Summertime and the livin' is busy. So much so that not only have I not tended to my blog very well, but I haven't taken a single stitch since sometime in June. While that doesn't make me all that sad, I can tell that summer may well be winding down. This morning, Larkin and I headed out on our usual walk at the local lagoon and beach. It was like a ghost town down there. Back in June, the crowds of families, day camps, surf camps, life guard camps, etc. made it feel almost like there were more bodies than grains of sand. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration . . . . but you know what I mean. We will will have at least one more go of crowds over Labor Day weekend, but for now schools are in session and the the tourists are gone.
If you have been a reader of my blog for any amount of time, you well know that I LOVE Disneyland. Hubby and I have had annual passes for nearly 15 years. We use them regularly and we use them often. Beyond rides, there is an abundance of live entertainment to be enjoyed not to mention good, old-fashioned people watching. Earlier this month, did something we have never tried before and took a guided tour.
Called "A Walk In Walt's Footsteps" this tour shares Walt's vision for a place where parents and children alike could enjoy amusements together, how that became Disneyland Park, and how the development of audio-animatronics took everything to a whole new place. All very interesting, but for me the real draw was the opportunity to set foot inside the lobby of Club 33 and Walt's personal apartment (a stop added to the tour about a year ago).
We had a wonderful tour guide. She was knowledgeable, affable and clearly loves all things Disney. She kept our group of 14 on the move for the entire 3 hours. We talked about the construction, opening day in 1955, attractions then and now. Soon enough we were in New Orleans Square - looking at that door . . . the one I never imagined I would ever pass through.
And then it opened just a little bit.
Suddenly we were welcomed inside.
I would say that is was everything I had imagined but that would not be true since I couldn't even think of what I should imagine. It was a timely visit because Club 33 is about to undergo a major renovation that will change it significantly. This was the impetus to take the tour NOW as I wanted to see it while it still appeared as Walt would have.
We finished the tour with that promised visit to Walt's personal apartment. He had the apartment installed as the park was being built to make it easier to be on site during construction. It is only 500 square feet in size and is above the Fire House on Main Street USA.
When Walt was in the park, a lamp was lit in the window so Cast Members would be aware of his presence. That lamp now burns continuously as a reminder of that Walt's spirit lives to this day inside Disneyland. I always pause to look at that light whenever we visit - never once dreaming that I might actually see it from any other vantage point.
We were asked to leave our personal belongings (including cameras) on a table when we entered the apartment as no photography is allowed. At the end of our tour, our guide took photos of us *I cropped us out ;-) * Two photos per camera - one oriented in landscape and one in portrait. There was a bit of 'huh?' when I asked for my second photo to be this:
But I had my reason. Hubby and I finished out the day by enjoying the audio-animatronic attractions - The Enchanted Tiki Room, It's a Small World, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. It was a great day.
Today is another great day.
We are celebrating 1 year with Larkin as a member of our family. What a year it has been. There's been a lot of growing, a lot of training, some REALLY frustrating days, but mostly just sweet doggy love. Here's to celebrating a whole bunch more of these anniversaries!
Bye Bye, July! We hardly got the chance to know you and already you are gone. We sure had fun while you were here. You got started with a *bang* Fourth of July fireworks have a way of making that happen. You closed out with a little getaway - one that didn't work out exactly as planned, but was fun just the same.
Hubby and I took the Amtrak train north to Paso Robles, CA in hopes of a little R&R and to fulfill a long held 'bucket list' item for me to ride the train over Cuesta Grade. There are series of tunnels that the train travels through. As a little girl, I was awed by the long long freight trains that worked their way over the grade stretched out so far that the cars were going through multiple tunnels all at the same time. I would think, 'Someday, I'm going to ride a train up there to see what that is like.' Sadly, that 'someday' may never come.
Our original train was on time leaving the station. We changed trains in Los Angeles and that train was just over an hour late leaving the depot. About an hour into the trip, the unthinkable happened - our train hit a pedestrian! A teenager who was walking too close to the track and did not respond to the warning horns. Luck was on his/her side though and the accident was not a fatality. (We found a newspaper article that stated the victim was still hospitalized in serious condition) But the accident further delayed our journey by more than an hour an a half making it impossible for us to stay on the train to Paso Robles.
You see we had planned on renting a car to then drive to a neighboring city for our accommodations, but the late arrival meant that we could not get their before (or anywhere near) closing of the rental office. Instead we just hopped off in the city we were staying in and made arrangements to pick up a car in that city the next day.
No worries - the chance to ride over that grade would still be possible on the return trip. I did get a couple of nice photos of coastline that are only seen via the train.
I do love that 'wall of fog'.
While we were on the central coast we got to go to the Mid State Fair - The Biggest Little Fair Anywhere. What a nostalgic tour for us - I had not attended for 25 years and the last time for Hubby, well, we were on a date! We also went to Farmers Market in San Luis Obispo.
Then came the time for the train ride home on Friday. We dropped off our rental car and walked the few blocks to the train depot with about an hour to wait for departure. That's when I got the email from Amtrak that the train was running late . . . about 2 hours late. That would have left us sitting in depot for a minimum of three hours. By car we could be halfway home by then. So back to the car rental agency we went. We re-rented our same car and headed home. No Cuesta Grade tunnels.
We did have a nice bag of carrots, sugar snap peas, green beans, plums and apricots from Farmers Market. So we stopped in Santa Barbara for a little picnic and a walk on the pier.
I pulled out the camera again -
This van was drawing a LOT of attention in a nearby parking lot.
This just seemed like a funny collection of sights.
I am always mesmerized by kelp.
Back on land, this fella was offering lessons in walking a rope.
And this fella was a willing student.
Willing but reluctant....
A crowd gathered. Just as he was about to make his first step, some little kid shouted, "He's going to fall." He didn't fall, but he did jump down. Still I give bonus points for trying. We headed back to the rental car. We got home about the time our train would have arrived in Los Angeles . . . if it had been on time.
Whatever adventures may come in August, they will come without the aid of public transport.