Saturday, December 4, 2010

california, day 5, catalina island....and a few ak pics

i'll have to divide catalina into a few posts. apparently i had the camera out a great deal. i have always loved catalina island. we spent a week there on family holiday one year with gramps, who rented out a few houses. have also backpacked there, had girls camp out there, had a family trek out there and several other trips with friends/family. my mastiff's name is rio catalina, after the island. no, there aren't any rivers there that i'm aware of. the rio part is from her brazillian roots. it was a beautiful day to head out to catalina. we had great weather...a bit chilly on the water, but i toughed it out. the boat we took was pretty fast getting over there and we saw a few dolphins but i don't think much for flying fish. bummer, those are cool.
catalina is just over 20 miles off the coast of california. my neice, ella, had never been on a boat and she was convinced all day that we were leaving california. she couldn't quite gather that we could leave the mainland and still be in california. catalina has always been a playground. it was purchased originally with that very intention. the wrigleys (of gum fame) generally get the credit for building it up to what it is today, but there were a few others before wrigley that got the place started. shatto bought up the island and sold off lands, which became a sort of tent city. he didn't plan well and lost money and the island was bought out by the banning brothers. there was a large fire at some point in thier development and the wrigleys fell in love with it and bought out all the previous owners i guess.
the community of avalon was named by shato's sister in law. i bought a cool pictoral history book on the island while i was there and read through it that night. it was interesting to learn the history. there are tile and brickworks all over the island. i hadn't known that they was a tile and brick making industry there for several years, much of the tile is recovered from that era. i'm a lover of tile so that is just another thing for me to enjoy about the community. above you can see the one pier that is still a hub for a great deal of activities.
more examples of the tile work in avalon.
the building in the distance is obviously a huge landmark on the island. it was always referred to as the casina which led us all to believe people came across the water to gamble. i guess casino can be used as a general term for a place of fun. wrigley first built a smaller place for the big bands and dances that often occured there, but it proved too small. that was torn down and rebuilt in another part of the island as an aviary and the building you see was built. the lower part was a movie theater(and has again been revived as such) and the section above was a huge dance hall.
one of the fountains on the island.
big bands and big name stars could be seen at the casino. catalina was a playground to the stars, a place they could escape hollywood. there is no escape now i guess. must have been crazy fun back then though. there is a ranch on the other side of the island, movies were filmed there, the cubs held spring training there for years. the wrigleys owned the cubs franchise so they made the island available.
a great deal of artistry went into the building of the casino. these are a few pictures of the big tile murals that are on the outside.
the area with the arches was a promenade around the big dance hall.
the wrigleys still have an interest in the island but turned it into a conservency for all to enjoy and to protect it. thus i have been able to enjoy it these many years. i think that was formed in 1974. so that is the rapid history, obviously i left out a great deal.
so obviously, i'm more spoiled than i let on. i remember another large part of our lives growing up was the rose parade in pasadena. i grew up in south pasadena, they still make thier own float each year. we sold programs for years as a fundraiser for our church, i also camped out there several years as a young adult. we always watched the parade. the night before they would often be moving floats through the communities towards the parade route, we could see them coming down huntington drive right by our home. i remember we were visiting cousins in utah one summer and they invited us to the community parade. having grown up with the rose parade i was severely disappointed as i had assumed all parades were of that caliber. what a snob. i'm still ruined for other parades.
feeling better, but sounding worse. i'm sick of coughing and it doesn't seem to be abating with the current drugs i'm on. so frustrating. hopefully, tonight i can get some good sleep. above is jeff and ella out on a breaker. she totally wanted to explore like the other kids were doing. jeff and i were a bit more nervous about her exploring.
so parasailing in the background and a diving area right behind jeff and ella.
the old and the new as far as the tile art. i loved the crack in the wall where you got a peek at brickwork of the past. the walkway to the casino had great tile art. the otter was my favorite.
there are several places to eat and we had no idea what was good or not so much. we just selected a place with a place on the water to eat. we were joined by several forceful seagulls and pigeons. there are signs encouraging you to not feed the birds. they are pretty demanding. we played cat and mouse with this guy. i'd toss some salt his way if he got too close. i loved this shot of ella and the bird eyeing each other.
ella with the casino in the background.
jeff and ella look at the fish in the water and sights in general.
we just ate pizza, food was fine, not the best pizza ever, but pizza is pizza. we were hungry. always great eating on the water with the views.
despite the birds....
after we ate we hit the pier. jeff and ella signed up for a semi-submersible sub trip. for years catalina has offered glass bottom boat tours. they feed the fish under the water for everyones pleasure. there were only two seats left and i was happy to give up my spot to meander all the little shops in town. the book says the glassbottom boats were on the island as early as 1899. crazy. they did have a fun time out there watching all the sea over 100 years of entertainment can't be wrong.
just me shopping and enjoying the island life. the "beach" is tiny.
some of the shops.
i'm sure there is limited building and many rules and restrictions at this point. there are also many little homes/hotels for rent and it still seems to be a frequent escape for california's wanting to play.
the casino is a frequently photographed building.
here they are on top of the boat returning from thier adventure. they let them ride on top for the last leg back to the pier.
pelican in the water as i waited for thier boat to return.
just a few more pictures of the scenes in avalon.
so adorable...
ella and i spotted this very pink hotel at the top of one of the streets. we just had to make our way up to it. girls who are age 5 often love pink anything and ella is no exception. she is in full on princess mode. she was all too happy to get pictures of her at this amazing pink hotel.
most of the vehicles in avalon were tiny cars or golf carts. this pink one was in front of the pink hotel, we went inside and asked if ella could climb on for some pictures.
then miss ella took a picture of me. she is a natural photographer....don't you think?
there is the grand pink hotel.
i will post more pictures of catalina in the next few days. i'm happy to turn in soon and stop coughing. i just must figure out the optimum drug combination to keep me at a peaceful state and still breathing.
here is jeff on the boat on the way back to the mainland. wispy clouds gave us a pleasant sunset. ella had been a bit hesitant and shy on the boat trip out, but she had obviously gotten her sea legs by the trek back. it was all we could do to keep her from flying all over that boat. she seemed to enjoy her boat ride.
though i've never gotten totally seasick, i always take a precautionary low dose of dramamine. we all took our meds that day to prevent the possibility. there was some debate as none of us knew if ella would be prone to seasickedness or not/ in the end, prophalactic medication was opted for. when you do get seasick it's a misery that one does not really recover of in time to enjoy the day. we wanted ella to just have a fun trip and her memory of catalina to not be that of puking on the boat. the boat was a cataraman type and those are quite stable on the water.
here is ella on her boat ride back to "california".
i am going to pee my pants from all this coughing...what am i saying i already did a bit earlier!
a few of these are from before my cold took a turn for the worse. a different temperature level from what i left behind in california. a bit of frost.
blossom and rio were happy to be out and about. today i took them to the dog park. i woke fairly early and just got moving. called my friend sandra and she joined me for the native hospital holiday bazaar and then we went to the UAA bazaar. we made a few fun purchases and then i went to freddies to reload on cold remedies. i spent the evening hovering over a vicks steamer. so far i'm not impressed. sandra likes to keep busy this time of year, understandably, and i was available today as a distraction. our hospital lost a flight crew a few years back and her boyfriend was one of the nurses on that crew. it was a week before the wreckage was located...or parts of it. her boyfriend was the only person who was found. they suspect the rest went down in the helicopter. the flight originated in cordova and my friend scott was the one who helped load the patient in and then see off the crew. alaska and nursing is a small world. this time of year our thoughts turn to the crew, the patient and all the family and friends of those lost. it was a difficult and sad time for all of us and continues to pull at our hearts....
not sure what i was going for here.
they have finished the fencing at the dog park. i'm happy they spruced up the chainlink fence. it actually looks pretty nice. there are gaps to allow skiers access to the fields, of course, many dog park people will continue to think this means them. so often a few people ruin things for the masses because they are selfish and think the rules do not apply to them. the fence wouldn't have been put up at all if it hadn't been for this sort of attitude. parking was also challenged as people pushed the limits and finally just acted like all parking all the time was for them.
sandra and i got a deal on these catnip filled cat beds and pogi and steamy(sandra's cat) both went nuts for thier beds. i went to feed the pets only to find pogi trying to pull the bag with this mat in it off the table. pogi stayed on that cat bed for the next 4+ hours, rolling and happy. apparently sandra's cat did the same. i may have to return for another. love an intoxicated cat. mufasa never had a chance. thought i could put one under the bed where mufasa likes to snuggle up.
i also added an ivory walrus to my little collection. the newest addition is the furthest to the left in the picture. the carvings are so cool. i wish i had unlimited cash flow to buy a few of the bigger pieces and i'd love, love, love to buy a nice baleen basket. those are generally over $500 so i will have to hold off on that for this year. sandra purchased a little puffin sculpture.
off to attempt to sleep and not cough for several hours. may have to top off with some nyquil. best empty the bladder first.

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