My father and I continue on our adventures, this time in California.



Ill update on our trip to the Bay Area and hiking through Muir woods… For now my life is currently in hold, as is blogging, as I try to unpack and revitalize

For now here are some pictures and feel free to check out my twitter at


My father’s initial expression upon setting eyes for the first time on the The Grand Canyon says it all.

My father is a man of little words and limited expressions. So seeing him have this kind of reaction, of pure joy, was worth documenting (and sharing.)

… More updates later, for now pictures:



Too many people spend too much time planning their lives, and not living their lives…. Our own mortality, and that of our loved ones, is enough to snap anyone out of the planning phase and into the “Let’s Do It” stage of life.

Some of my father’s childhood dreams came true yesterday, as we stepped back in time during our visit to Tombstone, Arizona. On Day 5 of our cross-country road trip we made a pit-stop in the historic Western boom town with plans of seeing the O.K. Corral, the home of the Earp brothers and adventuring around the old mining town, which once was one of the largest towns in America.

We arrived into town early Thursday morning with plans to stay the day until about 3:00 pm, to see the 2:00 pm re-enactment of the shoot out at the OK Corral. After slathering on a lot of sunblock in preparation for a scorching day in the Arizona desert, high of 104 degrees, my dad proudly placed his massive hat on his head (my father has his sombrero/ umbrella ). Not to be out done, I found my large floppy hat, and together, with our VERY large head gear, we took on Tombstone….

Our first stop during the day was the visitor center where the nicest man provided us with all the information needed to plan out our day. We chit-chatted and I told him about the cross-country trip with my dad, and why I was moving and he told me he was a fellow Republican. We then started talking Presidential politics for a moment. He is a big Palin fan…. What I realized during the trip, is that Tombstone, Arizona is a town deeply rooted in politics… even the fight at the OK Corral was part of a Republican versus Democrat struggle. MORE

Thanks to advice at the visitor center, our Tombstone visit included trips to the Birdcage Theater, the Tombstone Court House, the Epitaph Newspaper, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, the cemetery, The O.K. Corral and a trolley visit around town.


My father could not have been happier in Tombstone. He would stop in shops and look at the artifacts with care, as to take in each and every moment and internalize it in his memory. He really must have been in good spirits because when we made a stop at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon my father ordered a beer, a real beer, instead of his usual O’Dules non-alcoholic beer. Though his doctor told him it was ok to

drink occasionally, my dad prefers not to, just in case, but today, TODAY, was a special occasion. Sitting at the bar, he with his beer, and me with a Sarsaparilla, we made a toast to our day.

Lunch at Big Nose Kate’s was an experience. Performers played country music while staff danced and walked around in period costumes. A man dressed like an Old West Saloon manager greeted us to the establishment. He and the bartender chatted us up and made us feel right at home. Before I knew it, he was sitting me on top of the bar and posing me for pictures!!

My father got plenty of attention himself, due to the sombero/ umbrella…The hat’s very large brim stood out among the traditional cowboy hats worn my the locals. A few times people complemented his sombrero, that is, when he wasn’t chasing after it because a gust of wind had flung it off his head. Yet, he would occasionally look over at me and say the hat was a “sensación,” as he gleefully walked down the covered wooden boardwalk of old town Tombstone.


At 1:40 we we made our way to the OK Corral for the reenactment.

The show was interesting but long … Lots of monolog that I could have done without. I did learn a lot of Tombstone history.




Today, on Day 5 of the road trip, the goal is to make some of my Dad’s childhood dreams come true.

My father is a HUGE Old West fan. Growing up his heroes included the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. He has told me of stories of reading countless comic books, watching hours of television shows and spent countless afternoons dreaming of these Western legends when he was growing up in Mexico.  He even dressed the part, and LOVED Western style clothing.

Can you find my dad in this picture below:

During our first road trip, we headed North and spent time in South Dakota and Wyoming finding some great Wild West history.

This time we are in Arizona and headed to some famous Old West towns… any one want to guess what is our next destination?

Interested in more pictures from the trip, follow me on Twitter and 

At 5 am Central Time the iPhone alarm woke my father and I up to tackle Day 4 of the road trip. We knew that on this morning, Wednesday, was going to be a very long driving day. The night before we changed plans and decided not to RON (rest over night) in El Paso, TX as I was way too nervous about the situation occurring in Juarez, Mexico. Instead, we decided to take on the West and haul ourselves over to Arizona to be closer to the motherland of all road trip destinations – The Grand Canyon.

For over 14 hours we drove West on 1-10, stopping in small towns along the way to rest and gas up my jeep. The hot, bone dry summer air felt like a vacuüm on my skin, stripping it of any moisture. We must have had a gallon of water trying to keep hydrated as the direct sun tanned our skin through the car windows.

While the drive was long, it was enjoyable as we breezed through the beautiful South West country side driving through desert, farms and cattle ranches. To my father’s disappointment he still did not find any Texas Longhorn Cattle. Not one… We joked it was much like our first road trip two summers ago when I all I wanted to find was wild buffalo and the closest I got was Buffalo burgers in Wall, South Dakota. … I got my father a postcard of a Texas Longhorn, at least this way he can see it up close. 🙂

As we traveled West passing through usually overlooked towns nestled in the mountains, I felt that I was in Cars, the Disney cartoon movie. At one time the main highway ran through these tiny pieces of civilization, but now the only thing you can see is the rust building on the old gas station and adjacent abandoned restaurant signs.

Yet, most of the drive was just the amazing views of the America South West. Here are some shots from the drive.

In El Paso, Texas… With a few of Mexico:

Somewhere in New Mexico:

As we drove from New Mexico into Arizona we could see smoke in the distance. Here is a picture of what we later realized was horrible wildfires devastating the area. The Monument Fire has scotched hundred of thousands of acres.


We finally arrived in Tucson, Arizona at about 6:00 pm Pacific ST. … Next up, we are making Dad’s dreams come true and visiting some Wild West Towns.

Pictures from San Antonio:

Will Samuel order Lulu’s famous 3 lb cinnamon role? (thank you Andy Lee for the tip)


Children dancing to Mexican folkloric music in typical clothing from Veracruz, Mexico. Taken at San Antonio’s Market Square/ Mercado outside of Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery.


Below, a photo of San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. San Fernando Cathedral was founded in 1731 and is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in the State of Texas.

It’s true when they say everything is bigger in Texas. The food is bigger, the days are hotter, the hats are massive and the experiences are more elaborate…

The day started with the largest waffle I had ever attempted to eat. And yes, it was in the shape of Texas. Dad and I soon got on the road for the short drive from Hidalgo to San Antonio.

We spent a total of 20 hours in San Antonio, arriving at our hotel around 11 am on Tuesday.

The visit started a bit humorous, like out of a National Lampoon vacation movie. We stayed at a small hotel I found on a travel site and it seemed to have decent reviews. The description listed its’ location as “steps from the Alamo.” While the staff was great, nothing could have prepared me for the lack water in the room. When I checked with the front desk, they just said “oh yeah I forgot to tell you we are working on the pipes for the next hour.” …umm ok?…. I decided to just go along with my day, praying we would have clean running water upon our return. We headed to the Alamo. Thankfully, we took the car, because “steps away” apparently means a mile in 104 degree weather.

San Antonio has a lot to offer and we did all the basics, The Alamo, River Walk, San Fernando Cathedral, El Mercado and much more.



We ate a large lunch on the River Walk at the famous Casa Rio Mexican Restaurant for some proper TexMex. After a River Walk cruise we strolled the shops, until my dad decided he needed a large brim hat to protect himself from the sun. We were now on a mission for a hat… We finally stumbled upon a place right across from The Alamo that appeared to have every Mexican wrestling mask every created (we bought one for my brother). It was there that my father found his hat.

The monstrosity of a sombrero couldn’t have been any bigger, if not it would have been an umbrella on his head.


My dad loved the hat. It reminded him of a sombrero he has in Mexico which he uses when he works in the farm. He said it would be a “sensation” (una sensacion) especially as he planned to use it for our upcoming trip to the Grand Canyon. (I will say a few people did complement my dad on the hat. Others just looked in bewilderment.)

These are the moments that it’s much better that I’m an adult and not a teenager traveling with my father. The 15 year old version of me would have been mortified and would have VERY vocally protested the massive sombrero. My current adult self still thinks the hat is silly, but am more concerned that my dad is happy and is protected from the sun with the sombrero/umbrella.

Now accompanied by his hat, we continued on our San Antonio adventure to San Fernando Cathedral. The historic church is amazingly beautiful. There we lit a candle in front of La Virgen de Guadalupe. (MORE PICTURES AFTER THE JUMP)