Day 1: It all began Oct 1st, 2020 when I finally had enough and said, “The hell with the virus” and boarded a flight to Burbank California.
Only after taking my aisle seat in the spacious seat exit row, (the poor man’s first-class) was I told that due to the Corona Virus there would be no dinner or beverage service.
What? Wait, let me off the plane, hey we’re talking a six-hour flight here with no booze. I need my happy hour man!
Upon my arrival in Burbank, I checked into the nearby Marriott, and then immediately hit the outdoor patio restaurant for a little dinner and a lot of wine.(see below)
Day 2: I spent most of the next day lying around the pool just catchin’ some rays.
Later on that afternoon, I was joined by my daughter Candis for our birthday dinner. (our birthdays are one day apart.) (see below)The dinner was supposed to be a semi gala affair attended by my son Curt from San Diego, my grandson Nathaniel and his mom from Sunland, and my friends Bob Christy and Jan Hall from Camarillo. Unfortunately, because of the virus, it was just me and Candis which was fine by me because I never get to spend any time with my firstborn anymore.
As the afternoon gave way to evening, the restaurant looked especially attractive, the fire pits were blazing, and the little white lights that were strung up in the bushes around the patio were sparkling.
Day 3: Bright and early the next morning I walked across the street to the rental place to pick up the cherry red Corvette I’d rented, popped the top, and headed over to Sunland to pick up my Grandson. (color him blown away when he saw the car)
After donning our face masks we drove over to Long Beach where we got on the PCH. What a great ride and not a cloud in the sky as we headed north past all the surfing places the Beach Boys sang about when I was Nathaniel’s age.
Eventually, we ended up in Malibu where after having an early dinner at a nice Italian restaurant we decided to check out Pepperdine University. Now that ‘N’ is a sophomore he’s become very interested in seeing all the colleges possible.
What a great day, but unfortunately, as they say, “All good things must come to an end.” It was time to get Nathaniel back to Sunland, but there’s no reason we can’t take, the long way home, right?
The long way was through the beautiful hills of Malibu which the Vette just loved as we put her through her paces.
Day 4 5 & 6: Now it’s time to get my real adventure started as I board Amtrak and begin my 4000-mile journey all across America. Once on board, I quickly found my roomette and then just sit there for the next nine hours watching the gorgeous California Countryside, roll by.
My first stop was San Jose in Northern California where I got to spend a couple of days with my best friends, Jim and Barbara Hilliard.(see below)
Barb cooked up my favorite dogs while Jim and I watched a bunch of John Wick movies.
Day 7: Almost too soon it was time to get back on the train again for my overnight ride to Portland Oregon where I was going to get to reunite with K103 legends, Craig Walker and John Erickson at dinner.
I hadn’t seen either of them since the late ’80s when I owned the station. (see below)
What a fun evening, and we all agreed that Craig may have left the game a little too early. John had stayed on when Craig retired, working with Bruce Murdock but now they’re retired too.
However, while we were yucking it up at dinner, it was very apparent to me that they both still had their chops. Hey, even the Uber driver who drove me to my hotel not only was listening to K103 but also said that he missed Craig and John in the morning.
Hmmm, maybe it’s time to talk Craig and John into coming out of retirement and take out the #1 station again. However, this time we’d be taking out the station we’d created those many years ago.
Day 9 10 & 11: After getting a late check out at my hotel, I spent a leisurely morning looking out at downtown Portland. (see below) As I did so, I remembered how exciting it was to create K103 and some thirty years later it was still #1.Hey enough of all the nostalgia, it’s time to get back on the train again and experience the mountains of Washington and Montana as we roll through them on our way to Chicago.
My porter turned out to be a super Dude and upon hearing that he’d be on the same train as me when we left Chicago, (he was deadheading to New York, me to Syracuse) I invited him to pop by my compartment to share some of my Canadian Club.
>Just as I suspected, the scenery going through the mountains was spectacular what with the changing of the leaves and all. (see below)
A Couple of days later when we arrived in Chicago, the legendary John Gehron met my train so I got to spend a few hours with him trading old radio stories.How cool was that? (see below)
Later that night I was back on the train as we left Chicago for an overnight ride to Syracuse New York. Once in Syracuse, my buddy Big Bob Thomas and his wife Josie were there waiting to take me back to their home in Sayre, Pennsylvania.Bob and I hang out a lot at Duffy’s when he’s down here during the winter. (see Bob with me below)
I felt right at home in Sayre because it reminded me a lot of Transcona which like Sayre is an old railroad town.
Hell, even the people all looked familiar, they just used different names than those in Transcona. (see a few of them below)
Day 12 13 & 14: Even though I only spent a few days in Sayre, Somehow, Bob and I managed to hit eight bars. However, what amazed me most, no matter what bar we went into, the bartenders and the patrons alike, all knew his name. (see a few of the bars below)
Day 15: Luckily, just before I needed to be checked into a detox center, it was time to pack up and head for the train again and because Bob and Josie were going to visit their son in Atlantic City, they dropped me off at the 30th street station in Philadelphia.
While waiting for my train to Jacksonville I got to sit in the fancy Metropolitan lounge and surprisingly I was soon joined by Mrs. Pence who had some guys with her that looked an awful lot like the special agent guys you see in the movies. All I knew though was that I felt quite safe.
When it finally came time for me and Mrs. Pence to board the train, I had a toddy or two before settling in for my overnight journey to the home of the Jaguars.
Day 16: In Jacksonville, I stayed at my Nephew Jamie Boychuck and his beautiful wife Lindsay’s home. Jamie like me is from Transcona and is not only a big deal at CSX Railway, but he’s also the proud father of five delightful daughters whom I adore. (See me with the girls below)
Day 17: Oh, and did I mention that they were adding a couple of wings to their already beautiful home which I got to tour when the workers were gone for the weekend? (See below)
Later that evening we all jumped into their family-sized SUV and made our way to the movie theater which Jamie had rented. After getting some popcorn and stuff, we saw a daughter appropriate movie called “War With Grandpa.” (see Jamie and me below)
Day 18: Time now for Jamie, me, and Lindsay to put Jacksonville in our rearview mirror and head to the Hardrock Casino in Tampa.
After checking in and freshening up, we did a little gambling before wrapping the night up with a delightful dinner in the Council Oak room. (see below)
Day 19: Now here I sit in Tampa’s beautiful Union Station awaiting the train that will bring my adventure to a close. (see below)
As I wait for my train, I can’t help but think about the spectacular scenery I got to see along the way, but also all the special folks who spent some time with me during my journey. They’re the best and I just want to thank them for participating in my bucket list adventure.
Hey, and as I board the train for the final leg of my journey back home to West Palm, I finally get to check another item off my bucket list and head to Duffy’s where I’ll plan my next adventure. (see Duffy’s below)