The whole family awoke exhausted from the rigours of 11 hours of Disneyland, although only 18 minutes of that time was actually spent “on” a ride. We decided to take a day off from the park and head out to the beach. Mrs. Trooper made a few calls to car rental agencies and managed to arrange a mid-sized car for only $32. So we packed up the bathing suits, towels and water and headed for the ocean.
Newport Beach was an easy half-hour drive from the hotel. Even under an overcast sky it was breathtaking. The sand was white and warm; the waves steady and swimmable. It was like a scene right out of Baywatch. The kids were amazed that this was the same Pacific Ocean we have at home. On Vancouver Island we can surf, but you need a full wetsuit, or plenty of blubber to stay out for more than five minutes. They rode the waves like dolphins until they were too hungry to paddle anymore.
Lunch was eaten at the famous Crab Cooker restaurant with its distinctive red façade. Our waitress Karagh was only too happy to bring out samples of their signature smoked tuna and crab meat. If you go, don’t miss the Manhattan style clam chowder. It is so thick; the red sauce is more like a glaze than a soup. We burned off the meal walking along the boardwalk and marvelling at the view of multi-million dollar homes lining the beach.
My son and I had tickets to see the USC Trojans play Syracuse that night at the LA Memorial Coliseum and dropped the ladies at the hotel for a quiet evening of scrapbooking. Despite the complaints I have heard about LA traffic, the highway system with its overpasses and cloverleaves works much better than the archaic Canadian road network of intersections and non-synchronized stop lights. We drove with ease to the stadium and joined the more that 70,000 football fans. It was awe inspiring to walk up the steps of the same edifice that hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games and the cauldron that Rafer Johnson lit. Then was found our seats amid the Trojan faithful.
What a spectacle! It was a roaring sea of crimson and gold. I have never been in a crowd that big, much less one whose wardrobe and cheering are so well coordinated. Being a Notre Dame fan, I was not cheering for USC, but I tried to be respectful of the feelings of the thousands of Trojans surrounding me. Actually there was not much to cheer for as Syracuse was man-handled most of the game by a superior offense. But I enjoyed every minute of the pageantry, from the Songbirds on the sidelines to the between-play music provided by the Trojan band.
It was nearly 10 by the time we pulled off the I-5 into Anaheim. As if on cue, we drove the final few miles directly under the fireworks of Disneyland. Tomorrow we are tackling California Adventures and more crowds!