Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Little Vacation

Keith ended up being off for an entire week, going back to work yesterday afternoon. He had only signed up for 4 days but the way the board worked he had to lay off the day before his vacation or he would have been sent on the road, and then he switched the first day of vacation to the end and it all worked out to where he had an extra couple of days off.

Not that he got all that much done, the first couple of days were spent doing pretty much nothing, but he did get my laundry closet doors painted and ready to hang. They are currently leaning against my living room cupboard/bookshelf thing, where hopefully they will not stay for weeks and weeks and weeks. Or years and years and years as sometimes happens when it comes to Keith and projects.

Anyway, we took off Friday morning to drive up to the Fresno zoo, stopped in Tulare for breakfast at Apple Annie's, a little local coffee shop restaurant that has okay food, nothing really amazingly special, but we do like to support local businesses. I think we have stopped there each time we've been up that way.

We got to the zoo at about 12:30 and were told that the zoo was closing at 2 to set up for a special event, Boo at the Zoo or something like that. If we had known that, we would have left the house earlier and maybe not stopped for breakfast, but since we were going to spend the night in Clovis we figured we could just come back to the zoo in the morning if we didn't get to see everything. It's only $7.00 to get in, way less than the cost of a movie, so paying for 2 days was just not that big of a deal. Support your local zoo and all.

We really enjoy this zoo every time we go there, it's small enough to where you aren't exhausted walking around, but big enough to where you really could spend all day there. They have a new Sea Lion Cove exhibit that is just amazing, it's made to look like part of the rocky California coast, a cove complete with mussels and starfish growing on the rocks with what appeared to be a tidal flow system since you could see a water line on the rocks. There are 2 sea lions and 3 seals in the exhibit, and an underwater viewing window where you can watch the sea lions and seals swim past. Quite mesmerizing.

When the zoo closed we found our way to Clovis, a suburb of Fresno with an 'Old Town' area that I've heard is really nice. We don't have GPS or any other fancy navigating stuff on our car, we were using an old fashioned paper map, but we did finally find Clovis and checked into our motel, then went to Old Town to wander about.

Old Town Clovis is well worth a visit, just a couple of streets and a few blocks, but lots of antique stores, very clean streets, lots of benches to sit on, and the most amazing thing was PUBLIC RESTROOMS! Wow!

Why do public restrooms impress me so much? Because in towns like Ventura that have a big homeless population, you just don't see a sign for public restrooms and the stores there certainly won't let you use their restrooms. There have been many times that I was in downtown Ventura and had to walk all the way to the public park where the restrooms are always nasty and smell very strongly of urine and you certainly don't want to step in any of the puddles of what you hope is water on the floor.

I did use the Old Town Clovis public restroom and it was clean and again, WOW!, a public restroom!

We didn't get any pictures of Clovis, too busy shopping in the antique stores before they closed at 5, but here are some taken off the internet.

The rest of Clovis is just like any other suburb of a big city, but we really enjoyed Old Town and would definitely come back again.

We went and had some dinner and then back to the motel, where there was really nothing to do, the TV had HBO but there was nothing on to watch. Keith had drunk a few beers with dinner and laid down on the bed and proceeded to start snoring, so I read the book that I had brought along. I guess I'm really not much of a traveler, I was kind of wishing we were at home with all the comforts, I don't sleep all that well on strange beds.

In the morning we went and got breakfast and then drove back by Old Town, where we had seen a used bookstore, a bookstore that was actually already open, so we spent a few dollars in there, but I'm so used to my cheap bookstore where everything is less than $1.50 that it was kind of hard to spend $4.50 on a paperback in this store. But, the selection was huge and they had a lot of antique out of print type books if you are into that kind of thing.

Then, back to the zoo to see the animals that we missed on Friday. There were paper chains in a lot of the exhibits, don't really get what that was all about, apparently Halloween decorations, and a lot of the animals had their Halloween pumpkins.

Like the orangutans and gibbons. We spent quite a while at their enclosure, there are 2 adults, I'm assuming mom and dad since one of them has a lot more hair than the other, and 2 kids, who were quite amusing to watch, playing with the paper chains and tumbling about while their mother sat nearby under a sheet. Daddy found a pumpkin on the ground and made his way up to a tree stump right by where we were standing and proceeded to chomp the top of his pumpkin off and leisurely eat the seeds and pulp. The 2 gibbons were up further in the tree and as soon as daddy orangutan had his fill and left his pumpkin on the stump, they scrambled down for the leftovers.

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