I got the cutest message on my Voicemail today from Oliver. He wanted $3 for a fundraiser. This made my day. Watch and hear the cuteness.
I got the cutest message on my Voicemail today from Oliver. He wanted $3 for a fundraiser. This made my day. Watch and hear the cuteness.
It was dark. I was in the basement of the Fendley’s new home – the historic Bridges Estate – and I was rummaging for goodies. I knew this place would yield treasure. The house is almost 100 years old and was owned by one of San Diego’s most prominent and rich capitalist.
I opened the door of an old wooden cabinet in the dark recesses of the basement and grungy Christmas ornaments spilled out. They didn’t appear to be anything special or unique but a box hiding way up on the top shelf looked like it might contain something interesting.
Stupidly, I ripped a piece of the box open to see what was inside. It appeared to be cans. But cans of what actually I had no idea. I pulled the box down from the shelf, opened it a bit more and saw the word “Billy” printed on the side of the cans. Then I saw the word beer below it and I realized what it was. My mind raced back to the mid 1970′s when I used to watch the news with my dad and we would make fun of Jimmy Carters drunk brother Billy.
I remember Billy started his own beer company and sold a beer called Billy Carter Beer. And now, 35 years later I was holding in my hands an entire case of the stuff. This was a bit amazing. This was a find that I got kind of excited about. But how much was it worth?
An entire case of unopened Billy Carter Beer.
Jimmy Carter graduated from College (A neuroscientist), and later went on to become President of the United States and even later went on to become one of the greatest peacemakers of all time winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
Billy Carter dropped out of College, later went on to become the nations most famous drunkard and later went on to die at the early age of 51. I am not sure that there ever was or will be a tale of two brothers whose lives and impact on the world could have diverged more.
As I looked at the case of Billy Carter beer it seemed tragic that they embodied the joke of what the country made of his sad state. Reading the side of the beer can I read the inscription that say’s, “Brewed expressly for and with the personal approval of one of America’s All-Time Great Beer Drinkers – Billy Carter.”.
I guess back in 1970 calling someone the best beer drinker of All-Time was a compliment. This was the same era that praised woman that smoked with the slogan “You’ve come along way baby”. That was the enormously successful Virginia Slim advertising slogan that seemed to grace the back covers of just about every woman’s magazine during the 1970′s.
Billy Carter’s beer was actually called “Billy Beer” and it was first brewed in 1977 by the Falls City Brewing Company. To promote the beer, Billy wrote on each can. ” I had I had this beer brewed up just for me. I think it’s the best I ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot. I think you’ll like it, too.” But apparently the beer tasted so bad that it was an instant flop.
People claimed the beer tasted yeasty and unfinished. It also turned out that Billy’s claim that the beer was the best he ever tasted wasn’t true since he supposedly preferred and drank mostly Pabst Blue Ribbon. Billy Carter apparently later remarked that he thought he was probably drunk when he picked out the recipe for his beer.
Can we sell these cans for millions of dollars and recoup the Fendleys cost of the home?
In 1981 after just a few years in production, the beer production ceased and apparently people began to cash in on the perceived value of the cans as collectables and began to try to sell them for hundreds and thousands of dollars each.
Now this got me interested when I read this because in my head I began to do the calculations and with 24 Billy Beers I figured we might have a gold rush on our hands here.
This album looks like a hunk of junk. And thats not Billy Carter on the fence drinking beer.
But alas, even in 1981 those cans were only worth about 50 cents each since millions of cans were produced and apparently lots of people had the idea that they would be collectors items so they began to stockpile them in their homes waiting for the big payoff someday. As a result this unopened case of Bill Beer might only be worth between 50 and 200 bucks at best.
Owning a failing beer enterprise was not Billy Carter’s only escapade. He also owned a gas station in Georgia which is now a Museum and being petitioned as a national monument. You can check out his website here – Billy Carters Gas Station Museum.
Billy Carter at his Gas Station and his Red-Neck Power Truck
But perhaps his most famous ham-handed venture came when he made 3 trips to Libya in early 1978 and 1979 to establish oil trade with them. He later registered as a foreign agent with Libya and received a payment of $220,000 for his trouble. This got him in a whole heap of trouble, opened an investigation by the FBI into him and put him front of a senate subcommittee that was investigating why the Presidents brother was acting as an agent for a foreign government. It was another Billy Carter fiasco.
An Interesting Find
Remember these old pull top cans? Those tops would be littered everywhere.
So the cans won’t make the Fendley’s rich but I am sure that at least one of the six packs will rest on a shelf somewhere and prompt many an interesting story about the interesting things they found in their historic home as they renovated it. Kids will probably look at it and wonder why the cans have that funny opening at the top and not the traditional can opening that you see today.
You can just imagine Billy Carter day after day pulling off tab after tab and chugging down these beers one after another while his brother Jimmy sat in the oval office doing worldly things.
Billy McKenna holding Billy Beer.
We celebrated Mothers Day with New York Steaks, Jumbo Shrimp, Pasta Salad and some of Moni’s extraordinary salsa.
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and we put the steaks and shrimp on the grill and just had fun running around on the grass.
Now thats the kind of Mothers Day everyone loves. Look at all the happy faces.
You would have to see it to believe it. It sits on the worst real estate in San Diego, it was recently subjected to a police raid for a suspected meth lab and the entire surrounding neighborhood appears be crawling with drug addicts. It’s called the EZ8 Motel and while EZ8′s are not known for luxury this one takes the cake.
I like to cruise San Diego looking for interesting pictures and I just happened upon the EZ8 Motel in Old Town. It sits directly under a major interchange where 3 of the busiest freeways in North America intersect (The 5, the 8 and the Pacific Coast Highway). Now that is the freeways but if you look closely you will also notice that there are train tracks right next to the hotel too. Well that is because the Amtrak train as well as freight trains run right through this motel too. What a gem!
To truly grasp the ludicrous location of this hotel take a look at in the google map below. You can see traffic is merging from the East, North, West and South. It is a crazy snarling mess of a place and the hotel sits smack dab under it all.
I cruised in the EZ8 Motel not sure of what to find. But as I expected it appeared to be crawling with drug zombies. A few of them were raiding the Ice Machine and others appeared to be wandering around peeking in windows. Holy crap this place got a 1 star on Yelp which is about the worst I have ever seen but somehow they stay in business.
They built this huge tall sign so that people rushing by on the freeway can see the hotel. Perhaps they think that the crusty old sign will entice people into this wonderful place. I don’t think so.
I was doing a little research on this place and discovered that just a couple of months ago the Fire Department raided the hotel and found a meth drug lab operating out of one of the rooms. Why does this not surprise me? You can read about here. EZ8 Motel is a Drug Lab.
When someone headlines their review, “Feared for my Life” you know it’s going to be bad. Here is what one review on Trip Advisor had to say about the motel.
“NO STARS!!THIS SHOULD BE CLOSED DOWN!!!Please RUN! This was a complete farce. This is a very very scary Motel.NOT in OLD TOWn at all. We pulled in to find a frightening, filthy dump under the freeway. The photos on the ez 8 website are a lie. It is not near a trolly.. there is no restauraunt across the street. The room was disgusting and had blankets with cigarette burns all over and thru them. There are full time tenants living there with animals and sitting all over the place smoking.. The smoke smell is so pungent i couldn’t breathe in.. People hanging on the corners soliciting and selling.. We got our bags.. cut our losses and saved our lives and left.. ( oh and my room was 80 bux)”
And another reviewed which was titled “Episode out of Cops” tells the woes of another inhabitant that got stuck in a room next to a drug dealer.
Unbeknownst to us our neighbor was a recovering drug addict that stayed up late at night. First night was okay, but second night she got in a fight with her boyfriend over $40 and she called the cops on him. The boyfriend had left by the time to cops arrived, but we got to listen to her tell her life story and embellish her boyfriends misdeeds to cops for about an hour. The next night she spent on her phone yelling at her boyfriend and then of course he finally returned to her place so they could continue to argue the final night we were there. Why didn’t we leave, well we only had one day left before returning home.
But Mostly its the Location
But the real reason I vote this the worst hotel in San Diego is the location. And here is the picture to prove it. These rooms are all located directly under the freeway. I mean cars and trucks are whizzing by just 20 feet over your head when you stay in this hotel.
We asked a question that we already knew the answer to. ”Who wants Ice Cream?”, my mom asked as she took a box of cones out of her cupboard.
Without missing a beat, Darla replied, “Darla wants Ice Cream!”. And so it was.
Most people know Baja for it’s beautiful beaches or for the deserts but there is another side that not many tourist go to visit – the old villages. By Old Villages I mean Santiago, Todos Los Santos and Miraflores. I have been to many throughout Mexico and the villages in Baja are as beautiful as any that I have seen.
To get the to the many villages in South Baja you need to take the long loop of Highway 1 and Highway 19 and preferably with a 4 wheel drive so you can get to some of the more off-the-beaten-path places that you will discover on your journey. The loop runs several hundred miles but it can be done in two days. We decided that we could sit around the pool in Cabo or we could get in a jeep and see some fantastic sites. We chose the latter.
6 Best Day Trips from Cabo San Lucas
The best day trips from Cabo San Lucas can be reached by Car. I recommend the following locations and even providing a map on how to get to each one. From Cabo San Lucas you should visit 1) San Jose Del Cabo, 2) Mira Flores, 3) Santiago, 4) Las Barilles, 5) La Paz and 6) Todos Los Santos. These are the best locations and there are literally many other little roads that can take you exploring other parts of Baja while you travel to these destinations. If you would like the map of the best day trips click here: Best Day Trips from Cabo San Lucas Map.
Village 1 – MiraFlores Baja California
This sleepy little village showed us the type of scene that might unfold in a small place anywhere off the beaten path in Central Mexico. Consisting of very rural farming types, the community was small and friendly. Most people gathered round the small convenience store in the town. This old farmer had quite a pleasant smile and was friendly to us in every way.
An old man with the pleasant smile invited us to chat with him and to look at his beautiful mural behind him.
Village 2 – Santiago
Further down Highway 1 up the road towards La Paz we landed in Santiago Mexico. Another friendly town with a nice church, a zoo and plenty of broken down buildings. This place was a treasure trove of interesting places to visit and walk around in. No tourist seemed to frequent this place. We had the place to ourselves and it was wonderful.
A beautiful church in Santiago sits vacant awaiting the prayers of people in the village.
Village 3 – Agua Blanca
Passing through mountains and deserts on the way to La Paz there are beautiful little villages like Agua Blanca. It seemed many of the buildings were old and in disrepair but still beautiful to wander through.
Tu stands behind the facade of a falling building. Only a few walls were left standing.
Caffe El Triunfo where the Bandits of Mexico get their coffee
Village 4 – Todos Los Santos
As you drive into the town the signs welcome you and tell you that you are entering a magical place. And they are correct. Todos Los Santos is a magical place. So magical in fact that it became the inspiration for the Eagles Hotel California. The Hotel California is in fact in this little town and it looks like an amazing and beautiful place to stay.
We enjoyed our time in Todos Los Santos where it seemed everything was about art, music and the enjoyment of life. It is only 1 hour from Cabo San Lucas so we would highly recommend taking the time to visit this beautiful town.
Tu walks down the dirt streets of Todos Los Santos. You can see the buildings are old and quaint.
So many beautifully colored buildings. When you walk here, you walk into history and that is wonderful
Get out and explore villages outside of Cabo San Lucas.
So many people go to Cabo San Lucas and end up spending all of their time around the pool sipping Margaritas which is certainly nice. But it you have the time it is certainly worth the drives to explore some of the beautiful and interesting villages that are outside the town and off the beaten path.
The jeep struggled through a rough patch of particularly sandy road. My fingers gripped around the wheel in panic while I wondered if I had made a mistake. Turning off a deserted road in the middle of the Baja Desert Coastline I was determined to show Tu some beaches off the beaten path.
This cowboy thinks he’s some kind of Chingon standing on his jeep in the middle of the desert. He is not. He is Gallo. A Chicken.
I glanced down at the 4-wheel drive gears realizing that I had no idea how to operate them and now we might be in trouble. We were at least 3 miles from the nearest town and if I got stuck it was going to be a long and miserable walk to find help.
I asked her if she thought we should turn around and she smiled at me and said, “You can do it”. Re-determined to make it happen I put the old jeep in neutral and decided to try my luck at getting us through the sandy dune of a what Mexican’s in these parts called a road. Somehow I got the 4 wheel drive into gear and all 4 wheels began to strain (slowly at first) over the fine sand. The engine sounded horrible but somehow pulled us through.
15 minutes later we were on Punta Lobos – a small but spectacular stretch of beach only inhabited by rusty fisherman, abandoned boats and vans and birds. This was Mexico. This was where we wanted to be and we were there. Sure we had a bit of a panic but we were on a beach where few tourist ever laid eyes on. This was the type of thing that would make the trip memorable.
Apparently, this would be us – Living in our Jeep had I not explored the use of 4 -Wheel Drive on the Jeep.
The Punta Lobos Panga. Old Men on the Sea do their extraordinary work in these small boats.
The waves were pounding the shore. We were too timid to set a foot in them for fear of being washed away.
How much did these birds care that we were there? No mucho.
I spent a bit of time yesterday with Francois and Isabelle. They came all the way from France and were in California to relax and capture all kinds of great photos of the beautiful state.
I met Francois originally when he was planning his trip out to San Diego. He was reading up on best places to take pictures and stumbled across a blog post I had written awhile back about the Top 15 Place to Photograph in San Diego.
I really got a kick out of meeting Francois and Isabelle, hearing about France and talking endlessly about photography. I took them to my favorite three spots in La Jolla: Windandsea Beach, La Jolla Cove and Scripps Pier. It was a great afternoon!
We were driving through a tiny village in South Baja Mexico when these two men started waving at us to come over. They saw me with their camera and they kept pointing to the mural behind them that they wanted me to take a picture of.
It looks like a mural painted by school children and it was about keeping Mexican Water Supplies clean I believe. You know they always say don’t drink the water in Mexico and I guess the kids that did the sign really got that.
These two old guys were funny. Not sure they had much to do all day except sit outside a small store and talk to each other. The old man with the cane pretended to play guitar with his cane while his friend smiled happily beside him. You can almost see from his smile how he thinks his friend is crazy. He was a little crazy I would have to say. Another great memory from Mexico.
Tu and I just got back from an awesome weekend in Cabo San Lucas Mexico. Cabo San Lucas is a 2 hour flight from beautiful San Diego, California and a prominent location that many Californian’s go to visit. You can visit a completely new world by getting on a plane and taking a short two hour jump down Baja California to the very tip of the Peninsula.
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is known for its beaches, marine life, rocky coastline and scuba diving locations. Archaeological excavations have show evidence that the city has been populated for over 10,000 making it a fairly ancient and wonderful place.
According to legend, a Japanese Castaway located the place in 1842 known as Yenecamu (now Cabo San Lucas) and it only had two houses and 20 inhabitants. Talk about an isolated but beautiful place.
By 1917 a fishing village began growing in the area and to this day it is known as one of the best places to catch the most amazing fish. The warm waters and currents bring in the best of the best fish so many people still flock to this location to catch incredible fish.
In 1974, the Mexican government began a campaign to turn it into a pre-eminent tourist location in Mexico. And they have done just that. Today Cabo San Lucas is home to 69,000 and boast hundreds and thousands of visitors. It is truly a unique and beautiful place.
Our beautiful Hotel La Estancia
We hopped on Expedia and found a tremendous deal. For about $100 a night we found this 5 star hotel located on one of the most secluded and beautiful beaches in Cabo. There are 11 restaurants and a pool that is one of the most beautiful we have ever been to.
April 26, 2013
The trip was not only wonderful because of everything that we were going to do (and we did), but everything else that the trip promised to mean to us in our lives. I proposed to Tu on this trip. She said yes. Now we have a new favorite spot in the world to visit when we go on vacations. I joked with Tu that this was another date that I needed to remember. I am terrible with dates. If you doubt that just ask my sister Suzi. For Christmas one year, I gave her a calendar with everyone’s birthday’s noted. For years she would call my brothers and sisters to wish them a happy birthday only to find out that I had put the wrong dates for many of them. I better not do that with this date now!
I tried to get pictures of locals on the trip too, which I did. There were lots of colorful and very nice people that we met along the way.
The Beauty of Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is beautiful in many ways, from the beaches, to the downtown to the hotels. There is almost no location in this city that is not awe inspiring or beautiful. The most beautiful place is around the arches which have been carved by thousands of years of pounding waves. It is truly one of the most beautiful places in all of California.
We will be back
This was not our last trip to Cabo. It is a beautiful special place not only because of what it is but because of the place it holds in our heart. You can check out the entire gallery at this link – Best Photos of Cabo.