Debi’s first conference ended on the evening of the 8th and her second began in the afternoon of the 9th, so she and Toren spent the morning of the 9th swimming. By the time Toren woke up from his nap, it was too late to go anywhere in LA traffic, so we went swimming again then went to dinner at IHOP. It was Toren’s first time at IHOP and his first time having pancakes for dinner; he loved it. After dinner we watched a movie together.
I got a little work done, but otherwise we didn’t do much at all.
We headed out of Anaheim again on the 8th. Toren has never really spent any time on a farm. We visited a milk cattle operation once, but Toren is growing up in the city. I thought a farm might be rather novel for him. A recommendation on red tricycle suggested Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen. Oak Glen is famous for apples, which Toren doesn’t like. But Riley’s Farm has a bunch of other activities. So, we headed to Riley’s Farm on the 8th.
We got there just after a tour started, and another wouldn’t start for a while, so we joined the tour that was in progress. That meant we missed one station. It was a colonial era tour and they were showing people what life was like during colonial times. The guides were in period costume and tried to act the part (I got ours to break character because I like doing that). The group that we were with was almost exclusively intellectually disabled; it was a field trip. There were two other boys, a few years older than Toren, who were also there with their mother. They raced motocross and were home schooled. And, they were first young boys I had met who have hair longer than Toren’s.
We missed the quill and ink writing station, but caught up to the tour in time to churn butter, which Toren didn’t want to do. We then weaved yarn:
After weaving, we helped make apple cider:
We also got to dip candles, though they gave us a candle as a starter:
The final activity was some colonial period games. Toren picked one up pretty well:
We finished up right around lunch time, so we ate at the restaurant on site. It was pretty good, but the best part was the fresh out of the oven bread, which Toren loved as well:
After lunch we drove to Crestline, California to do a hike I found to a water-eroded indent in a rock that is shaped like a heart. It was about a mile and a half hike. Here’s the track:
Debi’s conference started on the 7th and I had no intention of going to evil Disney. Instead, Toren and I once again took advantage of California’s hills and did some hiking. Our first hike was to Sturtevant Falls:
Toren and I at the Falls
Toren with his gun sticks that he collects everywhere.
Here’s a video I took of the “falls”:
Given the time of year, they aren’t really falls. But the hike was nice. It was just under 3 miles and Toren did almost all of it.
Plus, there are a bunch of cabins all along the hike and people actually live in them.
Which, unfortunately, led to what happened next. When we entered the park, I thought it was a little unusual that a National Forest was open, but I didn’t really give it that much thought. The gates were open, so we drove in. But, on the way out, the gates were closed – and locked! We were locked in a National Forest:
Turns out, the people who live in the cabins have keys to the gate and can open it. Someone left it open, but it was supposed to be locked. Toren and I, plus a few dozen additional people, drove in when the gate was opened and we got locked in. Lucky one of the signs gave a number for the local police department, but they would only open it every hour on the hour. So, we sat here for about 30 minutes waiting for them to open the gate.
We then stopped in Pasadena for lunch at a crêperie, which Toren loved. After lunch we stopped at a park we found on red tricycle, the best site ever for stuff to do in LA with kids. Toren and I looked at pictures of the best parks ahead of time and he found one that had a pirate ship play area. It’s called Reese’s Retreat and is in Brookside Park, but it’s completely hidden. You really have to know that it’s there. I marked it on this map:
Toren played on the pirate ship for a while, then he headed to the large sandbox that has a couple of water outlets that run into it. He eventually asked me to play with him. Since just playing in the sand doesn’t really appeal to me all that much, I convinced Toren and one other kid to help me dig a trench that would steal all the water away from some other kids who had dug their own trench, orchestrating our own little water coup. I was quite impressed with my ability to outsmart 6 year-olds.
After the park we headed back to our hotel, swam for a bit, then went out to eat. Debi was in her conference all day and into the evening, so Toren and I went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. I had never been, but Toren loves shrimp, so I thought it would be a hit. Turns out, not so much. He didn’t like their shrimp, but I got him dessert, which he did love.
I have relatives who live in the greater LA area. We arranged to meet up with them for lunch on Sunday in Encino. We arrived a little early just to make sure we didn’t get stuck in traffic and played in a park for a while.
Lunch was great. It’s always nice catching up with the Winstons.
After lunch we went back to the park for a bit to chat some more, then headed to our hotel in Anaheim. It was only once we pulled into the hotel that I realized it was literally right next to Disneyland, which I despise.
If you followed the previous post closely, you probably noticed that Debi’s conference was in Anaheim but we spent the first night in San Diego. That’s because I know someone in San Diego who runs a Humanist group and she arranged to have me speak to her group about my book. That’s what I did on the 5th while Debi and Toren went to the San Diego Zoo.
I always enjoy talking about my work, and I ended up conducting an interview afterward. Debi and Toren enjoyed the zoo, though Toren spent more time running around “shooting” stuff with sticks than anything else:
Toren by the entrance to the zoo
Toren pretending to be a seal
Toren flying a helicopter.
Toren is small compared to a polar bear
After I picked them up from the zoo, we stopped at a local park and played hide and seek for a while, then headed back to our hotel and then across the street to a mall for dinner. The mall was teeming with people, as is most of California. There was a little event taking place, but it still seemed like there were simply too many people!