Monday, June 29, 2009

Sea World San Diego

Friday morning it was time to check out of Pechanga and head south to Sea World. Jen and Tanya made their reservations a month ago to do the dolphin intervention program and they each paid $170 to do this one hour program. They were so excited. We didn't count on the traffic to get on the interstate.

Road construction, so traffic was creeping along. Just before getting on the interstate they had two lanes of traffic merging into one. Also it didn't help that the traffic lights weren't in sync. I think it took us a half hour to hit the interstate. Once we got on the interstate it didn't take long to make it to Sea World. I am so fortunate that I have my sister to give me great directions. She would be an awesome navigator for you. Who needs a Garmin when I have a Mary.

We arrived at Sea World around 10:30 am, paid to park and had to follow the parking attendents instructions. We were naturally parked in the south 40, walked quite a ways to get to the ticket gates and waited in line to pay our admission. It was probably 11:00 before we actually stepped foot in the park.

Our first stop was the dolphin program place, when Jen and Tanya made their reservations they didn't get the same time slot. We went to see if there were any cancellations or possibly a trade to get them in the same time slot. No deal. In the long run it worked out best as I was able to get great photos of both of them.

Our first stop was to watch the dolphin show and we sat in the splash zone. We didn't get wet at all, just a few sprinkles. The man in front of me shielded me from getting too wet. It seemed like years later the show was longer. I know it hasn't changed.

From here we made our way to the Shamu show. Again sitting in the splash zone, the two girls sat in lower rows than I did. I sat in the very last row of the splash zone and in front of the shallow part of the pool. The girls got wet, but I didn't.

After that we just wandered around waiting for the time to check in for the dolphin program. I was able to get great photos of them and both girls said that it was worth the money they paid. I didn't think so. They didn't actually get to swim with the dolphins, they did get in the water and touch them. They were able to do some tricks with them. They were probably in the water for about 30 minutes. The first 20 minutes were spent getting their wet suits on and listening to the instructions.

They even bought the professional photos for $35 each. As long as they were happy and I did enjoy watching them. I took alot of photos.

After this event we just wandered around and then we ate at Ship Wreck Reef. It was a cafeteria style place and we got some good food. My sisters did call and wanted to hear all about the dolphin experience. We rode on a couple of rides. I rode on the Wild Artic ride but the two girls rode on the Atlantis ride too.

Seeing the animals of the Artic, people got a lesson in nature. The beluga whales were mating and it was very interesting to see. It was funny because there were some very little kids wanting to know what the whales were doing. Well, they were dancing. I guess it wouldn't have been too bad, but the two whales mating were both male. One guy made the comment "You can tell they are California whales".

When Tanya figured out what was going on she left right away, it was funny. She said that was disgusting. In the meantime the female whale was just swimming around without any bother.

Before we knew it, it was time to go. Jen and Tanya spent time shopping and then it seemed like we had to walk sooo far to get back to the car. We spent the night at Mary's house and we got to Murrieta just before 10:00.

All in all it was a wonderful day and you can see my photos on picassa.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Katie's Wedding

Thursday was the big day. The ceremony didn't start until 5:00 pm so we had plenty of time to relax. It felt good after hard driving for two days.

We got ready and all dressed up. The weather was gorgeous. It was not beastly hot like it would normally be in southern California. Was a tad windy, so all the young women in the bridal party had their hair tossed around a bit. They must have spent hours getting their hair just perfect and the wind tossed it around. I am really surprised that Katie's veil stayed on. After the ceremony the wind stopped.

Katie and Andrew were a beautiful couple. I didn't see any nerves on their part. My little niece Gracie was the flower girl. She started out good and doing her job like she was supposed to, but when she realized that everyone was looking at her, she stopped and wasn't going to move. Andrew and Lexie were doing their best to coax her to come up to the front. Gracie did manage to make it by her mother.

The ceremony was held on a patio with a very pretty waterfall. You couldn't ask for a better setting for a wedding. However, Katie's mother and father were married in a castle so it is a tie on beautiful locations.

After the ceremony, all formal photos were taken. The guests were escorted upstairs to the roof top banquet room. What a view. You can see the whole valley from up there and we were blessed with a beautiful sunset. We were served dinner and it was delicious. We were served chicken with potatoes and veggies. For dessert we had a very delicious chocolate mousse.

After dinner was the dancing. They had a dj and he played quite a variety of music. He even played some of Katie and Andrew's music. Everyone had a good time. Before we knew it, it was time to call it a night.

I am still in the process of getting all my photos sorted and edited, I'm slowly working on that.

Pechanga Resort & Casino

We arrived at the Pechanga Resort and Casino on Wednesday night. I was tired after spending 12 hours driving from Salt Lake to Temecula. I made a side trip in Vegas to pick up my brother. He had given me directions to his house and said that I will have no problem. He didn't count on road construction. The sign I needed was gone and all that was up was a big orange sign with the exit number and read Reno Phoenix. Jen said that was probably my exit. I said no because Ed said to take Charleston Blvd and that is the next exit. I took the Charleston Blvd exit and made my way down the street. Ed said that I wouldn't be on this street for long. After a while I decided to give him a quick call. When I told him where I was he said that I was going the wrong way. I couldn't figure that out since I took the exit he said to take. Once he realized what I had done, he said I was fine just to keep going. I managed to take the scenic drive through the ghetto of Vegas. Ed sort of chided me for taking the wrong exit, but when I told him that he didn't factor in road construction he forgave me. The huge green sign with all the highway information was gone, just an exit number. We ate lunch in Vegas and Ed got me out of town a whole completely different way.

We made our way to Pechanga, by this time I was getting directions from my sister Bonnie who already checked in. We got checked in and into our rooms. We are amazed at how nice this place is. It has valet parking that is complimentary. Our rooms had mini bars in them but the one in my room was out of service, we couldn't even open it. I don't know if it really was out of service or when I checked in they noticed that Jen and her friend Tanya didn't look old enough and the front desk made it out of service. Worked for me because I didn't want to pay for anything out of the mini bar. I checked out my brother's room and the note on the mini bar said that if you take it or even touch it you will be charged. I left well enough alone, didn't want to get in trouble with my brother.

We finally found the rest of the family. Gma was pretty tired so she went up to her room for the night, while Mom came back down. Jen & Tanya stayed in the room and I gave them strict instructions to carry their ID's with them at all times. They may get questioned if they are wandering around the casino. Jen said a security guard did watch them while they were milling around. Bonnie & I gambled a bit while Mom & Ed watched. I lost my $10 in less than 5 minutes, while Bonnie was winning. We were playing those new slots machines will all the lines that don't make sense. Bonnie won $60 on the nickel machine. I know we gamble big. We were all very tired so off to bed.

In the morning we all met for breakfast at the casino. It was all done in shifts as early is a different meaning for everyone. The Gma's and I were at breakfast at 7:30 while eveyone else came later. It turned out that the Gma's and I were at breakfast for two hours. Nothing was on the schedule for the morning, so we all stayed at the casino and relaxed. Jen & Tanya spent the day at the pool while Bonnie, Ed and I gambled.

First we played the slots and I immediately lost $10. We decided to wander around a bit. Ed likes to play Keno and I played poker. This turned out to be a better deal for Ed and me. I'm not too sure how much money Ed won playing Keno, but I won $83 playing poker.

I put $20 in the machine, I first won a little then started losing, pretty soon I doubled what I put in. Decided that $40 was good enough for me so I cashed out. Bonnie & Ed were still playing so I decided to give it another try. Again playing poker since I understand that game better than the new slots with all kinds of crazy lines. I quit when I got two flushes in a row, decided that was a sign and I had won $43 this time. I was happy, I walked out of the casino with more than I had played for both days.

After gambling we sat in the lobby of the resort to visit. It was nice just to relax and not have to drive and be anywhere at a certain time. Soon it was time to get ready for the wedding.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Road Trip

Summer is here and that means only one thing, ROAD TRIP. Got back from my road trip from sunny California. I have three days to relax and get ready for the next one.

We had a good time in California and I will blog later about all the stuff that we got done in just six days. Actually it was two days because four of those days were spent in the car driving.

We had good weather all the way. It rained on us in Utah, a little in both Wyoming and Montana.

It takes me two days to get to Murrieta California, where my sister lives. Provo Utah is about the mid point, so I always try to make it to Provo and if there is enough time (usually isn't) I will try for Nephi Utah. That means we are in the car for 11-12 hours. I do make stops to get out and walk around a bit and naturally for gas and we eat lunch somewhere.

It's not so bad when I'm heading west as I gain an hour as soon as I get into Nevada, however coming back I lose that hour.

It was hot in the desert, 97 degrees. According to the locals that was cool, but for us mountain people it was hot. As soon as we got into Utah it was raining so it dropped 20 degrees and then further up the road rain again so it dropped another 20 degrees. By this time it's cold, 59 degrees.

We got home safe and sound and now gearing up for the next one.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Deadwood Gamblers Run

Gary and I survived our four days of motorcycle riding in the Black Hills. We left Hardin around 10:30 am Thursday. Our original plan was to meet the main group on the overpass at Hardin. We figured why should we drive an extra 100 miles going to Billings to meet them when they have to pass by Hardin anyway. That didn't go well. Somehow we missed the group. The group was leaving Billings at 9:00 am. It takes about 40 minutes to get to Hardin. We waited on the overpass until 9:45, we then decided to wait for them at Crow at the interchange of I-90/Hwy 212. We were at the gas station waiting patiently when a group of bikes drove on by staying on the interstate. Any other time we have ridden with the group they always take the two lane highways. Figures that when we have it figured out they change it up. We decided to continue on Hwy 212 to Belle Fourche.

A group had left earlier at 8:00 am and when we got to Alzada we had caught up to the earlier group. Gary was glad, he really enjoys the group rides. It was my idea to wait for the group at Hardin. Along to the road we were seeing signs warning of road construction on Hwy 212 at Belle Fourche and it was recommended to take an alternate route. The group decided to go to Huelet and get on the interstate at Sundance. Up ahead were some pretty dark clouds, so we pulled over at Devil's Tower to put on our rain gear. Good thing because as we left Devil's Tower it had started to rain. We must have been behind the storm because we didn't get dumped on, just enough to get wet and make things miserable. I felt like the Michelin Man wearing all that gear. Remember by now I am wearing about 3 layers of clothes. We made it to Deadwood and checked into our hotel. Spent the rest of the night getting settled in and getting all of the stuff from the casino. We both played in the slot tournament. I was the 6th highest score and they only awarded prizes to the top five.

On Friday we went with another couple and rode to Hill City, Mount Rushmore and Keystone before heading back. The couple with us had wanted to stop at Silver City. I couldn't figure out why but okay, fine with us. Silver City is 5 miles off the main road, but it is a pretty 5 miles. We saw a big horn sheep on the side of the hill. I missed that photo op because Gary just can't stop right in the middle of the road. Silver City is an old mining town and it was pretty much a dead end, nothing to see there. Now we know why all these years we've never been there. Naturally the big horn sheep was gone when we went back. Taking photos from the back of the motorcycle is pretty challenging. I am getting better at it.

Saturday we rode with three other couples and went to the Badlands. Out of the eight of us I was the only one who has been there before, so Gary and I ended up leading the group to the view points. We didn't stop at all of them, but we hit the main ones. We ate lunch at the Cedar Pass Lodge in the park, it was very good food. As we were making our way back to Rapid City we could see the storm up ahead, so we pulled off the highway at the huge fireworks place and put on our rain gear. Other bikers behind us had the same idea. As soon as we hit Rapid City, we got pelted with rain. We made our way to the Harley dealership and they had set up a huge awning for bikers to park under. We waited out the storm in the dealership, just long enough to do some shopping. One of the salemen told us that if we are going to make our way back to Deadwood we better hurry as the storm is going to circle back around and this time have hail. We did make it back to our hotel in plenty of time, but a few in our group did get caught in the hail storm.

That night we met with the main group for a little get together. They raffled off a leather coat and a 100-100 raffle. Neither one of us won the big things, but I did win a Harley cap and Gary won a Harley dog bandana which I will be giving to Sandy. We also got some patches that they make for this run. It was alot of fun, then we spent the night gambling. I think we ended up with about $20 more than when we started. I was playing the penny machines. At one I put $5 and as soon as I hit the button I walked away with $30. I walked away and was happy. Gary had won about $20 playing poker. We mostly spent our winnings and we each got $20 promo money from the hotel.

Sunday morning it was time to leave, so we got packed up and ready to go. We rode with the same group at Saturday. Once we got to Sundance it was pretty windy all the way to Gillette. We made it to Sheridan and again we could see a storm coming, so geared up again. We got pretty heavy rain in Sheridan and again in Lodge Grass. Once we got to Crow it was nice and warm, so we dried out. We ate lunch in Hardin with everyone, then said our goodbyes. We were laughing because we got to break off before everyone else.

In all we put 960 miles on the bike, didn't feel like driving around to add the other 40. We sure do have a very dirty bike to wash.

Now I have to get ready for vacation number 2.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Birthdays and Football

Had a very busy week last week. First to top it off, it was my birthday. Very low key event because now every year brings me closer to that dreaded big one, you know the big one that is the F word we are not allowed to say.

Wednesday my hubby and daughter took me out for dinner after work. I was very surprised because they wouldn't tell me where we were going. To my surprise we went to Olive Garden. The hubby is not a fan of Italian and my daughter only likes it occassionally. Very delicious food but were full so no dessert. Hubby did make me a cake but I wonder if it wasn't because I was complaining about it. Normally I wouldn't get all this attention, but I spent the week reminding them that it was coming. Next year I will staty mum about it and see if they will remember.

Why is it that mom's and wives always remember birthdays but when it's mom or wife birthday they forget?

Yesterday the hubby and I were bored so we decided to go watch the football game in Billings. The Billings team played the team from Sioux Falls, the number 1 team in the league. Billings is ranked number 2. We figured that it would be an exciting game but the Billings Outlaws ran away with it. The final score was 70-35. We left the game with just over six minutes left, by then the score was 63-28. It was after 10 last night when we got out of Billings, had to get up early to take the daughter to work. Told the hubby that if Sioux Falls scores 6 touchdowns in 6 minutes then we can be mad, but I didn't see it.

In the middle of the first quarter that was a big melee and two players were ejected, one from Billings and the other from Sioux Falls. Figured the one from Sioux Falls was their bit play maker, because after that they didn't have anything. Probably didn't help when one of the Sioux Falls players got hurt. He was taken off the field by ambulance.

We sat in the end zone area and it was pretty good. It's only a 50 yard field so you can see both ends pretty good. The only bad thing about sitting there is when there is a small break in the game, they will throw t-shirts, footballs and other things into the stands. Our section was the only one that didn't get anything thrown to. Too bad because there were quite a few kids in the section. Some of them were upset, but that is how it goes.

The weather this month has been pretty icky. Cold and rainy. We have had rain every day this month. Good thing is that we don't have to water the lawn, but the grass is growing pretty good and it's too wet to mow. Hope we can get it mowed before Thursday. Too wet to ride the bike. We don't want to ride when we don't have too.

We actually had to turn the heater back on. Here it is June and we have the house heater going. Mainly to take the chill off in the mornings. Hope the weather straightens out because on Thursday we are leaving for Deadwood with the HOG chapter and I would like nice weather to ride through the Black Hills.