Sunday, August 28, 2016

Palm Springs Comic-Con

I'm glad we went and glad we had San Diego Comic-Con to compare. SDCC is superior to PSCC. But this was the first one for PSCC. They'll get there.

I don't think they were prepared for the amount of people who attended. We pre-bought our tickets (always a good idea) but there was no separate check-in line for those individuals. PSCC opened at 10 and we arrived a little before 1:00, having done other things in the area first to get the max benefit of our trip. Parking was tricky but we did find a spot in one of the lots and didn't mind paying for the privilege...$8. Then we stood in a very long line for 90 minutes for check-in. The guy checking us in said, "Sorry for the wait but it's better than SDCC." We replied, "No, it isn't. Took us less than 15 min there." So they need to work on that.

It was crowded on the floor. That's to be expected. I was only able to get one picture as a result because I'm short. There was very little swag and that was disappointing. There were more artists, authors, and celebrities than vendors. Hopefully that will change as the event grows. We saw Lou Ferrigno (for $40 you could have your picture taken with him). He was much smaller that he seems on screen. Spoke with Kathy Garver (Cissie from Family Affair) and saw a couple more familiar character actors, whose names escape me. Never saw Stan Lee and this was very much pushed as a Stan Lee event. All individuals events with him sold out fast.

One vendor gave a little boy a Nerf sword and made that kid's day. After the boy ran off the man looked at me and "It was broken." I said, "Doesn't matter. It was still a very nice thing to do." I would have liked to have seen more vendors, but it was the first time event. We still found things to buy at one of the steampunk vendor booths.

Comic-Con is also about the costumes and there were many fantastic costumes. There was a fantastic Joker and a great Voldemort. Lots of Harley Quinns, Spiderman (adult and kids), Star Wars characters, Avatar characters.

Bottom line: There were issues, but it was still a fun time. :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trip to Austin, TX

We go to Austin, Texas once a year for a family visit, so this post encompasses a couple of years. There are many things to do in Austin, of course. Here are the ones we've experienced so far. There aren't many, but with a toddler in tow we are a little restricted for now.

THINGS TO SEE

The bats! Each dusk between March and October, millions of bats take to the skies from their daily perch under the Congress Bridge. It's breathtaking! Because of the way the bridge is constructed, the underside is the perfect habitat for bats. They burst into the night every night from spring to fall in search of insects. In the fall they migrate south. You must see this.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Very lovely. A wonderful way to spend a day in nature. There are things for adults and children. Since we had a 3 year old with us, we especially enjoyed the children's activity area where kids could explore waterfalls, play in the sand, step in dinosaur footprints, and burn off energy. Wildflowers abounded even though autumn was approaching. There are benches where you can rest in the shade and also a reasonably priced cafe. Check out the photos.

Zilker Metropolitan Park

Be prepared for a lot of walking. There are places to sit as you wander through this year shaded wonder. A stream runs through the center...when the rain allows it. It's a nice place to take a baby in a stroller. You can move along at your own pace, simply enjoying nature.

PLACES TO EAT

Rudy's BBQ

This is always on our list of must-eat-at places. Order at the register, carry your meal to the indoor picnic tables in a milk crate, eat your food off butcher paper. Love it, love it, love it. I always order brisket. The meat is so tender you don't need a knife. I put it on bread and top it with pickles and thick creamed cream for my own special sandwich.

Phil's Icehouse

I never eat burgers...until I'm at Phil's. Once a year I indulge. The burgers are to die for. I think it's the bread that makes them so great. Served with a side of regular french fries and sweet potato fries. And Amy's Ice Cream is in the same building when you're ready for dessert.

Independence Fine Foods

The food was excellent and the staff very customer service oriented. You'll find a wide selection of meals and desserts. We went there twice during our visit and will return again the next time we're in Austin, Texas.

Galaxy Cafe

We went for dinner, but weren't so hungry because we'd had a late lunch. You order at the register, then sit down and it's brought to your table. You must have your order ready before you reach the register. It isn't easy choosing among all the dishes. I chose a club wrap. It was delicious and perfect for my limited appetite. I would have given them five stars, but I had a glass of chardonnay with dinner and it wasn't all that great.

PLACES TO STAY (or rather, one place to think twice about)

Microtel Inn and Suites, Austin Airport, Austin, TX

This was our fifth stay at this motel. I doubt we'll go back again. We don't ask for much, but we do ask to not be stressed out. Not so this time around. With the exception of desk clerk Patricia, and an older balding man whose name I didn't get, there was no customer service.

We arrived on a Thurs and were assigned Room 308. The next morning (Fri) we discovered the shower wasn't working. It shuddered and groaned unless it was on hot. We managed to find a way to make it work quietly by turning the water on hot, then engaging the shower and slowly moving the lever into cooler temps. It was still too hot, but we were able to shower that first morning. My husband reported the problem to the clerk at 0900 that same morning. The clerk looked blanked and confused, dashed from computer to computer and said, "Okay." When we returned to the motel that night, I stopped at the front desk to request an extra pillow and blanket from the male clerk on duty. He seem flustered and confused but said he would get them. I indicated I would wait. Then my husband came down from the room to report that not only had the shower not been fixed, the room had not been serviced. At that point another older balding man intervened. There was no report of the shower not working. Housekeeping indicated we had told them not to clean the room. We made no such request and had left at 9:30 that morning. The older man offered to move us to another room, but it was late and we were tired. He retrieved and delivered the pillow and blanket to me.

On Sat morning, my husband attempted to shower. In the middle of the shower, the lever dropped and he was scalded. I went down to the front desk and reported the incident to Patricia, who immediately moved us to the next room (306). She said she could hear the noise from the shower down in reception and couldn't figure out what it was. She thought it was something on the second floor. In any event, I was able to shower in 306. Unfortunately, it was a handicap room and not acceptable for us. Patricia subsequently moved us to another room (408) and put 308 out of service.

On Mon, we returned to our room to discover our key cards didn't work. My husband got new ones and we walked in to discover the room had not been serviced (again). I reported the problem to the clerk (Joseph) who said he'd report the incident to the manager and get back to us. I told him we didn't want housekeeping up here at this time of night. He said he still had to report it and would see if the manager would do something and he would call me. He never called. Never apologized. I wrote a full letter to the general manager and have yet to receive any response. As of the writing of this review, it is now Wed and we are home, having left the day before. Plenty of time for the general manager to have responded.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Strategic Air Command Museum

Two years ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Strategic Air Command Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. We were lucky enough to have a private tour arranged. (Three hours long!) Not only did we get to see all those fantastic aircraft, we got background information and history as well. Though the tour was fantastic, I knew I wanted to experience the museum on my own. I also knew I wanted my grandsons to see it. 

This June we were lucky to be able to go again, this time with all the family. Your first experience outside the museum is the Atlas rockets. Inside, your breath is taken away by the SR-71 Blackbird overhead. We were on our own this time. There were so many planes and in such a wide open space you never felt crowded. The boys (ages 9 and 10) loved it and can't wait to go back. Even our three-year-old granddaughter enjoyed herself. Why? Because there are a lot of interactive displays. There are planes and simulators you can sit inside. Placards explain the history. There's also a great section of science experiment for the kids. 

Whether or not you like aircraft, I'd definitely recommend checking it out. It's a wonderful museum where you can easily spend hours and not realize time has passed. Informative with lots of hands-on stuff for young and old. We'll be going back there again. No doubt about it. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Eugene Mahoney State Park

The Eugene Mahoney State Park in Ashland, Nebraska is a great place to visit for singles and family. We were there in June 2015. The park has oodles of things for people to do (water park, horseback riding, paddle boats, fishing, crafts, miniature golf, disc golf, theater). You can stay at the lodge or find a campsite for your mobile home or to pitch a tent. Minutes away, you'll also find the Strategic Air Command Museum and Wildlife Safari Park. This was our second visit and we stayed at the lodge.

I love the park for all it offers people to do in the general vicinity. I love being able to stay in the lodge and I generally love the loft rooms. I was particularly thrilled to discover the coffeepot, microwave, and refrigerator in the room during this trip. They were a great convenience for us and I hope they remain. We had two maintenance issues that were handled very quickly—a burned out light bulb and a refrigerator that wouldn’t close. It was hot in the loft bedroom unless we cranked the air conditioner on low. A minor inconvenience.

Housekeeping was very short staffed during the period we were there. As long as I had fresh towels every day, the trash emptied, and the bed was made, I was fairly happy. However, the coffee grounds were never emptied and on the last day housekeeping made the beds but left the pillows on the floor.

There was an issue with the Wi-Fi connection when we arrived. My husband reported it to the lady at the front desk, whose response was, “Well, mine works.” My husband said, “But mine doesn’t.” She said, “Sorry” and returned to her computer, essentially ignoring him. Later I went to the desk when two women and two rangers were there and asked if I needed to do something special to get the Wi-Fi to work. Again, a woman said hers worked. I showed her that mine didn’t. She turned to the park rangers and said, “The Internet’s having problems again.” Both rangers started to assess the situation and by morning it was working.

Now we come to the biggest issue. The restaurant. The food is good. The service isn’t. Dinner our first night there (Thursday) was disappointing for the lack of service. We were seated promptly and promptly ignored. I had to find a server in order to get drinks. (It also surprised me that the drinks weren’t included in the price of the buffet.) A server arrived, took the order, delivered it, and ignored us until she delivered the check…which was incorrect. I couldn’t find her so I took the check to the station and reported the problem to the manager. Minutes later our server returned to the table where my sister-in-law advised her of the incorrect check. She said, “You ordered 3 dinner buffets.” I said, “You gave us a ticket for 4 buffets.” She snapped her padfolio closed and stormed off. At the breakfast buffet on Friday morning, the servers were more on the ball and a manager was onsite. Again, the food was good. On Saturday morning, there was no manager and service was again questionable. I do appreciate that the restaurant recently reopened and there is a learning curve. I do hope the bumps are ironed out quickly.

We would stay at the lodge again in the future.




Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sky Falconry

It was one of those meant-to-be experiences. As we were coming up on our anniversary, my husband and I separately read an article in Westways Magazine about Sky Falconry, a place in Alpine, California where you could take a Basic Course in Falconry. Then we approached each other at the same time about taking the course. How could we not at that point?

It. Was. Amazing!!!! The instructors (Denise and Kirk) were engaging, informative, caring, educated, and entertaining. They made the one hour Basic Lesson feel like two with all the information and interaction involved. After a briefing on history and training, our group circled up and gloved up to have our own interaction with Hajduk the Harris Hawk we worked with. Female red-tailed hawk Ananda was returned to her sanctuary. Harris Hawks are easier to work with. With our left hands gloved and under the instructors' guidance, we called Hajduk to us (Hey Duke), then moved into position to allow the person across from us to call him. After we each had two chances to do this, we then had the opportunity to toss him food (raw quail) and watch him catch it in flight. After that it was time for a photo op, so we each got to call him again and have our photo taken by our companion with the bird. Absolutely amazing. As I stood there and watched, I could feel the bird's wings grazing my head. There were a couple of times he was distracted by prey, and he was on it in the blink of an eye. It's hard to believe so much was packed into one hour.


I would highly recommend this.We hope to return in the future for the Hawk Walk offered by Sky Falconry, which gives you even more time with the bird and watching it in its environment. A wonderful experience for adults and children. Even if you don't want to participate, you can will watch from the sidelines and still have an extraordinary experience. Pictures of the instructors and the star of the show are below. You'll find more photos on my Flickr page.




Thursday, September 30, 2010

The History of Fire Making Tools

I attended a lecture last week at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley called The Quest for Fire, The History of Fire-Making Tools. Speaker Tom O’Key. Pictures have been uploaded to my Flickr page. Here’s what I gleaned from this nearly two hour long lecture:

-Nothing exists without fire.
-Vesta is the goddess of fire. Vestal virgins maintained fires. They might have used a concave mirror or solar lens to spark fires.
-Touchwood was the first material discovered that could transfer embers, thanks to its soft pulp. The magic mushroom (yes, that’s what he said the name was) also has these properties and was used as tinder. Plant down also used for tinder. Starting that ember in the tiny hearth of these items was critical.
-Then tinder boxes and steel were invented. Flint and steel hit together to make fire. Ember stored in tinder box. Tongs were used to transfer the ember. People discovered pyrite has fire-making capabilities.
-Tools remained standard for millennia. The hand bow and drill was the number one method to make fire and consisted of two parts: the bow and the hearth into which the fire was started. Bow drill was the advanced method of fire-making.
-Concave mirrors were used to get fire from the sun.
-At some point fire pistons were invented, but no one knows the history of this device. It’s believed to have come from the aboriginals.
-Iron doesn’t create sparks. You must use steel.
-Sulfur (brimstone) was discovered to have fire-making abilities.
-A lens was used to light tobacco.
-In the 1800s scientists were called philosophers, not scientists.
-Sulfur match making was the job of the poor because of the work and stench involved in the process. Making matches was poisonous in nature, causing a condition called fozee jaw. Matches were carried in a basket and sold on the street.
-The steel was chained to the wagon in pioneer days so it would be readily accessible.
-Tinderboxes were common on all fireplaces and hearths.
-Fusee matches were in England only.
-Diamond Match Company is biggest in the United States and a long-lived business.
-Spills were rolled wood shavings made with a spill planer and were used to transfer fire.
-Historical fire-making tools are rare finds. Most burned up or were reabsorbed by nature.

It was very interesting to see Mr. O’Key’s collection, quite fascinating how fire-making has progressed over the years. I had been hoping for hands-on demonstration, but that wasn’t part of the lecture. I hope I’ve done his lecture proud, i.e., accurately.

When speaking to another attendee, I learned there is a private foundation for the care of meerkats in the neighboring town. This organization was featured on Animal Planet. I never realized it existed.

:) Caitlyn
www.caitlynwillows.com

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spear Throwing

I recently attended a Brown Bag lecture at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum on spear throwing. You'll find the pictures on my Flickr page.

The lecture was presented by Paul Campbell. Paul has a fascination with all things old, particularly those relating to the Native Americans in California. Through research and trial and error, he's rebuilt many artifacts California Native Americans used in their daily lives, including the spears and atlatls (spear throwers) demonstrated during the lecture. The best part? After the lecture those of us who were interested in learning to throw spears got hands-on experience!

My photos show how much fun everyone had. I was surprised with how quickly adults and children learned to throw. And throw far! The photos also show many different types of spears (also called darts), atlatls, quivers (one from straw, the other from a coyote pelt).

Here are some miscellaneous facts I gleaned from the lecture (any mistakes are my own):

- You can throw very far with an atlatl. Range depends on where you hold the atlatl.

- Think of your arm as a catapult when throwing.

- Spear tips are fire-hardened. Stones are used to make the point.

- Few ancient spears and atlatls are found because they were made of wood and wood disintegrates.

- Spears were made of wood or cane.

- A "male" atlatl has a spur protrusion. A "female" atlatl has a groove.

- A cane dart (spear) has more momentum than a .357 Magnum.

- A flexible atlatl creates a whip effect and can make a dart sail.

- This Alaskan spear (reddish brown with string around it) is designed so that the point stays in the target. The string keeps the point with the spear, and the spear floats. This makes it easy to retrieve weapon and prey.



- The most common quivers were made of coyote pelt.











Paul Campbell also has two books out:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Mating Life of Bugs

Not all bugs, just some bugs.

I recently went to the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley, California to listen to a lecture on archaeological discoveries. I arrived to learn the speaker had taken ill and that lecture was postponed. The substitute lecture was on the sex life of bugs. It was fascinating!

Here are a few of the tidbits I picked up. I hope I don't get anything wrong.

Aphids:
Female aphids give birth to females as soon as they're born, and those females give birth to females as soon as they are born. Males are born in the fall. Ants are friends of aphids. They treat them as cattle, herding them and caring for them, because the aphids secrete "honey dew" which the ants love. This is also the aphid's urine. Ladybugs (whose real name is lady bird beetle) are the aphid's enemy. The larva of ladybugs love to much on aphids.

Moths:
Males are drawn to a female by the pheromones the female gives out. After the male mates he goes on to mate again. The female mates once and dies.

Cicada:
Wasps are the cicada's enemy. Wasps are carnivores. Bees are vegetarian.

Damsel fly:
Male has what looks like a spiky ball on the end of his penis. He uses this to remove any previous sperm in the female before he mates with her.

Dung beetle:
Both make the dung balls for their young. Very devoted parents, especially the female. She would rather eat her young than leave them.

Praying mantis:
They eat everything smaller than they are, which is why the male must approach the female very cautiously. Once he makes contact the female bites his head off. This must happen in order for the male to ejaculate.

Honey bee:
A good queen lasts about a year. Life span of a worker is six weeks. Drones come from fertilized eggs. Workers come from unfertilized eggs. A normal hive sleeps during winter. The drones are kicked out of the hive at this time. When it's time for a new queen, a female is hatched and swarms with the drones (also hatched since all the others died). How many times she mates with drones will determine her worth as queen. If she doesn't measure up she is killed and a new queen is hatched. Queen's only job is to lay eggs. Swarms aren't aggressive. They are focused on mating with the potential queen.

Flies:
Two flies plus two piles of manure equal 8,000 files. Maggots are used to clean out wounds since they eat decaying flesh.

Blister beetle:
They don't blister when they are eaten. They blister inside the body. Larva jump on bee when one lands nearby.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Las Vegas, Nevada

I’ll get to our trip to Las Vegas in a bit. First I wanted to mention the place we stopped at around the halfway point in our drive—Kelso, California. Kelso was one of the many railroad towns that cropped up during the heyday of the railroad. As freeways took over Kelso fell into decline. Over the years we’ve watched those townspeople who remain slowly renovate the area. Their first task was the depot, which eventually became the home for their museum. Then they added restroom facilities for travelers. (When you’re traveling across the desert you have no idea how welcome these facilities are.) Kelso is also the Mojave National Preserve’s principal information center. Nearby the Kelso sand dunes tower over the desert. Further on you can explore Hole In The Wall, Mitchell Caverns, volcanic cinder cones, and a beautiful forest of Joshua Trees. It’s absolutely beautiful here in springtime when the wildflowers are blooming. We had a nice lunch at The Beanery (hearty sandwiches and great ice tea) and I’d recommend it to anyone passing through and needing a short respite from the long drive to Las Vegas or from a day exploring the area.

Click here for pictures of Kelso Depot.

Click on the names if you’d like more information about Kelso Depot or the Mojave National Preserve.

Now for Las Vegas…

What a difference two years have made. That was the last time we were in Vegas (to the best of our recollection). We always stay at the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street. We prefer Fremont Street to The Strip because for us it always has a “party” type atmosphere at The Fremont Street Experience. You also don’t have to deal with people trying to stuff fliers and “coupons” in your hands. Because of our stays at this hotel, we always get deals in the mail. We couldn’t refuse the most recent deal. We both needed to get away before the fall rush around here and the offer came at the perfect time. We were able to get a Junior Corner Suite in Golden Nugget’s new Rush Tower at a greatly (and I mean greatly) reduced price. The rack rate for the room (according to the price list on the back of the door) is $1000 a night. We got it for $99 a night and I think we are officially spoiled for the Rush Tower now. It was quiet and the registration desk is away from the casino with very easy access to the parking garage. The entire tower is nonsmoking. The room was comfortable and spacious. Upon returning home I received an email from Golden Nugget thanking us for our stay and offering a complimentary room upgrade should we decide to return again this August or December. I saved the email even though it’s doubtful we’ll return again this year.

I took the liberty of taking pictures of the Junior Corner Suite. You’ll also notice several pictures of Fremont Street during the day and at night, as well as other miscellaneous shots of Las Vegas. (The link is at the end.) Vegas truly does come to life at night. It’s the lights that make it feel like magic. We arrived on Thursday and wandered along Fremont Street. Friday night it was packed. More vendors, more tourists, more street performers, more excitement. This year (summer 2010) the Fremont Street Experience is celebrating the 70s and we heard 70s era music in the casinos and on the street. And, of course, you get the big overhead screen putting on a show for you as well—more 70s music. A lot of fun.

What wasn’t fun was discovering how the cost of meals has skyrocketed in the last two years. It used to be that food was the cheapest thing you could get in Vegas. Not anymore. The breakfast buffet at the Golden Nugget now costs $9.99. On weekends it becomes brunch and costs $17.99. Dinner is $20.99. Yes, it’s all you can eat, but it’s quite a change from being $5.99 for breakfast and $9.99 for dinner, and brunch used to be a Sunday only thing.

The other change was—no coin machines. (They are few and far between.) I’d arrived armed with a bag of quarters only to discover there were no machines to take them. Plus the cashiers didn’t have counting machines to exchange coins for paper. I had to go to another casino down the street—the only one with a counting machine. All the slot machines now take paper money in and dispense vouchers to cash out. You take your voucher to the cash redemption machine and get your money. I don’t know how they handle jackpot winners, since I say nary a one while we were there (which is also strange now that I think about it). You’ll also find an explosion of penny machines everywhere. Caution: be careful or you’ll find yourself betting over a dollar on these machines. In case you were wondering, there were no big winners for us this particular weekend, not that there ever is but just for the record.

We also try to get out beyond the casino when we in Vegas. This trip we decided to go to the Atomic Testing Museum. We trekked out, me armed with my camera, only to discover the museum had a no photography rule. The museum was interesting at first, then became repetitive and boring with the same thing over and over again. Plus, numerous audiovisual displays side by side made it very difficult to hear what was being said. I don’t think I recommend this museum. I did, however, have another visitor tell me the Liberace Museum was great and worth the cost of admission. Perhaps next time.

Click this link for all my Vegas photos.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

ComicCon 2010 - San Diego, CA

ComicCon 2010

OMG! As prepared as we thought we were to attend our first ComicCon event, we weren’t prepared at all for the sheer magnitude of the conference. The best advice I can give anyone wanting to attend ComicCon is to make sure you plan to go for more than one day. If possible, plan to attend the entire conference. This will also allow you to thoroughly peruse the nearly 200-page Events Guide. Failing that, you need to make sure you check out everything on the conference website the day before you’re scheduled to attend.

Before I go any further, here’s the link on Flickr for the pictures we took.

And for those of you who don’t have a clue what ComicCon is, here’s the link to that site. This is a conference that focuses on the science fiction/fantasy/paranormal genre in the entertainment industry (comic books, movies, TV shows, books, art). To say it is a big conference means little until you actually see it with your own eyes. The conference literally takes over San Diego during its run.

Here are some tips for those tempted to attend:
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet nonstop all day.
- Take water (although there are plenty of places within the exhibit area that sell drinks and snacks).
- Make sure you have an extra large tote bag. The huge bags the conference passed out broke within an hour. They weren’t designed to handle more than five pounds, despite the fact these bags were at least four feet deep and two feet wide.
- Plan your attack in advance and make sure everyone in your party is aware of your agenda. If you’re separated, make sure you’ve got a place to meet up.
- Take a tube for posters.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…

We took our time going to all the exhibit booths and not only got freebies, but also managed to have some very interesting conversations with the vendors. There seemed to be a lot of steampunkers there. Several roamed the conference and were ready at the blink of an eye to put on little shows for you.

Many costumes were abundant throughout the conference and it was difficult to tell who were dressed for the heck of it and who was working. I suspect those who shifted into “posing” mode at the sight of camera were the pros, and they did their job very well as you can see from the photos.

We attended on Friday – Star Wars Day – and weren’t disappointed in the multitude of Star Wars items displayed. A diorama of the Hoth Planet occupied my husband for a while. He photographed every inch of it. Ditto with the display of light sabers “through the ages.”

The only celebrity I met was R2D2. There were so many things to pack into one day that I really didn’t want to spend my time waiting in line for autographs or the scheduled events in the meeting rooms (and those lines were long). And remember that tip about comfortable shoes? Well, the ones I thought would work (the ones that have never failed me) gave out on me. And, silly me, I’d forgotten I had a different pair in the van. Oh well…live and learn.

One caution regarding children... Sometimes you can find yourself in questionable content areas. The kids might not even notice since there's so much to see. It's also very crowded (Sat being the busiest day). But Sun is Kids' Day. Still crowded but geared toward the children.

We took all the goodies we got and split them into different bags (we received several different small tote bags). After taking what we’d gotten for ourselves, the remainder was divided to give to our two young grandsons and our oldest son (their dad). There wasn’t one toy in any of it, but when those three got those bags, you would have thought they’d gotten gold. It looked like Christmas in our house with stuff scattered all over the living room.

I’m already planning for next year, if we decide to go again. I’m dissecting this year’s guide so I have my game plan ready. Maybe we’ll even be able to get the whole family there. It’d be fun to watch the excitement on the faces of grandsons and son as they experience it firsthand.

Where We Stayed In San Diego:

Hotels sell out fast in the downtown area near the Convention Center. When I say fast I mean they sell out by February. We were fortunate to find a Holiday Inn Express on the northeast end of Mission Bay that was less than fifteen miles from the Convention Center. Our accommodations were nice and the staff very courteous and helpful. Holiday Inn offers free breakfast as well – coffee, tea, juice, milk, cereal, fruit, pastry, eggs/omelets, and bacon/sausage. They served a French roast coffee I really enjoyed.

Despite the free breakfast (fresh coffee was definitely appreciated) we wanted to make sure we really fueled up for the day. We knew a hearty breakfast would see us through until dinner. We found a really good restaurant on Garnet Street called The Broken Yolk. They serve huge breakfasts at reasonable prices. They are only opened for breakfast and lunch. For dinner we splurged at World Famous on Pacific Beach Blvd. This seafood restaurant was right on the beach. We had a window seat to the Pacific Ocean where we watched dolphins dip through the water right behind a line of surfers. Dinner was a little pricey, but it was sooooo worth it! Valet parking – save yourself the hassle and let them find a place to park your vehicle.

I’ll end with saying that San Diego has always been one of my favorite cities. Having ComicCon there just gives me another reason to visit.