Now that our Disney adventure had ended, Jon commenced repairing our cracked fifth wheel steps that failed to open and close properly. The rickety step stool we used as a temporary fix for the past couple of days had to go. Fortunately, Camping World was only a few miles away and they had the replacement steps in stock, one of the benefits of being in the big city.
While Jon uninstalled the old steps, trucked to the store, and installed the new ones, I scoped out a few places to visit around Anaheim. Since we had already ticked off Lyndon Johnson’s and both Bush’s presidential libraries, top on our list was the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum located in Yorba Linda.
Nixon Library and Museum
We arrived early on Sunday, April 1, 2018, walked around the building and grounds and peaked in the windows until the doors opened.
The turbulent 60s, the Vietnam War, opening peaceful relations with China, and working with the Soviet Union to prevent a nuclear war are among the issues Richard M. Nixon dealt with during his tenure as president beginning in 1969 and ending with his resignation on August 8, 1974.
After reducing US troops from 536,000 in 1968 to 24,200 in 1972, Nixon ends the Vietnam War by signing the Paris Peace Accords on January 7, 1973. In February 1973, the POWs return home.
On May 27, 1972, President Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and Interim Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT).
Other exhibits at the museum include one of Nixon’s legal pads with notes displayed and Nixon in popular culture, which includes a Nixon Halloween mask with a Pinocchio nose. The 1910 quote by Theodore Roosevelt appears to sum up Nixon’s presidency.
Visitors can pretend to be the president for a minute while they sit for their photo opportunity behind the desk in the replica of the oval office. Or, gaze out the mock window at the replica of Nixon’s study at the Western White House La Casa Pacifica. What a view.
The museum tour continues outside in a courtyard where there are a reflection pool and rose garden.
On-site is the house where Nixon was born on January 9, 1913. His parents, Frank and Hannah Nixon, built the humble farmhouse in 1912 from a kit. Tours are included in the admission price.
Tours are also given of the actual helicopter—a 1960 six-ton Sikorsky VH 3A “Sea King” model—used by Nixon during his presidency. As part of a major renovation to the library and museum, the helicopter also received a facelift at the Chino Airport and was returned on October 6, 2016, in time for the reopening of the museum on October 14, 2016.
When I looked at the dates of birth and death engraved on Richard and Patricia Nixon’s headstones, I thought it interesting that she was born before him and died before him, so I had to dig further. It turns out that Richard was born 299 days after Patricia and he died 304 days after she did. He lived only 5 days more than she did. I wonder how often something like that happens.
It’s a shame that people within Nixon’s administration weren’t more confident in his ability to win the election. After all, he won reelection with more than 60% of the vote. Was the win the result of the clandestine illegal activities orchestrated by members of the administration, or was his victory due to Nixon’s leadership in ending the war and working with China and the Soviet Union to reduce the threat of annihilation? What would United States history look like today if there had been no Watergate?
We highly recommend visiting the Richard Nixon Library, Museum, and Birthplace when visiting Anaheim.
Oak Canyon Nature Center
Finding a slice of nature to explore in an otherwise concrete jungle is not always easy, but we managed. As airplanes flew overhead, ducks nearly mowed us down as they traced their flight along the creek. The 58-acre Oak Canyon Nature Center consists of three adjoining canyons and four miles of hiking trails that wind through an oak woodland and coastal sage scrub. The John J. Collier Interpretive Center was closed during our visit but contains a small museum and live animal and exhibits. Restrooms and shaded picnic tables are also available.
We started our easy 1.5-mile loop hike with an elevation gain of approximately 200 feet along the Roadrunner Ridge portion of the trail that skirts along a cliff and was mostly sunny. We ended up shedding our outerwear as we looked down on the shady Stream Trail and anticipated the cooler temps once we made the hairpin turn.
There were quite a few century plants in bloom. They must have been planted around the same time.
An abundance of purple orange and yellow wildflowers entertained us along the trail.
Lizards skittered across the trail in front of our steps and squirrels rustled through the undergrowth sounding more like a bear ready to jump out at us.
Ancient mining equipment on display gives visitors a feel for life as a miner. No mining activities occurred in the canyon, however.
Anaheim, with a population of approximately 350,000 people, has managed to set aside a place where residents and visitors can experience and explore nature. Oak Canyon provides a stream fed diverse environment for the continued growth of the cactus, oaks, and sycamores, and for the ducks, acorn woodpeckers, and other creatures that have made the canyon their home. We enjoyed the little respite from the city noise while at the park.
Where shall we head to next? We had enough of overpopulated Orange County, on to Borrego Springs, California, and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for a week.