As mentioned in the last entry, we were supposed to see Jimmy Kimmell Live! on Monday the 5th. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to the writers' strike, which coincidentally started Monday the 5th. A bit of a disappointment. So we stayed in Anaheim for a week. We have the absolute best seat for the fireworks at Disneyland. We sat in the front seats of the motorhome and watched two nights in a row.
We drove around a lot. Stopped near Rodeo Drive at a famous Pizza Joint for lunch. Drove through Beverly Hills and as you can see, saw the Hollywood Sign.
On another day we went to Yorba Linda. This is quite a beautiful area. We went to the Richard Nixon Library which is also an excellent museum and includes his burial site, as well as his wife's, and the home where he was born. It was the actual house, restored and on the same location. Also there was the helicopter that used to fly him around. Very interesting! We went to the headquarters for John Force Drag Racing and it was closed.
The next day we went to Universal Studios. We took the studio tour, saw the Special Effects exhibit, the I Love Lucy tribute, the exhibit that shows how the effects for Backdraft (the movie) were made and a 4D show featuring Shrek. This is a 3D short movie with added effects that come out of your chair - such as bursts of air that feel like spiders and little shots of water (that coincided with Donkey sneezing).
We went back to Yorba Linda and visited the John Force headquarters - really just a souvenir store, no museum. While we were in Yorba Linda we went to Costco to see if they had any lobster. We had decided we wanted steak and lobster for dinner. They were the best, and biggest, lobster tails we have ever had. Costco definitely tailors their stock to the area in which they are. This was a higher end Costco than we had seen yet.
We wanted to mention the condition of the roads in California, I-5 in particular. We have noticed that when you are approaching a big city the roads get rougher, especially where there is an underpass. There's always a big dip at the beginning and then at the other side. It seems that the freeway was made in sections - every 20 feet there's a bump. It's almost like riding down the middle of a railway track! Of course this shifts everything in the cupboards of our "home". You have to be careful when you park when first opening a cupboard so everything doesn't fall out! The roads in the suburbs are amazing. Most every one is four lanes with medians and you can do a u-turn at almost every corner.
We arrived in San Diego on November 9. On the way we passed some large burned out areas around Camp Pendleton. It's very sad and must have been terrifying. The roads seem better here and traffic is less frenzied. This is our first campground without a table so it's a bit tricky to eat outside. In the morning of the 12th, we had the motorhome detailed. It took three of them three hours to wash and hand wax. We served hot dogs for lunch when they were done. Then we toured the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. Very educational and a lot of walking. The Americans really know how to create museums.
The next day we went to the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park - we had been to the Zoo before but not the Animal Park. It was also very well done. Fires came very close to their grounds. They have 900 acres that is just natural landscape - two thirds of that was burned. The habitat here is as natural as they can make it and the animals seem healthy and happy.
If any of you have ever watched the Jay Leno Tonight Show, he has a segment on there called Jay-Walking. We never really believed this segment had real people on it until today. We were driving along in San Diego. Larry had his window down and a lady pulled alongside. "Where is your state?" she asked (referring to our license plate). Larry said, "We're from Canada." (a blank look followed). "On the West Coast, above Washington," he said. (another blank look) Then she said, "Is Washington, DC part of your state?" Thankfully, the light changed and we drove on. She is, however, still in the dark.
On Thursday morning, we went through the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala. This mission was California's first church founded in 1769 and the first of a chain of 21 missions in California. The restoration of this mission is way ahead of the San Miguel mission we saw at Paso Robles. In the afternoon, we went to Sea World. We saw several shows. The first one featured animals - dogs, cats, birds, pigs - that had been rescued and then trained for the show. There was a black and white Springer Spaniel named Sampson that reminded us of Brandy. His show involved a race with a smaller dog through a set of obstacles. The little dog, when approaching the pond, hopped on a little boat and went across the pond. When it came to Sampson's turn to cross the pond, he just dove right in and swam across. Exactly what Brandy would have done! We also saw sharks, killer whales, penguins, and dolphins.
The day we left San Diego did not start out well. We had a bit of a sewage spill - the drainage hose came off near the end of the dump. Gross!! If any of you have seen Robin Williams' movie "RV", we could now literally be called the rolling turd!
We arrived in El Centro on November 16. There's not much here to see and we are now in true desert. It's very, very hot. The main thing El Centro has going for it is its shopping. All the big ones are here - Home Depot, Lowe's, Costco, Target, Walmart. It seems like the middle of nowhere. There are a lot of crops grown here as well - cotton and an amazing amount of hay. It's been recently cut and bales are stacked everywhere and covered so they almost look like army barracks from a distance. There are also a lot of sheet, recently sheared, with flocks of white egrets amongst them.
The 19-21 saw a typical Hamblin outing. On Monday Larry decided to buy a bike. They offered to put shorter shanks on the pedals and it would be ready on Tuesday. When we went to pick it up, the bike rack was too short to clear the spare tire on the back of the Jeep. So Larry and Maureen ended up at a steel distributor looking for parts. Unfortunately, the steel came in 20 ft lengths and the minimum that could be sold was 10 ft. We only needed 16.5 inches. So we bought the whole 10 ft piece - the guy cut the short piece for us at least. We took it all back to the bike shop. The guy that works there, Brian, is taking it to his friend's to have holes drilled in it - he will be the lucky recipient of the extra steel. How much did this steel cost, you ask? A measly $33. On the 21st we went to pick up the bike rack. Brian did an excellent job but the paint was still a bit wet. So we spent the next 45 minutes "watching paint dry".
Maureen had ordered a Christmas tree on the Internet - www.uschristmastree.com - a beautiful looking 3 ft fir with 200 lights, American made. It arrived on Tuesday from New York - took less than a week and it really is beautiful for an artificial tree.
A word about how we get around so well - one of the best purchases we made in Anaheim was a GPS for the car. Her name is "Berta" and she has been invaluable. We plug in an address or choose a place off the list, such as Costco, and she takes us right to it. Now when we arrive in a city, with no city map, we can find our way easily. The one thing she does do is take you through some delightful neighbourhoods, not!! We saw a lot of LA that one wouldn't normally see.
Talk to you soon.
Larry and Maureen