New Years Ever 2017

Today we had a free day from the HOP so we planned to go our and explore LA. Mom wanted to see the Hollywood sign but it was far too foggy. We ended up at a Farmers Market. We grabbed some hot cocoa and walked around. There was a lot of cool artwork. Now we are talking. New Year’s Eve Donuts! Everyone sipped their cocoa and nibbled on a few donuts before we headed over to the La Brea Tar Pits. It was quiet at the Tar Pits. We walked the ground before they opened and learned about the pits and what they have found in them. It doesnt look like much but they are still actively bubbling. There were little fissures in the grass and parking lots where new tar bubbles were coming up. It was really neat to see! They have scientists working day and and out on cleaning, sorting and labeling what is found in areas that they have excavated. We were impressed with the over 400 dire wolf skulls! Next we headed to Santa Monica Pier. The fog was really thick. We rode the carousel and then headed up the coast on PC1.

We stopped for some great fresh seafood at a place called the Reel Inn. Then drove up through Malibu and then cut through the hills on a bumpy curvy white knuckle drive back to Pasadena.

We are calling it an early night since we have to be on the bus around 4am for the Rose Parade.

More Rose HOP Activities

This morning we were off to the Equest Festival. We arrived early with the bus and got to explore the grounds before it got too crowded. We got a few family photos, played some games, won a pony and had some snacks. We took our nice group seats with our tushy cushies that we got with our tickets. We loved the horses and all the showmanship!  Of course the Clydesdales were our favorites as always! E liked the little ponies. The next day was Band fest. We watched many of the bands perform that will march in the parade on New Years Day. We were given mini Remo drums when we entered! How cool! After our morning at Band Fest we hopped on the bus with a box lunch from Panera and headed to the Ronald Reagan Library for the afternoon. When we arrived we thought we would miss our tour. The line to get in was INSANE! The bus driver waved his arms and managed to gain faster access. We were whisked up the road and off on our VIP tours. We got to see an actual section of the Berlin Wall. We walked the grounds and learned of its beauty. We saw lots of memorabilia including the suit Reagan was wearing when someone attempted to assassinate him. We learned that Nancy Reagan was smart and wonderful! She donned this amazing outfit to protest at a gala. Somehow they managed to squeeze Air Force One into the building! We saw jellybeans all over and learned of their reason. Also, ask me why there was always a cake on Air Force One! This photo isn’t that great bu sitting on the rock on the right is a golden eagle! This is the first one in the wild we have ever seen.

Tomorrow is a FREE day from the HOP.

Rose Parade HOP and Float Decorating

We are safely out near Pasadena, California. We are part of the Escapees HOP (Head Out Program) for the Rose Bowl parade. We have a week of fun and activities planned with the group. Today was the first big event and we were up early on the bug and headed to AES in Pasadena to help decorate some floats. We had no idea what was in store for us. We got the introduction and then were taken in groups to our assigned stations. We would be working on the AgPHD float for the morning. Everyone rolled up their sleeves and got ready for some STICKEE fun. We would be working with silver leaf. It is a leaf that had a silver appearance not he floats. We had to trim the leaves to take out the bulky stem and then put a first layer of a glue called STICKEE! It was very sticky!Bucket and buckets of these leaves created us at our station! We got to work and had a nice system going with our little family.
We got pulled off the line and were put to work at the next station, glueing the silver leaf on the actual float! We were excited. The task was cumbersome. Breighton got fired fairly quickly but it wasn’t his fault. He went back with Grandma and Grandpa and cut and glued more leaf. Mom, Dad and Emmerson stuck it out and stuck stuff on the float. We had to put it on a specific way. It was very well orchestrated. Except the part we had to start with required that we were tiny, limber and didn’t mind being STICKEE! Thankfully Emmerson was small enough to get the hard to reach places. Soon we got the pace and skills down. We were asked to train the next group! Oh wow, promoted already! We got to take a break and then go tour the workshop. We got to see some other projects that they were working on at AES. We also got to see the floats for the parade. They had several they were working on. I wish we had the putting the seeds on task but the leaf was a great memory. The silver leaf process finally kicked into high gear and it started flying up the silo. E made a buddy, Mr. Joe! Mr Joe and E had a system for decorating and became friends quickly!Back on the bus and everyone was exhausted! One out of place photo from Grandma! Someone actually got a photo of Mom working in the small spaces.Back at the campground for the afternoon. Some down time whittling with our new pocket knives while mom does…. LAUNDRY!

More Joshua Tree National Park

We earned our Jr. Ranger badges for the park and took another oath. We spent he day with Grandma and Grandpa too. We drove the 4×4 road and got to climb on rocks all over the park. It was a super bumpy road and Grandpa drove it very well! Can you find me in the photo below!? I am a monkey and part goat Mom thinks! I bet you can see us now!?More spot the children games. It was so peaceful out not he road. No-one was out there. It was just the 5 of us and nature. You could hear the wind blow. It was awesome! Back to the main part of the park and to Barker’s Dam. We saw a few big horn sheep. Breighton’s filmed some Indian Jones type videos. Mom just took photos and climbed rocks. Mom did discover some canterberry bells tucked between some rocks. It was so strange to see such blue color in the winter. The park staff said it is very unusual to see them!  Grandma and Grandpa with a Joshua Tree. Well it is time to move on in the morning towards Pasadena, California. We cracked our Christmas crackers a bit late but enjoyed the crowns and silly prizes!

Joshua Tree national Park and Christmas

We saw lots of these funny road messages on the way from Tucson to Joshua Tree national Park.

Ho-Ho-Hold Down Your Speed

Santa’s Watching!I killed time by making the back all tidy and neat. Mom said I make too much of a mess when we are driving. This time I kept it neat. We arrived and headed into the park for some exploring with Dad. We loved the rocks. These ones looked like monkeys. We climbed and climbed and got stuck a few times. It took me a while to figure out how to get up there. I would a beautiful juniper tree tucked into the rocks. I made it my fort. The Joshua trees are amazing. They grow in really weird ways and look like little tufts of trees. Almost out of a Dr. Seuss book! Christmas came as usual. Amazing how Santa found us on the road. The elves toilet papered the tree, like normal. We didn’t have a big Christmas but we did get some really fun things. A few lego sets, arts and crafts and nerf guns!