I touched down at the airport earlier than scheduled Saturday morning November 6th and went straight to car rentals; planned on getting GPS as I had no navigator and didn’t want to risk getting lost. The car rental employee made a big deal about telling me I should plug in the charger AND make sure the green light was on. (This will be important later) After picking up my boxes I headed to Duarte. Apparently GPS doesn’t know about road construction….I couldn’t get off at Buena Vista!!! Now what????? Thankfully directions are recalibrated and I did arrive at City of Hope. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I LOVE City of Hope and everything they do: cutting edge research, new treatment protocols and a holistic approach to patient care all in a breath-taking setting. (More pictures are available in the Gallery).
I noticed a bit of a wind kicking around and it made me think back to the Phoenix Walk for Hope. I decided I would NOT be leaving a lot of my items out—just got up the bare essentials and called it good. The grounds of City of Hope are so beautiful…they speak to the soul. I thoroughly enjoyed walking about taking in the artwork, the landscape and…hey what’s this? Hmmm I wonder for what and where they’ll use this:
Heading back to my host family that darn GPS up and quit working! OMG! I’m on the 210 heading west, but that’s ALL I know--berating myself for not paying attention and relying so heavily on GPS, but HOPING all the same it'd start working again! I kept trying to restart it and “Low Battery” would flash on the screen. I’d make sure that green light was on (which it always was) and give it another try. There must have been some kind of short in the cord from the charger to the GPS because it never came to life. I don’t think there’s a time when a freeway in the greater LA area is open and I definitely had to be aware of the many lanes’ worth of cars that surrounded me. All I could do was use my cell—not sure if they have the no-cell-phone-use-while-driving law or if they have the little loophole we have in Washington; I kept my fingers crossed and put it on speaker phone. Thankfully I was talked in and called Budget right away. Not all that happy that I was given the option of driving back out to the airport OR going to their office in Pasadena. I wanted a working GPS to be delivered to me, but had to settle for having the fee taken off my bill. I wasn’t all that worried about getting back out to City of Hope as there weren’t that many turns once you got on the freeway, but I was concerned about getting to the airport….
Sunday November 7th thousands flock to Duarte. City of Hope event planners are master organizers! Participants meandered the grounds checking vendor booths. I had fabulous volunteers! Beverly and Julie were there to pass out my promotional items and share the goals of Embrace Activism. I had a couple junior volunteers too, Allison and Danielle, who were there to assist any kidlets that came to do crafts. Check the photos in the Gallery to see the wide range of artists that came by!
I was thrilled to lead a short warm-up here and to see how many in the crowd actually participated. I wish I had some photos of this to share, but I hadn’t been able to meet up with Team Embrace Activism. There might be some from City of Hope I can post later though. Since I had my volunteers I was able to walk too. YEH!! I kept looking for my team mates, but with approximately 10,000 walkers I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I’m always able, though to spot some darn cute kidlets….aren’t they adorable?!!
I also came across a walker that made me wish I had my tutu!! This picture really doesn’t do him justice.
Apparently the weather had cooled from earlier in the week, but I was uncomfortably warm and rolled up my yoga pants and shirt sleeves. The course winded its way out of COH grounds and into the immediate neighbor. Cheerers were at crossroads with shouts/chants of encouragement and the local high school band played as walkers went passed. It’s great to see the community come out in support of the work City of Hope does.
After the walk I met up with Team Embrace Activism--doesn't Connie look great in her survivor boa?
Again, my compliments to the organizers: there was live music with a talented band; many vendor booths to check and fresh fruit/other snacks to munch on. Shuttle buses came regularly to take walkers back to their cars and everything seemed to happen in a orderly, gradual way. After packing up my items and loading them back into the car, I drove away happy with the experience.
I wasn’t happy driving in to the airport. Incredibly, it was raining!! And more incredibly was the sheer number of cars out on the freeway at 4:15 in the morning!! I did mapquest directions, but reading them in the dark on a rain-slicked, crowded freeway isn’t the best idea. Thankfully I made all the right freeway exits, but did make a couple wrong turns looking for Rental Returns. I was a bit uncomfortable with how long the shuttle took to coming, but I arrived in plenty of time to spend WAY TOO LONG waiting in line for tea. Who would ever think it a good idea to have one barista taking/making orders—and note, she completed one order before she’d take another though there were multiple machines to get things going simultaneously. Obviously, this did not sit well with me and I had to chime in immediately after the man ahead of me placed his order (Since I only want a cup of tea can you bring that to me before his coffee is finished please? I said it with a smile….can’t say there was much of a smile on her face, but she complied.)
I wish I could go more into the man who was ahead of me in the tea/coffee line (who ended up being in the row right behind me) and the man who kept his chair reclined the whole time (takeoff/landing), but I understand these ‘blogs’ aren’t supposed to be too long...yeah, I've already gone over that benchmark--ring me up instead!