24 June 2012

Fmily in Sydney

It's Diane's 70th birthday today and we're lucky enough to have the whole family present. Carol and David live in Sydney and Bernie and Sonya with Fox and Banjo are over from Los Angeles for ten weeks so we drove down to Sydney for a party which is about to begin.

We had to visit a Telstra shop in Armidale as our WiFi didn't work. An hour waiting and they fixed it

We stopped next morning for morning tea, in Wallabadah when we saw this sign. We had to wait for a while as locals who walked in after us were served first, but the wait was worth it, the coffee was good.

Now we play with Fox and Banjo whenever we have a chance.

I took Fox with my iPhone and an appp called WordFoto. The picture is entirely made with the word 'Fox'.

Sonya and Fox, it's great to see them again.

 And of course the latest addition to the family, Banjo Foster Curry

Grandma and Granddaddy on duty, watching an episode of Fireman Sam for which Son-in-lad David wrote the music.

At the moment we're in heaven.

17 June 2012

The Cable Cars of San Francisco

I was extremely impressed with the cable car system in San Francisco on our recent visit there. The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last manually operated cable car system and as such is a very big tourist attraction to that town.

We had seen these cars on our first visit there in 1970, but to be honest, I never really thought about them until we actually saw them in operation this time around.

The cables which are about 1 1/2" (31.75mm) run under the streets of the 3 lines, the Powell-Hyde, the Powell-Mason and the California lines.  The cable cars are operated by a 'Gripman' and a conductor. The gripman moves the lever which 'grips' the cable which is running at a constant speed,  and the car moves forward. At the next stop, he releases the cable and applies the brake to stop the car from rolling. It's quite a tricky job being a gripman. they need to be alert to release the 'grip' when they cross another line to avoid dragging that cable up.

San Francisco's streets are sometimes quite steep so the conductor at the back helps by putting on manual brakes to assist descents. 

The machines that run the cables all over the town are in the cable barn (and museum). The car barn is located between Washington and Jackson streets just uphill of where Mason Street crosses them. Cars reverse into the barn off Jackson Street and run out into Washington Street, coasting downhill for both moves.

There are four separate cables: one for the California Street line, one each for the separate parts of the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason lines, and one for their common section.

The cable cars are not only a tourist attraction, but they are used by the locals also to get around the city. When the cars are full, people just hang on to the railings.

It is amazing how these cable cars perform on the sometimes very steep hills of the city.

There are turntables at the three terminals served by the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason lines, and these two lines are served by a common fleet of single-ended cable cars. Cable cars on California Street, however, have cabs at both ends, so the terminals are single-track stubs and the operator only switches ends.

As I said, I was very impressed. Well done San Francisco.
These pictures are from my Cable Car of San Francisco video

08 June 2012

Madonna Inn San Luis Obispo

Someone aked me if we had taken any photos of this fabulous motel in California. Chuck and Lois took us there for dinner upon our arrival in San Luis Obispo (more about that on Diane's Blog).

We didn't take our cameras, but I had my iPhone with me. The pictures of the rooms have been taken from the internet, as we were not able to go into the rooms, but I took the waterfall in the gents myself.

Madonna in is in San Luis Obispo CA.

Diane outside the Restaurant

Diane outside the Motel
 All the rooms at the Madonna Inn are based on a scheme and they are all different.
This is the RED room

This is the BLUE room

This is the CAVE room

Part of the Motel

The famous waterfall in the Gents Bathroom

05 June 2012

San Luis Obispo Farmers Market

We visited the Farmers Market in San Luis Obispo CA, while we were visiting Chuck and Lois on the way to San Francisco. It's one of the best markets we've ever visited. They are closing off the main street every Thursday night to hold the event.

There are enormous amounts of produce on offer and lots of food vendors everywhere. The town is crowded on Thursday night, but everyone has fun.

Another curiosity in San Luis Obispo is "Bubblegum Alley." It's a laneay plastered with bubble gum.

See for yourself....