Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Traveling with Nicolette and Jacob - July 2015

This is my first solo trip with Nicolette and Jacob. Jacob is eleven years old and Nicolette thirteen.
We left Eureka at 9:15 AM and arrived in Petaluma, California, at 2:00 PM.
We had burritos for late lunch. Then we walked for a while. For dinner I cooked spaghetti and meat sauce.
The Elks Lodge charges now $ 25.00 per day. It is still cheaper than a regular RV Park. I asked for a dry side but the camp host had still to fill one side with hook ups after I came.
In Ukiah it was hot but in Petaluma the temperature is pleasant. We do not have to use the air conditioner.

Highway 101, North of Santa Rosa, was so bad that it shook a panel under the dashboard of the motorhome loose. To do the repair I have to remove the passenger seat or hire a really short person.
This can wait. A bigger problem is the severed wires for the hydraulic jack on the front driver side.
The wires came out of a fitting and I cannot fix it, because the wires were molded in, and the fitting is special. Now I cannot use the leveling system. Luckily I have enough wood with me to level the motorhome.
Jacob  plays games and Nicolette works on her art work while we travel.  

The roll of toilet paper unrolled, while we were driving, and Jacob tried to be funny and put it back on the roll. 


At 9:30 AM we were on the road and arrived at the Elks Lodge in San Jose at 11:30 AM.
After lunch we drove to The Tech Museum of Innovation.
They have a lot of hands on displays. Nicole and Jacob are designing fancy pictures.

Jacob worked on the computer for a while designing something.

Both are racing in wheel chairs.

Since we are in Silicon Valley, and a lot of high tech companies are sponsors, this museum has a lot of high tech displays and machinery.

One can experience the Northridge Earthquake. The building and the floor one stands on shake.

We stopped for a while at a park.

When we got back to the lodge we went to the large swimming pool.


This was an exciting day for the children. They wore themselves out. By 9:00 PM they were sleeping. Nicolette did not read when she lay down; she fell asleep right away.
We drove to Santa Cruz, to the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
At 10:00 AM we were at the parking lot. I paid the $ 10.00 parking fee to make sure we got a good spot. We parked right across the main entrance. I knew we would be back to the car several times.
Then I exchanged the vouchers for wrist bands for Nicolette and Jacob. Doris is a member of AAA and I bought the discounted tickets there.
First we went in the large building which used to be a giant indoor swimming pool.

At the entrance Laffing Sal greets the visitors. She moves and has a laugh that makes people laugh with her or at least smile.

The children wanted to walk on the beach for a while and then we checked out the boardwalk. There were only a few people and we got around fast. Employees were busy setting up the booths where all kind of games could be played. There was even a Stinky Feet game.

At 11:00 AM the rides were open and Nicolette and Jacob went on the Sea Swing. They liked it so much that they went on it several times. The whole ride goes straight up while it turns and than twists and turns real fast.

Next, the kids rode the Sky Collider. It is a slow ride over the whole park.

By now people were coming in and filling up the park and lines were formed.

On the beach is a large stage and performances were held several times during the day.

Screams were heard from the Fire Ball and the roller coaster and other rides.

The kids went on the Ferries Wheel.

Jacob rode twice the Giant Dipper. He went in the entrance and stood in line. Nicolette went to the exit of the ride and I went to the car to get my sun glasses. I thought I had plenty of time. Jacob was lucky. Since he was alone he got a seat on the ride right away. When I came back from the car he was done. On his second ride he knew where the camera was and he stuck out his tongue. I bought the picture.

After a few more rides we went back to the car and got the swimming suits. The kids changed and went on Loggers Revenge. It is a giant water slide. They rode in what looked like logs made into boats.

Then we went on the beach. They spent over an hour in the water.

We went back to the restrooms and Jacob changed. Nicolette did not. Then they rode on the the Cave Train.

At 6:00 PM Nicolette was cold and tired. They wanted to go on the carousel and then go home.

On the way to the car Nicolette said that the boardwalk is a cool place. Both thanked me. I believe we had a good time. We ate ice cream, stuffed potatoes, hot dog on a stick, churros, and a couple other things.
We arrived at home at 7:30 PM. The kids showered; I made them a sandwich and to bed they went. I was too tired to cook.


I had a difficult time finding the Monterey Elks Lodge. It is located in a residential neighborhood and small winding roads lead to it. At the first try I ended up back at the busy Coastal Highway.
On my second try I made it. My GPS lady was working hard but she was confused too.
After lunch we drove to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The whole town is filled with tourists, and finding a parking space is not easy. I did not want to go in a parking garage and pay the whole day fee. After several times going around we found a spot five minutes from the aquarium. The parking meters take credit cards which made it easy. It is better than feeding the meter a million quarters.

We had our tickets and could just walk in. The lines at the ticket booths were long.
At the outdoor seating area, people in period costumes, gave a lecture on the history of Monterey. Because of fishing sardines emigrants from southern Italy settled in Monterey. The bay was filled with those small, shiny fish. It looked like the supply could never be exhausted. During both World Wars the military bought a large amount of sardines.
The fish are gone now and so are the canneries. The tourist trade uses the buildings.
I tried to take pictures of sea otters while they were under water. It is not easy; they are very fast.

The jelly fish tanks are a main draw at the aquarium. Those delicate creatures are fascinating.

The aquarium has some sardines in a large tank.

The Open Sea display was excellent too.

The aquarium is very large. Most buildings have two floors, and there is a third floor for enjoying the view of the bay.

The seaweed section is all about the importance of seaweed, as important for sea life and for use in our daily life.

The penguins are adorable.

This giant fish did not move much. The sharks were always in motion.

At the marsh display were a lot of beautiful birds.

Some of the tanks had colorful plants and rocks from the ocean.

There were a lot of stations were people could check out for information or just have fun.

On the way out we looked at the large panels with pictures from the hay days of the sardine fishing and canning period.

When we came back to the lodge we went swimming. Nicolette and Jacob went first in the children pool.

The lodge has a fantastic view of the bay. Besides the swimming pool they have a large inside hot spa, a sauna, a large exercise room with a lot of machines, and large shower rooms.  We had showers after we swam.

While I was on the computer the children played outside with legos. They were building a train, a tractor and a car.


This was an easy day. I let the kids sleep longer.
I went under the motorhome and spliced two pieces of electrical wire near the connector of the hydraulic jack. Unfortunately I cannot identify which wire is the positive and which is the negative. Both are black. The wires from the harness have colors. I am sure the red one is positive. Monday morning I will call the company which built the hydraulic jacks. I have a 50% chance to do it correct, and a 50% chance to burn out the control board. I rather make that call.
We went for lunch today to the wharf. First we walked from restaurant to restaurant and sampled their clam chowder.
Nicolette and I ordered the hollowed out bread with clam chowder. Jacob does not like sea food and he had a hot dog.

Sea lions or seals were sunning themselves in the shallow water.

Nicolette and Jacob explored the beach.

We took the free trolley for a ride through down town and cannery row. Near the aquarium we left the trolley and walked back to the car. On the way we saw this dolphin fountain and the nearby restaurant.

Several groups of divers had just come from a dive.

We went to Safeway in Seaside to buy groceries. When we came back to the motorhome we went swimming.  Tomorrow will be a long driving day.


We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, at 10:00 AM. Unfortunately the parking lot at the north side of the bridge was closed. I usually stop there and enjoy the view of the bridge, the bay and the city.
At 11:00 AM we arrived at the Petaluma Elks. We went for lunch to Burger King. I had a coupon.
In the afternoon we drove to the Vallejo’s Petaluma Adobe. General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was the richest man in California for a time. When the U.S. took over from Mexico and the gold miners slaughtered his cattle, his fortune changed and he became a poor man.
Besides the 66,000 acre Petaluma ranch he owned two more ranches.

The cattle he owned were not raised for meat. The hides and tallow, made from the fat, were the source of his income. All those steaks were left for the bears, coyotes and other animals. The industrial revolution in Europe required a lot of leather for the belts which powered the machinery.

The ranch was self sufficient. They made their own saddles, clothing and most of the items needed for daily life.

Ranch hands who worked in the house could sleep there. Couples lived in one side of the house. They had a little space in a large room. Blankets divided their quarters.

The owner’s living room was not very spectacular.

The dining room was not very large either, but they did a lot of entertaining, and had guests a lot of times.

The whole family slept in the same bedroom.

The loom was used to make clothing and other articles from wool.

Most of the employees at the ranch were Indians.

There is a large fence made of prickly pear cactus.  

After the visit to the adobe we went looking for a park with playground, but could not find one. We went back to the motorhome and played with the computers and Nicolette read for a while.


We arrived in Ukiah at 10:45 AM. After setting up the motorhome we went to the Buddhist Monastery.

First we had lunch at their vegetarian restaurant. Nicolette tries not to eat meat. Jacob loves meat, but he found a dish he liked.

Then we went to The Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
From the monastery we drove to the Kate Hudson Museum. Unfortunately it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Nicolette loves to draw and she would have loved this museum.
Since there is not anything else we wanted to see we went back to the Elks Lodge, attached the car to the motorhome and took off for home. We arrived in Eureka at about 5:00 PM.
This was a fun trip. I hope the grandchildren loved it.
While at the boardwalk I had the children sketched. I believe the lady did a good job of Jacob, Nicolette looks different.

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