Saturday, October 18, 2014

California: Getting There

4 Oct 2014: Chris, Sarah, Danielle, Jacob, and Dylan stop for lunch.

By the time we said our good-byes to Riley and Celesta and found a "cheap" (so to speak) place to stop for gas, it was about 8:30 when we were finally on the freeway flying through the Phoenix area. Three hours later we had reached the little town of Ehrenberg, Arizona, which is perched on I-10 just a mile from the Arizona-California border on the Colorado River.

And I was there, too!

We stopped there at the Flying J truck stop for lunch. I'd made a huge bowl of tuna salad before leaving home, packed full of green onion, diced olives, chopped celery, and boiled eggs. The tuna salad sandwiches we enjoyed were delicious! Then we topped off our gas tanks for about $3.40 per gallon. Once we crossed the border, the gas prices jumped up to $4.07 per gallon, so we didn't pass up this last-chance opportunity.

Crossing the Colorado River into California.

It was after noon when we finally crossed the border into California, my birthplace and the state I called home for the first quarter-century of my life.

We stopped briefly at the agricultural station to declare that
we were bringing no fruits or vegetables into the state.

We reached the windmills of Palm Springs around 2:00.
Always makes me think of a forest of propellers!

Check-in time at our resort is 4:00, but I was sure we would arrive early, by 3:00 at least. However, we had a couple of adventures along the way which involved Jacob's group getting separated from us while making transitions between freeways after we were in the heavier traffic of Riverside and Corona. It's been so many years since I lived in Southern California (34 years, to be exact), that I didn't always remember which lane to be in for the next interchange until the last minute, giving Jacob too little time to change lanes and get to the exit with me. Then it would take time to relocate each other and get back on track. Honestly, what did we do before cell phones?

At last! We arrive at our destination.

As it turned out, we arrived at our resort just moments before 4:00, so it was all good. As an owner in the WorldMark vacation club, I have a number of resorts to choose from when we travel. We stayed at WorldMark Oceanside when we went to Disneyland in 2003-04. In 2007, we stayed at WorldMark Dolphins Cove in Anaheim. This visit was our first time to stay in the newer, high-rise WorldMark Anaheim, less than a mile from Disneyland.

WorldMark Anaheim

Our 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom unit was located on the 11th floor. In the photo above, you can see our balcony and both bedroom windows at the right end of the building, directly above my car, the fourth floor down from the top (or eleventh from the bottom, of course!).

Sarah and Danielle wait with the luggage while the guys go off in search of a valet cart.
With 3 families traveling together, we had a lot of stuff to cart up 11 floors!

Our living room for the coming week.

I'm sure I bore everyone to death with my pictures of our WorldMark condos, but I like to include them for a couple of reasons. First, each resort has its own unique decor, and looking back on the furnishings years later always brings back a flood of memories of that specific place. Second, in my younger years I aspired to become both an architect and an interior decorator, and I remain fascinated with the arrangement of rooms and the use of space, color, shape, texture, and patterns.

The other side of the living room, which has no fireplace, unlike most WorldMark resorts.

The dining area near the full kitchen (refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, etc.).

Loved this huge, art deco mirror in the silver frame!
And, of course, Jacob and Danielle make an adorable reflection!

The master bedroom (with a large, attached bathroom).

The master bedroom.

The second bedroom, with the twin beds joined per my request.
For the third pair in our party, the living room couch had a hide-a-bed.

Looking down from our balcony at Sarah and Chris with our cars below.

Dylan and Danielle enjoy the view from the balcony.

The I-5 freeway is visible from our 11th-floor condo.

In the distance, the Crystal Cathedral was also visible from the balcony.

Family togetherness: Chris, Sarah, Jacob, Dylan, and Danielle.

Once we got all settled into our unit, it was time to go shopping. We always seem to end up at this Vons when we're in Anaheim. As it turns out, Vons in California and Safeway in Arizona are the same chain of grocery stores, so I'm able to use my Safeway card here!

Mary waits in a long line with the loaded grocery cart.

We brought most of our groceries with us from home, mainly because groceries in California are rather more expensive than in Arizona. But we stocked up on perishables for the week, such as milk, ice cream, bread, and some produce. Since Jacob had to pay for fueling his car during this trip, Sarah and I split the cost of groceries and gas.

Jacob, Danielle, and Dylan check out at Vons.

The pool at the center of the resort.

Jacob with his tongs; Chris and Danielle in the background.

After we returned to the resort and got our new groceries stowed away, we headed down to the pool with some steaks and found the grills located at a pavilion there. Most WorldMark resorts include a grill on each balcony, but as can be seen in the pictures above, the balconies here were much too small to accommodate a grill and patio furniture!

Delicious! Jacob grilled our steaks to perfection while Sarah and Chris made a crispy salad.

Jacob gets the evil eye from his wife and his sister for messing up the picture.

We enjoyed a wonderful family dinner before everyone (except me) went down to enjoy a late swim. I was too worn out from two long, busy days, so I opted to take off my makeup and relax until we all met on the roof at 9:25 to watch the fireworks from nearby Disneyland. (More on that later.) By the end of the show, we were all ready to say good-night and head to our beds for a well-earned sleep.

The city lights from my bedroom window.

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