Train ride on vintage cars to Santa Barbara with Inspirato

Saturday, March 14th ~ Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, California

We were told to arrive at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles no later that 7:15 in the morning.

Union Station, Los Angeles

Union Station, Los Angeles

Ceiling inside Union Station, Los Angeles

Ceiling inside Union Station, Los Angeles 

Not sure how the traffic might be, we allowed plenty of time, and were blessed with that golden light that photographers get goofy over.

Los Angeles in the early morning light

Los Angeles in the early morning light

This had been a last-minute invitation from our traveling buddies, Dick and Karen. In fact we were hiking on top of the mountain overlooking Palm Springs when the phone call came in…

“Do you want to join us for a special train ride and lunch in Santa Barbara tomorrow?”

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Palm Springs ~ Tramway to the top of the mountain

Friday, March 13th (Friday the 13th)

Mt San Jacinto State Park, Palm Springs

Mount San Jacinto State Park, Palm Springs

With my mother-in-law in tow, our first big outing was a drive to Palm Springs to take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of the mountain and visit Mount San Jacinto State Park.

It had been windy at the cabin and we had already delayed this trip a couple of days, knowing that if the winds exceeded a certain level, the tramway would be shut down for the duration.

But by Friday, the winds had calmed down, and we set out for some adventure and sightseeing…  Continue reading

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Coming Soon! Showing off a bit of Southern California

We have been busy the past two weeks with a visit from my mother-in-law, Nancy. It was time for us to get out and show off a few places in Southern California that she had not seen before. When you have a visitor that has seen your neck of the woods with many visits over the past 25+ years, it is a little more challenging to find something new and exciting – but we definitely tried.

My next few posts will highlight our outings…

Wednesday, March 11th

Overlook on Highway 18, between Running Springs and Big Bear

Joanne, Tim and Nancy ~ Overlook on Highway 18, between Running Springs and Big Bear

Our little cabin is in the San Bernardino mountains, half way between Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear. Sitting at 6,000 feet in elevation, we get to experience four distinct seasons, unlike the San Fernando Valley (where our home was located that we sold in 2013) which has perpetual summer.  Continue reading

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The Queen Mary

Monday, March 2nd ~ On board the Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

I was so excited to have my sister and brother-in-law stop by on their way to Arizona. Their time with us was limited, and we opted to take a day trip to Long Beach to tour the Queen Mary. Built by Cunard line in Clydebank, Scotland, she was originally known as job #534.

Although Cunard had maintained a legacy of naming their ships with names ending in “ia” such as Mauretania, Aquitania and Berengeria, legend has it that the tradition was ended due to a miscommunication of sorts.

“As per protocol, legend states that the Cunard directors went to ask King George his blessing of the ship’s proposed name saying, “We have decided to name our new ship after England’s greatest Queen,” meaning Queen Victoria, the King’s Grandmother. Upon which the King is reported to have stated, “My wife (Queen Mary) will be delighted that you are naming the ship after her.” ~ queenmary.com

What a story this grand lady has! Often compared to another great ship, the Titanic, she comes out on top with some pretty impressive statistics. Queen Mary VS Titanic:  Continue reading

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The Great Zimbabwe

Friday February 6th ~ Exploring the Great Zimbabwe

Our tour was starting to come unraveled at the seams. A game drive scheduled for the previous afternoon at Mutirikwi National Park was cancelled. Evidently the company that was supposed to take us on the safari had mechanical problems with their vehicle(s) and there was no back-up plan.

Our overnight at the Hippo Creek Lodge was frankly a disappointment. The rooms themselves held possibilities if they had been clean and updated. The “bones” were good, with a large roomy sleeping area and huge bathroom. The tile designs embedded into the flooring could have been special.

Bedroom at Hippo Creek

Bedroom at Hippo Creek 

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Playing with little lions – ahhhh, a relief after the previous night…

Thursday February 5th ~ Antelope Park to Masvingo

Playing with the lion cubs

Playing with the lion cubs

After only 2.5 short hours the alarm was going off on Tim’s iPhone.

I struggled to get my bearings. That is often one of the challenges of frequent traveling – trying to figure out where you are each morning when you wake up. When sleep deprived it makes finding your way to the bathroom even more interesting…

But the day had dawned and we had a couple of items to check off our list before leaving Antelope Park. At breakfast we soon found out that our missing lion adventure of the previous night was THE topic of conversation. Gerald, our Antelope Park guide, who accompanied us while searching the savannah had already been filling in other members of our group.  Continue reading

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MISSING – Two big lions

Wednesday February 4th (PM) ~ In the back of a pick-up, Antelope Park, Zimbabwe

Sunset at Antelope Park

Sunset at Antelope Park

“If we can’t find them soon, perhaps we can try playing animal in distress sounds”, the lone female voice cracked through the night on the radio.

“Let’s meet at (squawk) and coordinate our efforts”, came an authoritative male voice.

And off we went, full throttle, to rendezvous at some previously mentioned but muffled spot.

Tim and I are sitting in the back of a small pick-up truck, hanging on for dear life. On the floor of the truck bed, just behind where we are sitting is a half eaten and gutted young wildebeest. The floor is getting slick from oozing blood.

It is somewhere in the vicinity of 1:00 in the morning and we are trying to help find two missing adult lions.  Continue reading

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