SoCal Vacation

Traci has been workin’ on me for a couple of years to go on a family vacation. She and I went to southern California for our honeymoon in 1998, but the kids have never been on a real vacation. Michael and Bradley are now old enough to not be a total drag, so we finally pulled the trigger and made reservations and bought tickets. We left home on March 6th and returned on the 14th, visiting Sea World, California Adventure, Disneyland (for two days), and Knott’s Berry Farm, with one day spent on the beach and one night aboard the Queen Mary. We planned the timing of our trip to coincide with our favorite annual geocaching event in St. George. We hit the road Friday after work/school and stayed at Ken and Betsy’s place that night after meeting up with a bunch of friends for dinner. On Saturday morning we went to the geocaching event/breakfast then headed out with the same group of dinner friends from the evening before for a little fun along the Virgin River. We explored an area where there were probably a dozen or more pit houses, a lot of potsherds, and a few arrowheads.

At the county line, headed south, and saying goodbye to snow for a while
At the county line, headed south, and saying goodbye to snow for a while


My grocery-getter next to some real Jeeps
My grocery-getter next to some real Jeeps


Virgin River
Virgin River


Bloomington Hill and Signal Peak
Bloomington Hill and Signal Peak


Ken in his Jeep
Ken in his Jeep


Ooh, pretty rocks!
Ooh, pretty rocks!


A piece of pottery that Bradley found
A piece of pottery that Bradley found


Cactus
Cactus


A neat fossil in a rock that Kenny found
A neat fossil in a rock that Kenny found


Unfortunately, the family and I had to leave early to get to San Diego at a decent time, but fortunately we gained an hour crossing into the Pacific time zone. We met up with my cousin, Allyn, and his family in Temecula for dinner. Allyn and two of his kids would be joining us at Sea World the following day as well. We checked into the hotel in San Diego–kind of a dump, actually, but it was cheap and we only needed a place to stay the night before moving on early the next morning. That night we lost the hour we’d gained due to the change to daylight savings time. We were ready early enough on Sunday morning that we had a little time to kill before Sea World opened, so we took a little walk along the San Diego River.

Ivanpah solar facility just across the border from Primm, Nevada
Ivanpah solar facility just across the border from Primm, Nevada


Vince’s Spaghetti in Temecula
Vince's Spaghetti in Temecula


Palm trees outside our hotel in San Diego
Palm trees outside our hotel in San Diego


San Diego River
San Diego River


It was fun exploring this area
It was fun exploring this area


Palm tree near the San Diego River
Palm tree near the San Diego River


I enjoyed Sea World more than I thought I would. We arrived a little bit before Allyn and his kids, and we wandered around through some of the interactive exhibits where the kids got to touch sharks and rays. When Allyn showed up we spent the day together going on rides and watching a couple of shows. After Sea World closed we ate dinner at In-N-Out in a sketchy part of San Diego, then said goodbye to Allyn and his family and moved on toward Anaheim.

Petting bamboo sharks at Sea World
Petting bamboo sharks at Sea World


Shells and broken glass embedded in the concrete
Shells and broken glass embedded in the concrete


Killer whale
Killer whale


Shipwreck Rapids
Shipwreck Rapids


The D*ck House: Sausage Shack
The D*ck House: Sausage Shack


Touching rays
Touching rays


Killer whale show
Killer whale show


These herons stole the show by stealing the killer whale snacks
These herons stole the show by stealing the killer whale snacks


Pilot whale
Pilot whale


15-second handheld exposure on the moving walkway
15-second handheld exposure on the moving walkway


The fambly
The fambly


Traci with Allyn and his kids
Traci with Allyn and his kids


Seal begging for treats
Seal begging for treats


Polar bear
Polar bear


Bradley watching the fishes
Bradley watching the fishes


The gang just before leaving Sea World
The gang just before leaving Sea World


My first time eating In-N-Out…meh.
My first time eating In-N-Out...meh.


Just as we got off the freeway in Anaheim and stopped at a traffic light, fireworks started going of at Disneyland. It was a nice welcome to Anaheim! Our hotel was pretty nice and we stayed there for two nights. The first day in town we visited California Adventure, which I think I ended up liking better than Disneyland. It was a long day, with a lot of walking. We ate meals outside the park to save money, which meant walking back to the hotel for lunch and dinner.

Fireworks at Disneyland that started just as we got off the freeway
Fireworks at Disneyland that started just as we got off the freeway


Entrance to California Adventure
Entrance to California Adventure


Paradise Pier
Paradise Pier


Grizzly Peak
Grizzly Peak


Silly Symphony Swings
Silly Symphony Swings


Everything that’s wrong with California summed up in one sign
Everything that's wrong with California summed up in one sign


Raven
Raven


Lumber mill at the closed-for-the-season Grizzly River Run
Lumber mill at the closed-for-the-season Grizzly River Run


Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail


Carousel selfie
Carousel selfie


Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror


A Bug’s Land
A Bug's Land


Radiator Springs
Radiator Springs


Paradise Pier at night
Paradise Pier at night


Our second day in Anaheim was spent at Disneyland. It was another long day of rides and attractions, and yet more walking. We’d planned on spending two days in a row at Disneyland, but by the end of the first day there we were exhausted. We decided to spend the next day at the beach instead.

Foggy morning at the entrance to Disneyland
Foggy morning at the entrance to Disneyland


Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland


In line for Star Tours
In line for Star Tours


Space Mountain
Space Mountain


Rolling the ball
Rolling the ball


Bradley on Autopia
Bradley on Autopia


Posing with Pluto
Posing with Pluto


Too short ­čÖü
Too short  :(


Revolver and blanks used during the Jungle Cruise ride (yet I had to leave my .40 at home)
Revolver and blanks used during the Jungle Cruise ride (yet I had to leave my .40 at home)


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad


Bradley and a goat
Bradley and a goat


It’s a Small World
It's a Small World


Main Street
Main Street


We went to Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, where we all enjoyed ourselves despite the dreary and breezy weather. The kids dug in the sand, we caught creatures on the beach and in the water, and the place was nearly deserted save for us.

Streets of San Pedro
Streets of San Pedro


The kids’ first-ever look at the ocean at Cabrillo Beach
The kids' first-ever look at the ocean at Cabrillo Beach


My Jeep is not used to this kind of sand
My Jeep is not used to this kind of sand


Playing in the sand at Cabrillo Beach
Playing in the sand at Cabrillo Beach


My feet in the Pacific Ocean
My feet in the Pacific Ocean


Cabrillo Beach
Cabrillo Beach


Cabrillo Beach pier
Cabrillo Beach pier


California gull, the official bird of the state of Utah
California gull, the official bird of the state of Utah


The kids eyeing a pelican
The kids eyeing a pelican


Breakwater at Los Angeles Harbor
Breakwater at Los Angeles Harbor


Cabrillo Beach pier
Cabrillo Beach pier


Peekaboo!
Peekaboo!


We motored to Long Beach and spent the night aboard the Queen Mary. After checking in, showering, and going out for dinner, we spent the evening exploring the ship. I woke up early the next morning and thoroughly enjoyed the sunrise while peering out the porthole window.

Vincent Thomas Bridge
Vincent Thomas Bridge


Queen Mary
Queen Mary


View from our stateroom aboard the Queen Mary
View from our stateroom aboard the Queen Mary


Room on the Queen Mary
Room on the Queen Mary


Long Beach sunset
Long Beach sunset


Queen Mary at night
Queen Mary at night


View from the Queen Mary across Queensway Bay toward Long Beach
View from the Queen Mary across Queensway Bay toward Long Beach


Queen Mary passageway
Queen Mary passageway


Queen Mary
Queen Mary


Long Beach at dawn
Long Beach at dawn


Cruise ship moored off our stern
Cruise ship moored off our stern


Shoreline Marina
Shoreline Marina


The next day at Disneyland we were somewhat rested from our beach-day. There were some rides we’d missed on our first day at the park, but I think I’d have rather spent another day at California Adventure. Maybe it would have been worth springing for the park-hopper pass so we could have jumped to/from either park during the day.

Jeep at the Disneyland parking lot
Jeep at the Disneyland parking lot


Survey marker
Survey marker


Whale at Storybook Land
Whale at Storybook Land


Sumbarine Voyage
Sumbarine Voyage


Lego store
Lego store


Disneyland Drive
Disneyland Drive


Mine, mine, mine!
Mine, mine, mine!


Bradley battling Darth Maul
Bradley battling Darth Maul


That evening we spent the night in Long Beach, away from the parks where lodging and meals would be cheaper. The hotel was decent but the pool was unheated–brr! On our last full day in California we visited Knott’s Berry Farm. It was quite different than I remembered it from 17 years ago. There are a lot more amusement/thrill rides. We all really enjoyed Knott’s–it’s not as whimsical as any of the Disney parks, but it seemed to have more substance and less fluff. Despite the shorter operating hours we still got to ride everything we wanted to, even doing a couple of repeats on the really fun ones. Michael lost his phone one one of the rides just before the park closed, so we spent our last minutes there in a frantic search, but it never turned up.

Jeep in a nearly empty parking lot at Knott’s Berry Farm
Jeep in a nearly empty parking lot at Knott's Berry Farm


Dee-oh-double-dee-why-dee-oh-double-gee-ya-see?
Dee-oh-double-dee-why-dee-oh-double-gee-ya-see?


Timber Mountain Log Ride
Timber Mountain Log Ride


The boys and me on Supreme Scream
The boys and me on Supreme Scream


Coast Rider
Coast Rider


Hangin’ with the cowboys
Hangin' with the cowboys


Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm


Bumper cars
Bumper cars


Jaguar
Jaguar


We drove home on Saturday morning, going pretty much non-stop except for a couple of fuel and food stops. There was one long uphill grade on I-15 where suddenly a big smoke plume started coming from the Jeep. It scared the shit out of me, and I got off the interstate at the next exit and inspected for the source of the smoke. It turned out that the transmission got a little warm and the fluid expanded and leaked out of the breather tube and onto the exhaust. The same thing had happened with my old Grand Cherokee a couple of times and I decided it was nothing to worry about. After cooling off for 10 minutes, we hit the road again and made it home without incident. I pulled into the driveway after dark and the trip odometer showed 1,664.3 miles. I was glad to have all day Sunday to unpack, do laundry, and just relax before returning to work.

Must be a big Esai Morales fan
Must be a big Esai Morales fan


Baker: California’s version of Green River, Utah
Baker: California's version of Green River, Utah


Stopped at Halloran Summit along I-15 to let the transmission cool off
Stopped at Halloran Summit along I-15 to let the transmission cool off


The kids asleep, somewhere north of St. George
The kids asleep, somewhere north of St. George


1,664.3 miles on the trip odometer upon arriving home
1,664.3 miles on the trip odometer upon arriving home


Photo Gallery: SoCal Vacation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.