Archive for August, 2011

Garage Sale Goodies

Friday, August 12th, 2011

When we finally reached Oklahoma, we headed straight for my apartment. Besides the stuff that I brought with me in the car, the place was bare. It was a good thing we brought sleeping bags with us so we laid out on the carpeted floor and rested for the evening. The next day, we got up early to hunt for good bargains at a big garage sale in a nearby church. I had two items in mind: a couch and a bike.

This was the set of couches I was checking out:


I ended up buying them after bargaining down the price. With the help of my professor’s truck and Alvin’s muscles, we were able to move the couches into my living room that same morning! I must admit that the more I look at them, the more I like them! Good sign.

hauling them in

Instead of a bike (there were none that I liked), I got myself something even better: a dining table set. Actually, when we got there that morning, it was the first thing that caught my eye, but it already had a “sold” sign taped to it. When we came back for the couches a couple of hours later, the “sold” sign was scratched out and the vendors were willing to bargain with us. I ended up buying it for half the original price. This table and chair set is made of heavy wood. A really precious and valuable find, in my opinion.

lovely dining table set

We don’t have Sonic in southern Califonia, I don’t think. I’m sure we looked like outsiders when we were pushing buttons and reading instructions, trying to order a meal. The lady finally came out to help us. All we needed to do was to push a button to order and they delivered it right out. We didn’t even really need to get out of the car. Oh well. We wanted to enjoy our milkshakes outdoors anyway. Yum!

Sonic Milkshakes

On the Road

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Alvin offered to drive the first leg of the trip. It was really helpful because I needed to collect my thoughts and get my bearings as we headed further from the city. As we neared the desert, we began seeing the huge expanse of land and it made it real to me that I was really leaving Los Angeles. We switched places when we got to Arizona and I got to drive a few hours so Alvin could sleep. At around 1:00 a.m., he took over again while I slept. It was a pretty smooth drive, overall. The roads were even a bit hypnotic. I learned that I cannot drive longer than four hours because then, I start swerving.


We decided to stop in Amarillo. What’s in Amarillo? Hoffbrau Steaks, of course! Our hotel was within walking distance of this steak place and we were super-hungry. There were people in cowboy hats, speaking in Texas twang, and the smell of juicy meat was in the air. Perfect!

Hoffbrau Steaks

After 17 straight hours on the road, we were more than ready for a break. I was going to take a picture of our Two-Step 10 oz. Steak order, but I was so hungry that I forgot all about it. Alvin was able to take a memento of this time with his phone, thankfully.


We hurried back to the hotel because we wanted to take a dip in the pool and their hot tub. For an inexpensive (and cheap) hotel, they had a nice indoor pool area. The pool closed at 10:00 p.m. so we got a good 45 minutes to soak. Very relaxing after being cramped in the car for so long!

hot tubbin'

Footnote on the trip: We actually stopped the car in the middle of the highway along the ditch just so we could take a picture with the Texas sign. We missed the one as we exited New Mexico and we really wanted this one. I’ve got to hand it to my brother who knows how to position us just right — car, highway, sign, and all. To me, it was more than enough to capture the experience. Alvin, of course, thought there should’ve been a truck or a car in the background driving by. Artists!

feeling welcomed in Texas

What IS the Texas way of driving friendly?

CA to OK

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

I was a bundle of nerves during the days leading up to the road trip. Besides making sure I had everything on my checklist, I debated whether to book a hotel halfway, worried about the heat wave, calculated my expenses, coordinated with my professors for when I arrived, and prepared myself mentally/emotionally for the trip. I thought we would just eat a quick lunch and go, but I did not expect Wens to cook up such a special “send-off” meal!


Yes, I got my own Spread!

the Spread

Meatballs, crab, veggies, and chicken! Complete with matching plates and utensils! Wens, you really shouldn’t have! But I’m secretly glad she did … I really enjoyed it. It helped calm my nerves.

mmm ... my favorites!

Another way to calm me down is to hold my niece and nephew. Look how cute they are!

Allister and Trinity

All systems checked. The car was packed by the time we were ready to head out. We had our directions, the game plan for the next two days, and a time of prayer for traveling mercies. We were good to go!

ready to roll

Just before we backed out of the driveway, Avery came to say goodbye so we took this one last shot. So, here’s me with my new baby, the Honda Civic. Thanks, Kim and Tony! I’ll make sure to take good care of her as she heads back to the Midwest.

my new baby

Universal Studios

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

The weekend before I headed out to Oklahoma, we went to Universal Studios for one last family outing. It was a hot day but we braved the sun and even lined up for an hour and a half for the tram ride! The kids were so good and patient. Good thing we didn’t get sunburned. It had been many years since I’d been to Universal. There were many good additions worth seeing, including the 3-D King Kong ride. Wow!

just another family picture

There is this new thing where you can buy an all-you-can-eat pass and you get to eat as much as you can in many different restaurants in the park. We took advantage of this deal and stayed for lunch and dinner. I tried to eat my meal’s worth, but maybe the heat killed my appetite some. In any case, Adam and Wens got me an annual pass to Universal so I’ll make sure to take advantage of it the next time I come back!


I took several shots of Universal’s attractions throughout the day but the only one I think worth posting is this one. Who needs special effects when you can have this?

cool-looking dude