Back in the Goove
Yikes. I want to blog. I like to blog. But I seem to have a hard time finding when to blog.
We got back about 2 weeks ago from a really great 2 week vacation that involved driving the entire west coast. It was magical as one might hope. I’m getting back into the swing of things and I thought I would post my journals from the trip (I have to journal otherwise I have no idea what happened). Today I’ll post our first day… well, I didn’t actully write this until the morning of the 3rd day so today you’ll get the first 2 days. Luck you.
I normally get a notepad to do my trip journaling but decided to go digital this year. Not sure how I like it so far, since we’re in day 3 and I haven’t written anything, let’s back up…
We left on Friday evening at 7:15. I took the whole day off to finish packing, cleaning and getting B to my parents house. Good thing, because I took every minute of the day to get stuff done. D’s sweet Grandma Helen took us to the airport and off we went. The flight left a little late, but we managed to makeup enough time to get there early. On the flight, D and I got split up and I sat next to some really un-chatty girls, and D sat next to a soldier who was starting his 4th (I think) tour in Iraq. Yikes. I heard them talking the whole flight so they hit it off pretty well. They started talking about God and church and stuff and the guy was going to look up our website for the sermons. So who knows!
Anyway, we arrived, got our checked bag and off we went to hop on the rental car bus. The second we walked outside, we froze. It was probably high 60′s and our teeth were chattering. We saw the Thrify car rental shuttle slow down then speed up…well. I guess we’ll wait for the next one. So the next one came up and didn’t look like it was going to stop. So I start waving and he cut off 2 lanes of traffic to come pick us up. Welcome to LA. Phew. We jump on and off we went again. We get to the rental car place and started going through all the reservation stuff and he tries to get us to upgrade to something with power doors and cruise control. We politely decline and we move on. At the end of the transaction, he asks what brought us to LA. We said my grandparents live in Orange County and we were coming to visit them for the first part of the trip. When he heard that he said “well I wish I knew that sooner” and upgraded us for free so we could take my grandparents around. So we picked out a little Nissan 4 door and off we went! Next stop was the hotel…Stay Hotel. We were going along just fine then BAM, hit a wall of traffic. Which was fine, we were able to slow down and look at the downtown skyline a bit. We find the hotel pretty easily, but couldn’t figure out where to park. After a quick call to the front desk, we get some direction and find a garage to park in overnight. The hotel wasn’t in the best part of LA, but we didn’t feel in danger…just felt a little odd walking down the street with so much luggage. TOURIST. Anyway…we get there and the clerks were really nice.
We got in really easily and up we went to dump our bags and freshen up for dinner. I had done some research about LA restaurants because I knew we’d be hungry and tired so I wanted to have a plan. I had found the Nickel Diner that was only a block and a half from the hotel that was featured on the foot network. If it’s good enough to show on TV, it’s good enough for me. I suspect the owner was our server…since he was really friendly but took really good care of us. I ordered the Smack and Cheese with tomatoes and bread crumbs…mmmm. D got an avocado and something burger and really liked it. The Smack and cheese was perfect…it was a brisk evening and the warmth was so, so good. All those carbs helped me rock to sleep pretty easy.
Since Stay Hotel is technically a hostel, we went the cheap route and did the shared bath. It worked out perfect. I took a shower that night, since I didn’t know what it would be like in the morning. I came back to the room and seriously passed out. I only remember laying awake for about 3 minutes and that’s it. Once we were up and moving the next morning, we checked out (only $68…woohoo! Wish all our hotels could be that cheap…) and walked the 1/2 block to the car. We loaded up and were ready for our morning in LA. First stop was the Disney Concert Hall. Since it was still pretty early on a Saturday morning, we didn’t hit too much inner-city traffic. It took about 5 minutes and we were there. We threw some money in the meter (so pricey! $4 for 1 hour. Insanity.), enough for about 12 minutes and ran a block and a half to snap some photos. What a great time of day to go. With all the crazy metal, the light was just awesome.
Speaking of, the weather was magical. Warm with a crisp, soft breeze. Yes, please. Mmmmm. Anyway… Since we were tight on time, we had to rush quite a bit but I think we both got some great shots. We ran back to the car and when we saw that we didn’t have a ticket, we jumped for joy and got in.
D has been…oh…we’ll say in love with a CA based coffee shop, Intelligentsia. He. Loves. It. He had looked it up and said the closest one was in Venice…about a 45 minute drive in the wrong direction. ugh. But, we decide to go for it, since we came all that way…seemed ridiculous to not give it a try. So, I put it into Google maps and lo and behold, there’s one 15 minutes away. He doesn’t believe me. I show him, we click the website link that came up and proves that it’s one in the same. He says he’s a little sad since the Venice one is the original with the World Champion Barista (ooooo…..) who works there. But, we press on, what a champ. 3 turns later, we drive past the red pin on the map and didn’t see anything. We turn around and see it (lucky me…could have been in trouble for a wild goose chase) and takes us FOREVER to park. All the street parking is limited to residence so we settle on a paid lot, because $3 for 30 minutes is well worth it. Such a cool little place, very well designed with a huge line. AND we saw Patton Oswalt (King of Queens and the voice of Remy in Ratatouille), and wouldn’t you know…the World Champ barista was in line. Crazy. Most crazy of all…David spotted them. The guy who doesn’t know who anyone famous is spotted them. What a nut.
We sip our (most delicious ever) coffee and pastries…I’m a sucker for croissants….and head back to the car. Lucky for us, we hit the 30 minute mark on the dot. If we had been one more minute, we would have had to pay another dollar. Next stop, we head to the Hollywood sign. We started driving up this really windy, steep hill. We almost had a few collisions along the way from crazy people taking the curves way too fast. I digress. We wander up the hill with my phone signal cutting in and out, but we make it. Got some great photos really fast (since we parked in a no parking zone, and there was a sign that said “go away tourists” …how friendly) and headed back down the beast.
Next item on the list of the Chinese Theatre. Because…I think that’s where the hand prints and stuff was. Apparently not. So…we just drove down Hollywood Blvd, drove by, saw the insane number of people and said that was good enough. We headed back to the freeway to head to my Grandparents house. We were going along just fine and then BAM…a wall of traffic. Surprise. I called my grandparents to left them know we’d be there in about an hour. We make it a little under that and pull in the driveway.
My grandma, who rarely shows any emotion, came outside to greet us. She threw her arms open with a huge smile on her face and shuffled us inside. We sat around and talked for quite some time, just catching up. We talked about our various house projects, my grandpa talked about some of the houses he worked on hanging gyp board… Around 1:30 we decided we were hungry. Apparently my dad told my grandma that we liked Mexican food (not exactly true, but we didn’t want to rock the boat…) so we headed off…in our free upgraded car…to Bobby D’s. A tiny hole in the wall that they love. No wait…LOVE. I had a veggie burrito and stuffed myself silly.
We had planned to head over to the Nixon Library afterward, but I brought up the Crystal Cathedral and apparently it wasn’t far from where we were. I had to learn about it in school, so I was interested to see it in person. We drove up and it was pretty impressive with all the glass (architecturally speaking). But then we looked over and saw a sign in the parking lot for “In car worship”…um…weird. We unanimously shake our heads and move on. Anyway, we parked and walked around a bit. Apparently they declared bankruptcy not too long ago (go figure). We found a little bench and grandma sat for a few minutes. D and I wandered around a bit and found the bell tower and snapped some photos of it.
I sat down with grandma and we talked about what a shame it was that they used up all this money on appearances rather than spreading the gospel. And with that, we got up and headed home. We decided to drive past the Angels stadium to see the big ‘A’. Apparently dad spilled the beans about me not eating meat so grandma brought it up…a few different times. I guess she heard no meat and immediately assumed that I wasn’t eating anything. So I told her about all the ways I got protein and what all I ate so I think she she understands. Especially when I told her about my allergies going away. I’ll take breathing easily over eating meat. Thankyouverymuch.
Later we chatted some more about random stuff, ate a really light dinner (cottage cheese with blue berries) and turned on the TV and watched some HGTV. IT WAS SO LOUD!! But, it was nice to just veg a little. After about 2 hours I sat up and grandma promptly told me I didn’t look good, I looked exhausted and needed to go to bed. Well…okay then. So she went and turned on the TV in our room and insisted that I go to bed. I washed my face and off the bed I went. I promptly became dead weight and passed out – the fact that it is quite possibly one of the most uncomfortable beds in the history of modern-day beds is completely irrelevant.