Welcome to the Monty Wolf Blog!
Here you will find random bits of me

Sunday, September 2, 2007

travels made and yet to be made

as i begin to write this, i’m in the regency lounge of the hyatt hotel in sacramento, looking out at the capitol dome, which is about 500 feet from where i now sit with a double jack daniels sitting next to me. our room is almost directly above me, on the 11th floor. i cannot see the sun, but it is about to set. it is a beautiful sight.

our room was up there

ron’s taking a shower and we’re going to old town sacto for dinner.

we’re up here after a very hot day in marysville to watch the loganator play in his first college game against the yuba college 49er’s. the monterey peninsula college lobos did not play well and lost 17 to 28, or something like that. not being into any sport that has participants with fewer than 1000 horsepower, i have to admit, i was just a casual spectator and there just for ron and logan (and melrose media secret weapon, eddie, who was warming the bench because he missed a practice session). the loganatator played well until he sprained his left ankle in the first quarter. he limped his way through the second quarter and sat-out the rest of the game.

it was a very hot day out in the sun, after living in pebble beach for the past couple of months where it rarely gets over 70°, let alone receives much sunshine. i’m not used to 100° like when i was still living in nevada and being dropped into it all-of-a-sudden was a real shock to me.

i got a little bit of a sunburn on my face and a little less on the tops of my feet, which i was mostly concerned with since i no longer have my sandals-tan.

the ride up was pretty uneventful; ron drove the first 50 miles or so to “johnnie” cochran, and i drove from there. the biggest issue is that ron cannot let me just drive; he has to interject advise every ½ mile or so: “don’t use the cruise control” (yeah right!); “don’t use the cruise control and drive in the fast lane“; “don’t drive in the fast lane when others are driving faster than you” (this when i was passing drivers who were on my right); “make sure you’re in the right lane here“; “not that right lane, this right lane!”

the press car we have this week – one of two (we left the audi tt convertible at home since it has such a small trunk and uncomfortable seats) is a nissan altima hybrid. the only thing i was looking forward to was seeing us get the alleged 42 mpg. but, i have to admit: i really enjoyed driving it. like the honda hybrid we had a few weeks ago, it was a little sluggish from a dead start. but, unlike the honda, this one really got with the program once you had a little momentum. we were stuck behind some kind of farming vehicle on route 113 at about 20 mph and i was just going to take him, let the oncoming cars pass us, and go for the pickup that was pacing him. but, when i stepped on the throttle, it came alive with far more horsepower than i expected! it really laid me back into the seat!

speaking of route 113: as we were heading east on i-80 through dixon, we passed a sign that said “113 dixon”, with an arrow to the right and “113 north” with an arrow pointing straight ahead with no indication where that exit might be.

ron chastised me for missing the exit (113 dixon) and insisted i pull off at the next exit, which had no numerical designation. i could see there was another exit about a mile beyond that looked like it was more like a highway intersection than just another road. i could also see on the onboard gps that there was a road with a highway-looking red line as its indicator.

we traveled north on the unnamed road for about 5-miles before i elected to turn right, even though ron insisted 113 was to our left. after we made the turn, and the admonishments increased, i pointed out that the gps now showed that 113 was slightly less than 1 mile to our east.

i’m used to people not trusting my skills as a navigator. for most people, navigating is a matter of knowledge of the roads they regularly travel, or luck. for me: it is a matter of instinct. i truly believe that had i been around 200 years ago, i would have been a scout.

i’m now back in pebble beach as i continue this entry.

ron and i took a cab down to old town sacramento to check things out. as it turned out, there was an event taking place: “gold rush days”. they brought in dirt and spread it around the streets. this was the first time i’d been to old town sacto. in fact: this was the first time i’d been in downtown sacramento since i was about 11 when, on our way to clear lake to visit my great uncle and aunt lyle and helen, we took one of the few diversions ever taken by my father; driving past the capitol so we could see it out the side and rear window as we passed.

old town sacto at night

ron and i strolled along the streets and boarded the “delta king” paddlewheeler to check out the river and see if we wanted to stay for dinner. we did not. not because it didn’t seem like the right place; we just didn’t.

we headed over to the embassy suites (this is where we were going to stay, but they were out of two-bed suites when i called to make reservations) so ron could use the atm and had the front desk call us another cab.

from there, we took the cab back to within about 4 blocks of the hyatt for dinner at frank fat’s, a legendary chinese restaurant frequented by lobbyists and politicos who come to the capitol city. ron had cashew and macadamia chicken and i had kung pao shrimp. the peanuts were prepared a little differently than i had tasted before: they were roasted in 5-spice powder.

a panoramic view of the dining room in frank fat's
clicking on the image will begin the panoramic pan

after dinner we walked back to the hotel.

this morning we drove up to carmichael to meet ron’s mom, genie, and her boyfriend, max, aka: the colonel.

genie, whom i have spoken to on the phone several times over the past 5-years met me with a warm hug, and max and i immediately began to gab!

the colonel drove b-17s, b-24s and b-25s in ww-2. so, we had a love of aviation in common. max seemed to be impressed that i could keep up with the conversation and i was able to add my knowledge of the aircraft of which we spoke. he is a true american hero and has more stories than i could ever tell; and i have more stories to tell than the average person!

while max and i went on about warbirds and historic aircraft, ron and genie carried on their conversation.

at one point, ron disappeared and genie came over to join our conversation.

after a few minutes, genie, sounding a lot like ron, said: “monty! you know, i’ve always got some deal going on (now i know where he got it). max and i are going to hawaii in december.”

now, at this point, i thought she was asking me to housesit for either, or both of them. i never expected what followed.

“and i want you to come over with us!”

i’m still blown away!

i have no idea exactly when we’re going or to what island we are going, but i have never been to hawaii so it doesn’t really matter.

max said he likes maui, sounding like we are not going there, and genie said she likes honolulu for its nightlife. so, i assume that means we’re going to oahu.

i also do not know when in december. but, i’ll be near pearl harbor near the 66th anniversary of the fateful attack with a genuine world war 2 hero. he may have been in europe, but max is sure to add a lot of detail and insight into that experience!

it looks like i’ll be the chauffer for the trip, like that’s going to be difficult to take!

i need to add that ron was completely taken by surprise by this upon his return to the room. so, he had nothing to do with sponsoring the trip!

as we left, it was apparent that i had made two new friends. when genie hugged me, she pointed out that the pats on my back that she added made “it real!”

on our way back to pebble beach i continued my day of ww-2 history by stopping in alameda to visit the uss hornet! what a great experience that was!

the uss hornet

i had been on the dock, looking up at the great ship back in 1993 when i was with john sprenger and again in 1996 when jim isbister and i were there to declare items for the nas fallon club system when i worked for the navy. but, this was the first time i had been onboard.

ron was assigned to one of the hornet’s sister-ships:, the Ticonderoga, back in the early days of vietnam, so it was interesting to hear what he had to say about this similar, essex-class vessel. we also had a wonderful tour guide who really enjoyed what he was doing.

skipper ron at the con of the hornet!

we got to tour the hanger and flight decks and climbed up into the island to check out the bridge. we also got to see neil armstong’s (replicated) footprints, the mobile quarantine facility used for apollo 14, an apollo capsule used for water-egress training and some kind of soyuz return capsule.

there is still much work to be done to this floating museum, but it was an experience i will not forget!

No comments: