2015 ZooLights Wednesday, Dec 30 2015 

Hummingbird & Flower

Hummingbird & Flower

We visited the Phoenix Zoo last night for this year’s ZooLights experience. We arrived near the opening time at 5:30 and were directed to parking near the entrance. When we departed around 7:30, traffic was being directed to the overflow parking lot. ZooLights features more than 4 million lights in some 700 displays. I particularly enjoyed seeing the new hummingbird displays. This year’s Music in Motion features the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing music from two movies, “Polar Express” and “Winter Palace.” The light reflections on the water are impressive. It is always fun to hear the banter between Jengo the Talking Giraffe and Tortuga the Talking Tortoise. We enjoyed a stroll around the park with lots of photo opportunities. ZooLights continues through January 10th.

2015 Annual Review Tuesday, Dec 29 2015 

Visit this link to see this blog’s annual review:

https://tagreen.wordpress.com/2015/annual-report/

Lake Havasu Adventure Sunday, Dec 27 2015 

Lake Havasu State Park

Lake Havasu State Park

In hindsight we probably should have spent another day in Oceanside to avoid the high winds we experienced on our 300 mile drive to Lake Havasu City. We stopped for lunch at a Joshua Tree National Park visitor center. The road from there to Parker was particularly bad with winds in excess of 50 miles per hour that limited our visibility because of blowing sand. The high winds kicked in the Via’s electronic stability program (ESP) which warned us that it detected a spin in the wheels. The road was desolate although a few vehicles safely passed us. Because I drove only at speeds where I felt in control of the vehicle, we arrived at the Lake Havasu State Park later than originally planned. After setting up our campsite, we walked to and across the London Bridge for a pleasant dinner at Shugrues. It was calmer this morning which made the drive back to Phoenix much easier. We stopped for lunch at the Bouse Wash Rest Area. This was our first long trip in the motor-home. We are already looking forward to new adventures in it in the New Year.

Carlsbad & Oceanside, California Friday, Dec 25 2015 

Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier

We stayed in the Paradise By the Sea RV Resort in Oceanside, California near my wife’s sister visiting Carlsbad. One of our walks below their vacation rental was around the Aqua Hediouda Lagoon. A local informed us that the Hubbs Sea World Research Institute is raising white sea bass. On Christmas Eve we walked to the Oceanside wooden pier, first built in 1888 and now in its sixth incarnation which opened in 1987.

Pelican

Pelican

Several pelicans posed for pictures near a bait shop about halfway along the 1,954 foot long pier. We watched surfers taking advantage of the King tide. Our Via was parked near Loma Alta Creek with several representative bird species. The “break-in” of our Via continues as I broke the retractable screen door. On Christmas Day we to my sister-in-laws vacation rental in Carlsbad. We walked by the Buena Vista Lagoon on the bike path. The Army and Navy Academy for grades 7-12 has an impressive campus. The Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa features a statue of its discoverer Captain John A. Frazier in 1882. We completed our hike on the Carlsbad Boulevard Seawall. Our stay in Oceanside and Carlsbad gave us the opportunity to enjoy ocean views.

Silver Strand State Park Thursday, Dec 24 2015 

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

On our drive to the Silver Strand State Park three miles south of Coronado we stopped for lunch at Mission Bay Park in San Diego. We enjoyed our first views of water and sea birds. Our camping site at Silver Strand faced the ocean. A high sand berm protected us from blowing sand but limited views except from inside the high profile Via. With help from car driving friends we visited Coronado. The Hotel Del Coronado has a large skating rink with skaters learning how to stand up. The Coronado Ferry Landing and its waterfront marketplace looked out at the beautiful San Diego cityscape. A plaque described how this island was the birthplace of naval aviation in 1911 as a result of the efforts of Glenn Hammond Curtis. A sunset afterglow highlighted the Loews Coronado Bay Resort located across the highway from our campground. Unfortunately, the good weather did not last. Rain and wind greeted us on one of our days. Without thinking about the consequences of raising the bathroom vent, the wind instantly captured it, tore it from the roof, and deposited three plastic fragments on the ground. As a temporary fix, we taped plastic bags over the hole. Most of the water making its way into the coach drops into the toilet. The San Diego area experiences microclimates. Thus, while it might be raining in one location, another nearby spot might remain dry. For Christmas we plan to move farther north along the coast.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Sunday, Dec 20 2015 

Mount San Jacinto State Park

Mount San Jacinto State Park

We spent our first night in the Palm Springs Thousand Trails campground which is actually located in Palm Desert. On our short walkabout we stopped at the La Quinta Brewing Company’s tap room and sampled the following beers: Poolside Blonde, Sand Storm, Heatwave Amber Ale, Tan Line Brown Ale, and Koffi Porter.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Yesterday we drove to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. We learned that the tramway was the longest and steepest when it opened in 1963. Historically the Chino Canyon was a Cahuilla village of Mola, territory of the Kauisiktum (people of the fox) who lived here full-time. Our 2.5 mile tram trip began at Valley Station, elevation 2,643 feet and left us ten minutes later at Mountain Station, elevation 8,516 feet. Icy trails limited our exploration of Mount San Jacinto State Park, although I followed the 3/4 mile self-guided loop. We enjoyed gourmet food presentations in the Peak Restaurant.

We spent the night at the Wilderness Lakes Thousand Trails campground in Menifee, California.

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