It's one of the "must do's" when playing "turist" in Hollywood. So, our last day of the weekend getaway involved taking a trip up a steep, winding road to see the big Hollywood sign up close and personal.
About two thirds of the way up that road, I began experiencing a tinge of nausea, much like the morning a few years back when Annie and I drove up another winding road on a volcano in Maui.
Seems those winding roads, when they're really, really windy and steep, do something to my stomach. So, the experience didn't quite match the rest of the weekend, but I survived.
Annie picked another route downward which did not involve as many curves, and almost as fast as the queasy feeling showed up, it disappeared.
Knowing we had to be at the airport before 2 p.m., we made just one more stop---at the Grove Mall in downtown Hollywood. We walked the walk and sampled some of the food.
Apparently, my cinnamon roll from Bob's won the taste test cuz Annie's orange chicken, which had no flavor, stayed put on the plate in favor of a slice of pizza that wasn't much better.
We then headed on our way and waited for our flight to Seattle, which was slightly late. Another first-class experience for me, which was nice. My seat mate was not talkative, nor was I. Instead, I remained content to sit back and think about all the great memories of a busy weekend.
Annie and I parted company as soon as we were off the plane, since my gate for the Spokane flight involved another brisk--albeit calmer--walk than I had experienced Friday in Seattle.
Once there, I realized that we could have walked and talked a bit more----another late flight. This one arrived in Spokane about 45 minutes later than advertised.
With this delay, I spotted someone with whom I could do some visiting. Susan Bates-Harbuck, who works at the Sandpoint library, was standing just a few feet away. So, we had a nice visit.
I learned well into our conversation that she was NOT on my plane but hoping to be since her scheduled flight took off at 10 p.m. Being No. 13 on standby, though, offers little hope, and when I said good bye to Susan in the terminal, she did not show up on our plane.
Again on this flight, I refrained from my usual social self until the last few minutes before our touchdown in Spokane. After a short visit with my seatmate, I regretted not striking up a conversation sooner.
She's a Santa Clara grad from Seattle, who's devoting her life and career to improving the environment, specifically with "waste" management. She also has a father who's earned fame through his writing, including one New York Times bestseller.
Her dad, Gary Kinder, wrote Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, a nonfiction work about a sunken ship filled with gold. Here's a summary from the online site "Brook Browse."
In September 1857, the SS Central America, a side-wheel steamer carrying nearly six hundred passengers returning from the California Gold Rush, foundered in a hurricane and sank two hundred miles off the Carolina coast. Over four hundred lives and twenty-one tons of California gold were lost. It was the worst peacetime disaster at sea in American history, a tragedy that remained lost in legend for over a century.
In the 1980s, a young engineer from Ohio set out to do what no one, not even the United States Navy, had been able to do: establish a working presence on the deep-ocean floor and open it to science, archaeology, mining, medicine, and recovery. The SS Central America became the target of his project.
After years of intensive efforts, Tommy Thompson and the Columbus-America Discovery Group found the Central America in eight thousand feet of water, and in September 1989 they sailed into Norfolk with her recovered treasure: gold coins, bars, nuggets, and dust, plus steamer trunks filled with period clothes, newspapers, books, journals, and even an intact cigar sealed under water for 130 years. Life magazine called it "the greatest treasure ever found."
Now Gary Kinder tells for the first time this extraordinary tale of history, human drama, heroic rescue, scientific ingenuity, and individual courage. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea begins with a copiously researched historical record of the disaster, rendered in chilling detail with testimony from survivors and eyewitnesses. In a gripping narrative, the author re-creates the five days at sea in a rising hurricane and recounts the heroism of men like Captain William Herndon, the heartbreak of loss and separation for newlyweds like Addie and Ansel Easton, the daring rescue of women and children by a passing brig, and the eventual sinking of the Central America.
The book then becomes a fascinating account of the efforts of Tommy Thompson, the young visionary engineer who explodes boundaries of various disciplines---oceanography, computer science, information theory, and advanced robotics---to accomplish what everyone said was impossible: penetrate the deep ocean. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea is a testament to the human will to triumph over adversity. It is also a great American adventure story of the opening of Earth's last frontier.
And so, another adventure for this ol' farm girl has ended with a short list of first-time life achievements and a long list of pleasant unplanned moments with some fascinating people.
The best part, though, was spending most of the past few days with my amazing daughter, who, with her vast amount of traveling experiences around the world, can maneuver her way through daunting challenges that would keep most of us preferring to stay in the safety of our own homes.
Annie definitely showed Mom a good time, and I am most appreciative. Thanks, Annie. We'll have to start planning for the next adventure.
For now, it's back to the January routine, and I'm told the month is about to turn into vintage January with periods of rain, sleet and snow. At least, January is half over, and so far, I haven't minded it one bit.