How ya doin? It’s Skydog’s Memorial Bench!

Installed 9-19-14 ~ Christened with coffee 9-20-14

This bench is at the top landing of Stairwell #6 in the northernmost day use/pay parking lot at Cardiff State Beach, according to the Friends of Cardiff and Carlsbad State Beaches. I have just been told that a more accurate description of the location is actually the top of the stairs at San Elijo State Park next to the showers. Either way, it’s the only dedicated bench at the top landing, on the north side looking south.

Sitting on the bench, it has a clear view to the south and all the surf breaks. Dan frequently stopped at the south Cardiff State Beach parking lot on his way home from work. It can be tricky to find the entrance to this parking lot, but once you do, it will be easy to find on your next visit. I have 20-year naming rights, so you have plenty of time to find it and sit for a bit. Check out the slide show below.


Jim and Janine sitting a spell — coffee and Dan’s favorite Cherry Pop Tarts in hand.


Just after we left, friend Jim came across the bench. He emailed “I can’t believe I am walking in Cardiff and saw this. !!! Pretty emotional.”

This is the view from Skydog’s bench. This morning the marine layer was visiting, but Skydog made sure there was surf everywhere. I hope all of you are able to come sit awhile, reflect and remember Dan/Skydog/Sarge with a smile.

Dan's headstone

Thank you National Wreaths Across America for the beautiful wreath. Photos by Fred Mertz, December 16, 2014.


photo 2

Thank you all for helping make the Celebrations of Life for

Dan/Skydog/Sarge something we will all long remember!

I am still sorting through hundreds of photographs and a handful of videos. Click here and then click on Albums to see what I have posted so far.

Paddle Out • Oceanside Pier • August 3, 2014

The sun came out just as we arrived in the outriggers!

Military Ceremony and Burial • Miramar National Cemetery • August 4, 2014

So proud of Sgt. Highland!

Reception • Beach Break Café • Oceanside • August 4, 2014

Enjoying a Silver Bullet for Dan!

Memorial Celebration: Paddle Out

Date: Sunday, August 3, 2014

Location: Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club Contest

Oceanside Pier, South Side

12:45 PM Be ready to enter water

1:00 PM Paddle Out begins

2:00 PM Celebration on beach

Paddle Out Details

Paddle out Sunday, August 3 at 1pm, south side of Oceanside Pier

NOTE: no smoking allowed on beaches or pier

Getting to the paddle out site: I thank all of you in advance for dealing with the traffic to get here. The earlier you can arrive the better. I plan to be at the beach no later than 9am, but the contest starts at 6:30am so there will be plenty of people there. I want all of you to make only one trip from your car to the beach since you may not be able to park close. There are lots of parking lots, and those closest fill first. Pay attention to where you park; much parking is free on Sundays, but not everywhere. Be aware that there is construction on Mission Ave and it is now one-way from just west of the freeway to Coast Highway and can get really backed up; from the north, best to exit before getting to Mission Ave.; from the south, best to exit at Oceanside Blvd. Time permitting, I will get a map out as to parking lots and best streets to use. I would love it too if those you who haven’t yet been to the California Surf Museum have time while you are here for a visit.

Dress code: Beach casual — as comfortable as you want to be when at the beach. If you plan on going on the pier, walking shoes or flip flops [it’s tough on bare feet — it’s a wooden pier]. Beach towel, beach chair and whatever else you would like to bring for how long you plan to stay. I will have plastic bins to stash our valuables in during the paddle out [will be moved to the surf club booth and be safe]. I will have food and beverages for you, and beer and more food is available in the bandshell for purchase.

Water Ceremony: The surf is predicted to be small. Those of you going in the water need to be ready to enter the water by 12:45 pm so you can enter when given the go ahead. I have decided against any stage presentation, so there will be a beach announcement as to when to enter the water and then the water ceremony. Those who are watching from the pier should start heading out about 12:40 or so to reach near the end of the pier [beyond where the waves break] by 1 or so to see everyone paddling out. We will have bags of petals for those on the pier and stemmed carnations for those in the water to take out — all will know when to release flowers and petals. No leis in the water [the string is harmful]! No plastic bags in the water!

My schedule and more: I and several family members will be in outrigger canoes — so I will not be at the beach contest site from about noon until 2:15ish since we need to depart from and return to the harbor in the outriggers. I hope y’all will wait for me to get back so we can visit! I will have your contest shirts, programs and guest book for all to sign. AND by popular demand, we will finally have Skydog logo clothing available for purchase in the surf museum booth in the bandshell — tanks, t-shirts and sweatshirts. My niece is handling this so I don’t know prices yet. We will accept credit cards, checks, cash. After this weekend, and once I get it set up, I will have these available through with PayPal.

Memorial Celebration: Military Burial

Date: Monday, August 4, 2014

Location: Miramar National Cemetery

5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego

We can arrive a bit early as there is space where we can meet before and after the ceremony. Make an immediate right into a parking lot; restroom facilities are in the building.

Details below subject to finetuning as I learn more about the process:

2:00 – 2:30 PM Ceremony at Committal Shelter (time exact; maximum 30 minutes allowed)

Rifle salute by the 82nd Airborne, retired volunteers (10 minutes)

Folding of the flag and presentation of the flag (10 minutes)

Prompt departure to grave site

2:30-2:45 PM Witness placing of urn in ground

Memorial Celebration: Reception

Date: Monday, August 4, 2014

Location: Beach Break Cafe

1802 S. Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

4:00 – 8:00 PM Reception