Friday, 27 November 2015

The Garland, North Hollywood

 Our daughter had stayed at The Garland and suggested we stay there too. It was called The Beverly Garland then. Friends had also stayed there and recommended it. So we booked it for four nights. We had a room in the Eldorado wing with views of the highway.
The room was spacious and comfortable, and we liked the 60's feel of the room and the hotel. One could not hear the traffic noise when the balcony door was shut.
 As Jonnie relies on the internet, the only place where it worked well enough for him was the balcony. 
I don't mind it slow, so it didn't worry me.
 The hotel is on Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood
-Valley of the Stars-
 There is an outside courtyard for relaxing and having a casual meal.
 A wonderful pool area that has an open fire in the evenings, even though it was July.
We enjoyed evening drinks there every night, and one can watch kids movies in the pool. I must admit the screen was a little hard to see as it was light until after 9pm, but the kids liked it. We had two dinners around the pool and the food was great. We chose something different each night.
 We had one dinner in The Front Yard. The staff were great but there were not many people there, and we  were surprised. The food was reasonably priced but very slow to arrive. It did taste good though.
Of all the hotels we stayed at this trip, The Garland was the most interesting. The Lobby Bar overlooked the pool, and had a lounge area adjoining the bar and the lobby.
The lobby had a fireplace, and chairs for guests while waiting for buses, etc.
 The only thing that spoilt our stay was the last day when we were sitting in the Courtyard with a few hours to wait for our transfers to LAX. All the staff in all areas had been very friendly and helpful,but on the last day a staff member (maybe from The Front Yard) was walking around with a sour look on her face glaring at all the guests sitting in the courtyard, and there were a few as there was a wedding in the function centre. She came up to us and told us we couldn't be there because we had outside food - we had a can of coke from the vending machine, and some left over cheese and crackers! We also had a beer and cocktail from the lobby bar, and were waiting on potato fries. She went and 'dobbed' to the manager, came back, stared at us and walked away. Not a staff member that suited this hotel.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Road Trip Day 3 - to Los Angeles

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I last posted. 

Sometimes the 'now' is more important. Anyway, back to our trip. Day three saw us travelling from Pismo Beach to Studio City, Los Angeles. Although, not as spectacular as the last two days, the drive had many points of interest. Santa Barbara, like much of the coastal road is very much influenced by the Spanish with it's house designs and flavours of the cafes and restaurants.
Ventura was originally known as Buenaventura.
We didn't spend a lot of time here, but in hindsight we should have. There is a lot to see and we only skimmed past most of it.
We were intrigued by these signs which appeared at the ocean end of many of the streets. Yes, we do like to go down random streets, especially if heading towards the beach.
One on the many interesting homes in the Ventura area.
As we were driving out of Ventura on the South Oxnard Boulevard we passed some aircraft in a park. We got all the way to the coast before deciding to turn around and go back to have a look. It was very interesting. The Point Mugu Missile Park has on display some old missiles. It was developed in the 1940's and is a worthwhile stop, that won't take up too much time. We had a late morning tea there.
Back on the Pacific Coast Highway we again had great views of the ocean.
We saw a few caravan parks right on the beach like this. Not very protected we thought.
Malibu has many movie and TV starts homes, but we didn't know which was which. They all looked wonderful, and the views were spectacular. 
We saw some interesting sights along the way, including this 'library'. 
We left the Pacific Coast Highway at Santa Monica, just before the pier to head towards Studio City. The traffic was very busy and it was stop start the whole way to our hotel.

During our three day road trip we saw many remote coastal villages, as well as popular spots we have only seen in movies and on TV. We were told the road was built over a 100 years ago. It was a great trip, one we would do again if we had time. We took three days and I don't know how one could do it in a shorter time. My suggestion would be to take 5-7 days, to be able to sit and enjoy the many little bays and beaches. We stopped for photos, but would have liked the opportunity to spend more time trying the many different eateries along the way.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Santa Cruz to Pismo Beach

We stayed one night at Santa Cruz Hampton Inn on Ocean Road, less than two miles from the beach, and 70 miles from San Francisco. 

The staff were great and gave us a lot of information about the area. The room was the usual Hampton Inn excellence. View was not much - just the carpark at the back.

The room had two queen beds, a lovely big TV and the most beautiful bathroom.
Each bed had a post-it note on it, which we thought was rather strange.
The rooms overlooked the breakfast room, with a skylight above to give a light airy feeling.
Just down the road is a convenience store, and a few cafes. There was also a fast food restaurant next door.
 Peter outside the Hampton Inn.
We left after breakfast and proceeded on our iconic west coast drive headed for the Santa Cruz Beach, wharf and boardwalk. There were a few one way streets that led us on a detour around Santa Cruz, but that was fine as we got to see a little bit more. We drove down to the end of the pier which had a lot of shops and cafes. The pier is over 100 years old and stretches half a mile into the Monterey Bay.
We had a walk around, took some photos, Peter spoke with the fishermen, and then we headed south alone the coast.
We were going to spend a little time in the Beach Boardwalk, but parking was a problem, so we gave it a miss. The roller coaster is an old wooden structure over 90 years old. Wow, still looks scary.
Many of the streets around Santa Cruz are lined with palm trees.
We tended to stay away from the highway and tried to stick to the coast road when possible. The scenery was spectacular.
We drove past Rio Del Mar, some beautiful forests behind Sunset Beach, down through Monterey. Monterey was very crowded, as it was summer holidays in the U.S.
We drove around the coastline of Monterey to 17 Mile Drive.
That will be in the next blog post.

Travel is the frivolous part of serious lives, and the serious part of frivolous ones. 
Anne Sophie Swetchine

Thursday, 24 September 2015

THINK - Computer History Museum

The Computer History Museum is located in Silicon Valley south of San Francisco in Mountain View. Silicon Valley is home to many, many technology companies such as Google, Apple, NASA Rsearch and Facebook.
 The Computer History Museum is in Mountain View. This was the only place Jon wanted to visit while we were here.
The museum explores the history of computing and the impact on our society. The cost was reasonable at $15 per adult, and included all galleries and videos and guided talks.
We started our detour to the Computer Museum by having lunch at the Cloud Cafe. The iced chocolate and cafe latte were really good. Jon had Coke. While waiting for our food to arrive, Jonnie checked out the map to work out where he was going to go.
I had a look in the shop. It was like going into the Big Bang household - so many gadgets and souvenirs.
Lunch was so big that we struggled to finish it, but we did, and Peter went on a guided talk, Jon did his own thing in the museum, and I walked between the two to make sure I knew where they both were :) .
We were told that the museum holds the largest international collection of all computing artefacts including software, hardware, photographs, oral histories, videos and documentation.
Jon was fascinated by all the hands on artefacts and looked at absolutely everything. Even with the 'how to' instructions, I found it difficult to use the slide rule. Jon had no trouble.
It was very interesting. so much to look at and so much to read. I remember the old punch cards used in computers, but had never seen an actual punch card computer.
Peter walked through the whole museum with a guided tour, and overtook Jon who was having a ball looking at everything.
 I would have a look and read of what interested me in each gallery, and then would find a seat and wait for Jon to catch up. Peter was way ahead. It also meant that I was able to watch all the video presentations at least once, while I waited. One of the videos in the software theatre had a display of many badges. This is one of them.
 As we got to the Robotics area, Peter met up with us.
Jon in the Computer Games exhibit.
Of course Star Trek was featured. Gene Roddenberry was before his time. I recall reading somewhere that the only devise/invention/innovation from Star Trek that has not become a reality is the transportor. Wait for it!!   
These chess pieces were made from computer bits.
 Peter's guided tour did not take him to the Google Car, which he wanted to see. The Google Car is a  self driving car. This gallery told the history of automated cars and displayed some science fiction about the driverless car.
We had only planned on staying and hour or two, but spent almost 5 hours there. We next took the Santa Cruz Hwy to Santa Cruz.
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. 

Saint Augustine