Monday, August 31, 2009

Heading Home~Our First Night On The Trail

(June 2, 2009) After we said our sad goodbye’s we headed for out first camp spot…..just 134 miles from Pasadena.  After passing thru the San Gabriel mountains, we stopped at a rest stop above the high desert town of Palmdale, CA to stretch our legs.  We’ve been here before & I love the view down below this rest stop.  There’s a few windmills, a bunch of beautiful homes and water.   The water is the California Aqueduct running thru this area.  My picture does not do the beauty of this area justice.  And during the summer months there’s a warm, dry wind blowing~all the time. 

  May June 2009 vacation414

From there we continued onto Lancaster, CA.  We stopped there to shop at their super Wal Mart and thankfully there was a Mc Donald’s inside the Wal Mart because in the hot, dry windy climate I really needed one of their Iced Coffee’s (large)!

Continuing on down the highway we come to Mojave, CA and their airplane graveyard.  It’s eerie to see the row after row of planes that are just parked.  I understand they do give tours of their ‘flight line’ maybe next time we’ll take the time to do that.

May June 2009 vacation415

May June 2009 vacation416

Before too long we come to our destination.  We camped here before and I’ve Blogged about this place before…but this area is such a wondrous sight  I have to mention it again.   It’s the Ricardo Campground in California’s Red Rock Canyon State Park on Highway 14.

May June 2009 vacation418

The state of California established this area as a state park in 1968. This area was used a Native American trade route for hundreds of years and in about 1850, the survivors of the famous Death Valley trek passed thru Red Rock Canyon.  Then in 1893 placer gold activity began with hundreds of miners sifting the sands of the canyon.  The canyon has been used as a passage for driving large flocks of sheep to the north, as a stage coach stop, as a railroad route and as a truck stop.   It has also been used as a location for Hollywood movies.    

As you travel thru or camp in this area you’ll see the unique and colorful layers of white, pink, red and brown cliffs.  The fluted folds are the result of wind & rain eroding the softer materials beneath the dark caprocks, which were formed by a harder lava flow layer.

Like most people I always imagined the desert as empty and uninteresting.  But I’ve learned to love and appreciate these dry arid areas.  So very different from the Pacific Northwest where I live.

The last time we camped here, the Joshua trees were in bloom….truly a beautiful sight.  

May June 2009 vacation420

All of the campsites are backed by these awesome cliffs.

May June 2009 vacation421

May June 2009 vacation426

May June 2009 vacation432 

May June 2009 vacation430 

May June 2009 vacation431

Night in the desert~so quiet and peaceful.

May June 2009 vacation436

May June 2009 vacation437

May June 2009 vacation433

The next morning we’re up and cooking breakfast.

May June 2009 vacation439

Linda’s campground scramble (I make it at home too)

May June 2009 vacation440

Joshua Trees

May June 2009 vacation441 May June 2009 vacation443

As we drove out of the campground, we were already looking forward to our next visit there. Such a beautiful, peaceful place.

May June 2009 vacation444

(June 3, 2009)    After leaving the campground our next destination was Ridgecrest, CA.  My paternal grandfather lived there the last 25-30 years of his life.   He was a professional photographer, artist and businessman.  He and his wife (my step grandma) owned and operated Desert Graphic Arts for many years.  His business logo was the Joshua Tree, so as a youngster I grew to love them but I was an adult before I finally saw one growing in their natural habitat. Anyway it had been several years since I’d visited his resting place, so once we got into town we went out to the cemetery so I could leave some flowers.

May June 2009 vacation448

After that we stopped at the local Goodwill and did some shopping.   I should never go in those places because I always find books to buy. This time was no exception, plus I found 2 blouses for $2.75 each.  This GW was very clean and well organized~it was really fun looking around there.  

As we left Ridgecrest and headed for the Highway 14/Highway 395 junction the weather began to change.  To be continued~

Friday, August 28, 2009

Random Pictures Of The Los Angeles Area

(May/June 2009) Frequently while we are in southern California, we are driving here and there and I usually always have my camera with me. So I’m taking pictures like crazy. This entry is going to feature some of those random shots.

The famous Pasadena In-N-Out. It is amazing, no matter what time of day or night you go there, cars are lined up, in two rows to get to the drive up window. They usually have staff walking along the cars taking orders so that hopefully your order will be ready shortly after you finally get to the window. There’s no indoor seating, just a few tables outside…which are normally taken.

sept-oct 2008 vacation22

This building is not too far from the Santa Monica Pier. I loved the beautiful bougainvillea growing around the wall.

May June 2009 vacation407

Another southern California favorite of mine are the beautiful Jacaranda trees with their purple flowers.

May June 2009 vacation110

Southern California has so many beautiful trees. This tree lined street heads up the hill to the home of Bob’s daughter & family.

sept-oct 2008 vacation20

Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles. First opened in 1901 running until 1969. They redeveloped the area and it reopened in 1996. In 2001 there was a serious accident on the tramway and it has been closed ever since. Work continues and they hope to have it up and running again soon.

Ensenada mexico Oct 2008142

The lovely campus of Pasadena City College. Both of Bob’s grandkids are taking classes here.

May June 2009 vacation112

A couple views of the Los Angeles skyline.

May June 2009 vacation410

May June 2009 vacation408

Self explanatory….

May June 2009 vacation130

Philippe’s home of the original French dip sandwich and they are good.

May June 2009 vacation93

May June 2009 vacation87

You stand in line to order and then find a place to sit at the long tables. Sometimes it seems like it takes forever but their French Dip is worth the wait.

May June 2009 vacation89

The Pasadena Trader Joe’s was the original store. Not this building but Pasadena is where it originated. May June 2009 vacation62

This building is just a couple blocks from Olvera Street

May June 2009 vacation95

May June 2009 vacation94

Some of the Olvera Street shops.May June 2009 vacation97

May June 2009 vacation98

May June 2009 vacation99

A church very near Olvera Street

May June 2009 vacation102

If you ever take Amtrak to Los Angeles, you’ll end up here at the Union Depot.

May June 2009 vacation103

May June 2009 vacation411

White Oleander~beautiful but deadly.

May June 2009 vacation65

Thanks again…next entry we head north towards home.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Santa Monica Pier and Lunch Out

(May 29, 2009) We took some time today to take a drive out to the Santa Monica Pier.  We both love to go there if the weather is nice. 

May June 2009 vacation368

May June 2009 vacation369

May June 2009 vacation370

May June 2009 vacation371

Sadly it seems like every time we go out there we see more and more people that seem to be homeless.

May June 2009 vacation373

The guy below had a large wire bird cage hooked to the back of his bike.  What was in it?  A large plastic alligator !?!

May June 2009 vacation396

There’s a small amusement park towards the end of the pier. 

May June 2009 vacation387

The Ferris wheel had a role in the crazy movie “1941.”

May June 2009 vacation389

May June 2009 vacation392

May June 2009 vacation393

You might even catch a fish at the end of the pier.

May June 2009 vacation390

May June 2009 vacation395

At the beginning of the Pier is the Carousel Building.  It is so unique and beautiful and houses a beautiful Merry Go Round.  I loved the windows in this building.

May June 2009 vacation402

May June 2009 vacation403

May June 2009 vacation404

There’s a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company located at the street end of the pier.  We don’t have any of these close to home so decided to take advantage of the opportunity to have lunch here.  May June 2009 vacation374

I recommend the coconut shrimp~Yummy!

May June 2009 vacation381

We were seated at beach level and as I looked out the window I couldn’t figure out what that big roller was.  Finally we asked our waiter and he explained that they roll the beach with it.

May June 2009 vacation376

I believe it’s made of concrete and has raised buildings & landmarks of the Los Angeles area which when rolled across the compact sand leave impressions behind~until the public starts walking on it of course.

May June 2009 vacation377

After lunch, we gazed out at the beautiful Pacific Ocean and the folks on the beach…….

May June 2009 vacation385

May June 2009 vacation388

And head back to the car ~ a rather long uphill walk but totally worth the trouble.

May June 2009 vacation401

Looking back at the Pier, we hope to visit again next time we’re in the area.

May June 2009 vacation406

I can’t remember the exact day but I know it was pretty close to when we were getting ready to head home, our dear Blogger friend Joann came and picked me up and we went to ‘Islands’  for lunch.  If you live in southern California or anywhere there is an ‘Islands’  restaurant~you have to try their tortilla soup. Ahhhhhhh it is so good.   We had a wonderful time of visiting and eating….when we got back to Bob’s daughter’s house Bob took some pictures of the two of us.  She posted her pictures back in June but I’m a little slower, since I’m doing the commentary.  Anyway, the sun was bright which really bothers my blue eyes….so pardon the squint. May June 2009 vacation361

Joann tells me she likes to drive, so I’m waiting for the day she gets in her little red car, heads for I-5 and then heads north.  I told her I’m just a few blocks from I-5  (about 1,200 miles north of her.) 

I hope you’ll join me for the next episode….I hope to wrap this trip up in the next week and a half.