Mount Diablo, February 23, 2003, Overview of the Day (including 3 Hawks on a Thermal), some interesting Diablo Textures, and the interesting Trees of Diablo.

More digitized Family Heritage Slides

On my Uncle Charlie's 87th birthday, November 28, 2003, I flew in to LA, and my cousin Christine picked me up. Charlie is my father's brother. Dad always said in our childhood, that if anything were to happen to him, to look towards Charlie as a father. Dad died 17 years ago, so for the past 1/3 of my life, I had looked to Charlie.

Christine and I made our way to see Charlie under a magnificant sunset the evening of his birthday. He did not wake up, although we tried for 15 minutes to awaken him. I held him, his breathing was shallow, and we was peaceful and asleep the whole time. We returned on Saturday, Nov 29, around noon, and he did arouse from his sleep without moving much at all, and opened one eye just slightly. He was aware that I was there. I put my head against his, and hugged him for a long time. He didn't speak, but his breathing slowed and relaxed. He was headed back to sleep. I roused him back to as awake as was possible for him, and we said good bye, each in our own way.

On Sunday, Christine and I arose early, and drove through the LA mountains, up the central California valley, to the the LifeDancing. After reaching the boat, within an hour, she got the call that Charlie had passed. She returned to LA immediately. (420 miles each way).

Charlie's memorial service was on Friday, Dec 5. I flew in to LA, and rented a car, and drove to Camerillo. Charlie's casket was flag draped, and at his final resting spot, the US Navy sent two men. They played Taps on a Navy tape player, gave Charlie a final salute, carefully folded the flag, presented it to Christine, and marched off. It put a nice closure on the memorial. See Pictures

A close family friend owns a restrauant in Camerillo, and we had a good dinner and many memories of Charlie and Paulette.

The traffic in northern LA on Friday at rush hour was such that I decided to keep the car, and drive back to Vallejo.

Planning the return trip to LA for to return the rental car, see Christine, attend DV Expo West, and fly out of LA on my birthday, made it possible to take my time and stop at Tehachapi. This is one of the 7 wonders of the railroad world. Uncle Charlie used a computer at the Camerillo library to locate and check-out a book on Tehachapi. This pass, between Bakersfield and Mohave was the last link in the San Francisco to Los Angeles railroad. History. It is one of the few spots in the world where a train makes a circle and passes over itself. Built in 1874-1876, it remains largely untouched to this day, and is still in operation (indeed, I saw 5 trains come through), a tribute to its engineering architecture, and the labor of 3000 Chinese from Canton, China. I could feel Charlie's presence with me. It was a spiritual experience.

I then did stay with Christine, and attend DV Expo, and flew home December 12.