Monthly Archives: November 2011

Part 3 ~ Davis, Here I Come!

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I do hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. For me, it was the best one yet with all of my family gathered in good spirits, and, oh, the food, fit for a king!  My sister and I did not let slip the opportunity to break out the video camera. We captured our next cooking video for your u-tube viewing. Watch for news of it’s release in a future post.

Now for the conclusion of “Davis, Here I Come!”

Day 3, thursday morning, has arrived and it is the last day of our visit. Knowing that my son will be in class for the morning, it is decided that I will get the opportunity to fulfill my gaming desires. Cindy and I head out to one of the local Indian Casinos, Cache Creek. Now, many of these places are located way out in the boonies as was this one. I must say that I enjoyed the drive there probably better than the actual casino which had only two video poker machines that played Duces Wild. Ah, what a disappointment. But, the two lane roads, winding between green rolling hills, crowned with homes that looked to have stood since before the turn of the century made up for it. We drove past orchards and farms and a sea of yellow butterflies that went on for miles. Unfortunately the drive to the casino took much longer than we had anticipated allowing only an hour to play before we had to start heading back to Davis. As it was, we were late in returning and no, we didn’t win big at the casino but we did manage to leave with what money we had brought with us.

Meeting up with my son, we all set out to tour the campus of UC Davis. Our first stop is, of course, the student store. Yup, had to purchase me a sweat shirt, bragging rights, you know. Then a little lunch at the cafeteria that looked more like the food court of a mall and then onto the campus proper. This place is so massive that it host a lake and a very large arboretum which you can schedule a tour of, or not. I plan on seeing both on my next visit. Their just wasn’t enough time left to do it on this one.

Now I must tell you that Bicycles are the main mode of transportation not only on campus but off as well, evidenced by the concrete bike racks outside every building and apartment front door. I was told, though I don’t know how true this is, that there are more bikes per capita in Davis than in China. Hum? Part of the reason for this, I’m sure, are the meters at each car parking spot on campus allowing only a maximum time limit of two hours. Talk about discouraging drivers!

But really, I was cracking up over the whole bike thing. The campus even provides a bike garage, bike repair shop and rentals. Oh, and there is a bicycle graveyard where you can buy discarded bikes in all sorts of disrepair. According to my son, on the first day of school returning students set up a viewing station complete with lawn chairs and ice chests at a particular campus intersection where they watch the newbes crash into each other as they take to their bikes for the first time. I know, sounds a little cruel but at the same time, hysterical. A little bit of Jackass and Animal House all rolled into one. 

Back on campus, the hour of our departure has arrived, then it’s a short drive to the bachelor pad to grab our bags. Kissing my boy good bye and giving a big hug to Simon, Cindy and I are off and back on the road. Oh, but we still had one more stop to make and that was to pay a short visit to Cindy’s childhood friend Karen. It was a bit out of our way but, hey, I didn’t have to be to work until noon the following day.

It was dark by the time we arrived in Danville which I think was around 8 or 9. I must say that Karen and her Husband treated us like long lost family, warm and welcoming. Despite our intentions of making the stop brief…, eat and run, if you know what I mean, we ended up staying much longer than planned. But it was time well spent and with our tummies full, mine with gluten free pasta, we said our farewells and rolled into the Chrysler.

Back tracking to Interstate 5 with a few pit stops to pee, refill coffee cups and gas up, I finally rolled into Burbank at 3 am. Forget about unpacking the car, all I am thinking about right now is my pillow.

And so ends our adventure. It was interesting to get a glimpse into life in this university town. I’ll be looking forward to my next visit.  I’ve added more pics of the UC Davis campus at the end of this blog.

Until next week, keep on truckin’!  K.L. Parry

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Davis, Here I Come! ~ Part 2

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Yeah! Welcome back to Part 2 of “Davis, Here I Come!” which, should have been titled  “Here We Come!” cause I wasn’t alone. Sorry Cindy.  

Meanwhile back at the bachelor pad, after a brief discussion with my son, it was decided (by him), that we were to forgo a hotel bill and set up camp at the apartment. Woo hoo, more cash in our pockets for fun stuff! Then we were off, my son Beau, sister Cindy and myself, to check out the town and get a bite to eat. We ended up choosing Thai Canteen on E Street, located in the downtown district of this college town and what a great place. Resembling something of a cafeteria, the food was far from cafeteria quality. Now I wish I could tell you what the exact names of the dishes we ordered were, but I was kind of gaga from the drive. Even looking at the menu now, I can’t remember what it was that I ordered, only that it was a duck soup. But it was delish and so were the other two dishes that I tasted. I did love that they had a standing pitcher of lemon water ready for refills should I have wanted more.

Now this town was hoppin’ as the clock rounded 10:00 pm on a Tuesday night. There were people everywhere, mostly college students I assumed, judging by their ages. I did very much feel like the visiting parent and everyone we came in contact with were extremely polite and nobody gave a damn when I lit up a cigarette outside the restaurant, thank you. (I say this because in Burbank, where I live, they won’t even allow you to smoke on the downtown sidewalks …which is why I refuse to frequent it except for a couple of times a year when I need a lamb chop fix from one of the restaurants located there. I order it to go. It is just one of too many ridiculous laws put in place “for our own good”).  Just keepin it real, folks.

Now, when my son said the town was run by students, he wasn’t kidding as was evidenced by the youthfulness of the staff in every business we passed. Really, I didn’t see anyone that looked like they were even approaching 30.

After a quick trip to the local Target to procure an air mattress, it was back to the apartment because, after all, it was a school night.

The next morning, it was decide that my sister and I would do a little site seeing. We drove, all of five minutes, back into downtown Davis, parked the car and set out walking. The very quaint town was fairly quiet, probably because everyone was at their classes. We strolled past the Hot Dog Hut where they make their own hot dogs fresh everyday. Cindy had one and said it was great. We probably could have used a guide to direct us away from the multitude of eateries and stores selling sporting equipment as we soon tired of that. We then decided to go treasure hunting, heading out of Davis and finding a huge thrift store just outside Sacramento, 15 minutes away. Then it was back to meet the boy and make a stop at the weekly Farmer’s Market where we found, of all things, chocolate honey. I didn’t buy a jar but Cindy did. I would have made myself sick eating it, it was that good.

The rest of the evening was spent with my son and his room mate Simon. I cooked up a nice meal, we talked, Cindy and I drank wine and Simon treated us to a tea party of sorts with teas he had brought back with him from Japan. It wasn’t the sort of stuff that you usually see all packaged up nice and neat in a tea bag. It was loose tea pellets, leaves rolled up into little balls resembling little rabbit poops. And, no, it didn’t taste like poop! It was good and a cultural experience that I quite enjoyed. Thank you, Simon. With that, we ended our evening. Kiss, kiss and goodnight.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of our little adventure, to follow in next weeks blog.

 

K.L. Parry

Davis, Here I Come! ~ Part One

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Hi de ho there! Sorry for the lack of a posting last week. I just plain forgot…, Halloween and Birthday stuff, you know? But I did have a great week as I hope you all did. So back to this Blog.

As some of you may know, I drove up to Davis, Ca last month. My oldest son is attending his first semester at U.C. Davis and he was as anxious as I, for a visit. So I did.

As much as I would have liked to have made the jaunt north an extended stay, over several days, my work schedule dictated that it was to be a flash visit…, a day to travel, a day with my son and a day to make it back home. Of course, I wanted to secure a travel partner which, happily, was my sister Cindy. (She actually gets paid vacation days unlike myself and most of my other friends so it wasn’t too difficult to convince her to come along..ha.)

Now, let me tell you how I roll. I hate to be rushed, so I pack well in advance and plan for every conceivable need. I like to have an itinerary of sorts. I always check out things to do or see on the way and once I’ve arrived. Still, I don’t want to miss out on something cool just because it’s not on my list so I keep it flexible. And lastly, the only “time” I care about is the time I have to show up for work on my next scheduled day.

So it was that on a Tuesday around 11:00 am, I picked up my sister in my ‘99 Chrysler and we headed out, taking the I 5 North. The day was bright and beautiful leading us to our first stop, Willow Ranch BBQ in Buttonwillow. The waitress recommended the pork ribs. We got a half order with salad, mashed potatoes and gravy with coleslaw, beans and more. Thank God, my sister and I decided to split the meal because it was enough for both of us. Now, this weren’t no fancy-smancy resturante, just some good ol’ home cookin’ and the BBQ Pork Ribs were outstanding. 

I’m not going to bore you with reports of all the little pit stops I made, of which there were many, but one bares mentioning just because I thought it was curious. We spotted a Foster Freeze that set Cindy’s mind on having some ice cream. But once we’d parked, we found the front door to this establishment locked. Now, mind you, the “open” sign was lit, it was the middle of the day and we had seen that it was staffed only moments earlier. Thinking this was very odd, we walked next door to the neighboring gas station mini mart and asked about it while we browsed through shelves of very over priced locally grown nuts and fruit. The young man behind the counter told us, with a snicker, that it was a regular occurrence for the ice cream store to be locked down at any random interval during the day. I voiced my surprise and mentioned that someone ought to speak to the manager. But, according to our learned informant, the manager was in on it.

Well, my sister and I returned to the car without nuts or ice cream, got back on the highway and spent a good hour speculating on what could have been going on behind those locked Foster Freeze doors in the middle of the day. Up to no-good, I suspect. Sounds like a case for Colombo or Ellery Queen or, even better, Jackie Chan. Ah! What am I thinking? It’s not like there’s been a murder…, or has there? Humm?

It is no secret that I love casinos and in particular, I love playing video poker at these casinos. However, I have found that I do not care as much for the Indian Casinos as I do Vegas Casinos. The machines are too tight and the pay-offs..pooie! Having said that, I did remember that several of these casinos doted the northern part of the state and I was “jonesing”.  So despite my, not so glowing, opinion, I had my sister on casino watch, looking for billboard advertisements along the interstate. Well, that search did add some distance to our trip and as night fell, we came to realize that none of the locations were close enough to allow us to pursue it further without making a major detour that would take us miles from the freeway. I gave up on the idea, for the time being, and we made our way to Davis. Arrival time, 8pm…ish.

This concludes day one. Stay tuned for my next post as our adventure continues.

Keep it real! K.L. Parry