Notes from California Vacation
(Primarily things unexpected)

We had to take off shoes at airport security.

BWI 8:00 AM bar was full of people drinking.

Valet Parking in small Mexican chain restaurant in L.A.

Need to buy Warner Bros. tickets in advance. Universal Studios tour is part of large theme park - not separate.

Billbords in L.A. in Spanish with no English

Mt. Wilson's only ~40 mins. from Warner Bros. The peak is way up beyond the clouds. The observatory is only open 10-4 & not very interesting to a non-scientist. We were supposed to get a parking pass somewhere before going up the mountain, but we didn't know that. The park police was friendly (& didn't give us a ticket), but the workers (scientists?) at the observatory weren't - they didn't reply to a "hello" upon passing.

Blinking lights across street with no traffic light was warning for active crosswalk.

Warners Bros.: Tour guide is hopeful future screenwriter.Tours take over 2 hrs.; cameras & bags have to be locked up except on back lot. Summer - little to no shooting done so tour is longer & can see more of lot, but when they're shooting, there's better chance to actually see a program shoot & actors walking around. Martin Sheen is friendly & works in studio (West Wing)near Charley's (2 1/2 Men). Clint Eastwood is proud to drive Chevy whereas most drive Porsches. We had a good tour of one of the 2 Gilmore Girls studios - the 2nd most expensive set (West Wing's 1st). Sound stages were constructed out of wood (not brick) to make them earthquake proof - wood was cheap in '20's & '30's. Glass is installed at an angle so it won't reflect light. Nothing's white - it's slightly gray, including costumes & White House. Increasing detail in scenary due to HDTV.

The seals at Monterey blended in with the rocks, so we needed binoculars to see them. There was a white one that looked gray when wet.

Winchester House has a behind-the-scenes tour in addition to the indoor tour and self-guided garden tour.

The Wave Organ in San Francisco apparently only functions during certain times in the tide - we were there the wrong time of day.

It was so cool & windy, especially on the pier & on hill tops, I had to buy a hooded jacket.

Golden Gate Railroad Museum was out of the way, but worth it. It's through an abandoned naval base. We got a tour on unrestored railroad cars by a retired engineer who gave us a lot of details about the workings of steam engines. We also toured the only triple dining car left with half moon bars which are patented for another 4 yrs.

During the week, traffic in San Francisco was not bad, but became heavy on Sat. at Lombard St. & Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower. The line to the tower was long, so we didn't go up. We even made the daring hike to Lands End on the unofficial cliff trail, though we didn't realize where the official trail was until after we came back.

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