Thursday, August 20, 2015

More travel!

We had been talking about the trip to the Northwest for some time when my wife comes up with this promotion that comes from the Catalina Island Ferry system:  a free trip to Catalina Island on your birthday.  Well, free is her favorite word so now we were talking about two trips at the same time.  First to the Northwest then three weeks later heading for Los Angeles and Catalina Island.  Hmmm.

You know driving all the way to L.A. for a couple days on Catalina didn't sound that wonderful and I was pretty sure the neither of us would care for more than a couple days on the Island.  But, it is L.A. and there are other attractions.  One, right next to the ferry terminal is the Queen Mary.  We love the old ocean liners and staying on the Queen Mary would certainly fit into our trip.  Then I remembered all the advertising Disney is doing about the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland.  Do you see what's happening here?  See how easy it is to fill a week in L.A.?

We took off on Sunday the 9th headed for Disneyland.  My wife was taken there the first year it opened.  Then she lived in California until her mid-twenties and continued to visit from time to time with the kids.  When we lived in Orlando we visited Disneyworld quite often but I had never made it to the original Disneyland.  She wanted to show me.  We found a much different situation now; I guess 40 years does make a difference!  We stayed in the 'Resort District' at the Doubletree Inn.  It is the last property in the 'district' and walking from there to the resort was probably about a mile.  Still, it was an ok place to stay.

Disneyland was all alone when my wife started going to it then in the mid-70's it got surrounded by hotels so that the attractions looked small.  Well, they've fixed all that!  Mostly they bought up the hotels, demolished them and turned the land into parking lots.  The remaining hotels are farther away and only six or seven stories tall.  While walking around in the park I didn't see anything outside the park at all.  The park itself is much smaller than the Florida park but seems to work for the kids.  We were there in summer so there were quite a few kids; actually hordes of kids!
There were hordes of strollers as well!  That is one of the smaller stroller parking areas. 
We saw plenty of kids sleeping in the stroller while Mom and Dad were visiting Disney!  We got there about 09:00 (they open at 08:00) and it wasn't too bad but as the day wore on it got more and more crowded.  It was only about 80F (26C) so not really hot but because it is closed in there was no breeze.  By 13:00 we had had enough and left for Downtown Disney.  Downtown is an area of independent shops and restaurants; i.e. they serve alcohol!  After dodging strollers for a couple hours we needed wine with our lunch!

We could have gone back to Disneyland but we'd seen almost everything there was to see so were more than happy to wander back to the hotel.  We didn't go on any of the rides except for the train and the riverboat but that wasn't the reason for our visit; my wife wanted to see the changes and I just wanted to say I'd been there.  We were done!  That night we ate in the hotel restaurant and had a fairly nice meal.  Then went into the lounge for one last glass of wine.  The bartender served us then went on break!  She just sat there reading her paper and ignoring us; her only customers!  Absolutely amazing.  We stretched out drinking our wine so that she could come back on duty and give us the check.   Really?

The next day we didn't hurry but made it to the Queen Mary around 10:30.  We were amazed to find that our room was ready!  So we dumped our stuff in the room and took off touring the ship.
There is a Russian submarine tied up with the QM but it was closed for repairs.  I was just as happy to skip it as subs can get a little tight.  It wasn't so bad when I weighed 180 but these days those tight spaces are just a bit tighter!  You can tour most of the QM.  Inside in the passenger areas the walls are wood and beautifully finished.  We got to see some of the mechanical spaces but none of the really good stuff like the engine room, etc. We did get to visit the bridge, officer's country and the radio room; they were done to passenger level.  The radio room is kept up by a local ham radio club which was pretty cool.   Much of the deck is beautiful teak but there are places where it has been replaced with plywood.  The plywood may be cheap but it sure isn't lasting. 

I loved this view of the hull.  They wanted this ship to stay together so they used plenty of rivits!

Our room was quite nice.
This was taken from the entry way and the bathroom is beside me.  We got 2 portholes for the view and the door visible leads to a small closet.  There was a tv mounted in the corner partially obscuring one of the portholes.  The view was of the dock.  We could have had a sea view but figured who is going to stand at the porthole and look out?  I was really kind of surprised at the size of the room.  I'm sure it must have been one of the more expensive cabins when the ship was in use.

Some people complained about noise from neighbors; we had no problem with that.  We did get some noise from the hall because there was a 1 ft by 2 ft louvered opening in the door for ventilation.  My wife noticed that the toilet dripped water when used and when we reported it to the desk they had someone come over and fix it right away.

We ate at a restaurant that is just across the water so we could see the QM.  This was Parkers Lighthouse.  They were a little screwed up offering wine that they didn't have but the food (sushi for my wife and shark for me) was good and the location/view was fantastic.  Parking was validated to only cost $4 rather than $10.

I've blathered on way too much already.  I'm going to hold the big trip to Catalina Island for another day.
Take care and thanks for stopping by.

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