Be careful up there
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Today we joined up with Carol and Ralph and set out for a tour of some areas of San Francisco that they had not seen before.
First we drove from Fremont over the long San Mateo bridge (about 7 miles long) to Half Moon Bay which is on the ocean about directly west of Fremont but across the bridge and over the mountains.
We watched the waves and some surfers working them along the beach. The waves were very strong this am and the tide was apparently at high tide based on the water level. We nearly got splashed a couple times by a monster wave that came in and whacked against the rocks on the shore. If you stand around with the waves hitting like that you soon have a coating of salt residue on your glasses and the car windshield.
Then we drove north up the coast to Pacifica. There we went to a large pier that we have been at before and walked out on this pier. There are always people on the pier fishing for Dungenous Crab. We even saw one person catch one. Unfortunately for the fisherman, the crab's shell measured 5.75 inches and needed to measure 6 inches to keep him so back in the water he went.
The following picture was taken out at the end of the pier looking back at land. This guy stood still long enough for me to get his picture. Notice how green the hills in the background are. They have had a lot of rain in the area over the past few days and the grass is really growing green now. The area is about as green as we have ever seen it now. We have seen it in its brown state more often than green. Now and for about a month will probably be its greenest times.
Our next stop was at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge where we had a little trouble with the parking meter, but after having it eat a few quarters, we finally got enough to register so we took off to walk out on the Golden Gate Bridge. I waned to have at least 1.5 hours to walk out and back and the meter was only registering about 3/4 of the quarters we fed it.
We walked out to the first main support where we took the next picture.
This is proof that Carol and Ralph did make it out the the first main support of the bridge. We took a few other pictures as well but I like this spot best.
After the bridge hike, we headed to Fisherman's Warf where we had the traditional Sour Bread Bowl of Clam Chowder.
We drove back home to Fremont via the Bay Bridge which some of you may recall had a big problem in previous earth quake. It is a 2 layer bridge. The traffic going towards the city is on the top layer and the traffic going east is the bottom layer. We were in the lower level. No earth quakes today.
It is Sunday afternoon and kind of rainy. Rich is working on putting up shelves in the garage for Rosi and Scott, so I will try to catch up on our blog. We left Scottsdale February 19th to drive to Burbank. It was another case of bad planning as the sun was just setting and right in our eyes when we got to Burbank and resulted (even with Garmin telling us what to do) in a couple of wrong turns. It still only cost us about 20 minutes, so not bad. I don’t know how we ever would have done this trip without the GPS. We had a good visit with Wilma and Bruce. She had gotten us all tickets to the Jay Leno show, but they overbook, so we knew we had to be there early to make sure we got seats. It was not bad at all. There were ledges on flower beds to sit on while waiting and the NBC people came out to talk with us and give us instructions on what was going to happen. We had to go through security about the same as at the airport and then were directed into the studio and to our seats. They had tapes of previous musical guests singing to watch while we were waiting. Then Jay Leno came out to talk to us for about 15 minutes. After he went back to get ready, John Menendez came out to warm up the audience. We really enjoyed the show. The guests were good and it was very interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes. The only big surprise was how cool the studio was, temperature wise. We were all pretty chilly by the time the show had finished. It was quite an experience that we will always remember. On Saturday, we went to the Nethercutt Collection and Museum owned by Merle Norman Cosmetics. This place was amazing! It houses over 170 antique, vintage and classic automobiles in completely restored condition, plus a collection of antique hood ornaments (did you know that they even had crystal hood ornaments?), collectibles and the world’s finest assemblage of mechanical musical instruments which included everything from small music boxes to jukeboxes to a huge theater pipe organ. If you want to read more about this place, go to http://www.nethercuttcollection.org/. Then we headed to Simi Valley to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. It is such a beautiful place with gorgeous scenery. We especially enjoyed going through the Air Force One that he traveled on. It is a Boeing 707 that was used by Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W.Bush, Clinton and W. Bush. There was quite a difference from the Air Force One plane we got to see at the Air Museum in Tucson that was used by Kennedy and Johnson. This was really a flying White House. We saw an exact replica of the oval office, the Marine One helicopter, cars used in the motorcades and where Reagan is buried. On Sunday, we went to brunch at a restaurant by a small airport. This looked sort of like an ivy covered French farmhouse. We sat by the window and could watch the small planes and Leer Jets take off and land. Food was great. Then we drove around N. Hollywood so Rich could get a picture of the Hollywood sign. We were just a few blocks away from where the Academy Awards were held, but could not get over there as they had blocked the streets off at midnight the night before. We went back to their place to watch the Awards. Coverage started at 3PM Pacific time. Monday, we headed up to Fremont to visit Scott, Rosi and Gemma. Gemma is almost 18 months old and quite the little miss. She is so funny and cute and of course, we are not at all biased! We are very much enjoying our time with them.
Following are pictures from the discussion above:
There will be no pictures from our Jay Leno show visit as they will not allow you to even take your cameras inside the studio.
When the Organ plays, the curtains in the back of the room open up to show two sets of Pipes that look like this. This is just one side of the two sets for a total of 5000 pipes. We could not use flash and my camera is not fast enough to get good picture but it demonstrates the immensity of the pipes as the hight of what is in the picture is probably about 30 ft.
These Antique Vintage cars are in a museum across the street from the first section. This picture shows one row of about 10 within the Museum.
The Burial Place of Ronald Reagan outside the Library
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
These are pictures from our visit to the Desert Botanical Garden nestled amid the buttes of Papago Park in Phoenix. The day we visited they were having a special exhibit by Dale Chihuly a well known artist of handblown glass.
The Garden sits on 145 acres and has more than 50,000 plants on display. The garden has five thematic trails that illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers.
In Tucson we visited the Pima Air & Space Museum. They have a very large collection of aircraft that has been used by the military as well as some experimental that never made it to production. They somehow had a collection of at least 8 Russan MIG's which I found interesting to view up close.
This is the McDonnell F4C Phantom. I am always looking for F4's at shows or exhibits such as this since I worked at McDonnell in St. Louis when this aircraft was in its hottest times and being built and used in the Vietnam war as well as other applications. It is a little sad to see them amongst the now obsolete aircraft.
The following pictures were taken while visiting the Sabino Canyon Recreation area just north east of Tuscon. You can walk up the canyon on roads or trails or take the tram up the canyon. We chose to walk, but did not make it all the way to the top. We probably made it about 1.5 miles of about 5 miles total to the top. On the trail you can see a very impressive collection of desert and desert mountain plants. I was impressed by the number of Saguaro cactus growning in the flat areas and on the mountain sides.
With the help of some fellow tourists, we saw and got a picture of a Road Runner. Can you see him purched in the tree? We saw him fly a few feet to the ground and then disappear via the ground.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Today we drove across the western half of Texas from San Antonio to Las Cruces NM a distance of about 596 miles. We left about 7:30 am and got in at about 6:30 local. The speed limit is 80 mph over much of the trip, but I do not need to drive that fast (Kristin note). The view was somewhat more interesting than I had expected. There was a lot of small brush and trees along the road and as far as you can see for most of the trip. I think I had one critter sighting of what must have been a wild hog along the road side in the brush area. At the western edge we could see several mountains off in various directions. The mountains are not the type that have trees, but rather brush and small growth. The soil on almost the whole trip seemed to be rock over rock as observed in highway cutouts. The picture is an example of what we saw out the window for several hundred miles. We continuously gained in altitude to around 4500 ft above sea level. The mountains still looked very tall relative to our elevation so they must easily reach 7k ft. The weather varied between 66 and 74 all day with the coolest at the Las Cruces end in the lower 60's. Tomorrow we head out north to the White Sands park and then back south to end up in Tucson for the night. Garmin update: it now says we have traveled 2218.17 miles since we left home. In case you have a desire to see the pictures on this blog in a large, just click on the picture and it will bring up a large version.
My soapbox for the day -- we are almost looking forward to a continuing and deepening of the recession so that maybe the fast food establishments will be able to hire some competent help. We occasion about one a day and the experience has not been the best, hence the comment.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tomorrow we will be back on the road again. Next stop is Las Cruces, NM. According to the schedule, it will be 596 miles, so a long day.