Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still WiFi Challenged But Having Fun Anyway

2/15 ~ We’re in Palm Springs tonight and we’re still WiFi challenged.  I’m surprised too.  This time we’re in a Holiday Inn and the internet has just gone *poof*, “local only”.  If this stuff keeps happening, I’m going to start believing that I’m just not supposed to get “free WiFi” while on trips..

2/12 ~ We spent most of Saturday with a cousin of mine and his wife.  DSC02683After we visited for a while, they took us down to Long Beach so we could sort of play “tourist” around the harbor where the Queen Mary is berthed.  The view from the parking area isn’t much, but it was neat to see.  Mom and I had been on the Queen Mary before, back when another cousin got married there, so we decided we’d be tourists everywhere but on the ship.  We checked out the Russian submarine that is right next to the Queen, and of course, we had to check out the stuff in the Russian gift shop.  There were a few events going on in and around the ship, so we checked out the “free” ones.  For instance there was a whole line of vintage bicycles that were pretty interesting to see.   We did a bit of people watching too as we wandered.  One of the events had something to do with clothing, and I can’t remember what the sign said and silly me, I didn’t take a picture of it, but some of the folks going into that part of the ship were unusually dressed to put it mildly.  You had to pay to get in there, so we decided to go across the bay and see what kind of mischief we could get into.  So we headed over to the free shuttle busses that take you across the harbor to Shoreline Village.  It was about time for lunch when we arrived at the village.   DSC02689We ate at a very noisy restaurant there at Shoreline Village.  (And right now I’m really missing my internet connection because I can’t remember the name of the place and I can’t google it!! lol)  It seemed to be quite a popular hang out for the 20-somethings that filled the place.  The lunch was very good. Anyway, there was a really good view of the Queen Mary from that side of the harbor.  If you look real close at the bow of the ship you can make out the conning tower of the Russian Submarine.

We had fun wandering through all the unique little shops in the village.   DSC02685One of the sights in the harbor near the Shoreline Village we saw a pirate ship! LOL!  At least it was outfitted to look like one with skeletons, cannons and even a parrot looking out the window in the cabin. DSC02686 The boat looked like it was better suited to sitting at the dock than actually sailing.  There was so much stuff all over the decks that it would no doubt take a while for them to get the boat sea-worthy.  Oh well.  It was neat to see.  After the shopping and wandering, we caught the shuttle back over to the parking area near the Queen Mary and headed back to my cousin’s home…

We spent another night at that motel in Torrance that had the 1 second WiFi connection.  Before we left the next morning, I found out what it was that was providing the “WiFi” there.  The motel manager had a cell phone sitting on the desk next to his computer.  He swore up and down that the WiFi was working and picked up his cell phone and showed me.  Somebody please tell me that cell phones aren’t what other places use to power their WiFi for their hotels/motels.  The other thing about that motel was the “breakfast” that they offered.  They had a few little cellophane wrapped muffins and sweet rolls on a plate and a coffee pot next to them.  I tried to get some coffee before leaving but the coffee pot was empty.. lol.. Time to go!  Before leaving town, we had a good breakfast with my cousin at a little place called “Scotty’s” which is right on the beach in Redondo Beach (I think!).

On the 13th, we went on down to Chula Vista for a visit with my Great-Aunt for a couple days.  (And no chance of internet connections.. lolDSC02691On our way down, we stopped at a "Vista Point” that overlooked the ocean near Camp Pendleton that had a fantastic view of the sea.  Far out to see we saw a ship and a smaller boat closer in.  And that’s the last picture I took until now.  We had a great time there visiting and playing a dice game that my Aunt loves playing.  After leaving Chula Vista this morning (2/15), we decided to take the “scenic route” towards Palm Springs.  So we caught I8 towards El Centro and then took highway 86 north along the shore of the Salton Sea.  We, and all the other vehicles on the highways got slowed by a couple Border Patrol checkpoints.  Once on I8 and once on Hwy 86.  Everyone got shuttled over into one lane and then crawled past the Border Patrol Guards and their dogs.  We also came across the remains of a bad accident.  It looked like a semi had run off the road and down into a ravine for some reason.  The tow trucks had just finished bringing the cab of the truck up on to the shoulder of the road as we passed.  (And with my lousy luck so far with WiFi connections, I can’t google to find out any information about a truck accident on I8 this morning.)  I hope the driver came out of it ok.

We enjoyed the drive up along the Salton Sea.  It was interesting to see how much all the towns have grown over the years.  It was also interesting to see how many date groves are left.  We couldn’t find a single date stand along the road, so we had no chance of buying any fruit.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow when we go roaming around.  I should have more pictures to share tomorrow.  Hopefully I can get an internet connection in order to upload stuff tomorrow!  I mean, come on! We’re at a Holiday Inn! things should work here! lol

2/16 ~ Hurray!  The Holiday Inn we’re in moved us to a different room and I’ve got real WiFi! LOL! We’re catching our breath and then will head out to see if we can ride the tram and then later maybe go visit the desert zoo that’s here.  I’ll do another post tonight with some pictures and maybe some results of google search to straighten out some of my puzzles in the last couple posts..

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Still on the Road… But WiFi Challenged..

2/14 ~ Happy Valentine’s day everyone! And yes, I know it’s going to be after the 14th when I finally get this published to the blog.  I know I promised I’d post pictures often, but I’ve been a little bit challenged by the “online” opportunities I’ve had since we left Morro Bay.  More on that story later.  I guess I’m going to need to invest in one of those gadgets that plug into the laptop so I can get online no matter where Mom and I travel.  Any recommendations? lol

2/11 ~ Ok, so when we left Morro Bay Friday morning, we went on south on Highway 101 and then stopped in Solvang for a little while so we could do a bit of window shopping and, of course, visit a bakery or two.  While we were there, a nice woman in the visitor’s center gave us a map of the valley and marked some DSC02636points of interest on the map.  We chose to visit two of them.   A  miniature horse ranch and another ranch with miniature donkeys.  (Hmm.. Is it “donkeys” or  “donkies”? lol.. Spellcheck says that “donkeys” is the right one.)  Ok.. On we go.. The miniature horse ranch is called Quicksilver Ranch and they have dozens of beautiful little miniature horses.  We pulled into their visitor’s parking lot and spent a little bit of time wandering around and watching the little horses as they grazed and wandered around their fenced enclosures.  The ones in the picture to the left are pretty calm and quiet, but in other enclosures, the little horses were rolling around on the ground, chasing each other or just kicking up their heels for the heck of it.DSC02638e   It’s hard to get a size comparison until you see the horses next to someone..  This young lady was grooming one of her horses near the barn, so there was the perfect opportunity to show the size of the miniature horse.  She told us that 3 of the little horses were “hers” and that she was responsible for grooming and taking care of them. DSC02641  Here’s the young lady with another of her little horses, and you can get an even better idea of the size of the little animals.  (By the way, the barn was completely empty of animals.  There wasn’t a single horse in any of the stalls.  I guess the weather was just too nice to keep them confined indoors.)  We watched a few of the mares that were in separate enclosures,  one was in heavy labor and another one wasn’t far behind, so soon they’ll have a bunch of foals bouncing around in those fields.  After we left Quicksilver Ranch,  we went on up the road through Ballard and drove along looking for the miniature donkeys.  DSC02653The lady at the Solvang information center didn’t know the name of the ranch, but she said the donkeys were right there next to the road.  And they were!  There was also a nice “Visitors are Welcome” sign next to the driveway.   This picture doesn’t give you much of a size comparison to anything but the fence.  It was about shoulder high on me and I’m 5’8”, so that should give you an idea of how small the donkeys are.  None of the donkeys were very happy that day.  DSC02647They had all just gotten their shots and gotten dewormed, so they were a bit disgruntled.  One of the full size donkeys was very unhappy with the humans on the ranch.  He still had a halter on him and the woman at the ranch couldn’t get anywhere near him to take it off..   She even went in the corral with the two larger donkeys and let one of them push her around a bit.  But, the striped leg guy just wouldn’t let her come anywhere near him.  He did not want another shot or to be dewormed again. The lady said that he would calm down in a hour or two and she’d be able to get the halter off him.  DSC02650 The donkeys weren’t the only critters on the ranch with the little donkeys.  They have a pair of turkeys as well.   The big fellow is named Tom and anytime anyone said “gobble” to him, he’d gobble right back at them.  One lady who was visiting at the same time we were there had a ball making the turkey gobble at her.  The hen just stood there watching the tom.  She never made a sound while we were there.

After leaving the donkey ranch, we traveled on down the coast to Simi Valley.  Mom wanted me to see the Ronald Reagan Library.  The main thing I wanted to see in there was Air Force One.  DSC02656They have the plane on display in a specially built building with the wall in front of the nose of the plane being almost entirely made of glass.  The “tour” goes into the plane in the front, and you exit at the back.  We were surprised at how cramped for space it was in the plane.  The cockpit was also extremely cramped for space.  There were 5 seats crammed in there with hardly any space to even turn around.  Of course, that might be “normal” for the cockpit of a 707, I don’t know.  I’d never been able to look inside one before.  The next thing you go past is the “communication center”, which was a whole panel of radios and the like along one side of the plane with a small galley on the other side.  (If I remember right.) Both Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan had their own offices, each with a couch that folds down into a bed.  Of course, there was a huge jar of Jelly Belly candies on the president’s desk.  After you get past the two offices, you come into a compartment with a number of seats that would almost qualify as first class seats.  They were for the top advisors that flew with the Reagans.  The next compartment was set up for the lower echelon of people and the security guys.  The last compartment looked more like “coach” seating and that was for any members of the press who wanted to buy a ticket to fly with the President.  The Reagan Whitehouse charged the press corps the price of a regular airline ticket plus $1.  Of course, there was a smaller, busier galley back in the section for the press and then the restrooms were in the tail.  A big man would have been unable to walk normally down the “hall” through the plane.  Even I had to turn sort of sideways to get through.  It was definitely interesting to see the inside of that plane.  They had a few more vehicles there on display, a limo, a police car and motorcycle and Marine One, the helicopter that picked the President up from the Whitehouse to go wherever.   We saw a few more exhibits, including a scale model of the Whitehouse. 

After leaving there, we went in search of a motel and ended up clear down in Torrance since it was near a cousin’s home.  And here’s a bad review of a motel for you.  If you end up in Torrance do not stay at the Super 8 motel if you want any kind of connection to the internet.  They advertised that they had WiFi, but once we got settled in the room and I unpacked the laptop we discovered that the WiFi was only connected to the internet for 1 minute out of 5.     And sometimes I didn’t even have a full 1 minute to get a web page loaded.  The network connection was more “local only” than it was “local and internet”.  The beds in the room were ok, the room was clean and so on.  But the WiFi was darn near impossible to use.  More about that later.. lol.. I’m going to end this post and will publish it to the blog the first chance I get… On to the next blog entry!

2/15 ~ We’re sitting in Palm Springs tonight and I’ve got a WiFi connection of sorts.. Uploading this blog entry and will finish typing the next one and getting it uploaded soon.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On the Road Again....

Greetings folks.. We're doing some more traveling this week and next... This time it's just my Mom and I and we're slowly driving down the coast towards San Diego in the next couple of days.  Today, our first view of the coast was Morro Bay.   Once we got our room and looked around for a restaurant that was recommended to us, we drove out the peninsula to Morro Rock.   The weather was perfect for wandering around looking at the scenery and watching the birds.  This fellow was on a rock right in front of where we parked and kept posing for us.   We just had to take a picture of him...

Here's a "close up" view of part of the rock.  We learned that Morro Rock was once a "plug" for a volcano that was active about 26 million years ago.  We also learned that there are several more "plugs" that we may be able to spot as we travel south from here.  As we wandered down the path, we kept looking up at the top of the rock hoping to spot one of the peregrine falcons that nest on the rock, but all we saw were the seagulls.. Lots of seagulls.  We wandered around admiring the view and watching a few boats coming into the harbor. 

After we wandered around on the South side of Morro Rock, we got back in the car and drove over to the big parking area on the North-East side of the rock to watch the waves come in..
There were quite a few surfers out catching waves and it was fun watching them.  We ended up getting back in the car to watch them though.  The whole parking lot was in the shade and with the wind blowing, it was a bit too chilly to watch the waves.  Especially since neither Mom nor I were wearing our jackets..  I did manage to catch a fairly decent shot of a couple of the surfers from the car..

We did have "company" as we sat in the car watching the surfers and the folks on the beach.  This young gull decided we were worth his attention.  He parked himself just below the driver's side window and peeped at me. Continuously.  He was sooo hoping I'd drop something to eat down on the ground for him.  It was tempting.  Until I looked around the parking area at the dozens and dozens of gulls that were looking for goodies and handouts.  I just took a few more pictures, then started the car up and headed out to get some dinner.  If any of you manage to get to Morro Bay, I recommend you look for a little restaurant called "The Whale's Tail".  They served us some excellent clam chowder and some delicious fish and chips.  After dinner, we headed back down to the marina so we could watch the sun set... And I'll leave you for tonight with one of the shots I got of the sun going down... And now I'm going to go kick back on the bed and veg...  G'nite all!