Monday, May 19, 2014

A California Weekend

We made a quick trip down to California this past weekend. Drove down to St. George on Thursday evening, and then on to California on Friday morning. It was really nice to break that drive into two legs. No bad traffic, just a long drive!

When we arrived we hung out with Lisa and played with the cats until Rusty and the kids got home. Let me just say that Lisa has two fantastic cats. Allie is a fluffy cuddle bug (and super chatty) and Mick is a long lean athletic cat who will allow anyone to do just about anything with him. Super laid back. Both of them loved to play with the laser, Mick with a hunters style, jumping several feet up along the wall to try and catch it, and Allie with a frantic energy zig-zagging across the floor. Allie also had this funny thing she would do where if you hid around a wall and poked your head out she would grumble/chirp at you. Every time. So we'd hide behind a wall and then poke our heads out and she'd chirp at us, and then we'd hide, and then poke our heads out again and she'd chirp again. Repeated as long as we kept doing it. Really amusing.

Once the kids were home we hung out for awhile before heading out to get pizza and sushi (so delicious - I'd never thought to ask for eel sauce separately before so I could drizzle it on every piece - yum!) for dinner before watching a segment of The Two Towers. Rachel started working on some sugar cookies (her first time making them) and Abigail and Logan were determined to show us their new gymnastic skills. Logan also showed off his Mario skills playing the Wii with Brandon. Very fun. :)

Saturday morning we took the morning easy and I made oatmeal for breakfast for Brandon and myself. Complete with chia seeds and ground flax seed, Logan and Abigail both thought it looked kind of gross (chia seeds just look like little dark specks in oatmeal), but by the time we finished our bowls, all three of the kids had tried it and wanted some. Brown sugar makes everything delicious.

Around noon we headed north to LA. Traffic in LA is a nightmare. Particularly in the middle of the day on a Saturday. But, we made it downtown and headed to our first destinations, the La Brea Tar Pits. In my head I think I thought it would be more like some areas of Yellowstone where you walk around a bubbling pool of tar. Instead, the tar pits were just little fenced off areas (like a three by three foot square) all over the place with one larger pond area. And the tar pits tend to look like poorly paved areas with oil spills on the top. Tar is just oil mixed with sediment. And it's not the kind of thing you have a lot of control over. Right when we arrived, as we were walking to the center raised area where the Page Museum was (with a beautiful atrium in the middle of it), there was a fenced off area in the middle of parking lot. Probably an area that was paved and then tar started boiling up so they had to fence it off. For all that the tar pits were pretty anticlimactic, they were still pretty cool. You could see the tar bubbling and breathing, and the areas where the tar was starting to escape the little enclosures had soft tar forming around outside of the fence. At some point Brandon was standing on some grass beside one of the little fenced areas and he just started to sink as the grass compressed in the tar below him. Really interesting.

Giant sloths on our little walking tour of
the tar pits. 
La Brea Tar Pits! 

After walking a bit we went into the Page Museum. Because of the nature of the tar pits they've uncovered more fossils and prehistoric skeletons here then almost anywhere else in the world. And not scattered remains, but rather entire food chains all in one place. An incredible collection that they've been working on for almost a hundred years. Really amazing stuff.

A wall of skulls. Just a visual example of the huge horde of
fossils they've found!
Inside the atrium in the middle of the museum. 

We finally succumbed to hunger and headed just across the street to the fanciest Marie Calendars I've ever been in. Food is wonderful. Particularly when you're especially hungry. Brandon and I have taken to doing whatever we need to in order to get both mayonnaise and ketchup when we get fries with something. Ketchup alone isn't really something that either of us enjoy. But ketchup and mayo combined (a.k.a Fry Sauce)? Delicious. One of the best things I've discovered in Utah.

After we'd eaten we headed up to the Griffith Observatory (pretty close to the Tar Pits). The view from up there at the time in the late afternoon/early evening was beautiful. We rushed and got tickets for the Planetarium Show and then wandered around the Observatory until it was time to go to the show. I've been to a number of Planetarium shows, but this was one of my favorites. The visuals were beautiful and I felt like the writing for the show was really well done and thought out. After the show we wandered around the inside exhibits some more before back home. Traffic was considerably better in the late evening.

Griffith Observatory! Not only has fantastic exhibits,
but also fantastic architecture! 
Love this guy! 
Candid shot of these three! 
Waiting in line to look through a telescope.
Beautiful view.
We left Sunday morning to make the long drive home, but before leaving we ate breakfast (more delicious oatmeal!) outside in the backyard. Between the cool temperature and moisture in the air, it was lovely. When we'd arrived on Friday there was still a lot of smoke in the air from the fires but by Sunday morning the air smelled crisp.

Sunday was a long driving day, but we took a quick break for dinner in St. George before completing the drive to Salt Lake City. Fun weekend!

Note: There are, as usual, more photos on facebook, but these are the highlights!

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