More to do in Anaheim, California

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.

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated on July 19, 1990
Lobby Area of Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

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.

One of the 60s exhibits

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.

Exhibit of newspaper clippings reporting on the signing of the Paris Peace Accords

On May 27, 1972, President Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and Interim Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT).

Exhibit showing President Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev signing ABM and SALT agreements

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.

Nixon was born in the house at the end of the reflection pool
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.

Nixon’s Birthplace

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.

JT waiting for a tour of the helicopter

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.

Richard and Patricia Nixon gravesites

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.

John J. Collier Interpretive Center

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.

Century plant stalk

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.

Get outta my way!
JT poses next to the Big Tree
A bridge crosses the creek
Old farm equipment on display

Ancient mining equipment on display gives visitors a feel for life as a miner. No mining activities occurred in the canyon, however.

Oak Canyon Mine Exhibit
Antique Scale
Rail Car Wheel

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.

Safe Travels

From Tucson, Arizona, to Anaheim, California

On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, we left New Mexico behind and began our trek back to California to meet up with family at Disneyland. First, the fifth wheel and truck needed a good bath after 52 days on the road, so we stopped in at Rincon West RV Resort in Tucson for four nights. Mid to late March seems to be a great time to travel in southern Arizona. The weather was great and the resort had plenty of sites available, unlike what we found in February the previous year.

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson always feels like home. We need to spend more time there.
Can’t beat the Tucson sunsets.

After our cleaning day, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to an RV show at the convention center and an early dinner downtown. At the RV show, we took a good look at motorhomes to compare to our rig. We didn’t see anything that would make us switch at this time. The thought of having to deal with maintenance on a motorhome plus a vehicle towed behind put the kibosh on a new rig. On the other hand, the walk around town and an early dinner was a hit.

The chili pepper design is appropriate for a bus stop in Tucson.
The Rialto Theater, named after Ponte de Rialto in Venice. I grew up in Rialto, California, where the town’s logo includes an image of the bridge.

Obon Sushi Bar Ramen served up a Salmon Poke and Tonkotsu Ramen that matched our taste and left us wanting more even though we were full. In between lunch and dinner is our favorite time to grab a meal at a restaurant because they usually are not too busy. With only a few customers, our server checked on us frequently to make sure our food tasted good and we had everything we needed. We topped off our meal with a scoop of the most flavorful green tea ice cream I ever tasted.

Obon Sushi Bar Ramen

The next day’s forecast called for 80-degree weather and high winds in the afternoon, so we got up early for a hike on the Douglas Spring Trail that leads into the Saguaro Wilderness Area. Parking is limited so it’s a good idea to arrive early.


As we walked up to the trailhead, we heard a coyote howl behind us. Then another coyote responded. I love it when nature comes out and lets us experience their lives. Several hikes ranging from .2 to 12.4 miles are accessible from the trailhead.

Carillo Trail

We opted for the 1.5-mile Carrillo Trail cut-off and then returned thinking the strong winds would begin roaring through the canyons by early afternoon. We found a well maintained, easy to moderate trail with no signs of litter, which was remarkable given the number of hikers we met along the way.


The trail starts out as a botanical garden of sorts with several specimens of the cactus such as this blooming ocotillo and saguaro.

Blooming Ocotillo and Saguaro Against the Sky.
Teddy-Bear Cholla
View from Carrillo Trail
Barrel Cactus
The damaged saguaro lives on.

The trailhead is at the end of a road near the entrance to the Tanque Verde Ranch. Our curiosity about the ranch led us down the road to see what there was to see. Turns out Tanque Verde is a dude ranch/spa type place that goes for an all-inclusive $409 per night. At this price three meals per day and access to all of the activities are included. Only want to stay the night and eat breakfast in the morning? The price is $149.

Since finding a site in Tucson was easy peasy, we risked fast-forwarding the rest of our way to Anaheim without reservations. After a quick stop in Yuma at Carefree RV Resort, a night at Banning KOA, and a night in the Inland Empire on the street in front of Jon’s brother’s house, we arrived in Anaheim on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

Yuma also puts on a good sunset show.

Anaheim, California, and Disneyland

Anaheim RV Park was the perfect place to stay while exploring Disneyland. Not only are the sites spacious with concrete patios, the hibiscus, dwarf citrus, and cell towers disguised as palm trees were a pleasant change of pace from the desert scenery of City of Rocks, Tucson, and Yuma. Best of all a shuttle bus ran between Disneyland and the RV Park every 20 minutes for a small fee.

Anaheim RV Park has wide sites and plenty of greenery.

When grandchildren have special moments in their lives, Papa and Nana must do what they can to be there. So it was when our granddaughter Maya’s middle school band and honor guard was invited to parade down Disney’s Main Street.

My lovely family from the left: Jon, Laura, Jackson, and Chris. Maya was with her school group. We’ll get a glimpse of her later.

Jon thinks The Happiest Place on Earth is the most Frustrating Place on Earth because of the long lines and overcrowded conditions, so spending two days there wasn’t his idea of a good time.

The Tiki Room is always fun.

During this trip, however, our daughter Laura served as our personal Disney guide, scheduling the rides to avoid the long lines and planning where to go for our meals.

Disney is hard at work on the Star Wars: Galaxy Edge opening in 2019.

With the Disneyland App in hand, she had all the information she needed to make our visit as painless as possible.

The Swiss Family Treehouse is now Tarzan’s home.
Tarzan Treehouse
Submarine ride and Matterhorn
Tom Sawyer’s Island is still the best place for kids to get their wiggles out.
This was the first time I saw this ship moving in the water.
We paid extra for a spot on the concrete to see the Fantasmic Show. It was worth it.
The Silvey’s waiting for the Peter Pan ride.

And here comes the band and color guard.

Wells Middle School on Parade Route
Maya in the middle.
Wells Middle School parents and fans cheer the kids on.
Jon’s favorite attraction at Disneyland is Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, no line and a quiet cool place to rest. The fire truck looks like a fun ride, too.
Stop in at the Emporium for gifts.
Jon attended the flag retreat, which honors current and veteran military personnel.

We all had a great two days at Disneyland. Even though Jon said he had a good time, I’m sure he’ll say no the next time the opportunity arises.

Four more days in Anaheim. Hmm, what will we do?

Safe Travels