Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Tonight I took the kids into Coleraine for the local firework display. This year it seemed particularly amateur, but that didn't stop the little ones from enjoying it.

We were unsure of the start time, but we figured out that last year started at 8:30. We were there just before 8:30, only to hear several folks telling us that they just announced it was starting at 9pm. An extra long wait, especially with two tired children.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Walking on the beach

One of our favorite local walks is along Castlerock beach. I sometimes wonder if we should spread our wings, explore more, and not stick to the same old walks over and over. But on a night like tonight I remember why we visit so often... never fails to impress.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Downhill forest

This evening we went for a walk in Downhill Forest. It was a beautiful autumn evening, perfect for the walk, and the changing leaves made it just fantastic.

We spent quite a while rummaging around in the undergrowth too, looking for conkers, but we only found a couple. Seems like all of the village had been there before us. Maybe next year....

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pacific Coast Highway

Today it was time to go home. Rather than hang around we decided to go to the airport via the coastal route, and headed slightly south, and west to the coast. We followed the Pacific Coast Highway for the miles, stopping briefly at things that were interesting or cool.

One of the most unusual things were the hundreds of oil pumps draining the black gold from the soil, and beaches with oil tankers and oil rigs on the horizon. We also passed by an industrial estate with what seemed to be miles of refinery. Very interesting to see.

With every beach came more great swell, and surfers keenly waiting on the next big wave. All looked very nice, unfortunately we had no time (or equipment) to join in. Made the trip to the airport a lot more interesting though, I'd highly recommend this route to LAX, if you're ever going there.

Friday, October 05, 2007


This afternoon we had some time off, so decided to do a bit of exploring. Firstly we went South to Cleveland National Forest, where you could drive through a bit of the mountainside, which was very cool. We thoroughly enjoyed the breathtaking roads and views, coupled with the beautiful sunshine.

After stopping off for some lunch, and having acquired a taste for the mountains we drove North towards "Big Bear Lake" - the local winter sports venue of choice. The cool thing about this part of California is that while the flat plains are only a few hundred feet above sea level they are consistently surrounded by mountains that soar into the clouds. Now, we all love mountains, and we all love a nice stroll in the hills, but we had no time for that. Fortunately, neither do most of the folks from LA, and so they've built great big roads that we can power up in our gas-guzzling V6 trucks.
So, up we went, 1000ft, 2000ft, the markers at the side of the road rolled by. We made our way up to Rolling Springs, the first settlement on the hill, just after the 6000ft marker, and it was cold. Unfortunately our relatively tight schedule didn't permit us to go any further, and I suspect it would have gotten even more spectacular beyond that.

Overall we rarely strayed more than 30-40 miles from the hotel, but we got to see a lot. And the best bit was that although we used thousands of gallons of 'gas', it only cost a few cents...

Silverado - Real America

So, I finally found it. This is what I wanted to see in the US. Silverado, a small village in the hills outside the main LA area in Orange county, California

This town represents a welcome escape from the over-urbanised generic America that we've come to recognise from modern TV.

On the way up here we got lost, and stopped with a guy who seems to live in the most ideal place in the word. He was almost apologetic, that he only lived in a "trailer", but what was cool was that his trailer was in a lovely scenic valley, bounded by conservation areas and national parkland. This means that he is assured that no one else will build around him. Fantastic.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sunset over the Pacific

After work today we had asked a colleague for recommendations of places to visit. A coastal town called Laguna Beach came highly recommended, and so we decided to go in that direction. Due to the limited daylight we had to get wherever we were going as quickly as possible, but unfortunately we picked the road with an accident, and subsequent tailback. Anyhow, we arrived just in time for the sunset, which I have to say was particularly beautiful, and well worth the wait in the traffic.