Archive for the ‘Los Angeles’ Category


We went to Disneyland and we went on 2 roller coasters.  Normally I don’t like roller coasters but these two weren’t very fast.  They were the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Matterhorn Bobsled.  Ryan was at Disneyland and he sat on my knee on the Matterhorn Bobsled.  And he drove me on the Autopia car ride ( and I do not recommend doing that).  I did a Jedi training thing and got a certificate as well as fighting Darth Maul.


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Sleeping under the stars

After a lovely picnic with our San Francisco friends and a goodbye meal with Maria, Josie and Clare we headed off to Los Angeles for the last leg of our Round the World adventure.

Goodbye to Maria

JoAnne met us at the airport and we dropped all our shopping filled cases at her place before traveling to Joshua Tree National Park to a pre-set campsite all ready for us.  It doesn’t rain much in this desert so we could sleep without a tent fly and enjoy the beautiful night sky.

Bright and early the next morning (so early for the now very good at sleeping in Skinner-Vennells that we were out of bed and in the car in about 10mins! – at 8am) we drove to Hidden Valley to do some rock climbing.  Emmett really conquered his nervousness about the heights and Bede thrived on the endorphins!  I am quite proud to have managed to keep up with my ten year old.  I admit to abject terror when “scrambling” though as we jumped across from one rock to another when just a little sideways step would have been at least multiple limb fractures if not worse.  Unfortunately I couldn’t document the biggest drops on camera because that would have involved giving less than full attention to staying on the rocks.

Emmett climbing LA Sept 2010

Anna climbing LA Sept 2010

Bede climbing LA Sept 2010

As the guide put it, the boys are in their “optimal climbing age range” and were confident and speedy over the rocks.  Bede is really keen to do some more climbing in the future – not sure if there’s much of that in South Australia but maybe when we return to NZ for good…

We were fascinated to learn that the rock formations at Joshua Tree are from old underground lava flows that have subsequently appeared above ground as earth eroded away.  It was also funny to discover that the Joshua Tree was previously known as a cabbage tree like NZ’s national icon.

Joshua Tree National Park

The kids loved gaining Junior Park Ranger badges in the Park Visitor Centre and we saw the San Andreas fault from Key Views lookout and could also just see a Mexican mountain peak in the distance.  Ryan, Emmett and Florence were more interested in running at great speed down the path from the lookout, earning the 3 mums there some filthy looks from a couple who clearly thought we were neglectful parents.  No skinned knees or additional broken bones though!

Go Florence!

We had yummy food and toasted marshmallows together on the fire (the non-marshmallow eaters scoffing chocolate too).  Today we packed up and had lunch by the pool at JoAnne’s place while the kids swam.  Then we were able to find a REI store and get some Keens for the kids – the ones we started the trip are looking pretty sad these days and Emmett has outgrown his altogether!  Bede also managed to wear through the seat of those “invincible” quick dry pants I was mentioning the other day!

Toasting marshmallows by the fire

We are now tucked up in a hotel right by Disneyland and resting up for another big day tomorrow.  I’m with Bede on preferring camping but JoAnne assures me it is better than ordinary amusement parks so here goes!

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I went camping with Ryan at Joshua Tree.  I went rock climbing but Ryan couldn’t because he had a broken arm.  I ate marshmallows toasted on the fire.  And I got a park ranger badge because I answered a bunch of questions about Joshua Tree Park.  I went scrambling and I saw a chipmunk.

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Joshua Tree

I went camping with a kid named Ryan, he was born ten days after Emmett.  I got a junior park ranger badge because I answered the “coyote” section of the kids Joshua Tree National Park book.  (That’s for 11-14 yr olds so I was a year too young).  Most of the questions were really hard ones and even locals sometimes didn’t get them right.  We went rock climbing with a guy named Steve and it was real rock climbing in the outdoors.  Steve has been climbing for 30 years next week.  I climbed up to the top of every bit that I attempted and I was really happy.  After we went rock climbing we went scrambling which is like rock climbing but without ropes, but there were a few places where we did need a rope and Steve climbed up with no rope and belayed us up.  Even Steve fell down at a few points.  Most of it was in a cave made by underground lava flows.  I really want to keep rock climbing, it is something that I’ve found I really like and I am pretty good at it, well Steve said I’m really good at it.

When we went back to go to Disneyland 75% of my body wanted to stay camping and 25% wanted to go to Disneyland.

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