When Honda and Kawasaki came out with their big 4 stroke 4 cylinder bikes, Suzuki went with a two stroke water cooled triple called the "Water Buffalo." You don't see these out and about too much anymore.
Now, if you're going to have an article on bikini clad baristas at the local coffee house, why the hell do you not have pictures to go along with this article? I like how many panties are getting ruffled over the scantily clad baristas. And, with an article in the paper they get free advertising as well. Hell, if they had that here in the Bay Area I'd be a harder core coffee drinker and wouldn't be going to Starbucks any time soon.
I remember this, it was a few days after my brother died. I was watching the game at my sisters in law (Susan and Trish) house and when the "wardrobe malfunction" happened, I thought it would be a minor issue. Hell, she didn't show any nipple and it was just a flash of fleshy boob. I never thought it would erupt into the fiasco it did. All that ruckus over something you see at the beach every day. Granted, you don't see it on Super Bowl Sunday, but what was the big whup? I think they had it planned the whole time, after all why was Janet Jackson wearing a pasty? Its not like when you're getting dressed you open the pasty drawer and wonder which pair you're going to wear today. I saw this pic on the net and thought it still worth commentary.
I slept in Big James' bathtub one day after a few too many Iron Eagles. But never have I had my face in the urinal. We grew up with a guy, Randy F, who joined the Air Force for a while. He told us that when guys had joined and realized it was a mistake, they would sterilize the urinal and then eat peanut butter off the sides to go Section 8. From what Randy said, it worked. Hell, how bad can the Air Force be, you live on base, eat hot food every day and sleep in a bed, not on the ground. What a life.
On Monday we spent the $40 to rent a golf cart for an hour and take the scenic drive. The planned route takes you back into the hills a bit and I realized then just how close the fire came to burning down the whole damn town. 75% of the town burned down in 1915, so its happened before. Makes me wonder how much fire insurance costs. The burn spot came within about a hundred yards of town, No wonder the place was evacuated.
I forgot to charge the camera before we left and I didn't bring the charger either. What a dumb shit. So, this is the last pic of the trip. I wanted a panorama of the view of the city but this is all you faithful readers get. Sandra and I had talked about getting married on the balcony of the Casino. I though that would have been pretty cool. This was our third trip to Catalina Island and we've enjoyed all three trips here. I don't know what it is about the island but I find going relaxing. I also find it expensive. Every single thing on the island is barged over. One of the guys I work with says it reminds him of going to Maui, where everything is shipped or flown over. I don't know if its worth it for my Midwest readers to fly out and take the boat just to go to Avalon. What would be cool is to fly out and take a 4 or 5 day cruise out of Long Beach. Most all the cruise ships stop in Avalon on the first day out to sea. If you did that you could get a taste of the island and then decide if it was worth going back for a few days or not.
Here's the ballroom. In the lightfixture is a huge exhaust fan. With the fan on and the doors open the air can be 100% exchanged in less than three minutes. This is important when you have a thousand dancers on the floor working up a sweat.
Its hard to see, but the tour we went on took us to the moviehouse. Sandra and I had seen Prince Caspian the night before. The guide spoke in a normal level and we could hear him clearly all the way in the back. The place has almost perfect acoustics. Very impressive.
Some famous guy did these paintings with the understanding he would come back and redo them in tile. Only this one was redone in tile, the rest are still paint. I guess I'm a perv, but I did notice that you can see the mermaids coochie when usually the fish part goes up and past the waist.
The work "casino" in Italian means "meeting place" or "gathering place." Back in the day, casinos were called gambling halls or gambling parlours. There's a casino building along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. There has never been gaming on Catalina Island. The lower part of the building is a movie house with 1184 seats. The top part is the famous ballroom.
When walking out of the hotel, Sandra and I saw the Helix with sidecar ride by. It was parked in front of Vons later in the day. So was the Triumph, which seem to be an awfully big bike to have on Catalina. Its a eary to mid 60's model, look at the yellow on black plate. This color scheme was used in California from 1963 to 1969. The Helix was the forerunner to the Relfex, the bike Sandra's currently riding. I saw a few scooters out and about in town. I would think you don't really need anything over 50cc's, its not like you're going on the freeway or anything.
After our time at the ranch we drove on to the Airport In The Sky. Before this airport was built, seaplanes used to land at Hamilton Beach. I have a print shirt with Avalon scenes and it has a seaplane on it. It was quicker than taking the steamer over. After WW2 the tops of two mountains were leveled and filled in to make a flat runway. United used to fly here commercially until the early 1950's. Now, the cargo plane comes over every day and there's limited private aviation. I work with a guy, Chuck H, who flew as a young man and he's flown into this airport from Long Beach. The tile map is of the island. For about 10 years the island produced the famous Catalina Tile. I saw on tv recently that a single tile, if you can find one for sale, is worth over $300.
At the ranch they had some saddles on display and a wagon as well. This type of wagon was used on tours of the island before the advent of buses. There have been tours of Catalina since 1894. The tour we went on would have taken three days back in olden times.
That's the English name of the ranch. Escondito means "hidden" in Spanish. This was also called the Wrigley Ranch. This used to be a working horse breeding ranch, but those days have passed. We did see an Arabian run around a bit, as you can see in the top pics. We took a break here and were provided snacks and drinks as part of the tour. Of course there was a bathroom stop as well.
This is a 1953 Flxible Bus. The tour company bought it new and its been on the island ever since, doing yeoman's duty as a tour bus. In looking at the dash, there was no tach, speedo or odometer. I was curious as to how many miles the bus had. It did have an hours gauge.
During our tour we came across this bison. He was caught up between us and the fence so we got a real close up look at him for about 300 yards. He even stopped and dipped his head at us like we were shouting "toro" at him. He pawed the ground as well. Finally, we passed him and he went back to whatever it is that bison do on Catalina. Bison are not native to Catalina, but they are now an icon and are allowed to stay. Two or three years ago some of the herd was caught and sent to the Dakotas. This was done to cull the herd and was a different option from just killing them. The mule deer are hunted when the population exceeds sustainable numbers.
Here's the island paperboy. The LA Times, Long Beach Press Telegram and USA Today are flown over each day. The papers sell out of the racks almost every day. Here's the paper guy dropping off more papers on Sunday morning for his vendor to hand sell. He did a brisk business. The $1.50 LA Times was $2 on the island. I happily paid it. If Sandra and I ever end up on the island for a few months I'll just take it home delivered.
This is a Mercedes Unimog. The tour company had just gotten this the last time we went and we were the only ones on the tour that day. This is a pretty cool piece of machinery. Its got 4 wheel drive and is pretty damn sturdy. No word on the mpg, however. With gas on the island at $5.69 and diesel at $6.29 its not cheap to drive anything.
Here's a rarity, me with a beer in my hand. I rarely drink but we had a beer every day with dinner. One night we had Mexican food for dinner and we threw down a shot of Patron with our beers. I looked at the bill and the shots were $9 each. Ouch! I guess its a good think we're not drinkers for that kind of cost. Y'know, it reminds me of Disneyland, cost wise. Everything on the island is barged over and nothing is cheap. Even the LA Times is 75 cents instead of 50.
About 3000 people full time on the island and they need a grocery store. So, here it is. There's a Vons Express a block down, they're a bit smaller but run by the same people. I think the trailer comes across on the barge once or twice a week with the grocery trailer that drives through the streets to get to the store. As a truck driver, I'm curious and want to see this. Its a full service grocery, they don't have the brand selection of a mainland grocery. Still, it works for the locals. I didn't take a picture of the two liquor stores or the drug store but they're there.
Here's the Hotel St Lauren. We've stayed here twice. Its a long block to the water. The first time we stayed at a place further up the canyon and it was a hassle to get into "town." So, we gave up the hot tub and pool to be able to walk into town anytime we wanted and not have to hassle the shuttle. Sandra loves to bust my balls about the first time we went we were dragging our luggage up the hill in the 90 degree heat. I didn't know there was a shuttle until he went driving past. The rooms here are nice enough. Last time we stayed in room 201, which is in front on the second floor. We had a great view down the street. This time we had the view of the side street. One problem with this place is that its on a pretty busy corner and we heard every cart on the island drive by at least twice a day. And night.
Here's the view down the street towards the bay. Law Enforcement is contracted to the LA Sheriff's Office. They have a small substation and jail if you get out of hand. Court is every Friday when a judge flies over to hear cases. I think it would be interesting to hear what kind of cases are heard on the resort island. Cars are few and far between on the island. Everyone uses a golf cart to get around and they're legal to drive on the streets of Avalon. If you see a car its a small one, I saw one Suburban and one full sized truck that wasn't part of the fire or city. In three trips I've yet to see a car stop. I have seen a gal in the back of the car on the last trip, she looked homeless and I wondered how someone homeless could scrape up the money for the boat ride.
This blog is for me (Joe) to keep in contact with my friends and family who I don't see too much of because I work nights. If you're wandering by checking out the blog from the Internet, well, you're welcome too, I'm 50 years old and live in California. I'm married with two bonus daughters and three grandchildren. I write about sports, scooters, vacations in the RV, my atheism, funny pictures, and pretty much anything else I can think of. I welcome all opposing views as long as you can keep it civil, my mom does come by on occasion. And, as always, the true focus of my life is my marriage to Sandra and fulfilling The Plan. Though the blog is in the top 5.