Wednesday, 1 July 2015

On St. Junipero's Day; my trip diary: California via Toronto

My Story about our California Sojourn

                With the help and company of my daughter, Bethany, we waited at Toronto Pearson Airport for our flight to LAX. We had packed and repacked, updated our passports and rechecked for them, checked in and gone through security; I almost missed my bus from Belleville which my wife took me to May ’15, Mon., Victoria Day in Canada: I had bought a ticket for the wrong day. As the bus left the terminal downtown I realized I had forgot my jacket and Joyce had already gone. When I got to where Tim Horton was supposed to be to rendezvous with Bethany it was under construction, I’d have to call home or her to make another arrangement, but I was prepared for further complications. Our flight with American had been rescheduled several times in the months of preparations by WestJet through which our booking was through but we arrived to meet my cousin John at the airport on time and it was late when we arrived at their place in Agoura Hills. Back in their van in the morning: John, Rosario, Adrienne, Jamal, Bethany and myself headed for Disneyland.
We saw many more sights on the way: the Hollywood Sign, the dry vegetation, and the Cathedral of LA were what I recall now. Through the continued generosity of my cousin we parked and went to the original Disney theme park which was celebrating 60 years this year. First we all ate in the French Quarter to the tune of Dixie Land band live. Then the kids left the seniors to seek the fast pass to rides. We took the Jungle Cruise, the Pirates, and the Paddle Wheel before we stopped for a comedy act at the Golden Horseshoe and ice cream sundays. I stayed for the next show to recover from jetlag. John and Rosario went to It’s a Small World ride. Then we three took the train around the park. We met with the kids at the stores on the way out early closing. I got a jacket/souvenir. On the way home we stopped at In’n’out burger restaurant.
Next morning Buttons, the cat, got me up again. I’m an early riser and John dropped me at St. Jude’s for Mass. The homily was on Church unity. On the way back we made one of many stops at Shell for gas. That day John, Rosario, Bethany and myself had seafood lunch in Malibu’s Sunset restaurant. I waded in the water on Zuma Beach there. We had the best ice cream after that. Next beach was Santa Monica, with its boardwalk, amusement park, tamales, and State of California flip-flops souvenir for Joyce. Lastly we walked by muscle beach along Ocean Front in Venice. There we saw panhandlers and transient vendors. Someone played a baby grande. There was a Dr. for medical marijuana prescriptions. That night back at John’s we watched DWTS and AFV.
 On day four, we four headed to Solvang for a Bit’o’Denmark smorgasbord. It was late that night when we checked into our Holiday Inn. We walked to the Fisherman’s Grotto where we had a view of the Golden Gate bridge in fog but a somewhat disappointing seafood dinner. Stop blaming the chef; the food got cold as our party waited grace for me: gone to the washroom to freshen up when the food arrived. Our Danish pastry we brought with us to have in our rooms that night made up for that meal anyway. In the morning I sent a post card of the foggy site to Joyce and we left for our day in San Francisco.
We started site seeing at the tower at the point. Then we parked on the S shaped street called Lombard to take pictures of it after we drove down it. Next we saw a statue of the Lone Sailor at Golden Gate Lookout where were huge teddy bears displayed in an old convertible. In the clouds we drove over the bridge and on red rock mountain. There were plenty of wildflowers and we stopped at an old fort lookout. On our scenic tour we saw Alcatraz from across the bay and had gourmet lunch at the memorial Sutro Baths Cliffhouse. In Golden Gate Park we saw the Celtic prayer cross at the waterfall. The trees were much bigger than in the south but not as twisted either: some California oak but more evergreens. We drove around Haight Ashbury, China town and Nob Hill with one street on a 45 degree incline. We went back to the hotel before proceeding on foot past the Powell and Hyde cable cars to Ghiradelli Chocolates store. I had a pizza by the slice on the way back to our room. That night we went to Club Fugazi to see Beach Blanket Babylon and ate at Cioppinos, the best show and dinner I could imagine.
Next morning I headed on my own to look for a McDonald’s. I could not find it, despite asking several of the passerby for directions. It was a nice walk and I elected to try a Jack-in-the-Box and was not disappointed then. After John checked us out we all stopped for a brunch at Schooner’s restaurant by a ritzy Gables hotel in Monteray. We proceeded on highway #1 down the Pacific Coast Cove, through Pebble Beach golf resort, by Restless Sea, and it was. On Pt. Joe we saw cormorants. We came to 10 mile house, Junipera Sera Carmel Mission and today, as I compile these notes, I remember it is St. Junipera’s  Feast Day. As we continued south we saw: Spanish moss, cala lilies, Pt. Lobos bluff, Carmel Mts., Bixby Bridge, wild cala lilies, turquoise eddys, Pt. Sur, Andrew Molera State Park, redwood forest, Big Sur campground, trails, canyon, burns, sea oats, Linekiln National Park, Los Padres, elephant seals, para surfing, Hearst Castle, kite boarding, San Simeon State Park, Cayucos State Park and finally came to Santa Barbara Harbour Restaurant.
Rosario took me to Pentacost Sunday Mass and Fr. Jim gave a homily on “unwrap the gift of the Holy Spirit”. I was gulled on Paradise Cove but thanks to Jules baby wipe Virginia could clean me up before our farewell family meal for seven of us at the Café on the beach complete with valet parking for our vehicle anyway. We really enjoyed the time at the Nussey’s; that day we toured their neighbourhoods, had Baskin Robins and I did a personal retreat with a book about St. Therese of Liseux over my holiday. I appreciated the laundry services there and had more when I got to Phil’s.
My holiday wasn’t over. My daughter and I flew home on Memorial Day in the States after Homeboy restaurant on another 737. I got Subway to go and we took the rocket to the subway. There I said good bye to Bethany and proceeded on TTC to where I got a Three Musketeers and Phil picked me. We went to a Harvey’s that night too. I watched a bit of AFV and WN in my room.
Next morning I went for a stroll. We had brunch near where they are moving, went to the Fairview Mall, I went to a TD, and we had McDonald’s iced coffees. We took Peter’s empties for deposit and made a trip with things Phil was donating, to Value Village, to facilitate their move. We brought home KFC for Wen Chen and their exchange student boarders and went to the Goose and Firkin pub for supper with Rob.
The morning of my last day in Toronto I went to Mass at St. Peter’s on TTC. I went to Il Gatto Nero café , saw Bethany at work in the Metro bakery, and went to Tim’s before returning, this time taking a street car too. Shadbolt’s wanted me to try the Jerusalem Buffet. In the afternoon we took another load to Value Village. We went to Tim’s, Broughton’s religious goods store and Montana’s for supper.
I went for another walk and Tim’s On the Run, in the morning of my day of trains home. I ate at the McDonald’s at Union Station and Joyce met me at Belleville station where I had the third and final luggage claim to make. Back home my packing and unpacking was at last done for now.
              I was glad the trip to Ottawa that weekend was cancelled, although I can’t seem to get enough cousin get togethers. I look forward to seeing the California cousins, Nussey cousins, 5th Ave. friends of Toronto, and Bethany again someday soon. There were some e-mail and facebook pictures but the memory card from John’s camera has still to be unrolled. While this is surely the longest blog, it was a trip of a lifetime for me!

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