Thursday, May 21, 2009

Around Hollister and San Benito Thousand Trails.

San Benito TT is located in the valley with acres of farm land surrounding it. They are growing everything from grapes to artichokes. It is great to see all the activity as crops are harvested and new crops are planted.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Last week we spent the day at Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is the best (and most expensive) aquarium I've ever visited. The displays are very well done. It is clean and well designed. There are many interactive exhibits that help make learning easy and fun. We spent an entire day exploring and enjoying. Their new Seahorse exhibit has the most varieties of seahorses on display I have ever seen. We enjoyed a decent lunch in their restaurant. Watching the sea otters in the exhibit and out in the bay was great.

This was one of the highest $$$ days for us in a while. $29.95 per person admission, almost $30.00 for soup and pizza lunch and $11.00 to park. I have no regrets. I enjoyed the beautiful day at this wonderful aquarium.

The slide show is a bit long with over 50 pictures..but I had a hard time much to see. I hope you enjoy it.
If you want to learn more about the aquarium check out their website.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

San Benito Thousand Trails Horseshoe Tournament

When we arrived here at San Benito we learned there was a Horseshoe Tournament scheduled for this weekend. Gary was invited by some of the guys to join in. So, after practicing several mornings he did. He qualified for the tournament on Wednesday with an average of 24%. To qualify he had to thrown 50 horseshoes and count the # of ringers he got. So, he threw 24% of his throws as ringers. Not too bad for someone who hadn't thrown a shoe for at least a couple of years.
Yesterday's play was singles. He played 6 games and won 1. Not as good as he would have liked, but better than a couple other guys.
Today he was matched with Bill as a partner for the doubles games. He played 5 games and won 3 of the 5. Overall, they came in third place. And he won $ 35.00. Since it cost $30 to play he made his money back and them some. That was great. I think he feels pretty good about his first tournament. And is already planning to play another one in July.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hollywood, LA and Santa Monica California

We spent the better part of two days exploring around Hollywood, Santa Monica Beach and Los Angeles. It was interesting but there was way too much smog, traffic and people for me.
We saw the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the Captiol Records building, the El Capitan Theatre and of course The Hollywood Sign. We saw the Kodak theater (home of the Academy Awards) and the Hollywood Bowl too. And we saw a few strange sights on the streets too.
We just had to drive down Rodeo Drive. It was pretty quiet with no celebrities visible.

We visited the Santa Monica pier and saw the Pacific ocean for the first time. It was a bit too cool to get in the water. The sun was shining but it was cool and the wind was blowing.

On Wednesday we were audience (show enhancers) for the Late Late Show. Gary is a big fan of Craig Ferguson. This show is taped in the late afternoon for showing at 12:30am.
It was very interesting, fun and actually a little tiring. Clapping and cheering for about 2 hours takes a lot of out you. We were on the front row and at one point could have touched Craig. I don't have any pictures to share as CBS doesn't allow cameras in their studio. :(

LA and Hollywood was fun to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blown into California

Today we left Vegas heading southwest on I-15. It was a tough day. First we stopped at Exit 1 in Primm Nevada for lunch and 1 more visit at their gaming establishment. We went to Buffalo Bills and had lunch at their Wagon Master Coffee shop. I had my usual Mexican lunch and Gary had breakfast. Pretty good food overall. We got back on the road about 2pm. We stopped in Baker California for fuel and I got out to take a picture of the largest thermometer in the world.
When I got back in the truck I realized I didn't have my cell phone. It isn't to be found anywhere. Not in the truck, on the ground, in the store, in the think I left it in the Wagon Master when we had lunch. That is the last place I remember having it. We called the restaurant and no one had turned it in. I talked to Security too and they took my contact information. If it turns up they said they'd call us. I'm not counting on that though. I called All-Tell and canceled the line for now.
I feel naked...I want my phone. OK..just a little whining..oh how attached we become to our electronic stuff!!!
We still have Gary's phone so we'll make out for now. Only time will tell if it turns up.

Continuing on I-15 we went thru a construction zone..slow..slow..slow
then, the winds started. Wind..wind..wind..slow..slow..slow..sometimes we were only going 30 miles an hour on an interstate that had a 70 mile per hour speed limit. We were being pushed hard. Gary did an excellent job keeping us between the lines but it was tough.
Several miles inside California we had to stop at the state Agricultural checkpoint. The inspector came into the house, had me open the refrigerator so he could see what fruits or vegetables we had. He asked a lot of questions. Where were we from, which county, did we have unshelled nuts or other plants. He checked my lucky bamboo(my only houseplant). The wind was so bad we both had to open and close the house door together to keep it from banging against the house. No problems, so we rolled on into the wind again. We finally arrived at Thousand Trails tonight about 7pm.

This TT preserve isn't as nice as some of the others we have stayed at. They have a lot of problems with the electric system and many of the sites don't have working electric boxes. We were told to check the box before moving into the site to be sure there was electric. We did and settled on our second choice of site. So far it is working OK, and hopefully our electrical monitoring system will catch any problem before it can cause any damage to the house. We're both pretty tired and ready for bed. Traveling against the wind, losing my phone, and arriving so late has worn us out. So, good night all. Hope you're doing well. Love, Deb

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Colorado River Bridge at Hoover Dam

A new bridge is being built around Hoover Dam. An engineering marvel.
I've included some pictures of Hoover Dam followed by pictures of the new bridge under construction.

Lake Mead Pictures

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

From their web site: "Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers a wealth of things to do and places to go year-round. Its huge lakes cater to boaters, swimmers, sunbathers, and fishermen while its desert rewards hikers, wildlife photographers, and roadside sightseers. It is also home to thousands of desert plants and animals, adapted to survive in an extreme place where rain is scarce and temperatures soar."

Lake Mead is a reservoir created by Hoover Dam. About 96 percent of the water in Lake Mead is from melted snow that fell in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming. There must have been several consecutive years where outflow has exceeded inflow because the water levels is pretty low. But, folks were still enjoying it on this sunny weekday.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Las Vegas Casino Pictures

These are pictures of the skyline and casino buildings in Las Vegas. You are not allowed to take pictures inside the buildings. For that I am sorry because some of them are quite a sight.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's Vegas Baby!!!

Yep, we're in Sin City. And there are sights to see. All kinds of sights.
Wednesday night we went to Fremont Street to experience the Fremont Experience. Just a normal Wednesday night..right??!! Fremont Street has many of the older casinos that were started in the days of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Several blocks of the street have been closed to cars. It has a metal mesh roof that contains fiber optics and at night they flashed lights and signs on it. Very impressive.
We saw crowds of people...people eating, drinking, dancing, laughing, and yes even gambling.
There was a guy playing the sax...a band singing Rolling Stones was a "sight" to see. We enjoyed walking along and absorbing it all. The police were there, on bikes, on foot and on Segway.

We eat dinner at one of the casinos...$7.77 all you can eat buffet. And it was actually pretty good. I didn't take my camera but if we go back I will. Afterward we drove down Las Vegas Blvd. This 3 and half mile strip has 1 mega-hotel and casino after another for your pleasure.

We spent the rest of our time in Vegas resting, working, sampling the local cuisine and visiting a few of their gaming establishments. Nothing exciting, but enjoyable.

We did drive out to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam one afternoon. There is a new bridge and road being built that will bypass the Dam. Once it opens next year, no one will be allowed to drive over the dam any more. A security checkpoint is now in place right before the dam. We were just waved thru, but we did see another pickup stopped and the back of it being inspected. I guess they are looking for bombs or other incendiary devices. The new bridge is a marvel of engineering. I don't think there is enough money that would get me to do the job they are doing. We watched them move men and equipment via a gondola suspending from cables moving from 1 side of the river to the other. Way too high up and scary for me.