Wednesday Aug 22, 2007

200K miles on my 4Runner!

My 1998 Toyota 4Runner reached the 200,000 mile mark last night!

It happened last night just before 9pm. Amie and I were on our way home after I had a workout and Amie did a yoga class at 24 Hour Fitness. We were on Olivenhain Road just east of El Camino Real. I took the picture above at the stoplight where Olivenhain turns into Rancho Santa Fe Road.

I bought my 4Runner in April 1998, a couple weeks after I got my offer letter at Sun. And pretty much wherever we went, even with our friends, I'd be driving us in the 4Runner. I still love driving it as much as when I test drove it and its treated me so well the past 9.5 years. In that time, I've been in 1 front-end collision, which was my fault (for driving too fast in rainy, wet conditions), and 2 rear-end collisions. One of those rear-end collisions happened at a McDonalds drive-thru.

So is it time for a new car? Maybe, but is still drives pretty well. I thought I'd want something sporty, but I don't want to give up the height. Perhaps a hybrid SUV. It was definitely time for a fill-up, which I got on the way home. I'll also make time to get a tune-up and take care of my 4Runner that's always taken care of me and my passengers wherever we needed to go.

Wednesday Jul 11, 2007

MLB Road Trip Summary

I finally uploaded my MLB road trip pictures to Shutterfly and they are available to view in my Collection at http://jbeloro.shutterfly.com.

Here's also a day-to-day summary of the trip, along with links to my blog entry for the day:

  • Day 1 - Boston - Giants vs Red Sox - Fenway Park - (entry)
  • Day 2 - New York - Mets vs. Yankees - Yankee Stadium - (entry1, entry2)
  • Day 3 - New York - Yankee Stadium Tour and Twins vs. Mets - Shea Stadium - (entry)
  • Day 4 - Travel day to Cooperstown and Washington DC - (entry)
  • Day 5 - Washington DC - Tigers vs. Nationals - RFK Stadium - (entry)
  • Day 6 - Travel day to Milwaukee and a White Castle stop - (entry)
  • Day 7 - Milwaukee - Miller Brewing Co. Tour and Royals vs. Brewers - Miller Park - (entry)
  • Day 8 - Travel day to Chicago - (entry)
  • Day 9 - Chicago - Cubs vs. White Sox - US Cellular Field - (entry)
  • Day 10 - Chicago - Rockies vs. Cubs - Wrigley Field - (entry)
  • Day 11 - Travel day to Detroit - (entry)
  • Day 12 - Detroit - Rangers vs. Tigers rainout - Comerica Park - (entry)
  • Day 13 - Cleveland - A's vs. Indians - Jacob's Field - (entry)

And here's some opinions on the ballparks that we went to on this trip:
Best Ballpark - Hard to say. Fenway Park and Wrigley Field have great personality and charm, but the modern ballparks like Miller Park, US Cellular, Comerica and Jacob's are cool too.
Most Impressive Ballpark - Miller Park. Its a great looking park with a lot of cool features. They did this one right.
Best Fans - Yankees fans. They're brutal to non-Yankee fans but we had a lot of fun with them.
Most Loyal Fans - Red Sox fans. Without a doubt. The energy inside AND outside Fenway park is amazing.
Best food - Miller park. 5 hot dogs to choose from (regular, Italian, Polish, Brat, Chorizo) and practically every beer that Miller makes is for sale.
Best nachos - Wrigley Field. The BBQ nachos with pulled-pork were so tasty. But the Muchos Nachos in Comerica Park is a close second.
Most Family-friendly ballpark - Comerica Park. There's a food court that kids will love with a carousel in the middle of it. And there's a ferris wheel behind left field.
Least Family-Friendly ballpark - Yankee Stadium. That ballpark is cold and ominous and the language heard at Yankee games aren't kid-friendly. But the Monument Park in left-center field is cool for all to see.
Best City - New York. There's no city like it in the world. But Chicago is great in the summer too.
Best beer - All of the ballparks were pretty much the same, though Miller Park had the biggest selection...of Miller beers. We did go to the Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland our last night of the trip and they had excellent beer.

Thursday Jun 28, 2007

MLB Road Trip Day 13 - Cleveland

That's it, we're done. We went to Jacob's Field and saw the Cleveland Indians come from behind and beat the Oakland A's today in the last baseball game of our road trip. We checked out of our Detroit hotel a little before 8am and drove straight to the ballpark in Cleveland for the 12pm game.

Jacob's Field is a really interesting ballpark. It felt very intimate and small, but the size of the field is just as big as any other park. Most of the seating is in a large "bowl" while the seats above that are stacked almost vertically. Its not a grandstand setup like most parks, which I think gives this park an intimate feel and brings the crowd closer to the game. Our seats were behind home plate, slightly to the right, about 30 rows back.

Game info: Cleveland Indians vs. Oakland A's
Final Score: Indians 4, A's 3
Starting Pitcher Indians - Paul Byrd (W)
Starting Pitcher A's - Joe Blanton


Best moment of the game:
  • Seeing the Indians come back from a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the 7th inning with a 3-run homer by Jason Michaels and the Indians end up winning 4-3. That was a great comeback, and we got to see at least one home run in every game on this trip.
We finished with a 6-2 home record and 1 postponed game. We're pretty happy with that record and are glad that we were able to see all 9 ballparks in person. And now its time to go back home. We fly back home from Cleveland to San Diego tomorrow. Julius and I are on the same flight with a connecting flight in Chicago. Ernest used his frequent flyer miles, so he's flying from Cleveland with a 2-hour layover in Washington DC and then he flies to San Diego, so he'll be arriving 3 hours after us.

We had so much fun on this trip. We did a lot and saw many sites on this trip - staying in 7 cities and passing through 14 states and the District of Columbia. It was a great experience to share with by best friends and we're bringing back home a lot of great memories with us. I want to give my personal thanks to Julius, Ernest, Jojo and Tom for helping make this trip happen and for being a part of it. And I want to give a big thanks to my wife, Amie, for encouraging me to go on this trip and for her love and support while I was on the road. I can't wait to come back home to her.

Vacations and trips are always fun, but there's still nothing like coming back home, especially to your family and loved ones.

Wednesday Jun 27, 2007

MLB Road Trip Day 12 - Detroit

Our game got rained out today. It was supposed to be the Detroit Tigers hosting the Texas Rangers for a 1pm game in Comerica Park. I was already concerned about the weather when I checked the forecast a couple days ago. We've been really fortunate so far on our trip to dodge the rainy weather but this time it got us.

We were able to get in the ballpark before the game started. It was still sunny and hot(82F), but 30 minutes before the game started, the groundskeepers put out the tarp to cover the infield.


And 10 minutes later, the sky went from partly cloudy, to a dark gray and the rain started pouring. And it was pouring for more than an hour straight. Just when we thought the rain was going to let up, another surge of heavy rain, thunder and lightning hit us. Then the game was called and postponed for a doubleheader on September 11. At least we got in the ballpark and sat in our seats for a few minutes and had our lunch before the game started. I had a Kielbasa and a Muchos Nachos. Good stuff but this is the first day I went without a beer.

Thursday's plan - Drive to Cleveland and watch the last game of our trip. Its the Cleveland Indians hosting the Oakland A's.

Tuesday Jun 26, 2007

MLB Road Trip Day 11 - Travel to Detroit

We rented another car and drove to Detroit from Chicago today. The drive took us 6 hours including stops for lunch and gas, and we hit some construction traffic too. We also lost an hour from the time change from Central to Eastern time zones.

After we got settled in the hotel, we drove to downtown Detroit for dinner and ended up eating dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. We're now in the hotel watching Sportscenter and playing multiplayer poker on our PSPs. Julius busted me out, so him and Ernest are going head-to-head for the $3 pot. So I decided to check some work email (thanks Janie and all the other GKs for taking care of things) and post today's entry while they're playing.

I don't have any pictures to post today. I was thinking about posting a picture of Ernest eating his BBQ pork nachos at yesterday's Cubs game, but I felt bad showing that to everyone because its an unsavory picture...haha...

Wednesday's plan - Watch the Detroit Tigers host the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park.

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