Thursday, December 16, 2010

Travel With The Frenchies

Yosemite Valley Panoramic View
Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Monument, Las Vegas, The End of the Tour.   
August 24th to August 26th, 2010.

We climbed out of King’s Canyon National Park, going west to California Highway 99, the main North / South route of the Central Valley of California. We drove north on Highway 99 for a short distance. The roads and canals that serve the giant farms are straight as arrows laid out in grid patterns that intersect Hwy 99 at a diagonal. 

This is the heartland of California’s agricultural abundance. The Central Valley was a vast, barren, soggy marshland that provided the California Native Americans an abundant life before the first White settlers arrived. The early settlers built canals to drain the land and established farms that continue to  produce 2 or 3 harvests every year. 

We passed by vineyards and fields of cotton, flax, corn and many other garden vegetables. There are miles of orchards - peaches, cherry trees, walnuts, pistachios, apples and other fruits - near the Sierra foothills.

We turned back to the East at Fresno, to climb back into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Our motel stop was at the Miner’s Inn at Mariposa, California which is near one of the 3 western entries to Yosemite National Park.  We arrived after dark and had a quick dinner of sandwiches we had purchased earlier at a supermarket in the Central Valley. 

 Going towards Yosemite - Natural Tunnel
The next morning, we took a winding canyon route that followed the Merced River into Yosemite Valley. I had never been that way before. The walls of the canyon closed in to allow room for only the new two lane road, the original old highway, the river and a railroad line. 
The day was already turning into an August scorcher, but the deep shadows from the canyon walls provided welcome relief from the intense sun.

The unstable canyon walls had collapsed in several places blocking the new road. At those points, there were single-lane temporary bridges set up to allow cars to cross the river to use the old highway on the other side of the canyon. 

We made a stop at the tiny village of El Portal just outside the entry to Yosemite to buy sandwiches and to top off the van’s gas tank.  Gas was very expensive. But, we knew that the few gasoline stations between El Portal, Ca. and Highway 395 on the other side of the Sierra Nevada Range would be even more expensive.

Once again we were captivated by Yosemite Valley that is one of the world’s scenic treasures.  We stopped at the base of Bridal Veil Falls which was still running even though it was late summer.  
Bridal Veil Falls - August 2010

In 2008 we had stayed in Yosemite Valley for two nights, using tent cabins at Curry Village.  Several months later, the cabins we used were crushed by house sized boulders flaking off the immense granite walls next to the cabin site. 

Curry Village Tent Cabin - 2008 Tour

This time, we did not have time to stay and play as we had before.

When you drive in Yosemite Valley, even though it is crowded with people and traffic – you drive slowly and speak in hushed tones because you are driving in a natural cathedral.

We found a very beautiful picnic area with deep shade next to the Merced River and a rustic footbridge over the river.  There was quite a crowd of people swimming, wading and paddling floats in the river just below the picnic area. 

Footbridge over the Merced River - Yosemite Valley
We discovered that the wildlife, chipmunks and birds, were very skillful lunch thieves!  Daniel lost part of his sandwich to a chipmunk which took it right out of the plastic container.  The birds would swoop down to pick up bits of potato chips and bread thrown down for them. It was quite amusing to watch their antics.

Chipmunk or ground squirrel snatching Daniel's lunch !

Portrait of a Lunch Thief

Merced River Beach - Yosemite National Park
We drove up to the dramatic view of the Valley at the South Entry Tunnel for photos.  The parking area was crowded at times. Again, many of the families stopping there were French and European tourists.  Daniel chatted with one French family who had rented a deep red, Ford Mustang convertible for their drive to the Valley.  Daniel loves dramatic, hot cars!

Daniel chatting with another French Family - Yosemite Tunnel Overlook
We then departed for the high country above Yosemite Valley, driving quickly through the alpine like area of Tuolumne Meadows (elevation of 8,600 feet or 2,600 meters) on our way to Tioga Pass.  We stopped at the highest point so that everyone could stretch their legs.  Daniel and Katy hiked out quite a way onto the rolling granite domes next to the highway. 

The High Country Above Yosemite Valley
We also stopped for a short break at a beautiful lake, part of the reservoir and water system for the City of Los Angeles established by William Mulholland during the early 1900’s.  There were still large patches of snow in the shaded areas of the mountains above the lake.

Reservoir near the Tioga Pass

We descended Tioga Pass – elevation 9,945 feet or 3,130 meters – to join Highway 395 on the Eastside of the Sierra Nevada Range. The Tioga Pass highway is closed in the fall and not opened again until late spring every year due to heavy snowfall and treacherous weather when storms roll in from the Pacific Ocean. 

The highway joins Hwy. 395 at Mono Lake with its strange shore line formations. Recently, scientists have discovered that there is a unique bacteria living in and thriving on cyanide compounds at the bottom of the lake.  

Eventually, we turned east to cross more low ranges of hills to begin descending into Death Valley near Stove Pipe Wells.  The series of steep descents really caused problems with the brakes on our van.  

The vibrations that had started during our descents from the tram or cable car at Palm Springs were now strong shudders and chattering of the brakes as they heated up.  We reported this to the rental agency when we turned in the van.

Death Valley is the lowest, hottest, driest area on the North American Continent. The world’s lowest golf course is located at the Furnace Creek Ranch and Inn area.  Badwater Basin, in Death Valley National Park, is the lowest place in North America and one of the lowest places in the world at -282 feet (-85.5 meters) below sea level. The Dead Sea, between Israel and Jordon, is the lowest at 1,371 feet below sea level.

Bad Water, Death Valley National Moument - Lowest Point in North America

In 2008 when the Frenchies and I visited Death Valley, we encountered temperatures of 121 degrees F or 49 degrees C a short distance from Badwater Basin.
Mon Dieu! C'est chaud !  (My God, It's Hot !)

As we descended the outside temperatures ascended – even though it was nearly sunset, the outside thermometer registered 114 degrees F (45 degrees C) when we stopped at an area with large sand dunes.  The Frenchies took another walk to get nearer the sand dunes. I stayed by the car and took photos in the beautiful rust colored light.

Evening Dunes - Death Valley National Monument
Rest Facility - Death Valley National Monument
We arrived at the Furnace Creek Ranch just after dark (it was still 108 degrees F or 42 degrees C) where we had reservations for the night.  
Cabin at Furnace Creek Ranch - Photo taken on earlier visit
Mathieu and I stayed in a small cabin and the others stayed in hotel type rooms near the tennis courts and large pool.  We had dinner in the main dining room, went to our rooms and then met again about 9 PM at the large swimming pool.

The pool is very large, filled with warm, natural spring water.  The style of the pool reminded me of the swimming pool at one of the children’s homes I had worked at. That pool had the same sort of ceramic tiles, edge coping and changing rooms as the pool at the children’s home – but, it was much better maintained and much cleaner!  

We swam until about 10 PM. The air was still hot at about 103 degrees F or 39 C which helped my bathing suit to dry quickly.

Later, I accidentally switched the window air conditioning unit in the cabin to “heat” not “cool” causing it to fill our room with smoke.  This triggered the smoke alarm to go off!  Mathieu and I had a fun filled 10 minutes trying to get the unit to work properly and disperse the smoke. It had no problems cooling the room for the rest of the night when set at a relatively warm (for me) 82 F or 27 degrees C. I did report the problem the next morning as we checked out.

The Frenchies were convinced that sleeping with air conditioning would cause an illness. One or the other of the young men would stay in my room, so that many nights the room was cooled only by the air conditioning unit’s fan drawing in outside air.  This is not a problem in the cooler, high country, but in Death Valley… is a problem!

The next morning we made the last segment of the tour, driving from Death Valley to North Las Vegas.  We passed by the location of our beginning small outing of 3 weeks before, Red Rock Canyon just outside Las Vegas. This is near my brother’s home.  We stopped for a short visit there and then made our final overnight stop at the Jockey Club on Las Vegas 
Blvd. – The Las Vegas Strip. 

Back Where We Started - Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas
The Strip by Night - photo by N. JAEG Desjardins, 2008
We all got up early in the morning of August 26th to return the van to Enterprise Car Rental and for my French cousins to catch the shuttle bus to the departure area of McCarran Airport. Their flight left before 9 AM. 

I have not heard what the charges for the repairs to the first rental van may have been after it was mistakenly filled with diesel fuel instead of gasoline. (The repairs came to about $75 - I found out when the rental company sent a refund check to the Frenchies from the repair deposit they were charged.)

It was hard to say “Au Revoir” we had spent a lot of time together. I think we spent the time together well, no stress, no arguing and lots of respect for each other.  It was a great excursion! 

We tried to include everything the family wanted to see on the tour, but the Western United States is simply too big!  Three weeks is just not enough to see it all.

My brother, Bill met me at the new car rental building, so that he and I could go to our favorite Mexican restaurant for an early lunch.  The Frenchies had steadfastly refused to try Mexican food during the tour – they felt it was much too spicy for them.

Bill brought me back to the airport and I departed about 1:30 PM for my flight back to my new home in Honolulu.  

I will be blogging about my new adventures and impressions of life on a Pacific Island with lots of photos very soon.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this blog and look at the photos.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Traveler Al

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Travels with the Frenchies - Two Missions – San Diego Alcala & Mission San Luis Rey, Los Angeles, Magic Mountain, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks – August 19th to August 23, 2010

We checked out of the Mission Bay Motel on Wednesday morning to follow the signs to visit the Mission San Diego de Alcala, one of the beautiful California missions established by Fra. Junipero Serra in July of 1796. It is the first and oldest in the 650 mile long chain of California missions. 

The Facade of Mission San Diego de Alcala

The Mission was originally located closer to what became Old Town San Diego, but was moved several years after it was established to its present location farther inland due to continual harassment of the Native Americans living in the area by the Spanish soldiers.

Inside the Mission Church

The Mission had a checkered history that included raids by Native Americans - one of the raids caused a major fire that destroyed the buildings. The site was rebuilt, after the raids, into a defensive quadrangle. 

Mission Courtyard Behind the Belfrey

The Mission was secularized then sold to private owners during the early 1830’s. This brought about major neglect and ruin of the Mission. 

The oldest pepper tree in California

St. Francis of Assisi

The Mission was used by the US Army from 1850 to 1862 with the main church being used as the stable.  The Mission was returned to the Catholic Church in 1862, but restoration did not begin until 1934, when only the façade of the mission was still standing. 
Katy, Me, Nicholas & Mathieu

Currently, archeological work continues to give new insights into the function of the early buildings and ideas of how the occupants of the Mission lived during the Mission’s early years.  The Mission San Diego de Alcala is now an active Catholic parish.

After touring the first Mission in California, we continued up the Pacific Coast to the small, seaside city of Oceanside. Oceanside is the closest town to Camp Pendleton Marine Base, home of the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions.

A few miles inland from the downtown area of Oceanside is the valley location of the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, named after King Louis IX of France. 

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

Mission San Luis Rey was the 18th mission founded in California by the Spanish and it quickly became the largest and most populous Mission of the entire chain of Missions. 

Retreat Center Courtyard Gate

The Mission was located midway between Mission San Diego de Alcala and Mission San Juan Capistrano.  The Mission was founded by Fr. Fermin Lausen in 1798.

Stone in Mission SLR Cemetery

We stopped for our lunch at picnic tables near the water fountain in front of the Mission before touring the buildings and small museum.

We then continued up the Pacific Coast following the route of the El Camino Real – The Royal Highway used by the Spanish in New Spain during the Mission Era.  We passed through San Juan Capistrano, Ca where the earth quake shattered remains of the great stone church at Mission San Juan Capistrano are located.

We checked into “Hollywood’s Best Motel,” a small place just off Hollywood Boulevard that was close enough to go to the Walk of Fame with all the stars and names of celebrities in the sidewalk. We quickly cleaned up for a dinner rendezvous with my sister, Vicki and her husband, Marc Davis, at Palermo Ristorante Italian in the Los Feliz District of Los Angeles. 

Vicki works with the production company for the TV soap opera, “General Hospital.” On their last tour in 2008, the Frenchies were given a complete tour of the studio and technical areas used for producing the TV show.
Vicki & Marc, Daniel & Katy at Palermo Ristorante

Vicki’s responsibilities include ordering food and catering for the production team for location and late night shooting sessions – Ristorante Palermo is one of the main vendors for these events. Tony Palermo, owner of the Ristorante, was a gracious host to our party. The food was extraordinary!

If you are ever in Los Angeles, I encourage you to plan a dinner at Ristorante Palermo. 
Early the next morning, we went to find the Hollywood sign. After a quick search on the Internet, we found the route to get as close as possible to the sign from Hollywood ending up in a cul-de-sac high on the hills above Hollywood. 

The sign itself is off limits to everyone. It has heavy fencing and security cameras to prevent vandalism and trespassing.
The sign from Griffith Observatory

We then went to visit the Griffith’s Observatory in Griffith Park. Unfortunately, we arrived about 45 minutes early and had to wait in the rising heat until the observatory opened. 

Griffith Observatory
A Foucoult Pendulum
Nicholas had been reading the French translation of Umberto Ecco’s book, “Foucoult’s Pendulum” during the journey, so it was appropriate that we started our visit to the Observatory by viewing the gigantic Foucoult Pendulum just inside the entry.   
This large pendulum swings back and forth in an unchanging straight line as the planet Earth rotates under it. Little wooden pegs are set under the pendulum, slowly they are knocked over one by one as the earth moves them under the pendulum to be knocked over. One of the pegs has already been knocked over in this photo.

The building was thronged with schoolchildren, day campers from Los Angeles and many European tourists.  The interactive exhibits about astronomy and the planets inside the Observatory are all entertaining and informative. There is a planetarium theater inside the Observatory. There is an admission fee for the planetarium shows.

The Observatory has excellent – but smog obscured – views of Los Angeles and of the Hollywood sign. 

View of Los Angeles and Hollywood (and smog)

There is a sun dial in front of the Observatory that was accurate to the minute!  The orbits of planets are laid out on the sidewalk in front which gave a good example of the immensity of our solar system.

Sundial & Mathieu

Accurate to the minute!

We had our lunch in a picnic area in Griffith Park and then took quite a while to cross the city from the Observatory to Santa Monica on Santa Monica Boulevard due to the ferocious traffic on the Westside of this mega-city.  We drove through Beverly Hills and made a quick tour up and back past all the magnificent homes and estates on Rodeo Drive and several other streets in Beverly Hills while on our way.

Santa Monica Beach

When we arrived in Santa Monica, I found a municipal parking garage (much cheaper than private parking garages) then we went out to walk the boulevard.  Santa Monica has several side streets near the ocean front blocked off as pedestrians only. This creates a carnival atmosphere for shoppers and the street performers busking for donations for their performances. The family enjoyed shopping and people watching there.

Street Performer - Santa Monica 

Break Dancer - Santa Monica

We then drove south along Pacific Coast Highway looking for Muscle Beach. I am sure we went past it, but finding parking is a problem, so we did not get to see the big guys and gals with throbbing muscles.  The family did get a chance at Venice Beach to stroll by the beach front businesses and houses for awhile.

Venice Beach - Beach Shops

Our evening ended up in the town of Santa Clarita at the Fairfield Inn which was our home for two nights.
The next morning, the Frenchies went to Magic Mountain Park.  The family had purchased their entry tickets many months before during a special internet sale.  The park has many roller coaster rides they wanted to try.

My roller coaster days are long over, so I remained at the motel to read, watch cable TV and to do our laundry one more time.  I suffered in the summer heat too - the motel's laundry room had no air conditioning vent - keeping the door open just was not enough.

I got a phone call about 5 PM to come back to the entry at Magic Mountain to pick the family up.
I think the sizzling California August heat and the rides totally wore the family out!

The next day we were off to Sequoia National Park going North through the Grapevine and the Central Valley to Visalia where we headed into the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The air cooled as we climbed higher into the mountains.

We passed through the small town of Three Rivers, our stop for the night but we continued on into Sequoia NP. Soon we were on a narrow road that was undergoing major reconstruction and improvements to the stone guard walls at the edge of the drop offs into the canyons.  Once again our federal stimulus funds hard at work renovating our National Parks and Monuments.

Road construction Sequoia NP

We stopped for lunch just inside the park, above a river.  Daniel hiked down to the river while we were stopped.  Many people were swimming in the river below.
After lunch, we continued climbing and then we entered the Giants Forest – the preserve of the mighty Sequoia Redwood trees. The Frenchies were amazed at the size of the trees, and frankly, so was I! 

Soon, we arrived at the location of the General Sherman sequoia tree – the largest living thing on our planet. 

We parked in a parking lot above the grove of trees where the General Sherman tree is located. I joined the family for the 1.5 mile hike down to the tree and to a lower shuttle bus stop.  For me, the trail was a bit steep, but happily, downhill all the way. 

The General Sherman Tree is the largest living thing – by volume – on Earth. 

The General Sherman Tree

For scale - Magnified view the tree base - Can you find the approximately 11 people in the photo of the entire tree above?

The top of the tree has broken off at 275 feet in height, but it continues to grow in circumference, which is now 103 feet (31 meters) around. The diameter at the base of the tree is 36.5 feet or 11 meters. The estimated weight of the entire tree is 1,385 tons (1,256 metric tons).  It is 2,200 years old, but it is not the oldest tree on earth, that distinction belongs to the one of the Bristlecone pine trees on the backside of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The largest branch is almost 7 feet (2 meters) in diameter. 

The location of the tree was crucial in allowing it to become so gigantic.

Daniel & Katy among the Giants
Nicholas & Daniel at a tunnel through a fallen giant.

After wandering in the grove of giant trees for an hour or so, we walked on down to the lower parking lot to catch a shuttle bus operated by the park service to return to the upper parking lot.  We then returned to the small town of Three Rivers for the night. 

The following day, Monday, we retraced our route to and through Sequoia National Park. This time the road construction greatly delayed us as the construction crews were at work.  Traffic in both directions was held up for waiting periods of up to an hour to use the one lane of the road that was open.  We stopped for an hour or so at the Giants Grove in Sequoia NP before proceeding into Kings Canyon National Park. 

Katy at a "fire hollowed" tree.

Can you find the 3 Frenchies?

There they are !

The road in Kings Canyon NP winds up and down into very deep wooded valleys. The road requires cautious and slow driving, so we did not proceed as far as the bottom of the main canyon there. 

Kings Canyon National Park

We did stop at a beautiful mountain lake for a while before turning around to leave the park and head for our motel in a small town just outside one of the entrances to Yosemite Valley.

The construction delays and the backtracking in the route caused some irritations for all of us.  I think at this point we were all beginning to look forward to the end of the tour and the constant travel.  Three weeks living with constant motel changes and living out of a suitcase was beginning to wear us down.  Thankfully, we were still all getting along well, but we were all getting tired of the trip.

Thanks for your attention.  I hope you enjoy reading this and seeing my photos.  

Traveler Al 
Next time – Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Monument, Las Vegas and the end of the tour.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Travels with the Frenchies - Phoenix, Palm Springs & Tramway, Family Interlude in Riverside, CA and San Diego Stay

Phoenix, AZ
Our motel in Sedona was very comfortable.  In the morning, we returned to the main part of Sedona where Black Canyon ended. The Frenchies did about an hour and a half of shopping in the upscale boutiques, galleries and gift shops.  We then took a drive through the surrounding area and visited the Church of the Rocks.

We started to really feel the heat now that we were off the high plateaus of Utah and Arizona.  It was 105 degrees F late in the afternoon as we drove through the everlasting suburbs of Phoenix.

We drove straight to Phoenix for our next overnight stop. I do not know too much about Phoenix and any tourist highlights of the city, so I was at a loss to do much guiding of the family to any attractions of that fair city. I did not take any photographs in Phoenix.

Our hotel was right in the downtown area.  This was the overnight location I was most concerned with – would noise and crime be a problem at an inexpensive motel located in a city core?  As it turned out, the motel was clean, well maintained and quite secure.

We rested a bit and then drove right into the downtown center to do a bit of touring by auto.  We found a Sports Pub and had our dinner amidst the loud cacophony of half a dozen TV sets all turned to different games on various sports channels.

In the morning, we drove West via Interstate 40 towards California and our next night stop in Palm Springs California. It was already very hot and remained that way all day. A major traffic accident nearly closed the freeway.  We took off to drive on the frontage road and luckily found a Waffle House restaurant within a few miles where we stopped for an excellent breakfast.

The Waffle House restaurants are a chain of small, inexpensive, 24 hour, 7 days a week café eateries that feature waffles and other breakfast fare. Foods for the other meals of the day are listed on the menu as well.  I think the Frenchies enjoyed the food as much as I did.

We drove rapidly to the border of California, crossing the Colorado River for the last time at Blythe, Ca.  Once again we found a super market to buy beverages and delicatessen sandwiches for our lunch. 

By the way, no one in the French Family drinks wine, they are happy with bottled water and soft drinks.  We were directed to a small park on the river by a store clerk where we had our lunch in the shade.  It was extremely hot!

Palm Springs
We arrived in Palm Springs by the mid afternoon. Our motel for the night was quite upscale, well decorated and very comfortable.

Summer is the low season for Palm Springs because of the extreme heat caused by its location at the edge of the Mojave Desert tucked up at the bottom of the Eastern side of the San Jacinto Mountain Range.  

We spent several hours in the pool at the motel waiting for the sun to go down before heading out to dinner and to explore the small city center and make a decision about where to have dinner.

Pool at Best Western Las Brises - Palm Spings, Ca

Once again most of the people staying at the motel were families from Europe touring the Western United States – Germans, Italians, French and a few Eastern Europeans.

We had dinner at a small café that featured hamburgers.  I took a photo of Nicholas with the “waitress” figure at the entrance of the restaurant. 

Nicholas in Palm Springs, Ca
I was surprised at how small the city center of Palm Springs is.  In my memory picture of Palm Springs, the city has block after block of very swank art galleries, restaurants and gift shops.  It is all that, but only a few blocks – so much for my memory!

The next morning, we had breakfast at the motel before going to the Palm Springs Aerial Tram to ride to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs.  The tram goes up the mountainside through Taquitz Canyon.  The gondola car on the tram slowly turns so that everyone can get a 360 degree view of the desert and canyon as the gondola ascends the cable.
Going up!  Palm Springs Tram
There is a museum, clean bathrooms, a large cafeteria and fine dining room at the tram station on top.  Daniel, the father of the family, is quite a hiker, so he immediately set off on a two hour hike into the forest of large pines and cedar trees there on top of the ridge.

Terrace and cafe at the top - Palm Springs Tram - Palm Springs below

I was a bit worried about Daniel getting lost – as many hikers who wander too far into the forest do every year.  But, he returned in time for a late lunch with us there on the terrace overlook.

The cooler air high up on the mountain was very welcome relief from the furnace like temperatures at the bottom tram station.  We descended in the tram and then down the very steep road from the tram station to the highway below. 

Gondola Leaving Upper Tram Station - Palm Springs Tram
Going Down - Lower Tram Station Below - Palm Springs
The constant heavy braking required on the steep road from the tram station to the highway caused our brakes to overheat.  I think this was the beginning of a brake problem that increased during the next week and a half. The brakes would heat up and cause heavy vibrations that got progressively more intense on the many mountain roads we encountered farther down the road.

After the trip up the mountain by the tram, we drove to Riverside, Ca. for the weekend (Friday to Monday morning) to visit with my family members who live in this area. 

Family Interlude, Riverside, Ca.

We all met at my daughter in law, Deanna’s, home and from there went out for steaks at an inexpensive steakhouse we patronize in the Fontana, Ca. area.  

The Frenchies had met Deanna’s family during their first visit to the United States in summer of 2008. They all went to Disneyland with the Deanna and her girls that year.

Me and my family (including granddaughter's boyfriends) and the Frenchies
This year they met my grandson, Josh, his new baby, Nicaise and Nichole, the baby’s mother.
My Great Grandson, Nicaise & Katy
I had permission from the hotel, Courtyard by Marriott located by University of California – Riverside, to have a swim party for all my relatives in the area at the hotel pool.  We had the swim party the next day, Saturday. The Frenchies met my other set of grandchildren and their mother, Kathleen, at the party.  I believe everyone had a good time.

Hotel Swim Party - L, Deanna, Katy, Mathieu, Nicholas, Daniel, Kathleen, Kristina
 Later in the day, we celebrated Deanna's birthday.

Deanna's Birthday Cake - From Left Danielle, Kathleen, Deanna, Daniel, Nicholas, Mathieu, Ashley 

Sunday, The Frenchies and I and two of my granddaughters went to see an Angel’s baseball game at the Angel’s Stadium in Anaheim. They had seen a baseball game on their first trip to the US. The Frenchies all bought souvenir baseball caps and seemed to enjoy the game.

2008 Frenchies at Angel Stadium

2010 - Mathieu, Nicholas, Savannah, Daniel, Katy, Daniel & Mikinzie

We had a pleasant surprise at the hotel check out.  They had booked us at a reduced weekend rate for Friday and Saturday nights for our large and pleasant rooms.  We drove down to San Diego for our next 3 day stop.

San Diego, Ca.

I had probably overloaded the itinerary (at their request with an enormous list of places and things to see and do) on their first trip - not really giving the family a chance to stop and rest.  I tried to avoid that mistake on this trip.  They wanted to visit the San Diego Zoo and Sea World … and, I knew they liked the beach, so I did quite a bit of research to find a hotel or motel that would be inexpensive, clean, and comfortable yet on or very near the beach.  I found the Mission Bay Motel in Pacific Beach, Ca. which seemed to fill those requirements.

The motel is located across the street from the beach at Pacific Beach, a long well maintained, beautiful beach. It was inexpensive for a motel located so close to the ocean even if a bit old in style and lacking in amenities.  There was a very nice restaurant across the street where we had our breakfast each of the 3 mornings we were in San Diego.
 Pacific Beach, California - Panoramic view 

The Frenchies and I went to Old Town San Diego just as it was getting dark the first of our 3 nights in San Diego. They spent the next day at the San Diego Zoo, a lot of time on the beach and window shopping nearby. I did not go with them to the zoo as I have seen it several times – I did a lot of reading and did all our laundry again.

Church - Old Town, San Diego, Ca.

Gift Shop - Old Town, San Diego, Ca.

Neon Sign - Pacific Beach Restaurant, San Diego, Ca.

Mexican Handicrafts - Old Town, San Diego. Ca/

Nicholas & Friend, Old Town, San Diego, Ca.

They decided to cross Sea World off their list of places to visit due to the high cost of entry.

Thanks for taking the time to look at the photos and read the blog.  Your comments are welcome. 

Next time – 2 California Missions, Hollywood, Magic Mountain, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.