Discovering Another Mad Dash (Oct 14): Leaving KVC, Shopping and Tacos #1473 (02/26)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by PrincessInOz, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Happy New Year to you too! Thanks for popping in again. I really appreciate the feedback and comments. :goodvibes
     
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  3. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Of Vivid Colours and Where Falcons Swoop




    When driving along Highway 1 – the Pacific Coast Highway – the Cabrillo Highway – stunning vistas are a given. Most travellers will drive the Central Coast stretch from Santa Barbara through to Monterey and then head inland to the 101 to make their way to San Francisco. There is no denying that this stretch of the Cabrillo is beautiful and packed with those stunning vistas that so mark this coastal drive.


    Me? I’ve long learnt to love the stretch of the highway that stretches from Santa Cruz through to Pacifica. There is usually much less traffic to contend with and the views are no less stunning than down south.


    With so much sand and surf, one does get a little blasé about looking at the ocean side; so my first stop on the way back was at Waddell’s Creek. This part of the road is one end of the Skyline to Sea trail. The other end of the trail is closer towards Saratoga, some 35 miles away; and it would head up to that mountain ridge where the Big Basin Redwood State Park is.

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    Waddell Creek itself is a series of two or three small creeks that flow down from Big Basin, joining up along the way, before emptying out at the beach. It looked beautiful today. The colours were just so vivid and bright.

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    The Skyline to Sea trail takes you out through that country you can see in both shots. It is a 2 night, 3 day way from end to end. I’d like to say that I’d walk it someday…..yeah. Not necessarily on my bucket list.




    It was a short drive from here to my next stop. The Ano Nuevo State Park, some 55 miles south of San Francisco, is the site of the largest mainland breeding colony for the northern Elephant Seals. I’d enjoyed getting up close and personal with the seals down at Piedras Blanco in 2011 and had thought to head here to contrast the two breeding sites.

    Parking is $10; but because I’d already purchased my ticket at Natural Bridges, I got waived straight through and I parked by the Visitor Centre.

    The ranger at the Visitor Centre told me that it would take 2 hours round trip to get to see the elephant seals. It was at this point that I realised that I didn’t have enough time to get out there and back; and make my dinner date with DH and one of his work colleagues! D’oH!


    Yes, I know – perhaps the option was to pitch up late. But this particular work colleague was one of those that had crossed over from a work friendship into a personal friendship. I first met her 12 years ago and when we were in New England in 2007, we stayed 3 nights with her.


    And because we knew her rather well, I knew better than to be late. She’s rather punctual and she keeps early nights; so an early dinner time had been set.


    The ranger and I discussed walking options and in the end, I headed out along the trail to the halfway point. I had really wanted to see if it actually was a 2 hour turnaround.

    There is a walking trail that you can follow. It is relatively flat for the most part. The Visitor Centre is the white building on the left side of the picture in the distance.

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    There is a waterhole along the walk. I could see ducks but not much else. The sign indicated that there were frogs and water snakes living here.

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    I made it to the halfway station; where there was another ranger there. It must be a pretty quiet sort of job being at this halfway station. I figured by the lack of cars in the parking lot that it had been a slow day today; and I guess ranger 1 must have been in radio communication with ranger 2. This ranger had been expecting me and already knew that I was going no further. At least he consoled me with the fact that as it was still early in the breeding season, there were only about 25 elephant seals out on the beach; all fairly juvenile – no large males with the distinctive noses. And despite me wanting to push towards seeing the elephant seals, with the scenery along the way, I figured the 2 hour estimate was correct and I didn’t have the time to stop.


    As it turns out, Ranger 2 was so chatty! And he followed me round chatting for about 10 minutes; so much so that I could barely take any pictures.
    This is his favourite view.

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    Another natural bridge!

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    The rocky platform where he can occasionally see otters.

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    Yup, I think you get the idea….the pictures I took were the ones he told me to take!!!



    I was saved by that couple in the front….they had made the trek out to the beach and had some questions to ask. I honestly think that if it weren’t for them, ranger 2 would have followed me all the way back to the visitor centre.

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    At this point I thanked him and high-tailed it back.


    Sometimes, life has a way of providing you with little blessings! With everything that had happened today and the chatty ranger, my timing was such that I’d lucked it to the right place at the right time. I also happened to have my nice new long lens on my camera, it just so happened to be out and handy when I heard a bird of prey screech.

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    As quickly as it dropped down, it flew off.

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    I might not have seen the elephant seals; but I was really pleased to have been in the presence of a falcon swooping.





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  4. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    (Continued from Previous Post)

    A California Historic Landmark




    About five miles down the road, I made another stop. Lighthouses and elephant seals had been on my list of things to-do and whilst I might have given ground on the elephant seals, I was not going to concede on the lighthouse.


    At 115 feet high, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in America. It has been a feature of this stretch of the Cabrillo Highway since 1872 and is one of the California’s Historic Landmarks.

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    Unfortunately, the tower has been closed since 2001 due to structural issues. I could see that the friends of the lighthouse were actively fundraising but the current estimated repair costs are $11 million. I gathered from a docent that they have raised about 30% of the repair costs to date. It will be a long time before funds are raised and repairs completed.


    The complex around the Lighthouse is a Youth Hostel and it would be kinda cool to stay for a night. I gather it is pretty basic facilities and there is always the mandatory chore to complete in the morning after you stay in a Youth Hostel. The complex is where the flags are. There are a series of about 4 or 5 buildings there.

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    The Fresnel lens has been moved to the lantern room.

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    At a particular angle, I could see the lens refracting light into all the colours of the rainbow. It took me a while to get the shot as I had some fast talking to do first. So, I have to thank the docent for letting me stand somewhere I was not meant to in order to get the shot. In fact, I'm pretty sure that he got a talking-to by another docent about where he had let me stand; but my luck held with little acts of kindness this week.

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    I took some time to admire the scenery at the back of the lighthouse. As always, time and tide waits for no one.

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    And also took some time to admire the scenery of the lighthouse itself.

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    I really wished I could stay to capture sunset here.

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    But I still had a dinner date to make and some 35 miles to drive to get back to my destination.




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  5. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    More International Cuisine – It’s Thai Tonight




    I got back to the hotel with 15 minutes to spare and rushed to get ready for dinner. But I first made a detour via the lobby to get a Happy Hour plate. Tonight was Spinach Artichoke dip and hot pretzel night. The dip was tasty enough and the pretzel was lovely and soft.

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    And as I expected, DH and his colleague were waiting for me in the hotel lobby bang on 6 pm.

    Since my arrival in San Francisco, I’d eaten Chinese, French, Japanese, American (by way of that burger for lunch) and we were to add another international cuisine to the list tonight.

    Tonight, we were eating Thai.

    CAUTION! To those of you with nut allergies, there will be peanuts on the screen in this post. Make sure you have your epipen handy (and I mean you, AussieTravellers!).




    We started the Thai fish cakes….

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    ..…with the hot/sour dipping sauce; complete with peanuts.

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    We had a serve of the deep fried tofu. It was really good!

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    The red shrimp curry was easily the dish of the night.

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    We also ordered a serve of chinese broccoli. It was fried Thai style and I didn’t like the way it was done at all.

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    Our friend had eaten here before and she liked the deep fried fish with Thai style sauce. It’s probably me….but lately, I’ve been finding deep fried fish to be overdone. This was no exception. A little too crispy for my liking.

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    Despite a couple of minor misses, the food was good. The meal, with tips, came to $60 or about $20 per head. DH and I agreed that we would probably come back for a meal and stick with the curries.



    We had a great time catching up and chatting that night. I really like this colleague of DH’s and we have hopes of seeing her in Sept/Oct 2013.





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  6. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Out-Shopped Again





    We dropped DH’s colleague back at the hotel at a rather early time after dinner. There was still a good hour of shopping time left and we decided to hit Hillsdale Mall. Again, this was more about mental shopping than anything else. I spent the time walking around Macy’s and scoping out the pricing and fashion.


    DH managed to buy some tops; his shopping time was more limited than mine and he was much more ready to pull out his wallet when he found something he liked and fitted.


    The Malls might shut at 9 pm; but we still had an hour of browsing time at Barnes and Nobles. Actually – I was still doing the browsing and DH managed to pick up 2 books.


    I was being completely out-shopped by DH at this stage of the trip! It was high time I did something about this situation.






    princess::upsidedow
     
  7. Aussie Wendy

    Aussie Wendy DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying seeing off the beaten track scenery-I would love to return to San Fran and area and spend a couple of weeks just there in the future. I also enjoy days of just me moseying (sp?) about exploring. Love the lighthouse pics especially.
     
  8. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    What a shame you didn't get to see the elephant seals :sad2: But it was good luck with the falcon! And I really enjoyed your lighthouse photos - hope you didn't get that poor docent into too much trouble!

    That trail sounds like a nice walk, but probably not something I'll ever get around to actually doing :rotfl: There's a lot more I need to see in California first!
     
  9. tiggrbaby

    tiggrbaby <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder

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    That pic of the light through the lighthouse lens is incredible!
     
  10. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Looks like a beautiful day! The lighthouse pictures were spectacular!
     
  11. ACDSNY

    ACDSNY I love my job! I love my job! I love my job!

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    I love the lighthouse pics! I agree it would be a great place to catch a sunset.
     
  12. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

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    With my inlaws here, the trip has been less hectic as they've pretty much fed the children every morning! So I've had the pleasure of finally reading your fab TR in detail. I appreciate the great detail in your writing style. Your photos are absolutely stunning. Love the ones of the lighthouse. Do you use a polarizer by any chance?

    The Ano Nuevo State Park is something that we would love to do as a family as are all the lovely stops you've made.

    You're a brave woman to drive on the wrong side of the road by yourself! Hats off for self exploration! I've tried several times to drive on the right hand side and it just makes me so stressed that I get stiff legs and butts...and yes definitely the worst bit is getting out if the carpark!

    I'm taking notes on the Asian cuisine. Never know when the pesky 'need to eat Asian' genetic tendency will read its ugly head!
     
  13. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/dm.

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    I'm also a fan of the lighthouse photos. :thumbsup2


    The natural bridge/arch photo is also fantastic. Do you ever frame your photos; they're quite lovely.


    I like Thai, mostly noodles though. I am not a fan of fried fish unless it's fish n chips.
     
  14. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

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    Very nice pictures from the Lighthouse.

    The food porn looks very appetizing.
     
  15. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I hope you make it back there someday. Thanks for reading!


    That docent didn't seem to mind too much. I think he was a photo-nut, like me. At least I'd like to think so....



    Thank you! :goodvibes


    It was a beautiful day. The temperatures were in the high 80's/90's; but there was that light breeze off the Pacific, so it didn't feel anywhere near that temperature at all.



    I keep saying that someday....I'm going to catch a great sunset on the Californian coast. Hasn't happened yet! :rotfl2:



    Thanks for checking in when YOU are on holiday. Really appreciate it, shushh.

    Brave? Yes.....that is one way to look at it. ;) I guess I've driven on the other side of the road on every US trip that it just seems like riding a bike to me now.



    Thanks. My photos? We have a wall that has DH's pictures. He was the photographer in the family until I started taking pictures in 2010. But I've pulled out about 20 of the pictures I like best from 2012. I'll need to think about which ones I get enlarged. Might settle for about 3 or 4 of them.



    Thanks Bret. I really enjoyed all the stops I made on this day. The Monarch Butterflies and the Lighthouse would be my favourites.
     
  16. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Hitting the Breakfast Snag #1 - Still no Bacon!




    We started the day early with the hot breakfast buffet. This was our third ritual morning catch up for DH and me.

    Every morning, DH would grab the eggs and/or cook some oatmeal.
    Every morning, I would wonder if bacon would be served. DH would patiently sit there and listen to me oink on about the razorback cuts of not serving non fatty crunchy goodness.


    This morning, there was STILL no bacon and I ruminated about the snag in my breakfast.

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    Fortunately, there was the French toast and maple syrup to console me this morning.







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  17. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Hitting the Breakfast Snag #2 - Life in the No Go Zone




    Today, I hit peak hour traffic on the 101 at around 8 am in the morning. It took me 20 minutes to travel 2 miles and I gave it up as a very bad joke. I dont know how they do this every morning.



    It was definitely life in the no-go zone on the 101 for me!




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  18. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    The Travelling Public




    I was heading for the downtown area today. Normally, I catch the CalTrain to the 4th and King Street station but I had wanted to drive towards Millbrae station and catch the BART into town. Sadly for me, things didn’t quite turn out the way I expected this morning.

    So, after being stuck in traffic for 20 minutes, I took the next freeway exit and made for the nearest Caltrain station.



    Catching the CalTrain into the 4th and King Street station leaves you with the options of getting into the San Francisco tourist areas by the MUNI light rail into the Embarcadero area or by a MUNI bus into all quadrants of the downtown.

    In recent years, I’ve taken to catching the 47 MUNI bus to Fisherman’s Wharf. I like San Francisco public transport. It gives you so much scope to check out the travelling public and to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.


    Today was no different. I got to see:
    • My alter egos from different universes – the ones that are the hip and sleek versions of myself; as well as the bag lady versions of me.
    • The sad homeless men, who leave a trail of stink behind. The ones that no one wants to make eye contact with.
    • The early twenty year old girls that find seats…8 seats away from each other. This is the Facebook generation – the ones that are LIKE every other word and LIKE have no concept of privacy. We are treated to…LIKE….their stereophonic conversations all over the entire bus.
    • The group of sweet autistic children that sit next to me trying to make eye contact. Ready smiles break out in delight when they get a smile in return. Sadly, the boy next to me is frothing at his mouth. Literally. I watch the milk bubble trail down. The minder makes eye contact and shrugs a smile. They get off at the next stop.
    • I like the cougars when they get on later in the journey. Their heels on their shoes make me dizzy. Tall sharp steeples that give me vertigo. How do they manage to stand on the joltin’ bus?
    • Faces of different races blur around me. No one makes eye contact.


    Another turn in the journey and I am where I need to be.






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  19. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    The Crabby Patty #1





    I got off at North Pointe, a couple of blocks down from where the F-line tram terminates at the Wharf.

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    It was still fairly early in the day and I wasn’t really sure where I was going to be heading to. I made my way here….

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    ….and took stock of my surrounds. Another gorgeous blue sky day, and another 90 plus day expected in the City by the Bay.

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    I wasn’t interested to head towards the tourist trap of Pier 39 today, so I made moves towards the open air seafood stalls.

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    This time of morning is always filled with the redolence of fishy-ness.

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    The early morning preparations and displays are in play.

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    It may surprise you to know that there are some inhabitants of this hotbed that does not appreciate interferences with the preparations.

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    I was to find out that there was one rather sharp inhabitant here. One rather crabby cook decided that he didn’t want his cooking crabs photographed.

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    He had been stirring the crabs until I came along. I even asked him if I could take a picture; but he ignored me and left the crabs in the hot water and walked away.

    Don’t get me wrong. I normally am very respectful of people’s views where photography is concerned. But this crabby cook just rubbed me up the wrong way. If you don’t want your things to be photographed, say so….don’t just ignore and walk away.


    I waited him out…afterall, I had time on my side and he….well, he effectively had 15 minutes or the crabs would be overdone. And to make doubly sure that he couldn’t refuse or ignore me, I bought me some crab insurance.



    Mr Crabby Patty was not happy but that’s the way it turned out. I was now a bona fide customer and he couldn’t say no. Afterall, he was cooking pretty much in the open and as far as I know, anyone is allowed to take a picture out in the open.

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    But the laugh was also on me. I paid about $6.75 for that crab cup to photograph crabs being freshly cooked. The crab meat was not good. Turns out I got yesterday’s crab cup leftovers!

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  20. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Musee Mecanique





    The Fisherman’s Wharf area constantly amazes me. There are so many facets to this area that I always seem to discover more about what’s here every time I come. I’d decided to stick around Pier 45 today and walked into here.

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    Until this visit, I had never walked in here as I had thought there was an entry fee involved. Turns out it’s free.

    This place is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of all things coin operated. Entry might be free but it is a for-profit museum. Be prepared to spend quarters!
    I understand that this is an individual private collection that used to be housed over at Cliff House, Golden Gate Park and moved over here in the early 2000’s.

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    There are all sorts of antique slot machines here; and every one that I looked at was in amazing condition and full working order.

    There were all sorts of penny arcade games and amusement hall attractions….
    Remember the fortune teller machines?

    I haven’t seen a Grandmother fortune teller since I was a little girl!

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    The Wizard Prediction was also tempting; but I managed to resist falling under his spell.

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    The Love Tester Machine was also another one that I left alone. Afterall….I didn’t really like any of the options on display. None of them seem to fit…Me!

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    The Asian in me was intrigued by this machine.

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    Maybe I did put in a quarter in here and was disappointed by it.


    And as we were in the Halloween season, this scene seemed appropriate. But scared off by the Opium Den, I gave this slot a miss.

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    Not this one!

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    Afterall….it had THE BEST play-me sign I saw in here!

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    The Song of the Prairie?

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    Well…..with the cowboys around the campfire cooking baked beans, I think you can imagine the noise….er…..music that sounded from this machine. And after I parted with my quarter, this machine was easily the most popular player from the other people around. Seems like we’re all easily amused.




    But the ones that intrigued me the most were the machines with scenes constructed out of toothpicks.

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    This fully functioning amusement park was a delight and well worth the quarter! The rollercoaster, ferris wheel, whirly bird, train, strong man and more all worked; and left me pondering how anything was still in such good working order after nearly 100 years.

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    And then there were the trips down memory lane into the past…..and how people socialised and met their life partners!

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    The sign says it all! Not quite politically correct in today’s age; but it shows what a simpler age it was then.

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    I could have easily spent more than the 60 minutes and $1.50 that I had passed in here. This place was definitely somewhere to come back to with DS and DH. They would be as equally amused with this place as I was.





    princess::upsidedow
     
  21. ACDSNY

    ACDSNY I love my job! I love my job! I love my job!

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    Oh the good old days. Too funny.:rotfl:

    I'm still drooling over the crab too.
     

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