A Travellerspoint blog

Day 27 - Santa Nella to Cupertino

semi-overcast 19 °C

Even though the weather man was predicting rain, we had an overcast day but received little but sprinkles of rain.

We drove to Cupertino along a road we had not travelled before, Highway 152. This road drove up and over a range of mountains and we thought we were on the Grapevine again. It was an interesting drive but as Reta was driving, no photos were taken.

We found our lodging and contacted Sharon. We did a bit of shopping and then drove to Sharon's.

We dined out at an Italian restaurant called "Fontanas". Reta could not resist taking a picture of the mural in the restaurant.

Wall mural at Fontanas

Wall mural at Fontanas

We caught up with Sharon's recent activities while we had dinner. The food was excellent.

Sharon advised us that she thinks the Grapevine that we traveled yesterday was called the "Grapevine" because the original version of that highway was like a grapevine and thinks the supposition that wild grapes grew there may be "wild".

Posted by A-RPoulton 22:09 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 26 - LA to Santa Nella

rain 21 °C

This morning we had rain. California people are so happy to have rain although they feel that they have had a bit more than they really wanted. California has had years of drought.

We decided to drive up I 5 from our lodging in Yorba Linda to Santa Nella, CA.

There is a 40-mile stretch of the Interstate 5 freeway that runs from Los Angeles to Kern Counties. This is a mountainous, zigzagging stretch of the Golden State Freeway (I 5). This stretch is sometimes snow-covered but it is always beautiful. This stretch of road runs from the summit at Fort Tejon at elevation 4160 feet ( 1268 metres ) to the community of Grapevine in the San Joaquin Valley elevation (1499 feet - 457 metres).

We always thought that this road was named "Grapevine" because of its twists and turns up and down the mountains. Wikipedia tells me that this road is called Grapevine because the valley that this road follows used to be populated by wild grapes.

Our first experience with this road was in 1981. We were driving up the road. Dad and Mom and Uncle Roy and Aunt Queenie were in a car pulling a travel trailer. We were in our car with our kids and our sister and husband were in another car. We managed the hill pretty well but it was a real struggle for Dad. Semi trucks must just hate this stretch of road. They crawl up the hill and sometimes have to stop and restart and then they have to crawl down the hill because it is so steep that to run free would be a disaster.

Today our trip down the Grapevine was a scenic wonder. The rain that we had been traveling in was clearing. Reta thought this view of the clouds clearing from a mountain was interesting.

Clouds drifting off the mountains

Clouds drifting off the mountains

Once we got down the Grapevine we noticed the sun shining through the clouds. We noticed three places where the sun shining through the clouds made mini rainbows. The colours may not be very vibrant in these photos.

Sort of rainbow

Sort of rainbow

Another bit of rainbow

Another bit of rainbow

We traveled along and found a view point called "Dos Amigos". This viewpoint gave travelers a view of a pumping station that moves water, This water project moves water from mountains and lakes to the San Joaquin Valley where 750,000 acres of agricultural land provide food for many.

Dos Amigos pumping station

Dos Amigos pumping station

Dos Amigos

Dos Amigos

We finished our day of travel at the small community of Santa Nella. Our lodging is the Hotel Mission de Oro. This hotel is under renovation but our room is very comfortable. These are pictures of the courtyard, fountain and bell tower as well as a lovely flower growing on the property.

Hotel Mission de Oro courtyard

Hotel Mission de Oro courtyard

Fountain

Fountain

Bell Tower

Bell Tower

Pink Camellia

Pink Camellia

Another interesting thing that happened today. We had posted a picture of an Anaheim Duck player on day 24. An observant friend in Saskatchewan commented that the picture was of Ryan Getzlaf from Regina. Who knew? Thank you dear friend

Posted by A-RPoulton 19:02 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 25 - Watts Towers & Autry Museum

sunny 21 °C

We got started early today. Our first stop was at the Costco gas station. We were not sure if our Canadian Costco membership would allow us to purchase gas in the US but our card worked like a charm and we got some reasonably priced gas.

We drove to Marilyn and Vergil's home. After feeding the fish, we set off to Watts, a community in Los Angeles.

Reta had heard about an art installation called The Watts Towers Art Center, which we thought we would explore. The neighbourhood of Watts has a bad reputation from the 60's riots and the movie, "Straight Out of Compton". We found the art center and found parking. We had arrived shortly after the center opened. The streets were quiet. We purchased a ticket to the guided tour of the art installation and waited for our tour to start. Reta and Vergil noticed a tree which was unfamiliar to Reta but Vergil knew what it was. It was a Bahinia or Hong Kong Orchid Tree. This tree had a small bud on it.

Bud on Bahinia or Hong Kong Orchid Tree

Bud on Bahinia or Hong Kong Orchid Tree

Marilyn and Vergil found that the Artist in Residence is Norma Rosen, a woman they have known for many years.

The Watts Towers are a work by Simon Rodia. Simon was a young man who emigrated to the United States in the late 1800's from Italy. He eventually arrived in Watts in about 1921 and purchased a lot with a small house on it. Simon was not an educated man but had a passion to build something. He used steel rebars wrapped with wire mesh, and hand mixed concrete imbedded with broken glass bottles and broken porcelain tiles, dishes and cups and his own artistic designs. Rodia emulated the towers and designs of his native Italy. He designed walls around his backyard in the shape of a ship and filled it with 17 towers. The tallest tower is 99 feet high. He built these towers without scaffolds or safety devises.

Rodia left Watts in 1954. He left his property to a neighbour who sold it and after a couple different owners the property became The Watts Towers Art Center in Simon Rodia Historic State Park. Today there is need for some rehabilitation of the towers and the work is being done by skilled preservationists.

We were greeted by a statue of a reclining woman/lady.

Reclining Lady

Reclining Lady

Two of the houses across the street from this art installation have decorated their fences in the same theme of discarded items that are repurposed.

Close-up of decorated fence

Close-up of decorated fence

This picture shows the decoration on the visitors center.

Watts Towers Arts Center

Watts Towers Arts Center

Our guide, James, was very knowledgeable about the work that Rodia did. He was an excellent guide as he took us through the work. He described how many of the designs were made.

Peacock tiles in wall

Peacock tiles in wall

Beautiful hearts

Beautiful hearts

Wheat tile

Wheat tile

Heart leads the art installation

Heart leads the art installation

Watt towers

Watt towers

After our tour we watched a video made in 1950's about this project. We were able to meet Rodia as he did his work and described it himself.

We then drove to see the Art District where there are a number of murals in downtown Los Angeles.

Reta spotted a decoration on a street light in Little Korea. This decoration features a fan with a Daruma Doll on it. This doll has one black eye and one white eye. Marilyn explained that when your wish is accomplished you can colour in the white eye with black.

Street decoration in Little Korea, picture on fan represents a Daruma Doll

Street decoration in Little Korea, picture on fan represents a Daruma Doll

We then went to the Autry Museum of the American West which is part of Griffith Park. Our first order of business was to get lunch. After we were fortified by acorn squash soup and sandwiches, we set off to explore the museum. This museum features artwork and artifacts from the American West, memorabilia from Western Movies dating back to the silent movies and displays featuring First Nations artifacts and art.
There was also a garden composed of western American vegetation.

Autry Museum

Autry Museum

Pony Express statue

Pony Express statue

Gene Autry statue, the singing cowboy

Gene Autry statue, the singing cowboy

Reta found one display where a visitor can sit on a saddle in front of a green wall. The visitor is then recorded and shown on the television screen and it appears that the visitor is riding with a group of cowboys.

Reta rides into a cowboy scene

Reta rides into a cowboy scene

A bit further on Reta found a large fiberglass horse all saddled up and ready to ride.

Hey, Reta found another horse

Hey, Reta found another horse

We enjoyed the museum so long that we closed the museum. Reta took one last photo before we left.

First Nation statue

First Nation statue

Reta took this photo of the skyline of Los Angeles as we drove south on I5 heading for home.

Los Angeles skyline

Los Angeles skyline

By the way, we did not stay on I5 for long, just long enough to get ourselves to another less popular freeway that took us east and south and back to Yorba Linda.

We had a wonderful supper at the Blue Agave Southwestern Grill. The guacamole made at your table was excellent.

We shared our photos back at Marilyn and Vergil's and said goodbye to our dear Los Angeles family.

Posted by A-RPoulton 00:02 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 24 - Koi pond, Chino Hills State Park, Anaheim Regional

sunny 24 °C

A great day in Yorba Linda, CA.

We started off the morning by driving to a hair salon and getting our monthly haircuts. Even if we are on the road we need to be beautiful.

We then drove over to Vergil and Marilyn's to start our adventure in Yorba Linda.

Reta took pictures of their prize winning Koi which live in a large pond in their backyard. Marilyn gave Reta some fish food to feed the Koi which is a custom we have enjoyed since 1981. Ginger, the older of the two Dachshunds, rushed down to the edge of the pond to see what she could catch of the fish food.

Koi pond

Koi pond

Ginger the Dachshund catching some fish food

Ginger the Dachshund catching some fish food

We then put on our hats and sunscreen (can you imagine on Feb 1?) to enjoy a hike in the Chino Hills State Park near their home. We took pictures at the summit of the trail we took. We could see Yorba Linda and Anaheim in the background of this picture. Valiant hikers, Marilyn, Piper (the Champion Standard Schnauzer who is 12), Vergil and Art are in this photo.

Marilyn, Piper, Vergil and Art on hike in Chino Hills State Park

Marilyn, Piper, Vergil and Art on hike in Chino Hills State Park

After our hike we returned to Marilyn and Vergil's and had a lunch and set up supper/dinner. Marilyn took Reta to see some model homes just a few blocks from their house. These homes were starting at $2,000,000. They were built by a company called Toll Brothers, who are known as excellent builders. These show homes are finished and staged as homes that would likely cost $3,000,000. Not only were they finished in the finest quality interiors, their exterior yards were beyond all description, truly exceptional homes.

We returned to home base and had a wonderful chicken dinner baked in a clay baking dish. Reta really must find one of these at home.

Marilyn went off to join her "book club" and Vergil was our tour guide to see the new Anaheim Regional Transportation Center. As you can see from these photos, this is a spectacular building. A traveler can catch a bus at this center or an Amtrak train that will take you anywhere in the US. It was bright, beautiful and ample to handle large crowds. We were impressed.

First view of Anaheim Regional Transportation Center

First view of Anaheim Regional Transportation Center

Interior of ARTC

Interior of ARTC

Interior of the ARTC

Interior of the ARTC

Bus in station

Bus in station

Train in station

Train in station

Complex structure

Complex structure

This transportation center is located just across the parking lot from what used to be known as the "Duck Pond" where the Anaheim Ducks play hockey. This arena is now known as the "Honda Center".

Ad for Anaheim Ducks Hockey Team (NHL)

Ad for Anaheim Ducks Hockey Team (NHL)

Used to be known as the Duck Pond and now the Honda Center

Used to be known as the Duck Pond and now the Honda Center

We had a great day. Exploring Yorba Linda and Anaheim with our relatives is always a joy and an adventure.

Posted by A-RPoulton 22:33 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 23 - Route 66, Amboy Crater, Yorba Linda

sunny 21 °C

We left Needles, CA this morning. It was a bright, sunny day with a temperature of 10 C (50 F) as we set off. We felt like someone had lifted the weight of the world from our shoulders.

Our plan was to follow Route 66 from Needles, CA to Victorville, CA, a distance of approximately 200 miles. California has this route well marked.

We had not heard of the Amboy Crater which we found in the desert between Needles and Barstow.

This crater is 250 feet high and 1500 feet in diameter. The volcanic eruptions that created this crater started about 6000 years ago. The last eruption was 500 years ago. This is a relatively young volcanic crater. This crater was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1975. Visitors are invited to climb the crater and walk around the rim. Visitors who chose to walk the trail, climb the crater and walk the rim trail and return to the parking lot should set aside 3 hours to complete this adventure. Summer visitors should have plenty of water and wear hats and protective clothing as the temperatures here can rise to 110 F ( 43 C ). We felt we did not have three extra hours today so we drove on after wandering around admiring this landmark.

Amboy Crater

Amboy Crater

Lava field at Amboy Crater

Lava field at Amboy Crater

Amboy Crater

Amboy Crater

We saw many trains on this stretch of highway. We often were traveling near a railroad and I40. The most engines we saw pulling a train were eight. We also saw a train with seven engines pulling the train and one engine pushing the train. Some of these trains were composed of semi-trailers on a flatcar or sea containers (shipping containers) on a flatcar. These were amazing trains.

We found this bright red car traveling along the route.

Someone's special car on Route 66

Someone's special car on Route 66

Barstow had a lot of Route 66 signs. This one was on a building used for fast food and a bus depot.

Barstow Station on Route 66

Barstow Station on Route 66

We traveled on Route 66 to Victorville where the route was no longer marked. We drove on to Yorba Linda, CA, got settled in our lodging, and then went to the beloved home of our relatives. We were so happy to see them. We were treated to dinner at the Crab Cooker at Newport Beach. This is always a special treat.

The highest temperature we saw today was 21 C ( 70 F). It was a pleasure to walk outside without a coat.

Posted by A-RPoulton 23:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

(Entries 16 - 20 of 43) « Page 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 »