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Universal Studios Hollywood

Travel
It took 2 hours...to drive 36 miles over to Universal Studios. Such a short distance made really long by traffic. As soon as we got into Universal Studios around 10am we immediately went to Hogwarts and rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The Harry Potter ride and land was basically the entire reason for making the trip to Universal Studios. The ride was a really cool mixture of Screens/projections and animatronic models. There are a few transitions that feel natural and seamless in the ride that leave you with a wow that was really cool feeling. We rode this ride twice once first thing at 10:30, and again as the last ride of the night at 7pm. The wait-times at Universal are a lot longer. For lunch we ate…
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USS Iowa Battleship Museum and the Hollywood sign

Travel
On February 19th we visited the USS Iowa museum in Los Angeles. My brother really likes US Navy ships and wanted to see a Battleship. It was neat to see, and well done. they are still opening some of the rooms up on the tours. This was a ship that carried Roosevelt to the Tehran Conference. We got to walk all the way up to the pilots deck, seeing crew cabins, officer cabins, the captains quarters, and numerous gun emplacements on the way up. The highlight for me was listening to a Veteran talk about the ship and its history. [gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="783,784,785,786,787,788,789,790,791,792,793,794,795,796,797"] Next we went on an adventure to see the Hollywood sign. Google maps took us all around on this backstreets on the way to Griffith park…
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The Void: Secrets of the Empire

The Void: Secrets of the Empire

Travel
This was pretty much the entire reason for the trip down to Anaheim. Ever since reading about Secrets of the Empire I wanted to see it for myself. It is Hyper Reality, meaning that you wear a VR headset but there are actual walls and objects you can touch as well. It is around 35 minutes long. This was a lot of fun to do, so much fun that it seemed like we had barely started and it was over already. The backpack feels heavy at first, but once you get started it feels comfortable. The story is satisfying and immerse. You really feel like you are part of the story and on a mission. Spoilers after the photograph. (more…)
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Disneyland

Disneyland

Travel
On February 18th I was at Disneyland in Anaheim CA. The park opened at 8am, but they let people into the main street plaza at 7:30. Both parks have an Opening ceremony for the Park when they let people enter, and it usually involves a family that gets selected, and sometimes includes a character. The opening on Sunday had three characters, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Pluto for the opening. We immediately went to Tomarrowland and lined up for Space Mountain. By 8:12am we had completed the first ride of Space Mountain, and what a fun ride to start the day with. Although it jerked us around quite a bit (we were seated in the middle. When we rode it later in the day and got the front cart it…
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Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure

Travel
On Saturday the 17th we went to Disney's California Adventure park. This park is a lot of fun, even though it doesn't have the same status as DIsneyland itself. We actually saw more characters in this part then we did in Disneyland, and while it was busy, in hindsight it was not nearly as packed as Disneyland gets. We saw lots of Marvel characters around and that is always fun to see. We even saw Groot. There was also a cool Avengers Jeep that we saw a few times, one of those times was with Black Panther and this guards. They recently remodeled The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror into a Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission Breakout! (Opened on May 27th, 2017). We started with that ride as soon…
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Exploring Whiskeytown; Boulder Creek Falls Trail

Exploring Whiskeytown; Boulder Creek Falls Trail

Art, Series and Works
On February 14th I was out at Whiskeytown in the early morning for a hike to Boulder Creek Falls. I went via South Shore Drive, and I'm glad that I did. The views just on the 2.5 mile drive down the dirt road were worth it. The hike was also really good, with a few good views of Whiskeytown Lake on the way up, and the ruins were neat to see. The waterfall at least when I went was a little unimpressive, just not that much water coming down. According to my phones GPS it was 6.38 miles round-trip.   [gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="702,701,700,699,698,697,696,695,694,693,692,691"]
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Exploring Whiskeytown; Clear Creek Canal Trail

Exploring Whiskeytown; Clear Creek Canal Trail

Art, Series and Works
On February 8th I hiked Clear Creek Canal Trail. This tail is mostly flat and meanders through the forest offering a good view of Whiskeytown Dam, and some of the surrounding mountains. It is a long trail at 4.5 miles long (so 9 miles round-trip), you can shorten it to around 7.3 miles by taking the Shasta Mine Loop trail back when you return. The trail make a sort of lazy loop, starting on the far side of the Mount Shasta Mine Loop Trail parking lot and crosses the road around 4 times. There is a part of the trail where you can see the Whiskeytown Cemetery. Eventually the trail combines with the Shasta Mine Loop trail for a short while, this is where it can get a bit confusing…
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Exploring Whiskeytown; Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail (2018)

Exploring Whiskeytown; Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail (2018)

Art, Series and Works
On Sunday the 28th the weather was really nice so a trip out to Whiskeytown was in order. Now that everything isn't just different shades of brown and red. I last hiked this trail on June 21st 2017, shortly after it re-opened. It is really interesting to see how the different seasons change how you approach the photograph. [gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="669,667,666,665,664,663,662"]
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Abandoned Places; Crystal Creek Regional Boys Camp

Abandoned Places; Crystal Creek Regional Boys Camp

Art, Series and Works
Crystal Creek Boys Camp was a juvenile camp near Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, it was abandoned in 2009 when the budget was cut to the program. What is left behind is a handful of mostly intact buildings, and a bunch of vandalization. Of the many windows that were once filled with glass I don't believe there is a single one left with glass intact. There is some interesting graffiti there now. It is both sad and intriguing that in nine years a facility that was once maintained can fall to such pieces. I was ill equipped to photograph any interiors so I didn't go into many of the building, a few of them are accessible. I plan to go back at a latter date with some strobe lights, and flashlights.…
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Hiking In Lassen; Manzanita Lake, Reflection Lake, Lilly Pad Pond Trail

Hiking In Lassen; Manzanita Lake, Reflection Lake, Lilly Pad Pond Trail

Art, Series and Works
On August 9th, we combined three trails near the Manzanita Lake entrance side into one longer loop. We started with the Manzinita Lake loop, parking down by the boat launch. Then when we made it to the Visitor Center we crossed the road and completed the Reflection Lake Loop, and at around three-quarters completion you can take a path onto the Lilly Pad Pond loop up to a small pond that is full of Lilly pads. According to my phone's gps the total length was 3.67 miles with 265 ft of elevation gain. [gallery columns="4" size="full" type="slideshow" ids="615,616,617,618,619,613,614"]
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