Archive for December, 2009

A Day in L.A.
December 5, 2009

After a morning of school and work we headed north to see what we could see… 


…like the Good Year blimp landing right beside us! 

Beverly Hills

                              …and Beverly Hills. Love the slogan.   


…and this place….

Hollywood's Walk of Fame

Hollywood & Vine


Do you know what’s better than the California sunshine and glitz of Hollywood? 


                                                     …a sister! 

And since it was starting to get dark…and Hollywood is really not in the best part of town, we headed back into Beverly Hills for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and desert from Coldstone Creamery. 

Coldstone - Yum!

A Day at the Zoo…
December 4, 2009

Oceanside Pier

Our next stop was Oceanside, California, a little town centrally located for all the side trips we planned to take…

FIRST TRIP: San Diego Zoo

Did you know…

1. Polar bears fur is not white, but rather clear and hollow.

2. Koala bears are not bears at all, and they sleep about 22 hours each day. Koala’s get very little nutrition from their eucalyptus only diet, therefore, they have very little energy.

3.Elephants dust themselves with dirt and hay to protect their very sensitive skin from sunburn.

4. Horses are native to North America, contrary to what some history books say…

5. Warthogs really do have a face that only a mother could love. The warthogs here were watched for days by Disney animators while they were making The Lion King. Not only did they want to be able to draw them well, but also be able to portray warthog behaivor correctly.

Morro Bay & Hearst Castle
December 1, 2009

  We spent one night in Morro Bay, California. Arriving in the dark, we could hardly see the outline of the “pebble” that made this town famous. At daybreak we couldn’t believe our eyes. After breakfast Hilary and I headed 25 miles north to tour Hearst Castle, while Scott, Amber and Tyler headed toward the beach on bikes. The “pebble,” standing 480 feet tall, is actually a volcanic plug, and it towers over the buildings, over the sailboat masts, over the town.

As Hilary and I arrived at the castle, I discovered that my camera battery that read full the night before, didn’t have enough juice to even turn the camera on…How can I not take photos?

 Here is a little bit of what we were able to capture with the camera on Hilary’s cell phone:

 Surrounding the main residence (Casa Grande) are the three guest houses; La Casa del Sol, La Casa del Monte, and La Casa del Mar. We toured La Casa del Sol and parts of la Casa Grande. The estate includes 165 rooms and is too large to tour in one day.  The main house has 38 bedrooms, and 42 bathrooms.

Willian Randolph Hearst was the son of a wealthy mining engineer, but independently made his fortune in newspapers,  magazines, radio and film. He was kicked out of Harvard for being a prankster. The last straw might have been his purchase of ornate bed-pans for each of the chancellors and having each personalized with their names  inside. He then hand delivered them…

The Neptune Pool

The columns on the Roman Temple that you see on the opposite side of the pool are 2000 years old. The columns to the right were made to match. He re-used, copied and re-purposed many parts (celings, doors, walls…) of this residence, importing many things from Italy, Greece, Spain and Egypt. Hearst’s guest list included Charlie Chaplin, Carey Grant, Joan Crawford,  Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Clark Gable, Bob Hope, Franklin Rooseveldt, and Winston Churchill…to name a few. 

In 1957 the Hearst family donated the estate to the State of California. Maintaining the castle and grounds costs about $10,000,000.00 per year.

Hilary and I enjoyed our “girl-time” and the scenic drive along the coast back to Morro Bay to meet up with the rest of our gang, and then head south to our last stop in California.