"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016 Year In Review

Above, at the unveiling party in October with Asya and Dawn.

While 2015 was a good year for me, 2016 (with some exceptions) was the exact opposite.

I have blogged about the turmoil that began in the spring at great length and I don't wish to recount it all again. Let's just say that the person to whom I was engaged to was not the person she presented herself to be and I found it necessary to end everything. 'nuff said!

The year began on a sad note as my Aunt Rose passed away on January 5 after a long illness. The only comfort in that is she is no longer suffering.

Above, a cloud-shrouded Yosemite Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In February, a weekend trip down to San Diego was made to take care of a product recall on different models of Winnebago RVs. While there, we stayed at Campland On The Bay. I have heard about the Mission Bay campground since the early 1990s, but this was the first time staying there. It was a disappointment. It was overpriced (over $100/night) for what was essentially a parking lot with hook-ups and a table. After The Beast was taken care of, an enjoyable day was had at Sea World.

Above, enjoying cigars at Tehachapi Loop. 

In April, Sierra and I went to Yosemite National Park and camped in Yosemite Valley at the North Pines Campground. It was enjoyable, even though it was rainy at times.

Also in April, I attended my first clamp-out with Platrix No. 2, E Clampus Vitus at the Tehachapi Loop since 2007. It was great to be active in ECV again. I also attended the Platrix fall clamp-out at Lake Cachuma in October. I had a great time at both.

More camping was done in May and June as I discovered a nice campground/RV resort in Ventura at the Ventura Beach RV Resort. I camped there three times, one of which was with my former roomie Jessica in July.

Above, the coastline of the Big Island of Hawaii during our helicopter tour. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Also in May, I went to Hawaii for the first time. The highlights for me were the tour of Pearl Harbor and a helicopter tour of Kilauea Volcano. The trip turned out to be more trouble than it was worth as it was the "last hurrah" of my relationship and it also led to a Small Claims lawsuit (that I won) against Jacquese Scott, who tried to stiff me for over $800 that she owed for her portion of the trip. I wouldn't mind going there again, but with better company.

Above, celebrating a Small Claims Court victory at the Odyssey Restaurant in August.

In June, I met Asya, an artist from St. Petersburg, Russia at an art store in Sherman Oaks that sells cartoon cels. I commissioned her to paint a portrait of me. It was something I always wanted to do, to see how an artist would interpret me in oils. I liked the result and we held an unveiling party at the Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills in October.

Above, Clint Hill discusses the JFK assassination at Book Passage. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Also in June, I went solo to Marin County in the the San Francisco Bay Area for a talk and book signing by former Secret Service Agent Clint Hill. I luckily found a RV park within walking distance to Book Passage, where the event was being held. I also stayed about half-way in both directions at the Los Banos KOA.

Above, at Devil's Postpile National Monument during the Owens Valley trip.

In July, Sierra and I headed up the Owens Valley and visited the Manzanar Relocation Camp, Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park's Tioga Pass. That was an enjoyable trip.

August was relatively quiet, except for a legal hassle in Chatsworth Superior Court that was totally unnecessary and was dismissed. But the month was salvaged as Dawn Brown and I began going out on Sunday nights (due to her work schedule), which continues to this day.

Above, on Hot Bench in September.

Speaking of legal stuff. In August, I filed another Small Claims lawsuit (apparently, evil comes in pairs) and served it while attending to the Chatsworth Court matter. The producers of the court-tv show, Hot Bench wanted it, so we went on in early September. I won some, and lost some on the show, but it ended up pretty much a "wash" as I also received an appearance fee. I may have fared better in regular Small Claims Court, but it would probably have taken years to collect. By going on Hot Bench, I received my case award almost right away and it is over and done with, so I don't have to deal with the Defendant anymore.

As I mentioned previously, the portrait painting unveiling party was held in October at the Odyssey Restaurant. I invited family and friends and Asya invited people in the art world she knows (for some networking). We had a good time. It was relaxed with plenty of food and drink. I met Mitch Geriminsky's new wife, Marla for the first time at the party. Everyone who attended had a good time.

Above, with The Mittens in the background in Monument Valley.

At the end of October, I took the longest road trip of my life (three weeks). I was planning to go to Memphis, Tennessee next year, but the celebration of life service for actress Noel Neill (who died in July) was going to be held in Metropolis, Illinois ("The Home of Superman"). Since Memphis is about three hours away from Metropolis, I decided to go and make it a vacation trip.

During the three-week trip, I visited Meteor Crater in Arizona; the Noel Neill "Lois Lane" statue and Super Museum in Metropolis: Graceland and Sun Studio in Memphis; the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Lincoln Home and Lincoln tomb in Springfield, Illinois; I met with Kansas State Senator Greg Smith at the Kansas State Capitol Building in Topeka, Kansas; the Eisenhower Center in Abilene, Kansas; Durango, Colorado (the trains weren't running at the time); Monument Valley in Arizona and Utah; and Grand Canyon National Park. With the exception of a mishap that made me buy two tires in St. Louis, Missouri, it was a good trip. I watched the election returns while in the Springfield, Illinois area. What better way to see a big election win for the GOP than being in the "Land of Lincoln"?

Above, Thanksgiving with my Aunt Gloria and cousin Maria.

Thanksgiving was spent a few days after I returned home from the trip at my cousin's in Wildomar, California and will be there for Christmas Eve.

Hopefully, next year will be a better one. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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