20161231

What are you doing ... 12/31/16


... New Year's, New Year's Eve?  We're going to a dinner show at Center Stage in Fontana, all arranged by Adventure Caravans.  Most of the RV group put on their glad-rags (love that figure of speech), looking festive for the occasion, and feeling pretty cheery, too, despite the wet weather.

We were grateful that we didn't have to drive.  The coach picked us up at 5pm and delivered us to our destination near 6pm.  I know that's early for many merrymakers, but we're the over-the-hill set, and this time frame suited us to a "T."  


Trust me, I reduced the amount of red color in all these pictures as much as I could.  Red ceiling lights, plus red chairs and booths, altered everything -- even our coffee looked red. We could sit where we wanted, with no assigned seating.  Above, at this table, Jimmy and I are at left, with Sue and Mo in the middle, and Dot and Mel Bolton on the right.  As people do at a shindig like this, you get to talking.  Well, Mo used to teach school in Pacifica CA, and -- small world -- Dot and Mel live in Pacifica, and -- the world gets smaller -- Mo taught their kids and grandkids!  All of this was revealed tonight, so you know they had an old-home-week blast.  Amazing.


We didn't know what to expect, but let me tell you, Holiday Follies put on a terrific show, with a really likable cast.  The young men and women did double duty as dinner wait-staff, but song and dance was incorporated with serving the food.  Not easy to describe, but it was very cool.






Billed as a holiday spectacular, the show features current arrangements of holiday classics as well as some traditional melodies.  Above, a Dolly Parton skit had everyone "rolling on floor, laughing."




This particular parody was the best.  I can't repeat the lyrics (can't remember them, either), but good grief, this was hilarious.  A lament about why the angel had a tree stump stuffed in its rump or something to this effect.  You can imagine the crowd's response.




The festivities lasted till 9pm, and included a delicious meal (salmon for me and Jimmy), lots of singing, dancing and hilarity.  Nine o'clock PST equates to Midnight on the East Coast, when the ball drops at Times Square.  Seconds before 9pm, the countdown began, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, and exactly at 9, champagne glasses were lifted and toasts were made to the new year.  What a fun way to end 2016; we had a great time.  No driving home for us; our magic coach delivered us to our rigs, which was perfect.  The evening was wonderful.

Tomorrow?  No rose parade on Sunday.  Wait till MONDAY!

A morning diversion? Yes. Saturday, 12/31/16


We awoke to cloudy skies again today, wet pavement, and the very real possibility of more showers this morning.  For Jimmy and me, it sounded more like an inside day, rather than sitting outside on bleachers to watch the "electrifying" Bandfest, to be held at Pasadena City College stadium, tho the event was part of our Adventure Caravans package.  So, he and I opted out.  (Of course, we later heard it was a great experience and it didn't actually rain ... just sprinkled.)

The day before, however, Jimmy discovered the Wally Parks Motorsport Museum (NHRA) a block away from our campsite at the Pomona Fairgrounds.  Oh boy, he knew that's where he wanted to spend his morning, and with no time constraints, he was one happy camper! Since we have no Internet at the fairgrounds, I drove to the nearby KOA to use their net. We were both satisfied with our choices.  If you're not interested in cars or looking at car photos, feel free to skip to the next post.  Below are the pictures he took (and picked to be posted on our blog):










(I stuck this one in, 'cause I liked it.  Don't tell.)








We were both back by lunch time -- pizza served in the big tent (yum).  This evening our group will go out and celebrate New Year's Eve in style!

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Huntington Gardens? Oh yes! 12/30/16


Drip-drop, drizzle-drazzle, showers -- splish-splash I don’t want a bath, much less pouring rain, but today we had a bit of it all. Throw in a ray or two of sun for good measure, but that didn’t happen till afternoon. Everyone knows it doesn’t rain in California ... but man, it can when it wants to.  We had to face it -- clouds and rain were the order for today.  Jimmy and I have rain jackets and umbrellas; no problem.


Adventure Caravans had us up verrrry early this morning, so we could be the first coach to arrive at the “Float Barns.” At 6:15am the group had a make-it-yourself-sandwich project going on in the big tent ... that way we wouldn’t be making soggy sandwiches in the rain later. (I skipped the sandwich; I brought fresh fruit and a granola bar). Scheduled to leave at 6:30 am, our coach left past 7 (close enough, I guess), and, yup, ours was the first (of many) to arrive.


Keep your eyes on the two pictures above.  I have a hunch this will be a fantastic float when it's finished and rolling down Colorado Blvd on Monday morning!


Unfortunately, we had no direction from those in charge at the float barns and our group wandered around the barn, so to speak, in the rain, to arrive back where we started. Eventually, we were directed to view a couple of floats-in-progress. As you can see in the above photos, without their flowers and not completely set-up, they didn’t look like much, not yet anyway, but I KNOW they’ll be gorgeous at The Parade. This outing was kind of a wash ....


The flowers are here, soon they'll be glued on.

* * * * * * * * * *

After eating those box lunches on the bus, we arrived at The Huntington in San Marino -- world-famous Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Again, two groups were formed, each with a basic docent-led tour. Truly an exceptional place to visit, the Library is a private nonprofit collections-based research and educational institution founded almost 100 years ago by Henry Huntington. This is one of those places that you wish you had at least a whole day to stroll and look. We could easily return once a week if we lived nearby.


With the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance, a beautiful rainbow greeted us near the Huntington entrance.  Nice reward for enduring a rainy morning, eh?  I was so captivated by the beauty of the gardens, that I plumb forgot to get any pictures of the buildings or galleries.


We barely touched the Library, covered one-tenth of the Art Collections, and spent the rest of our two free hours walking through the outstanding gardens.




More than a dozen principal gardens cover 120 acres of the 207-acre grounds, including The Garden of Flowing Fragrance (above), the Japanese Garden, Rose Gardens, Shakespeare Garden, and more.  The Camellia Collection, recognized as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence, includes nearly 80 different camellia species and some 1,200 cultivated varieties, many of them rare and historic.  We saw but a few; most will bloom later in the winter or spring.




Our docent told us that whoever placed his hand in the lion's mouth would have good luck for the upcoming year.  Let us hope this is true, or at least a good omen!




What a guy!




This one needs no explanation or introduction! 


This lovely Christmas tree with hundreds of hand-made origami ornaments stood in the foyer.


Love this, and it would look so fine in our house! 😄 


The Desert Garden fascinated us so much that we nearly missed the bus. Jimmy and I tried to see as much as we could of the entire complex, and all we did was scratch the surface! Lots more to The Huntington than you can imagine.




What a BIG family, with lots of children!


Cephalocereus urbanianus -- strange contortions!


I believe these Golden Barrel cactus are my favorites.






A surprise to me was seeing the Red-whiskered Bulbul (above), a migrant who visits the gardens in January (actually a small flock -- they were two days early)!  Never thought I'd see one, much less a slew of 'em.


Those are umbrellas Jimmy is carrying.




Cereus horribarbis (Brazil)

Our coach returned to the fairgrounds by 3 and at 5:30, our hosts provided a Mexican-themed dinner of Margaritas and hot dogs in tortillas.  I'm hurrying this post (while at the KOA) because I need to return to the fairgrounds for a party!  Possibly I'll add more tomorrow.

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It's the Rose Bowl, all right! 12/29/16


With the San Gabriel Mountains as a backdrop, the Rose Bowl glows on a clear, sunny day.  


Going on a tour of the Rose Bowl was an unexpected treat for us. Adventure Caravans original itinerary had us attending the Tournament of Roses “Equestfest” -- an up-close equestrian performance. This ToR venue was canceled due to an equine virus (not sure what this means, but apparently all equestrian events are out). Since neither Jimmy nor I ever expected to see the actual Rose Bowl playing field in person, much less the ins and outs of the stadium, we were happy for the exchange.




The group was split into two, each with a tour guide; ours was Carol. We walked through hallowed tunnels, sat in seats (like stunned chickens, I'm sure) looking out on the vast empty stadium, checked those old 1922 locker (no longer smelly) rooms, walked into the upper echelons where the swells sit, peeked into Penn State and USC locker rooms, quiet for the moment, but that’ll change on Monday! Go teams! Up and down stairs, we put lots of steps on the fitbits today!


Down at the field, happy in the sunshine, we touched the grass (edge only). On the field, the grass-man manager (what would be his official title? I dunno.) tested spots here and there, maybe pulling a dead blade, making sure the field was “perfect.” We asked, and the answer was, “Kentucky Blue Grass.” The yellows and blues and reds, what material was that? Surprise, it’s painted grass. Huh! One couple from our group is Pennsylvanian, so the lady was allowed to step out by the Penn State goal … she was thrilled, of course.


A piece of trivia for you. The first game played at the Rose Bowl in 1923 was between Penn State and USC … same as this year!  Does this mean Jimmy should sit down?




 These are not the cheap seats!


Here's our friend, Sue, posing in front of -- what else? -- roses!




We won't be at the stadium to watch the game, but a large TV screen will be set up in Adventure Caravans' big-top tent for on-screen viewing.  Or, if the weather is fine (iffy), a hike in the canyons might be a better option (for those of us who don't really care about football). 😁  Either way, we're excited to be in Pasadena.