Saturday, October 30, 2010

London Bridge Was Falling Down

Or rather, it was sinking, so the city of London sold it to the developer of Lake Havasu City, AZ.

The bridge was dismantled and each of the 10,276 pieces was numbered and shipped here in 1968. It was called the world's largest jig-saw puzzle.

The purchase also included the cast iron lampposts, molded from French cannons captured during the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.

I'm here with the WINs, who like to dance and play. The first night we went to the Golden Horseshoe.

Billy Gambler plays there 5 nights a week and is a favorite of ours. He has a great voice and can sing and play anything.

Yesterday was the 3rd annual WIN Olympics. The events included a relay race -

A water balloon toss -

Careful, Viv, don't squeeze too hard - Whoops, too late!

A whirling scramble for golf balls on the bottom of the pool -

And of course, a cannonball contest. This is Kurt, the winner.

Last night was a dance at the Eagles Lodge, with another good band. (Don't worry, the guy on the floor doing the breakdance is not one of us!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fast Trip to San Diego

Last weekend I made a fast trip down to San Diego to see my daughter and her family. It has been a while since I've seen the grandkids. Corrie, Mara and Jonathan took me to see Mission Trails Park. Poor Brian had to work all weekend.

Mara has one of my old cameras, and she's quite the photographer.

I had crocheted a Barbie dress and hat from a pattern I got from fellow blogger Lynn. Since I didn't have a model, I didn't know if it would fit, but it did. (Just barely...)

Yesterday I went to a thrift store looking for a Barbie to use as a model for future clothes. I only wanted one, but ended up with five because they were in a package of 5 for $5! Anybody want an extra Barbie model?

After the trip to San Diego, it was back to the LA area to see the big RV show at Pomona.

There were a lot of RVs to look at, and a lot of people looking at them. The economy must be getting better!

I didn't look at too many trailers, because I already have the perfect one... :-) ... but I did find this one very strange. I guess the idea is that the kids don't track dirt all the way through the RV if they have to come in to go to the bathroom. (There was another normal door.)

This was my favorite motorhome of those I saw. I love the big buffet next to the freestanding table (I hate dinettes) and the TV that rose up out of it. The TV retracts when not in use.

Don't worry, I'm not buying. But I did think this was a great layout for a 34' motor home. If you're interested, it is an Itasca Meridian V class 34Y.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The LA Coast

With all the people and traffic in Los Angeles, where do you stay?

Well, if you are a member of the Elks, there are quite a few Elks lodges in the area with RV parking. This is the one in Ontario, CA - they had a car show while I was there. These California folks sure love old cars! (You can see the RVs in the background.)

I liked this one the best, of course, it was the rustiest.

Route 66 ends right at the Santa Monica pier. I wanted to see it, but didn't know what to expect. Would there be any place to park?

Surprise! You can drive right onto the pier, and park for $1!

There are amusements rides on the pier, including this indoor carousel.

Info on Route 66, this being the western terminus of the 2,448 mile historic highway.

Lots of street performers, including one who puts parrots on the shoulders of brave youngsters.

And lots of historic photos. Check out the size of these surfboards!

Forrest Gump must have been here recently - he left his shoes, suitcase, and box of chocolates in front of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

One of the most expensive real estate markets in North America is Balboa Island, part of Newport Beach - a cute place to visit. They were shooting a Lucky Brand Jeans ad in front of the Balboa candy store.

What size jeans do you think she wears? I'm guessing size zero XXX-long.

There are lots of cute shops in town, and I love to look for funny t-shirts. Of course, I'm not looking to buy, just take pictures.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

San Juan Capistrano

The mission at San Juan Capistrano is the 7th and perhaps the best known of the 21 California missions founded by Father Junipero Serra in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

But the mission is probably most famous because of the cliff swallows that return here each year on March 19 after a 30-day, 6,000-mile journey from their winter home in Argentina.

Called "The Jewel of the Missions," San Juan Capistrano was the largest and most ornate of the missions. It was built in the shape of a cross, with many domes and a large bell tower.

Unfortunately, in 1812, only 6 years after its completion, it was all but leveled by an earthquake.

Restoration efforts have failed, and the ruins are now maintained just as they are.

Metal covers the top of the walls to protect them from further decay.

The grounds are also the site of California's first vineyard! Just look what they started...

The chapel in another building is still in use, and is considered the oldest church in California. It was built in 1782 and enlarged in 1922 to make room for the "Golden Altar."

The "Retablo" was made in Barcelona, and is handcarved of 396 pieces of cherry wood and overlaid in gold leaf. It is estimated to be 400 years old, but was not installed here until 1923.

The mission is also know for its beautiful flowers, including these water lilies in a Moorish style fountain in the central courtyard.

Some large, friendly koi also enjoyed the fountain.

And I loved the variegated lily pads.

Outside the mission grounds and just down the street is the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, built in 1984 and patterned after the old stone mission.

It also has a retablo behind the altar, this one carved in cedar and covered in gold leaf. It is 42 feet high and was created by 84 artists in Madrid, Spain.

The handpainted walls are very unusual.

And the paintings of the apostles are strangely different from any other religious paintings I have seen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

La Brea Tar Pits

Right in the middle of Los Angeles, is the most surprising museum - the site of the La Brea Tar Pits.

A closeup of the border of the museum:
Scientists have recovered fossils here from ice age animals that became trapped and died in the tar pits from 10,000 to 40,000 years ago. No dinosaurs are here - they became extinct 65 million years ago.

A look inside one of the pits on the property, where the colored flags show fossils currently being worked on.

On another part of the property, a mommy mammoth has become trapped in a tar pit, just like her ancestors did. Daddy and baby watch helplessly.

Gas still bubbles up in the tar pits.

Inside the museum is a mural showing the animals that existed in that time period. Some still exist today.

This is the largest of the animals recovered - a Columbian Mammoth can be up to 13 feet high.

This is an American Lion - much bigger than the present day African Lions and the largest lion in history.

In the middle of the museum is a room where scientists and volunteers work on the fossils recovered from the pits.

Over 100 tons of fossil bones have been recovered. Some are very large, as in the previous picture, and some are tiny.

And some are REALLY tiny!