California Cruizin'

Discovering the Hidden Jewels Throughout America's Golden State

Lone Star, Cowboys, and Big Bucks

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Into the Deep Blue

Travel Sonata in C-Major

Next time you descend on Los Angeles, consider a visit to the California Science Center http://californiasciencecenter.org housed in Downtown LA’s Exposition Park. http://www.expositionpark.orgIMG_0629

Entering the modern, airy structure, one is greeted by a suspended Humpback whale replica, two slick fighter jets chasing its monstrous tail.
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Entering the modern, airy structure, one is greeted by a suspended Humpback whale replica, two slick fighter jets chasing its monstrous tail.

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A fascinating array of interactive exhibits, live shows, and demonstrations presented across this state-of-the-art facility offers something to discover for everyone. Open all year round with free general admission, children and adults alike can immerse themselves in the wonders of our world, discover amazing ecosystems, learn about human inventions and innovations, and peek deep into space.IMG_0637

For a fee, breathtaking 3D movies can be watched in the IMAX Theatre next door. Dive into the fascinating blue world of Humpback wales, or take a Space…

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Southwest Chief

Travel Sonata in C-Major

Have you ever thought of exploring America’s western frontiers on railroad tracks? If the travel bug bites, why not ride the Southwest Chief from America’s Heartland to the Pacific Coast? 2,256 miles of spectacular scenery. That’s what one of my nephews did not long ago. Out of Chicago’s Union Station, riding across the wide-open plains of Kansas, under Colorado’s open skies, and down into New Mexico’s red painted desert, he finally hopped off the train in Lamy 24 hours later. Named after Jean-Baptiste Lamy, who became Santa Fe’s first Archbishop in 1853, the unassuming train stop in the middle of nowhere is just 18 miles south of Santa Fe off highway 285. IMG_8698Arriving in the muddy parking area steps from the tracks, I look around. Remains from recent rain showers are still dripping off the red-tiled train station, its sun-faded yellow paint having seen better days.

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Stepping into the terminal…

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2014 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 950 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 16 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Where the American Eagle Flies

Travel Sonata in C-Major

Landing at Santa Fe Airport, is like arriving back in time. And that’s not just because of the different time zone here in the mountains. Depending from your point of departure, you either have gained or lost an hour or two, and have touched down at 6, 348 feet (1,935 meters) above sea level in New Mexico’s High Desert that has not seen much change. IMG_8144That’s what you think when the terra cotta control tower takes over the view in your plane window as the American Eagle jet taxis closer up to the terminal… closer… still closer… Your heartbeat off the charts, you hope the wingtip does not hit the huge window you see the plane reflected in. Is this the arrival or the departure terminal out there? It’s just one small building against the bluest blue. I see people with suitcases lined up.
The plane rolls to a halt…

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Triple D

Travel Sonata in C-Major

DDD=Discover Downtown Denver. That’s what my hubby and I set out to do on a recent trip to the capitol city of the US state Colorado. Sprawling along the Eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, Denver boasts a spectacular panorama, magnificent blue skies, and plenty of sunshine all year round.
No wonder this Mile-High City it’s popular with tourists, skiing in winter, hiking in summer, and companies relocating from other parts of the United States. With a population of approx. 615,000, Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in the US and supports a growing metropolitan area of almost 3 million people.

So on that glorious June day, my hubby and I put on our walking shoes and off we went to discover downtown Denver.

IMG_7335At the 16th Street Mall, riding the free shuttle along a mile-long, pedestrian promenade, we hoped on and off, exploring outdoor cafes, boutiques, and…

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Stairway to Heaven

Travel Sonata in C-Major

Do you believe in miracles? If you do, the Loretto Chapel in New Mexico’s capital city, Santa Fe needs to be on your bucket list. IMG_8193This gothic style chapel houses a helix-shaped spiral staircase that has been the stuff of legends ever since a mysterious carpenter built this Miraculous Staircase in 1877. IMG_8161
The story goes like this: In 1872 Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy commissioned a chapel for the Sisters of Loretto who had come from St. Louis across the Mississippi to establish a convent here in the Southwest.
The chapel was erected without any type of stairway to the choir loft since during that time people used ladders to get up and down. Can you imagine the Sisters in their long habits climbing a ladder?
Since chapel was too small, it could not accommodate a standard staircase. Desperate for a way to get up to the choir loft, the nuns began…

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Manitou Springs

Travel Sonata in C-Major

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s been already four months since my last entry. I apologize to my faithful readers for the delay. Well, as the saying goes, life gets in the way. And boy, it sure did. In all the busyness of these last few months, I found time to sneak away, exploring new vistas. One of the places was Manitou Springs; a Colorado mountain town nestled in the foothills of the majestic Rockies. IMG_8254
Famous for its spectacular setting and natural mineral springs, this unique community has been charming visitors right from its beginnings as a “scenic health resort” since 1872.
Before that, Native American Indians had already discovered the area’s rich mineral springs, soaking in these healing waters. Even today, these health beneficial springs are still flowing, attracting health geeks from around the globe.IMG_8238IMG_8242
Ambling through the picturesque downtown area, I was smitten. And so were my sister, and…

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Colorbursts of Red, Yellow & Blue

Travel Sonata in C-Major

Driving along Southern California’s Coastal Highway just as the sun dove into the ocean, the evening sky exploded in a spectacular burst of red, yellow, purple, and blue. Stunning…sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

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Beaux Arts, Zen & A Million Words

Have you ever heard of the Huntington Library? If you lived in Southern California chances are that you have. When someone told me about this famous estate housing a library, art museum and botanical gardens, I thought it was somewhere in Huntington Beach. Quite logical, right?

I felt a bit stupid after I found out more about this sprawling property nestled along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in San Marino, an affluent community a bit west of Pasadena, 45 miles northwest of Huntington Beach.

Meet the man behind Huntington Library. Henry E. Huntington. A Southern Californian railroad and real estate mogul who was interested a great deal in books, art, and gardens.

After he married his Uncle’s widow, Arabella, the couple transformed Henry’s San Marino Ranch into what is known today as Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. Visitors can stroll manicured lawns, IMG_7844 rest on marble benches, IMG_7826 admire Romanesque statues IMG_7822IMG_7851 and cool off in the spray of gushing fountain pools. IMG_7738

A vast European art collection is exhibited in the halls of the estate’s regal Beaux Arts mansion overlooking the Los Angeles basin. IMG_7849 IMG_7856 Amidst a sea of roses, the charming tearoom invites for tea and English scones, IMG_7839 while the Conservatory calls to those who want to learn more about the world of plants. IMG_7742

Zen can be found either entering the Japanese Garden IMG_7787 IMG_7801 IMG_7805 or the Chinese Garden IMG_7752 IMG_7758 and in the library a million words are bound into prized collection.

So, next time you visit Southern California drive up to San Marino and wander the grounds of these magnificent gardens.

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