This was a full – and fun – week for us! At the beginning Loren and I were still at Clear Lake, where we spent our last night in a cabin at the State Park. That evening we went to see a production of Chicago in Lakeport. To our delight, a friend from the Lake County Bikram Yoga studio, a veteran who now studies acting, was in the performance. Unfortunately the Bikram studio has closed, it’s owner is off on new adventures in life.
The next morning we were up early to meet Loren’s sister in Castro Valley for breakfast. On the way driving by Calistoga we saw hot air balloons just taking off – look for the blast of fire that propels the one on the right. But you can also see the continuing smoke from the Kincade fire on the horizon.
From Castro Valley Loren and I drove to San Jose to pick up mail. We also had a lovely lunch with dear neighbor friends at an Italian restaurant near our neighborhood.
Then Loren and I drove south to spend the night at Avila Hot Springs on the coast off San Luis Obispo. We arrived in the dark but were able to find our tent camping Site X. We had a great soak when we first arrived, and took another before we left in the morning.
We reached Orange County that afternoon to visit a dear friend. As has always been the case since we met in 2003, her main goal in life is to have fun. Once again we did with her! I accompanied her to her weekly Tai Chi class the next morning where we learned some Qigong moves. Sadly, also we saw too many broadcasts of news reports of the fires in Los Angeles – the Getty then the Easy among others. We were not near the fires, even when we went to LACMA – the LA County Museum of Art. We were intrigued by the display of African art called Invisible Man and The Masque of Blackness, and appreciated the docent’s tour to explain it further. And we had fun in between the permanent display called Urban Light.
We indulged in street food for lunch, then walked over to see some of the outdoor displays of La Brea Tar Pits next door. The natural tar still bubbles up in the pool where ancient creatures were trapped, as well as along the streets and sidewalks in the area.
At our friend’s home that evening, we laughed and laughed at It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World from her collection of movies. The next day while she went off to a preplanned luncheon, Loren and I visited the nearby Nixon Library. Did I mention our friend’s favorite saying each morning is, “It’s Another Day in Paradise!”? She has a doormat to remind us, just in case we could forget.
Nixon’s is the last of the National Archives and Records Administration’s maintained Presidential Libraries for us to visit. We still hope to see more of the other libraries or homes devoted to our country’s presidential heritage that are not maintained by NARA. We were reminded that Nixon accomplished important tasks during his time in office – he opened our relationship with China during the Cold War by flying to China to shake hands and meet with Premier Xhou Enlai and Chairman Mao. He also signed Title IX for female athletes, and he did away with the draft. It is always meaningful to immerse ourselves in US history through the perspective of a President – and as the Nixon brochure suggests to “…explore America’s past to learn about our present.” And how timely for us to read about Nixon’s own historic impeachment process and resignation…
That evening with our friend we watched a John and Yoko Netflix film, then enjoyed dinner out for Thai food. We returned in time to watch the last innings of that evening’s World Series game. Our friend bestowed us with a pair of witch’s tights, which I decided would be fun to tie around our rear window washer, which to my delight flapped up in my rear view mirror as we drove along! The tights even survived the scary 80mph winds that we encountered driving through the San Bernardino mountains on our way to Tecopa Hot Springs after we said goodbye to Orange County. I had to grip the wheel tight to keep us in our lane. It was dreadful first to see several 18 wheelers off to the side of the road with their flashers on; then we saw, in all, four overturned semi’s within a half mile stretch of interstate, two on our side, two on the crowded other side. It was awful.
Before we arrived at the Hot Springs, we stopped to see Liberty Sculpture Park, in the middle of the desert. After a soak, we drove on to Las Vegas, where, thanks to the suggestion of a friend we had found a special deal to stay at the Paris hotel.
Loren and I spent two nights in Vegas. The first night we saw Human Nature Sings Motown and More, a group from Australia, perform at the Venetian. Afterwards we watched the last innings of the final World Series game, toasted the Nationals’ win, then lamented the news of Steph’s Curry’s broken hand. On our walk back to our hotel, we stopped in front of the Bellagio to have a sidewalk dance to their music and water show.
The next evening was Halloween and we were treated to a version Michael Jackson’s Thriller at the MJ Live Tribute show at the Stratosphere. The main performer put on a striking visual and impressive vocal replica of the star’s moves and songs.
Oh, and the completion to the riddle, “I thought the dryer made my clothes shrink,” above? It’s “turns out it was a the refrigerator.” Ha ha! This too is thanks to our fun friend in Orange County, who made up several of these trick treats for her friends.