Day 609 OUT OF Beijing: Why We Walk, Part 3.

 

Bill and Rosemary with their Land Rover.

Bill and Rosemary with their Land Rover.

 

Jill and I were hanging out, working on SF Tourism Tips, and decided we’d go to lunch in Petaluma.

We were going to walk to Lagunitas Brewing Company, have a beer and some food, and then walk back to Randy and Alethea’s home since it was a gorgeous day, we wanted a break from work, and we like getting out and about.

As we know, the best laid plans of mice and men…

We started walking down the main streets and saw Lombardi’s Gourmet Deli and BBQ and decided to take a detour.

We bought a sandwich, some macaroni salad and a bottle of red wine since they had a huge deck and we wanted to enjoy the view.

As we ate our food, we noticed a rather impressive Land Rover in the parking lot.

It was covered with stickers from countries all over the world and we had fun trying to guess which sticker was for each country and where the owners had traveled.

After about 15 minutes, a man walked out and started towards the car.  I told Jill, “I want to go ask him what they are doing and where they are going.”  She said, “Go for it!”

I walked over, flag the man down and asked him about their travels.

Bill told me that they had bought this Land Rover in the UK and then driven it all over Africa for a few years.

In opposition to the news we hear of Africa, they loved the Sudan and said that the people are very friendly and that there is very little crime.  It was interesting because I’ve found that the media very often lies about conditions, here and abroad, to keep people in fear and from experiencing new places and meeting people.

They were in Petaluma on their way down to Joshua Tree, after being in Canada for a few months, and were looking for a good campground.

That is why Jill and I travel and talk to people.  We think almost everyone has something to offer and we can learn from them.

Bill’s wife, Rosemary, came up to us and I invited them to sit down with Jill and me and share a bit of time and share each other’s stories.

Bill and Rosemary had traveled all over the world, starting long ago, by using their professions to get them where they wanted to be.  Or, in one case, not where they wanted but then decided to stay for 10 years.    But that is their story and I’ll let them tell it on their blog if they decide to.  By the way, they probably have only half of the stickers from countries they’ve visited because they weren’t for sale or available while they were there.  I would guess they’ve been to somewhere between 75-100 countries.  I’ve been to 16.  It gives me incentive and inspiration!

Jill and I were intrigued by their choice to sell their house and hit the road.  Their idea of minimalism is very close to our’s, except they have a car, and they live inside their Land Rover almost all the time.  They do use other services, like TrustedHousesitters, to find homes to house sit, but they are also very frugal and financially smart so they can travel for as long as they want to.

This trip started about 2 years ago after they had returned back to the the UK to see their daughter and her family.  They shipped their Land Rover to Uruguay and then started driving all over Southern and Central America from there.

After moving into North America, they went through Mexico, the southwest of the USA, and up to Canada.  They stayed in Canada for a few months and are now heading across the USA to the East Coast where they will ship their car, and themselves, back to the UK.

They aren’t sure if they will settle down when they get back home and are trying to figure out what to do next.

After listening to their story, and be totally amazed by their willingness to take chances, live a different life, and not be tied down to possessions and places, we told them more about our plans and beliefs.  They seemed to appreciate them and were impressed that we could do all this traveling without a car and just walk, bike, bus or take mass transportation to get around.

The next day they were planning on going to San Francisco so Jill gave them some ideas and told them she would email them a plan later that day so that they could have more specifics if they wanted to use them.

After a few hours of talking, they needed to get on their way to  their campsite and we needed to get home.  We gave them some directions and they decided to go food shopping.  After we parted, Jill and I decided to skip Lagunitas entirely, since it would be dark before we headed home, and we decided to go shopping also.

We walked about 1 mile to the grocery store and saw their truck in the parking lot.  We smiled as we knew we’d get to say hi one more time and walked in and saw them immediately.  We all started laughing and talked for a few more minutes before we parted and went our separate ways.

In case you want to see their travels, click the links below:

Africa Road Trip

Latin America Road Trip

That is why we walk.

Day 608 OUT OF Beijing: Why We Walk, Part 2.

 

The view of Petaluma on one of our walks.

The view of Petaluma on one of our walks.

 

Jill and I kept talking to Mitch and discussing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It seems, and this may just be confirmation bias but Jill and I both think that more and more people are trying to figure out how to do more with less.

I’ve been getting a lot of friends asking me how to minimize their possessions to maximize their life.

I’ve helped them figure out how to live on less, travel with less, take up less space in the world, and figure out how to own things instead of having things own them.

Last night, in fact, Jill and I spent an hour going through each of our check in bags and discarded about half of what we had in them.

We doubt we can get down to one check and two carry ons between us each check in will be very light since they are both only about half full.

Once we figure out where we are going to settle, in about a year, we will be able to unload more of it since I’ll know if I need my cycling gear.

Cycling gear?  Yep, I have my cycling spandex and cycling shoes (with clip-less pedals) that I’m dragging around everywhere.

This takes up about 1/4 of my bag and seems like a waste.

However, it will allow me to get around easily, when we settle down, and the cost of carrying it is much less than having to purchase it again.

This is a cost benefit analysis that I’ve done and the benefits far outweigh the costs.

My friend, Christopher Rubin, is also going to open a bike store in the next few months.

I want to help him and we plan to ride our bikes to work together and that means I’ll be needing these clothes sooner rather than later.  It is also a free way to get healthy and lose weight which I want to do also.

Mitch seems to want to have a simpler life and we all talked about how that could happen, for both him and us, and what we are doing to accomplish that goal.

This doesn’t just mean minimizing but doing what you want, when you want and knowing that you could die, at any moment, and how do you want to live until that happens.

For Jill and me, it is traveling, seeing friends and family, and exploring the world.

We’ve both simplified our lives enough that we can make this happen.

We can help you do the same if you want.

When we walk, we talk about how to accomplish this and share our knowledge.

That is why we walk.

 

 

 

 

Day 607 OUT OF Beijing: Why We Walk, Part 1.

 

The 1953 210 in all its glory!

The 1953 210 in all its glory!

 

Jill and I are enjoying our car-less travels all around the bay as we update SF Tourism Tips.

We walk about a mile to grab the first bus, in Petaluma, and then take it into San Francisco where we might walk, bus or take the street cars depending on our time and destination.

We also bus back to Petaluma and it has been mostly enjoyable.

I’d say about 9 out of 10 Golden Gate Bus drivers are incredibly friendly and love their jobs.

The ones that aren’t happy are probably just having a bad day and have to deal with a lot.

I’ve noticed, as I’ve talked to the bus drivers, most of them just say, “This job teaches you patience.”

It makes me think that most of the drivers probably practice a type of “moving meditation” when they drive and deal with people so that they can stay calm, mellow and happy most the time.

Otherwise the traffic, the people, and the on time pressure would wear them down.

Our latest driver said to Jill and me that, “I just put on a smile and keep it on.  If I get worn down, I smile and I come back to who I am and who I want to be.”  Imagine if we all did that, a little bit more each day, how different our lives would be?

As we walked towards the bus one day, we turned the corner and noticed this amazing car.

It is a 1953 Chevy 210 with some added flair (some parts from a Plymouth and taillights from a 1954 210 as Mitch liked those more and wanted more “personality”).

We immediately fell in love with it and Jill said, “My dad would love this!”

Jill’s dad, Bill, rebuilds old cars and is a blacksmith and also does leather work.

I suggested we go ask the owner if we could take some pictures and he agreed.

He stated that he hand painted it about 6 years ago and it took a long long long time because each layer is very difficult and time consuming.  He didn’t use any filler or bondo on the bodywork because he didn’t want the paint to crack or break as the car aged.  We couldn’t see any imperfections at all.

We didn’t have our camera, at this time, so we asked if we could come back and he happily agreed.

Two days later we were walking down the street and heard this rumble behind us.  It was Mitch and his 1953 210 cruising down the street.  There really is nothing like the sound of a classic car’s engine rumbling and cruising.

Mitch pulled into his shop and parked it in the sunshine so we could see it really glow.  He then he wiped it down with a cloth to get all the dust off of it.  He had just made some engine improvements and taken it for a test drive so it was a bit dusty and we appreciated his time and effort to make his baby shine!

Mitch, the owner, told us this is his “daily driver” and that he also built a Comet for his wife.  We talked about the joy of doing what you love for a living and how it can be difficult to live outside the expected way of life but that none of us could go back to what we used to do.

Mitch, by the way, was born in Sweden and came to the USA to play music.  It seems he did fairly well for himself and quite a bit of touring.  He lived in Los Angeles but got tired of it and moved up north.  He and his wife now live in Petaluma and he seems to be quite content and proud of his creations.

An artist working his craft.

We talked for about 45 minutes, as we weren’t in a hurry, and it was like meeting an old friend.

There is no question that if we had been in a car, we would have missed Mitch and his 1953 210.

That is why we walk.

 

Day 602 OUT OF Beijing: SF Tourism Tips and SiteSell.

 

Jill's Success Story on SiteSell.  Picture by yours truly.

Jill’s Success Story on SiteSell.

 

Jill has been building her SF Tourism Tips website, and business, for about 5 years.

It has become successful enough for us to do it full time and for me to quit my job as an “office based psychotherapist.”

I may, at some point, start doing psychotherapy, over the internet, but I doubt I will ever work in an office again.

After working for a few major corporations, Jill also doesn’t want to be stuck in an office anymore.

The company that hosts her site, and her business, is called SiteSell.

From what she’s told me, using their website, and learning all about SEO, how to build a site, and how to find succcess, has been invaluable to her.

There have definitely been tough times, and times when she did want to give up, especially while we were in China and the internet was almost impossible to use, but she didn’t.  I made sure she knew that this was her future and that she had spent so much time, and energy, that to quit now would have been a loss and going back to the corporate world, working 80-100 hours a week, just to make money to accumulate things we don’t want, was a major step backwards in our future plans together.  I was working and making enough money for use to survive in Beijing so even if she didn’t make any money, it would have been okay with me.  As long as she believed in what she was doing and kept at it.

Luckily for both of us, she did.

Actually, luck had nothing to do with it.

It was 100% perseverance, determination and a desire to not fall into a past routine that would have made both of us miserable and unfulfilled with our lives and choices.

Jill has also been using SiteSell’s forums to help other people achieve their dreams and figure out how to better their business/website models.  This is something she does for free and one of the true benefits of using SiteSell: They have a massive forum that is very lively and people really try to help each other succeed.  I haven’t seen this on the other web hosting sites and I’m glad Jill decided to use SiteSell when she started.

According to her own knowledge and experience, she jokingly states that she has almost achieved a Master’s degree in building a business online without having to go to college and have massive student debts.

The beauty is that anyone that wants to do this can do the same.  It does take a lot of hard work, and effort, but most goals worth achieving do.

Jill’s hard work is really starting to pay off.  She had her first $5,000 month in December.  Not only that, but after she posted that on the forum, she actually ended up making a December total of $6,600!

Consider that in February, she only made $150 and yet 12 months later, she was not at $6,600!

The owner, Ken Evoy, noticed this and decided to write a blog post about Jill.

After writing the blog post, he decided to feature her as a “Success Story.”

Jill is now featured on their Facebook page!

Jill is now featured on their Facebook page!

This all happened in just the past few weeks and it was because Jill decided not to give up, to keep working hard, and to be okay with some failure as long as the long term goals are still in focus.

That is what it takes to run an online business and not give up.  Lots of perseverance.

There is still a long way for us to go to get to our dream level of “success” but we are on the right path and will continue to do whatever we need to get there.

If you are interested in learning more about how Jill was able to do this, check out the article linked below and feel free to contact us.  We want to help others live their dreams and figure out what is right for them and how they can achieve it.

Jill’s Success Story on SiteSell.

And if you want to sign up for SiteSell and start your own website, click on this SF Tourism Tips – About Jill page and it will take you directly to the information page for SiteSell once you click it.

 

Jill at the Golden Gate Bridge for SiteSell’s Success Story article.  Taken by yours truly.

 

 

 

Day 594 OUT OF Beijing: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone!

 

After coming through the Marin Headlands Tunnels approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.

After coming through the Marin Headlands Tunnels approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Jill and I ventured into San Francisco today to do more research for SF Tourism Tips.

We love taking the bus in, relaxing while we ride, and just watching the traffic as we pass by it.

Once in a while we get stuck in the traffic, since even the carpool lane is full, but most of the time we have a pretty fast ride and we enjoy sitting in the front seat so we can talk to the bus driver a bit and see the best views.

Most of the other riders are usually reading on their tablets or phones or working away but we prefer to be present in the ride and the enjoyment of being back in Northern California.

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

We do know what we have because it was gone and now we are back.

At least until February 28th when we head off to Los Angeles.

We’ve already set up plans to see lots of friends and relatives down there and can’t wait to hit Cancun so Jill can see her sister and her sister’s family and I can finally meet some of Jill’s family in person instead of on Skype.  Being that we met 8 days before I left for China, I’ve never met her family, in person, and she’s never met mine.  This will be a fun trip around the USA!

The Bus driver, this morning, seemed a bit grumpy, which was oddly out of place since he looked a lot like Santa Claus with a huge white beard and big belly.

We thought he’d be friendly and happy, since basically every driver we’ve met on the Golden Gate Transit system is incredibly happy and friendly, but he wasn’t.

Since I started out using a silly phrase, might as well use another one: I guess you can’t judge a book by it’s cover also.

We made sure not to ask any questions and just took some pictures and said “Hi” to passengers as they got on and off the bus and most of them replied with the same.

We weren’t in any hurry to get in since we knew exactly what we wanted to do, what times the places we wanted to visit were open and when we wanted to be home.

It is a wonderful way to live a carefree life and even though it seems as if it is all easy, it isn’t.

Jill puts in many hours of work, especially over the last 4 years, to make her site well respected and easy to use for tourists and locals alike.

She receives a lot of compliments, on her page and on her Facebook page, about how well it is put together and how “real and down home” it is.  That is something Jill specifically worked at instead of just being the generic, “This is what you want to see and do” kind of site that so many other people have built.  It took many hours of walking, busing, and hiking around San Francisco and it still continues to each day.

The fact that she continued to build the site, and her business, while living in China for 1.5 years just goes to show that incredible research, photographs and knowledge that she had stored up in her mind and her computer.

Now that we are back, we will be updating a lot of stuff and building even more pages because we are so excited to help people see more about San Francisco and see it through our eyes so that they can then see it through their own.

 

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Karl the Fog in the distance.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Karl the Fog in the distance.

 

Day 593 OUT OF Beijing: Hidden Gems of SF Tourism Tips.

 

A close up of the Giant Buddha on the second level of the Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.

A close up of the Giant Buddha on the second level of the Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.

 

Jill’s site, SF Tourism Tips, is in a never ending process of being updated and improved.  Jill wanted to update her “Hidden Gems” page and so we decided to head into San Francisco for the day.

I really admire Jill’s trait of never being happy with “enough” and always wanting to better her site and the experience for the people that visit it and want to learn more about San Francisco and how to improve their trip to our lovely city.

We went into San Francisco, by Golden Gate Transit from Petaluma, and then walked around the rest of the day.  We did have to catch one bus ($2.25 USD) to the Columbarium in the Richmond District, but otherwise all our travel was on foot and for free.  Since we are car-less, we didn’t have to pay a toll to get into SF ($6 USD on the GG Bridge), parking ($2-3 USD per hour) or deal with worries about car crashes, gas, or tickets.  The cost to get into SF on Golden Gate transit was $10.75 per person.  A very good exchange for comfort, relaxation and 1.75 hours to either talk or check emails as we rode in on a very comfortable and clean bus.

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

This is also part of our frugal living in that we want to see how realistic it is to live car-less and only use mass transit.  We actually really enjoy mass transit and we’ve met some wonderful people who are traveling around the world and living a upwardly mobile vagabond life like we are at the same time.  I also had a great conversation with a bus driver that will be retiring in one year and his hopes to do a ’round-the-world trip right after his job is over.  We talked about where to go, what to see, and I sent him some links on how to get great deals on flights and cruises.  I’m hoping we catch the same bus he drives, again, and we can see how he has progressed on his plans!

Our first stop was the Columbarium and it was magnificent.  It is one grave site in San Francisco that is taking interments and it is kept up beautifully.  Harvey Milk’s memorial is there as is Carlos Santana’s father’s ashes.  There are also many other people, and memorials, that are stunning and touching.  It sounds a bit strange to think of this as a place to visit and enjoy, but it is, and we actually were there during an interment and the family and friends were quite joyous and happy.  If you are interested in seeing it, make sure to call ahead and ask for Emmit to give you a tour.  He has been with the Columbarium for many, many years and knows stories and the history like no one else.  We will have a tour when we go back next time with him to learn more about this amazing structure and final resting place.

We walked over to Pizza Orgasmica and had their lunch special of salad, beer and a pizza for $10.50 each.  It was delicious and utterly filling.  I also was able to check in on one of my favorite apps, Untappd, and add the beers that Jill and I tried for lunch.  It is a fun social app and keeps track of how many beers you’ve had and gives badges for different categories.

Jill's pesto pizza.  Yummy!

Jill’s pesto pizza. Yummy!

 

We then headed down to Hua Zang Si Buddhist Temple.  This is a Buddhist Temple in the middle of the Mission District.  That, alone, would make sure it is a hidden gem.  It was originally a Lutheran Church and later became a temple.  We were blown away by the two Buddhas, especially that massive one on the second level, and the friendliness of the monks that were at the temple that day.  Most of them didn’t speak a lot of English but they seemed so happy and content that words weren’t needed to express what they were feeling.  As we walked back outside into the Mission District, we saw this gorgeous mural of Carlos Santana.  The cultures are so different and yet they are side by side.

 

After the temple, we headed down to Southern Pacific Brewery in the SOMA district.  Again, this was all just walking around and seeing the sites so we could experience it as if we were tourists and make sure to give people a “true to life” impression of what they can expect as they cruise around the Streets of San Francisco.  By the way, where are Mike Douglas and Karl Malden when you need them?

Our refreshing beers at Southern Pacific Brewing.

Our refreshing beers at Southern Pacific Brewing.

 

This brewery is only about 3 years old and it is inside a very cool tin roof hangar type building.  The beer is good and the food seems to be fairly priced.  We didn’t eat any food while we were there but had a great time talking to the bartender and just digging the atmosphere.  It will be added to a new page Jill is writing about all the different brewpubs in San Francisco.  Did you know there are over 15 at this point with 10 more scheduled to open during 2015?

By the way, this was also the same day we say the Austin Healey and the Tiny Tesla I’ve just posted about.  There is so much to do in San Francisco when you just walk and observe so check out SF Tourism Tips and find out all the newest information for all your San Francisco tips!

Day 592 OUT OF Beijing: Frugal Eating Habits and Mi Pueblo.

 

buritto1burritoJill and I continue to hone our skills at being frugal and living the life we want to live.

This includes eating out and having food that is delicious and adds to our enjoyment of life.

As we stay in Petaluma, there is a wonderful Mexican restaurant about 1 mile from our house.

Mi Pueblo is a privately owned restaurant, at about 5 locations, and the food is very fairly priced.

Jill and I are also trying to get in better shape, and being around guacamole and sour cream, which we love, is not the best way to do this.

Luckily, as most of you know, in the USA, serving portions are HUGE.

This is especially true at Mi Pueblo.

They also give you free chips and salsa when you sit down.

I can not say enough positive reviews about the chips and salsa.  There are also about 6 different types of salsas you can choose from and tempt yourself with before your meal arrives at your table.

My favorite is an avocado mix that is utterly delicious.

Since we know that the burritos are massive at Mi Pueblo, we ask them to cut it in half so we can share it.

They were more than  happy to oblige and even served them on different plates with the extras smothering our carnitas burrito.

It was more than enough food for both of us and Jill wasn’t even able to finish her burrito.

The total for all this food?  About $12 USD.

We didn’t have to eat for another 5 hours because there was so much food and it was so tasty.

It also gave us time to slow down, relax, and enjoy the meal and the freshness of the food and quality of the ingredients.

This is another part of being healthy, mentally and physically, that we are working on each day:  Slow down and accept what is given to you.  And, if you don’t like it, move on and make a change.

We are accepting and making changes at the same time.

We will also be teaching people how to do this, with our new website, when it is ready to show to the world in a month or so.  Our books will be a part of this and also using online seminars and groups.

We are excited and can’t wait to share it with everyone in the near future!

Day 590 OUT OF Beijing: Healey. Austin Healey.

 

 

I love the reflection of the tree from the incredible paint job.

I love the reflection of the tree from the incredible paint job.

 

To paraphrase James Bond, “Healey.  Austin Healey.”

Jill and I aren’t huge fans of using cars.

We both sort of agree that they are used for getting around, doing what you need, and not much more than that.

People seem to become branded by their car and their car style to some extent and we have become branded to the fact that we are car-less.

The more we drive on bus, take planes and ride trains, the more we realize how easy it is to get around in the USA without a car.  We also don’t work in an office or have hard time lines for a lot of things we want to do so it does make it easier for us.

We also realize we have chosen to be kid-less also so that makes it much easier.

However, my brother David and his wife Meta, were also car-less while having two young kids, for a quite a while and he survived in Portland by just using bikes and cycling wherever they needed to go.

We aren’t trying to change the world, or anyone else’s way of living, we are just enjoying the way we live and the freedom it affords us.

That being said, Jill and I still love seeing super cute cars and we were walking around San Francisco yesterday, researching information for her site, SF Tourism Tips, and saw this beautiful Austin Healey.

My mom and dad, long before I was born, used to have an old Triumph TR-3.  I believe it was black and they sold it since they knew they’d be having kids and a tiny two seater wouldn’t really have been a viable means to transport.  I seem to remember that the person that bought it crashed it soon after it was delivered and it was wrecked.  The balance of joy and the impermanence of objects.

This tiny 1960 Austin Healey Sprite Mark 1 was parked in the SOMA district, near Southern Pacific Brewery and the Lyft headquarters, and the owner was obviously still making repairs and fixing it up but it was gorgeous none-the-less.

The owner had a few other cool looking motorcycles in his garage but we didn’t want to intrude or bother him.

We just took a few pictures, admired the beauty of this car, and smiled as we walked away.

We truly love being back in the Bay Area and being able to walk around the amazing city of San Francisco.

 

Day 589 OUT OF Beijing: Upwardly Vagabonding.

 

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

A longer shot of the bridge with the new movable divider on the left.

 

As most of you know, Jill and I are traveling around and only staying with friends or family.

I’ve titled this new way of finding a place for us as “upwardly vagabonding.”

A vagabond is someone that is essentially homeless and is just trying to find a place to live and survive.

We are more Upwardly mobile about our vagabonding so I’ve joking called it just that.

We are staying in nice places, with good people, and don’t have to worry about shelter or really being homeless.

As Jill continues to build her site, SF Tourism Tips, and we are now building our new website together (to be released to the world in a month or so) we want to stay as frugal and with as little limitations on us as possible.

We also are traveling by plane, train or bus wherever we go unless friends are driving and we can hitch a ride.  We also use uber or taxis if needed to get around.  It saves us money and saves us mental strain as we don’t have to worry about driving and possibly being in a car crash, paying insurance or worrying if we are going to get lost.  We leave the work to the driver or pilot.   We also then have time to enjoy the scenery or work on projects while we travel.  Win-win.

We have gone through another round of minimizing our stuff and donated all our winter clothes and whatever we think we won’t need.

Our plan is to be down to one good sized backpack and one daypack each by the time we head off for Los Angeles on February 28th.

It is rather amazing we’ve been home for a month already because it seems like we just arrived and are still settling in.

Part of that is the reverse culture shock after being in China for 1.5 years but it is also that we have stayed in 4 different places in one month so we didn’t really “settle” down in any one place and feel at home.

We will be staying at our friends, Randy and Alethea’s house, for most of the the rest of our trip in the bay area so that will make life more comfortable and easy on us.  Hopefully it will on them also as they are being incredibly generous letting us stay and hang out with them.  Randy is like a second brother to me so it is wonderful to spend time with him and his family and just be “home.”

Here are a few pictures from the Golden Gate Bus as I was upwardly vagabonding home to Randy and Alethea’s recently.

 

Day 586 OUT OF Beijing: Big Bad Benecio.

 

Benecio getting ready for the College National Championship game.

Benecio getting ready for the College National Championship game.

 

Before I met Jill, my dear friend Leslie and I were driving around Point Richmond and enjoying the scenery.

We had just finished our lunch and watching a football game at a local bar.

Leslie is a wonderful person and has a heart of gold.

Especially when it comes to doggies and kitties.

She regularly fosters them and has been known to save them off the street if they are out running wild.

She will go up to pretty much any animal and they fall in love with her immediately.

She noticed Benecio running around with a torn rope around his neck and pulled her car over to help.

Benecio is a HUGE dog.

He’s about 80 lbs or so and all muscle.

His head is massive and his jaws could easily wrap around my whole thigh if he wanted to bite me.

Leslie went over to him, started petting him, and then we walked around the area looking for his owner.

We couldn’t find the owner so Leslie put Benecio in her car, and I have to admit I was still afraid of this huge dog and what he might do, and we drove around Point Richmond looking for someone that might know who he belonged to at that time.

No one seemed to know Benecio or his owner, so we decided we to take him home and see if we could help him.

Being that the rope around his neck was torn, he must have been kept outside and we wanted to see how he’d fare with other dogs around.

Leslie had 3 different dogs at that time and Benecio got along great with all of them.

We kept him for a bit, and then our friends, Randy and Alethea, realized we had him and they were looking to adopt a dog.

We brought him over to meet them, and their son, Cyrus, and it was love at first site.

Benecio has now lived with them for about 2 years and he is a truly wonderful, loving and happy dog.

He also has been known to jump over 12 foot fences, when he sees a cat or squirrel, but otherwise is very good at following orders and commands.

He is, as far as we can tell, pit-bull.  So, when people talk about how scary and mean pit-bulls are, we just think of Benecio and how sweet he is to everyone he meets.

Another reminder that everyone, and every animal, is different and to give each other a chance.