Author: Craig Mashburn

Day 5

We checked out of hotel #2 and headed over to the Aquarium…

To take a look at some sea life…

And pet some sea life…

Including touching jellyfish…

After a quick lunch, we headed to the Queen Mary to check it out.

We then headed out for hotel #3 in Anaheim. It is right next door to some amusement park, cannot remember the name. We will be spending two long days there so not sure about posts the next two days. We shall see.

Day 4

We drove around a bit this morning in Hollywood. We all got a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. Then we headed over to the Lebrea Tar Pits.

Just FYI, Michael pulled out the selfie stick today so you will see some results of that in today’s post.

We then made the 30 minute drive down to Long Beach where we grabbed some lunch at Acapulco restaurant.

Then we headed over and toured the Battleship Iowa…

They had this really short basketball goal on the deck…

Isn’t she adorable!

 

Or am I the adorable one?

The USS Iowa took President Roosevelt to the Tehran Conference to meet with Churchill and Stalin. This was the bedroom he stayed in. They made several modifications for the President including cutting out a door, adding a large bathtub and building two temporary elevators.

We got done earlier than expected to we ran down to Cabrillo and stopped in the the aquarium.

Vicky and the boys saw a beach so they ran over there to dip their feet in the water.

So now we are in hotel #2 down in the Long Beach area. Need a good nights sleep so we can have another full day tomorrow!

Oh, and how about one more cute picture…

Day 3

The day started early with our train arriving into Los Angeles EARLY. That’s right, I said our Amtrak train was early. 4:45am.

We headed into the station and checked into the sleeper lounge where we had to wait until 7:00 for the rental car place to open.

Once we got our car, we stopped by Philippes for breakfast.

Then off to the Natural History Museum…

After a quick lunch, we walked next door to the California Science Center…

We then went to check into hotel #1.

We then went to dinner and drove down to Rodeo Drive…

We are now settled down in the hotel to get some good rest. Tomorrow should be another full day!

Day 2

The day started early for me. As most know, I am a train nerd. So I decided to stay up a good portion of the night to watch all the train switching going on. You might think that switching three cars from our train to another would be simple. However, you have to take into account that the two trains were facing opposite directions, the cars had to be in the same order and there is no where to turn the cars around. They had to be switched around without turning them around. It was interesting to watch and it kept me up until around 2:00AM.

Our first train on the left and our second on the right.

It was weird because when we got going again, our car was headed in the opposite direction.

Today has been a not so normal train day for us. Because we are in the same car and rooms for the whole trip, we really felt moved in. In fact, we have had the beds down for most of the day and just been relaxing (and catching up on sleep!)

We did get off a few times today. Here we were in Alpine, Tx.

And in El Paso…

And of course we went to the dining car three times…

And spent time hanging out together…

Michael got to meet Wyatt Earpe and Doc Holiday when we stopped in Tucson, AZ.

So now we are settling in for the night. We will arrive Los Angeles pretty early in the morning and then our LA Adventure begins.

Until tomorrow.

Day 1

Tuesday afternoon we drove to Fort Worth from Amarillo. The 5 or so hours went by quickly. We met up with our good friends Caroline and Ben and had dinner together and then they hosted us at their house for the night.

We had a leisurely morning waiting to go to the station until we knew how late the train would be. We finally headed out around 12:15, grabbed some lunch at Freebirds, then Caroline dropped us at the Fort Worth station.

 We still had a while to wait so we tried to occupy ourselves.

 

Our train finally arrived a couple of hours late. We climbed aboard and settled in.

After a couple of hours, dinner time. Steaks all around!

We got to step off the train in Austin.

Our sleeper is the last car on the train so we get to enjoy the view out the back window.

Now everyone is settled in for sleep (except me). We are about to pull into San Antonio where they will disconnect our car and hook it onto another during the night. So when we get up, we will be on a different train.

Until tomorrow.

Los Angeles 2015 Schedule

It is that time again for the Mashburns to head out on an adventure. We have been through Los Angeles many times over the years and even stayed there one night. This year it is time ffor us to really stay and explore.

Here is the itinerary…

  • Tuesday, June 23rd – Drive from Amarillo to Fort Worth. We will get to stay with a good friend who lives there.
  • Wednesday, June 24th – Board Amtrak’s Texas Eagle #21 to San Antonio.
  • Thursday, June 25th – During the early morning, Amtrak will switch our sleeper car from the Texas Eagle to the Sunset Limited #1. So go to sleep on one train and wake up on another!
  • Friday, June 26th – Arrive at Los Angeles Union Station
  • Friday, June 26th through Wednesday, July 1st – Explore the Los Angeles area
  • Wednesday, July 1st – Board Amtrak’s Sunset Limited #2 back to San Antonio
  • Friday, July 3rd – Amtrak switches our car from the Sunset Limited to the Texas Eagle #22, we are scheduled to arive back into Fort Worth in the afternoon where we will drive back to Amarillo.
This is a Amtrak route that none of us has ever been on so we are looking forward to it.
As usual, I will attempt to make at least daily posts on this blog during our trip. If you would like to receive an email when there is a new post, use the subscribe form in the right hand column of this page.
As has become the tradition, I would like to thank our friend James for house sitting for us and the Moore family for watching little Baxter.
I hope you enjoy sharing this trip with us.

Day 10 Washington DC

We got up again and went to breakfast at 6:30. It was scrumptious.

After breakfast, everyone else once again crashed some more and I enjoyed the scenery.

We went for a lunch at 12:00, hamburgers for everyone and cheesecake for dessert. Our last train meal for this trip.

Our train was already about an hour late, when about 30 minutes from our stop in Lamy, the second locomotive decided to die. So the train was moving pretty slowly cause it was uphill.

Us waiting for our stop…

 

We got off at Lamy about two hours late.

We got our checked bags and got in the truck and headed back to Amarillo. We did anything and everything to entertain ourselves.

Once again, we had a great trip. It was tiring, painful and HOT, but it was still awesome. I know I said it last time, but I am going to say it again. I do not think I will ever return to Washington DC as a vacation. We have seen everything we wanted (and some twice!). Time to continue to find new places to explore.

Thanks for sharing. Until next time.

Day 9 Washington DC

Once again we got up early for breakfast at 6:30. After an okay breakfast, back to the rooms where everyone crashed again (except me, cause I don’t want to miss anything).

At Indianapolis, we were only an hour late so not too bad. We will see if we can make up some time into Chicago.

Around 11:00, sure enough we pulled into Chicago Union Station. We went directly to the sleeper passenger lounge and staked out a corner. At 12:00, Stephen and I walked down the street to Giardano’s Pizza where I had ordered a deep dish pizza while we were still on the train! It was hot, ready and HEAVY when we got there and we quickly walked back to the station to devour it.

Then we just killed time until around 2:00 when we got to board The Southwest Chief back to Lamy.

So far, this has been our best train of the trip. Great train equipment and a GREAT crew. No better way to end a vacation.

 

If you look in the windows, you can just make out Vicky and Michael.

Couple of hours after departure, we all had steak for dinner. Again, it was the best this trip.

After dinner, hang out time.

After dark, we all turned in for a good nights sleep. Tomorrow, our trip will end.

 

Day 8 Washington DC

Again today we did not have to start out too early. Our train was not scheduled to depart until 11:05. We left our hotel around 9:00 and took a DC Circulator bus straight to Washington Union Station. Wouldn’t you know, the day we leave is a VERY comfortable day weather-wise. It was 73 and breezy after 4 days of sweltering high humidity heat. Oh well.

Once there, we checked our two big bags and went to the sleeper lounge to wait for our train.

Nice place to wait. Free soft drinks and they even had some packaged snacks.

Our train was coming from New York and ran into delays before it reached Baltimore so it was late arriving. We were ble to board around 11:30. This train is named the Cardinal. Here is the route…

This is a single level train, unlike most of the trains we have ridden. The sleepers are quite different. The real cool feature is the upper bunks have their own windows so the boys really like hanging up there.

There is also a nook over the hallway that Michael somehow crawled into.

At noon, we went to the “dining car” for lunch. I put that in quotes because this train does not carry a regualr dining car. The car is both the dining car and the lounge car, and does not do either very well. There is no kitchen so all the meals are reheated stuff and there is only one person to serve and “cook”.

After lunch, back to our rooms to hang and watch America go by our windows.

At 5, we went and ate dinner. We were running about and hour and a half late.

After dinner, we sat together and enjoyed the beautiful view of the New River Gorge. And now we are going to turn in. Until tomorrow.

 

Day 7 Washington DC

We slept in a little this morning because the museums do not open until 10. Our first stop was the Natural History Museum.

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We posed with some “augmented reality” dinosaurs…

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Then we headed over to the American History Museum.

Dorothy’s Ruby slippers…

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Abe’s top hat…

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We looked and looked and we were happy to find the friend Michael made back in 2006…

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For some reason, she has not seem to have grown much.

Part of the Berlin Wall…

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We grabbed a quick lunch at the cafeteria at the museum (which was majorly expensive!). After that, we went to the the National Archives. They do not allow pictures anymore so allow me to show the ones we took in 2006…

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For those of you going to DC, be sure to get timed entrance tickets. You DO NOT want to wait in the line with the people without them. It is long and in the sun. Fortunately, I got our tickets online before.

it was off to the Air & Space Museum.

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I then wanted to run back over to the American History to see a couple of things we did not have time for (had to be at the Archives by 1:00). While walking there, some rain was heading in.

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After, we went back to the mall for dinner and then back to the hotel.

All of us are tired and sore. So much walking. We are going to need our train ride for recuperation.

Tomorrow we leave DC. Our train leaves Union Station at 11:05am. We will be on a train we have never ridden before so it should be interesting.

Hopefully, I will be able to make a post tomorrow night from the train.

Day 7 Washington DC

We slept in a little this morning because the museums do not open until 10. Our first stop was the Natural History Museum.

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We posed with some “augmented reality” dinosaurs…

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Then we headed over to the American History Museum.

Dorothy’s Ruby slippers…

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Abe’s top hat…

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We looked and looked and we were happy to find the friend Michael made back in 2006…

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For some reason, she has not seem to have grown much.

Part of the Berlin Wall…

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We grabbed a quick lunch at the cafeteria at the museum (which was majorly expensive!). After that, we went to the the National Archives. They do not allow pictures anymore so allow me to show the ones we took in 2006…

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For those of you going to DC, be sure to get timed entrance tickets. You DO NOT want to wait in the line with the people without them. It is long and in the sun. Fortunately, I got our tickets online before.

it was off to the Air & Space Museum.

img-1061  IMG_3187

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I then wanted to run back over to the American History to see a couple of things we did not have time for (had to be at the Archives by 1:00). While walking there, some rain was heading in.

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After, we went back to the mall for dinner and then back to the hotel.

All of us are tired and sore. So much walking. We are going to need our train ride for recuperation.

Tomorrow we leave DC. Our train leaves Union Station at 11:05am. We will be on a train we have never ridden before so it should be interesting.

Hopefully, I will be able to make a post tomorrow night from the train.

Day 6 Washington DC

Another early morning this morning. Michael decided to have breakfast in bed.

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Then we rode Metro way out to Huntington where while we were waiting for a connecting bus, another retake…

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Then we took the bus to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.

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George Washington’s tomb…

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We then returned to the DC area and went to the mall again for lunch. Then we headed to Ford’s Theater…

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We then took a vote and decided to head back to the hotel for a few hours of R & R. After another dinner from Five Guys, we walked two blocks to the Washington Nationals ballpark.

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We have been to baseball games all over the country. This was the absolute hottest, humid and miserable weather we have encountered. Vicky and Michael only made it for about 4 innings before they went back to the hotel. Stephen and I walked around the rest of the game.

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After the game, we went back to our seats and enjoyed the Marine Silent Drill Platoon again!

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And then fireworks!

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Only one more day here. Bad news is we have a lot to fit in. The good news is they are all INDOORS.

Until tomorrow.

Day 6 Washington DC

Another early morning this morning. Michael decided to have breakfast in bed.

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Then we rode Metro way out to Huntington where while we were waiting for a connecting bus, another retake…

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Then we took the bus to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.

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George Washington’s tomb…

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We then returned to the DC area and went to the mall again for lunch. Then we headed to Ford’s Theater…

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We then took a vote and decided to head back to the hotel for a few hours of R & R. After another dinner from Five Guys, we walked two blocks to the Washington Nationals ballpark.

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We have been to baseball games all over the country. This was the absolute hottest, humid and miserable weather we have encountered. Vicky and Michael only made it for about 4 innings before they went back to the hotel. Stephen and I walked around the rest of the game.

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After the game, we went back to our seats and enjoyed the Marine Silent Drill Platoon again!

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And then fireworks!

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Only one more day here. Bad news is we have a lot to fit in. The good news is they are all INDOORS.

Until tomorrow.

Day 5 Washington DC

This is one of the days I warned my family about. It was a long, long day and both tough and rewarding.

We started out early. We had to be to the White House by 8:15am.

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After getting through security, we walked around the East Wing and the lower level of the Mansion. No pictures allowed. We could take them outside, though.

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It was quite an experience being where so many Presidents have been.

After that, we were off to the Zoo.

Another Stephen picture with Flamingos…

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Here is a very short review of the National Zoo, it is very big and requires a TON of walking both uphill and down. While it is a cool place, you might want to skip it if you ever come in the summer. Just too hot and too much walking. Especially if you are going to it using public transportation.

Anyway, after a quick stop off at the hotel, we were off to Arlington Cemetery.

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Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns…

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Here is another retake from 2006 at JFK’s eternal flame…

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FYI, I am not shorter (at least not significantly).

And another from the grounds… 

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We then went to a mall near the Pentagon to grab some dinner and then we went to the Marine Corps Memorial for a Sunset Parade. "The Commandant’s Own," The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps marched an played.

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To my surprise, the Marine Silent Drill Platoon performed. It was incredible.

That ended at 8:00pm and we headed back to the hotel on the Metro.

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It is now 10:00 and we have another early start tomorrow so off to bed.

Day 4 Washington DC

We did not have to start out too early this morning which was nice. We had breakfast in the hotel room.

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Then, we took a circulator bus to the U.S. Capitol. We passed by the Supreme Court where there was quite a ruckus going on.

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With the help of the Thompsons, we got a staff led tour of the Capitol from Congressman Thornberry’s office. It was great.

 

In the crypt, this star is the center of D.C….

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The Speaker’s balcony…

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The old Senate chamber…

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We then got to go into the House chamber gallery. No electronic devices so no pictures.

 

Here is the Supreme Court across the street…

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On the way back to the hotel, we passed the Marine Barracks…

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After a quick stop back at the hotel and Subway for lunch, we went to the Holocaust Museum. Not a place you want to or allowed to take pictures. It is a very moving place.

After, we did a lot of walking and went where we had planned to go Sunday night.

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We stopped by the Vietnam Memorial and left flags that Donna H gave us to place next to some names. Here is one, Ronald S. Athanasiou…

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Then we stopped by the Lincoln Memorial…

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Then after a looooong hike to the Metro, we headed back to the hotel. We had Five Guys (again) for dinner cause it is right across the street AND good.

Tonight the boys went swimming and hopefully we will get to bed early cause we have a early start on Tuesday.