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.

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