Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer Slump

I have post-vacation blues. Maybe it's because my ten days were so full of places to go and things to do. Maybe I feel like I don't have anywhere else to go. Luckily summer isn't yet half over so I still have plenty of time to experience the outdoors.

I thought maybe a small way to transition from no activity to something would be to go somewhere close enough that I could listen to only one CD on my drive, but far away enough where the sights aren't completely familiar.

Felton sounded like a good idea at the time. Maybe the town's name would cheer me up, but it only reminded me that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince movie is still four months away.

At least this time I found the historical marker. Only about 900 left to go!

While I was in Scott's Valley I stopped at Surf City Coffee for a blended drink. I quite enjoy Santa Cruz and the area, but I must stress that Huntington Beach is Surf City.

After I had a Cowabunga I felt a bit better. Now I need to hit the travel books and plan my next great adventure.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

San Luis Obispo

Bubblegum Alley. The first time I heard about this was in the book "Weird California." As I love the bizarre and eccentric I added it to my list of things to see.

It started with Cal Poly students in the 60's that wanted to write messages of rivalry on the wall. They used gum and before anyone knew it, the walls were covered. SLO tried to remove the gum three times but each time many pieces ended up on the walls again. The residents finally embraced it and have voted to leave it there as a bizarre landmark. The local merchants also like Bubblegum Alley and even sell bubblegum in their shops so people can contribute to the wall.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

At Mission San Luis Obispo I was able to check off another California Historical Landmark.

I also stopped in the SLO County Historical Museum. They are proud of their Farmer's Market and have a display about the local growers.

For lunch I stopped at the Apple Farm for some apple cider baked beans. That is so delicious!

Apples are their specialty, obviously, which is apparent in their food products and gifts. They have a lot of apple-themed kitchen items and apple flavored candies and treats. Their apple jam is very good.

I enjoyed some fresh apple cider and some apple candy before my long drive home. It was very refreshing and now I am in the mood for more apple cider.

The vacation was a lot of fun and I am happy with all the new things I got to see and do. I love Southern California and I love Disneyland and vacations, but it's good to be home. And now I can start planning for my next trip.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wrapping Up Vacation

On Saturday I did some last minute shopping in Downtown Disney. I stopped in Build-A-Bear to make sure I didn't miss out on any Disney outfits. I also went into the World of Disney to find any postcards I didn't pick up earlier in the week.

I went to Compass Books for an iced caramel macchiato to pump myself with caffeine so I would be alert for the drive. It's about a 250 mile drive to San Luis Obispo.

Solvang is a place I have always wanted to visit but never got the chance. Since I was driving in that direction I decided to stop and look around. I saw the basic stuff like a couple of windmills and a few cute buildings. It would probably take a whole day to really explore the town and I will probably get back there again one day to visit.

I saw a number of bakeries in the town and wondered if any sold danish. I wondered if there was a candy store in town but didn't look for one.

Solvang is very proud of Hans Christian Andersen and they have a memorial to him in the park.

This is a very cute town and worth a visit.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 5 in Disneyland

I couldn't go the whole week without eating a Mickey Mouse pancake. I really enjoy the River Belle Terrace, they have the best breakfast potatoes.

"C" is for Califia.

My first stop was at the Burr-Bank ice cream shop for a giant mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I love all the references to bears in DCA, but after all, this is a park devoted to California.

At the Mission Tortilla Factory there is a video of the history of the tortilla, and when you step inside the machines are there showing how they are made. At the end of the tour everyone is given a tortilla. Some days they give corn and some days they give flour. I was lucky to be there on flour day, that is my favorite type. If only I had some cheese...

I went back to the SS Rustworthy, the interactive boat in Paradise Pier.

I caught a wave!

I went to Pizza Omm Mow Wow for dinner. I wanted to eat pizza, but instead was eaten by a giant tiki.

How rude!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Disneyland Day 4

More refernces to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy have been added to Pirate's Lair. If only Will Turner were really there...

The cage would be a lot more fun if it really swung.

Found me treasure!

I took it easy this day, I was now on day eight of my trip and wanted to rest. I didn't really feel tired but thought it best to gear up for my last few days which included two long drives.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 3

I went on the Haunted Mansion which isn't scary at all. Getting there first thing in the morning has an advantage of getting right on with no wait, but it also bypasses all the fun tombstones. I enjoy puns and these jokes are not grave.

The Sailing Ship Columbia is a relaxing ride around the Rivers of America, except for when it's taken over by pirates. Unless it's Captain Jack which would make it very enjoyable...

This is one of those obscure, lesser-known sites. This is behind Harbour Galley where the Columbia is docked.

From New Orleans Square I was able to smell the honey down in Critter Country. I stuck my hands in it, but alas, it was made of resin. I needed something sweet to satisfy my sudden craving.

The answer was close at hand as there is a candy store at the end of Critter Country. Now my problem was to decide what to buy. Caramel apples, chocolate covered pretzels, turtles, chocolates... a very difficult decision.

I was hoping for a fresh batch of honey, but again, resin. Good thing, I could have been stung.

The Hungry Bear Restaurant has the usual fare of burgers and lunch foods. It was closed when I went, but since I don't eat burgers it was just as well. I know where to get vegetarian food in the Park.

A great thing happened while I was walking towards Fantasyland. A Cast Member stopped me and told me I was the winner of Magical Fast Passes. This was great and I went on the big rides. I started with Autopia for a nice drive around Tomorrowland. I spent the rest of the day riding the big rides. I got such an addiction for that adrenaline rush and just had to ride everything. To me, the most thrilling is the Maliboomer. I think this is moreso because I can see the whole way, which is different from the other dark rides. When I don't know a drop is coming I don't live through the anticipation.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Disneyland Day 2

"N" is for Norrington! The letters weren't very crowded so we took the opportunity to pose on them.

One of my favorite things about California Adventure is the Malibu Mocha. Coffee and ice cream are some of my other dietary staples. All that sugar gave us some quick energy for the challenge we were about to take.

On our way to Redwood Creek we stopped for a pose with this classic plane. Good thing the propeller didn't start or there would be stuffing everywhere!

We arrived at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail where we did a lot of climbing, sliding, and exploring. We felt right at home among all the redwoods. They didn't even seem unnatural in the land of palm trees.

We made it all the way to the top and back down of the rope bridges. By now I am able to just run right up and across. It's just a bit hard wearing rubber clogs, though.

The "real" Califia. This is the spirit of California, the queen for whom I was named. In the Palace of Fine Arts - the DCA version - is a 20 minute, inspirational history of California. Though I have seen it many times, it still makes me cry.

In the Paradise Pier area is an interactive boat with water play. There are a lot of bells to ring and even some surf boards to ride.

After watching the new Pixar parade we went to Disneyland for some dinner. We decided on pizza in ToonTown and wanted to play while we were there.

ToonTown is a fun place to play and even more fun for photos. All the sets are great to climb, and there is a play area at Goofy's House that is fun for climbing or relaxing.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Disneyland Day 1

Norrington met me in Disneyland for a couple of days. The first day I was surprised by the lack of crowds. I thought maybe most people left by then since the holiday weekend was over. The crowds did pick up as the day progressed so maybe most people were sleepin in. It still was not as packed as I have seen on some previous visits.

We spent a lot of the morning in Fantasyland. I enjoy the calliope music on King Arthur's Carousel and Alice In Wonderland is one of my favorite rides.

The weather was perfect. It was low 70's in the mornings and evenings and low 80's during the day. It still felt nice to get in the air conditioned shops, but it wasn't so hot that it was un-bear-able.

I love all the scenery in Disneyland. It is my very favorite place in all the world to photograph. And not only the big landmarks like Thunder Mountain, but all the obscure overlooked things as well.

We took an afternoon break then went into California Adventure for the evening. We ate dinner at Boudins, my favorite place for sourdough bread.

Paradise Pier is beautiful, and especially lovely at night. We were dressed for the new Toy Story ride, but when we went to check out the line, it was already closed due to all the people waiting to ride. We'll have to wait until the next trip to give a review.

We did get on the Monsters, Inc ride. Like some of the other DCA rides, this one has a coordinating scent to enhance the ride.

When I got back to my room I munched on a Mickey Mouse cupcake. Then it was time to rest to start all over again the next day.