I haven’t made a yearly recap post since I started the site. I wanted that to change, because this year was a year of maturing for me. It was also a year where I had to learn to take bad situations and make the best out of them. You, the viewers, have come along the ride and I truly do appreciate those who read my posts. Let’s begin the recap.
This is how the year started. I reversed into a car and the Focus was in the body shop. Greg, my ex’s dad, let me borrow his little Ford Ranger while it was out during the months of January and February. I lost my job, maybe about a week before I got the car back. It’s no secret anymore that my ex had broken up with me. That was a week later. The day it happened also happened to be the day I dropped off the Ranger, which was a week after I was fired at the end of February.
I was going through one of the roughest phases of life that I had ever had to endure. Although, I prayed and made my way through some harsh nights. I just patiently had to wait for the Focus to return.
Once Focus was back, I started to see a ray of hope. It looked better than ever! I immediately went on a 3 hour cruise, alone. It was a therapeutic drive in some twisties outside of Chico.
A few days later, on a Friday, the first big meet of the year was hosted by Redemptionz. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend as it got my mind off of everything going on.
The next week, I saw that the Drive channel was in Willows! You can bet your behind that I was going to try and meet Matt and Mike! Not only did I meet them, I also got to have dinner with them, and got a few revs from the GT350R that Matt was driving! The true first pick-me-up of this year.
Then Casey passed. The man was an amazing person, so humble and such a great human being. I made a vow to live Casey Strong then, as Greg told me. I continue to do that day by day. I took a drive to think, and cope. Life was still hard then. Although, music and driving truly helped me get through it. I took long cruises alone (including a snowy one pictured above), just to get away for a bit. I also found a job, and so things started looking up.
It also turned bad real fast. The job was a bit of a flop, and I ended up leaving the job a few days after this picture was taken. My truck had burnt down after a mechanical issue caused a fire. I kindly put in a notice to my boss that the job was not going to work out, and I was jobless again. Another speed bump.
More drives, and this one was with Dallas. He has truly been a great friend, a brother, and has helped me out so much this year. This was, I believe, my first cruise in which I was accompanied by someone, and I couldn’t have chosen a better person to go with.
I moved back home with my parents, and got a job with a local beer delivery company. Life was looking up. Right before I moved back, I attended the second Redemptionz meet, and it was such a great time! I saw people I hadn’t seen in a long time. The meet was the Spring Roll Out meet that I had talked about here in the blog. We need to do that again next year!
I continued to work throughout the summer. I went on countless Dutch runs, and went swimming A LOT with my sisters and friends. I even hit up a few San Francisco Giants games with them!
After some careful budgeting, I was finally able to purchase the first mod in almost a year. The Splitters P.R. splitter! It made it just in time for the Canada trip.
Fast forward to August. I couldn’t believe I was in Bill’s driveway. 1000+ miles away from home, and 20 hours of driving. It was definitely worth it!
The car had undergone one of the most dramatic changes in all the years I had it. The Work wheels were such a great decision. I also got a banner and some new rear brake pads. Mine were shot!
These guys were just such an awesome group of people. So welcoming, so humble, and an awesome group of guys that were brought together because of cars. The only person missing that I would like to thank is Sue, Bill’s mom for allowing a complete stranger to sleep in her home. That’s not easy as a mother, and I am grateful that she was so hospitable! Mario as well, as he let me crash at his place the night before what would be the one biggest car shows I had ever attended: Illmotion Sunday School.
The show was everything I had expected it to be and more. Bill won a prize for the top 15 out of hundreds of cars. I got to see my first Skylines. I met new friends. I had a blast!
The last picture really sums up the trip. Canada changed me. It really showed me that I can get out of my small town and go anywhere with hard work. My little Ford Focus had gotten me that far, imagine what else I could do. The ThreeTwenty crew showed me what it was to be a gear-head. A bunch of friends who need nothing other than each other’s presence and a passion for anything with an engine. I will never trade that experience for anything in the world. It was time to get home though, and work hard to make more memories like that.
The Willows car show. The result of all the work I had put into the car. For 3 years I had tried so hard to place in the tuner class. It wasn’t until this year that I just went to the car show to get to know everyone, and not care what I placed, that I had gotten first place in the tuner class. Obviously my work for the car mattered, but I didn’t mind not placing. I got to have fun, and had a great time with all of my friends. Another memory I wouldn’t trade.
Truck 70. A truck I started to drive the day after my birthday. September 7th was the day I found out that I got my new trucking job, on my birthday! The 8th was my first trip to Tracy, California. This job paved the way for the next huge step for the Focus.
The engine swap!
You guys all know how that went. I am still in awe, as I ponder, at how quickly Kyle, Brice, and I had gotten it done. 3 days from the initial tear-down to the first drive.
2 weeks later, I am back in LA. Another 8 hour drive with the new engine. This time for the Hoonigan Donut Garage meet! It wasn’t without issues though, as Isaac decided to run out of gas! Haha, but we got there early anyway. I got to meet even more friends, and got to link up with Kyle again!
Another speed bump, as a result of a person reversing on the side of the freeway. My quick reflexes and thinking helped me swerve out of the way and get the truck out of the way so that no one was hurt at all, and the truck and load were both okay. The witnesses say that I saved the person’s life and that my driving is way above average for such a young driver. I must get it from my dad.
Regardless of me being away from home all week, it didn’t stop me from attending car meets. I even made a few “Official FiveThirty” car meets. This meet pictured above was the Thanksgiving meet hosted by Adan. It was a great time! We took a drive up to the mountains and all hung out.
That same day, a lady had backed into me and hit my front bumper. Thankfully, all it did was crack the paint. I say thankfully, because nothing was broken. A quick respray and we’ll be good to go.
The last memory is one I didn’t think I’d see unfold as I started the year. As I type this, about two weeks ago on December 11th, I participated on my first track day at Thunderhill raceway. The car performed well! Although, the build will take a different course. The ST7 will now be that Grand Touring STedan or GTS for short. Modifications will obviously be documented here!
As I look back at 2016, I cannot say that it was a bad year. Yes I lost people, a relationship, and a job or two. Although, I am alive. I have made memories that I will forever cherish. I have traveled countless miles and I have a support system that extends way beyond what I had thought, with some of the people pictured up above.
God of course, whom my faith has grown stronger for this year. My faith kept me alive and gave me a will to keep moving forward. My parents and siblings Lali, Chaps, Lola, and Lucas, whom I have rekindled a worn relationship with. I was like a prodigal son, making his way home. My family welcomed me back with open arms and love. You can never say thank you enough for that.
Marko, Gabe, Chava, Tucker, Serjio, Ruben, Herminio, and Dallas were all best friends and brothers who have all been a support for me this year. I hope and pray that the friendships don’t wither away but rather only get stronger. Tammy and Greg were like second parents for four years and have continued to support me this year. I am forever thankful for what you have both done for me. I also hope and pray the same for our friendship as well. To my extended family who has been there, thank you too. Your constant check ups on me helped out so much.
Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for the car scene. My car friends have been an equal support system in ways that they cannot even imagine. If I was feeling at the lowest, my car got me out of that low for just enough time to make me feel like myself again. Life threw curves at me, and I steered through them and hit those straights at full throttle. I talked to car friends about my issues, and they helped. I needed help with my car, and they never failed to offer assistance. Kyle, Mike, Bill, Mario, and the rest of you gear heads, this post goes out to you too. Thank you all.
Remember, even if everything looks as if it’s falling apart, keep pushing through. Your life is most likely just falling into place. Trust me, have faith and peace. It will get better.
Where to from here? I’ve got some big announcements and reveals in 2017. I have big plans, and I have goals that I have set. I have new friends that I have made and some friends that I have reconnected with. I hope to continue helping people as much as I can as I have always tried to.
It can only go up from here, and if life knocks me down, I’ll just get back up again. That’s how life is. You live, learn, and apply those lessons to the future. I end with this verse: Psalm 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
I will cling to that as I always have. I will continue to strive to be God’s man. A good friend, son, and brother. Thank you all for tuning into this recap and I hope everyone has a safe end of the year and an awesome 2017. GodSpeed!