in July 2019]. I can’t remember why I had an inkling to search for this bit of oddness, but it proved worth every dollar we spent on it ($3/per person). Much to my surprise, Ann knew about some of the Pez history, as Pez originated in Linz, Austria, where one strain of her family originated.


The owner and museum guide.

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Day 29 – Apr. 17th: Revenge of the Sushi

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<– Day 28 – Apr. 16th: Artichokes and Sushi Boats  | OVERVIEW | Day 30-31 – Apr.18th-19th: Bay Area Fun  –>

I had big plans for today — a trip out to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, a walk through downtown Santa Cruz, and an excursion to the Mysterious Mystery spot.

Alas, all that was put aside as I wore a path between the bed and the toilet. Was it the sushi or the artichokes? Who knows, but something didn’t agree with my stomach this morning.

I felt much better by the afternoon. We even made it to dinner the Santa Cruz Diner for dinner (though I had breakfast), which has appeared on a number of food shows.


That’s a mural inside the restaurant. Ann was concerned the mermaid might get her! BTW, she is the understanding wife who hadn’t combed her hair yesterday. She’ll do anything for a photo!

Tomorrow, our plans to locate the worlds largest Monopoly board, visit the Pez Museum, and visit with Dan and see his Traveller will still occur.

One thing I did have time to do today was plot the remainder of our trip. The top is cut off, but I’ll provide that later on in the trip.


<– Day 28 – Apr. 16th: Artichokes and Sushi Boats  | OVERVIEW | Day 30-31 – Apr.18th-19th: Bay Area Fun  –>

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Day 28 – Apr. 16th: Artichokes and Sushi Boats

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<– Day 27 –Apr. 15th: Strolling Monterey  | OVERVIEW | Day 29 – Apr. 17th: Revenge of the Sushi –>


World’s largest artichoke in Castroville

Monterey was our launch point today. Before we headed north, Ann submitted a request to re-photograph the western side of Fisherman’s wharf. It took a few wrong turns, a couple mistakes, and dumb luck to find a good spot from which to take the photos she wanted. That’s where we discovered a memorial to Father Juniper Serra (he was news to me) who was responsible for forming a variety of spanish missions along the coast of California. Unfortunately, he’s seems pretty forgotten in his current spot on Monterey.



A hazy Monterey morning.

With photographs snapped, we continued toward our second goal, Castroville.


Our drive from Monterey to Scotts Valley, Ca, on Wednesday.

As we approached Castroville, the highway was lined with never-ending fields. It had been six years since I’d seen these fields, as I used to live just north of them in Aptos, California. I’d driven through the fields many times and seen folks working the fields no matter the weather. It always looks like hard work, often they are hunched over for hours. Hoodies are a popular item, as they are loose, flexible and offer sun protection. Whether hot or cold, field hands wear them.

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Eventually, we arrived in Castroville. Apparently, Castroville is famous for two things. 1) it is the birthplace of Norma Jean and 2) It is the self-proclaimed artichoke capitol of the world and holds an artichoke festival every year.

Norma Jean and artichokes came together in 1948 when Norma was named the very first honorary Artichoke Queen. History would show that such an honor didn’t keep Norma from leaving Castroville nor did it keep her from changing her name to the more familiar Marilyn Monroe.



We didn’t travel to Castroville to learn more about Marilyn, but rather to find the world’s largest artichoke. The area surrounding Castroville provides 75% of the domestically grown artichoke crop. The other 25% is grown in other areas of California.The unusual thing about the artichoke plant is it is basically a weed, a type of thistle. But, a yummy thistle it is!

The town of Castroville is pretty small, so it wasn’t hard to spot a giant artichoke once when we arrived (see photo at the top of the post).

We took some photos. Then, Ann spotted ‘Fried Artichokes’. She’d never had them, so we set about having some for an early lunch. We also added an order of spinach and artichoke dip. Life was good!


Fried artichoke hearts


Spinach and artichoke dip

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Day 27 – Apr. 15th: Strolling Monterey

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<– Day 26 –Apr. 14th: Gorditas Make Me Sleepy  | OVERVIEW | Day 28 – Apr. 16th: Artichokes and Sushi Boats –>

2014-04-15-wharf3Today we didn’t do much but relax and wander around Monterey on a mostly cloudy day. Monterey has two wharfs, one more tourist-oriented and one more local-oriented. We started at the latter by grabbing some clam chowder at the Sandbar & Grille Restaurant. The chowder tasted good, but had a too many potato chunks and too few clams.


After lunch we got on our tourist vibe with a walk to the other more notable wharf.

2014-04-15-wharf-signThe ‘tourist’ wharf even had an unofficial greeter:


It doesn’t look like his fishing is faring to well.


Visitors strolling the wharf.


At the end of wharf Ann got busy with her camera, so I got busy photographing her.

As we left the wharf I decided to see if YELP could find an interesting ice cream place. Sure enough, YELP found Kai Lee Creamery in Pacific Grove. So, we headed west until reaching the cannery row area, with some recognizable places.

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Kai Lee Creamery was started six months ago by Butch Adams who had no experience in the industry. His goal is to make ice cream that is organic, gluten-free, non-soy, all-natural, vegetarian, and handmade.

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Day 26 – Apr. 14th: Gorditas Make Me Sleepy

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<– Day 25 – Apr. 13th: Port Why-Knee-Me | OVERVIEW | Day 27 – Apr. 15th: Strolling Monterey –>


Henry is looking toward the coast on our way from Paso Robles to Highway 1.

Today’s goal was to drive Highway 1 north to Monterey, California.


Today we drove from Arroyo Grande – Pismo Beach area to Monterey.

We started off this morning with a quick visit to Pismo Beach to say we’d been there and done that. One thing we didn’t do was give into the temptation for some pastries from Old West Cinnamon Rolls, though my mouth sure watered as we passed their store front.


Pismo Beach pier.

After a short walk on the Pismo Beach pier, we drove north to Paso Robles to visit the highly recommended Pioneer Museum. When we arrived, I discovered that I hadn’t read the fine print; it was only opened Thursday through Sunday.  Still, there were a few exhibits outside, so we entertained ourselves for a little while.


The front of the Pioneer Museum. Me wondering how I missed the fact that the museum is only opened from Thursday-Sunday


Ann took the news of the museum’s closure pretty well. I only stayed in jail for a little while.


I got a little worried when she found this witch’s pot and began uttering the words “Double Double Toil and Trouble“.


If you travel anywhere along the coast you are likely to run across signs with bells for El Camino Real, one of the early roads through California. Bells were added along the route at the turn of the 19th century.

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Day 25 – Apr. 13th: Port Why-Knee-Me

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<– Day 24 – Apr. 12th: Dan’s FCs and The Lost Romanian | OVERVIEW | Day 26 – Apr. 14th: Gorditas Make Me Sleepy –>


Dinner off of Hwy 1 overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After all the craziness of the northern LA traffic, we found a peaceful spot for some dinner with a postcard-perfect view.

Our first objective on Sunday was to grab a bagel at the Old New York Deli & Bakery Company in Newberry Park, California. I’d spotted the bagelry when it delivered some bagels for an event at the Hampton Inn where we stayed Saturday night. They looked so good, that I made the bagel place a must stop. Thankfully, the bagels didn’t disappoint. They were chewy and tasty. If you are in the area, give them a try.


A map of our trip from Thousand Oaks to Pismo Beach.

From Newberry Park, we drove to Port Hueneme to visit the new Seabees museum. If are like me, you are unsure how to pronounce the name of that Port. I learned it is pronounced Port Why-Knee-Me, named for a local tribe. Again, Hueneme = Why-Knee-Me

On the way to the museum we encountered this terrible fire. Ann determined it had been a medical building (we pulled up to a gas station to fill up while watching the action).

2014-04-13-fireWe put the fire behind us and soon arrived at the new Seabee museum. Unlike the old location (which is the only address we had), the new address does not require access to the Naval Base, making it less of a hassle for non-military visitors to visit the museum. It’s very easy to spot the museum by the large “Seabee” out front:


You can see Henry parked in the background.

The beautiful new building apparently replaced some leaky, smaller buildings. The entrance sure looked welcoming:

2014-04-13-seabee2Inside the building is a spacious lobby where a change in exhibits was in progress:

2014-04-13-seabee3This was a creative use of landing grates:

2014-04-13-seabee4There were several rooms that shared the history of the Navy’s civil engineering program. One question we had was how did the Seabee’s originate and get their name? The answer involved the problem of civil engineers fighting in a war.

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Day 24 – Apr. 12th: Dan’s FCs and The Lost Romanian

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<– Day 23 – Apr. 11th: Vintage Cars and Campers | OVERVIEW | Day 25 – Apr. 13th: Port Why-Knee-Me –>


Dan Horenburger and I in front of his Streamline FC Motorhome. See more pics here: http://thefcconnection.com/dan_horenberger_fc_motorhome.htm

Our home for Friday and Saturday night was the Thousand Oaks Hampton Inn. Thousand Oaks was great in part because they had some good food stores. The local Whole Foods had some sliced bison meat they sold in a warming bag (kind of like they do with chicken). Since Ann avoids beef most days (beef protein sensitivity) having some Bison was a treat for both of us!  Not only do they have food, but this small community seems to have more shopping per square foot than most. There are shops everywhere, but not many houses (that we can see) to support them all.


Saturday we did a big loop. The drive north and west on 23/118 was particularly beautiful, due to the beautiful rocky and hilly terrain. The remainder of the drive (especially 101) was full of traffic.

On Saturday, after sleeping in late (due to being awakened by someone walking very heavy in the room above us at 4:30am), our first adventure was a meeting with Dan Horenburger, who has collected an amazing collection of Forward Controls. It was a unique treat to have him share their history with us.

Dan explained that he was brought home in an FC after being born. Clearly he caught the Willys Sickness within just a few days of his birth, the poor guy. By his mid-teens he purchased and rebuilt his first FC. By then there was no turning back, so instead of medication or therapy, he embraced it. Since then he’s spent many years searching for unique vehicles. Fortunately, his professional (carousel restoration) allowed him to travel far and wide to search for them. As you will see he’s been successful.

Here are some of the Fire FCs he owns:

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He also has this rare Mobile Driller attachment on the back of an FC-170:


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Day 22 – Apr. 10th: Balboa Island and Pier

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<– Day 21 – Apr. 9th: Day 2 at Disneyland | OVERVIEW | Day 23 – Apr. 11th: Vintage Cars and Campers –>

On Thursday we drove down to meet a friend of my mothers and her husband on Balboa Island.


Today we drove to Balboa Island.

They took us out to Ruby’s on Balboa pier:

Even we couldn’t pull of this photo. It’s from this magazine: http://newportbeachmagazine.com/taste-of-the-town/

We gorged ourselves on hamburgers, fries and chocolate shakes. The best part of the day was getting some of the down low information on my mother from her longtime friend. And, as Mom reads that previous sentence, she is wondering just what Karen told me . . . lol 🙂

<– Day 21 – Apr. 9th: Day 2 at Disneyland | OVERVIEW | Day 23 – Apr. 11th: Vintage Cars and Campers –>

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Day 21 – Apr. 9th: Day 2 at Disneyland

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<– Day 20 – Apr. 8th: California Adventure w/ Mrs. Soggy Bottom | OVERVIEW | Day 22 – Apr. 10th: Balboa Island and Pier –>

Most of this week Ann and I stayed with Josh and his wife Quinn. Josh is a long time friend of mine that I haven’t seen in nearly four years (and had yet to meet Quinn and their new son Jacob). So, we spent a couple evenings having a few drinks and catching up (yes, probably more important than even eWillys!). I even got a chance to do some cooking: poached salmon in a mushroom stock with rice pilaf for dinner and some eggs benedict with hollandaise made, in part, from a vinegar/shallot reduction (best hollandaise I think I’ve ever made from scratch — sorry, no pics).

On Wednesday April 9th Ann and I made it back to Anaheim for day two of our Disney adventure, this time on the Disneyland side. It was a good day and we stayed until the very end to watch the water show and fireworks. I can’t imagine the coldest of hearts doesn’t feel their inner child peak out as disney music booms from the speakers while the water shows, dancing, and fireworks fire up the imagination. Here are a few pics:


Welcome to Disneyland!


Me about to ride the Thunder Train.


Ann with the Matterhorn in the background.



After a thorough exploration of the park, I concluded there are no jeeps on the premises. However, during the Jungle ride, I am pretty sure I spotted an upside down Mighty Mite. Though I couldn’t positively prove this was the case, after Googling it, I discovered there are pics of a Mighty Mite from the Disney World Jungle Cruise on the G503 site. I guess I’ll just have to go back and investigate more . . .

<– Day 20 – Apr. 8th: California Adventure w/ Mrs. Soggy Bottom | OVERVIEW | Day 22 Apr. 10th: Balboa Island and Pier –>

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Day 20 – Apr. 8th: California Adventure w/ Mrs. Soggy Bottom

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<– Day 19 – Apr. 7th: From McDonald’s to Ruby’s | OVERVIEW | Day 21 Apr. 9th: Day 2 at Disneyland –>


Yep, I found the Willys truck near the Grizzly Water Slide in the California Adventure Park. How could I resist a photo with it? Of course, I could not.

Our goal for today was simple: Go to Disneyland’s California Adventure Park. This was made possible by the kind donation of a reader who wishes to remain anonymous coupled with Disney’s active military only three-day $129 park hopper pass. That pass allowed us to do one park yesterday (California Adventure) and one park today (Disneyland). (how is she still active military you wonder? The Air Force refuses to release her fully from duty because of what she did with them).


Today our drive was short, as my buddy’s place is close to Disneyland.

Even better, because Ann can’t stand for long periods of time, Disney’s handicap system provides us a way to avoid standing in lines for the ‘fast pass’ tickets. I won’t go into explaining how the Disney Fast Pass vs the standard waiting line vs the single line vs the handicap line all differ from one another, because it does get a little confusing. But, I do have to thank Disney for making the experience possible for Ann (and others).

Now, why am I calling her Mrs. Soggy Bottom? Because we made the mistake of riding the Grizzly Water Ride as our second ride. She got his with a lot of water, causing her shorts to get wet. It was she who called herself Mrs. Soggy Bottom 🙂

The “Cars” ride was by far our favorite. It starts as a typical ride, but then turns into a road race. Pretty fun! What I found most amazing about this ride was the rock wall over and behind it. The rock looks so real and is enormous (see second pic — huge!!). I’m sure it is fiberglass/plastic/cement . . . but the paint, and look, down to the dirt at the bottom of one of the faux mesas’s, was incredible.

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Some other pics:

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Tomorrow go back for a second day. This time we will go later and stay late to see the evening water show.

<– Day 19 – Apr. 7th: From McDonald’s to Ruby’s | OVERVIEW | Day 21 Apr. 9th: Day 2 at Disneyland –>

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Day 19 – Apr. 7th: From McDonald’s to Ruby’s

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<– Day 18 – Apr. 6th: Wurlitzer to Wigwam | OVERVIEW | Day 20 Apr. 8th: California Adventure w/ Mrs. Soggy Bottom –>


On the pier @ Huntington Beach, California

On Monday we and my ‘squaw’ awoke in our ‘teepee’ to a beautiful morning. The $70 we paid for a night at the Wigwam was a splurge for us, but we slept well and enjoyed the uniqueness of the experience.


The grounds are nicely kept and the area was clean.


Today we drove from San Bernardino to Fullerton, then on to Huntington Beach, before returning to Huntington.

Our first task of the day was to visit San Bernardino’s contribution to the world: The very first McDonalds in 1948. It turns out the ‘birth’ story of McDonald’s are actually two stories, the official McDonald corp stance and the actual truth. Thankfully, the founder of the Pollo Loco restaurants in Southern California has saved this original history (despite McDonald corp efforts to tell a different story). Even better, he’s made the museum free. Now, I wouldn’t drive hours out of my way to visit this, but if you are near San Bernardino, it is worth a short detour in my opinion.


Though not the original build, that is part of the original sign and this is the original location of the very first McDonalds.


Part of the mural on the side of the building commemorates the launch of the first McDonalds.

According to the McDonald corp, the first McDonald’s was started by Ray Kroc in Des Plaines, IL. It turns out that, yes, the Des Plaines location was the first McDonald’s Kroc started. But he launched that one as a franchisee of the McDonald brothers. It wasn’t until 1955 that Kroc bought out the McDonald Brothers and gained control of the business. Here’s some fast-food info:


History of the Hambuger

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Day 18 – Apr. 6th: Wurlitzer to Wigwam

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<– Day 17 – Apr. 5th: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor | OVERVIEW | Day 19 Apr. 7th: From McDonald’s to Ruby’s –>


Our wigwam for the evening . . .

We began the morning driving the I-10 to the El Capitan theatre (owned by Disney) at the heart of Hollywood. It wasn’t all clear to me how this would play out, but somehow we were going to hear Rob Richards play on one of the last five remaining “Fox Specials”, of which Farny Wurlitzer, a relative of mine, once said were his masterpieces.


Today we travelled from Ontario to Hollywood, then back out to San Bernardino.


Not enough smog in LA to block out the Hollywood sign on Sunday!

Rob was kind enough to email me back in December to tell me he’d welcome our presence at the theatre so we could meet and he could play for us. How could I pass that up? So we agreed to meet on Sunday for a 12:40pm show. I didn’t quite understand it at the time, but Rob would play music on the organ as people streamed into the theatre prior to the movie (which today was the Muppets).


At the agreed upon time, Rob whisked us inside (comped tickets no less — how do these things happen to me?) and began playing for just Ann and I. He bounced between various disney songs as the pipes and bells and whistles bellowed from the right and left of the front row.


Blurry, but you get the point. We have the theatre to ourselves for a short time. We even scored some free popcorn and a drink!

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