Trip to California
In June of 2012, Teresa had to go on a business trip to Los Angeles for a week. When it was done, I joined her for a quick vacation. Her brother also came out visit also. On our first day we went to Disney's California Adventure theme park. Here is a shot of Mr. Potato Head, on the Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blaster ride. I got the high score...180,400 points! It was a fun ride/game.
Teresa and Thomas waiting in one of the many ride lines. It wasn't too bad with the lines, but we did spent alot of each day standing waiting for rides and events. In this shot Teresa is wearing some 3D glasses on her head.
A view towards the middle of the park from the back area where we rode some roller coasters.
This roller coaster "California Screamin" was the best out of all we rode...a couple of spins and loops.
Thomas taking a picture of me in the giant Ferris Wheel.
Looking down on the park. In the distance you can see Space Mountain, an indoor roller coaster,..done in the dark.
Looking to one side you see the new "CAR'S" area almost ready to be opened for the public.
In the Hollywood area, with a fake backdrop of Sunset Strip.
We road the Tower of Terror. Thomas liked it also because it has the same initials as him. It was a fun ride. Not too long of a line either.
At night we stayed and watched a music/colored lights/water show.
All of the park as lit up.
Paradise Pier area was alot of fun
Teresa looking beautiful as always.
The show starts. I took alot of photos, but none of them do the show justice.
A few minutes after the water show ended, the other theme park, Disneyland, shot off it's nightly fireworks. Just outside the parks is anothe Disney area, a big shopping/resturaunt/night club area called Downtown Disney. It's free to get in, and was pretty cool.
The next day we went to Disneyland. Here is Cinderella's Castle, looking down mainstreet at it.
Here is a shot of their shot of us on the Adventure Splash Mountain. The blue hoodie is Teresa...
Thomas was very taken with this sign. I wonder why...or what he was thinking?
A shot of their shot of us in Space Mountain.....
We saw a Robot Show with ASIMO from Honda as the main star. Pretty cool robotics future for us!
As the sun set, we went to ToonTown to see Mickey.
I hotwired a ride and took a drive....
We all pose with the mouse....
Teresa and Thomas in front of Chip N Dale's house.
Teresa and myself....
The next day we drove down to San Diego...here we are at Sea World! This was a sort of Circ du Solei show in a lagoon. It was pretty good.
Acrobatics, trampolines, zip lines and water.
Here is a shot of us on the Manta roller coaster.
Teresa petting a manta.
The Shamu show...
Shamu in the air...
Then we went to a dolphin/whale show. More acrobatics, wires and diving...good show!
Lots of good acrobatics and trained ocean mammals.
We toured the deep water tanks...here is a reef shark.
A beluga whale...
Same whale, underwater. They had about 4 of them.
And Polar Bears. All the areas were decent sized and clean...and looked stimulating a bit for the occupants.
We did the atlantis ride. It was a good water ride, with some interesting twists. Thomas got soaked...me and Teresa not so much.
Looking down on the Atlantis ride and the parking lot. San Diego is in the distance.
Lots and lots of flamingos.
California Sea Lions.
The next day we went to the San Diego Zoo. Here is a chinese bear.
Giraffes...they even had a week old baby.
Rhino's...
Alot of their baby big cats are paired with puppies, so they have a calm friend. Here is a cheetah and her canine buddy.
South American Jaguar.
Warthogs...maybe with a name of Pumba?
Bengal Jaguar
Thomas and I pose in the Elephant area...
Which of course has lots of elephants...
Thomas and an orangetang trade stares....
Indian Tiger....
Beautiful and big...
Mountain Gorilla....
We then drove to Universal Studios in the Hollywood area..
We first took the shuttle "Back Lot Tour". Here is the famous town hall building from the "Back to the Future" series.
Most of the city streets look like this in the back.
Here is a mexican town set up to flood...
And here it is flooding...
One of the western parts of the back lots...
"Hooville" from the Grinch movie with Jim Carrey.
The Bates Motel and the Bates house behind it. See Norman on the bottom left? He actually chased us with a big knife....
747 wreckage from the movie "War of the Worlds" with Tom Cruise.
They used a real 747 to make this wreckage. Poor 747.
I feel bad for the plane.
Me, Jimmy Fallon and Thomas. We are evidently good friends.
Krustyland was fun. They had a good 3D rollercoaster style ride...
Looking down on a few of the 100 or so enclosed sound stages. CSI, NCIS, and other shows are all filmed here, not in DC or New York.
There is actually a guy inside the Autobot costume. The "Transformers" ride was also really good. It was half roller coaster, half 3D show...we got something called a "Front of the Line" pass, which allowed us to go to the front of the line for each ride, once. It was well worth it.
We did a lot of rides and such. The Jurassic Park ride and Mummy ride were awesome. We finished out the day with the WaterWorld show. They actually flung this airplane over a 50 foot wall at the audience. It was an impressive engineering stunt.
Lots of pyrotechnics too. It was a good show.
Thomas had to go, and so Teresa and I then drove from LA to Yosemite National Park. Here we are in the desert about a half hour north east of LA.
After passing thousands of giant windmills we passed thru some beautiful state park areas.
We found ourselves on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains...which still had patches of snow, even in June. At this point we were about 8000 feet above sea level.
We spent our first night in a town outside the east gate of the park called Lee Vining. We stayed at the Murphy's Motel. It was a classic, rustic old motel, and kind of cool because it was something from the 60's. It overlooks another national park, Monolake. It's a blown out volcanic lake, with no water exit, so all the streams flowing into it don't leave. As a result, the lake is very salty. Several volcanic cones erupt from the surface.
Also, around the lake and inside the lake are these large stone formations, created when underground fresh water welled up under the lake, depositing layers of stone. The lake water level is now much lower, exposing these formations. They are trying to fill the lake up again, as some of the tributaries are diverted for water for LA.
All the black stuff you see are piles of flies. They are a special breed of flies that eat alge and such that grows in the lake.
Looking out across the lake from the shore.
Looking from the lake back towards a series of volcanic cones stretching behind me.
We drove up into the foothills of the park. Lots of private land surrounding beautiful trout filled lakes.
Teresa poses in front of Tioga Lake...lots of people fishing here, and living in nice mountain homes.
The next morning we drove into Yosemite National Park from the east side. The famous valley is on the west side, so we had about a two hour drive thru these mountains. It was beautiful. Yosemite is one of 390 parks in the National Park System. (www.nps.gov)
A fair amount of snow still was on many peaks.
We took a few stops and walks to see some sites. Here is a large granite peak, worn smooth by glacial activity.
We had to stop for photos and viewings of the many water falls of course.
All pretty, but not as pretty as my wife!
We finally entered the famous Yosimite Valley. Here is "El Capitan".
One of the many water falls. This one is called "Bridal Veil Falls".
We got into the valley fairly early and parked our car. We then hiked around for a few hours, checking out trails and riding the park's shuttles.
We hiked up one very steep trail for a while, and stopped at a point where we could take a picture of these falls, which is called "Vernal Falls".
Horse Tail falls...
Here is a shot of "Lower Yosemite Falls".
"Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls".
Half Dome Mountain in the distance, Merced Creek flowing thru the park.
We drove on to Monterey Bay and spent the night. Here is a shot looking out the front of our room onto Monterey Bay We stayed at the "Best Western Beach Resort Monterey". Nice, but it was a bit cool...and all the salt spray on the car had to be cleaned off.. Across the bay is the famous Cannery Row. We drove down that night and had dinner in a Mexican resturaunt over looking the bay..
The next day we returned to the Cannery and spent a few hours touring the shops and of course visiting the world famous aquarium. My parents worked here for a while a number of years ago, while they were in college.
Inside the aquarium are huge tanks showing a variety of environments. Here is a sample of the famous kelp forrests in the bay.
They wer ealso taking people on diving trips...this is a tidal pool right on the edge of the aquarium.
We really liked the otter show. This otter loves toys, and this plastic horse shoe is one of her favorites.
After the show she floated around cleaning her fur...
Another one of their aquariums. They fed a number of different types of fish and turtles. Here is a school of herrings, eating breakfast.
I really liked the way the jelly fish were displayed. I took a number of pictures of them, just because they look so cool. The tiny dots are plankton and krill, which they eat.
Larger jelly fish, swimming in all directions as they feed.
Looking out from one of the balconies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can see the large kelp forrest right off the edge of the building.
A golden sea horse...
A sea horse that looks like kelp...
A life sized whale display...
They also had divers that would go down and clean/feed fish for the audience. They had masks on that allowed them to talk via radio as well.
We then drove down Highway 1, from Monterrey to Los Angeles again. Beautiful coastal scenery. A bit on the cool side tho.
Rocks, waves and beautiful colors of vegetation. And very expensive homes too of course.
Pebble Beach area....
Teresa poses for a photo, a thousand feet up over the ocean. A number of places the road had been taken out by land slides and was under repair. Beautiful, but a bit of work to drive.
Another view looking south along the California coast...
We stopped at one place when we got lower down and looked at a beach with alot of elephant seals. They look dead, but they were just resting. They all moved around every few minutes tho. Probably to even out the tan.
Every now and then two elephant seals would start an arguement about something...
This one guy would raise a fuss everytime someone near him moved. We then drove on back to LA, and then onto an airplane for the trip back to Japan! It was a fun, but very short vacation.