Tuesday, September 17, 2019

8-13 to 9-16-2019 Trip West for Dan

Eric's brother, Dan, had been battling cancer for over a year. Everyone thought he would win the battle, but when it finally became apparent that he would not, we packed the car and made a cannonball run west to see him in Hermosa Beach, California (a beachfront suburb of Los Angeles). We planned to stay for as long as necessary, which ended up being just over a month.

We took turns driving eight hours each while the other slept in the back, and we drove straight through. We only stopped for
gas and once for dinner at a restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

We arrived and met up with Eric's mother and youngest brother. Dan was feeling weak when we first got there, so we would
only visit briefly, then spend time checking out the area, including "The Strand" at Hermosa Beach.

By the end of the trip we had eaten and enjoyed Happy Hour at most restaurants by the pier in Hermosa Beach.

The view from the rooftop deck of Dan and Stephanie's house. There was construction going on next door, which was quite
annoying to everyone. Thankfully, they stopped several days before Dan's passing.

We often borrowed Dan and Stephanie's bikes and rode The Strand to the different communities along the beach. This is a
car park for the wealthy in Venice Beach.

This RV was right outside the private parking lot - much more our speed.

Venice Beach

The Strand at Manhattan Beach.

We went to many of Dan's favorite spots in his honor. Here we are having happy hour wine and fishbowls at Hermosa Beach
Yacht Club. Don't let the name fool you - it's a total dive bar.

Several of Dan's friends from his hometown of Haubstadt, Indiana came out for one last visit.

We did lots of exploring, eating and drinking with them.

Dan worked hard to regain some strength for his friends' visit, and he was in really good spirits.

Dan and Stephanie's L.A. friends also came over for some quality time with Dan.

Cheers to Dan! You'll notice a lot of people drinking Miller Lite because that was Dan's favorite drink. Brother Dan passed
just a week after this last big get-together.

Almost every day we walked or rode bikes along The Strand.

One weekend we encountered the AVP Manhattan Beach Open volleyball tournament.

It was a huge event that had taken over the area by the Manhattan Beach Pier.

The tents to the right of the tournament area housed companies giving away all kinds of samples of their new products
(mostly food and drinks). We took advantage of that and collected all kinds of goodies.

Views of Manhattan Beach from the pier...

At the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier is the Roundhouse Aquarium, which was cool to check out.

Back at Hermosa Beach - we had seen the guy and his pack of dogs traveling by skateboard before. You see all kinds of
funny things here.

Hermosa Beach was having a summer concert series while we were here, so we did check out a couple of concerts.

The Jacks were good. Can't remember the other bands we saw. We tried to have some fun, but our minds were often
otherwise occupied, you know.

The Strand in the Redondo Beach area.

We went to several gatherings with friends in Redondo Beach. Here we are walking up to the Redondo Beach Pier area with
friends on a very busy beach day.

Eric's mother returned to Indiana, but we planned to stay for Dan's Celebration of Life in L.A. and to collect his ashes to take
back. We had a little time before the celebration, so we headed north for a brief visit to family (and a client) in Oregon.

Our first visit was at Cara's sister and brother-in-law's place in the beautiful Oregon countryside.

It was quiet and peaceful - the polar opposite of L.A., and a welcome change.

We got to celebrate with niece Gabby, who was soon leaving to start teaching English as a
second language in Lyon, France.

Wonder of wonders - we also enjoyed a brief visit from Emma, our friend from Belize who owns a motorcycle rental
business there, but who happened to be in the area for a motorcycle touring vacation.

We then spent a few nights in Portland, a city we love.

We always liked checking out the Portland Saturday Market.

A beautiful mural along NE Alberta Street, near where we stayed our first summer there.

We were also lucky enough to spend some time with cousin Savanna who lives near Portland.

Time to head back south.

We did stay one night in Redding, California. The next morning, before leaving town, we checked out the Sundial Bridge.

It seemed cool. There was also a nice park and gardens around there, but we needed to get back
on the road. Maybe another time.

On the road back to L.A.

Of course, there was a lot more happy hour eating and drinking with Stephanie and friends.

Dan's L.A. Celebration of Life was at his favorite local bar, The Underground Pub & Grill. It was a wonderful event, and
more than 80 local friends and family showed up.

Don't worry, the kids aren't drinking the beer - they're just having their picture taken with a Miller Lite bottle in Dan's honor. 
Dan was their uncle and they both loved him a lot.

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