Saturday, May 24, 2014

Los Angeles

On Sunday 5/18/2014 we arrived at our abode for the week. Balboa RV Park. The biggest RV park in LA area. Home to traveling nurses, lesser lights in the film industry and divorced firemen.  It's not a bad place but the noise from helicopters hovering over the freeways that surround us are deafening at times.  Multiple artists painted murals around the place. The Yellow Brick road is nice.

Monday we head to Pasadena to visit Shelley and the children. Lily loves all her presents. Board books from Valerie that I cleaned. The Melanie doll from Valerie that I repaired. A lovely red velveteen dress that was Jasmine's. Lots of Tupperware for her play kitchen and a cute purse we found in Cancun. Handmade by the Mayans. 

Presents are so much fun. Nothing for Max. But he is too little to care. He is just happy when you pay attention to him.
David's twin Daniel is working at the nearby Huntington Gardens. He gets us free entry tickets. Lily is quite familiar with the garden. Daniel's girlfriend often brings her here.
We first head to the children's garden, a favorite of Lily. Water features to play in and new friends to dance with.

Lets head over to the lily pond to look for Daniel.  It's time to feed the fish and Lily can help throw the food. Then Lily and another new friend watch the turtles try to get the food that Lily did not quite get in the pond.

Even Shelley is tired as she has to hike out carrying both children.

On Tuesday we head off to the Page Museum, La Brea Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).  Lily is going out with Daniel's girl friend today. So we tourist on our own.  Learned a lot about the tar pits. Lots of bones of ancient mammals such as mammoths, saber-tooth cats, giant sloths and others were found here trapped by the tar. But no dinosaurs. LA was deep under water during the time of the dinosaurs. 
Discoveries continue to be made here as the tar is sifted through for large and small bones, seeds and plant fragments.
We eat lunch at LACMA and plan what we want to see. This is a really big museum and it would take more than one afternoon to see it all. So we plan to see the paintings in a couple of buildings and the art of South and Southeast Asia.
 William with an image of Shiva dancing.
The museum had one of the many paintings of water lilies by Monet.
Wednesday is our day to visit the Getty. These freeways are tiresome. It takes so long to get anywhere and they are full of traffic most of the time.
The Getty is very worthwhile and we visit most all of it though we spend less time viewing the decorative arts.  
Getty has the original Irises. I was thrilled to see it since I had painted a bit of it in painting class, Community Canvas.  

We saw another of these at Peggy Guggenheim's museum in Venice.
Gardens were pretty, but small. There is a special exhibit of Ansel Adams photographs that we enjoy very much. The special exhibit of Jackson Pollock's Mural 
is interesting, but not quite so enjoyable. It does look like something Peggy Guggenheim would have liked as it was done for her.
Thursday we meet Shelley and the children again at the Natural History Museum
Yipes, we did not realize that the first thing that happens in the morning here is that hoards of school children thunder in.
We cannot hear ourselves think as their high pitched screechy voices resound in the exhibit halls.  We try to find areas where they are not and soon enough it is time for us to visit the butterflies.

 Lily is somewhat disappointed since the butterflies are not doing much fluttering. It is a cloudy day.  We spot quite a few butterflies anyway.  After lurking in a few places where not too many children are visiting we take an early lunch. Lily is hungry anyway and we are assured that the schoolkids begin to leave after lunch.  Much better after lunch and Lily enjoys the dinosaur exhibits.  She is very good at matching up the dinosaur heads.

Max does very good today switching back and forth between the sling and the stroller.  At the end of the day he is back in the sling and Lily is in the stroller.
Friday William and I head to the Norton Simon Museum. It is in Pasadena very close to Shelley's house.  This is a model for how rich people who are into collecting art can get themselves a museum.  The Pasadena Art museum was in financial trouble and Norton Simon helped them out and helped himself to a museum.  We enjoyed the museum. It was nicely laid out and had a lot of art from my favorite time period, 19th century and early 20th century.  They did have a self portrait by Rembrandt, 1636, that was very classy.
 The sculpture garden was nicely laid out around a lily pond.
William was disappointed that part of the South and Southeast Asian art downstairs was closed because they were packing up an item to ship off for loan to another museum.
We head over to Shelley's with another gift for Lily from the Norton Simon. A palette of colors in tiny board books.
Dinner will be with everyone including David.

 He had some last minute work to do at the office, but we are going by Metro and the restaurant is close.  Such a lovely visit with niece and her family.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Heading South

Setting out on Monday, we notice a few medium sized black ants. They've set up a home somewhere above the side door in the RV. Guess they climbed up the wheels in the winter. Looking for a home. Ants are persistent.
In the San Joaquin valley we see a few olive orchards in with the peaches and almonds. I wonder why not so many olives and think there will eventually be more. More US olive oil and maybe more specialty olives, Greek and Italian styles may be the result. Olive trees live long and take less water, supremely adapted to Mediterranean climate.
Our first night is at Pinnacles. We drove this way once with the children when we had borrowed Mom and Dad's pop up trailer. We are in the campground that is just at the edge of the park.  

 Lots of animals. Ground squirrels that I had to yell and stomp at as they came up to the RV and eyed jumping in the wheel well to eat the wires. Missed the giant king snake that the host says crosses our site every evening on its way from the meadow to the creek. Saw acorn woodpeckers, a deer, a rabbit and hawks. On a hike up Condor Gulch we are sticking to the story that we saw a pair of condors.

On Tuesday we search out Mission San Antonio de Padua, the third mission Father Junipero Serra established in California.

 It is off the beaten path in an Army base, Fort Hunter Liggett. The heart of the base is for training combat units.
There is a very old fancy hotel also behind the Fort's high wire fences. This land all belonged to William Randolph Hearst and the building was built in the 20's as a get away for friends. I guess when they wanted an inland getaway as apposed to the coastal get away of Hearst Castle. The building was designed by Julia Morgan to look similar to the Mission. You can't get near the hotel unless you have reservations, but the price for a room is not bad at all for a historic place. Hacienda Hotel
The mission itself is very large and quite lovely. They are in the midst of fund raising to pay for earthquake safety renovations. Since it is unreinforced masonry construction, it has to meet standards by 2017. Lots of luck. They are very short of money. I bought some items in their nice gift shop and they have started a 501c3 for charitable donations.
There is a large chapel and enclosed garden plus other buildings that can be rented for retreats.

 We met the cat, Spirit, in the garden. She is the “wife” of Rosario who performed a miracle as a kitten. He found a rosary in the church sacristy, where there was no rosary, and gave it to a woman who was grieving the death of her father. I bought a copy of the full story, but found no link on the internet.

Near the mission is a green metal bridge that leads to the coast road. We wind through the hills on a 1 ½ lane road and come out near Lime Kiln State Park on Highway one. 
We stop to view the happy elephant seals.

Our campsite for the night is at Plaskett Creek. Lovely grassy place and only one ground squirrel near us. The camper next to us is a “neighbor” from Truckee in a Jucy pop up van. He said it was very cheap to rent. Although we saw Jucy vehicles all over Australia, I thought they were a bit risque for the US market. Wrong I guess, as the Truckee guy says they have been around for a couple of years.
Wednesday, William's birthday. We are celebrating his birthday the way he wanted. We have a vista parking place along highway one in a great place to watch the Tour of California bike race come by. 

At the same time as a car full of Germans stop, we saw a gray whale rolling over.
Lots of CHP to maintain order. A vehicle pulls out of the vista point just below us and is pulled over and made to wait in our small pull out. Those people look totally dazed and confused. They don't understand about the race and just sit there in their car.
Six riders are in the break. 

Three minutes out. Then the rest of the racers come by.

We will head back to our spot at Plaskett Creek in a bit.
There is a bit of confusion as the host has removed our reservation tag for the 13th-15th and another group was preparing to move in under the impression that the site was open. Confusion for a bit, but settled out okay. Plaskett Creek is a pretty campground.
Off to Jalama Beach on the 15th. William disagrees with the Garmin and my phone, so we take some very twisty roads.
Jalama Beach has changed in 8 years. More RV sites, more hardening of surfaces, new cabins. No more wild nasturtiums. They were removed for more parking near the store. It's not as attractive as when we came here before. Lots more people.

Maybe we will buy and share a famous Jalama Burger at the store in honor of our last visit here.
I think I killed the last ant. It was staggering along the curtain rail above the door. And no we did not spray them. I think it just was lonesome.

The breezes are gusty here and William is testing the limits of how long our awning will hang on. He needs the shade.