On my last day in Southern California, my friend Larry picked me up at 10:00 and we drove up to Cal State Fullerton to do some geocaching in their arboretum. We found one cache but struck out on the other even with help from a previous finder that Larry called. We think that one might be missing. Anyway, the arboretum has a very nice collection of cacti, and we also saw an area with redwood trees and bamboo. At one point, we saw an adorable cottontail rabbit among the cacti (look closely in the photo!). There was much more we didn't get to; I was rapidly becoming less interested in wandering around outside because the temperature had jumped up about 15 degrees since yesterday.
We had lunch at a burger chain called Islands in the city of Brea. I'd never heard of Islands, but I just discovered that they have a few restaurants in Northern California, including one about 7 miles from me. Larry had a teriyaki chicken taco, and I got a tuna sandwich. The food and service were both good.
We still had some time, so Larry drove us through nearby Craig Regional Park. I was intrigued to learn that the park, which is nestled between small hills with a dam at one end, is part of the area's flood control program and can be turned into a reservoir should downstream neighborhoods ever be threatened by too much rainwater. I think that's a great idea; 99.999% of the time the local residents have a beautiful park to enjoy, but it can also save their homes if the need arises.
Larry then ran me back to the Candy Cane, where I dipped my feet in the pool for a while before retrieving my stored luggage and catching SuperShuttle back to SNA. On a Saturday afternoon, the terminal was nearly deserted, with almost no line even for the regular TSA screening. But since I had the Pre✓ option again, I used that and breezed through security. I got some Pinkberry frozen yogurt (1/2 pomegranate, 1/2 tart cherry, yummm) and used the airport's free Wi-Fi to pass the time until my flight boarded. This time I had read the email from Southwest about Wi-Fi, so I turned on my iPad mini when I got on the plane and had fun tracking the flight all the way to San Jose.
The flight attendant's spiel on the southbound trip was nothing memorable, but the guy doing it on my homeward trip was up to true Southwest Airlines standards. Samples: "We don't expect the cabin to depressurize--otherwise we wouldn't have shown up for work today..." "Do not stop using the mask until directed to do so by a uniformed crewmember. Pay no attention to the naked ones." "The switch for your personal reading light is located above your head. If you press the attendant call button my mistake, your luggage will be ejected." Good ol' Southwest...
This time, I remembered to read the message from SWA about free Wi-Fi before I got on the flight. Sponsored by Dish Network, you get access to both live TV and pre-recorded shows. There were 16 live networks available, including most of the broadcast networks, a few news stations, and several cable channels. The 21 TV series offered that day included a few comedies and dramas, a few children's shows, and a bunch of lifestyle/reality programs. See the screenshots below for details. (Click to see one larger.)
You also get access to a nifty flight tracker, destination weather, and arrival gate/connection information. I think you can even access the Southwest website to book future travel. Here are some photos of those screens. (Click to see one larger.) If you want access to other Internet sites, you have to pay the Wi-Fi fee.
I have now used up all the free Disneyland tickets I won in that raffle a couple of years ago, so I don't have any specific plans to return. However, I do have a refund credit on SWA that I need to use within a year, so who knows...
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Text and photos (c) 2014 Patricia F. Winter, unless otherwise noted.
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Last updated 3/20/2014