We woke up early and had a little breakfast at the Barstow Radisson Hotel.
We took off early this morning for our first leg to the Grand Canyon. The goal for today’s ride was to be able to make it to Barstow, Ca. before it got dark.
We only made a few stops for gas and lunch on the way down. There is really nothing to say about the ride down as we have gone down highway 99 many times before.
The place below was a local diner we stopped to eat in the town of Chowchilla. There is really nothing to say about this town other than we ate and had a smoke.
The last stop before we arrived in Barstow was Baskersfield. Absolutely nothing to write about during our short rest stop there.
We arrived in Barstow at a perfect time right before other travelers got in for check-in and before the lines grew long at the restaurant. We spent our first night out at the Radisson Hotel and dinner right across the parking lot at the Sizzler’s.
One thing nice about this particular Radisson Hotel they allowed us to park our motorcycle right under the entrance porch. There were a few other bikers there too doing the same thing.
Lorraine and I drove over to San Francisco Presidio to check out the annual Aloha Festival. It’s probably one of the biggest events of its type in NorCal. We had a good time checking out the dancers, foods and vendor booths. As the day continued it started to get warmer. Halfway during our stay I had to remove my sweatshirt and just wear my tank top. It got fairly warm while we were walking around. One thing for certain, after being around the Pacific Islander culture we want to make a trip back to the islands. As a matter of fact we want to live there eventually. We had a great time and look forward to next years event.
This morning we woke up and said our goodbye’s to Judi as her flight was this afternoon. The anticipated thunderstorm came finally and man did it pour! I spent most of the day looking at the photos I took the past few days and entering blog info. We’ll be heading back to the French Quarters in a bit…
Andrew took the street car to meet up with at the hotel so we could head down to the French Quarters and hit up my chicken restaurant called Mama Fiarellos. I had the southern fried chicken and red beans and rice, Lorraine had seafood gumbo and a salad. Well, the soup was cold and there was hardly any seafood to be seen. Lorraine ended up having a piece of chicken 🙂
On the way back to the hotel we grabbed a few more beignets at the Cafe Du Monde. On our way back to the hotel we saw one of those marching mardi gras type bands going down the street so we joined in!
Back at the hotel, Bugs got everything ironed and packed up ready for tomorrow!
Lorraine and I woke up early this morning to head to the French Quarters with Judi. We took the cable car to avoid the long walk in which my left side would probably would not have been able to handle. We had a few hours to do the major points that Judi had listed out. It turned out great since we haven’t gone to the places before on our first trip.
Our first stop was The Cafe Du Monde World famous for its cafe’ au lait, beignets! A funny story here, when we arrived the line was super long! It would take about an hour to get seated. As we stood in line a lady came and “I want to help you” after a little confusion we understood that she wanted to get us a table in the patio! We went from the end of the line straight to our table. How funny was that? Out of all the customers waiting she picked us! We had the cafe’s special menu and enjoyed it laughing about how fortunate we were.
After our snack we went on a walk up and down the French Quarters taking in the sites. There is so much to see in the little time we had. We stopped and had a few craw fish samples by a nice cook in front of the restaurant. It was the first time for me! spicy and delicious!
The next stop was to find the Central Grocer Store Company, they are famous for a Muffeletta sandwich. They are known for the original recipe, we bought one and split it three ways to get a taste of unique classic.
It was pretty good I’ll admit I wasn’t into the different vegetables added and seasoning but it was a good experience to try out the different taste New Orleans has to offer. One thing about visiting NO you will try dishes just to try it out!
After checking out the open market a place to get your souvenirs at a discounted price we took the cable car back towards hotel but not before stopping at Mother’s again for some more Jambalaya and fried chicken!!! Yeah, that’s probably one of my dishes, good fried chicken and Louisiana knows how to cook it real good!
We went back to the hotel and rested up a bit and started to get ready for the reason of this whole adventure Mallory’s Graduation!
Mallory came and picked us up at the hotel and she was completely nervous! I held off messing with her since she was already frazzled. The traffic in town was slow and to top it off there was an accident on the freeway that delayed travel even more. Even after the not so smooth ride over to UNO’s indoor stadium we made it with plenty of time to spare. I helped Mal put on her cap and gown and all the while thinking how it was an amazing event that I will remember for the rest of my life. Looking at her with the cap and gown attire made me so proud!
There were 800 students that were to be graduating this evening and I cherished each minute as I sat there anticipating the moment they would call out Mallory’s name. All her family was there and when they announced her name through the P.A. system we all yelled together “We love you Mallory!”. Another huge milestone had arrived and it was the beginning of a new chapter in her life.
After the ceremony we headed off to Mallory’s place so she could change into her party dress and then take off to the bar she works at. She wanted to introduce her family to her friends at “Cheers”.
This whole trip was based on Mallory’s graduation the other part was saying goodbye to my “Big man” Drewber’s. This is especially hard for me, Andrew and I have never been apart this far away and for any long duration. I’m going to miss him so much but I know he’s making a move to experience life. I’m proud of him for wanting to look further then the comforts of Stockton but at the same time I can’t believe he won’t be near by his daddy. I know life has changes and the family you love must move on to their lives, it’s just hard when that day is actually here.
Lorraine and I arrived in New Orleans real early after taking the redye from Sacramento. Mallory and Andrew picked us up at the airport with perfect timing. As were coming down the escalator they were walking through the terminal doors.
We spent most of the morning hours with Mal & Andrew shopping for a dress that Mallory could wear after her graduation (party dress). Afterwords Mal dropped us off at the hotel. About noon Judi landed and headed over to the hotel, were staying at the same place. We had decided to have lunch at a nearby famous eatery called “Mothers”. Since I had a small brunch a little earlier I just ordered a brownie, oh man… it was a killer brownie! Lorraine had a bread pudding which I never heard of and that too was killer. My sister Judi had a Jambalaya and that was it, I knew we would be coming back again for more. I needed to get my own bowl of Jambalaya.
As it turns out they are producing a movie called the “Expendables” right next to our hotel Marriott’s Reconnaissance. The movie actors Sylvester Stallone, Mickie Rourke and Jet Li. I was able to get into the set and take a few pictures (at least for awhile before we were booted out) I have a shot below of “Rocky” going back into the movie trailer.
Later in the evening Mal picked us up from the hotel and we headed to the French Quarters to have a graduation dinner. I have to say it was one of the best meal and service I have ever had. The food was absolutely amazing and the service incredible. Auntie Judi had a bunch of gifts for Mallory that she brought along and shared that were from Nick and his mom. She even bought and IPOD for Andrew just for being there.
After a great emotional dinner we headed to Mal’s place so I could give her my gift. I created a video of her life growing up, the video highlighted a lot of 1st time events. It went well, I’m sure she will enjoy if for many years to come. I’ll be making a set of DVD’s for the boys soon so they can have something to help them remember their childhood days.
Even though the hotel does not have all the nice extras it does have one great qualily, location. We are walking distance to all the great shopping retailers in the aresa. Most of them are high dollar stores that we just pass and say “nice display”.
We had stayed in this hotel awhile back. They have this baby grand piano in the lobby. A kid wearing a backpack was playing classic Mozzart. It was amazing watching this kid jam along. I asked the hotel personel about him and they said he knowlonger comes around anymore. I guess he found another piano to play for free.
One thing that is tough about a lot of the San Francisco hotels is the No Smoking rules. Most of them are smoke free buildings so you’ll have to take an elevator downstairs and stand outside to burn one. Poor Bugs (me too) had to go outside.
All in all it was another great weekend in the city…
The traffic in Shanghai is famous. I’ve talked to guys who traveled all over the world and we all agree, nothing tops this place! It’s amazing what you’ll see on the roads. I’ve seen half a pic sliced down the center with the hind quarters straddled over a motorcycle, live chickens mounted on a bicycle (shown below).
During my two months total stay I think I’ve seen a total of 6 wrecks. I think that is amazing considering how dangerous EVERYONE drives. I can’t even count the near misses I witnessed.
Our daily drivers which we named Gucci and Louie Vatton are expert van drivers. They got us through the rush hour traffic like it was an amusement park ride. The constant honking, headlight flashing, brake screeching sounds all become normal. By the time I left Shanghai I didn’t even flinch when it came to near misses, though I do admit heading straight onto the larger busses and trucks got me thinking “what if” scenerios.
This work tour seemed to last forever. I have so much at home to appreciate and not enough time there to enjoy. As I looked through the airplane window I realized I literally flew around the world this time. I flew to Chicago, Stockholm, Vienna, China, Japan then finally to San Francisco. Unbelievable.