This year for our summer family vacation, we headed out west to San Francisco and La La Land. While I kinda wanted to go to Seattle (my favorite town), we thought maybe we could do that at another point because neither of the kids had ever been past Denver and there is a LOT to do in the 2 largest cities on the west coast. So…I managed to find direct flights for Steph and the kids so that they could fly directly into San Francisco. They arrived early and went to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. They then spent the next couple days visiting Stephanie’s cousin, Chris, and his wife Maggie and their kids. They visited downtown San Fran during the Gay Pride Parade and also drove down Lombard Street. They also drove north to go to a state park and see some redwood trees!
On Monday night, I joined them in San Fran (I had to work over that weekend) and on Tuesday we all piled into our rental and made our way down the Pacific Coastline, driving through Pebble Beach, Big Sur and San Luis Obispo and seeing some amazing sites! We took a ton of pictures, ate at Nepenthe and saw some giant ass elephant seals sleeping the day away.
On Wednesday, we took a studio tour of Warner Brothers. We got a behind the scenes look at a Hollywood studio with a fake town, lots of movie props and a couple of famous sets! We had a blast on the tour despite not seeing anyone famous or being allowed to take any photos of the Ellen studio (for whatever reason).
That evening, we met up with Stephanie’s former roommate, Robin, and her family. We ate at Yamashiro, a Hollywood restaurant that overlooks the Los Angeles skyline and told a lot of stories of our younger, television news days. We had a blast and the dinner, while costing a fortune, was worth every penny. It was a highlight of our trip, for sure! That night, we went down to the Santa Monica Pier and took Ava on her first Ferris wheel experience. How this child got through almost 15 years of living without getting on a giant wheel is beyond me…
On Thursday, as we prepared for our July 4th Los Angeles bus tour, we experienced our very first earthquake! We were all just getting dressed and relaxing when we could feel the hotel sway. The light above my head starting drifting from left to right. It was an odd feeling but I can’t say I was really scared. It was just a just a unique feeling. After that and after grabbing some coffee and grub from Philz Coffee Shop, we hopped on our tour bus. As our guide (also named Alan) drove us around Hollywood, we got to see some cool locations including The Viper Room, Rodeo Drive, Justin Bieber’s former party house and a slew of other Hollywood greats’ homes. We stopped off at the market for lunch and got a chance to hang at the Walk Of Fame to take some photos. The most disappointing part of the tour was not really getting a close up of the Hollywood sign. Apparently the locals don’t like people hanging out in the Hollywood Hills and so our bus wasn’t really able to stop at too many locations. Oh well…it was still a fun ride!
On Friday, our last full day in Los Angeles, Christopher and I crossed one off MY bucket list as we got up early and went down to Venice Beach and played basketball at the courts made famous by the movie “White Men Can’t Jump”. We met some guys and played 2-on-2 for about 2 hours. We didn’t shoot particularly well but we had a great time and now I can say I did it! Later that afternoon, we met up with another of Stephanie’s friends from high school and had lunch. That evening we went to see “Spider-Man: Far From Home” at the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater (cross of ANOTHER bucket list item!) in Hollywood. Needless to say…it’s one of the premier theaters in America and it was amazing seeing a movie there AND experience earthquake #2 in 2 days! This time though, it was a little unnerving to see people rush for the exits as the floor was vibrating and the theater rocked a little bit. Stephanie and I looked at each other, not sure what to do and as we contemplated our escape (where’s The Rock when you need him?), the tremor stopped and we continued on with the movie! So weird that in all my travels I’ve never experienced an earthquake and now I can say I’ve sat through 2 of them…
On Saturday, we packed up and headed to the airport but not before stopping at In N Out for some burgers before we left the left coast. Thanks for the memories California! Maybe someday we will make it to Seattle but until then…THIS trip was definitely one to remember!!!