Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Roadrunner Christmas Meeting


On December 30 active and inactive members of the MFC Roadrunners camping group met at the Fusts home in Sun City for a holiday gathering. In all 14 attended, including six who are active (the Fusts, Sees and Strongs).


Dottie Engelman, Maggie Zimmerman (both in their 90s) and Celia, Dottie’s daughter.  Maggie and Cheryl See are the only remaining original members of the group founded in 1966.


Maggie, Celia, Nancy Audet and daughter Chrissy.


Jeff Clyde, Fusts’ dog Emma and Jo Clyde Strong


Greg and Cheryl See, Jeff Clyde and hostess, Mary Fust. 


Lynn Blickenstaff and Greg


Greg See checks out the well-stocked refreshment center!


Trish, Greg, Nancy and Cheryl with Lynn’s back to the camera


Trish, Jeff, Herb, Mary and Jo


San Diego Wild Animal Farm (now Safari Park)


Our last day trip in our San Diego week was to a branch of the San Diego Zoo first named Wild Animal Park. The Safari name was adopted to emphasize the several kinds of activities (Safaris) which may be undertaken there (zipline rides, rope swinging, overnight camping, etc.) to generate more income. I much preferred to first version of the park which had a monorail ride around the outside of the whole park. Now there is a motorized tram just around the large African plains part.


Birds like this water feature, including the native ones which come to visit.




Rhinoceros in the large enclosure with other herbivore animals.


Their herd of elephants had a nice enclosure just for them. The herd ranges from babies to mature bulls and females. (What is a mature female called, a cow?) We spent a long time watching the elephants interact with one another, and then took in a show where trainers demonstrated the behaviors taught to the elephants so the trainers could look after them without getting in their enclosure.


The bird show is a longstanding attraction of the park. Food is used to entice the desired behaviors of the birds. The largest was a beautiful secretary bird. Here one of the performing birds is in flight just to the left of the trainer.



On yet another day during our December San Diego visit we drove to Point Loma and the national monument at its tip honoring the first European explorer to find the beautiful bay, Juan Cabrillo.


This unmarked ship cruised into the entrance to the bay. It was painted in colors minimizing its visibility.  The most logical explanation was that it was on a shakedown cruise by the shipbuilder and had not yet been accepted by the Navy. We were told that it was a  docking craft and carried hovercrafts for beach landings and helicopters. 


This statue honoring Juan Cabrillo was erected in the last few years.



Coronado Island is on the left. It actually is a spit or peninsula attached to the mainland at its south(far) end.


Across the entrance to the bay is the Naval Air Station, and to the right is downtown San Diego


From Point Loma we took freeways past downtown to cross the Coronado Bridge and visit Hotel Del Coronado, Years ago I attended a seminar there sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona.


Skaters were enjoying an ice rink in front of the hotel.


On another day during our week in early December we visited the famed San Diego Zoo. Jo and I had been there several years ago, and we found a few changes. There is an aerial tram to take visitors diagonally across the park, connecting the entrance area to the lower area near the bottom of the canyon. We were there on a cool day, so most of the animals were “out and about”, not sleeping in dens as is often the case in the middle of the summer.

IMG_9944  Sorry that I do not remember the name of these animals. Senior moments?


Reindeer in the elephant enclosure.


IMG_9948 Flamingos


The panda display was popular with the visitors on our day. Luckily for us there were relatively few people at the zoo that day..



This two hump camel seems to be in his winter coat.



The first part of the San Diego area settled was virtually abandoned after several years. It has been redeveloped with buildings replicating the original buildings in the area. It now is a California State Park, with commercial development for tourists surrounding it. It is now in a large mixed residential and commercial area.


Street scene. Many of the buildings are occupied by craftsmen showing the kind of activity conducted in the building originally, such as a blacksmith’s shop, tin shop, and general store in the background.


Here is the square.


This church outside the state park remains in use.


A building developed adjacent to the state park was built and is maintained by the LDS church commemorating the Mormon Battalion. In several rooms it tells the story of the U S Army recruiting Mormons then living in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest to form an all Mormon battalion to go west. The battalion was not intended to be used for any fighting by the army, and it did not do any fighting. Its purpose was to get civilians into California to bolster the U S claims to the area during a war with Mexico. It took the battalion (the lightly trained men were accompanied by wives and older children) about 6 months to make the trip to southern California. By the time they arrived the war with Mexico was over. The rest of their 1 year  enlistment period was used in doing construction in the San Diego area. Money earned by the members of the battalion was used to finance the large migration of the Mormons into Utah.


The docent, a senior citizen doing mission work for the Church, demonstrated the equipment used by members of the battalion by dressing up a tourist in the guided tour with some of the items supplied by the Army – rifle, canteen, ammunition pouch, etc. We highly recommend the museum. It uses some unusual display techniques, including talking portraits such as those seen in Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.



We used a timeshare week beginning Dec.1 to visit the San Diego area. The timeshare resort was in Solana Beach near the Del Mar racetrack. We had a  nice one-bedroom 2 bath unit equipped with a flat screen TV and even a dishwasher! This was our first road trip in our newly-acquired 2008 Prius. We got 44 mpg on the way over and 47 mpg on the way back.

On Dec. 3 we visited the Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, about 80 miles north of San Diego. While it rained on the way up, the rain was mostly over with by the time we arrived and when we left 3 hours later the sun was peeking through the clouds once in a while. I was no fan of Nixon, but the visit prompted me to read for the first time the Woodward and Bernstein book “All the President’s Men”.

The focusing problem with the pictures in the first posting of this series of blogs was not in the camera but in the software and my not understanding quite how it worked. Now that I have learned, I have deleted the fuzzy images and inserted the sharper  ones. 


This display told about  Nixon’s campaign for the U S Senate in 1950. He used a yellow Mercury station wagon and he stood on the rear fold-down tailgate for speeches.


And here is the front of the car. I do not recall having seen a Mercury station wagon of this vintage before.


One of the displays was statues of world leaders with whom Nixon met during his career in politics. Shown are Winston Churchill, Charles Degaulle and Konrad Adenour. There was a disclaimer in a sign that Nixon had selected the persons whose statues appeared and their presence did not constitute and endorsement of any by the Library.


This is a replica of the Lincoln Room of the White House.IMG_9928

And here is his limo.


Jo in front of Nixon’s birthplace, a rather modest home which then was in a citrus grove. The building has not been moved.


Closeup of the inscriptions in front of the house.



Behind his birthplace is the helicopter in which Nixon often flew. The picture below gives an idea of its size. It would carry 18 passengers. 


The following are shots in the Rose Garden behind the main building.





The Jeepers Creepers had a nice but long trip to the site of the Childs Power Plant along the Verde River on Nov. 29. Five vehicles took 14 members and guests to this historic remote spot Flowing springs at the head of Fossil Canyon provided enough head of water to supply two generating stations.   Both have been decommissioned by Arizona Public Service Co. and the Fossil Creek road down the canyon is closed with no plans to reopen it.


We gathered for a coffee break at the Mazatazal Casino south of Payson.



We found a nice spot for our lunch, with a fire for cooking hot dogs, etc. along the banks of the Verde River close to the power plant site..


More eager eaters!



And still more.



Falls on Fossil Creek upstream from the power plant and along the road accessing it from Camp Verde.