Sunday, March 31, 2019

Day 21 - Menifee, CA - TT

Today's exciting post. On my way to pick my mom up from where she has been staying, I ran the truck through a car wash to try and get rid of all of the bug carcasses. And there were a lot of bugs from our time in the desert. I guess all of the flowers in the desert attracted a lot of butterflies and bees. It's around 82°F right now and it's feeling really warm. The A/C is doing a reasonable job of keeping the trailer cooled off. Having the awning out really does help as it keeps the direct sun off of one whole wall. This really helps the refrigerator stay cold.

We are starting to make plans for our escape from L.A. in a couple of days. We still have one more trip to the John Wayne airport on Tuesday and we are leaving the next day. I think the plan is head towards Barstow before heading north. I have two reservations on the Oregon coast with a week to get there. Not sure of our route besides escaping L.A. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Day 19 & 20

Yesterday was the mini reunion and I didn’t get a blog post up or take very many pictures. Much of the time was spent sitting around and talking. We initially met at the Asia Seafood Buffet in Murietta about 15 miles south of here. An excellent buffet with a fantastic selection of Asian dishes including a lot of sushi. All for only $9. A real bargain. After lunch, we went to my cousins home and visited. Some who lived nearby headed home and most are leaving this morning.

Today was a lot of driving. Menifee to Long Beach to drop off some stuff to my middle son. Then north to Culver City to have lunch with Bridget’s oldest. Then back to Menifee. Lots of traffic and around 6 hours of driving. Exhausted right now... L.A. has horrible traffic but only a handful of really rude or reckless drivers. Not as bad as some say. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Day 18 - Menifee, CA - TT

Today, we went to the John Wayne airport to pick up my mom on her flight from Portland. The plane on her original flight to Portland had mechanical issues. We stopped at a surf-themed burger place for lunch and I had a fabulous, pepper encrusted bacon burger. Phenomenal. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the restaurant. After dropping my mom off at her friend's home here in Menifee, we picked up some stuff at the store and arrived back at the RV after seven hours. Most of that was driving.

On Tuesday, the battery in my Apple Watch was so low that it refused to charge. I had tried multiple charge cords but never tried a different USB port. I had arranged with Apple to pick up a replacement at the Apple Store in Temecula about 15 miles south of here. This morning, Bridget mentioned that her watch wasn't charged after being plugged in all night. Hmmm. The probability of the same problem on two watches was very small. I had heard that if the battery was run completely dead, then the stock 0.5 amp charger isn't able to charge the watch. I plugged it into a 2.1 amp USB source and her watch started charging. I moved the other charge cord to another 2.1 amp USB port and tried my watch. It started to charge. Within 30 minutes. it was up to 75%. Called Apple and canceled my appointment to pick up a replacement. I used it all day and the charge only dropped 10% so I think it's working again.

This evening, we are taking my mom to visit with her sister and my cousins. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Day 17 - Disneyland Again

When we purchased tickets for Disney, the three-day pass was the same price as two single-day tickets. My sister and her family are planning to go to Disney today so this was a good opportunity to see them again. Plus, my mom is flying into the John Wayne airport this evening so we needed to be in the area anyway.

This time we parked in the parking garage. Clearance is only 4” from the roof of the truck so pretty interesting driving in. But at least it’s shaded parking. From the garage, we rode a shuttle to the park entrance. Just since last week the castle now has a picture of the castle. I don’t remember it there it being there last week.

We picked up a FastPass for the StarTours ride which is one of those hydraulic pods with a movie. What’s interesting is that there are several different videos so you can go on it multiple times and have a different experience. Right now, I’m in line for the Winnie the Pooh tide (Bridget insists).

We met up with my sister and her family for the StarTours ride. I heard that my mom’s flight ended up getting rebooked for tomorrow morning. But we haven’t heard from her yet.

Update - We did get hold of her and since it was a mechanical problem, Alaska is putting her up in a hotel and rebooked her for tomorrow. That does mean that we will be making the trip again tomorrow. But that’s okay.

Here we are waiting for the monorail in Tomorrow Land which just runs to Downtown Disney and back. Now we are in line for the train. They just announced that only two trains are running today so it may be a long wait. We no longer  have a deadline. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Day 16 - Menifee, CA - TT

I guess this is why people put up with the crowds here in California. The temperature is fine but the crowds… Well, let me put it this way, there’s a reason why I moved from California to Alaska and the weather was only part of the reason. This was taken at my cousin’s home where they were getting ready for the mini-reunion this coming Friday. Tomorrow, we were going back over to the Disney complex as we still have one more day of admission left on our ticket. We needed to be at the airport tomorrow evening anyway so this gets us into the area.

I went to the pool today and it was a zoo. The rules prohibit kids from using the jacuzzi but the kids and their parents feel that rules like that only apply to others. So, I didn’t stay long. So far, this is my only complaint about this TT park. People ignoring rules and lacking common courtesy. But that really isn’t a problem with the park. It’s just a problem of it’s location.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Day 15 - Menifee, CA - TT

Sitting outside of the South Coast Plaza, a very upscale shopping mall near the John Wayne Airport. By very upscale I mean I’ve never heard of 90% of the stores. Some of the stores, like the Rolex store, have armed security standing at the entrance. Not much chance of finding an Orange Julius in this place. Bridget is flying in this afternoon so I thought this would be a good place to find lunch. I’m kind of glad that I left early as it took over two hours to get here due to traffic. Google claimed one hour and six minutes. It wasn’t even close to being right.

After leaving the shopping mall, the Garmin kept trying to put me on the freeway. Even with the airport right next to me, it kept telling me to make a U-turn and go onto the freeway. All this technology is not really ready for prime time. 

The return trip was also around two hours. There were a lot of cars parked just north of the town of Lake Elsinore. The hills are a brilliant orange and it turned out that the cars were from people walking through the hillsides of poppies. Back at the RV, it’s 78°F inside even with one fan running. I now have the A/C on and it appears to be working for now. Plenty of cool air coming out. This picture is one grabbed from Google at link.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Day 14 - Menifee, CA - TT

Not much to report for today. I rode the e-bike around the park and to the grocery store. DavidR stopped by to drop off a few boxes to bring back to Fairbanks. The boxes will fit easily in the storage area under the bed. Around 4:30pm, the temperature hit 75°F and thoughts of the swimming pool came to mind but I ended up riding around the park again. It felt much cooler riding than inside of the trailer. Right now, I have the A/C running and it seems to be working fine.

Bridget is flying back tomorrow after a layover in Seattle. My cousins invited us over tomorrow as another cousin that I haven’t seen for over 30 years is going to be visiting. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Day 13 - Menifee, CA - TT

I went to visit relatives today here in Menifee. One cousin, I hadn’t seen since before I moved to Alaska. The others I saw at one of the reunions maybe fifteen years ago. They are the ones organizing the mini-reunion at the end of next week. It was great to see them again.

This is one of the canals here at the campground near our site. There were a handful of ducks paddling around but the dogs didn’t seem interested in them. The trail on the right side of the canal is where I have been walking them. There is a canal on both sides of the path and seems to be interesting enough.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Day 12 - Menifee, CA - TT

This morning around 10, I packed up and headed for Wilderness Lakes RV Park in Menifee, CA. Google Maps said 43 miles but the RV GPS had us going via a more reasonable route. It took about 1½ hours. This place is pretty large and very wet. Some of the others here were telling me about the continuous rain and flooded streets and campsites. Right now, maybe 5% of the sites are too wet to occupy. I guess it’s making all the waterfowl happy. There are a lot of ducks and geese wandering through the park.

These geese were right behind the trailer making a lot of noise until the neighbor returned. Then they wandered across the street. Like many other RV parks, you need to pay for WiFi. Since we are going to be here for a couple of weeks, I went ahead and paid. These RV park WiFi setups is where the Ubiquity solution seems to work well. Pay for one device, the radio itself, and anything you have on the backend WiFi SSID is automatically connected. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Day 11 - Orangeland RV Park

A few days ago, I had checked out one of the pickers to collect some of the free citrus. The tree next to our site is a Valencia or juice oranges. I squeezed four of them and they were a bit tart. When mixed with some sparkling water, it tastes like orange soda. Three oranges will give you about six ounces of juice. Yesterday, I made a lemon chicken in the Instant Pot. Pretty good. It was nice to have access to the oranges and lemons here at the RV park.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be checking out and moving to a Thousand Trails RV park for a couple of weeks. Bridget flew out this morning for home but will be back next Monday. There is a mini family reunion in a bit over a week that we’ve been looking forward to. And the TT RV park was conveniently located.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Day 10 - Weird Ice Cream

No theme parks today. Three days in a row may have been a bit much. While we were walking around Downtown Disney yesterday afternoon, we had some ice cream from the Salt & Straw. According to someone else looking at the flavors, it’s supposed to be a real gourmet ice cream place. The flavors seemed unusual enough to warrant trying then out. Maybe too unusual for some as the two guys in front of me left the line saying, “They don’t even have chocolate and vanilla!”. In the interest of trying the unusual, we had two half scoops in a bowl. The first half was “Black Olive Brittle & Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese” and the second half was “Smoked Sea Salt & Chocolate Crack”. The second doesn’t show up on the list as it is one of the flavors-of-the-month. Both flavors that are unlikely to be found in Fairbanks. Both were very tasty though a little bit salty. The first was very good with just a hint of olive and goat cheese. I’d definitely have it again. And, I liked that they gave you the option of two half scoops.

We went to Downtown Disney around 4:00 and the shuttle pickup time was 5:30. By 4, I was all “lined out” meaning, I was tired of standing in line. Or even just standing. According to Apple, 16k steps yesterday.

Today’s activity was the Olive Hills Dog Park about five miles from the RV park. Really nice dog park in spite of all the negative Yelp reviews. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Day 9 - More Disney

This morning, we took the campground shuttle to Disney’s California Adventure, another theme park adjacent to Disneyland. We arrived before 9 but it was already starting to get crowded. The first stop was one of the newest rides and a fun one. Radiator Springs Racers. We learned that the trick was to use the “single rider” line. Since each row of seats in the cars holds three people, they fill the third seat from the single rider line. Works fine and we waited maybe 15 minutes instead of 75 minutes. Right now when I’m writing this post at 3:30, the app is reporting a wait time of 215 minutes. The ride isn’t that good.

Here is Bridget in the car that we were racing. The red car won. The ride features animated vehicles from the movie Cars. Afterward, we went to the Soaring ride and picked up a FastPass for an hour and a half later. We then headed for the Ferris wheel and picked the non-swinging cars. Last year, we went into the swinging cars and I didn’t care for it. The Soaring ride was as good as I remember. It’s sort of a mashup between a hang glider and an IMAX movie with other physical aspects thrown in such as smells and water misting. Another fabulous ride.

We went to a live-action Frozen show. It was much more than I expected. Live actors singing and dancing for over an hour doing a slightly abbreviated version of the animated movie complete with great aerial feats and some non-human characters. It was great. One of these days I may need to watch the movie. BTW, the blue sky and fluffy clouds in the background are painted on a huge wall behind the theatre.

We didn't actually ride this ride, The Guardians of the Galaxy. I was just standing around waiting for Bridget to take some pictures. The crowds here were incredible as it is a popular ride. It used to be the Tower of Terror after a Hitchcock movie. Something about a falling elevator. It doesn't sound like fun to me. But I'm old...

This is just the Ferris wheel. Two-thirds of the cars are on tracks that allow the car to move in/out and swing pretty wildly. Or at least I think they are swinging wildly. Originally, Bridget was going to stay at the park for the fireworks and I would head back to the RV to walk the dogs. But, I think that Bridget is feeling the effects of three consecutive theme park days. And decided not to say for another six hours. And nothing broke down while we were around....

Monday, March 18, 2019

Day 8 - Knott’s Berry Farm

Today was spent at Knott’s Berry Farm which is a few miles north of Disneyland. It has a lot of amusement park style rides including a large number of roller coasters. We didn’t go on any of those. This is a full-size steam locomotive versus the 3/4 scale one at Disneyland. It’s a low-thrill ride. Knott’s Berry Farm classifies all of their rides 1 through 5. I believe the train is a 1.

We went on the Calico Mine ride. This is one of the first rides here that used animatronic characters. All of this was really high-tech back in the 1960’s. We used to visit this park before it was a theme park. Admission was free and they sold tickets to the rides. Needless to say, we didn’t go on that many rides. They started charging for admission when people would just hang around the park all day (and night).

Back then, the stagecoach ride was something that I never remember doing. Probably because it was one of the more expensive tickets due to the overhead. A lot of people plus horses and not that many people per hour. Of course, this ride broke down while we were riding it. When heading up a hill, the horses stopped and wouldn’t continue pulling the stage coach. It took almost five handlers to get the team moving again in a straight line. The driver said that each horse would pull and if they didn’t feel the other horses contributing, they would stop and wait. Anyway, we got an extended ride. We were up on the roof just behind the driver.

Bridget collects these smashed pennies from every tourist place we visit. This place was a gold mine for smashed pennies. They must’ve had ten machines each with three different pictures. I think she settled for four. The Woodstock hat is a new one from the Peanuts store just outside of the gate.

This is the Calico Mine ride. I remember when this ride opened. It was a big deal. We ended up riding it a couple of times today. Compared to yesterday’s crowds, today was very pleasant. There were a lot of school age groups but we didn’t have to wait very long for any of the rides. The stagecoach was a long wait but only because of the small number of people on each ride and only one stagecoach running. Most of the rides we just walked on or maybe waited in line for five minutes or so.

This was the warning side for the stage coach ride. As you can see, it was also a low-thrill ride just right for seniors like me. BTW, I did get a $10 discount as a senior. They figured correctly that I don’t go on very many rides.

We ended our day here at Knott’s by having their famous chicken dinner. Even that place changed from what it used to be. Back in the day, they had one thing on the menu and that was fried chicken. And they used to print the chicken recipe on their paper placemats for you to take home. Not any more. I must admit that the chicken didn’t taste as good as some others but the price is decent. And, if you’re like me, you have a lot of pleasant memories of this place. We went here often while I was growing up.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Day 7 - Disneyland

Writing a short (or long) blog post while standing in line for a ride seems to be a reasonable way to spend the time. We arrived around 9:00 and used tickets that Bridget purchased online. Some sort of online special of three days for the price of two. The first ride broke down while we waited so we picked up a FastPass for later in the day. This was Indiana Jones.

We practically walked onto Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. Very short lines. After a delicious breakfast/snack of grilled cheese and tomato basil soup, we went back to try again using the FastPass. The ride broke down again when we were almost ready to board. They got it running again then it broke down again just after we got back to the boarding area at the end of the ride. We were led off the ride by walking a short way along the side of the track. Not a good day for that ride.

No FastPass for the It’s a Small World ride. I think it was about 40 minutes of listening to the same music. But it’s Disneyland so you put up with it.

We watched a musical show then on to lunch. This place is pretty crowded due to Spring Break. Poor planning on our part. But since this isn’t our first visit, there is no pressure to see/ride anything. We are catching our shuttle back to the campground at 4:30 so we are not going to be closing the park.

We went into the President exhibit expecting Great Moments With Abraham Lincoln but watched a preview of the new live action Dumbo movie coming out later this month.

Back to the RV park by 4:45. Time to relax w/ibuprofen...

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Day 6 - Visiting Family

Today, we picked up my middle son, Kenji, in Long Beach and headed to Fountain Valley where we met up with relatives from my dad’s side of the family. We met up at Stonefire Grill since there was plenty of room for us to spread out and the food was served family style. The pesto pizza and the tri-tip were the real stand outs as far as food goes.

We got to meet the newest addition to the family courtesy of Erin and Austyn. Erin’s parents, Ken and. Celia, are in the photo above. My other cousin, Helene, brought her whole family to the meetup. Helene and Jeff are on the left in the first picture. Most of their family is in the third picture. We had seen most of this group at the family reunion in Vancouver, B.C., last summer. It was great to see everyone again and Kenji seems to be doing just fine after his move to California last January.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Day 5 - Anaheim, CA

It wasn’t too hectic of a drive from Palm Springs into Anaheim today. We left just after 9:00 so we missed morning rush hour and the lunch rush. But there was still a lot of traffic. Fortunately, the route was known from back when I used to live in the L.A. basin. Some highways didn’t exist back then such as I-215 and some are wider than I remembered. But not too bad. We got set up before noon. And there are citrus trees scattered throughout the park. Oranges and lemons are free for the picking.

The pool is surrounded by what looks like date palms. It’s kind of hard to see in the picture but it looks like there are dates. Today is kind of windy which means that the pool is nice and quiet. Tomorrow, we are headed for Long Beach and Huntington Beach to visit with family. Then, I think, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm before Bridget heads north for a couple of days. Next Friday, I’ll be moving to a Thousand Trails park for a couple of weeks.

This place is more RV park than campground but at least there is grass between the sites. A tree does get in the way of the awning so I can’t put it out. We are a couple of miles from Disneyland and right across the street from a handful of restaurants. There are only a handful of RV parks anywhere around Disneyland and they charge accordingly.  The free WiFi is slow but at least it’s free. In Palm Springs we paid $15 for the week and it was still slow. But Verizon is 27 Mbps down and 17 Mbps up. So we always have that option. Plus, there are probably 30 over the air TV channels in case we are completely bored…

Something odd at the last campground. Last night, the EMS (Progressive Industries Electrical Management System) started to report error after error. The EMS disconnected us from shore power as designed and was reporting under-voltage errors and frequency errors. Really odd. Rather than debug, I just turned off the breaker at the pedestal and turned on our inverter. I turned the breaker back on this morning and all seemed to be well. It makes me wonder what someone in the the park was messing around with. Nice to have the batteries.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Day 4 - Pi Day -TT

I was told that we needed to pick up a pie today in honor of π Day. So, off to the grocery store. I also wanted to fill up on diesel as tomorrow is a travel day into the Los Angeles basin. We are only going into Anaheim and not Los Angeles but still I think it’ll be a hassle while towing the trailer. We filled up at a Ralph’s grocery store which accepted my Fred Meyer number. So we got a modest 20¢/gal discount. Especially here in California, anything helps. On the pump at this Ralph’s grocery store, they listed all of the taxes. Including Federal, State and Local taxes. The State tax was over double the other two combined.

Earlier in the day, we stopped at an ice cream shop and we weren’t charged sales tax. I asked the clerk why. He said that they charge sales tax if the ice cream is consumed in the shop and no sales tax if it is “to go”. Very confusing.

I’d stay here at the Palm Springs Thousand Trails again. It would be more convenient if it had some sort of store on the premises and I like the jacuzzi at some of the other parks better. There are complaints online such as you are crammed in but I don’t think that’s the case. Especially compared to some other RV parks such as Lake Havasu or Las Vegas. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Day 3 - How to Spend the Afternoon - TT

You can see more of the date palm farm look from this angle. The RV spaces are simply the space between the trees. And the streets are the rows between the trees. Not too much accomplished today. Grocery shopping, laundry, and we wandered over to the RV dealer next door to see what they had in used Class A, diesel pushers. They had several and one that would be a good fit. This demonstrated that what we may be looking for in the future is available at a not unreasonable price.

Then, it was sitting around the pool time. I must admit that I like sitting around the pool especially on days like today.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Day 2 - Bridget’s New E-Bike - TT

It’s been a long wait but Bridget finally has her e-bike. It is a RadMini Step-Thru that was just released on February 28th. It has a 750-watt motor, a 48volt 14 AH battery and has a range of 30-40 miles depending on terrain and the rider’s level of participation, I.e. The more the rider pedals, the longer the battery lasts. It also has 20” rims and 4” wide “fat tires” though they are more oriented to street use. I assembled it today and adjusted the brakes and the rear derailleur and took it for a short test ride around the RV park. Handles nice and you can tell it has twice as many magnets on the cadence sensor. The pedal assist reacts much faster and smoother than the GreenBike-USA that I have. What is missing when compared to the GreenBike model are things like the rear rack, fenders, turn signals, and horn. But it did come with a bell which I had to add. They seemed to be following the Henry Ford model for color. Any color you want as long as it’s white. The color for the non-Step-Thru RadMini is only black.

A huge thank you to David and Cee for accepting the shipment at their apartment in Loma Linda. Many RV parks won’t accept packages including the Palm Springs Resort that we are at now. The Needles Marina was an exception as was the Benson, AZ, park. We had checked out before the bike would ship. Right now, Bridget is attending a basket weaving class here at the RV park next to the pool. (Underwater basket weaving?) And I’m getting ready for another audio conference.

BTW, you may have noticed that the day-counter in the title restarted and that’s because I looped back through Fairbanks. I want to keep track of the days outside of Alaska. After yesterday’s wind and rain, today was wonderful weather. A perfect day for riding the new e-bike around the RV park.

The picture below shows the palm trees around the pool. The palms are all in line and I think they are date palms. The RV park probably used to be a date farm.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Day 1 - Loma Linda - TT

No, we haven’t left Palm Springs yet but we did head into the L.A. basin today to visit with Fairbanks friends David and Cee. Bridget also had her e-bike and medication shipped to them as the Palm Springs RV park didn’t accept packages. We had a wonderful visit and learned how a plant-based diet could positively affect your health and well being. I will definitely looking into this as first hand accounts are always pretty convincing. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant and they served the tom kah kai soup in a hot pot. The soup was delicious but not as spicy as I normally get it.

We then packed Bridget’s new bike up and headed back out to the desert. There really are some horrible drivers around here. A not unusual move was cutting from the far left lane to the acceleration lane on the on-ramp, passing trucks and cars then swinging all the way back to the left lane weaving through traffic all the way. Weaving through traffic seemed to be the norm as is speeding. Speed limits only apply to others…

I don’t really look forward to bringing the RV into the L.A. basin on Friday.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Waiting at SeaTac

Here’s the difference from me, the snapshot taker, and someone who knows what they are doing. The first photo is Dom’s modified photo followed by my original. I looked at mine and my only thoughts were how to remove the greenish blue artifact near the sun and I wanted the snow in the background to be white. I just let Apple take care of the exposure and called it good enough. I didn’t even bother with the greenish artifact.

Right now, I’m sitting in the Seattle airport waiting for my next flight to Palm Springs. I made it to the airport just fine even though TSA was bothered about my unopened box of Cheese-Its. Feeling a need to X-ray it multiple times.

The wait here isn’t long and the gate is right Waji’s so my late breakfast is Spam musubi. I can’t complain about that. It sounds better than Cheese-Its.

Even though this dog may look familiar, it’s a different dog named Charlie. I was invited to dinner last night by JedW and this is their dog. The age and history suggest that he may be a sibling of Bridget’s dog.