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The Road, November 2007/2

THE ROAD: November 15-26 2007

November 17, 2007 at 16:39
[Main Branch: Pasadena Public Library, November 17 at 16:39]

Had a major problem that didn't allow me to print what I wanted t'take so sent it my former ex-girlfriend in Half Moon Bay. She was able to print it all: Whew!
………Thick fog, maybe five hundred feet visibility crossing Skyline Boulevard. Not-so-thick 'til clearing in Half Moon Bay and then resuming most of the way to Santa Cruz.
………Half Moon Bay's Surfers' Beach had a few. No windsurfers at the Santa Cruz County line but there was a hang glider and some kind of para-surfing but no surfers.
………Many surfers coming out of the water at West Cliff Drive near the lighthouse. The Giant Dipper was, as expected, closed. Humongous traffic, as usual, getting out of Santa Cruz..

Excellent dinner at Monterey's Fish House; checked on my reservation and changed clothes at my January hotel. My favorite Monterey dancer did show up to Sly McFly's with her boyfriend who's a director of the Monterey Bay Blues Festival.

Hit The Road at ten. More fog in Carmel (it was cold, 57°F, at the beach) and down the Cabrillo Highway. Not a good day for picture taking nor even viewing. Disappointment was compounded by my first visit to the New Camaldoli Hermitage whence I was promised a magnificent view. Well, not this day. But it was nevertheless a very pleasant visit. The simple chapel is lovely and the sanitary facilities very nice, extravagantly equipt, and extremely clean.
………Visited the Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas within sight of Hearst's Castle atop La Cuesta Encantada.
………Up so early, needed a 15-minute nap at Morro Strand State Beach.

Filled the car's tank, with 507 miles on it, in Goleta. Made a wrong turn going perhaps an extra  thirty miles to my destination but got there minutes 'fore m'goal. Attended the dance but didn't have a good time for many reasons in addition to the level of dancing being quite low. In that part of the world, it's known as “the dance of the living dead” not just because it's an older crowd (most younger than I) but because they dance so poorly. Went last year, too but probably won't next year.
………Revisited a nice motel in Pasadena.

Visited the Pasadena Museum of California Art that does not have a permanent collection. Lotsa fun stuff!
……… Revisited the Norton Simon Museum in order to get better pictures of one of Degas' dancers, the biggest one I've ever seen and one of the most delightful. Still not satisfied.
……… Got on line for a while at the Pasadena Public Library's lovely main branch.

[Placentia, November 19 at 01:13]
Went to the Alpine Inn in Torrance, a place I first visited about twenty years ago resulting in a cherished adventure. She wasn't there but a friend told me she still goes there.
……… I ordered rabbit. It came in a very sweet gravy. The sauerkraut was also sweet. Not a good meal but the cost is modest.
……… The place has a good floor of a decent size and, being Saturday, was quite crowded.
……… It was almost as bad as a senior dance. I was in the dreaded position of being not just the best dancer there but just about the only dancer there.
……… Nevertheless, I had a pleasant evening, embellished by the hostess seating two pretty Mexican women with me, one non-Anglic. When they took their coats off, I was dazzled by the size and quality of the cleavage they presented; one well-wearing a very short skirt. They were very nice but neither could dance. They also, interestingly, drank no alcohol.
……… It might surprise you to learn that there was a steady stream of men visiting our table. I could find no rhyme nor reason to their acceptances and refusals of invitations to dance. Baf'ling gender!

Heard an ad for a model railroad display at the Nixon Library, a place I've visited but have longed to return for there's much to learn there.
……… I didn't know that Yorba Linda was adjacent to Placentia but found out when I dis- covered the hotel I chose to be only five miles from the Nixon and walking distance from Top Cats, the place we dance on Sundays in this part of the world. What good luck!
……… The model railroad display was very nice with a man and a boy, 9, to answer questions..
……… I was able to spend more time with some of the Nixon stuff that I wanted to my first visit. Last year, I went to the Reagan Library that I do not recommend unless you have a great interest in the person. The Nixon Library is a font of historical information that's well worth your time. I say this even though I've been a Nixon hater since 1946! The Reagan has an Oval Office and a presidential airplane. The Nixon has an East Room .

Returned to the hotel to change and dance with many people I know in this part of the world. Had a very nice time.
……… The weather has been consistently foggy, the air ugly, the worst I've seen here in many years, possibly because of the recent fires. Temperatures in the 60s.
……… A few years ago, heading East on the Santa Monica Freeway, I was astonished to see mountains that I sub-consciously knew were there but had never seen. Didn't see 'em this trip.

[Convention hotel in Anaheim, November 24 at 03:40]
Spent the day taking care of some business one bit of which was at a bank where I asked for $100. My card wouldn't work so I asked for $300 in the hope that would be enough 'til I got a new card at home. I'm so glad that happened in a bank rather than at some machine. Whew! That was in Little Tokyo that I also visited.
………Spent more than an hour messin' 'round Hollywood. I always visit there, but almost always late at night. This visit was in late afternoon. I had no idea it would be so much fun!
……… I saw SpiderMan dressing on a side street and, later, stretching in front of Sid Grauman's. Many other characters, too, including some monsters I didn't recognize, a very friendly Michael Jackson, and many others.
……… Across the street was a well-attended premiere that appears to be about teen-agers danc- ing. An outside screen showed dance scenes that looked terrific but I couldn't hear the music.

Having no idea whether it's any good, whether it plays dance music, nor whether any dancers would be there, I took the chance of going to the Big Band gig at Alpine Village. Monday is Big Band night at home and in Manhattan, so it might as well be here, too.
……… The Just For Fun Big Band left much to be desired musically; one of the musicians in the back line seemed to have a reading problem. But the tempi were good, the charts were inter-esting, and the rhythms varied so it was OK. A couple of the soloists were quite good, too.
……… I had the good luck of finding the few dancers there so my evening was pleasant. One, a very tall young woman, was wonderful for the one dance we had.
……… Decided to spend the night at the Hacienda, a much criticized hotel where I had a reser- vation for the next day. Spent a night there last year and really liked it. Still like it. Will stay there again next year.

Spent the next day at the new Getty taking the garden tour. My last visit I took the architectural tour. The fog was so dense that downtown couldn't be seen. My previous visit, though, I was treated to nice views and a good Sunset.
……… On the San Diego Freeway around 18:00, I started to nod off! Pulled off near Venice Boulevard t'take a twenty-minute nap. Whew!

Tuesday is Swing night at the Hacienda. The woman who used to DJ there was not among my favorites. The man, an acquaintance of many years, doing it now did an outstanding job. I could hardly sit to rest.
……… The tall young woman from the previous night was there and, again, we had a wonderful dance but she left early. When the crowd dissipated, I got some inside Ellay gossip from the DJ.

Checked into a motel walking distance from Knott's Berry Farm, a place I've previously stayed. Spent only four hours at Knott's but the attendance was so light that I was able to do everything I wanted and a bit more. Had good ol' reliable Mrs. Knott's chicken dinner, as good as ever.
……… It's too bad that Ghostrider has such rough trackage as were, the tracks smooth, it would be a great ride. Lotsa airtime and non-stop action thanks to being able to keep the bar up the first ride. The second ride, I let the bar find a place on my body in the last element. It was painful and, of course, defeated what the designers had built in to the ride.
………Went to the convention hotel for the pre-event show and dancing. While there, blocked the room I wanted.
………Next day, got gas in Stanton and checked into the convention hotel from which I won't depart 'til Monday. Had ThanksGiving dinner in the company of about thirty other dancers before the evening's dancing.

The US Open Swing Dance Championships is, as usual, an outstanding event. Approximately 1,800 dancers are in attendance.
……… At the same time, the Southern California Region of Narcotics Anonymous is having its convention. A very interesting looking group of people. They're also very nice and friendly but a cop car has been here all the time. I've seen no bad behaviour but . . .
……… One dancer commented to me that “they're a scary looking group” but I found them quite nice, warm, and very friendly. A little boy among them said “Hi” to me and, nose in my navel, gave me a hug that I reciprocated. I thought that quite lovely.
………The sky's nice 'n' clear making for a spectacular Moonview that I saw on the way t'have a snack with ten others, the same group of us as last year, getting to the hotel around 04:00.

[At home!]
Took a friend to Union Station so he could board the $1 bus back to Oakland then hit The Road to the Madonna Inn punctuated by a quick visit to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, one of my favorite buildings on the planet.
……… As planned and much-anticipated, I had a fillet Mignon dinner in the Madonna Inn's Copper Café, rather than the Steak House, after which I danced with the Cal-Poly Lindy Hoppers on one of the world's best dance floors. Before Alex died, he took care of the floor and it was fabulous. Daughter Connie does it now and she's doing almost as good a job as he.
………Left there at 23.3 and got home at 26.8, content with another year's satisfying jaunt to The SouthLand.
Distance from Union Station home is 445 miles
via highways 101, 85, and 280, just as the California State Automobile Association says it is.

To see what it is we Swing dancers do elevated to the highest level, i.e., championship, click here. I know most of the dancers and have danced with at least half of 'em.
……… Robert and Nícola Royston have a beautiful and delightful routine with Laureen Baldovi that oozes with suggestiveness. TripAdvisor contributor macdon commented “great videos”.