Monday 19 September 2016

US Road Trip # 6 - San Gabriels!

Monday Moments on my US Road Trip #6

Monday, what a Monday trip! Up the San Gabriels.

Come out, Come out, Wherever you are- Los Angeles!
Los Angeles really is in the middle of this photo with the Pacific Ocean at top. 
Blog diary from Wed 31st Aug to 5th September:

My last blog diary entry about my US Road Trip (#5) mentioned returning to Las Vegas on the evening of Wednesday 31st August. The Thursday morning, 1st September, saw us all piling back into our rental vehicle for our drive from Vegas to Pasadena, Los Angeles. My brother-in-law had indicated that the drive via the desert on Interstate Route 15 might be a bit boring after the sights at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park but I can honestly say I didn’t think so. I loved the changing colours and was intrigued by the fascinating hill terrain and different vegetation on the constantly changing hues of the desert floor- not in the least a monochrome sandy colour.

We took a tiny detour during the 4 hour drive to lunch at Peggy Sue’s 50s Diner at Yermo, a little way off Interstate Route 15 

What a FUN place to stop at (even if a bit of a tourist trap) with fabulous selections and plentiful food! The attached shop is groaning with interesting goodies lots of which I’d like to have bought but were too weighty for my luggage on the flight home.

By late afternoon we were all checked in to our rental house in Pasadena and were meeting up with other family members who were attending my niece’s wedding the following Saturday. 

The house we rented in Pasadena had nostalgic 1960/70s decor. It was perfect for our stay during the next six nights and gave me the opportunity to catch up with my nephew and his wife who had also joined us from Scotland. The gardens and the pool of the house were fabulous for the 7 of us to relax in, but only for short spells since the wedding was looming!

Friday through Sunday was taken up with pre-wedding and post wedding get-togethers with our US family and old friends from Glasgow who had also come to Pasadena for the wedding- some of whom I’ve not laid eyes on since 1974. 

The Saturday evening wedding was in fabulous gardens, where the bride and her entourage of 8 were radiant – as was the groom and his 8 best men! The venue, normally a Riverside park setting in south-west Pasadena, was lush and beautiful and it was fascinating for us from Scotland to experience a US wedding.

Monday the 5th September was itchy feet time again. 

We dragged ourselves from our gorgeous pool and spent the day driving from Pasadena up into the San Gabriel Mountains

A guest at the previous day's (Sunday) post-wedding ‘Pool and Brunch’ party at my brother-in -laws house had told us about going up to the observation area on Mount Wilson, one of the peaks above Pasadena. He raved about the view from the top being spectacular. 

Coming from Brooklyn, New York, he had been bowled over by the huge spread that lay before him all the way out to the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

I’m so glad we took up his recommendation though the day for us wasn’t as sunny as his had been the previous Friday. Even though there was a haze over Los Angeles it was still a stunning drive with superb views. 

However, in addition to the stupendous mountain terrain and deep tumbling valleys there was the additional attraction of being up at the Mount Wilson Observatory.

My husband is the scientist, his masters of Science degree including studies in Astronomy and Astrophysics. He knew about the very famous scientist who had spent a lot of time at the Mount Wilson Observatory but I admit, it was news to me. 

The 100 inch telescope Hubble used. 
I certainly had heard of Edwin Hubble. I vaguely knew that he had broken the barriers of astronomy by claiming that the universe is constantly expanding and was able to prove it with a particular new telescope or its era. I didn’t know that it was at the Mount Wilson Observatory that he discovered and proved his theories, along with the other astronomers who inhabited the facility at the same time as he did.

The observatory buildings complex lies near the top of the peak of Mount Wilson at around 5, 710 feet, one of many similarly high peaks in the majestic San Gabriel Mountains.

The little Observatory FREE Museum displays interesting static information about the foundation of the Observatory back in the late 1800s, and further information about its role into the twentieth century. 

The Hooker 100 inch telescope, used by Edwin Hubble from approx. 1917 through to 1949, is still in use today though the function is limited at times by the smog which often permeates the area. It's situated in the original observatory that's now open to the public. (We'd have paid to go in but it was free entry)

Technical specifications for the Hooker telescope are available elsewhere on the web for anyone interested but I was particularly intrigued by the wicker chair used by Hubble while he made and proved his theories and which still sits precariously on a raised plinth for the visitor to appreciate.  
The wicker chair used by Edwin Hubble
The road up to the Observatory winds its way around and up the sides of the range, the views absolutely stunning and not easily forgettable. I thoroughly recommend a trip up – even if you’re only interested in the views and not in viewing the continually used scientific facility, part of which is open to the public.

The route back down isn't for the faint-hearted driver. I's so glad to have a really competent son-in-law driver who made the trip possible. My thanks for that day's driving, and for the rest of the US trip go to Dave and to my daughter, Sheena, who did some driving too!

A selfie taken in the observation room showing the 100 inch telescope at the observatory. 

I enjoyed the trip- I hope you're enjoying my memories!

SlĂ inthe!

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