I chose the title for a few reasons.
- Eureka! is the motto of the state of California. From a transliteration of a Greek interjection, it means “I have found it!” and hearkens to the cry of the gold miners upon striking a vein.
- In today’s adventure we arrived in Southern California and visited the Reagan Library. President Reagan was a graduate of Eureka College.
- Karla just challenged me to write a post in the next fifteen minutes. I shouted “Eureka! I can do it!” Hey, when you’re pressed for time one interjection’s as good as another.
DAY 47/From Ronald Reagan to Karen Carpenter
Sadly we had to say goodbye to our swingin’ apartment/hotel suite. I packed the car in a now-record 2 minutes and 15 seconds. This is mostly because I do not care what comes along at this point as long as we keep moving. Yeah, it’s that point of the journey. We met up with a friend of Karla at a beachside cafe and had breakfast.
Then it was on to Simi Valley, home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. Regan was the first president I remember. True, Carter was president when I was born but most people choose to forget him too. I discovered right away that President Reagan is as popular in death as he was in life. I reached the summit of a two mile drive up a mountain only to find the parking lots full. Dropping my passengers I returned to the bottom of the hill to wait for a shuttle bus. Since we all know that lighting a smoke makes the bus come quicker I prepared to get my lighter out of my pocket. Then I saw a sign…
Like a scared ferret I ran to the curb and prayed a rosary that the bus would arrive before the rattlers did. At the top of the hill I discovered that my wife had made us annual members of the Reagan Library Foundation. Apparently this gets us into other presidential history sites. I did a happy dance because I’ve always wanted to see the birthplace of Millard Fillmore. Now she has no excuse.
My first stop was to the president and first lady’s gravesite to pray. Then it was on to explore history. Ronald Reagan was a man who knew how to communicate. His humor was not lost on the curators of his shrine. At every turn there was something that echoed his wit and charm. The highlights for me were the Air Force One exhibit and the Berlin Wall. The kids, however, thought the plane was cool and all but other than that it was kind of lost on them. For instance, as my daughter and I exited Marine One, the presidential helicopter, she turned to me and said “Well that was the tiniest exhibit ever.”
My time is almost up so I’ll say it with pictures.
When we finished we drove on to meet Karla’s sister (who had flown in from Dallas for a very special reason). We met her at the Griffith Park Observatory in LA. The Hollywood Sign was shrouded in smog. If I’m making this sound unenjoyable I apologize. It was actually a lot of fun except for the fact that communist LA-ites have banned smoking EVERYWHERE. I’m a patient man but after hours in a car even I have my limits.
Then it was on to our hotel in Anaheim. We stopped for a quick bite at what turns out to be the oldest McDonald’s in continuous operation in Downey. As a fan of the Carpenters I knew that Downey was their home and that this hamburger joint had been visited by the great Karen Carpenter in her lifetime. I’ll leave it at that.
Tomorrow… I can hardly say it. OK, it’s DISNEY!
Hold me back.
PS: 11 minutes and 12 seconds. I’m good.