Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

As we think about the wonderful things that have happened over the last year, your comments and notes and 'connection' have made this all the more fun and interesting.  Thank you!
Wishing you and yours Health and Happiness and the Best Year Ever!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Stairs near Silver Lake and L.A.

We have eaten a few vegan meals in the last few days because Adam and Melissa only eat that kind of food.  We are always up for something different so, we were glad to go to lunch in Silver Lake and eat at Flore Vegan Restaurant recommended by nephew Nate.
Then we joined him and Angela and their son Jacob for a walk around famous Echo Park.  It recently has undergone a $45M renovation and is quite nice.
From there we took a short drive around the lake and then through some of the hilly neighborhoods.
We parked the cars and set out on a hike through residential areas and found a number of stairs through them.  The day could not have been more beautiful.
Music Box Steps is the site of the 1932 Academy Award winning short film by Laurel and Hardy.  The movie is about them struggling with moving a piano up the stars.
 It was hard enough moving ourselves up and down them, let alone a piano!
 After a healthy hike up and down the steps, we went downtown to Little Tokyo for a while.
 Then it was off to a trendy art district for brats and beer for dinner.
In a little while, Ben joined us for a group photo.
They had worn us out by now, so Pam and I went back to the RV park, Angela and Jacob headed home and Ben, Nate, Adam and Melissa checked out a couple more places before calling it a night.

It was a full day and lots of fun seeing everyone and some interesting places in L.A.  It was great spending time with these guys!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Had a Nice Christmas

Adam and Melissa flew into LAX on Christmas Eve.
We picked them up and took them over to the Long Beach Westin where they were staying.  (Gotta love those hotel points!) Nice hotel in a nice area of town and only about 6 miles from us in Seal Beach.

Christmas morning we took it easy and picked them up about 9:00 and went back to the Roadrunner where we had orange juice, coffee and a family tradition - cinnamon rolls!  Then we went through our stocking and opened up presents.
Afterwards, we went for a drive down along the beach in Huntington Beach area.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day!
By then we were getting hungry and went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch.
Next, we went over to Ben and Lesley's and got to see little Ezra all her family.  In addition, we saw Nate and Angela and Jacob.  It was a great day and a chance for Adam see some more of his cousins and have them meet Melissa.  It was nice time.  We missed Kelly and Jonathan and niece Heidi but we were glad to get together with family we hadn't seen in a long time.
Hope you and yours had a nice Christmas!  Now to get some exercise in and make some resolutions for the New Year!

Thanks for joining us on this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

From Randy and Pam at the Roadrunner Chronicles 

Wishing You and Yours 
Very Merry Christmas 
and a 
Happy and prosperous New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Homestead Museum not far from LA

Last Sunday afternoon nephew Nate and family arranged for us to see some nearby history.  Nate and Angela live in Whittier but up over the mountain lies the Workman house that was built in the 1840's.  Reid and Amy were still in town so they joined us.

Nate arranged for us to see a Christmas rendition program of  the Workman house.  Also on the property, we saw La Casa Neuva and El Campo Santo Cemetery.

First the Workman House.  William and Nicolasa Workman built the original adobe home in the 1840's.  After a lot of hard work and good fortune,  they became wealthy with their growing ranch and estate and expanded the home in the 1870's.  We toured it first.

The tour for the Christmas program included our leader and 5-6 'in character' docents who described various periods of time, situations and items in the home.  
Inside the Workman House, we saw a demonstration of how to make "Ribbon Doll" aka "Wagon Train dolls.
The upstairs of the home was not open, but the tour continued over to the La Casa Nueva which was quite impressive.

One of Workman's daughters married a Temple. Then one of his grandchildren, Walter P. Temple, became wealthy from oil and built La Casa Nueva.  Through a long and winding list of financial reversals and family interventions, another grandson took over La Casa Nueva which thrived for a time.

We were met near the front door by the milkman and the grounds keeper.
This home and estate were built in the 1920s and the grounds keeper pointed to the electric strings of lights that were on hand and in-use back then.

Inside the entry way we met another guide and took notice of the use of arches.  The wood floors, tile work and stained glass windows were beautiful.
Of note, she work stockings with seems down the back.
Remember those?

And we toured other parts of the 14,000 sq foot, Spanish Colonial building.
I loved the bear rug in front of the fire place.
And the carved wood under the beams
that was further evidence of their wealth; and the designs on their windows
in the music room.

Next, we walked through the beautiful grounds, saw the 'teepee' office Mr Temple used, and more of the stringed lights.
Then we stopped for a few minutes in the Museum reception room for some holiday cookies and cider.
Nice touch - volunteers making it happen.

Then, though it was getting dark, we made it over to the El Campo Santo Cemetery, one of the oldest private cemeteries in California.

One of the park rangers opened it up for us which was 'above and beyond' so to speak.  Very nice of him.
And even turned on his flashlight.

We learned a little bit more of the history of the greater Los Angeles area in the 1840's, 1870's and were interested to stroll through the La Casa Nueva which was decked out as it might have been in its heydey - the 1920's.

That's all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Thanks for joining us!  Until next time...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Amazon Delivery Options?

We paused for a few days after a pretty busy few days seeing relations and doing some fun things over the weekend.

But I wondered if you all have had some interesting deliveries with Amazon Prime.  We have.
Shopping at Christmas time this year has been really easy.  Ask the kids what they want (they know the limits and our limit wherewithal so no 60" TV's or new cars on the list), find it on Amazon, add their address and hit 'send'.  Pretty simple and straight forward.  In fact it couldn't be easier.

Unless you live in an RV.  Then sometimes it can be a little challenging.

While here at Sea Breeze RV Campground in Seal Beach, we have seen numerous FEDEX and UPS deliveries to campsites.  How great is that?  Normally, we have had to send our mail to the US Post Office (get it sent to 'General Delivery').

In our 4 1/2+ years on the road we have done that many times.

But I forgot that Amazon Prime doesn't promise to send packages via UPS.  (or if it does, I don't know how to designate it).  Seems as if they decide how they are going to get it here in the time promised.

So after seeing that it was delivered yesterday, I went over to the Post Office to try and see if I could somehow find the package.  Let's see, Christmas time, thousands of packages, small post office... the more I thought about it I realized my chances aren't too great to get it.  Or get it any time soon.

I was at the Post Office when they opened at 9:00 AM.  There were only a few people in front of me and all were waiting to mail packages.  The lady behind the counter helped me right away.  I handed her my tracking information that I had printed out thinking it might help.

After a few minutes, she indicated the delivery person thought that it was over at the mail room on the Navy base.   Hmm...

I went through this last time I was here.  The mail room has instructions they are not to deliver to the Campground.  When it happened a month ago, a package was sent back to the US Post Office, where somehow, they found my package.

They did not find the package and suggested I go out to the Mail Room.  I explained it was my understanding, they do not hold packages...etc.  But it was clear they were done looking for it so, I went back over to the base and to the Mail Room.

They guy there said, he wasn't supposed to but for some reason, he held on to a package yesterday....oh yeah -- here it is!

Amazing.  Felt like we got lucky this time!  Got our package and off I went.  Like finding a needle in a haystack (or some other improbable event..) I was pretty excited.

But now I have a quandary --- I don't think Amazon Prime allows me to send things to a 'General Delivery' address.  Yet the U.S. Post Office won't deliver to the campground on base.

Any suggestions?

I figure at this point it is part of our adventure and we will find a way.

Another thing I learned this holiday season is the value of marking, 'Do Not Open Until Christmas'.  We are 1 for 2 packages in that department.  One was marked and has not been opened.  We sent another that was not marked and it was opened early.  So we'll marked them all next year.

So there's some thought/a question on Amazon shipping.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Have a great weekend!  Until next time...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Blog Reasons

Sometimes I like to spend a while reading other people's blogs and see what is going on.  I am a regular reader of Rv Travels with Karen and Al and related completely with some of the points that she was making with why she does what she does on her blog.

It got me thinking about The Roadrunner Chronicles and I thought I'd relate some motivations I have behind mine.

The header.
I have had a few photos that I like and for a while I put together a collage with a couple of scenes.  But I like to change it up a bit.  So I try to just use one photo that is fairly recent.
Don't you all get tired of seeing the same photo? 
I like to keep it updated/well maintained and that is one of the ways I do it.

I try to keep each title I chose fairly short.  I just prefer short title.  And I try to avoid stringing-together-more-than-one-thought-in-the-title.

Back in the day when I was a briefer in my military life, one of the things the boss drilled into us was that the staff (audience) wants to see a picture or colorful graphics...not just hear us drone on...
I have tried to remember that in my posts.  But I admire those that keep my attention with very few pictures.  So I mix it up.

I like to keep it short.  I find it very hard to read a long page of information with no paragraphs and/or long sentences.  I can run through short paragraphs much easier and quicker so I suppose my audience feels the same way.

I like to know where people are when I am reading their post.  Sometimes it is easy to picture where they are other times it is a mystery.  I don't mind looking around a bit but if it take more than a quick glance, I may or may not read on.  So I often create a map of where we have traveled for the month, or for the last destination of the journey.

I wish I had taken 'Creative Writing' in high school (and Spanish).  When I started this blog I didn't realize it would become the hobby it is.  I hoped I could learn to write better.  I admire those that write well.  Like my kids - they write very well.  So I figured I would get better at it by 'going for it' and just writing about whatever comes to mind.

Content two.
There may be an unwritten rule regarding politics, sex and religion in the blogging world.  I can find blogs on those subjects.  In the blogging world some rant now and then on those things.  I try to limit that stuff and yet I do broach the subject from time to time.  I am who I am and make no apologies.  But I can learn a lot from those who don't see things from the same prism as I do.  I have lots of friends who don't think like I do.  I have lots of friends who are on a different page.  And thats the way I like it.  I value their friendship.  But I don't like to 'go at it' or 'get in a dig' --not my style.

Content three.
Sometimes it is a stretch coming up with something to say.  Sometimes it gets a little long (and maybe too academic with history and background) --but then I rationalize that I am writing in part for my own education and knowledge.  Sometimes I run out of ideas (as in "this is what we had for dinner") and don't have anything really profound to say.  But I want to try to figure out something that I can post...because I want to keep in touch with my audience.

I love the fact that you all stop by and want to continue to engage at some level with you all.  Writing a regular blog and posting something 3-4 times a week does that.  I know there are far more readers that read this than I see at the comment line, and I appreciate that.  I am astounded that 744 individual readers stopped by last week to check in.  That makes it fun for me.  I feel some sense of obligation to post something worthwhile for you all too.

I obviously the payoff is having the privilege of your comments.  I have seen a couple of blogger friends who routinely get 20+ comments each day!  But then I look at the commitment on their part.  They blog every single day and have done so for years.  They work hard at it.  If I get half that, it is a real bonus.  I appreciate it when you all offer a comment. Looking back, I have gotten the most during our tough times/tragedy and you have been there.  And when we get into trouble, you offer some encouragement.  It really is just that - encouragement.

We have made a whole host of new friends because of this blog and because of their blogs.  What a great thing!  Its part of the adventure and we look forward to more of both.

Its about time to wrap this up and get on with the day.  There's a little background on where I am coming from on my blog and why I do some of the things I do.  Some of you have had questions over the last few years and those are always welcome.

Hope you all are enjoying the week and this time of the year.  And are warm. I appreciate you and value our connection.  Thanks for stopping by today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

In Seal Beach and a Hike

Despite our adventures a week ago when we first started out from Jojoba Hills to Seal Beach, we finally got here on Wednesday.  The drive was without incident and there was no hint of any computer or electrical problems.  (Sounds like a common 'Can Not Duplicate' problem doesn't it?0

So we will be parked here for a the next month.  We can take action on some great tips a couple of folks sent us on maybe troubleshooting or researching the problem.  Right now we are able to enjoy time with friends and family and extended family for a few days.

My brother Reid and wife Amy are here for a few days.  We joined them at the fundraiser event on Thursday night then spent some time with everyone but Angela and Jacob (nephew Nate's wife and son).  Hope to see them tomorrow.

Yesterday Nate organized a hike up around the hills not far from his neighborhood.  Cass (a friend from church) and Reid and I joined him.  We drove over to the trailhead and were there a little before 9:30 AM and decided on which trails we were going to hike.
Then off we went up what apparently were service roads.
Along the way we saw some beautiful trees, berries and views.
It was a great day for a hike.
And the great thing about a couple of hours with the guys is that we could discuss a few things and get to know each other a little better.  Which is what I thoroughly enjoy.

As we neared the top of the trail we could see some nice homes across the canyon.
At the top we paused for some timed-photos.
And we looked around.
Then we took a trail down a different canyon.
This trail has us coming off the mountain into some neighborhoods.  It was about a mile over to the car from there.
After our hike, we met Lesley, Ezra, Pam and Amy for lunch at Mimo's.
Whatever calories we worked off in our 6+mile hike, we replenished with lunch!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us.  Until next time...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dinner Fundraiser for My Refuge House

We arrived at Seal Beach without incident and got set up at another great spot.  We did some projects around the house and decorated.  And got ready to go out to dinner.
Nephew Ben and wife Lesley invited us to their church a few weeks ago when we were in Seal Beach.  While there, a lady had an announcement that was short and to the point:  "You have all heard about the devastation in the Philippines.  The Refuge House was only damaged a little, but I feel like we need to do something to help those folks.  We will be sending out more on that later."

The 'More Later' was last night.  She and some other people put together a fundraiser dinner at a local restaurant. It was a big success and quite an evening.

Dinner was at Great Seafood Harbor near Little India in Artesia, CA about 12 miles from our campground.
We arrived shortly before 7:00 PM and for some reason got a table up in the front with Ben,
Lesley, grandson Ezra
and twin brother Reid and wife Amy who flew in from Albuquerque for a few days.

They started off with soup and concluded with 7 other courses!  It was way more than we could eat but we tried our best!

Before the program started,
folks walked up on stage and and took a look at items they wanted to try for with $5 raffle tickets.
In between the courses, items were raffled.  There must have been 30 items including some Androids, iPads, gift baskets and framed photographs.  

Then as the food started coming out the entertainment began.  Early on, we were entertained by a dancer troupe from Biola University.
Then a group who sang a few songs.
Meanwhile the food keep coming.  It was served family style and worked out great.
There was soup, plates of beef, asparagus, fried rice, crab, shrimp, pork and orange slices for dessert.
In between, we had a raffle winner at our table.
Ezra had two bowls a soup and was a goner.  First mom,
then dad's turn.
Isn't he about the cutest little fella you ever saw?

There was more entertainment
Including some audience participation dancing
and more food - including the plate of fish
oh man - it was good!  But it was a lot...
Then more dancers, accompanied by
our favorite singer (Lesley) who did a duet with the MC.

Then some information about the relief efforts in the Philippines.  The person on the right of the stage  just got through sharing about his time there a few weeks ago.
He is an MD and went to help.  He took a lot of pictures of the devastation which is hard to comprehend.  An update this morning on USA Today indicates the total dead has risen to 6,009 people.  Can not relate to this.  I was not in NYC when 9/11 happened.  We went to New Orleans a couple of years ago but the rebuilding is well underway after Katrina hit.  Unless you see first hand something like this, "what looked like a war zone", are words that are hard to get a grasp of.

Next, he the Executive Director (at the microphone on stage) had a few words about My Refuge House.  Simply stated, My Refuge House is a non-profit ministry in the Philippines that provides a safe home to empower and restore survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and abuse.

Part of the funds raised are going to My Refuge House which sustained some damage.  The rest of the funds will go to survivor kits/baskets and  the girls in My Refuge House are providing to people farther north that were more severely affected by the disaster.

It was a great evening and a great cause to support.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...