Archive for the ‘miscellaneous’ Category

An El Camino Stretch

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Like any good blogger I have a news catcher that sends me alerts when stories crop up about my topic of choice, “El Camino.” Most stories are about our California road, but sometimes other subjects find my inbox, like this: starting Monday, June 20 a stretch of El Camino Real is going to be closed by construction crews for four months in the Bay Area. That’s the Galveston Bay Area. In Houston, TX. Sucks for them.

Occasionally I catch stories about the famed Chevrolet El Camino car/truck hybrid, usually sourced from car news and gossip site, and they’re typically pretty entertaining. Jalopnik loves them some ‘Mino and it shows. This week they posted an ad for a modified El Camino for sale in Detroit on Craig’s List, and it leaves me speechless. The owner stretched the truck bed, added another rear axle, and made various other cosmetic “enhancements.” Wow. Quite possibly the ugliest vehicle I have ever seen. Plus, he got the Ackermann geometry all wrong. I mean, geez.


I’m being unnecessarily mean. It may not look like much but I acknowledge it’s quite a feat of automotive engineering and craftsmanship and the owner claims it runs great, so kudos for that.

Kudos also to Jalopnik for dropping some real El Camino science in their writeup:

El Camino Real, or the Royal Road, refers to the 600-mile long padre path spanning San Diego to San Francisco, and interconnecting the California Missions. The builder of today’s Chevy El Camino with seis ruedas was obviously on a mission – a mission to make this the most El Camino-ist El Camino in the whole PBR-drinkin’ world.

True that.

[Source: Jalopnik]

El Camino Calendar

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

A bit of the traditional and a bit of the unexpected this weekend. Don’t forget to check out the El Camino Calendars page for a list of venues all up and down El Camino Real which always have a variety of activities going on.


Sunday December 12th

Have fun and support a great cause. Santa-Go-Round is part toy drive, part costume contest, part pub crawl and all fun. Come to the Circle of Palms and bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to InnVision and participate in what is going to be one of the most talked about events in downtown San Jose since Zombie-O-Rama.

Come dressed as Santa and get discounts on Ice Skating and drink or dinner specials at one of 19 participating businesses.
Downtown San Jose

2nd Annual San Jose Short Film Festival

Opening Night Premiere and Screenings Coming December 2010

Buy tickets online at Camera 3 Cinemas or visit the Camera 3 Cinema Box Office.:

Thursday December 9th Opening Night:
$10 (tickets are limited: includes premiere screening, meet the movie makers forum after screening, pre-show mixer. 6:30pm mixer, 7:30pm screening

Saturday December 11th:
$8 tickets 1pm and 4pm screening times

Sunday December 12th:
$8 tickets 1pm and 4pm screening times

Camera 3 Downtown
288 S. Second Street | San Jose, CA 95113

Deadstök X

Friday, December 10 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm

The Usuals
1020 The Alameda
San Jose, CA

We are bringing-back all Deadstök designs made in 2010!

Expect to see new version t-shirt designs by dNA, Everyday Debauchery, Lost San Jose, Kori Thompson, Lacey Bryant, Michael Foley, Anabella Pinon, Force 129, Wadl, Jane Doe, and more!

Say good-bye to STREETBOT! Say HELLO to the WOW Silog Truck! YUMmmm…

Squareweezy and Cutso from The Bangerz will provide beats in the backroom where we’ll have more to nibble and sip.

Join us for our end of the year EXTRAVAGANZA!

Facebook event

The Nutcracker

Santa Clara Ballet Company
37th Annual, Full-length, Traditional Version

Saturday, December 11, 2010—2:00pm & 7:00pm
Sunday, December 12, 2010—1:00pm & 5:00pm

The Santa Clara Convention Center Theatre
5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara

Sweet Memories

Sweet Memories Confectionery
Is Celebrating Its First Anniversary and You’re Invited!

That’s right, we’ve been open a year now and want to celebrate this milestone with YOU.

When: Saturday, December 11, 2010 10am – 10pm
Where: Sweet Memories Confectionery
1395 El Camino Real, Millbrae
What: Anniversary Celebration!

  • Happy Hour All Day (single scoop sundae for just $2!)
  • Free Popcorn
  • Free Hot Tea & Spiced Cider
  • Great Holiday Gifts and Decor!

We hope to see you there!
Facebook flyer

Wreaths across America

Golden Gate National Cemetery
1300 Sneath Lane
San Bruno, CA 94066

The ceremony for the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno is on December 11th. The ceremony begins at 8:45am. Plan to be there a bit earlier to find the exact location. As you enter the main entrance go to the left to find other vehicles near the ceremony area.

Wine & Dine

Vedas Indian Restaurant
Invites You to a Special Evening
Fri., Dec. 10

A Fabulous Night of the Finest Wines Paired with Exceptional Indian Cuisine
Live Music, Featured California Wineries, Select Indian Dishes

Make your reservations TODAY!!!

560 N Abel Street, Milpitas, CA – 95035

The Last Word

Friday, December 3rd, 2010


Top Five Ways You Know You’ve Done the Shellmound Peace Walk

  1. You can now say, “Are we there yet?” in eleven different tribal dialects.
  2. You understand why “Milpitas” in Spanish means “Little Corn Fields.”
  3. You call on Dr. Scholl as your spiritual ally.
  4. Your new Indian name is “Tenderfoot.”
  5. You actually lose 15 pounds during Thanksgiving week.

That’s it. I’m all done until next year. Check out the IPOC web site for more information and to donate funds to support the work they do to repatriate the remains of their ancestors, and preserve burial sites in places like Vallejo and Emeryville.


Monday, August 9th, 2010

I’ve reached the point now where I can’t pass a bookstore without perusing the California history section, and I can’t buy food on El Camino Real without taking a geo-tagged picture of it before I eat it. You’d might think I’m obsessed, but after watching this video you might not be so quick to use that word.


This poor guy has OCD which triggers frantic hand-wiping every time he sees a Chevy El Camino. By comparison, counting bell markers doesn’t seem so bad. 25.

[Source: New York Magazine]

Feliz Aniversario

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

On this date in 1770, Father Junipero Serra celebrated the first Mass with an exploratory band of soldiers at Monterey Bay, two days after he arrived by boat. The spot shortly became the Presidio then city of Monterey. Serra founded Mission San Carlos Borromeo in nearby Carmel, the second mission in Alta California after San Diego de Alcala. San Carlos became his headquarters, the base from which he founded seven more missions, criss-crossing the land on the royal road, El Camino Real, that links them:

  • 1771 – San Antonio de Padua
  • 1771 – San Gabriel Arcangel
  • 1772 – San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
  • 1776 – San Francisco de Asis
  • 1776 – San Juan Capistrano
  • 1777 – Santa Clara de Asis
  • 1782 – San Buenaventura

Jane Stanford erected a monument to Serra at the Monterey Presidio, pictured above. This monument was placed in 1891, the same year she and Leland Stanford founded Stanford University. Stanford’s campus draws deeply from the California Mission tradition in its architecture and street names. Physically it is situated between El Camino Real and Junipero Serra Boulevard. I believe the Stanfords must have identified with the little Padre Presidente from Mallorca, admiring his piety, service, and dedication.

Junipero Serra died in Carmel at the age of 70 and is buried there today. Carmel was his final home, so his arrival and first Mass at Monterey on June 3, 1770 was especially significant. In many ways it was the start of a new life for him in Northern California.

This date is significant to me also as it’s the day I married my lovely wife, Paulette. Our wedding was June 3, 1995—225 years after Junipero Serra’s Monterey Mass. That makes today our 15th anniversary. I’m deeply grateful to her for all the support and understanding she’s given me, especially since I undertook this All Camino project last year and let it lead me all kinds of crazy directions. She’s been very kind about keeping the eye-rolls to a discreet minimum every time I come running to her with some obscure map or historical tidbit or duplicate book purchase. And as she’s one of my most faithful readers, this is for her: Happy anniversary, Honey! I love you!

El Cinco de Mayo

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Years ago when we were young and foolish my wife and I thought it would be fun to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with dinner at a Mexican restaurant, so we drove all they way up to Palo Alto to one of our favorites, Compadres Bar and Grill on El Camino Real. This, as it turned out, was a horrible idea. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, the restaurant decided to turn itself into a full-on Cancun-style party bar so they removed 80% of the dining tables to make room for wall-to-wall revelry complete with thumping music, plastic cups, sticky floors, and Corona girls. More bar, less grill. Not our scene. With most of the tables gone, we had to wait something like an hour and a half to be seated. Why didn’t we just leave? I have no idea; like I said, young and foolish. When we did get seated in one of the few tables cowering in the farthest corner of the place, the service was harried and the food was not their best. Who can blame them?

The following year we were a lot smarter. We went to Compadres again…but on St. Patrick’s Day! We had the place to ourselves. And where did we celebrate Cinco de Mayo? At an Irish Pub in Sunnyvale! No waiting. Two cultural celebrations fully satisfied. Only in America!

I’m sad to say Compadres is gone now, having abruptly shut their doors in 2008.  Many a Stanford alum will raise their margarita glasses in memory of their sizzling fajita plates. If you want to take a chance and mark Cinco de Mayo with a fine Mexican meal, there are many places to choose from. If you see a Corona girl though, sal si puedes! I could list for you all the Mexican restaurants on El Camino Real but that would be too obvious, so here’s a sampling of restaurants named El Camino Real, found all around the world. You can find a little piece of El Camino Real wherever you are. As long as you’re, you know, near one of these cities. ¡Viva!

El Camino Real Fine Mexican Food

Toledo, OH
Voted #1 authentic Mexican restaurant in Toledo! I can guess who was the #1 inauthentic restaurant.

Ann ArborEl Camino Real Fine Mexican Food

Ann Arbor, MI

Wow, there’s something really familiar about that logo, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

El Camino Real Mexican Food

Fullerton, CA

I’m surprised there aren’t hundreds of these in California.

PhillyEl Camino Real

Philadelphia, PA
Unusual menu serves Mex and Tex. BBQ and burritos!

El Camino Real Authentic Mexican Food

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
It’s shut down, but we won’t hold that against them. It was a great URL, though. Why didn’t I think of that?

El Camino Real Mexican Restaurant

Connersville, IN

El Camino Real Mexican Restaurant

Bardstown, KY

El Camino Real

Kansas City, KS
Cheap street eats! You had me at “cheap.”

LondonEl Camino Fresh Mexican Grill

London, England
Okay so it’s not a “Real” Camino—Her Majesty might object—but it gets honorable mention because hey! It’s in England!

Digression: Electric El Camino

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

When I conceived of a blog about El Camino Real, I knew I would be tempted from time to time to stray from the road. I could write about El Camino Hospital, which is nowhere near El Camino Real. Or El Camino College. Or any number of El Camino High Schools. I am determined to resist the temptation, but I will give myself permission when something really good comes along.

And this is it.

Wired Magazine’s Autopia blog has brought to our attention the all-electric El Camino. No, it’s not a solar roadway. Wisconsin engineer Tom Leitschuh has converted a 1981 Chevrolet El Camino into an electric vehicle (EV), replacing the gas tank and engine with $18,000 worth of lithium-ferrite phosphate batteries and a DC motor. You remember the El Camino, the polarizing mullet of crucks: half-car, half-truck.

Electro Camino Electro Camino

We like to think of electric vehicles as futuristic marvels, a glimpse of things to come. So there’s something undeniably appealing about this piece of kitschy retro tech, especially in this post-cash-for-clunkers era.

Ironically the same day I read about this El Camino, I had attended a talk by Ian Wright of Wrightspeed Inc. His company is making some exciting advances in EVs, dramatically illustrated by their X1 prototype which can fly from 0-60 in 3 seconds, smoking many a street-legal gas-guzzler. But the take-away point he made in his talk was that beyond hobbyists like Leitschuh, economically there’s no mass market for electric family vehicles, i.e. Camrys or equivalents. EVs cost too much; it’s cheaper to buy a reasonably-efficient gas-powered car and keep putting gas in it, at least until gas reaches $10/gallon, which he says is the break-even point. What does make sense is replacing vehicles that have low gas mileage but drive a lot of miles, like delivery trucks and race cars. Those are at his break-even point today, with gas at just $3/gallon.

Wright also addressed the challenge of range-extending infrastructure, ways to ensure that you won’t be stranded because you can’t find a place to plug in your EV’s drained battery. An audience member brought up the idea of induction charging roadways, as demonstrated in Korea. Now things get really interesting. Imagine a stretch of road, say…oh I don’t know…600 miles long, covered with solar panels busy all day converting warm California sunlight into electricity which wirelessly powers the electric cars zipping back and forth on it. What could we call a road like that? Well what do you know. Just when I thought I was out…El Camino pulls me back in.

[Source: Autopia]