Downtown Visalia Carshow

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”- Forest Gump

Isn’t it though? Sometimes, when we least expect it, life gives us something a little better than what we hoped for. This weekend of May 18, 2019, we experienced just that. Considering that rain was prognosticated for pretty much the entire weekend, something that will keep many indoors (including us), we had a pretty good time.

After making up our minds to not be couch potatoes and decided to get out and search for a car show in Hanford, Ca, we set out but were fairly disappointed to find only two cars parked at the event we originally planned to attend. Nearly making up our minds to head back home, my wife and I decided that we were going to drive to a nearby city called Visalia, Ca. Our destination was its downtown to “just walk and get to know the place.” But were we in for a surprise.

Many enjoyed the different models of cars available to see.

About a block away from Main Street, we began seeing many people crossing the street- large groups of 10+ people using the crosswalks. My first thought was simply that their downtown was just very active on weekends. But no, as we made our way and were preparing to turn, we seen that it was blocked off due to a massive car show! This car show was huge, spanning about four to five blocks and there was a little bit of everything- lowriders, offroad vehicles, racing vehicles, and even music! It was a car lovers dream. The car show, called the “Downtown Visalia Car Show” is a charitable event hosted by the Visalia Breakfast Lions Club. But if cars weren’t enough, we also found murals on garbage enclosures, on walls, and even on fire hydrants.

Mural on Trash Enclosure in Downtown Visalia.

The Urban Art Project

The murals found throughout Tulare County are part of an urban art project being carried out by several muralists within the Urbanist Collective group. Much of their art involves the community. From walls, to trash enclosures, to fire hydrants- the Urbanist Collective group is showing us that with the right perspective, anything can be transformed into a work of art.

If you’re ever in the Visalia area, stop by their downtown, you won’t be disappointed.

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“El Morro”, The Crown of the Bay

Man, was it warm this weekend or was it just us? It was beautiful nonetheless. My family and myself took advantage of the great weather to visit the coast and man, was it worth it. We hit a small beach town called Morro Bay, Ca. A beautiful coastal town about 40 minutes southwest of Paso Robles, Ca.

After a wet season of storms, many families, surfers, and sightseers were out and about enjoying the amazing views. We even had a chance to build our very first sand castle! It was a fun experience but hard work digging into wet sand with your bare hands. Next time we’ll go prepared with shovels and buckets. Sand dollars were abundant on the beach and we even seen some which were still alive (we left them alone because well, they were alive). I had never seen them live before. I always thought that they were a rock of sorts but apparently, they’re a breed of sea urchin. Who knew! We also got to see a mamma sea otter with her baby in a nursing area. It’s beautiful to see how caring they are with their young.

Morro Rock, March 2019.

The views were amazing. Morro Rock, a mountain sized stone which gives Morro Bay it’s distinguished name, looked amazing as the sun moved across the sky. Fun fact: Morro Rock was originally called “El Morro” by Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, which means “crowned rock”. (more about Morro Bay’s history here . The coastal town was also used as a military base during World War II. Much of the coastal strip was built for the sole purpose of training Naval soldiers.

Now the strip features many family owned businesses and murals of the Morro Bay landscape. We had the opportunity to eat at Giovanni’s Fish Market. The fish and sticks are phenomenal! If you’re ever in the area, I recommend eating there. If you need a coffee for the trip back home or just that extra energy to keep exploring, stop by the Sun-n-Buns Bakery and Espresso and they’ll give you the best coffee in Morro Bay, Ca.

From hiking, fishing, cruises, and canoeing- there is no shortage of activities for everyone. I hope you enjoy Morro Bay just as we have. Until next time!

Edit: original post was from March 2019.

Hasta La Bahia!

Chicano Park, 2013.

Traveling, I love it. Ever since I was a kid, my parents would take me to places with beautiful sights: La Piedad, Michoacan; Guadalajara, Jalisco; Sonora; and not to mention the travelling I did within the states ranging from California to Tejas with a local boxing club. Back then though, we didn’t have social media and cameras were a little expensive for us, a rural Central California Mexican family. Recording or capturing certain moments was difficult but remained deeply ingrained in our memories. To be forever cherished by those who were there.

After I went out on my own, graduated high school and began to learn a bit about life, my traveling life went into a drought with work and school, and then just work. It wasn’t until six years later, 2013, that I would once again, fall in love with traveling. What was meant to be a day at the beach turned into a mini-road trip to San Diego, California, and a place where I returned to the love of my roots, mis raices.

My love for my culture and La Raza has always been a prevalent one. Cathedrals, Aztec dancers, Chicano art, and tacos have always been a love of mine. Where many travel to San Diego to visit The USS Midway Museum (although I did visit it and it’s very nice), I was attracted to the famous Chicano Park, a Mexican-American park in the Lincoln Heights area, Logan Heights to be specific.

Located in the oldest Mexican neighborhood in San Diego, Chicano Park was built in the 1970s after the California Interstate-5 was built. Many of the people living in Logan Heights wanted a park for a long time and when their request was continually denied, they protested, halting machines and negotiated the terms for the construction of a park. The murals are part of the Mexican Mural Movement, a movement which began during the Chicano Civil Rights Era. Each year in April, a great celebration called Chicano Park Day is held with mariachis, Aztec dancers, and lowriders.

The area is growing rapidly as people begin to learn more about the history of the park. When there, it’s almost mystical as you gaze at murals of Chuatemeoc and Emiliano Zapata on the freeways pillars. On opposing arches you have the words, “All the Way to the Bay” and “Hasta La Bahia” shouting in English and Spanish that culture and the artistic spirit, flows from San Diego to the Bay.