Sunday, April 24, 2011

Malibu to Fort Hueneme

Having never been to Malibu, we took a drive through Malibu Canyon to the beach.  The mountainous ride was lovely. Once again, the temperatures were near perfect if not a bit on the cool side.

I'm crossing my fingers that "the big one" doesn't come about now...

The Malibu Pier

Paul J. Getty was a famous industrialist, founder of Getty Oil and was at one time named the"richest living man in America" by Fortune Magazine.   This is Getty Villa.  It's a museum of sorts.

We ate lunch at Palisades Park.
Yes, that song stuck in my brain for the remainder of the day. 

Walking Lexie at Palisades Park.

I don't remember where this was but I thought it was pretty.
We drove all the way up to Fort Hueneme, almost to Ventura before returning to the campground.  This was our last outing for the LA area visit.  Oh yes, these are new record highs for fuel we saw today:

Hooray For Hollywood!

No visit to the Los Angeles area is complete without a day in Hollywood and ours was enjoyable. In past visits to LA we saw the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theater and Universal.  As this is likely to be our last visit here, we mixed in some uncommon things with the things we'd not done already. 
The famous Hollywood sign.

Couldn't resist a snapshot of the Santa Monica Boulevard sign.
Yea, we hummed that stupid song all afternoon.  Don't know the words... just that the street name is in there.

We ate lunch in this little Beverly Hills park.
Wayne looked up the addresses of all the old movie studios: Hal Roach Studios,Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount, MGM, Universal, but most were long gone.  The old Hal Roach studio building remains but isn't a studio anymore and we were never able to position ourselves to get a picture.  Of course there were no places to park.  MGM, Universal and Twentieth Century (now Sony) are just  big buildings.  However, Paramount remains on the original site and the famous entrances remain as we've seen them in old pictures.
The Melrose Avenue gate.

This old Capitol Records building has been around for a very long time.

Approaching the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine.

The highlight of our Los Angeles visit may seem strange but anyone who knows Wayne and me know we love old movies.  Well... we went on a graveyard hunt looking for the burial places of movie stars.  Here's some of what we found:

Mel Blanc - voice of Bugs Bunny.
That's All Folks!

The cylinder in the foreground is a memorial to Hattie McDaniel of Gone With The Wind Fame.
She is not buried here as negroes were not allowed to be buried here at the time of her death.

Cecil B. DeMille and his wife.

Douglas Fairbanks

This bench marks the grave of Tyrone Power
Estelle Getty played on Golden Girls.
We found lots more graves, including Bing Crosby, Peter Lorrie, Jayne Mansfield and oh so many others, but didn't take pictures. 

No there are no recent star graves we'd be interested in seeing.   Just the old ones.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our Visit To The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley

Having missed the opportunity to see the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, we packed a lunch and took a ride to see the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library at Simi Valley.  The GPS indicated the location was just 6 air miles away, but some 35 driving miles. 

Our campground is just east of Simi Valley. Between the mountains; agriculture is big business.
Palm trees, citurs, vegetables, fruit and decorative landscaping trees grow here.

This photo captures a crop of fruit trees (left) and a fairly large house built on a dug-out side of this mountain.
The house gives a good idea just how huge these mountains are...

Most of the mountainsides are covered with little yellow blooms.

This scene was along CA26. Like in Names, Arizona, people have carved their name and sayings into the clay-like dirt wall along the roadway.  I wonder how long those carvings last before being washed (or blown) away.  The wind can get pretty strong along the mountain corridors.

We were somewhere between the Santa Susanna Mountains and the Simi Hills in Ventura County.

Because little Lexie has "separation anxiety" and Wayne can't stand to leave her at home alone, we took her with us. We will take turns visiting the library and sitting outside on the grounds with Lexie.

This year would have been Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday.
These signs are everywhere around the Presidential Library area.

A view of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library property as we were approaching.
It's much larger than it appears here.  Air Force One is on display inside in one wing.
The buildings are high on a hill -- beautiful countryside.

Looking down into the valley below from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library property.

The main entry into the library building.
We met a wonderfully nice woman just outside the building entrance who told us what to expect on our visit. She asked all about Lexie (who was sitting quietly in her "outward hound" strapped to my front) and suggested it might be okay for us to take her inside with us.  Sounds great. We decided to become "friends" of the Ronald Reagan Library, making a small contribution to the Foundation and enjoying the benefit of free admission to other Presidential Libraries we might visit in our travels.  We paid the fee and affixed our "Friends of the Ronald Reagan Library" stickers to our shirts.

About this time, a large, friendly, but unsmiling U.S. Marshall explained that only properly documented service animals were allowed on any U.S. Government Presidential Library properties.  No, we would not be able to sit outside, even on the walkways, with Lexie -- even if we held her.  The nearest Lexie could be to the property was in the parking lot!  It was 85 degrees out there and no shade!  Horrors!

Well our "Friends of the Ronald Reagan Library" stickers were removed, our fee refunded and we did not see the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. 

This is what we did see.  More beautiful scenery.  Ronald Reagan would have let Lexie go onto his stinking library grounds.  I just know he would...

We drove back the same way we drove in.  The scenery was just as nice the second time.

It's no wonder Ronald Reagan liked this part of the country.
And by-the-way, we learned the former President is buried on the grounds of the Library.

This picture isn't too good but it shows a huge orange grove in the valley below the huge mountains.

If you look closely, you can see tiny little people out in this field.
 I don't know what is planted here, but it's covered in plastic.

The afternoon weather was terrific and we returned to the campground, giving serious thought to taking a dip in the pool but never got around to it.  Here's where we are:

Valencia Travel Village at Santa Clarita
The campground is large and has lots of trees.

This is us.

... About Those California Mudslides!

Over the years I've watched in horror as news reporters covered the dreaded mudslides in California -- houses breaking apart as they rush uncontrollably down great hills onto cars and other houses below.  Giant waves of mud pushing everything in their path. Families losing all their possessions and sometimes the lives of family members. I wondered about what caused the mudslides. 

Being in southern California this month, I've seen some strange building practices.  Houses perched high on hillsides. Those hillsides have been chopped away to give the best view of the awesome scenery. Seems to me to be a pretty bad choice for a location in the long run.  Why would anybody do that? 

Well I just don't know except that Californians seem to be real risk takers.  They drive fast and pass on double-yellow highway lines. Red light violations are rampant and motorcyclists drive between lanes at great speeds.  Bicyclists seem to "dare" automobiles to hit them.  Skateboarders live by a whole different set of rules.

Then there's that whole "earthquake" thing -- another risk Californians seem to take lightly.  Homes are built directly below huge boulders and on stilts atop the cliffs over the ocean shore.  There are "tsunami risk" and "tsunami evacuation route" signs on a good bit of the seashore road. One stretch of coastal highway even displayed a sign that stated, "constantly moving highway -- drive with extreme caution".  I didn't get a picture of the sign, but wish I had.  The road had obviously been patched and repaired many, many times. 

No, I wouldn't want to live or have my family anywhere near the San Andreas Fault. I don't like being anywhere here that has anything overhead -- especially along the freeway with flyovers and underpasses.  This is a beautiful but dangerous part of the country.  It's a great place to visit -- but not in an earthquake.  We keep a constant evacuation plan going.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day Trip to Big Bear Lake at 7200'

Big Bear Lake is in the northeast section of the San Bernadino National Forest high atop one of the peaks in the San Gabriel Mountain range. Snow had fallen on the mountains over the weekend before our ride up and we were excited to see it.  Neighbor campers told us the main road to Big Bear Lake was closed for construction and that snow chains would be required if the snow's accumulation was still on the roadways to the area.

At Highlands, we stopped for gas and nearly had to "float" a loan to pay for it.
We're glad our little car is 4 cylinder.
It was fairly warm and sunny when we left Rancho Jurupa in Rubidoux Village but by the time we stopped at Highlands for gas we noticed the temperatures were cooler.  We had already ascended a bit going up into the mountains.

At our first photo stop we could see the dreadful smog hanging above the valley.  

Waterman Canyon view.
Our first opportunity to photograph the snow capped mountains.
And the first opportunity for Lexie to take a little "pee pee" run.

Mountain climber?  Great explorer?
Nah... just an ole guy.
The drive along here is called "Rim of the World" for good reason.
Yep, that's the road we traveled a few minutes before.

Long before this picture was taken we had driven into the snow.
Light at first but soon we were in good amounts. 
The temperature is warm and along with the sunshine, it's melting the snow pretty quickly.

We found Big Bear City to be a quaint town; mostly built around snow ski and snow board activities for winter visitors and boating activities for summer guests.  The lake itself isn't all that big or beautiful -- but nice in that it is there in the mountains.  Most of the homes are small-ish in size and typical for a snow resort town.  To me, it is reminiscent of a tourist area in the 1960's.  It's elevation is well over 7,200 feet!
Lexie's first encounter with snow.
She was not amused.
From Big Bear Lake we continued our ride to Baldwin Lake. It was not pretty and the terrain around it was dry and flat.  Returning around Big Bear's northern shore, through Fawnskin, California, we got this very nice view of Big Bear Lake.

...sure can't beat this scenery.

The community of Fawnskin is on the northern coast of Big Bear Lake. That's where we stopped in this spot for a quick break.  We searched the skies but didn't see any eagle -- but we did get some good views ...again.

The view looking from the northern shore of Big Bear Lake.

Occasionally we take short breaks; both for ourselves and for Lexie.  Here she's sticking out her tongue.