Christmas and New Year’s in California (the Rose Bowl Parade) December 2022-January 2023

We spent the 2022 Christmas holiday in a little town called Coalinga, CA, in the San Joaquin Valley. It was formerly known as Coaling Station A. If you have been there I’m sure you’re wondering why we stayed there! Pretty much the only things in Coalinga are pistachio and orange orchards, cows and a State Prison. Oh and starting around November until Spring, they have what’s called Tule fog. The fog is different in this area, if you look up in the sky you don’t see it, it hangs low to the ground. Can’t imaging dealing with that every year for many months. This was just a good distance for us to stop and work, on our way to the Rose Bowl Parade further south!

We put up Christmas lights on the pup fence outside and that made me happy! And I have small decorations for inside the 5th wheel. We had ham biscuits for Christmas eve – a family tradition and G smoked a prime rack of ribs for Christmas day. Like I said before, keep as many of your traditions that you can, even on the road. Also a funny tradition I keep is Sociable crackers with can-spray (yes I said can) cheese. I have many memories of having this at my Mom’s house and fighting over the “fake” cheese and crackers with my cousin Jonathan. 🙂

Love garlands (and my Garland!) they don’t take up valuable room in your tiny home!

As I’ve mentioned before, we are members of Escapees RV Club and for the last week in December and New Year’s we attended our first HOP (Head Out Program) with this group. We stayed in Santa Clarita, CA and attended the Rose Bowl Parade and events, mostly held in Pasadena, CA. We loved the Santa Clarita / Castaic area. I grew up watching the parade with my Mom, so this was very special for me. Garland had a ball helping decorate the floats – he worked on the Blue Diamond Almond float. (I was working that day so I didn’t have to be at the bus at o’Dark:30 in the am to drive to Pasadena!) They start designing the floats in February – 10 months ahead of the actual flower decorating part. Every single float is decorated in purely organic material – flowers, seeds, rice, coffee beans, etc. Just amazing! Such detail work all done by volunteers.

Garland and our group had a great time decorating the floats!
Flowers and more flower for the floats!
I would not want the tedious job of cutting the flower petals! And they are multiple warehouses full of flowers and organic material.
What a process – cutting the flowers!
This is the float Richard Petty rode on.
Coffee going on one of the float horses.

I went to the Rose Bowl EquestFest. All the horses and riders participating in the parade put on a show at the LA Equestrian Center. It was FANTASTIC! I could watch horses all day! Bonus, I got to see the field where the polo scene in Pretty Woman was filmed!

The Express Clydesdales at EquestFest
I love all the patriotic parts of a show! And the horses were all gorgeous!
And it was THAT exciting to watch too!
All the groups that preformed their routines were great!
Wow – look at those tails AND saddles!
Biggest / fluffy tail I’ve ever seen!
The Painted Ladies group was my fav…ok I’ll stop with the horse pictures. I bet I took 200 pics!

We had catered dinners every night but New Year’s Eve was of course more of a party. AND we always have a great time celebrating our Anniversary (on January 1st) on New Year’s Eve! Garland says the reason he wanted to get married on New Year’s day is: #1 he’ll never forget the date and #2 everyone helps us celebrate and ring in our special day!

Funny New Year’s eve photos – was trying to show my pretty shoes!
Our new friend Wendy – loved meeting her and her Mom Jan! They worked so hard being our hosts.
G jamming with new friends at the HOP

On our Anniversary we drove to the Santa Monica pier. I really wanted to go onto the pier but didn’t realize the amount of people who would be there on New Year’s day! Wow, was it crowded – too crowded with 3 dogs! I definitely want to go back someday as this is the end of Route 66 and it’s just a really cool landmark – not to mention a lot of movies and TV shows have been filmed there. But…we settled for walking on the beach with a view of the pier. It was raining that day, but the pups didn’t care – they love the beach. We also drove to the Griffith Observatory, but once again, it was too crowded. We couldn’t even find a parking spot – doesn’t help when you have such a HUGE truck. Funny, not long ago I mentioned that the Observatory was where Adelle had her television concert, which we loved. G said if he had known that was the place, we would have tried harder to find parking. Go figure! 🙂

G with the pups at Santa Monica Beach
Its like herding cats, trying to get everyone to pose! They want to dig in the sand!
Orso said that’s as good as it gets – his tongue out!
Iconic CA life guard shack.

The Rose Bowl Parade was held on January 2 this year since the first was on a Sunday. We left the campground VERY early to get parked before 6:30am with the parade starting at 11am. As part of our group package we had VIP seats for the parade and they were awesome and of course we ate some donuts while waiting on the parade to start. Tip: don’t forget to bring a blanket – its rather chilly in the morning. The parade is something I never thought I would see live and it did not disappoint! Loved seeing the floats, bands and horses come down the street in all their glory, especially the float G worked on.

B-1B Lancers flying over the parade – so cool!
Cold morning waiting for the parade to start! You know it’s cold when G wears a hoodie!
Blue Diamond float that G worked on!
G’s bee in parade – on the back of the float.
So colorful!

Loved the moving parts on the floats – larger pic of float above.
Look at the trees on this float!
The Riverside Sherriff’s dept honored a Motorcycle Deputy recently killed in a traffic stop.
Gorgeous horses in the parade! Just imagine when this parade started in 1890 horses pulled ALL the floats and carriages.

Richard Petty on the NASCAR float.
Costumes for the performers and bands were great!
High School and College bands participated.
I love the Color Guards with the bands – I did this for a while in high school. G also played in the band.
What a crowd and I was so happy they provided us with cushions for our seats! A great day!