Tuesday, December 14, 2010

San Clemente & Reagan Library

Mon & Tue - Dec. 13th & 14th

Pier at San Clemente.

There were four dolphins frolicking as we walked down the beach toward San Mateo Point, one of the premier surf points in southern California.

There were several surfers in the area and the dolphins didn't seem to mind them at all. We had seen some dolphins at Venice Beach, too, but it is hard to catch a picture of them.

There was an aircraft carrier further out with a couple of helicopters that appeared to be doing some kind of exercises.

Of course, there are always a variety of good views at the beach. I'm rarely disappointed.

Helicopters coming home to the ship.

The Amtrak Surf Liner runs right along the coast here in San Clemente. When we got back to camp this evening, we saw on the news that three men had been hit by the train and killed. They thought they were graffiti spray painters.

Walking south from the San Clemnte pier toward San Mateo Point, where Nixon bought a home that was known as the Western White House.

Still watching the surfers, ships, boats and dolphins.

Walking back to the pier.

Time to call it a day.

Heading home.

Tuesday we headed to Simi Valley to the Reagan Library and Museum. A lot of the museum is closed for preparations for reopening in February to celebrate "The Gipper's" 100th birthday. But John says, "He won't be there. Oh, I guess he will be."

It is 100 acres perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of mountains, valleys and the Pacific Ocean 45 minutes from L.A. When you start up the winding driveway, there is a picture like this one, of George Washington, followed by all the presidents in order along the drive up, all the way thru Obama with lots of empty spaces left for the future.

This Air Force One built in 1973 served seven presidents starting with Nixon. It carried 52 passengers and 18 crew members. It became the back-up in 1990 when a new plane was built and was retired in 2001 when another one was built. Reagan flew the most miles of any president. He flew 661,708 miles in 8 years spreading his message of democracy to 26 foreign countries and 150 cities.

Reagan was the first to use this 1984 Cadillac on his 73rd birthday in his hometown of Dixon, Illinois.

This is our 40th president's final resting place near the back lawn, designed after the south lawn of the White House, overlooking the valley and ocean.

Since most of the museum was closed for refurbishing, the highlight was the temporary Christmas exhibit. The Miniature White House will be on display at the Reagan Library through spring 2011. This is the backside with the east wing closest and the west wing on the far end.

This is a close-up of the main, original White House. If you get a chance to see this traveling exhibit, I highly recommend it. It really gives you a great overview of the whole layout. The Zweifel family have devoted over 30 years of their lives to researching, executing, moving and maintaining this exquisitely furnished replica.

Every detail is updated as they change in the real White House. All the furnishings, paintings on the walls, wall paper and carpets are exactly the same. A lady hand stitches all the area carpets whenever they are changed. One time she had spent thousands of hours on one, when the White House changed their order. She had to start all over again.

The scale is 1 inch to 1 foot. It is 50 feet long and 18 feet wide. Even all the little TVs are working TVs and the console styles have recently been replaced with flat screens. On the middle floor in the oval shaped room, is the People's Tree.

In front of the tree is a working electric train set. The little train cars are smaller than a match stick. We could barely see them as they traveled around the track. They also had one Christmas tree decorated for each decade of our nation's history. Each tree had a write up of the historical highlights from the decade and the trees were decorated with items significant to that decade.

This is what heading home looks like every night after our sightseeing excursions. It usually takes us at least two hours to get back home in the evening rush hour traffic, no matter where we have been. It is about 90 miles across the L.A. metro area. We are starting to figure out all the criss-crossing interstates, I-5, 105, 405, 605, 10, 110, 710, 22, 91 and the Pacific Coast Hwy.


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