2012 Travels travel blog

Carpe shoehorned in a Valencia RV Village site
Too many trees makes for...

We started out with rain
This is I 215 north of San Bernardino

High desert scenery along CA 138

Many Joshua Trees lined CA 138

Snow dusted mountains along CA 138

At Palmdale we took the Antelope Freeway (CA 14) to Castaic

We helped decorate a float at
Artistic Entertainment Services in Azusa

AES is doing the Rose Parade Legacy float
This will be the last...

Flowers awaiting installation
These are for the China Air float

Bob glues pistachio nut shells to the Chain Air float
This is one...

China Air float palm trees
We glued pistachio nut shells on one of...

Artist rendering of China Air float
This is float #44

The Escapees float decorating volunteers

Bandfest was held at Pasadena City College
Campus has classic 30's art-deco buildings

The bands warmed up while we queued for admission



Strutting Major

Roots of Music band from New Orleans

Roots of Music's Drum Major

We visited the Huntington Library after noon

Huntington Library has many statues of Helena

We loved the Botanical Gardens

The Japanese Garden

The Desert Garden cactus

Flowering cactus in the Hunting Library Desert Garden

Flowering cactus in the Hunting Library Desert Garden

Flowering cactus in the Hunting Library Desert Garden

Barrel cactus in the Hunting Library Desert Garden

Wed, 26 Dec: Raindrops keep falling on our head... It started raining sometime during the nite/morning and continued intermittently. We took our time getting up, fed, and ready to roll. They weren't forecast, but the rains continued nevertheless.

Last evening we planned to dine at the casino, but the place was absolutely packed. We're not casino people and are always amazed at how many folks don't understand fundamental statistics and donate their money to casinos, lotteries, and other games of chance. We took one look at the lines for the restaurants, turned on our heels, and dined at home. We tried...

We finally rolled wheels at 0900 and hopped on the I 210 (Foothill) Freeway north to the I 215 and eventually the I 15 toward Barstow. At the north end of the Tejon Pass we transitioned to CA 138. Bob has been on CA 138, but this was Sandi's first trip. The rain stopped and the sun came out bathing the high desert. We passed many Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) and the rock formations we've all seen in Hollywood Oaters.

At Palmdale we moved to CA 14 (Antelope) Freeway south to Castaic. We've both been on this stretch of road, but it has to be thirty years or more since we last drove it. Lots more houses, houses, and more houses.

We arrived at the Valencia RV Village at 1117 having driven 101 miles. Our total mileage from Casa Grande is 480 miles, which we stretched out to three nice easy days. We really prefer this slower and easier pace.

OK, so here's the deal... We'll be here through the New Year. We're now a part of an Escapees group that will be attending a Rose Parade Rally. From here on in all of our transportation to and from Rose Parade events will be provided, along with admission to the events. We're slated to help decorate a float, witness band practices, and visit the Huntington Library. Parade day we'll have bleacher seats on Colorado Avenue and be admitted to post parade float viewing.

Fri, 28 Dec: The past two days have been fairly relaxing. We braved the LA freeway traffic to visit nearby WalMart and Costco, but other than that we've enjoyed kicking back in the coach.

Last evening was the first meeting of the Escapees Rose Parade group. We are 55 strong and are a mix of full- and part-timers from all over the U.S. and Canada (with the preponderance from Southern California). Following announcements and introductions we enjoyed an excellent catered BBQ dinner.

This morning was an early one. The bus left at 0730 on a brisk (low 30s) morning. We drove to Artistic Entertainment Services in Azusa. They are building floats for five clients; Disney (a two part float), Both Rose Bowl Game teams, China Air, and the Rose Parade Committee's Legacy float (by tradition, the last float in the parade).

Following a tour of the facility we were assigned tasks. We got the task of applying pistachio nut shells to one of the palm trees on the China Air float. The glue wasn't working very well and we ended up with almost as many shells underfoot as on the trees. The float will be #44 in the parade and our tree is the front one on the left. We really don't expect there to be any shells left by the time the float is moved from Azusa to Pasadena Monday (a ten-hour trip).

We're back at the park now and in a few minutes happy hour starts followed by dinner. We expect to be abed early as tomorrow is another early day to view some horse events.

Sat, 29 Dec: Brrrr!!! It was 32°F when we awoke, raining & windy. A perfect day to snuggle down in our coach. Snuggle down that is once we got the heat turned on and it had time to warm things up.

Today's scheduled activity was to attend the "Equifest", some sort of horse thing in Burbank. It was outside and, while the seats were covered, they offered little opportunity to avoid the wind and cold. After a very, very short discussion we opted to eschew the horsies and stay home.

We had a second (and third) cuppa tea, relaxing breakfast, waved to the bus as it left, and got all our laundry done. It is early afternoon as this is written, the rains have stopped (for now) and the temperature has "soared" into the low forties. The heat is cycling on and off and we're very happy with our decision.

Tonite is another catered dinner. Thus far they have been quite good. Tomorrow's event is quite early, the bus departs at 0700. It is the "Bandfest" where we'll get to hear some of the bands. That'll be in the morning, and then we go to the Huntington Library for lunch and a tour. The weather is forecast to continue cold but without the rain.

Mon, 31 Dec: We send our wishes to everyone for a healthy and happy New Year

Yesterday, Sunday 30 Dec, was an early departure to attend the BandFest at the Pasadena City College. We arrived about 0845 and went to the end of a very long queue. The gates opened at 0900 and it took us almost 45 minutes to finally enter the stadium, where the first band was already performing.

We had to leave before the last band of the morning performed, which did not make us happy campers. We were really looking forward to hearing the bands and cutting it short was not to our liking. Add to that two chatty women sitting behind us throughout the performances made it a less than ideal experience.

Shortly before noon we were bussed to the Huntington Library where we had lunch. We were each issued a $15 voucher that didn't cover the cost of overpriced museum café food. It started raining and the line wound outside into the patio area. Not what we would consider "fine dining".

Following lunch we had a docent-led tour of the grounds. The rains returned midway through the tour so we "bailed out" to seek shelter. When the rain stopped we wandered the gardens ourselves. We especially enjoyed the desert cactii gardens.

The bus departed shortly before 1700 to return to the RV park. Dinner was on our own so we enjoyed a quiet happy hour and then soup to warm us up. We were both pretty exhausted and it was lights out well before ten.

Today is a free day. We slept in until we wanted to get up and are enjoying a lazy morning. The wake-up temperature was 33°F. It is sunny and is forecast to warm up to the lowest sixties. Tomorrow's parade forecast is for sunny skies and temps in the sixties. Thankfully, no rain.

This will be our last 2012 post. Rose Parade narrative and pix will start our 2013 Journal with us at Castaic. If all goes well we should have the Rose Parade posting in place sometime 02 Jan.

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