Days 31, 32, 33 • April 1, 2, 3 2012 • San Pedro to Long Beach • 13 miles
After sailing all day yesterday and spending a second night aboard ship, we spent most of today doing housekeeping chores. Nights aboard the ship were comfortable and peaceful except for the Karaoke blasting until the wee hours from the bar next door. Sunday it changed to Mariachi music which was a huge improvement. We enjoyed spotting wildlife from the boat; sea lions, otters, pelicans, and even some dolphins one evening. We also spotted a massive Disney cruise ship leaving the harbor. Instead of a horn it plays When you Wish upon a Star. That’s gotta get old. Rob loaned us the green Geo Metro and we spent most of the day at the laundromat. .Toward the end of the day Rob escorted us on his Trek about half way to our Warm Showers host in Long Beach. We said goodbye to Rob and agreed to keep in touch to see if we could coordinate riding together later in the trip.
Rob showed us a good route and we had a nice ride to Long Beach. It was getting dark when we arrived at the home of our Warm Showers hosts, Carl and Karen. Carl helped us secure our gear on their back patio and Karen had dinner waiting. We’d hosted one cyclist in Boise but this was the first time we had been hosted. Carl and Karen were wonderful hosts who instantly made us feel at home. Carl is a retired electrician and seasoned bike tourist. He had all kinds of helpful information and history about the route we were on as well as Long Beach and the surrounding area. He also had the time and inclination to shuttle us to Disney and back, twice, which saved us many hours on the bus. Karen still works at a company that makes extruded plastic products and we enjoyed talking with her and Carl in the evenings. Unfortunately Karen was working when we took this picture in their back yard. Bragging rights go to the first person who can name the statue Carl and Zoe are standing next to.
We purchased a two day park hopper pass and spent about three quarters of our time at Disney and a half day at California Adventures. Carl and Karen have a strategy for maximizing time at Disney that worked quite well the first half day or so, until we got distracted and went off script. It involves getting there early, of course, and then taking the train to Critter Country and knocking out Splash Mountain and the other big rides there before the crowds catch up.
The crowd seemed big to me and the lines were long. We spent a couple of hours in line to get signatures of some princesses but time passed quickly talking with Atianna and her mom. Zoe noticed that all the princesses said exactly the same thing in exactly the same order. The life of a princess is pretty scripted it would seem. More bragging rights to the first person who can name the three princesses below.
As much as Disney touts it, I’ve never considered a theme park to be much of an adventure. I was wrong. Several glitches made us realize how close to the edge you can be at even the most well manicured and managed parks. About to board the California Screamin’ coaster at California Adventures after almost an hour wait, we and hundreds others were unceremoniously turned away after the ride closed due to technical difficulties. We had to eat dinner inside the park one night when the monorail to Downtown Disney shut down unexpectedly. I was reminded of the movie Westworld and was really hoping the mechanical people in the It’s a Small World ride wouldn’t become self-aware and really pissed off. I’m pretty sure I’ve had that nightmare. The kicker was when Space Mountain had some sort of staging problem with our cart. At the end of the ride the cart stopped, the restraints released, and people began to get out when the staff ran up and frantically told us to get back in the cart as it began moving again. Zoe was already half way out so I grabbed her and pulled her back in as the cart began a second, unplanned run through the ‘coaster. The second time was much scarier. Leave it to those crafty Disney engineers to plant that seed of doubt to give the ride a little extra edge.
Even with big crowds, high prices, and a few technical glitches, Disney was quite a production and a good time, especially with a 9-year-old.