Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Getting to Anaheim

I awaken to a lovely Friday morning in southern California.
Yes, there are palm trees surrounding my motel.
Five years ago when I made this trip, I remember waking fairly early after planning to sleep later, and thinking, What am I doing laying here?  If I start now, I'll be in Disneyland sooner!  This time, I do lounge for a bit and enjoy relaxing as part of my vacation.  But nonetheless, I'm up and ready to go before to long, packed up in my cute little Mazda, breakfasted, and ready to drive to Anaheim.
My cute little rental.
I grab a drink and hit the road.  My car almost immediately buzzes at me, complaining that it has a low tire.  This is not an auspicious start.  There's a gas station nearby, and I find an air pump with a tire gauge attached.  I check inside the front door, where everyone always tells you the correct air pressure is located.  As usual, the location where the tire pressure is supposed to be printed is blank.  So I guess, taking a reading off of all four tires, tossing out the low reading, and assuming that the nearest multiple of five to the rest of the tires is the correct pressure.  When I get back in the car, it seems satisfied.  (I'm just hoping at this point that it doesn't have a leak which is going to cause me more problems later.)

I get started on my way up I5 a little after 10am, and hit some heavy traffic for a while.  I remember having the same problem five years ago.  I think I5 must just be a snarled mess all the time, since I can't imagine that past 10 is really the rush-hour time.  Oddly enough, it seems that lanes keep disappearing on the right side.  They must be reappearing on the left, since the total number of lanes doesn't seem to decrease by much.  But people keep having to merge left, over and over, which could be part of why this stretch of road is a mess.

Eventually the worst of the jam is over, and I can go back to enjoying the sunny California roadway.  Which is glorious.  As you drive up towards Anaheim, you have mountains on the right, and patches of ocean on the left.  And then, BAM, palm tree!  (Sometimes lots of palm trees.)  And a tendency towards white adobe buildings gleaming in the sun, capped with red tile roofs.  And more palm trees and other greenery.  The air smells clean from the ocean breeze, no matter how polluted the highway air might really be.  And some large structures that I think may be nuclear plants, but are still pretty lovely.  I would have taken a picture of some of this, but I was driving at the time.  I stopped at a rest area, but you couldn't see much from there.  Nonetheless, it's a great way to start this trip, with a peaceful drive for a few hours up the scenic coast.

I coast my way into my hotel about noon.  (And without any more car problems.)  By chance, I ended up at the same place I stayed at five years ago, which is pretty nice and within walking distance of the parks (although it's a somewhat longer walk than I would have liked).
Notice the Ghandi Palace restaurant sign?  Guess where I'm eating lunch?
The hotel has a room ready (although technically check-in is not until 3), and the rooms are as nice as I remember.
My room
My window this time does look out onto the park, although you can't see much, and I'm partly overlooking the rooftop of the strip mall next door.  (Last time, I had a view which was somewhat prettier, but which only showed the pool and the hotel next door.  Both versions are good.)  But now I can see the Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror out the right side of my window, and on the left, I can see the back of the newly constructed rock work for Cars Land, both in Disney's California Adventure park.
Squee!  I can see it!  I can SEE it!
Lunch is easy since, there's a rather nice Indian buffet in the hotel itself, which I find is as nice as it was the last time I was here.  (But strangely empty; there was only one other person eating there during the time I ate my lunch.)

And now I'm set.  My car is parked, my luggage stowed, I'm fed and watered, and I have my tickets.  It's time to take a stroll down the street and start my first day at the Disneyland Resort.

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