We’ve been super busy at the Pomona Rally so I got behind again on the blog… here’s what we did the day after we arrived. I’ll follow this up with a separate post summarizing the Rally for you.
Wednesday was basically a “free day” at the FMCA Rally since it doesn’t officially kick-off until Thursday; with seminars for attendees; and Friday with vendors/exhibitors for the public. So we took the opportunity to drive towards the beach to do some sight-seeing.
There are several organized tours that attendees can sign up for here at the Rally. I believe they bus you to the attraction and baby-sit you for the duration of their tour(s). At least I would hope so – for the prices they advertise for some of those tours! Anyway, one of the tours was for the luxury cruise-ship ‘The Queen Mary‘. We thought to ourselves; that sounds cool; why don’t we just drive there ourselves in the truck and then afterwards drive up the coastline? So we plugged it into our trusty iPhone and used it as a GPS to get there.
When we arrived at the Queen Mary we parked and walked up to the ticket booth. The admission price pegged out our value-meter. No wonder the advertised prices back at the Rally were so exorbitant. The $33 pp admission price was a little much for us and would require that we leave little dog “Coach” in the hot pickup truck and we certainly couldn’t do that.
We just parked the truck and walked with little “Coach” in tow along the harbor area while we snapped some pics:
There was even a Russian submarine next to the Queen Mary that you could tour. Here’s the entrance building and gift shop.
Here’s the submarine named the “Scorpion“. (Click on the name for more information).
After we finished our walk, we exited the parking lot and had to pay $5.00 because we went over the 30 minute “free” time-limit.
Then we headed north along the coastline.
And drove through the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
We stopped at a parking area next to the cliffs and did another short walk.
There’s lots of rules around here… we’re starting to see a trend.
We continued north along the coastline to Point Vicente Interpretive Center. We parked in the lot (surprise! no cost) and wandered around the center which was also free. 🙂
Around the back of the center, many “whale-watchers” were on duty.
And we even got to see a whale from a distance. Stilla’s first one 🙂
Stilla and I then took turns going through the Interpretive Center because there were no dogs allowed of course, and one of us had to watch little “Coach” outside.
Little “Coach” sure enjoyed the wide-open grass for a change.
This was a really nice place, and the interpretive center was very interesting… well worth the time it took to walk through.
We continued north and drove past Redondo Beach because we couldn’t find any convenient parking. It looked like a nice area.
Finally, we came to Manhattan Beach. We pulled into a parking lot and found a spot… of course it had parking meters 🙁
After we fed the parking meter, we went over to the pier and beach access point to find out that no dogs are allowed. So, we didn’t go out on the pier, but took the chance and carried him down to the beach. We made it there and back without getting any California citations.
I think this beach should be renamed as the “no fun beach”. It was pretty much NO to everything here… pretty soon they might not even allow people.
We snapped some pics of the beautiful sunset as we headed back to the Rally.
With all the heavy traffic on the freeways, we decided to get off near Hollywood and drive around a bit since we didn’t have to hurry back.
We drove down Beverly Blvd for miles and miles until we connected with a freeway again.
We got back rather late, but it was worth it.
Check back in for a summary of our activities at the Pomona Rally and then I promise to bring you up to date with where we’re at now.
On Tuesday morning it was time to say goodbye to the Valencia Travel Village and move to the Fairplex, formerly known as the LA County Fairgrounds in Pomona for the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Rally.
It’s been a great Alpine Coach Association Pre-Rally thanks to our hosts/co-hosts; Tris and Carolyn Swan/Joel and Mary Langord. A great time was had by all. Many thanks to them for a superb and successful rally!
We got most everything ready to go on the previous evening after we returned from our totally awesome tour of the Reagan Presidential Library. We dumped our tanks, took on fresh water, etc., This morning – all we had left to do was load the bicycles.
I did an early morning walk with our little dog Coach and took a few pictures of the park. We’ve had a great experience here at the Valencia Travel Village. Too bad we didn’t find the time to check out the pool or hot tub. But, we definitely filled our time here with other exciting things; just see my previous posts for proof of that.
Here’s a picture of the pool directly across from our site.
The “Village Hall” where we had all our fine Alpine get-togethers.
Community fire-pit near the park office.
This is something new that I haven’t seen before. Have you ever seen an LED bulb vending machine?
The Market (General Store) located next to the office.
View of the pool area. Our Coach is directly on the other side.
Another view of the pool area.
And here I see the first Alpine that is leaving for Pomona… better hurry back and get ready to roll also.
We left the park by 8:30 AM and made the 65 mile trip without incident. Although, I’ll still complain once again about the bumpy freeways, the stop and go traffic, and the inconsiderate drivers merging onto the highway.
Here’s the entrance sign to the Fairplex.
And here we met up again with most of the other Alpines that were with us in Valencia along with a few new additions.
We all lined up in the “staging area” and waited for the few remaining Alpines that hadn’t arrived yet so we could all get parked together.
Meanwhile, we all disconnected our tow-vehicles and milled around.
Finally, after all the Coaches had arrived, we were guided to our parking spots.
There appeared to be a little confusion, but the volunteer parking guides finally came through and got us all into our respective spots. We have 30-Amp power from generators that are spaced throughout the lot.
We got set up and downloaded the bicycles to go check out the area. This place is huge.
At 2 PM, we attended a meeting for volunteers. Most of the folks in the Alpine group are going to drive golf carts to help shuttle the disabled throughout the Fairplex. This is the reason we are all here a couple days early before the event kicks off. I drew two 3 hour shifts. One on Wednesday and another on Sunday. However, I traded my Wednesday for a Thursday because a fellow Alpiner had already signed up for a safe driving course that conflicted with the shift he drew. I was glad to help out.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) we plan to take the truck and do some more sight-seeing around the area since there are no planned activities, plus my first golf cart shift isn’t until Friday now. On Thursday, we plan on attending some of the seminars that are scheduled to begin. The event officially begins on Friday when they open the gates to the public.
Warning! Another picture-heavy posting today – consider viewing on your computer or laptop instead of mobile device… todays destination was just too cool for me to be able to limit the pictures.
Author’s Note: Sorry this is a few days late, but it took time to sort and format the pics and meanwhile we moved to the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Rally in Pomona with most of our Alpine Coach group and have been pretty busy. But more on that later – First, follow along now on our really neat trip to the library:
My new favorite day of the week (Monday) consisted of an awesome guided tour of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We are now on day 4 of our Alpine Coach Association Pre-Rally which has not been disappointing in the least. Thanks again to our hosts/co-hosts (Tris and Carolyn Swan) & (Joel and Mary Langord) for a superb rally!
Here’s a copy of our Pre-Rally flyer:
Breakfast was on our own this morning, so everyone could carpool or convoy as early as possible to meet our 10:00 AM tour start-time.
Here’s the sign leading up the long winding road to the top of the hill where the library is situated. It took us less than an hour to make the circa 40 mile trip here from the Valencia Travel Village.
Our group gathered in front of the Library and waited for the doors to open.
We didn’t have to pay the $16 pp entrance fee. It was included in our rally package price.
After the doors opened, we all gathered once again on the backside of the building and waited for our tour guide(s). There was an original section of the Berlin Wall on display to keep us entertained along with a nice view.
View from the back of the building, looking West.
Our tour guide(s) arrived and invited us to take a self-guided tour of the automobile collection that was temporarily on display until it was time for our docent-led tour of the library/museum itself.
And was this collection ever cool! More cars… Yay! And you thought it would just be a visit to the library today 🙂
It seems that the Petersen Museum is being renovated and some of their cars are on display here until they reopen in December 2015. Click HERE for more information on the cars in the Petersen Collection.
Some of the pictures are out-of-focus due to the inadequate lighting in the display area and the “no-flash” rule. I’m sure it’s better at the Petersen Automotive Museum where they all originally hail from. We’ll just have to go back, eh?
And who doesn’t love the Love Bug?
Does anyone remember this one from the movie ‘Grease’?
No intro needed for this next one, right?
Is this a treat or what! And we haven’t even started the tour of the library yet…
We walked down to a lower display area for even more cars.
I wonder if he’d trade in the Alpine Coach for one of these? A ’56 Chevy. As most of you know, I sold my ’57 a couple years ago… it still hurts 🙁
They even had a gold-plated De Lorean.
I don’t think I remember hearing about this one before – According to the placard; Elvis shot this Pantera with his hand gun when it wouldn’t start.
After the unexpected treat of the superb car collection on display, our group gathered again at the front of the building. The tour guide(s) then broke down our ~50 person group into more manageable 8-10 person mini-groups. Our mini-goup tour started off by going directly to Air Force One.
What a view out the huge window.
Here’s looking down into the lower area. We’ll be having our lunch at those tables later.
And here we are before boarding Air Force One. No pictures are allowed at the entrance or inside the plane. The library contracts out to a photography studio and they take your picture for a price $$$ 🙁
Informational placard on Air Force One.
After our tour of the plane, our guide took us to the lower level under the plane. And guess what? More cars! These are a permanent part of the presidential library.
Nice personalized plate, eh?
Our next stop was Marine One on the lower level.
We got to tour the inside the helicopter, but again, no pictures allowed.
And then we got yet another special treat! We couldn’t help but notice that NASCAR legend, Richard Petty was also taking the tour today along with his entourage. I snapped a couple pics but was too shy to ask for an autograph.
He took the time to do a couple pics and autographs for folks that weren’t so shy. For those few that don’t know who “The King” Richard Petty is… click HERE for more info from my friend Wikipedia.
We continued on our tour. Do you think Stilla was feeling homesick at the Berlin Wall displays?
And here’s Richard Petty again! Most of our group was so distracted that we weren’t paying attention to our tour guide anymore 🙂
Richard Petty had a few words with fellow Alpiner, Mary Langord. Isn’t she special? 🙂
It was really neat to get the opportunity to see and hear Richard Petty up close and personal. What are the odds that he’d be here the same time as our group?
And back to the library tour:
We got the opportunity to take pictures in front of the podium. Mary Langord looks like a natural orator, doesn’t she?
I even took my moment.
And then our small group waited for our turn in the Oval Office.
Exact replica of the White House Oval Office with many original personal items from President Reagan himself.
Too bad we couldn’t take turns sitting behind the desk 🙂
Finally, we made it to our catered lunch under the wings of Air Force One. And what a good meal it was, with good company.
Here’s Stilla with fellow Alpiner’s, Gary and Renee, enjoying lunch.
After lunch, most folks went their separate ways. However, since we were distracted by our Richard Petty experience, we (and several other couples) went back through portions of the library/museum. We just couldn’t get enough of this really cool place that honors it’s namesake, Ronald Reagan. So here’s a few more pics for you to enjoy as we did…
Stilla even got to go for a presidential ride-along.
Ronald Reagan’s personal belt buckle collection:
We finally found our way to the gift shop. Lot’s of cool stuff.
Hidden around the corner of the building, we stopped to view the F-14 static display. I think a lot of folks missed this.
Picture of the back side. The Berlin Wall piece is in the center foreground.
Memorial around back.
And a fond final farewell to my personal hero – President Ronald Reagan. What a great experience! This is one of the neatest and most informative places we’ve had the pleasure to visit in our travels.
We made it back to the campground to enjoy yet another fine get-together with our Alpine friends. We had a nutritious dessert and some pre-packaged breakfast goodies to take with us on our morning trip over to the FMCA Rally.
Here we are, (with full bellies), getting our final words of wisdom before we pack up and head out in the morning for our next destination.
Hope you enjoyed the tour today. I know we did!
Check back in for a recap of our trip to the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Rally in Pomona… We have to get an early start in the morning in order to arrive in time to meet up again as a group so we all get parked together.
Sunday was yet another great Alpine Coach Pre-Rally day full of activities!
After another fine breakfast, once again courtesy of our hosts (Tris and Carolyn Swan) and co-hosts (Joel and Mary Langord), our group gathered outside the campground activities building (where we have all our meals) to convoy over to the William S. Hart Park and Museum and the Heritage Junction Historic Park. (Click on names to see the respective websites for details on these attractions)
Helena Mazzocco, along with her husband, Bob, gave us a briefing on the days planned activity. They live nearby, and Helena was kind enough to set up our tour(s) for the day. We first met Bob and Helena a few years ago at our very first Alpine Coach rally in St George, UT. They even stopped by our house in Colorado Springs for a quick visit a couple years ago when they were passing through. Of course, we’ve seen them again at several other venues since then as well. Although, they didn’t join us with their Coach this time at the Pre-Rally, they took the time to set up today’s tour for us and arrived today in their car.
We all gathered in the train station to get an orientation from one of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society volunteers.
The Historical Society website provided the following information on the Saugus Train Station which is also summarized on the informational placard above:
When the Golden Spike was driven at Lang in 1876, tying together Los Angeles to San Francisco, and, in turn, the continent-spanning Union Pacific, it signaled an irreversible change in the lifestyle of the Santa Clarita Valley. The Saugus Train Station opened eleven years later on September 1, 1887 when the spur line to Ventura was completed by Southern Pacific Railroad. In order to accommodate hungry travelers, Tolefree’s Saugus Eating House was established at the north end of the depot. It was taken over by Martin and Richard Wood in 1898, who changed the name to The Saugus Cafe. By 1905 more room was needed for additional storage of freight at the Station, so the cafe moved across the tracks, where it stands today.
Cowboys would occasionally shoot up the Station as their way of greeting the trains. There were robberies, too, the most famous being the night in 1929 when “Buffalo” Tom Vernon derailed and looted Engine Number 59.
President Benjamin Harrison stopped over in April, 1891, and Theodore Roosevelt was met by Governor Henry T. Gage here in 1903.
The last passenger train that stopped at the Station during April, 1971 and the last freight train was discontinued in 1979. The depot was closed on November 15, 1978 by the last Agent, Mr. James Guthrie. Through a massive community effort, the building was saved and moved on June 24, 1980 to its present location on land leased from Los Angeles Country within William S. Hart Park.
The Saugus Station has been featured in a number of motion pictures, television shows, music videos and commercials. Films include “The Pilgrim” (1919) with Charlie Chaplin, “Suddenly” (1954) starring Frank Sinatra, and most recently “The Grifters” (1989) starring Angelica Huston and John Cusack, and many student projects for area film schools.
Then they set us loose in the mini-museum and gift shop located inside the restored train station.
Then we viewed the Mitchell Schoolhouse Adobe building that was directly across from the train station. This is one of the seven or so buildings that the Historical Society have acquired, moved, and restored here.
The Historical Society website reiterates the informational placard seen above:
Colonel Thomas Finley Mitchell, a veteran of the Mexican-American War, moved a miner’s shack to Soledad and Sand Canyons in 1860 where he lived and headquartered his 160-acre ranch. After he married Martha Catherine Taylor in 1865, he constructed a large adobe, using parts of the miner’s shack. After the Colonel had increased his holdings to 1,000 acres, Martha began the Sulphur Springs School in 1872, with classes being held regularly in the kitchen of the adobe. It moved to the Lang Hotel and Spa in 1879. The first students were from the Mitchell, Stewart and Lang families. In 1886, a regular school was built by John Lang and Sanford Lyon on land donated by the Mitchells.
By 1919, the old adobe had fallen into ruin, but was salvaged by the Colonel’s son-in-law, Walter Murphy. He used the remaining adobe bricks to erect a home for the ranch foreman. It later served as a guest house, apiary and tack room until it was destroyed by developers on August 14, 1986. What remained was moved to Heritage Junction, dedicated on November 5, 1989, and has been restored.
The adobe was originally 45 x 60 feet, and made of clay dug from a layer deep in a hand-dug well. The roof was covered with either split redwood shake or a very thin cedar shake. It had a wooden floor constructed of light-colored wainscoting.
This building, the NewHall Ranch House was closed today because film students from a local college were filming.
The Historical Society website provides the following information on this building:
Rancho San Francisco was established by Franciscan padres late in the 18th century, where they built a sub-mission, or asistencia, at Castaic Junction in 1804. The 48,612 acres were granted to the Del Valle family 35 years later. William Wolfskill, a renowned vintner and orchard owner purchased the acreage following the 1857 earthquake. Thomas R. Bard bought the property in 1865, acting as an agent for his uncle, Col. Thomas A. Scott. He may have erected the first structure, a small house with a basement. Henry M. Newhall bought the place at a Sheriff’s sale in 1875. He had the financial backing to make improvements, but the main, two-story front portion was probably ordered by his son, Gregory, in 1893. Gregory spent more time here than other family members. After his death in 1903, a younger brother, Walter Scott Newhall, visited often until he passed away in 1906. The house then became the ranch foreman’s residence. It was severely damaged during the 1971 earthquake, but repaired.
With a grant from the City of Santa Clarita, the house was moved to Heritage Junction during the nights of August 14 and 15, 1990.
This two-story, stick Victorian house with gabled roof and 8′ wide veranda on three sides began as a shed-like structure built over a brick cellar. The original portion now houses the kitchen and was made with hand-hammered, square nails and rough-hewn redwood.
The larger, gabled portion is also constructed of redwood, including its hand-chiseled, wooden gutters. The interior had been greatly modified, with its 14′ ceilings lowered. It had three to four fireplaces, and wrought-iron registers for heat. The entire home is approximately 4,000 square feet, and is said to be haunted by several spirits of the past.
After touring around the train station and adjacent area, we wandered up the roadway to the next collection of buildings where we gathered again for guided tours.
The Historical Society volunteers broke us up into smaller, more manageable groups.
Our (now smaller) group started the guided portion of our tour with the Edison House.
According to the Historical Society webpage:
This house was one of a group of cottages built by the Southern California Edison Company to house employees in 1919 when the Newhall substation was opened. It was moved west of Saugus in 1925 when the “new” substation was completed and five other homes were built of identical design. Assistant Edison Patrolman Raymond Starbard occupied it and was credited as being the first to spread the alarm of the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster. The cottages were sold to Newhall Land and Farming Company on January 17, 1972.
The cottage was donated to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society and moved to Heritage Junction on January 18, 1989. The other houses were burned by the Los Angeles County Fire Department as a training exercise.
Architecturally significant, not only for their Swiss-Germanic Style, but for being unmodified, this single family residence has a shingled, gabled roof, clapboard siding, and hardwood floors.
We saw a picture of Multnomah Falls hanging in the living room. We visited this place in August of last year.
Even though we broke down into smaller groups, it was still pretty cramped in the little house.
It looks like these tour members lost their group… or maybe they lost interest… hmmm.
This home was originally built in 1878, and was located at 8th and San Fernando Road. It was occupied by Lyman Stewart in 1883, who later formed the Union Oil Co. August Ferrier bought the house in 1911, moved the structure to Walnut Street, and leased it to the Young family. Julia H. Young owned and managed the drug store, and was voted Queen of the first Newhall Rodeo. Ted Kornelissen, a native-born Dutchman who became the local mailman, bought the property from Ferrier. He then sold it to Ruth and Charles Kingsburry in 1943. Charles was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. He helped build the powerhouse in San Francisquito Canyon and operated a meat market in Newhall. “Uncle Charlie,” as he was usually called, aided widows and was a coach in the Masonic Order.
In 1987, the home was purchased by local Realtor Jim Droz and dentist Alan Fine and donated to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. It was moved to its present location in July of 1987.
The Kingsburry House is architecturally significant as an outstanding example of colonial-revival style that has not been modified, with the exception of two additions at the rear: one to enclose the kitchen and indoor bathroom, and a second for a service area and additional bedroom. The house originally consisted of a living room, dining area and two bedrooms. Cooking was probably done outside on a back porch. It has a pyramid-shaped roof and shed porch.
Tight quarters again…
The Callahan School House was next on the tour:
Constructed in 1927 by Robert E. Callahan for his Mission Village in Culver City, this building was used as a tourist attraction and movie set. In 1963 the area of the Mission Village was paved to form the Santa Monica Freeway, forcing Mr. Callahan to move the structure to Mint Canyon, where it was converted into a school house to hold desks, a blackboard, and a lectern which came from Vallejo, California, and dating back to 1858.
The Callahan School House was donated to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society by Mrs. Marion Callahan (Kitty Kelley) and moved to its present location in April, 1987.
This building is clapboard with a wood shingle roof and an overhanging, triangular- shaped porch. Not architecturally significant, it does however represent small schools used in mining camps and frontier settlements during the late 19th Century in the American West. Restoration was completed under the direction of Cathe Daley as a Girl Scout project in 1992.
We definitely wouldn’t fit in here as a group.
And then came the Ramona Chapel:
Designed by Carrie Jacobs Bond, composer of “The End of a Perfect Day,” “I Love You Truly,” and other songs, this chapel was based on the one at Rancho Camulos made famous in Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel, Ramona. From 1926 until 1962, it was the centerpiece of Robert E. Callahan’s Mission Village in Culver City.
Mrs. Marion Callahan (Kitty Kelley) states that her late husband assembled bits and pieces of old churches, some as old as 200 years. However, the guide book for the Village describes the “. . . altar made from ruins of 200-year-old mission.” The 48 cup brass candelabra was donated by Mrs. Bond. Here Gary Cooper was inducted into the Sioux Nation. John Wayne used it as a movie set, and the chapel was visited by Wyatt Earp, Will Rogers, Joan Crawford, and many other stars.
In 1963, the area of the Mission Village was paved to form the Santa Monica Freeway, forcing Mr. Callahan to move to Mint Canyon. Mrs. Callahan donated the Chapel to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, and it was moved to its present location at Heritage Junction in 1987.
After we finished up our tours, we all joined up again on Main Street.
Helena Mazzocco gave us our walking directions to get to our next destination; the William S. Hart Park & Museum.
But, before we left the Heritage Junction Historic Park, we had to stop behind the train station to view the locomotive…
The Historical Society website tells us: This Mogul Engine 1629 is a class M4 engine weighing 75 tons, with wheels 2-6-0. It was built in Schenectady, New York, in 1900, and purchased by Southern Pacific Railroad for use on the line which ran from Yuma, Arizona to Portland, Oregon, passing through the Santa Clarita Valley.
In 1957, it was retired and sold to Western actor, Gene Autry, who used it in films at his Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon. It appeared in such television series as “Gunsmoke” and “Wyatt Earp.” Autry donated the locomotive in 1981 to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, and it was moved to its present location next to the Saugus Station using donated funds in 1982, where it is being restored as a static display.
Of course, we had to take turns playing engineer. And yes, the bell rings…
After playing with the locomotive, we started our trek over to the Hart Ranch. First stop before we walked up the hill to the mansion, was the Ranch House.
Then we walked up the hill on a trail.
Along the trail, we passed by the Bunk House. It was closed up and the windows were shuttered.
Near the top of the hill we stopped to view the bison.
And finally, we made it to the top.
Here’s the entrance door for the tour of the house. The website gives the following information:
We waited outside the mansion for our tour guide as instructed.
Check out this link for biographical information on actor William S. Hart.
The informational brochure tells us he was the first cowboy movie star and made movies from 1914 to 1925. When he retired he moved to Horseshoe ranch in Newhall, California, and built his home, La Loma de los Vientos (the Hill of the Winds). Hart’s home is now a museum filled with his personal effects and movie paraphernalia along with Native American artifacts and Western American art. Free docent-led tours of the home take place Wednesday through Sunday.
Here’s inside the entrance of the mansion.
Our guide told us that all the furnishings and decor are original and untouched.
What a great house!… I think I’ll buy two of them 🙂 Another “must-see!”
We stopped at the gift shop which was conveniently located at the bottom of the trail when we got back down the hill.
We didn’t see any souvenir’s we couldn’t live without.
On the way back to the campground, Stilla checked her iPhone for attractions near us, and found that the Paul Walker Crash Site was along our return route. So we did a quick drive-by after letting the iPhone app guide us to the location near Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia, Santa Clarita, CA. Some of you may recall, that actor, Paul Walker, of ‘Fast and Furious‘ fame, died in November of 2013 in a fiery car crash. The only evidence of the accident that we saw; were a couple of painted rocks set alongside the road with “R.I.P. Paul Walker” written on them.
We arrived back at the Valencia Travel Village with just enough time to prepare for our Pot Luck dinner.
Here we are heading off to our activity building again for another meal… Moooo…
The pot luck dinner was awesome as usual… us Alpiner’s sure know how to eat 🙂
Warning! Today’s post is very picture-heavy… consider viewing on the website with your computer instead of on your mobile device.
Day 2 of our rally started off with a fine selection of muffins, pastries, and more; all in the grand Alpine Coach Association tradition 🙂 And oh… I forgot to mention, yesterday we had breakfast burritos! Our hosts for this rally have sure outdone themselves already!
After our satisfying breakfast, everyone jumped in their respective vehicles or car-pools and headed out for the days scheduled activity; a guided tour of the Nethercutt Collection & Museum located in nearby Sylmar which is only 20 minutes away from our park.
Once again, here’s our itinerary for the week:
If you’re a “car-nut”, this place is for you! The Nethercutt Museum & Collection consists of two buildings of the finest restored vintage and antique automobiles in the world. They also have a huge assortment of mechanical musical instruments; but I was here to look at the cars 🙂
Be sure to click on the name above for a link to their website, or click here for a YouTube video tour that I found online taken in 2012. And if you are so inclined, here’s a link to another YouTube video of this fine car collection which was filmed for the TV series; My Classic Car from Season 9, Episode 10. On the My Classic Car episode, the host, Dennis Gage, tours the maintenance shop and restoration area of the Nethercutt Museum – which was something we weren’t able to see during our tour.
We all gathered for our guided tour outside one of the buildings until they opened the doors.
I’ll let you read about the founders and how the museum collection came to be, from the website link I provided earlier.
So now… sit back and enjoy some of my favorite pictures from the day. But don’t worry, I didn’t include all 300 of them.. just my favorites, maybe 100, or so 🙂
Here we are listening to our tour guide inside an exquisite re-creation of an opulent automotive “grand salon” of the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Then we were set loose to browse the fine automobiles on our own recognizance.
It is my strong opinion that this is where the term “trunk” comes from. What do you think?
I’ve always liked the decorative “mascots” or hood ornaments… I’m sure some of these cost more than a new car nowadays.
Hope you’re not too bored with all the hood ornaments already, because there’s more to come…
But first, we ascended the semi-spiral staircase to the upper level(s).
Once on the first upper level, we viewed the fine displays and antiques.
And remember when I said earlier that there were more hood ornaments…
I have to wonder if there’s a larger collection of these anywhere else in the world?
We ascended yet another set of spiral stairs.
And found ourselves in the world of mechanical musical instruments, and they all worked…
But, before we listened to all the antique musical boxes in the huge room, we viewed the Louis XV style grand dining room.
Check out the infinite number of chandeliers effect in the mirror.
We viewed and listened to the various mechanical musical instruments that included: Nickelodeons; Cylinder & Disc Music Boxes; European Orchestrions; Grand Pianos; and more. Link here for more info on these devices if interested.
After viewing and listening to some of the finely tuned mechanical musical instruments, we got a mini-concert from the Wurlitzer pipe organ. All of these instruments were demonstrated by the museum’s mechanical music master technician/curator who acted as our tour guide.
After our senses were astounded with the visual and acoustic grandeur, we descended the many flights of stairs to depart the building.
We then went across the street to the second of the Nethercutt Museum buildings for a self-guided tour. By the way, did I mention that this is all free of charge? Here we were greeted by more finely restored automobiles and memorabilia that we wandered around gaping at.
I don’t think I’d kick any of these cars out of the garage for leaking oil on the floor, would you?
This 1936 Pierce-Arrow Travelodge trailer was a big hit with the Alpine Coach group.
And now, just when you thought there couldn’t be any more hood ornaments to take pictures of…
There were also display cases full of other types of antique automobile memorabilia.
and more cars… Yay!
And then, just when we thought there couldn’t be anything more to astound us, we toured this cool train and luxury car that is stationed behind the building. Click here for more info on this 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive and Pullman Private Palace Car.
We stood in line to get the free tour of the locomotive and the 1912 Pullman Private Car.
After listening to our tour guide give us the details, we toured the inside of this fully-restored luxurious palace car:
We stepped out of the car and onto the massive locomotive.
Yes, we even got to ring the bell.
That was one awesome locomotive! See a YouTube video of it’s farewell trip here.
And what an awesome museum! This is definitely a must-see attraction and you can’t beat the price.
We finally exited the museum late in the day and headed back to the campground.
On the way back to the campground, we made a stop at the local Camping World to get a new flex-hose water connection. I replaced the water filter when we got here, but the short flex-hose that connects to my quick-disconnect, developed a leak. Apparently, I overtightened it. Oh well, it was only $7.
Then we pretty much just lazed around for the rest of the day recuperating from all the walking. At least, that’s the excuse we used.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Tomorrow we take a tour of the William S. Hart Park & Museum, so check back in for a full recap.
Yoo Hoo! We arrived safely at the Valencia Travel Village for the Alpine Coach Association Pre-Rally to the FMCA Rally in Pomona. We made it here around 3 PM on Thursday after successfully navigating the bumpy and busy LA freeways thanks to our Rand-McNally GPS. Whenever we get near a major city after being in the wide open southwest – it seems that all the drivers are impatient and in a hurry… common-sense and courtesy seem to be things that are reserved only for non-urban areas. Oh well… we’re here, with only a few frazzled nerves from the sudden traffic jams and lack of merge etiquette.
Here’s an awesome sight… a long row of fine Alpine Coaches. I think there are about 30 Coaches in attendance, (I’ll confirm that number later). Our Coaches filled up the first two rows near the entrance to the park and we ended up in the front row with a view of the pool and spa across from us. 🙂
Everyone gathered at the designated meeting spot for our “Meet & Greet Social”. Once again, it was nice to see old acquaintances/friends and to meet new ones.
After an hour of “catching-up” with folks, it was time for our catered dinner from Panda Express. Great selections, great food, great people!
After our fine meal, we finished setting up the Coach and relaxed for the evening. We were lucky to get a shot for the satellite dish through the tall trees around our site. I thought we might have to move forward or back a few feet but it worked out.
In case anyone’s interested; here’s a view of our schedule for our time here at the Valencia Travel Village:
Since Friday is a “free” day, we decided to check out some sights in and around LA. I thought about downloading the Harley, but decided against it after recalling our freeway experience(s) on the way in here. So, we jumped in the Silverado and plugged “Hollywood Sign” into the iPhone. What did we do in the days before GPS?
After 35 miles and about 50 minutes later, we ended up at the Griffith Observatory parking lot which is also on the road to the Hollywood sign (which is closed).
Here’s some pics of our time at the observatory:
We each took turns walking through the observatory because little dog, Coach, wasn’t allowed 🙁
Stilla and Coach greeted me outside the building after my fast-paced whirlwind tour. Pretty cool place… wish we had more time without having to worry about the dog… it was too hot to leave him alone in the pickup. Another must-see place.
After we left the observatory, we drove a little ways up the road to the Hollywood SIgn. A park ranger said that this is the first time in 20 years that vehicles can travel part way up the road. It’s still blocked off about 2 miles from the sign. Then we cruised around Hollywood and found ourselves at the La Brea Tar Pits.
The Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits was pretty cool. But as usual, no dogs allowed inside the museum. At least we were able to walk throughout the grounds with him on leash.
I’m running late this morning, so I’ll close for now and join the group for our scheduled trip to the Nethercutt Museum. Stay tuned for Day 2 of our Pre-Rally…
We’ve been hanging out at the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande for a couple weeks now. The name “dirt farm” is not meant to be derogatory. It’s the name my brother and his significant other, Cheryl, have given to their 5-acre homesite complete with horses and chickens. It’s actually quite green for the moment with the recent rains and somewhat cooler weather.
This is also where my mom and stepdad live in their separate, but smaller pre-fabricated house. Brother Steven and Cheryl have the “big house” – a super-sized triple wide home.
We’ve been parked in front of Mom’s house, where stepdad Jim just finished hooking up a 50-Amp receptacle in the garage. Now we, or anyone else for that matter, can mooch power from either house… just depends on who you want to visit. 🙂 Although, the houses are only a couple hundred feet apart, we opted to park at Mom’s because it’s fenced in. This is great for little dog, Coach. We don’t have to put him on a leash… just let him out the door in the morning to do his business. Besides, as I reported earlier, the ground at Steven & Cheryl’s 50-Amp pedestal was still soggy from recent rain when we first arrived here.
When we weren’t working on the “dirt farm”, we went out to eat a few times… but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been eating well at the farm too! We’re going to have to get away from here so we can go on a diet! Just kidding Mom 🙂
While enjoying all the good meals and the company of family, we’ve been helping out a little with all the on-going projects around here. Some of these projects include, but are not limited to: running electrical power and burying cable for outlying sheds and a casita; putting up or moving fencing; spreading gravel and leveling with the bobcat; etc., etc.,
And the first fruit tree goes in…
I also used the time here to reorganize the contents of my cargo trailer and made room in my “Conex” storage container for more items. Now I can park either the ATV or the Harley inside the trailer, depending on which one we decide to haul around in the pickup with us.
The new Xantrex inverter/charger that I wrote about in my last post has been working as advertised. Although, when I did some checking, I found out that the technician forgot to tighten down the nuts that hold it to the basement wall. I guess he got distracted after finger-tightening the nuts… must have been tired from lifting the 75 pound unit into place.
Also, I think I need to come up with a junction box of some sort for the wire connections he spliced. I wish he would have taken the time to run new wires, the old ones (orange) were just a couple inches too short.
In other RV maintenance related news; I finally took the time to do something about the sagging insulation in the engine compartment. My stepdad had some super-sized washers that I was able to use after drilling holes through the closet floor (under the drawers). Don’t look too bad, eh?
I also fixed a support bracket for the charge-air cooler tube that had broken again. This bracket had been fixed once already by my old high school buddy and good friend, Mike Harris. My buddy Mike welded the bracket, but I think the extra weight of the sagging insulation that was laying on top of the tube was just too much for it. Thanks anyway Mike! 🙂
Oh, and by the way – the technicians at Speedco lied! They didn’t lube the u-joints on the Coach after changing the oil and replacing the fuel filter like they said they did. There was absolutely no evidence the dirt-encrusted grease fittings had been touched with a grease gun since last year. So I cleaned the fittings and lubed them myself while I was under there.
It’s been great spending time here at the “dirt farm’ with family. Thanks Ma, Jimmy, Steve & Cheryl! See you again soon… hopefully we’ll be back in time for some Easter fun at the farm 🙂
And now it’s time to move on… we’re signed up for an Alpine Coach Pre-Rally in Valencia CA that starts the 19th. After that, we’ll convoy to the FMCA Rally in Pomona. We’re looking forward to both rallies, there’s going to be lots of activities and new things to do and see.
Here we are at a rest stop by the Imperial Sand Dunes along I-8 yesterday (Wednesday) after we said our farewells and hit the road.
I decided to load the Harley and the bicycles for our next adventure in California. I parked the ATV safely away in the cargo trailer back at the “dirt farm”.
We found an overnight spot at the Red Earth Casino along highway 86 next to the Salton Sea. And the price was right, Free! We just had to stay at our $20 limit inside the casino…
We should make it to Valencia in a few hours after I post this. Check back in later to see what we’re up to. 🙂
It was a very early day on Tuesday – we had to get up around 5:30 AM and hit the road by 6 AM to make the 55 mile trip to Gilbert, AZ for my scheduled inverter/charger repair. The Xantrex inverter/charger went out on me last week on Thursday. I wrote about this in a previous blog post titled “Dirt Farm“.
Stilla joined my Mom, stepdad Jimmy, brother Steven, and his girlfriend Cheryl in their car so they could run “errands” (code for shopping) in and around the Phoenix area while I stayed with the Coach.
We arrived at Tekris Power around 7 AM. The knowledgeable technician, Robert Meeker, quickly verified that my old Xantrex RS2000 was ready for the trash can. They don’t make them any more and parts are hard to get… repairing the unit is not cost-effective. He determined that the best replacement unit is the Xantrex Freedom 3012. This is a nice 3,000 watt unit that will go well with my 8 house batteries and residential fridge.
My extended warranty company, EasyCare, sent a warranty coordinator to verify the failure and authorize the replacement. He arrived around 10AM, took photos, asked questions, and filled out a lot of paperwork. We got word by telephone that the replacement was authorized about an hour after he left. The end-result was a bill for a little over $3000… luckily my portion only ended up being around $375 thanks to the extended warranty.
Here’s the old RS2000 unit on Robert’s workbench. Notice the small vents on the bottom that are clogged with dust. This side was mounted against the wall and probably contributed to it’s demise. Although, it has lasted 10 years – which is a pretty good run for an inverter/charger. The Coach is a 2005 model.
Robert packed up my old inverter/charger in the box from the new unit. I decided to keep it in case someone might need parts or want to have it repaired.
Here’s Robert mounting the new unit on the back wall of the basement where the old unit was. He must have crawled in and out of there about 50 times before he was done hooking things up.
And here’s the new unit all mounted and ready for wiring.
While my technician, Robert was working away… I got a text from my friend, fellow Alpine driver and blogger, Mike Kuper. He and his lovely wife, Donna are currently staying at an RV Resort in the nearby Mesa, AZ area.
Mike came over on his scooter to visit and provide moral support while the Coach was getting fixed.
Mike hung out with me for a good portion of the day while we talked Alpine and full-time RV stuff. We even walked over to a nearby restaurant, Los Favoritos to have some fish tacos for lunch. It was good seeing Mike again… it’s a small RV world after all 🙂
We first met Mike and Donna in Portland, OR at an Alpine Coach Pre-Rally in August 2014. We convoyed together afterwards to the FMCA Rally in Redmond where we enjoyed more time with them on a sightseeing trip to Lava Lands in addition to other rally activities.
Here’s a few pictures we took back then on a hike we took around an old volcano… this was before I was doing the blog:
Mike has a great blog named “Flying the Koop” that I read regularly. I even emulated his website when I was starting mine. Check it out.
After Robert finished up the inverter/charger replacement and put in a new system control panel to replace the old one (they weren’t compatible), we tested everything out with shore power and the generator. We even boiled some water in the microwave using just the inverter on battery power… don’t think the old unit would let me do that! I paid my portion of the bill and headed back to Casa Grande. Stilla and the others were still out shopping and running around the greater Phoenix area, so I drove back alone.
I knew it was time for an oil change and what better time than now – since I was already out and about. It’s been a year since the last service and we’ve put on about 8000 miles since then.
Mike told me he had a good experience at Speedco near Casa Grande, so I plugged them into the GPS and got there by 5 PM. Thanks for the tip Mike!
After a 20 minute wait, they drained and replaced my 25 quarts of engine oil and the filter. Then they replaced my fuel-water separator filter with a Baldwin BF 1293-SPS, but couldn’t get to the other fuel filter (an FF5488) that is hidden above the starter. That one was replaced last year and the shop that did it then, had to remove the starter to gain access. I decided to let that one go until next time… maybe I’ll try to tackle that one myself.
I paid the somewhat reasonable $200 bill and got back to the “dirt farm” shortly after Stilla and the rest of the family.
We decided to stay parked in front of my Mom’s house because it’s fenced-in. This is convenient for little dog “Coach” so he doesn’t go near the horses or get chased by the chickens at my brother and Cheryl’s. We’ll have to test out that 50-Amp pedestal they installed next to their house another time. Meanwhile, we’re doing ok with an extension cord to a 20-Amp outlet… especially, since I have a new 3000 watt inverter 🙂
Time to close out todays blog post and go help out around the farm here in order to earn our keep. Wouldn’t want to wear out our welcome here with the family… especially since we still don’t have a buyer for the house back in Colorado Springs yet. We need to save some bucks in the campground budget category until we head to Valencia and Pomona on the 19th. At least we’ve already paid for those rallies.
We’re still hanging around the “dirt farm” with my Mom, stepdad Jim, brother Steve, and Cheryl. Since the inverter/charger went out on the Urban Escape Vehicle, (see my last post) we’ve been minimizing battery usage by having meals and watching television with our hosts. Thanks family!
We still haven’t moved over to the 50-Amp pedestal that brother Steve had installed next to his house, since it wouldn’t do us any good now anyway. You may recall from my last posting, that recent rains prevented us from parking there when we arrived. The ground was pretty soggy… wouldn’t want to sink in and get stuck.
Anyway, I was able to schedule an appointment with the authorized Xantrex service center in Gilbert, AZ for Tuesday morning. We’ll depart early in the morning to get there by 8 AM.
Meanwhile, we’ve just been puttering around here or in the local area. Yesterday (Sunday) we drove over to Coolidge to browse the flea market with Mom and Jim. Mom picked up a few more fruit trees to plant at the farm.
We were able to use my disabled veteran National Parks Pass in lieu of the entrance fee.
The visitors center was chock-full of displays and informational placards.
We watched the film in the theater and then browsed all the displays until it was time for the guided tour.
Artists conception of daily life back in the day.
Here’s a diorama of the “Great House” with informational placard below.
I was surprised to learn there’a a large number of archeological sites throughout Arizona.
Once you step out the back door of the Visitors Center, you are greeted with a grand view of the ruins.
When it was time for the guided tour, we gathered under the pavilion.
Our tour guide, John, was passionate and knowledgeable. His background was in engineering, so he gave his presentation from that perspective.
Here, our informative tour guide John, is explaining how one of the circular openings in the wall align with the setting sun on the summer solstice.
Another view of the ruins from the front, or is it the back? Oh heck, the other side.
Informational placards were placed throughout the compound:
Mom and stepdad Jimmy posed for a picture.
Then it was our turn.
Another view of the ruins. I found it interesting in itself that the protective structure was built around 1932. It replaced a wooden structure that was in place before that.
After our tour of the Casa Grande Ruins, we took the short walking tour from the parking lot to view some more of this compound. Here’s the ball field with another informational placard in the foreground.
There were many of these signs all around the parking lot and compound.
Stilla supported one of the local “artists” inside the visitors center.
Great tour!… I would highly recommend it for anyone visiting the area.
Back at the “dirt farm” there’s always something to do. Here’s some electrical wire getting laid in the ground to power up the sheds, and recently built casita.
And here’s Jim and Steve filling in one of the ditches. I even helped a little… the fun part was packing it back down by running over the fresh dirt with the ATV 🙂
Anyway, gotta run and help out a little more…
Stay tuned to see how our repairs to the Urban Escape Vehicle go tomorrow…
We’ve enjoyed our time here in Prescott Valley at Scott and Julie’s house. But, with more rain and possible snow expected on Tuesday afternoon, we decided it was time to head south for warmer weather while we had the chance. So, we said our sad goodbyes in the morning between rainstorms and moved on. Plus, we didn’t want to wear out our welcome at the Richardson Ranch 🙂
The evening before we left, Julie made us an awesome spaghetti dinner… thanks Julie!
Here’s our moochdocking spot, looking east. The streets were finally drying somewhat after the last couple days of rain. Sure Julie… we believe you… it’s really nice weather here most of the time… suuuure…. 🙂
And here’s looking west.
Our hosts saw us on our way. Bye Scott & Julie… see you again soon! Thanks again! We’ll definitely be back to see some of the local attractions with you when the weather’s better.
A sign over I-17 just north of Phoenix told us to drive with care due to winter weather conditions. Luckily, we were able to stay dry and the Urban Escape Vehicle stayed clean except for a very brief rain shower near the middle of Phoenix.
By the way – we had decided to go down to the “dirt farm” in Casa Grande to stay a while with my Mom, Stepdad, brother Steve, and his girlfriend Cheryl. They reported good weather there, plus we can save a little money on diesel and campgrounds until it’s time to go to California for a couple Rallies in mid-March that we already signed up for.
We got to the “dirt farm” without incident after fueling up and dumping tanks at a Pilot/Flying J nearby.
Brother Steve and Stepdad Jimmy showed us the 50-Amp pedestal they finally got installed 🙂 However, the ground was still pretty soggy from recent rain at the designated spot, so we opted to park in front of Mom’s house until it gets a little drier here.
Here’s where we’re parked in front of Mom and Jimmy’s house on the “dirt farm” until the 50-amp site on the side of Steven and Cheryl’s dries out.
View up the drive. The Coach is parked in front of Mom’s house on the right.
On Wednesday, we downloaded the ATV from the pickup and puttered around. Here’s Mom (below) starting her garden. She’s planting some corn and onions. The “dirt farm” has gotten quite “green” since we were last here in mid-January.
We went into town for lunch at a place we call the “Cactus Garden Restaurant”. It’s official name is BeDillon’s. Nice place, good food with cool ambience, this was the second time we’ve been here. They even have a little museum on site.
After lunch, Mom had us all working hard in the garden. We even managed to keep the rows straight and even, with a little help from tent stakes and string. Then we enjoyed another family meal and an evening of movies.
On Thursday, I helped stepdad Jimmy pick up supplies at Lowe’s so he could finish up some more electrical runs and breaker boxes to supply power for outlying sheds and the garage. There’s always something to do here at the farm.
When I returned and stepped into the Urban Escape Vehicle, I heard the Inverter/Charger (Xantrex) alarm going off. The display panel indicated an Inverter/Charger internal fault and there was no power except for 12 volt. This is especially bad for us because we have a residential refrigerator. We must always leave our Inverter/Charger running with the Inverter “enabled” in order to power the fridge at all times.
I checked everything I could think of, but we have no 110-120 volt power to anything, no matter what I do. Every time I reset (either from the display panel or on the actual Inverter/Charger) it goes directly to “fault-mode” and the alarm sounds.
Our surge-guard appears to be working fine and “clicks” when I plug in to shore power. The generator appears to be supplying voltage when I turn it on, but again, the Inverter/Charger keeps going to “fault-mode” whenever I “enable” the Inverter portion of the Inverter/Charger.
Now, I thought that when hooked to shore power or with the generator running, I could still power all my appliances (Fridge, Microwave, TV, etc.,) without the Inverter being “enabled”. But, since I ALWAYS leave my Inverter “enabled” for the times when we disconnect from shore power or turn the generator off… so that the batteries will continue to provide seamless power – I’m not sure. I certainly can’t get any appliances to work now, no matter what I do with the Inverter/Charger.
Here’s a picture I took of the Inverter/Charger which is mounted sideways on the back wall of the basement. It’s the RS2000 model from Xantrex, and I’m relatively sure it’s original equipment from 2005. As you can see from the lights; the “Network” light is on and the “Charger Enable” light is on. In this current state, it does not alarm, but there is also no power to any appliances. Now, if I press the “Inverter Enable” button, the “Fault” light comes on and the alarm sounds at the display panel at the front of the Coach in the upper cabinet. The display shows “Fault F026 – Inverter/Charger Internal Failure”.
I then have to hit the “Reset” to stop the alarm.
I checked the network wires and connections.
I pulled off the front panel to see if there was anything obviously loose or wrong.
All the connections are tight and clean.
Then I pulled off the top cover. Note: All necessary safety precautions were taken – no one was hurt in the making of this blog post.
Again, nothing obviously wrong. I guess it’s time to call my extended warranty service and see what run-around I’ll get from them (based on my past experience with the refrigerator compressor) and see where they will allow me to take this problem to get fixed. Oh well, always a new adventure… it’s a good thing we’re parked where we are and not in the boonies somewhere, eh?
We emptied the refrigerator and freezer and moved everything into the house… thanks Mom and Cheryl!
Hopefully, we can get this resolved without a lot of money or drama. Honestly, I should have seen this coming, because I HAD noticed recently that the Inverter/Charger was louder than usual. It always “hummed”, but lately it’s been louder than I remember. I chalked it up to the lower voltage service we’ve subjected the Coach to in recent weeks; 30-Amp at Alamo Lake State Park, garage power (probably 20-Amp) at Scott & Julie’s, and now 20-Amp in front of my Mom’s house…
I called our extended warranty service, EasyCare. They tell me that there are only two “authorized” Xantrex service centers in Arizona. One is in Tucson, the other in Gilbert. I’ll be making some calls in the morning. Stay tuned…