Saturday, December 31, 2011

14 November 2011 Le Brea and Santa Monica

We both had great memories of visiting La Brea so we were excited at the chance to return. It was a lot of fun walking through the museum a second time. I noticed a lot more on this visit than the last. After the museum visit, we spent more time on the grounds visiting the many remaining open tar pits. The methane gas bubbles and the tar bubbles are quite a sight.


Those are really strangely shaped teeth.

Too bad there was no work taking place in the lab today.


Methane bubbles from the surface.

Unlike the vigorous gas bubbling from the methane, the tar bubbles are a much slower proces. They rise up like a viscous balloon, then plop and look like collapsed dough.

Neither of us seemed too worried about the short faced bear behind us.

We both spotted the food trucks across the street from the museum and park and wanted to try the fare. Food trucks may be the rage in many other places, but they have been rare creatures on the landscape of northeast Ohio. There is certainly nowhere else in our normal travels where this level of food variety was waiting. We saw lots of trucks setting up in Portland during the spring, but were too early for food. Today was just right.


A completely unexpected surprise was an art exhibit in display near where we ate. The piece was a ten-panel section of the Berlin Wall including four panels with the original cold-war graffiti from when the wall was torn down. It's a bit strange to think that soon the Berlin Wall will be a few paragraphs in history as those of us who remember depart. As a youth, I remember the evening news stories of some poor soul being shot to death as he tried to cross the wall and reach freedom. It was important for me to touch this symbol of people who cared so much they were willing to die.

Are they following me? I tried to talk Ali into stopping by the booth and getting interviewed for the archives. She said no. I'm not so sure I want to hear what she had to say. I know what I would say. I just have no idea how I would say it (or any idea of how to fix this html).

This is a nice piece of outdoor work at the museum. It has the twelve Chinese Zodial sculptures arranged in a circle. Ali is posing by the Rat which is the year for both of us. It's a bit interesting. Ali mirrors the positive traits of someone born in a rat year while I unfortunately am a near perfect match for the negatives. Hmmmm....

Our walk around Santa Monica was amazing. We were here soon enough to see the sunset and take a long walk before meeting Ali's aunt and cousin for dinner. It was great to see Ali's family again, and the dinner was super and probably the best of the trip.

13 November 2011 Caching a Busy Day

For non-cachers, a busy day is a caching day where multiple cache types are found. We've never really tried for a busy day since we have so many finds in areas where we usually cache. Today was different. We have only a few finds in California. Ali was able to set a course for us to potentially grab as many as eight cache types (traditional, multi, puzzle, letterbox, whereigo, webcam, virtual, and an earthcache). We got seven. The webcam was at a ferry along the water. The wonderful weekend weather had brought a ton of tourists to the narrow streets and alleys. We got into the traffic mess and realized there was no way to accomplish our mission. Too bad, the place looked a great area to spend some time and explore.

Our journey was hectic and ended late. The whereigo, like so many whereigo's seemed and endless process of walking constantly in circles hoping the cartridge would engage. If whereigo's worked well, the cache owner's idea would have been a lot of fun, but it turned out to be tedious and too much of an afternoon. We ended with seven. Not bad for a busy day. I think I'll pass on any chances to repeat, but it's one more challenge completed.

This nice tree was the perfect place to hide a micro. Ali finally spotted the container.

This was one of many spotted on the trail today. Later, we were in a location where I had left the camera behind because of the terrain. On that trail we spotted a lizard living in a piece of cloth stuck about four feet up in a bush. That lizard was completely unfazed by us and would have been an nice model. Oh well...

Flames? On an Audi?

At least we had a great view of the mountains as we walked back and forth like a bunch of chickens completing the whereigo.

Friday, December 30, 2011

12 November 2012 It Never Rains In...

Southern California. The song was wrong. It really does. We were up today hoping the rain would hold off and we could hike the back country trail in Crystal Cove. We had breakfast and drove over hoping the weather would stay at a light drizzle. Our plans didn't work as we pulled into the drive and immediately saw the sign saying the trails were closed. We drove across the highway and made a stop at Ruby's (yum) for an early shake and to re-group.

Wildlife watching while enjoying a chocolate malt.

After a shake and a malt, we re-grouped and headed to the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. Ali made a great call here since weather at this wet place would not be a problem. It was a super day for birds. The rain was just a mist for most of the afternoon as we enjoyed the trails. We later made our way to the San Diego Creek bike trail for a bit to grab a few last caches. The rain really started to pick up so we finally called it a day. Our last find was a fun sudoku with the final cache at an asian mall. We had a great time at the mall and were only disappointed that we had no means to cook to enjoy all the tempting goodies.

I'm glad there was no cache here...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

11 November 2011 CLE - ORD - SNA

We were on our way to California! I had a few days to attend a conference and we had a few vacation days to burn. We tried to set up a challenge for Cleveland Hopkins Airport using the Ramones guitar, but couldn't get a signal. Our one stop was in Chicago where we were able to nab a virtual and complete a challenge. Later while Ali took care of the paperwork for our rental car, I snapped a picture of the Duke. We had a lunch at a local restaurant and spent the afternoon caching in a park and along a bike trail not from the hotel.