Friday, November 28, 2008

California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, CA

Friday, after a day of Thanksgiving feasting with family, the kids are ready for an outing to the California State Railroad Museum in downtown Sacramento.

Nephew so wants to play with the toy trains! They move, which is better than can be said for the big ones standing around the museum. Those are only good for climbing on.
After a lot of running around and looking at stuff, it was time for a break.
I love this picture!
Interest in exhibits wanes, but play never ceases: Are you ready for some football?!!!
Maybe a future quarterback!
Look what I caught!
Maybe a future train engineer!
Niece tries out my funky reading glasses, the better to inspect the Golden Spike. This is a copy of the one used on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit in the Utah Territory to connect the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad, creating the first transcontinental railway.

Turns out, the jeweler who made the original also fabricated this one. His descendants held it in secret until 2005, when they sold it to the railroad museum. Interestingly, the "original" spike used in the ceremony is engraved with "May 8", planned date of the ceremony. Due to delay, the ceremony occurred on May 10, and the jeweler engraved the correct date on this copy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Sunnier Day on Kauai

Despite the forecasts, our second day on Kauai dawned sunny and rain-free.We thought you'd like some photos of our surroundings.
Case says we got a pretty good deal on the hotel, because of the economy. (I think that translates into "Don't plan on being able to come back here frequently.") While we don't have the place to ourselves, there aren't nearly as many guests around as on our last visit.
Breakfast is our favorite meal, partly for the view from the breakfast patio...
... and partly for the food.
Red ginger flowers brighten up many of the walkways, reminding us of cheerful family members (Hello, Ginger!").
We left the hotel this evening for a brief exploration of Poipu. Case is smiling because we stumbled across the local gelato shop!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Poipu, Kauai ,Hawaii

Just at this moment, Case is still doing temp work, and the hospital he's working at feels like it is a little expensive to keep him full time, since they have a half-time doctor already. To Case, anything sounds like a good excuse for a vacation, and this was no exception! We would "sacrifice" to save the hospital some money by giving up some of the work days they were contractually obligated to provide -- and, of course, we weren't just going to spend those days at home. Nope! We were going to Hawaii! (As a further excuse, he says it's our "last blast" before we settle down for good.)

In deference to my desire to stick to the familiar, we have returned to my favorite hotel on Kauai, where we spent a few days of our honeymoon two-and-a-half years ago.
We arrived to wind and rain... But it's Hawaii, so who cares??? We used the rain as an excuse to relax and unwind in our room. A few of the local surfer-dudes prefered to skim-board on the "river" it created on the hotel grounds.
Apparently, when you're a Ketting, every vacation requires a good book to be complete.The storm carried on into the dusk, reminding us of a rainstorms experienced on our honeymoon in Bali. Unfortunately, this hotel doesn't have a tin room, so we missed the full effect.
Notice anything odd about this photo?
The guitar is "backwards". Even the strings were reversed, with the higher pitches at the top of the downstroke. Maybe this is a Hawaiian technique -- there seem to be as many ways to play guitar as there are genres of music.
No guitarist (or anything else) keeps Jolene awake when the clock strikes 9!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fire in Orange and Riverside Counties

We first noticed a fire just after noon,
as the sky changed from the usual Southern California blue to a yellow orange haze.
Looking down our street, there appeared to be two fires. The news at the moment was only up to date on one.
Santa Ana winds are blowing but, our home seems very safe as we are right in town. The threatened homes lie on the edges of Brea and Yorba Linda, backing on open hills and canyons.
To get a better assessment, we drove to a hilltop park overlooking the fires just a few miles away. The Brea/Carbon Canyon fire is the newest one, centered approximately 6 miles NE of our house.
The "older" Corona/Yorba Linda fire (#3 after Montecito on Thursday and Sylmar yesterday) was only visible as a thick, billowing column of smoke about 15 miles straight east. Until the wind shifted slightly, we got to breath its fumes. Reportedly, it was blowing embers from this fire that started the Brea one.
I watched the fire for a number of hours as it crested the hilltops, stopped, and then advanced again as the winds shifted.
Pretty soon, a fire copter started shuttling water from a Brea park "lake" to the worst hot spots, making drop after drop where flames threatened homes on the edge of Brea. (Case was getting a little bored with fire-watching, until the aircraft showed up. Later, two big fire bombers made some runs, too, but we couldn't get good photos of those.)
Here the flames dance directly above El Torito, with Brea Macy's just in the foreground.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Highway 74 Above Palm Springs

Right about sundown we take the Miata for spin up into the mountains above Palm Springs.
We chase the setting sun as we wind our way up the mountain side.
A glance over the edge to the road and valley below!
Focused and
feeling the need for speed,
while Jolene smiles and hangs on!
The lights in the valley flicker on as we head back down the mountain side.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Back Home

Back home to Palm Springs for work (petting Jack the cat), rest and laundry!

An Afternoon in Avila Beach, Central California Coast

The quiet Front Street at Avila Beach -- The summer high season has passed but the locals are apparently not yet out of hibernation.
The pier(s) -- Reportedly, a favorite place for swimmers, who emulate Michale Phelps (with various degrees of success, no doubt) using the protected waters between the piers as their course.
Avila Grocery and Mercantile
A very quiet beach.
I stopped in at the Hula Hut on Front Street for a multicultural meal -- Asian salad followed by a dessert of milk chocolate fudge.
Then it was time to head "home" to Palm Springs. The sun was setting as we drove the 101 east from Santa Barbara.
A tranquil day!

The Bluff Above Shell Beach, Central Coast California

I guess working away from our home in Fullerton isn't enough for Case. He finds excuses for weekend travel away from his traveling job! At least he picks good spots... We just spent a couple days exploring the Central Coast of California. "Home" base was The Cliffs in Shell Beach (just north of Pismo Beach).
After our evening arrival, we took a stroll along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific.
Along the way, we ran into my twin! (Fraternal, of course.) I'd noticed we were dressed alike, but decided not to comment. Her husband, however, also noticed and struck up a conversation. They are from Fresno and hope to retire to this part of the coast some day. (Sound's nice!)
Down below, surfers bobbed in the swell, waiting for the perfect wave and perhaps suppressing thoughts of sharks.
The view north toward Avila Beach...
... we waste time & pixels on numerous attempts to capture the sunset on, um, silicon.

From our hotel, a public access path drops down to the beach.
Visitors are cautioned by this sign that Case says must have been made necessary by blondes and Californians.
One last snap shot as the light fades...