Friday, October 31, 2008

Rancho California Outdoor Resorts

We arrived at the Rancho Outdoor Resort near Temecula, CA. and found a beautiful RV park. We were given a very nice site and decided to get our bikes out for a ride.

The resort also features a very nice executive golf course (par 3) with many interesting water features. Rick decided he should give it a try and Orinda rode around in the cart.

This is the water fall on hole number 1. A very beautiful hole and lots of fun to play.

There are 25 water features on the course and the RV sites surround the course, so many of the sites are on the course or on the water. Many of the lakes had waterfalls or fountains that add to the beauty of the course.

Rick had a very nice round and found that his new clubs worked well. He still needs some work on the chipping part, but things were looking up. In fact, on one hole he actually hit his tee shot only a couple feet from the hole! Too bad, he couldn;t do that on all of them!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sunset on the Seal Beach Pier

This was our last night in Southern California so Jerry and Irene suggested we go to the Seal Beach area for dinner and a walk on the pier at sunset. It was a great idea. Here, Orinda is next to the seal statue which represents the seals that swim in the area.

Orinda and Irene stroll on the pier after a great dinner. This was a beautiful evening to take a walk on the dock.

Directly off the pier are several oil drilling rigs which are working to extract oil. You can see a large tanker just behind it waiting to enter the port of Long Beach.

This work boat was bringing crew members from the oil platform to the pier we were on. It was a pretty good sized boat and made quick time from the platform.

Here they are! Jerry, Irene, and Orinda at the end of Seal Beach pier. The pier is probably 1/4 mile long and goes way out into the Pacific. There is a small cafe on the end that is supposed to have good food, but we had already eaten at a great seafood restaurant.

Orinda and Rick had a wonderful time at Seal Beach and in southern California. Jerry and Irene were great hosts and we saw some great sights.

Sunset at Seal Beach! A beautiful end to a great two weeks. Now, it is on to Temecula, CA to the Outdoor Resort there. We are looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Visit to the Wayfarer's Chapel and Point Vicente

Yesterday while the guys worked, Irene and I went to the Pacific Coast Highway starting at San Pedro and going north. We had a destination in mind, The Wayfarers Chapel ( ) also known as the Glass Chapel. This unique chapel has walls and ceiling of all glass. Much smaller than the Crystal Cathedral it faces the Pacific with a magnificent view of Catalina Island. This chapel was designed by Lloyd Wright , son of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Chapel honors Emanuel Swedenborg ( ), an 18th Century scientist and theologian. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera, but a visit to the website is a must to view this magnificent structure. It sits on 3.5 acres of beautifuly landscaped gardens and has a visitor's center and carillon. It is located in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.( )

Traveling a little further north, we saw the Point Vicente Lighthouse . This is a whale counting area and it is also home to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center . They have a great group of exhibits about local geology, history, whaling, and Marineland which used to be a short distance to the south but closed a number of years ago.

The views along here are too amazing to describe...clear blue skies on the day we went, with blue, blue seas and light winds.

Monday, October 27, 2008

To the Crystal Cathedral - a Fantastic Church

Jerry, Irene , Orinda and I visited the Crystal Cathedral in the Orange area of California. We first saw this amazing bell tower that is over 230' high and is visible from quite a distance.

As we approached, the Cathedral dominated the area and in the early morning light, provided this beautiful double reflection of the bell tower. What a gorgeous building.

We walked to the Visitor area and were warmly greeted by a volunteer staff person who took us on a great guided tour. Our guide filled us in on the history of the Cathedral which is the dream of Dr. Robert H. Schuller, founding pastor of the church. Dr. Schuller started his ministries in this location over 50 years ago at the site of an old drive in movie theater. He began to offer worship services for people in their cars using the drive in equipment and found that this worked very well, particularly for people with health issues.

This picutre shows the ministry in 1957.

Tiems have certainly changed as these pictures show a small part of the inside of the Cathedral which is breathtaking in its size and beauty. We were amazed at the organ pipes in the top corners of the Cathedral. Made up of over 10,000 windows, there is no air conditioning needed in this spectacular structure. Rather, by opening various windows and doors (some of which are 90' tall), temperature control is managed naturally.

Here, Orinda, Irene and Jerry show part of the scale of this vast Cathedral.

One of the most interesting facets of the campus is the extensive artwork that brings famous Bible verses to life. Here, Orinda is next to Moses as he receives the 10 Commandments.

This picutre from the back of the Cathedral shows the size of the structure as well as the new Visitor's Center seen in reflection.

We had a wonderful time at this fantastic facility. Here, our intrepid crew pauses next to one of the many fountains that are located in the Cathedral grounds. This would be a wonderful place to attend worship services!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Southern California Concours Auto Show

Jerry Murphy and I went to the Concours Auto show today which was about 15 miles south of Long Beach. WOW! A Concours show means autos in original condition (could be restored or just great original condition) and this show featured exotic cars exclusively which means there were lots of Ferraris, Jags, Lamborginis and the like.

Rick has never seen more than 1 Ferrari at a time and here there are quite a few! Not only are the cars rare and unique, but they are in spectacular condition. I would hate to guess how much these are worth, but it must be several millions of dollars!

This Ferrari had one of the most incredible paint jobs I have ever seen. The paint and body were perfect and reflected my image like a mirror. Amazing.

Murphy has found his next car! He would look good in this nice, red Ferrari. 0 to 60 mph in about 4 seconds which should help him merge nicely in the LA freeways.

Now that is the way to be driven around! This 1947 Rolls was in amazing condition and looked like the day it was built. A wonderful car representing a much earlier time.

Rick found his own favorite in this spectacular Jag XKE which was restored to amazing condition. Everything was perfect including the builder tag, all fasteners and that pristine paint. This was a true labor of love.

While we were looking at the great cars in the show, this little number tooled in. A real Mercedes Gull Wing from the late 50's. This was the first one I had ever seen and Jerry was absolutely awestruck. An amazing car that is still driven, but looks like a showroom example. This was a great way to spend a few hours in southern California.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Newport and Laguna Beaches

Orinda and I toured the southern California coast today with Jerry and Irene going through Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Beautiful places with surprisingly large surf as you can see.

We parked and walked through the town of Laguna Beach. This very upscale town offered beautiful views of the beach and many interesting shops. We enjoyed walking on the beach which consists of a very fine, white sand.

Here, Orinda was thinking about lunch after our challenging walk along the beach and the shops on main street.

Fortunately, there was an outstanding bakery & cafe close by that featured an outdoor deck overlooking the Pacific. Our big question was what to have.

This debate was quickly ended when the dessert tray stopped at our table and we decided to forgo lunch and move directly to the best part of the meal!

As you can see, we were highly successful in enjoying our chocolate mousse which was wonderful.
After our "lunch" we took a tour around town. The hills directly to the east of town are very steep and covered with amazing homes which must cost in the millions. At the top of the hill is a park with incredible views of the Pacific and if you look carefully, you can see Catalina Island which is about 24 miles off the coast.

All in all, we had a wonderful time on this outing and really appreciate Jerry and Irene's local knowledge and efforts to show us around. What a great day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A visit to the Los Angeles Zoo

We traveled into Los Angeles today to take a visit to the LA Zoo. The route took us about 35 miles north of Long Beach through some very impressive traffic! It is hard to imagine 6 lanes of traffic (each way) until you are in the middle of it. Anyway, we arrived with no problem and bought our tickets to the zoo.

This flamingo pond is typical of the lush and cool landscaping throughout the zoo. This is a very pleasant area to walk though and the wonderful animals are almost a bonus.

This beautiful flower (I think it is a Bird of Paradise) really caught our attention. This plant is a native of South Africa.

We also were impressed by the great animals such as this very large tiger. I would hate to see this one out in the wild!

There was a very wide variety of animals including these sheep. The zoo also features quite a collection of birds from all over the world. Still, a large black bear like this one was very enjoyable to see up close.

Finally, what zoo trip is complete without seeing a zebra? The zebra is a very tough and capable animal with very sharp hooves that they use for defense. Still, I think the tiger might have the edge in a contest with one of these.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Los Angeles Maritim Museum and Korean Bell

We toured around San Pedro and the surrounding port area. We saw a sign for the Korean Bell and stopped to take a look. Wow -- what a wonderful surprise. This symbol of South Korea and the USA is perched right on a beautiful point overlooking the Pacific.

This very beautiful and ornate bell and housing was very impressive and well worth a look. Orinda was very interested in the detail and colors in the structure.

The bell is made of a special alloy including copper, tin, gold, nickel, lead and more. The bell is very large, but we could not hear it ring today.

After visiting the bell, we stopped at the LA Maritime Museum which is a small, but excellent museum depicting the maritime past of the Los Angeles area. One thing we really liked were the many wonderful ship models, pictures and handmade small boats such as this one.

Orinda was impressed with this beautiful example of the boat builder's craft. This was made out of several different woods and was wonderfully crafted.

This large (40') model was used in the Poseidon Adventure movie. Interestingly, this happens to be an exact scale model of the Queen Mary (except for the name). It was a fantastic model.

We didn't realize it at first, but after leaving the Maritime Museum, we realized that were were right next to the LA Fire Boat Station! In additional to the interesting boats docked in front, there is a very interesting display showing the history of the fireboats in the harbor. This was a great exhibit and a working fire station.

Finally, directly across the harbor is the Port of Los Angeles which is a huge facility that services container ships bringing goods to the USA. There were hundreds of these huge cranes that load and unload the containers from ships that are over 1,000' long. A most interesting thing to watch.