Monday, 31 March 2014

Joshua Tree National Park

On Saturday morning, we got up and we went to Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP).

We spent almost 8 hours in the Park, and saw so many things, including Joshua trees, Mojave yuccas, cholla cacti, ocotilla, beavertail pricklypear, barrel cacti, a Sonoran Gopher snake, a number of lizards, huge ants, including a large red ant, birds, butterflies, ground squirrel, etc.  There were lots of boulder formations in JTNP.  The boulders were big - some were even bigger than me and I felt tiny.  A lot of people were rock-climbing.

In a lot of places, it looked like there were not many things around, but scientists reckon that there are over 1.5 million Joshua trees in JTNP, and over 750 species of plants there.  The tallest Joshua tree is over 43 feet, but we did not get to see it.  Joshua trees do not have growth rings, so it is hard to estimate their ages.

Nowadays, there is only 2-3 inches of rain a year, but there used to be 10 inches of rain each year.  At that time, there were lots of cattle ranchers in the area.  People used to mine in JTNP, and we saw the remains of one mine.  We walked to Barker Dam and we saw petroglyphs which had been drawn by local Indians a long time ago.

Whilst we were in the Park, Karl & I completed a workbook so that we could become Junior Rangers.  Some of the things we had to do were to spot different plants and animals, write a poem, and draw pictures.  We got our Junior Rangers badge from Ranger Sarah, who is a real National Park Service Ranger.

We finished our day by having dinner at a local cafe, Crossroads Cafe.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Joshua Tree National Park

On Friday we went to Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP). On the way we stopped in Santa Ysabel and Papa and Mama got out and streched their legs while looking around. After this we drove to a town called Julian circa 1870. We went in to the local drug store and the old miners store to have a old fashioned Soda Float. Mama, Papa and Karl had the Soda Float, while I had an Ice Cream cone. After this we drove to Salton Sea. The roads in Salton Sea are like roller coasters. The sea was once a dried desert below sea level with no outlet, this was accidentally filled up in winter of 1905. On the way to JTNP we saw a wind farm which had hundred of wind turbines and drove over the San Andreas fault line, which Mama and Papa have felt the shacking from. Once we got to JTNP we drove to Key Views in the park to see the Sun set.

Friday, 28 March 2014

New Children's Museum and San Diego

On Thursday 27th March, we went to Hampton Inn to meet Tante Thea and Miss Ronnie.  We had time to talk to Miss Ronnie and say good-bye to her before we left.  Tante Thea came with us to the New Children's Museum.  There were a lot of activities including bubble blowing, climbing ropes which made a sound when you were near the orange balls, making music with kitchen tools, building bridges and walls with bricks made out of dried mushrooms, and lots of other things.  We got to make pot plants made from newspaper in a garden across the road - we had to give them to Tante Thea and Miss Ronnie to take home.

Following that, we walked to the waterfront, and had ice-creams and went on a carousel which was over 100yrs old.  While walking, we saw a pelican and a sea lion or a harbour seal.

After that, we went to a restaurant in Little Italy where we ordered food but 3 of us could not eat all our food so got doggie bags.  I had a 10inch pizza, and only ate half of it tonight.

We took Tatne Thea back to her motel and said good-bye to her, as they go back home tomorrow and we leave San Diego for our next adventure.


Wednesday we went to Legoland for a day. Once we got there we went up to the counter to pay for the tickets. A women had 2 children but she had 3 passes which you could get one child free with an adult. She gave 2 of the passes to us so we did not need to pay for us. Once we got though to Legoland we went on a Lego Technic coaster. After that we did a lot of rides before we went on Coast Cruise which is where you go on a river and a man talks to you. After that we went to a shop called the Minifigure Shop where I bought 3 Star Wars sets.

To me, Legoland is similar to Disneyland but the rides are designed for younger children.

Before we left Carlsbad, which is where Legoland is, we saw the Flower Fields, which were rows and rows of different coloured flowers.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Old Town San Diego

On Tuesday, we had breakfast which had at least everything you want for breakfast, including yogurt, toast, waffles, eggs, fruit, juice, cereals, oatmeal (we call that porridge), sausage, muffins, tea and coffee.  At the hotel where we are staying with Mama and Papa, we only have pastries, juice and coffee.

After breakfast, we caught the trolley to Old Town San Diego, which has buildings from the original San Diego town built in the early 1800s.  Once we got there, we looked at some jewelry which was half price, but only until noon.  We looked in the main building then we went to a store where they had lollies (they call it candy here) such as licorice, chocolate.  Many of the buildings are adobe, which is sand, grass, dung, mud and straw, covered with whitewash.  The whitewash has ground up sea shells and lime in it.

Karl and I spent a lot of time playing on a covered wagon.  While Mama and Papa were on a tour of Old Town, we got more lollies, which had licorice and Lego-shaped lollies.

Mama & Papa met us after lunch, and we spent more time exploring, including an old cemetery which had graves from early Old Town settlers.  There was one was who was hung for stealing the only rowboat in San Diego harbour.  He was hung by his godfather, who was the deputy sheriff.

We had dinner in a Mexican restaurant, which was painted in bright colours and had lots of pinatas hanging from the ceiling.

I loved the day, but I ate too much food at the dinner table.

Balboa Park

On Monday morning I had to go and see someone (a Nurse Practitioner, a specially trained nurse who is able to write out a lot of prescriptions for medicines) about my bloodshot eyes (she says I have "pink eye" or conjunctivitis - yuck!).  I now have to have eyedrops to help my eyes get better.

After that, we went to Balboa Park where they have heaps of museums and gardens.  We only went to one museum, the Air and Space Museum.  It has the top of Apollo 9, the only flying replica of Charles Lindbergh's plane, the Spirit of St Louis, a Curtiss Robin, a Robinson helicopter which has been cut open for people to sit in, and lots of other planes and helicopters.  It also has a room for kids to play in and to learn about flying.  We also watched a 4D movie about skate-boarding at a skate park in the future.  We had to wear 3D glasses and the seats moved and there were puffs of air to make it seem as if we were skating.

After we left the museum we saw an electric car being charged up, then we went to meet Tante Thea and Miss Ronnie and walk around Balboa Park.  We were able to sail a boat in a fountain.  The boat was made out of rubbish (plastic bottles, plastic bags) by a man.  We also saw a guy skateboarding who was trying to jump down 2 sets of stairs and do a spin over the bottom set.

When we walked through the cactus garden, we saw lots of cactuses, a lizard, a small hummingbird (they are the only bird in the world that can fly backwards).  We saw a man in the garden with very black feet probably, because he did not have a home.

Later on, Karl and I went with Tante Thea and Miss Ronnie to have a sleep-over at their hotel room.  We had lots of fun.

U.S.S Midway

On Sunday morning we got up early to go and meet Tante Thea at a museum called the U.S.S Midway.  The U.S.S Midway was a real Navy ship but when it was out of use they made it in to a museum. The first thing we did was find Tante Thea. Once we found her we bought our tickets to go on board the ship. We got the audio tour which is where you can listen to a speech about the thing it is talking about. It had 18 decks but we did not see them all. The first and last MiG shot down during the Vietnam War were done so by aircraft from the USS Midway. The USS Midway had 4,500 crew. They needed 1,000 loaves of bread a day and went through 13,500 meals everyday. We went down in the brig, up on the runway and we went on where the planes are stored.