Sunday, July 31, 2011

California Vaca Part 3: Disneyland, and Hollywood

Finally getting around to continuing the vacation recap. Hopefully I'll actually finish it this week.  Days 5 and 6 of vacation were jam packed with lots of fun memories, so here we go!

Wednesday we went to Disneyland. We rode Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, the new Star Wars ride, and other fun little rides. The Matterhorn Bobsleds were closed, which I was pretty bummed about, but other than that we hit all the highlights, walked through Sleeping Beauty's castle, met Mickey, saw the fireworks and a laser light show. We really enjoyed our day at Disneyland, but didn't take too many photos. Here are a few that we did manage to get though.

We stayed at Disneyland way later than I thought we would, so we slept in the next day, which wound up working out well, because Thursday night we had tickets to go see Harry Potter 7 Part 2 at 12:05, so we needed to be able to stay up late.

Thursday we bought tickets to take a tour of Warner Brothers studios, and stopped at UCLA on our way there to check out the campus. No pictures of UCLA, but we got some fun pics at Warner Brothers Studios, which was a really neat tour. We learned a lot about how they make movies and film tv shows, and as we were going through the property the tour guide would tell us what the different buildings were used for and shows and movies that were filmed in the different studios. I would definitely recommend the tour.

The house from Growing Pains

Friends Stage!

The Mystery Machine

Bat Mobile

At Central Perk!!!!!

 A street they use to film scenes in a city

We also got to see one of the sound stages all set up to start filming the TV show "Chuck" but weren't allowed to take pictures. They also had a museum full of costumes and props from movies, with a whole floor devoted to Harry Potter. The tour was definitely a highlight. 

After Warner Brothers we headed down to Hollywood where we had dinner and hung out until it was Harry Potter time. We got tickets to see Harry Potter at the Chinese Theater, which is right in the heart of Hollywood, so we basically just spent the whole evening hanging out in Hollywood.


Hand and foot prints in front of the Chinese Theater

Harry Potter at the Chinese Theater!

Hollywood Boulevard

Getting ready to see Harry Potter. There were lots of people dressed up and everyone was super excited. We waited for a couple hours outside of the theater and even made some friends while we were waiting. It was a late night, but a fun one.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

California Vaca Part 2: San Diego Zoo, Coronado Island, Gaslamp, Balboa Park and Huntington Beach

We survived a month and a half of traveling ending this weekend with a wedding in PA and my 10 year high school reunion. More on that later, but first I'll continue with the recap of our trip to California.

The second day we headed to the San Diego Zoo. The zoo was amazing. Here are some of our favorite animals.

This last picture is really interesting. At the zoo they raise wild animals with domestic dogs and the animals grow up being friends. The wild animals (in this case the cheetah) learn to trust the dogs and when the take the animals out of the zoo to interact with people they take the dogs with them and if the dogs are calm the wild animals will be calm too. I thought it was cool.

After the zoo we headed out to Coronado Island to go to the beach. Unfortunately I forgot the camera, but we spent several hours hanging out there. The water was really cold so I didn't go in. Derek got a boogie board and spent a long time out in the water. The waves out there were unlike anything we've ever experienced at beaches on the east coast, but Derek loved it.

After Coronado we went to the Gaslamp Quarter, which is kind of the restaurant/bar/shopping scene in downtown. We checked out Petco Park, where the Padres play (unfortunately we were there during the All-Star Break so they weren't playing), took one of those bike/taxi things and rode around a few blocks, did some shopping, got dinner and had desert at the Ghiradeli Chocolate restaurant/store.

We spent the next day at Balboa Park, which is basically this huge park with lots of gardens and museums. We went to the Museum of Man and that was enough museums for us. The weather was so nice we didn't want to be inside. We brought our Bibles so we went to one of the gardens to read and spend some time with Jesus. Then grabbed lunch and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and the outside of all the beautiful buildings the museums were in.

After Balboa Park we went to another beach and watched the surfers and sat in the sun. We spent our last night in San Diego doing a little shopping and driving around and got ready to head up the coast the next morning to spend the second half of the week in LA.

The next day we drove up Pacific Coast Highway to get to LA. I read that it is a really pretty drive, but honestly, it was mostly a really slow and traffic-y drive through a bunch of beach towns. But we did get to see Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach. We stopped at Huntington Beach and spent a few hours swimming and laying out. The water was a little warmer there and not quite so crazy, so I got in the ocean and boogie boarded with Derek. We then finished up our drive and got to our hotel in LA. We went out to dinner at a restaurant on the water and watched the sunset.

After dinner we checked out Redondo, Hermosa and Manhattan Beaches which were close to where we were staying and then headed to bed at a decent hour so we could get up early and head to Disneyland the next day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

California Vaca Part 1 - In N Out Burger, La Jolla and Point Loma

We left Lexington on Friday after work to head up to Cincinnati to catch our flight to San Diego. One small problem though - Lexington got a freakish amount of rain earlier in the afternoon, causing a whole bunch of wrecks on the interstate, and shutting it down for several miles. Meaning that we had to take an alternate route to get to the interstate, as did the rest of rush hour traffic on a Friday, delaying us a good 30-45 minutes. Luckily, we had factored in a little bit of extra time were still able to make it to the airport on time. On the way up I realized I forgot to grab all the cash that was sitting on my dresser that we had saved up to use on this vacation, so we stopped by the ATM in Northern Kentucky, where I proceeded to get cash, but leave my debit card in the machine. Of course I didn't realized that I had left it in the machine til later that night when we were in San Diego and it was 2:00 in the morning back where I left the card. Vacation was off to a good start!

Luckily, the flight was pretty uneventful, and we got into San Diego around 10:15 pacific time. We got our rental car, got checked into our sweet hotel, and headed to In N Out Burger, which I had been told by many people that we needed to go there. It did not disappoint and we left with full, happy bellies, and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep. It was about 3:00 am where we came from and we had both worked all day.

One thing to note - we had no plans as to what we would do on this trip. We headed out to Cali with a hotel reservation in San Diego, one in Los Angeles, 2 tickets to the San Diego Zoo, 2 tickets to Disneyland and 2 tickets to see the 12:05 showing of Harry Potter 7 Part 2 at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Other than those things, everything else was up in the air, making it kind of fun.

Our first day we decided to head to La Jolla, which is a small beach town just north of San Diego. And wow was it beautiful. I'll let the pictures do the talking. {By the way, you may notice my pictures are not so amazing. Somehow I managed to lose my fancy pants DSLR camera. I'm still not sure exactly how it happened or when and where it got lost, it makes me sick to think about. Regardless, be prepared for picture overload because I can't choose just a few.}

After spending a few hours in La Jolla, we headed up the road to Torey Pines, where they had the US Open Golf Tournament a few years ago. On the way up there we went down a little road that ended at a scenic overlook where there were tons of people paragliding. Of course I left my camera in the car, and this may be my biggest regret from vacation, because the view was amazing and the paragliding looked awesome. I really wanted to do it, but it cost $150 for one person to go for 25-30 minutes, and I just couldn't justify spending that kind of money. But it would have been awesome. At the golf course, the junior world championships were going on, so we got to see some really good kids play golf. And the course was absolutely beautiful.

The glare on this picture makes it difficult to see, but it's the US Open trophy.

After La Jolla we headed back down to San Diego and decided to go to Point Loma, which offers more beautiful views. Again, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

After walking around Point Loma we headed back to the hotel to change and we went to dinner at a restaurant in Mission Beach where we watched the sunset and walked around and checked the place out. Funny story of the night, there were some people on skateboards hanging around and one guy in particular looked like he was sizing up the rail on a set of stairs. Actually it was 2 sets of steps and 2 rails back to back. Derek told me to stop because he wanted to watch this. The guy turned around and walked back our direction and Derek asked him if he was going to try it. The guy said that he has been formulating a plan to do it for a while but that he was too stoned to do it that night. At least he was honest. There are definitely some free spirits out there.

So this recaps Day 1. This may take more than 4 posts, since pretty much everyday was about this full. I'll {hopefully} be back soon with a Day 2 recap.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Want to Go Back!

We made it back from our California vaca and wow was it a fun-filled, jam-packed week! When I stepped out of the Cincinnati airport at 7 am on Sunday it was hotter and more humid than it ever got in socal while we were there. The weather was so amazing, and I'm pretty much ready to move out there.

I realize I left off my last post promising a picture slideshow from YL camp, but I don't think that ever made it on to youtube. So I will have to do a picture post from camp at some point. But first I will be filling in the details of our vacation, probably over 4 posts because we did so much and have so many great pictures.

But, you'll have to wait til I actually have time to blog. Which, based on my blogging record over the past month or two  means that to fully recap could take several weeks. We are just in the middle of  a whole lot right now. Which means I should have plenty of blogging material, just need to find the time to blog. So this is just a little place holder letting you know I haven't abandoned the blog and will hopefully be back soon with tales of our little adventure and lots of pictures.