Last year in June, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I were in Philadelphia. We also past the Lincoln Financial Field, while driving on the Delaware Expressway/Interstate 95. Since the Philadelphia Eagles won this year’s Super Bowl, I pulled up photos of their home stadium.
December 29 & 30, 2017
Friday was a much better day. I was back to my normal self. After getting cleaned up and leaving the motel, we ate breakfast in a family owned restaurant. At the table next to us sat four tourists from Sweden. They were here to see the canyons in Arizona and Utah, before they would go to the Californian coast. I shared some information, about the Antelope Canyon and the Colorado River Discovery Tour in Page. Back in May 2008, Kevin, Katelynn and I went camping at the Grand Canyon. While we were in Arizona, we also did the above mentioned tours, walked the rim of the Barringer Meteor Crater for half a mile, and looked at petrified wood and mesas along the Interstate 40. This is the reason why we stayed only for a couple of hours at the Grand Canyon, this time. That way Sara could see the canyon, before we drove back home to Texas.
A little bit north of the Barringer Meteor Crater is a rest area at Interstate 40. I let Kevin know, that I would like to stop and capture several photos of the outer crater rim. Katelynn, Sara and I climbed up on some boulders to get a better few of the rim. It is still huge, seen from a 6-mile distance. Since Kevin, Katelynn and I have seen the Barringer Meteor Crater almost 10 years ago, we decided to save the money and move on.
At Friday evening we left New Mexico and made it past Amarillo in Texas. At the rest area we slept for several hours in the car. It was nice and cozy with all the blankets and comforters we were wrapped in. And it was a good decision, we stopped in the Texas Panhandles. Shortly after some dense fog rolled in. But the colder wind blew it out of the area over night.
On Saturday morning, we got some breakfast from a drive thru place and moved on. There were only 290 miles left to get home. We all were relieved, when Kevin drove up the driveway. Lexi, Luis, Joshua and Chewbacca greeted us, as soon as we opened the front door. After a long trip with the van, it was so nice to be back home. 🙂
~ The End ~
December 28, 2017
On that Thursday, I didn’t feel well when I woke up with a neck ache. I took an Ibuprofen and made sure I stayed hydrated throughout the day. But I still could not get rid of it. Later in the day it turned into a headache. We think, the higher elevation driving through California and Nevada played a part in it. Hoover Dam was planned in. I told Kevin, I can’t make it all the way up the stairs to stand on the bridge and look down Hoover Dam. “How about we cross it and find a parking spot on the other side? I don’t mind seeing it from the backside. It still will be impressive”, I suggested. Said, done. After looking at the Hoover Dam and parts of Lake Mead/Colorado River, capturing some photos and a potty break, we found out we had to cross the dam again. The road to the dam in Arizona was closed. So, we had back track to get to Highway 93. Driving through Arizona, I grabbed my neck pillow and took a nap for most of the way to Williams, AZ. I was glad, when I could stretch out and sleep in the motel bed. Kevin, Katelynn and Sara went for a walk and had dinner in that small Western-style town.
… to be continued …
December 27, 2017
First of all I like to say, I experienced first hand how the media is full of themselves. Worldwide it was reported, that Disneyland had a mega power outage and the guests had to leave the park. BULLSHIT! (Yes, I said it “B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T!” And I’m too old that I have to explain, why I curse sometimes. So, if someone feels offended in any way: Don’t let the door hit ya, where the dear Lord split ya! 😉 ) The outage lasted maybe 15 minutes maximum, and the people who left the park, where just too exhausted with that many people vistiting the park that day. Now this is said, I move on with my regular vacation blog.
While Fantasyland experienced a power outage, Kevin and I decided to go with Katelynn and Sara to Tomorrowland. Oh boy, that was a mistake! That part of the park was even more gridlocked than Critter Country and the New Orleans Square. I said to Kevin: “Do you know, what? Since it is so crowded, let’s take the train and go back over to Mickey’s Toontown. Maybe we run into some characters. The girls would enjoy that. Waiting in line for a ride seems so much less stressful, than trying to get from one place to another.” Kevin agreed, while we walked over to wait for the Disneyland Railroad.
Several trains came and left the station, before it was our turn. We got the train car booth all the way at the end, which was very nice. Arriving at the station by Mickey’s Toontown, we had some ice cream under the railroad bridge. Kevin mentioned, it was short before 3:30 pm. If we wanted to see the parade, we needed to hurry. But the girls and I enjoyed sitting with our ice cream on the bench next to Mickey’s Toontown. After the refreshing break, we ran into Pluto and went on the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin ride. While Kevin and Katelynn rode the Gadget’s Go Coaster, Sara and I walked around and looked at some characters’ houses and boats.
It was dark, when Kevin and Katelynn came back from their ride in the coaster. When we left Mickey’s Toontown, we passed “It’s A Small World”. Wow! It was breath taking seeing the display lit up in all these wonderful Christmas lights. We didn’t care, that the line was long. When it was our turn to sit in the boat, we spent about two and a half hours in line. But it would be all worth it. The ride was fun and made up for a lot of stuff in the park.
Our plan was seeing the fireworks. But when Katelynn and I sat on the ground, while Kevin and Sara got some hotdogs for dinner, we both felt the exhaustion. Katelynn just wanted to go to bed. She was very tired. And once I sat down, I had a hard time to move a muscle. Kevin and I decided to skip the fireworks, and go back to the hotel. It was a very good decision. We avoided the big crowd trying to get out of the park after the firework display. Spending about twelve hours in a park, was long enough.
When we came back to the hotel, we all were so tired, we fell asleep within a few minutes.
… to be continued …
NOTE: My two blogs about Disneyland might come across negative. But it is not against the park or its staff. I love Disney. And I love their parks as well. But we’ve noticed, that the visitors are a little more “aggressive”, than what we usually experience in Walt Disney World. Some of them trying to get to their rides fast, without acknowledging their surroundings; or they are lost and don’t know, what to do next, stop in the middle of the bottle neck, which makes the walk not flowing smoothly. This can get very frustrating for other visitors, who would like enjoy their day in Disneyland. It’s food for thought. 😉
December 27, 2017
The big day was here! Before Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I left the hotel room, I made sure we had the tickets for Disneyland. On the way to the park we went to have breakfast at Denny’s. That place still looks exactly the same, as I remembered it from 11 years ago. Kevin’s uncle had a time share next door. So, we spent quite some time in that Denny’s.
After breakfast, we parked in the Disney parking lot a little bit further down Harbor Blvd. The busses were ready to transport the big crowd to the entrance of Disneyland. It was a beautiful, sunny morning on a Winter Break day. A loooot of people wanted to go to the parks. So, we spent about an hour just to get in. Once we made it through the bag check point, bathroom break, and entrance, I cheered that we are in: “Yay, we made it into the park! WOOHOO!” Several people heard me, and began to laugh. 😀
When we go into a Disney park, we always take a park map with us. It never hurts to have one. And still, after all the visits to Magic Kingdom in both, Walt Disney World and Disneyland, we still can’t remember everything. Some rides also change or the area gets refurbished over the years. One way to not get too exhausted in a Disney park, we just walk around and do activities in a clockwise circle. We made the mistake before to go crisscrossing a park in Walt Disney World. Lots of walking, and nothing gets really done.
Kevin, the girls and I checked out the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise in Adventure Land, before we hopped over to Pirates of The Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion at the New Orleans Square. I definitely had to see both Jacks (Sparrow and Skellington) ;). After that, we had lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country. We went there at the perfect time. Because when we left the restaurant, it was crowded and hard to find a table. Kevin and I decided to skip photos with Pooh and his friends. The lines were just too long. We rather wanted to go on the new ship Columbia and “sail” around Tom Sawyer’s Island. As soon as we got of the boat, we made our way over to Frontierland. Something wasn’t right. There was no big crowd. And it was too quiet. Usually the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad would literally thunder through its mountains. Okay, let’s move on to Fantasyland. No ride was moving either. It just didn’t look right. Kevin asked a Disney employee, what was going on. He politely applied that “the area experiences a power outage. And therefore the rides are closed for this moment. But the power should be back any minute. They are working on finding the reason of the outage.” I said to Kevin: “Now, that makes sense. That’s why the Big Thunder is not thundering, and it was actually comfortable to walk from the Columbia over here.” The Matterhorn on the other hand was flooded with guests. Kevin said, we could go over to Tomorrowland to sit it out until everything is back to normal. What a mistake! The crowd turned into even a greater gridlock than in Critter Country. …
… to be continued …
December 26, 2017
Driving along the coast on Interstate 5 was very relaxing. Usually the road is a gridlock the further it goes toward Los Angeles. But due to the fact that it was a day after Christmas, we had a clear shot to Anaheim. Arriving in Anaheim, we went to the hotel to check in first. Since we arrived early in the day, and it was too soon for having lunch, we decided to go to Downtown Disney. I love Downtown Disney, but … oh boy … I can drop some $$ every time I go there. 😀 We looked at some stores. The girls played with Lego, before we went to the World of Disney. After purchasing Disney jackets for all four of us, and Kevin got us a new Christmas tree skirt, which I always wanted, I had enough of spending money. On a good note: The tree skirt was way cheaper at Disney, than the price I’ve seen at other online stores.
Around noon we drove to eat lunch in Orange, which is the next town over from Anaheim. After refreshing and resting at the hotel for a couple of hours, we went to see Kevin’s uncle, aunt, and cousins. They invited us for a nice home cooked dinner, which was so appreciated after being on the road for the last three days. We all had a good time. Our girls enjoyed talking to Kevin’s cousins. Katelynn was very little, when she visited California back in 2006. Sara met her grandmother’s family side for the first time. They all had a lot to share. After a few hours, we went back to the hotel. The next day would be a long day in Disneyland.
… to be continued …
December 26, 2017
Kevin got up at 5 am PST (Pacific Standard Time) to cook breakfast, before we walked down to the beach. We wanted to get to the ocean, before the sun was rising. After breakfast, we all got dressed and were ready to go. Less than five minutes later, Kevin and the girls chased and got chased by the waves like little sandpipers. The seagulls looked curious at us. Maybe they wondered, if we have some food for them. I picked up a few sea shells along the way to the Crystal Pier. After I captured several photos of the sunrise, the waves and the cloud formations by the pier, I walked back to my family. Kevin and Katelynn were still chasing waves. And Sara enjoyed drawing hearts and flowers in the soft, wet sand. Kevin and I noticed some surfers and watched them riding the waves, for little bit. After an hour, we went back to the condo. We got cleaned up, packed the car and went back on the road to get to Anaheim. Here are some photos of our fun morning at the San Diego Pacific Beach. Enjoy! 🙂
… to be continued …