Thursday, October 20, 2005

California Trip - Day 5

September 21, 2005

Most of this I wrote using my PDA and infrared keyboard poolside at our Anaheim Motel:

Today was a transition day. The day we changed over from our Oceanside base to Anaheim. After Today, Disney will become the focal point of our activities, until we go home. I'm not sure Dawn Ann is looking forward to that or not. She doesn't like a lot of large crowds. Usually, large crowds are a hallmark of Disney parks.

Thus far, we have been quite fortunate: the weather has been great - not too hot or cold, and crowds have been light. Legoland had such light crowds that you could go on nearly any ride with less than a 5 minute wait. It was easy to go on a ride, and if you liked it, just turn around and go on it again. What normally might take two days to cover with full crowds on-hand, only took one day with the very light crowds.

The beaches were a little busy on the weekends, but not overcrowded. On the weekdays, the beaches were nearly deserted. Just a few surfers in wetsuits.

Most of us got along fine without wetsuits. The ocean was about 67 degrees -- Just about like Bear Lake at home. Most of us have enough, ummm . . . natural insulation to keep warm. Bryan. on the other hand, with a near zero body fat percentage can only take it for so long before he starts to turn blue.

Most of the locals look at us like we are a little crazy for being out there in the water without wetsuits. Amy is our little fish. She loved to body surf with the incoming waves. So we swim until Bryan turns into a popsicle, and then call it good.

For each of the first 4 days we were here, we made it a point to spend time at the beach. This was the first time at the ocean for our kids. (Actually, they were here about 9 years ago, only problem was that Amy was only 8 months old, and Bryan had just turned 3.Neither of them have much memory of that occasion.

Not that I am any great ocean aficionado. I've lived in Utah most of my life, One of my earliest memories is of playing on the beach with my parents when we lived in California. My father was in the air force, and was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, near Lompoc, California. I remember getting buried in the sand, the smell of the salt air, and the kelp washing ashore.

Each time I've had occasion to visit the ocean, I have found it to be a wondrous experience. I love to watch an listen to he waves come in. After a time, you can see some patterns in the waves developing, with the occasional rogue wave that is much larger and more powerful than it's fellows.

Dawn Ann and the kids loved collecting seashells. We have so many seashells in the back of our rental car, I'm not sure how we're going to get them all home. We have a large collection mussel and clam shells, a few abalone shells, a couple of broken sand dollars, and a few other miscellaneous bits and pieces. Before we go home, we'll have to sort through them to decide which ones will be boarding the plane with us. Right now most of the sea shells are contained in a set of four 32 oz. Slurpee cups in the back of the car.

We began today by packing up our things and loading them into the car. After we checked out of our motel in Oceanside, we found a local laundry-mat to wash our clothes. Laundry-mats were a whole new world to our kids. As long as they can remember, we have always had our own washer and dryer at home. You always meet interesting people in a laundry mat. Not quite as interesting, as say, getting your driver's license renewed at the DMV -- but close! After getting a bite of lunch, we hit the (in)famous SoCal freeways and headed North.

We made the journey to Anaheim today without much trouble. I had my trusty navigator at my side, along with my Google Maps printouts, and we made our way to the motel without too much turmoil. As soon as we got off the freeway, we drove past the Crystal Cathedral. Its an impressive building. (We came back later that night to take a look at it again, in hopes that it would be lit up. I wanted to get a few photos of it. However, it was dark when we drove by at about 9:30 pm. - The photo shown here is from their web site.)

When we arrived at the motel, we had do jump through a couple of hoops. The room we were originally booked for was right above the lobby. Unfortunately, they were remodeling the lobby, and there was a lot of construction noise in the room.

Not good for mama's nap! We asked to be moved a different room, but that room was right next to the continental breakfast area. Mama was afraid that there would be too much noise and commotion in the morning. So we asked to be moved yet again.

Finally, we got a nice quiet room on the back side of the motel, far away from noise and confusion.

I took the kids to the motel pool. They've had fun splashing around, and running from the pool to the jacuzzi, and back several times. I have sat here at a poolside table, and blogged for the last hour, while mama has been getting her nap.

While at the pool, we met two families who were staying at our same motel. One family was from New Zealand. They had been away from home on "Holidays" for the last 5 months! Wow! That's some vacation. They have conveniently missed the entire winter season in their homeland. They had traveled all through Europe, the US and Canada. Disneyland was to be their last hurrah. Next week they will be going home to New Zealand.

Another family was from Northern Alberta, Canada. They said they lived North of Edmonton, which is pretty far North -- and pretty far into the sub-zero temperatures in winter. Bryan asked them how cold it got. The mother answered and, "Oh, it gets to be about 40 degrees below". Bryan knew that they used Celsius, instead of Fahrenheit, and he asked how cold that was in Fahrenheit. The answer -- the two temperature scales actually converge at -40 degrees. -40 Celsius is also -40 Fahreneheit. Check it out! They had several children with them too, and were on "holiday" as well. I love how folks from British Commonwealth countries all go on "holiday" instead of vacation.

After naps and pool (blogging) time we went out to dinner (Red Robin on Harbor Blvd) and drove around the Anaheim area a little bit to get connoitered (not sure that's a word, but I like the sound of it. Besides reconnoitered sounds like you've already been there before, doesn't it! -- well, this was virgin territory for us!)

Today was the fulfillment of how I thought pacing might go before we ever left on this trip. From my pre-vacation posting, I said:
We may not make it to everyplace we've planned, and we don't intend to take on so many events that we will be constantly going from one place to another. After all, this is VACATION! And we need to have some time to relax as well. Ideally, we'll keep the pace fast enough to prevent boredom from setting in(Amy's Preference - Bryan is NEVER bored), but slow enough to take time and enjoy ourselves along the way (Mama's Preference). My preference is just to keep everybody happy (and try to take some nice photos along the way).

It always requires a little give and take when you are with family, or any group of people for that matter. But we've managed quite well overall. I think everyone is having a good time.

Tomorrow we will be visiting the House of Mouse!

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