Our nephew Paul, his wife Helen, and their two daughters, Ella and Beth, visited us from the UK. We took a few pictures, here and there, along the way, to remember their stay with us. We had a lovely time, and hope they did as well.
Unfortunately, we were having trouble with our internet. We have since changed providers. This caused us to be off-line for a time, but we finally got back on-line, and added pictures.
24 July 2013 – Welcome to America
Beth (left), and Ella (right), were gracious enough to squeeze in a brief moment for a picture opportunity. They were hard at work building marble works. Just as quickly, they were back to it.
Ella, Helen, Beth and Paul getting ready for their first full day in California. They got in to San Jose about 10:30 Pacific, Tuesday evening. Dawn came, either very early, or very late, for them.
25 July 2013 – On To Santa Cruz
Paul, Ella, and Beth stood on the beach of the Mother of Oceans, the Pacific. They had come thousands of miles to see it.
But, the water was ever so cold. The wind blew hard, and, suddenly, the water was not nearly as inviting as it had been.
But, there was lots of sand.
And lots of toys.
And a beach towel to lounge on.
And chairs to sit in for those who didn’t want to get their swim suits all sandy.
And mom and dad to cuddle with to keep warm.
Even Aunt Marian was happy to bundle up.
David came over to join the crowd, for the rides.
And, later, it was time for the rides.
Beth and Ella soared in the little helicopters.
And bravely rode the swing with hands.
And then it was on to the little cars.
Where the turns were taken with blinding speed.
But a strong grip was all that was needed.
Meanwhile, David and Paul got to know each other, becoming “crashing cousins.”
And the carousel, imported from Germany in the 1880’s, was too good to pass up.
And the sky chairs, allowing one two per car, soared above the length of the boardwalk.
The little people scurried about, far below.
While those far above used two hands.
By the time we got home, the girls were very, very, very ready for bed. Their parents were quickly behind them.
27 July 2013 – An Easy Day In The Redwoods
Henry Cowell State Park is less than ten miles from Santa Cruz. Once part of the great Cowell Ranch, it contains one of the few stands of redwoods left, south of Crescent City California. The girls needed an easy day, and a trip to the redwood grove seemed just the ticket.
The Redwoods in Henry Coe are the southern most Redwoods on the Pacific Coast.
A nature walk, with 15 stations leads the curious through displays of the native plants. Paul, Ella, Helen, and Beth stretch across the well shaded path formed by the trunk of a single, huge, redwood.
The mighty trees make mere humans seem, well, merely human.
How big do the redwoods get. Ella stretches up as high as she can reach, from today, back to about the time Columbus sailed from Spain
Beth was smart, taking advantage of the stroller. Despite having the most energy of the group, she slyly saved it for just the right moment.
Beth pauses to pose for the camera, but only after having checked out Thomas the Tank Engine. A railroad runs from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk to Henry Coe. But, the girls were too tired to ride it.
27 July 2013 – On to San Francisco
Elizabeth was the tour guide for San Francisco. Since we could not all fit into the car, the younger set went up on their own, to enjoy the day.
The first stop was at the visitor center, on the south end of the bridge.
The east walkway is often filled with people crossing the bridge on foot, or by bicycle. The west walkway, seaward side, is reserved for cyclists.
As is often the custom, another photographer was kind enough to snap a picture of Paul’s family, on the bridge.
Alcatraz, one of the most notorious prisons in the world, sets in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Once housing such famous people as Al Capone, it is now surrounded by ferry boats and day sailors. Unfortunately, we were unable to book a tour to “The Rock” in time for Paul.
From the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz can be seen in the center, with San Francisco to the right.
Elizabeth drove to the north end of the bridge, and waited while our intrepid travelers walked across.
Elizabeth went part way out, meeting them near the north tower.
Elizabeth snapped this photo driving across the bridge to the north end. This reminded her of the famous sequence in Jurassic Park, where the T-Rex was chasing the jeep, with the lettering in the jeep mirror, Objects Are Closer Than They Appear.
No stop in San Francisco is complete without going to Giradelli Square, and posing near the cable cars.
Paul celebrated his birthday, twice. The first celebration was last night (for us) and 6 AM in the UK – when Paul called his parents and Sarah and her children. His father, Ian, seemed particularly pleased with the early morning call. Unfortunately, we were unable to get a picture of him.
28 July 2013 – Great America and a Birthday Party
The last full day of the visit came. One one hand, it was all too short, seeming as if they had only just arrived. Yet, with a house filled with people, especially the two girls, it seemed fitting and proper. We were a little sad for ourselves, and happy that they would soon be on their way to Wyoming, to be with Paul’s Grand Mother.
Ella and Beth have mastered much of their fear of Sierra, and are now running around, calling her, petting her, setting with her. Rumor has it that Ella has asked her parents if they can get a white dog when they get home. (Paul and Helen can thank us later).
David’s summer job was at Great America, a seasonal amusement park in Santa Clara. One of the few perks he got was four comp tickets. He graciously gave them to Paul and his family. There is an extensive area reserved for the smaller set, for kids just the age of Ella and Beth.
But the rides were not, necessarily, just for the girls. Helen rode with the girls on one of the rides.
Near the end of the day, the kids visited the water section of the park. It was a very cool day. The exit required that the girls run a gauntlet of water. Paul, ever the watchful father, rescued Beth.
Then it was home to get ready for Paul’s birthday. The girls worked very hard to get the banner ready for their father. We included their priceless pose with Sierra.
And no birthday is ever complete without a cake. The girls took such great care in putting on the candles, with a little help on the spelling from their mother.
We took Paul to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant. It was very informal, with the small staff making each order the way we wanted it. David, weary from a long day at Great America, joined his sister, Marian, and me, in celebrating Paul’s birthday with his familiy.
The candles, so carefully places, were lit. The girls could hardly restrain themselves from blowing them out before Paul could get himself ready.
We were never sure if Paul made a wish or not. But he got lots of help in blowing all those candles out.
After cake, it was time for the customary pictures. Delayed picture taking allowed all of us to get into the same shot. Paul had plenty of time to slip in beside his family.
29 July 2013 – Parting of the Ways
Monday morning came brutally early, with the alarms going off about 4 AM. Paul’s flight from San Jose to San Diego was slated for a 7 AM departure. After getting everyone one, feeding cereal to whoever wanted it, Marian drove them to the airport, so they could check their luggage in, get seating assignments, and wait. Meanwhile, those of us staying, sensibly, went back to bed.
We later learned that the flight from San Diego to Denver was canceled, due to thunderstorm activity in Denver. Paul, Helen, and the two girls, were put up at a San Diego hotel for the night. The next morning, they arrived at the airport, bright and early. They endured a second flight cancellation, but got on another flight, making it safely to Denver. From their, they were safely back with their family.