When I went to Joshua Tree National Park for a campout, it was with my Boy Scout troop. My dad and I left around noon. We ate at Sizzler along the way. We spent about an hour and a half setting up the camp.
We went rock climing. There was a safety course we had to listen to.
It was my first time doing so much of the prep on my own. The harnesses were quite hard to get on correctly. The first course I did had me rappeling. After finishing, I was shocked how high up I was.
Sadly, I wasn’t used to rappeling, so, I scraped myself. The second course I did was a rappell practice. I was fine on that one. Next, I had to wait in a long line to do a difficult course where you climb up and then back down. I went on the first climbing course again and did another rappell practice.
Next, I did some belaying. That means you use the rope to let them go up or down.
After I finshed that, all I had left was the knots and the paperwork. I completed the knots later that day. I will be going to another campout in April. You can see what I did last year right here. Overall, it was a fun campout.
My dad and I went to see Angels Spring Training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. We woke up at 4:30 AM to catch our flight which boarded at 6:15. The flight only lasted 55 minutes. When we arrived, my dad and I took a Lyft to our hotel. It was a Courtyard Marriot. The Courtyard was finished in 2017.
We didn’t know what we would do on Saturday, so we went to see Shohei Otani pitch. He is known as the Babe Ruth of Japan. Before the game, there was a live band.
There was a lot of Japenese media, and they televised the game in Japan.
Otani is pitching in the picture below.
When he walked onto the field, Otani had a translator because he can’t speak much English.
Since it was Spring Training, they weren’t as strict about seating. We never even sat in the seats we bought. Passing the concession stand, there were ladies who sang “Hot Dog.” That probably did generate more sales than normal.
Otani wasn’t as good as everyone thought he would be. That might be because he needs to get used to his team. The Angels ended up winning that game. It was against the Brewers.
There was another one the next day against the Padres.
Otani didn’t pitch that game, though. The Angels still won. We met some of our friends at that game. They had to leave after the third inning.
Going to Arizona was fun even though I was only there for three days.
For our nature school, we went to a simulated archaeology dig site. We did find more artifacts than was probably normal. Two of my friends and I went early to do some work for the archaeology merit badge. The most fun part was using the precursor to the bow and arrow. You set it on this thing that you hold. You move your arm kind of like a throwing a baseball.
We had to try and match tin cans from the 1800’s to what we have now. We only got about half of them right.
After that, we got to go dig. The excavation was fun. Once you had enough dirt to fill up your bucket 1/3, you were supposed to sift it. That meant putting it on a thing with a netting.
All the small dirt got out, but if there was anything good it would still be on. My team was almost able to pull a vase out, but we didn’t dig deep enough.
Ian, Jayson and I went back for more requirements for the badge.
We dug in the Iron Age site next to it. The artifacts in it were over 3,000 years old. Once we arrived, we started digging. Some of our friends who were taking the class there came over to talk to us. Since we dug up a firepit, the wind blew the ash everywhere when we sifted it. There were pieces of stone with ridges. There was also a half handstone. A handstone was used to grind things. They were used in pairs. We also found a few pottery shards. When we thought we had been digging for 2 hours, we had only been digging for 80 minutes. About 45 minutes later, Ian suggested sifting a full bucket. It took about 20 minutes to get it full. It was somewhat hard to carry. The effect was amazing, though. We made good progress. I had to leave 1 minute early to go to the Newport Sea Base. It was extremely fun, but it was hot.
If you have seen my old post about my homeschool co-op, this is an updated version with my new classes. My five classes are:
Tinker Time– In Tinker Time, we take things apart to see how they work. Right now, we are taking apart a DVD player with a partner.
NaNoWriMo Junior Writers–In NaNoWriMo, we write novels for the national writing month. We are also writing with a group. In the group story, I am the antagonist.
We also write one by ourselves in November.
Lunch–I don’t have much to say on this subject but we do play Infection after lunch. A couple of our friends use walkie talkies with us when we play Infection to increase our chances of winning.
Strategy Games–We play board games and card games that use strategy. I usually play Risk.
Imagine and Play–We have objects that we start out with, and we try and build something with them. We have different objects each week to build with. We learned that you cannot use rope and pool noodles to build a zip line.
Computer Programing–Most people only take four classes, but I am taking five. My last one is Computer Programing with HTML and CSS. This is what I have made so far:
We saw a solar eclipse on Monday at Caspers Wilderness Park. It was hard to find parking. Mom dropped us off at the line for the viewing. We saw some of our friends soon after.
Our mom took 5 minutes to get parking after she dropped us off. The solar eclipse didn’t look as cool as I thought. But it did look like a crescent sun sometimes. Ian used a welding mask to look at the eclipse, and it didn’t work well. We went to the nature center, and they had snakes there. Kate pet them. I was busy doing other stuff. We went to the park and played Lava Monster. After that, we left.
What we saw was a partial eclipse. Not this:
An eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun. A total eclipse is when the moon is completely in front of the sun.
Your team tries to hit the other team’s people. It takes 1-3 hits to get them out. Once one team has no members, the other team wins.
2. Humans vs. Zombies
The game starts with one zombie for 5 people. (That’s how we play it.) If the zombie is hit by a dart, they are stunned for 5 seconds. If they touch a human, that human is now a zombie. The game ends once all the humans are tagged. The last human is the starting zombie next round. 3. Secret VIP
This game requires at least 6 people: 2 humans, the VIP, the original zombie, the traitor and the general. The VIP is picked by the general. To pick, everyone closes their eyes, and the general taps someone on the head. Only the general knows who the VIP is, and he is not allowed to tell. The original zombie picks the traitor in the same way. The traitor is a zombie who acts like a human until he tags someone. If the VIP is tagged before 15 minutes, the zombies win.
4. Hidden Guns
One person who doesn’t play hides the guns. Each person starts near a gun either unarmed or with a small pistol. The starting spot is picked by the person who hides the guns. Your goal is to shoot the other people. You try and find better guns. Three people are required to start: one to hide the guns and two to fight. It would be best with 4-7 people, though.
5. Free for All
This is extremely obvious how to play. It is free for all and last man standing wins.
It is like Humans vs. Zombies, but the zombies can explode. When they explode, they turn any nearby humans into zombies. The zombie has to sit out the rest of the game. The area of the explosion is up to you to decide.
I went to The Paintball Park at Camp Pendleton Marine Base with my Boy Scout troop on Saturday. They supplied us with the gun, 500 balls, a mask and a belt with two canisters that we filled with paintballs.
In the first two rounds, we played Team Deathmatch on a map called Hamburger Hill. It had a lot of bushes and a big hill. In the first round, our team was closer to the hill, and a lot of people went up to the hill and started firing down at the other team. I moved to the right of the hill and snuck closer to the other team. I didn’t get anyone out. The hit only counted if the paintball splattered on you. I got hit a total of 3 times that first round but only the last time splattered. There was someone else with me, and we tried to push forward, but I got out. The round ended soon after that.
In the second round, I stayed behind a piece of cover with two other people. One of them left to go try to get on the hill. (We switched sides so the other team had the hill now.) The hill had a fake tank. There was a piece of cover next to the tank. Whenever the person behind that cover looked out, we shot at him. Eventually, we got him out. Then, we fired over the top of the tank and tried to get people out. Since we couldn’t see over, I’m not sure we did. By that time, I had run through most of the paintballs I had brought.
Then, we went down to reload and get water. The next two rounds were a variation of Capture the Flag. There were two flags in the center, and the goal was to get both of them. If each team only got one flag, an employee would go and take one team’s flag and put it back. That team would still have the point the flag gave them, though. This was on a different map that was flat and had little shacks for cover.
In the first round, the time was up when each team only had one flag. In the second round, I saw the other team had stopped firing for a second so I ran out to grab the flag. By the time I had grabbed the flag, the other team noticed. Luckily, I got hit but the ball did not burst. At the end, another person on our team got the flag so we won that round. In the third round, the other team got one flag and we didn’t get any flags. There were more rounds, but my dad and I were almost out of ammo and getting tired. Finally, we gave our ammo to other people and left.
I doubt you want to hear about Wendy’s and the drive home so I am going to end this blog post there.
On Wednesday, we had an all day class about guide dogs. It was quite fun. Our teacher barely has any vision as I will describe later. She also has a website for her classes.
After we were introduced, the class started. The first thing we did was try to figure out the objects in the box. To do so, we were blindfolded. I went first. I thought one of the things in there was a Shopkin. I told them it might be something my sister collects. Grace guessed Shopkins which caused everybody to start guessing Shopkins whenever we didn’t know what it was. I may be to blame for that.
After the guessing, we received braille cards. Our teacher, Miss Joy, wrote one of the people’s names in braille. She wrote Grace.
We found out how beneficial canes are to blind people by using her cane to feel bumps and see how it would work. After that, she read Looking Out For Sara. It is about a guide dog named Perry who helped the author get around.
Miss Joy’s dog, named Roja, had an obstacle course. We laid down pretzels and saw if he was distracted by it. He wasn’t.
We visited a puppy guide dog in training. Her name was Cila. They had lots of pictures with her. The owners talked about training her, too.
We went on a path and pretended to be a guide dog, handler, and also tried to distract the dog. When it was my turn to be the dog, I was distracted by everything.
We were assigned to talk about different types of service dogs in our groups. I was with Christian. We made it like we were on a TV show. He talked about the dog, and I did the intro and outro. The show had a lot of sponsors. I made up what I was going to say right there. I did have some plan, though.
Christian and I came in second place which meant we were second to go around the block with the goggles that show how her eyesight is. In her right eye, she can’t see at all. In her left, she can barely see.
I made a tripwire with a hose hooked around a stool. We had to move some of the stuff that we put out back. I simulated a recycle can knocked over after a storm. We all navigated the obstacle course quite well even though there was the tripwire.
It is quite easy when it is a person guiding you. It must be harder when you have a guide dog. Miss Joy’s dog tried to bring her to her garage, but she used a command to make her go forward. We only had two items out for her. The guide dog led her through perfectly.
The field trip is very fun and I would do it again.
Communikate is my sister, and she made a blog post about this too.
There were more songs and then we sang “Rudolph” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” While we were singing, some of the girls walked around handing out cookies. We were each allowed to have two.
We took some photos outside and then went to have lunch at Fashion Island.
In Barnes & Noble, we had a lightsaber fight. I won most of the time. Even with one lightsaber against Asher and Griffin, I won. We fought where they used toy guns, and I still used a lightsaber. They won by Asher distracting while Griffin snuck up and shot me.
After that, we went to look at the lights on Balboa Island.
There was one lady who put up over 3,500 teddy bears.
We ran ahead of the parents and played tag. Eventually, it turned into a game called Infection. In the last game, I survived the longest along with Griffin. What I didn’t know, was that Sarah had survived, too. She had been hiding the whole time!
We left on Wednesday morning up the coast for the redwoods. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. From South Orange County, it took us two hours to reach Ventura. We had lunch at a mall that overlooked the Pacific. Our mom used to live there so we saw her apartment and church. Before that, we played on a grassy field with views.
I threw the football with Dad, and my sisters threw the frisbee with him. We were going to go to the Santa Barbara Mission, but we took a wrong turn and ended up at a cool park. It had climbing rocks and a good climbing tree. We saw something that our family assumed was a gopher.
Finally, we arrived at the mission. They had a funny picture. It is the one on the left.
After that, we went to the Danish town of Solvang. They make excellent pastries.
I had a cookie with chocolate on the outside. There was something like whipped cream on the inside. It was really good. We walked around Solvang then went back to the car.
Dad checked us in on his computer to the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Santa Maria. We had good sleep and woke up for day two.
A preview of day two:
In the morning, after breakfast, we were on the road again. We took yet another detour and found yet another park! This one had ocean views and a tire swing.