Saturday, December 11, 2010

Los Angeles, California

Sat. - Dec. 4th
Christmas Parade in Lemoore, California our last weekend with John's sister. On to L.A.

Tuesday - Dec. 7th
View of Pyramid Lake taken as we were driving on the Grapevine to L.A.
Visiting President Nixon's Library, birth place and grave. The first presidential limo, built after Kennedy's assassination, was used by Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter. The windows and dome are bullet proof and thicker than the glass on fighter planes. There is a rear bumper platform for secret service to ride on with a raised handle over the trunk for them to hold onto. It has truck tires with inner steel discs with a hard rubber tread that they could drive on up to 50 mph with all four tires flat. It has two tons of armor plating and weighs 11,ooo pounds. Including research and development, it cost an estimated $500,000, the most expensive car built at the time.

You might recognize some of Nixon's worldly friends in the second picture, including Leonid Brezhnev, Mao Tse Tung, Anwar Sadat, Golda Meir, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaul.

Going outside, we walk along the reflecting pool toward the kit home built by Nixon's father on this original location in Yorba Linda. Nixon was born here and lived here until he was almost 10 years old. They had 8 acres with citrus orchards, but they eventually gave up the farm when it didn't do well. They moved to Whittier and bought a gas station where Nixon and his brothers worked after school and summers. Nixon attended commnity college in Whittier and got a scholarship to law school.

Eisenhower was the first president to use a helicopter. He just continued to use the military one he had been using. Kennedy thought it was a great idea and had this presidential copter built. It was sometimes called Marine One and sometimes Army One, depending on what branch the pilot was from. Carter made it exclusively Marine One. It doesn't look very long in the picture, but it is 72' 9" long, over twice the length of our RV. It has 2 1500 HP engines, seats 16 and has a bathroom. It has flown over 180 presidential missions, including Nixon's last flight when he resigned. It served Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter. The upholstery, carpeting and everything in it is original. I guess the first ladies weren't interested in redoing it. Both Nixon and his wife are buried here, about 30 feet from where he was born. John said that he always thought Nixon was probably an alright president, but he didn't know till we came here, that Nixon was a perfect president. Coincidentally, the Watergate exhibit is under construction. I wonder if it's permanently under construction. The most requested picture from the archives is of Nixon shaking hands with Elvis, when he visited the White house to offer his help with the drug problems of teens. In the gift shop they have this picture on a Christmas ornament. It says, "Seasons Greetings from the President and the King".

The next day we went to Huntington Beach where there are 18 volley ball courts on each side of the pier and more just a few hundred yards away. It was a very gloomy day, but there were lots of surfers out trying to catch a wave. This guy appeared to be carrying everything he owned on his back. He stopped at one of the fish cleaning sinks on the pier and pulled out from inside his jacket, what appeared to be a large empty listerine bottle. As I watched, he took the lid off and put a little water in it. He then set it down next to the open end of the bottle which he had laid on it's side. Much to my surprise a little white mouse crawled into the neck of the bottle and stuck out his head just far enough to reach out and get a drink. When he was finished, the guy closed up the bottle and stuck it back inside his jacket. Now that's an easy pet to take care of! This bird was just perched on the pier, ignoring the activity all around him.

Just across from the pier and down the street, I spotted this oil well in someone's backyard pumping away. It seemed very strange to see in a residential area right in the middle of town. As we drove out of town, there were about two miles worth of oil wells, lots of them right next to each other and more going up, just across the road from the beach.

A little further north, this is Island White at Long Beach. The Queen Mary Museum is docked near here. I hope you can read the message in the sand.

We are camped about a half mile from Disney Land, so we have a great view of the fireworks every night.

If you look closely, you can see the moon in both pictures and the palm trees.


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