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Parrottrek Journal 2009

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The beautiful, clear view from the beach

An outside shot of our hotel

January 1st  2009 - A Beautiful Day at the Beach -
We awoke to a sunny morning without a cloud in the sky or a bit of fog anywhere to be seen. We walked around the quaint town of Avila and had breakfast at the Avila Grocery, Mercantile and Deli with a great view of the pier and ocean. It was about 70 degrees and beautiful, you'd never know it's January. After breakfast we slowly made our way through a few of the shops and walked all around the pier where Frank noticed a young seagull that had a hook stuck in his lower beak. Frank kept trying to corner the bird and explain to him that he only wanted to help, but the seagull would have nothing to do with him and would fly off each time Frank approached. After the seagull flew too far away to follow any longer, we walked back to the car and headed home. It was a great way to celebrate the holiday and nice not to have to worry about the crazy drivers of the roads the night before.  Hope you all had a very happy holiday!

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A walk under the pier

Barnacles on the walkway

A poor seagull with a pierced beak

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Pelicans, pelicans, everywhere

I almost got all of me in the shot

Cody enjoyed watching the boats

The beautiful Santa Barbara coastline

January 3rd - A Bike Ride on the Beach - Santa Barbara -
Today we packed up the bikes on the Jeep and drove down the mountain into Santa Barbara. It was a little cool, but once we started pedaling we warmed up a bit. As we rode passed all the boats in the marina we were once again a little nostalgic of our sailing days. Since we had two very playful birds with us, we decided we would have to put off exploring the coast by sea until another day and continued on with our land exploration of the coast on the bike trail that goes for miles. Cody was a little put off by our surroundings in the beginning due to the fact that there were hundreds of pelicans and he wasn't sure if they were going to eat him, since they flew so low and landed all around us as we had lunch by the shore. Once he was fairly sure his life was not in danger, he began to fly short distances, but nothing longer than a moment or two. To take in a few extra views, we drove home via Old San Marcos Pass.

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We could see out to the islands

The beautiful views from one of the pullouts

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January 4th - Sailing in Santa Barbara -
Aside from a few sunning sea lions, we pretty much had the ocean to ourselves. At least on the surface, as I'm sure the occupancy of the waves below was at capacity. It was a peaceful day with nice light winds. When it was too peaceful, we stopped, floated and looked at the scenery around us, or read. It was an amazingly clear day and we could see far past the beaches of Montecito and the entire hillside above, including where the Tea Fire, a recent fire that took many homes and part of a quaint university, had swept through. Aside from the sadness of that, we had a very nice, relaxing day.

Such a beautiful clear day

The sea lions serenaded us

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My views on the way down

The quaint train stop in Santa Ana

Ruthanne, me, Sharon, Annie and Jennifer

January 12-13th - A Great Two Days with Childhood Friends -
Facebook, the phenomenon that appears to have swept the nation by reuniting long lost friends and keeping familiar ones in daily contact by the click of a few keys. The phenomenon that I had no desire to be swept up by since it seemed to turn normal non computer junkie people into computer junkies. After all, My Space came along and I successfully avoided it completely, so why not avoid the attempt of what looked like a copy cat created by a persnickety 20 year old college student? I fought it off and fought it off, until so many friends began to swear by it I thought I should at least look into it.

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My views on the way home

All I can say is... YUM!!

Well I have... I did... I joined... and I can't even count how many times I've heard "I told you so". The result of joining Facebook? Well for starters, the above photos with some of my dearest (and unfortunately long lost) friends that I haven't seen in what felt like a lifetime before today. As some of you may know, I spent my early childhood in Lakewood, California. The fabulous ladies in the above pictures are a few friends of mine that I have known since birth, even a couple pre-birth, since our moms were good  friends. We kept in touch all of our school years with church family camps and winter and summer youth group camps, but about the middle of high school we seemed to loose contact. After finding each other on Facebook, we planned an evening to re-connect. I took the train down to Santa Ana, where I was whisked away to our meeting place at Mimi's house, a grandmother of two of these ladies, followed by dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. We talked for hours and didn't notice how much time had past until we were subtly told that the restaurant was closed as half the lights went out and the waitress began to vacuum around us. I stayed the night at Annie's and spent Tuesday with her and her three little girls. We had lunch at a great little place called Phillippe's that has the best French dip sandwiches you've ever sunk your teeth into. I took the train home that afternoon, just in time to watch the sun set over the ocean. The moral of the story? Modern technology is a pretty handy thing.

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A final shot of our campsite

Okay... so this is the last shot?

Future home of the Frank and Cody show?

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January 15th - Goodbye Sweet Lake -
Yes, the time has come to say goodbye to our scenic home at Cachuma Lake. We have had an enjoyable and relaxing time here, but alas we must move on, and I have to admit we are beginning to get a little antsy to travel. We took the birds for one last flying bike ride, where we met a neighbor that makes wine bottle holders out of oak barrels. The piece of wood that he removes, with a hole saw, to create the area that holds the wine bottles, just happens to be the perfect size chunk for Cody to hold in his foot and chomp on. Lucky for us, the very nice man gave him a bag of these.

Our lonely site after we left... and yes this is the very last shot

Cachuma Lake, conveniently located

Since they are made of oak it takes quite a bit longer for Cody to destroy them than the regular 2x4 pieces of wood they make store bought 'whimpy' bird toys out of. We also came across the fireside stage where perhaps Cody and Frank can perform next year, depending on their bag of tricks.

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The beautiful views from the air

A fun weekend in San Francisco

A very successful parrottrek upload :)

It's wonderful being back on the road

January 22nd - On the Road Again -
And boy does it feel good. Don't get us wrong, we had a great time in the Santa Barbara area visiting all our friends and family there, but being the adventurous types that we are, we get quite antsy staying in the same place for too long. Besides we have lots of other friends and family to visit all over the country and have been looking forward to getting out of California. The birds all have allergies on this coast due to the dryness of the area, and birds with allergies translate to cranky ones who only want to sit with their mama and have nothing to do with dad which, understandably, makes Frank very sad. My one big goal of our off time was to complete the transition of our webpage to the new software. Freeway is the greatest, and an appropriate named software for our lifestyle. After spending around 500 hours transferring data, lining it up and fixing all the Yahoo created errors, I was stressing how long it would take to transfer all the data, how long the site would be down, how screwy it might make my site... ... etc etc etc... I've never been a worrier, so having this new emotion, bugged! And it was unnecessary since the transition took about 2 hours, when we thought it would take 2 days and not a single error occurred and as you can see I am making my first official entry on the Mac! YAY!!!!! The PC is now a giant paperweight and it's wonderful.

Last weekend I had the chance to fly up to San Francisco to visit Gina, a good friend I hadn't seen in years. She lives in a fabulous reverse loft, which translates to the living room on the bottom floor and the kitchen upstairs, that was walking distance to all sorts of great restaurants, shops and some of the best views of the city. Considering I haven't taken any type of alternative transportation in about 5 years I have definitely gotten my fill of it in the last month, between the train to LA and a plane to San Francisco. I had very enjoyable experiences with both, especially since I only had carry on luggage and was fortunate enough to get a window seat on each flight and enjoy all the scenery below.

Make sure you check out all the other pages and see all our new features and fun upgrades.

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Cody enjoyed Hanging out in the lounge

A few of our old and well used shocks

The motorhome gets a check-up

Nice, new shocks installed

January 23rd - New Shocks for the Bus - Prevost - Mira Loma, California -
Not knowing how old the shocks currently on our motorhome were, considering we alone have put 100,000 miles on them and since we are about to embark on another trek around the country that entails about 30,000 adventurous filled miles, we made an appointment to install all new ones and have the mechanics at Prevost do a full going over of the underneath to make sure all is well before heading out. As you can tell in the above photo the shocks that came off were well used and since as soon as we started driving it this afternoon we felt a much smoother ride, we realized we made a very wise choice in replacing them. We are now headed to Irwindale to meet up and camp with friends there.

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Andrea and Kathy

James lined up ready to race

The competition goes up in flames

Jake guards the motorhomes

January 24th - An Action Packed Race - Irwindale Speedway -
All week long it's been sunny weather without a cloud in the sky. Since the weather was so nice, we decided to drive over and watch our friends who own and run a race team with the Camping World NASCAR series, race at the Irwindale Speedway. Of course since racing was involved in the weekend's agenda the rain came as well, just like in the world of NHRA. We have been to so many racetracks where the city hasn't seen rain in months, only to have it rain most of the weekend we are there. We have had races rain out due to the pouring rain all day every day Friday through Sunday, only to have Monday morning, after all the cars and attendees have left, be a bright sunny day. Funny how that works. Anyways... The rain finally did stop long enough to get most of the race in, but due to a track curfew the length of the race was shortened. At least we were able to visit with everyone during the waiting around times, since they let us camp on the premises and we were able to take Jake and Malibu, John and Andrea's labs, for lots of nice long walks around the parking lot waiting for the jet dryers to dry the track.

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A walk down the beach

The aerial view from the bike trail

The view from our front window

Frank and Cody rest at the top of the bike trail

January 25th - Sleeping by the Waves -
Newport Beach, the smell of the ocean air, the sound of the waves and a clear blue sky, fresh and clean after a few days of rain, make for a very nice day. We are camped in Newport Beach with beautiful views of the mountains, marinas and palm trees. We spent a great deal of the afternoon on a long weaving bike trail that follows the hills above us. However in my rush to throw all the laundry in to head out on said bike ride, I didn't check Frank's pockets. The penalty for this?? A dead washed phone that has yet to come to life. Oh well, I figure we are even now since he has destroyed multiple phones by jumping into various bodies of water around the country with his phone in a pocket... ooops!

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Cody and I are lulled to sleep by Frank's melodious playing

Apparently the last tenants didn't notice the fence when they backed in.

The soggy phone is now sitting in the sun doing it's best to dry out. Tomorrow we head to Lake Forest, California and report to our first day of work for 2009. We will make sure all the hospitality trailers are stocked, clean and ready for another year. It will be nice to get back into the swing of things and meet up with all our fellow co-workers. We have enjoyed our time off, but are ready to get back to work and see new places in between events.

February 1st - A Day in the Life of a New Month -
Okay, so I have to brag for just a moment on how wonderful a guitar player my husband is. I figured you might forgive me since I rarely use Parrottrek to express my political or religious views and don't ramble on about the everyday. But then again, we rarely have the everyday experiences that your average American has because of our non average lifestyle. So anyways, there is this guy named Jack Johnson... yeah yeah yeah, so maybe a few of you have heard of him. I have to say, even though many of my friends think Jack is a great guitarist and an amazing lyricist, yada yada yada... ... I've never been too impressed with any of his songs, not sure why, but I haven't, well until today that is. Today my husband learned one of his songs and now I have a new found respect for Jack, because he plays a song that my husband plays. Maybe it's something about the live version I enjoy or maybe it's because Frank just rocks. Yep, it's both!

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What's more fun than an empty box?

Sure hope daddy doesn't need to read up on his new phone

Check out my pile of confetti

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February 2nd - A Confetti Sweat Shop -
If you watch the news much these days you might think the world is coming to an end. You might think we are heading into the Great Depression Part 2 and you might be freaking out about the fact that pretty much everything is loosing value. We aren't too concerned about these things, but then again we've never been worriers and I guarantee that we have one of the most NON- recession proof careers in the world. We have always been planners, well at least most of our traveling Whitmore clan has been.

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Bradley, our great and wise African Grey, has seemed to be a little more of a worrier these last few weeks. He seems to be of the opinion that someday all the bird toy companies might be out of business, so he is turning everyday products into fun and entertaining toys. His new findings are actually two-fold in the fact that he knows someday if we are out of a job he might just have to be sold to a Fiesta confetti making sweat shop in Santa Barbara in order to keep he and his siblings fed. Since Frank's phone never regained consciousness after drowning in the washing machine, we had to buy him a new one. Since the phone came in a nice cardboard box with two 150 page mini manuals, Bradley was in heaven and as you can see from the above photo shoot, he quickly turned the booklets into enough confetti to make at least a dozen confetti eggs. For those of you who don't know what a confetti egg is - you take extra large chicken eggs, poke a hole in them at each end, clean them completely out, dry them and fill them with confetti. You cover the two holes with tissue paper in order to have it appear that the egg is whole again. You then take a dozen or so of these with you and crack them on the heads of various loved ones while attending Fiesta in Santa Barbara. The best victims are those who aren't aware that the egg's contents have been replaced with a non hair-do harming substance. Fiesta is a week long party on the streets of Santa Barbara in early August with lots of various singing and dancing performances. It's really something one must experience live.

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February 4th-6th - The Racing Season Begins -
Camp Bernstein went from a blank piece of pavement to a full fledged party tent, all in a couple days. We have all gotten spoiled over the last two years having the extra space that two teams allowed and since this year we are back to one team we decided to try and keep as much of that extra space as possible. In order to do this, the team owners ordered all new awnings with lots of new parts and pieces and it was our job to make sure they all fit together... and they did! Yay!! This should have been our first warning sign that the rest of the weekend might not go so smoothly, darn us for being optimistic.

A close-up of the cake

The new logo on the semi

Once the tent was up and running, full of crew guys and hospitality guests, the local distributor of Budweiser brought the team a cake celebrating the 30th anniversary of Kenny and Anheiser-Busch's partnership in the world of drag racing. Might I add that the Bernstein/Budweiser relationship is the longest sponsorship in the history of motor sports, yes, any and all motor-sports that are out there. Here's to a few more years! The party went off without a hitch, it's just too bad the weather didn't cooperate as well as the sponsors did.

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Yay, the blue skies are out!

Apparently we spoke too soon

Watching the rain

The day finally gets cancelled

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February 8th - Rain, Rain Go AWAY!!
We have been in California since the end of November and within that time there have been very few days where the weather has been less than 70 degrees and even fewer rainy days. In fact the last two weeks felt more like summer instead of winter. This all changed of course once the NHRA came to town and as soon as the race was about to begin. All of Thursday's qualifying was lost to bad weather... and Friday's and Saturday's until around 3pm. They were finally able to get one round of qualifying round in late Saturday and decided to set the field with that. Thank you Jesus!

The crowd enjoys watching the rare scene of Kenny in the cockpit

Kenny and Rob discuss the warm up

Hoping that Sunday's forecast of sunshine would come true, we optimistically went to work. The weatherman was of course wrong and we all sat around watching it rain and rain and rain. Finally, around noon the rain let up enough to start a round, so while Brandon was at driver introductions, part of the opening ceremonies, Kenny warmed up the car with the team to help save some time. The crowd was thrilled since no one has seen Kenny Bernstein behind the wheel of the Budweiser dragster since 2003, when he took the reigns back after his retirement in 2002 and Brandon was unfortunately injured when his car went over a wall and he broke his back. The Bud team did win round one but thanks to more rain today we will have to wait until tomorrow to see what happens next. Ready? Everyone do your 'No More Rain Dance'.

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The staging lanes

Our victorious round against the U.S. Army

Mount Baldy peeks through the semi trailer

The sun sets over the pretty snow capped mountain range

February 9th - A Bright Sunshiny Day - Pomona, California -
The rain is gone, the sky is clear and the race team went to the semi-finals. It was a good day all around, however it did feel more like a testing session instead of a race day since the stands were pretty much empty. One of best parts of the sky being clear was seeing the gorgeous mountain range above us covered in snow. We were all a bit tempted to take a couple of the enormous dragster tires and hit the slopes, but lucky for us the day was filled with racing. I wish there was more to report about the day's goings on, but there isn't. No worries, we are headed to Glamis to spend a few days at the sand dunes with a big group of friends, so I'm sure we will have some exciting stories to tell after this week.

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Frank takes on a sand bowl

Greg takes a roll down the hill

Susana the speed demon

Go Speed Racer!

February 12th - Glamis Sand Dunes - President's Day Weekend - Day One
Hooray! We made it! After last weekend's very rainy weather we weren't sure if we were going to be able to meet up with friends for our annual trip to Glamis over President's Day weekend. Luckily the NHRA was just as anxious to get the show on the road as we were... literally, so they crammed the race in as quick as they could. We arrived bright and early this morning with a small caravan of motorhomes to save a place in the dunes for the rest of the group. Once camp was all set up we headed out for a quad ride where it seemed as though we had the dunes to ourselves with smooth sand as far as we could drive. It's always a rush for me the first day back on a quad until I get my bearings. At the beginning of the first ride of the week I'm always a little hesitant to go down steep hills or too fast across the plains, but after an hour or so it all comes back including my nerves to take on mountains and lead thumb on the throttle. After our quad ride, Greg pulled out the sand car and took us on a tour of the sand dunes that the quads can't quite reach, due to their steepness and banks. Okay, so I take back the comment about me having a lead thumb, since my speed was quite pathetic in comparison of the sand car's get up and go. My fastest speed was around 30 miles an hour on the flats where the sand car's top speed was somewhere around 90. Wheeeeeee!!!!

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Breakfast burritos! Yum!!

Soft serve swirled cones

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February 13th - Glamis Day Two -
This morning started out with an 8 mile ride to breakfast via sand highway, which is a fairly flat part of the dunes and goes from one end of Glamis to the other. The highway was fun to ride on since we could get up quite a bit of speed on the quads and get to breakfast quickly. After our very delicious breakfast burritos, we finished off mealtime with some soft serve ice cream for dessert. I'm not sure if I've ever had dessert after breakfast but let me tell you, it's something I plan on doing again... ... soon! After breakfast we headed back to camp via the dunes instead of sand highway, this path adds a few miles to trip, but it's much more adventurous. I apologize for some of the pictures being blurry, but I took the pictures of moving objects from a moving object, so they are a little wobbly. Around half way home, the guys all traded quads with each other and split off from we girls and headed into the larger dunes. With the crowds beginning to come, it was fine by us to stay in the smaller hills.

Apparently one of the quads that the guys were riding didn't have as much power as they wanted, so as soon as we returned to camp the guys took it apart and increased the torque. They plan on testing in out first thing tomorrow morning.

We rode to the top of the lookout

All sorts of sand bowls to ride in

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Greg riding a wheelie up a dune

The guys split off into the bigger dunes

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Greg took us for another ride in the sand car

The quads looked like ants on the huge hill

Julio napped in the sun while Greg, James and Frank torqued up the quad

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The view from inside the sand car

Frank and Savannah

Savannah takes a break

Frank and Cody enjoy a fruit bar

February 14th - Happy V Day - Glamis Day Three -
It's amazing to see the difference in the sand from Thursday afternoon, when we had the dunes to ourselves, to today, with all the holiday weekend campers. It's still fun, but quite a bit trickier to maneuver due to all the ruts in the sand from our fellow off-road vehicle riders, so we have parked the quads for the day, hit the ice cream truck, since the soft serve machine was broken and are gearing up for a sunset ride through the dunes in the sand cars. The tires of the sand car make is as though even rough sand feels fairly smooth compared to the quads and the faster the guys drive, the smoother a ride it is.

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Buttercup guards the camp

Greg rarely keeps all 4's on the ground

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