California, Beautiful

So, last thursday afternoon, Eric and I jumped in the Impala and drove down to Detroit Metro. We got our airline tickets, and passed relatively smoothly through TSA security. (honestly, it’s one of the easiest, non-invasive security checks I’ve had. since needing a wheelchair in airports, I’ve gone through some fairly humiliating security checks.) Then, we rolled down to the Frontier gate. I’ve never flown Frontier air before, so I was really weirded out when the gate person announced that our plane had arrived and that “Daisy the Fawn will be on our tail today to Denver.”

Let me re-type that for emphasis, “Daisy the Fawn will be on our tail today to Denver.” I remember quickly looking around the concourse area and this information seemingly didn’t bother anyone else but I. I looked up to eric who was smirking. Did I just hear that right? Daisy the Fawn (as in deer) would be on our tail (assuming mid-air)?? What was happening? Did someone slip me some acid prior to my arrival? The women at the gate saw my confusion and simply laughed. Then, I saw the plane coming into the docking bay. Sure enough, there was a giant fawn painted on our airplanes tail. So, through our four flights over the trip we had a bear, a lynx, a deer and I think a duck. All with names. Truly strange.

We got to Denver ok, although I was crammed into a second row seat folded like a taco. Strangely, we had left a 70 degree Detroit only to land in a snow covered Denver!! It was NUTS!! What strange curse had we brought with us? Then, as we were rolling through to our next gate, I mentioned how good Caribou Coffee is and how I was craving Panda Express’ Orange Chicken (you’ll believe in God if you eat it)…and sure enough, there appeared a Caribou and a Panda Express!! So, we grabbed a couple orders of chicken and got on the plane. The women at the gate told me that our flight was packed, so I knew I was looking at another 2 hour flight folded like a taco. Yet, as we backed out of the gate I was the ONLY one in my row!! So, I shifted to the window seat and stretched out while I watched a movie on my Ipod. Awesome.

We landed in LAX and quickly got our bags and Brad Fieldhouse was right there to pick us up at the curb. We hopped into the car and Brad drove us up to the Kingdom Causes fundraising dinner up in Belllflower. They were just leaving when we arrived, but we went up and connected with a bunch of new friends (and one that we’d met in 2002 at an Emergent gathering who was from Calvin College and had gone to school with Eric’s wife’s sister – of course) On the way, we drove past a location where they were shooting CSI (the real one) which is one of my and Mel’s shows. So, I quickly took a shot from my cell phone.

Then, we drove back to Long Beach where Brad dropped us off at the office where there’s a room/apartment where we stayed. On the way, Brad explained a couple interesting facts about the area surrounding the office. First, the office is technically in a small city that is completely surrounded by Long Beach (and interestingly enough is the only other city in the world like that, other than the Vatican). Secondly, four blocks south of where we were staying is not only an active gang site of the Insane Crypts, but the actual corner where Snoop Dog raps about (which I took a picture of because I pop it like it’s hot).
(snoop’s 21st and Lewis)

We unfolded the trumble bed and set up shop. There’s a really cool park on one side of the office, and then 21st on the other. Pretty interesting. I also took a shot of Neil Cole’s office (who wasn’t in town) which is part of their complex.
(park, neil’s office)

The next morning, we got up and Brad picked us up, with some good coffee in tow for us. Then, Polin showed up with a cool bull-dog and we sat in a meeting with him and Brad. We then traveled out to Bellflower to meet up with Ryan (the catalyst of that office) and we all went out for some Thai food – which was amazing – for a lunch meeting. Then, after dropping Ryan off we went to Brad’s place and on the way Brad took us past where they shoot CSI Miami. Brad then gave us his car to drive around, and after getting lost, Eric and ended up in Seal Beach and once again grabbed some coffee. We then made our way back to Brad’s house where we met his wife and boys. We decided to go out for dinner at Jesse Jame’s – west coast choppers – diner named Cisco’s. It was awesome! Not only to see West Coast Choppers, but to find out that it all runs on solar and air power and all the food served is locally grown, chemical free and free range.
(bull-dog in office, CSI Miami shoot and West Coast Choppers)

We then went back to the Fieldhouse home and stayed up till 1 am meeting with Brad making future plans. We once again got lost on the way back to the office, but eventually made it. The next morning we went to grab some breakfast – got lost again – and found a Denny’s. After this, we drove up to LAX to pick up Carlos! It was awesome to have him with us. One of my missions while being in California was to eat a burger at In and Out, coincidently it was also a mission of Carlos! So, we headed to the first In and Out we found and had lunch! YUMMY!

Then, we took Carlos back to the office (once again getting lost). And hung out for a few hours. I then convinced Eric and Carlos to head down to the coast where the Queen Mary was so we could see it. We were able to tour some of it, but I wasn’t able to walk to whole thing. That boat is bigger than the Titanic.

Afterwards, we drove back and grabbed Brad. He acted as an LA tour guide and we basically drove around the whole area. We tried to go back to the CSI scene as I wanted to try to get an autograph for Mel, but it was down and a security guard told us that Fast and the Furious 4 was being shot. We then tried to go downtown to find the CSI Miami shoot, but it was all shut down by that time. Brad is also a chaplin for the police force, and told us that there was a slasher on the loose downtown. I guess this guy has been approaching single women with a box cutter, he pretends to be a customer and just cuts their throats! No one has died yet, but one was close. Sad.

The next morning, we basically just got up and headed back home. We were able to get front row seats on both flights home, and overall it was a good trip back. We landed in Detroit Metro at 11:30pm, and I got home around 2:30am.

A great trip, and we got some pretty great things in the works. Can’t wait to go back. The weather was SO great while we were out there. Low 70’s and sunny. With my MD, it was such a relief. I really only had to take pain meds a couple times, but overall it was so wonderful.

Thanks brad for such a great time!


2 responses to “California, Beautiful

  1. Good for you! And after the last “flight from hell,” I’m glad everything logistically worked out. The whole Detroit/Denver thing was funny …

    You’ve heard our news here in Clio, I’m sure! Keep praying for us, as this transition is going to be interesting, to say the least.

  2. Gina, thanks. I am praying for you all. I’ve been in contact with the new “head honcho” already offering my support and care for him and his family. Our love always travels to you.

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