Volunteer Sales Force Heads for the Hills

Woodlake Kiwanis Club publishes a magazine, “What’s Happening in the Foothills…” available on street corners everywhere, and delivered to nearly 30,000 homes.  The premier product we promote is “what’s happening” in the form of a calendar centerfold.  The money we raise from selling advertising pays for the magazine and funds Kiwanis activities for schools.

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Friday Sally Pace and I headed east for Three Rivers, the town on the Kaweah Rivers at the base of the Sequoia National Park where the big trees live.  We stopped along the way to sell advertising.  What that meant was Sally talked to people while I played around and took pictures.  This is a great little place to stop and get all kinds of schlock from great food to speciality gifts.  It seems like a beary nice place to hang out and relax.

2014 Kiwanis calls132You might get a little too relaxed after the wine tasting event they are going to have.  This gal hasn’t awakened since the event last time.

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This tourist came all the way from Russia to see the trees.  She posed for me, but she didn’t understand what I said.

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You might want to come with a group of folks and fill up the place.  It’s a cozy place that seems larger than it is because of the mirror.

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I wouldn’t advise standing on the tables and dancing.  I stood on one of the chairs to take this next picture, and it swiveled (you can see my bare feet).  That is my excuse for why the picture is a bit blurry.  The table was beautiful – even if it did have a big hole in the middle where you could throw your cups when you finished. (That’s if you had too much to drink and didn’t know what you were doing, or lost control of your cup.)

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If you really drank too much, this fellow might see you out the door.

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If you didn’t designate a driver, you wouldn’t have to go far.  The hotel is right next door.  But don’t get hung up on your way over there like these guys did.

2014 Kiwanis calls141This was just our first call.  The next stop was only logical.

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Once thoroughly cleansed outside and in…

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We adjourned to the first lunch place.

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Then met some real buckaroos….

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getting ready for the next meal rush hour.

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We were already stuffed. Good thing they just opened to show us the view.

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Feeling a little groggy after our ice cream lunch we headed over to the folks who could make us feel well again.

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They have the best prices on drugs, and we decided it paid to shop locally.  Next, we moseyed down the hill towards home feeling pretty good.  Too good, maybe.  We found a great bargain at this next stop we could hardly pass up.  Look at all those choices in the display window.  I think my husband called about then, and gave me some strict instructions. (He’s a realtor, for those of you who don’t know me very well.)

2014 Kiwanis calls187“Yes dear, we’re on our way now.  Yes, I got you something…”  Oops, I hadn’t gotten HIM anything.  So we made one last stop (not counting the ladies gift store).

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That big cookie in front is no longer available. We kicked ourselves for eating so much ice cream.  These are new owners.  As we waited to talk to the owner, our eyes popped out when she served her customers.  We both wanted to sit with them and eat family style.  There was plenty there for all of us.  No one invited us to do that, though.

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She had just enough time to give us a smile and sell us cookies before she headed back to the kitchen.

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Laden with goodies, we jumped in, making sure got in the right car this time (another story), and headed five miles for home.  We sold some ads, and our clients sold some things too.   Our pay …a fun day!

Embassy Suites in Downey, CA

I can’t believe I forgot to didn’t take a picture of the beautiful pool!!!  On the front desk as you walk in is a digital picture frame with photos of the hotel, and sure enough, THE POOL flashed up reminding me just as I walked out of the hotel for the last time, of my omission.  So I apologize ahead of time to you my readers and you’ll have to take it by faith that Embassy Suites in beautiful Downey, CA really does have a beautiful pool and spa.

I could have been at our time share in Hawaii once I walked into the hotel.  To be fair, our time share is an old, slightly remodeled Embassy Suites, which we bought from resale timeshare dealer three years ago.  The time share allows us to stay at the Ka’anapali Beach Club for only about $528 a night – averaged over the three years we’ve owned it.  In about a hundred years, that should go down to only about $157 per night, just in case you are thinking about buying a time share.

Even from the front you can see that the feel is tropical.  When I arrived in the evening July 9th and got out of my car, accustomed to the 104 degree comfort of the trip over the Grapevine with no air-conditioning to help my car weather that steep climb in halting road construction traffic, I needed a jacket to brave the cool breezes in Downey.  It was probably 75.  My husband said it was 108 at home, so you can see why I was suffering so.

This registration clerk’s smile exemplified the kind of service I received while I was there.  Oh, by the way, there are free snacks and drinks from 5:30 to 7:30 in the evening and a free, fully cooked breakfast in the morning.  Mary, the breakfast hostess, was such a friendly person.  She made the rounds making sure everyone had what they needed.  One young family stopped to visit her after they finished breakfast, and she gave the children little containers of koi food so they could feed the fish.

You can see that the fish get a little blurry after eating so much!  The rooms were nice, but not spectacular.  The beautiful parts of the hotel were the public areas.

I enjoyed the size of the room even though I was there alone, there was plenty of room for one or two more depending on sleeping arrangements.

If you were at the Embassy Suites for an extended time without a lot of money you could have lived pretty cheaply.  There was a tiny refrigerator and microwave in the living room.  If you like popcorn and cheese fish crackers for dinner, and a wonderful breakfast all you needed was a large lunch with left-overs to complete your balanced diet for the day.  If you do want to go for dinner, the restaurant downstairs, The Firestone Grill had delicious food for reasonable prices.  Mimi’s restaurant was a walk across the parking lot.

The only disappointment to me is that the hotel clerks that checked me in that night must have thought I was disabled.  I made the mistake of telling them that I had been in a fender bender on the freeway while sitting in stalled traffic in LA .  As a person with a disability, I didn’t get a tub in the bathroom.  I actually can get in and out of a tub, but if I couldn’t I would have been very grateful for the shower.   I don’t want to sound like I am  complaining because most of the time I shower anyway.

As far as the fender bender goes.  I figure I was stalled in traffic twice during the  trip – I mean majorly stalled.  One fender bender out of two major stalls isn’t bad.  Not only that I had the permission of the highway patrol man to chase down the man who bumped me – since he didn’t stop when the patrolman motioned him over.  That meant 85 MPH on a LA freeway with my cellphone camera going to get his license plate picture.  That’s another story.

I took this picture especially for my sister-in-law because I know she reads my blog from time to time.  The first time she stayed in a hotel by herself, she came back so excited, and told us all about it.  “It even had an iron and an ironing board!”   I now appreciate the amenity of having a working iron and an ironing board that does not have a frayed cover.  I left it out the entire time I was there just for decoration – oh yes, and I did a lot more ironing that I ordinarily would have done, so I’m sure I looked much more professional that I would have otherwise.

While the ironing board didn’t excite me too much, I still get a thrill out of riding up and down in a glass elevator.  What is it about glass elevators anyway?  Maybe you don’t feel so claustrophobic in them.  Maybe it’s the natural-like light and not elevator light. Maybe it’s all the greenery all around as you land.  Whatever it was, I was happy just getting into and riding the elevator.  I tried to forget things in my car just so I would have to make another trip.

I do a lot of walking.  I walked around in Downey, just 13 miles from downtown LA feeling perfectly safe and comfortable.  Much of the walking I did in parking lots.  Then I stopped to take more pictures outside.

I liked the cute balconies and romantic architectural details, like the lamps and iron work.

Even the entryway was romantic and inviting.  I love the Romans for giving us arches.  they make things so cozy and appealing.

Inside and out – Roman influence everywhere.

The grounds are immaculate, and romantic.  See the lights wrapped around the tree, and of course the lamp posts?  Flowers, privet hedges – all the right accoutrements to make this place an affordable luxury at $125 a night for the government rate, $169. for the someone with no discount coupons in their wallet.

While you are enjoying one last romantic picture of the courtyard, I will regale you with a bit of the Downey surroundings that I didn’t bother to photograph because I was there for work, and that’s mostly what I did.  Next door was the Downey theater – very handy, but nothing playing that I particularly had to see.  Across the street was a little shopping center with CVS pharmacy.  I always love to see a shopping center close by because USUALLY I forget something important – underwear, a nightgown, hair brush, blouse to go with my favorite suit, stockings.  You know it’s never the same, but it’s always something.  So a shopping center with plenty of variety is a welcome sight.

The hotel was on a major thoroughfare, but it was unbelievably quiet.  According to Wikipedia,  “Near the center of the city lies what was once one of the busiest intersections in the world, the intersection of Lakewood Boulevard (State Route 19) and Firestone Boulevard (former State Route 42). Route 19 was a major thoroughfare between Pasadena and the port at Long Beach, and Route 42 was part of the old Spanish Trail system that connected Los Angeles to San Diego.”  This hotel was on Firestone and about one or two lights away from Lakewood Boulevard, so quiet should have been a tough achievement!

So all in all, if you HAVE to go to LA it’s a great place to stay.  If you go to LA County Office of Education, it’s perfect because it’s only 10 minutes or less to get there – and that’s including traffic!