The Wandering Matchett's travel blog

Dana Point Harbor

Las Vegas strip

Sunset on Dana Harbor

San Clemente beach

This pelican was a regular visitor to this fisherman's boat while he...

Typical accommodations on Queen Mary for "war brides."

Bridge of Queen Mary

Front of Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Typical stateroom on Queen Mary

Radio room on Queen Mary

Mission San Quan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

This is the kind of bed the soldiers slept on at the...

Looking through one of the buildings into the courtyard at the Mission

Another view of the Mission

Looking down one of the walkways at the Mission

Remains of stone church at the Mission, destroyed by earthquake.

Las Vegas in the afternoon

October 21-31, 2008 we traveled to California due to the sudden worsening of Jim's sister, Shirley's condition. Shirley passed away before we could get out to California. A very nice memorial service and Celebration of her life was held.

We thank God for Shirley and that we were blessed to have gotten to see her in September when she was doing very well and traveled from California to Colorado to visit with us and Jim's brother, Bob, and sister-in-law, Carol.

On the way to California, we stopped in Las Vegas. We have been to Las Vegas many times, but always enjoy stopping there to see what's changed since the last time we were there. There is a lot of new construction going on, there always is. We heard on the news while we were there that due to the economy one of the construction projects was put on hold and wouldn't be resumed until 2010.

While in California, we had the chance to tour the Queen Mary in Long Beach. This magnificent ship was not built as a cruise ship, but rather as a passenger "commuter" and mail ship. Her maiden voyage was on May 27, 1936. In March of 1940, the Queen Mary was pulled out of passenger service and put into war service. Between that time and September 1946, the Queen Mary carried a total of 765,429 military personnel. She sailed a total of 569,429 miles and carried up to 15,000 troops at one time. On December 9, 1967, the Queen Mary was anchored permanently in Long Beach, California and has since become a hotel. Each October, mortals gather at the Queen Mary for the annual Halloween Terrorfest. If you'd like to learn more about the Queen Mary, check out

We also visited the Mission San Juan Capistrano. The mission was founded more than 200 years ago, the 7th of 21 missions built throughout the state of California. The Mission is perhaps best known for the annual "Return of the Swallows" which is traditionally observed every March 19. The Great Stone Church at the Mission is known as an architectural wonder, but was almost completely leveled by an earthquake in 1812. The remains are a big draw at the Mission, which attracts about a half a million visitors each year. They have a very informative audio tour available while you walk around the grounds and learn the history.

On the way home from California, we stopped in Las Vegas again for a couple of days to rest and throw away a few dollars.

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