’11 SoCAL Trip


Hello California!

It had been exactly three years since I had been to California with my brother Brad and his wife Angela. Last time we flew into San Francisco and stayed for a few days before spending a month one week in Reno, Nevada. Angela had a conference with her professional organizers group in Reno. They had let me come along for the ride.

When they asked a few months ago if I’d be interested in another California trip, only to southern California, it took me all of about five minutes to check and see if anyone at The Lair had the first week in April off. When I saw it was open, I quickly turned in my request. The one thing I love about working for The Man is going on vacation and leaving The Lair, and The Man.
These are the chronicles of our trip. It’s currently 7:18 am Pacific time on Wednesday April 6,2011 for those of you keeping score. I’m sitting at a Burger King at La Brea and Century Blvd not too far from LAX. That’s the LA airport for those of you not well versed at travelling like me. I’ve been to LAX a bunch, well ok, the one time so far when we flew in on Saturday. Brad and Angela are back at the Motel 6. Yes we were trying to be cheap, well ok I was trying to be cheap. There is nothing wrong with staying at Motel 6 in my book; after all I’m not rolling in cash like a union boss. However, I will say that you probably want to steer clear of the LAX Motel 6. Well unless you like getting your key card rescanned everyday even though you paid for four days in advance, don’t like a working AC in your room, or you enjoy seeing all types of culture (see thugs and prostitutes).
OK, let’s tell the tales of the trip so far…
Saturday April 2, 2011
The view from first class

Brad travels quite a bit with his The Man. Since he’s an “Elite Class” member for Continental, he was able to get himself upgraded to first class for the Saturday morning flight from Houston-IAH to LAX. He and Angela wanted to sit together for the flight, so he gave me his first class seat. Friends, if you ever get a chance to fly in first class. Harness your pride and accept! I think I had more room up there than I have in my car. I had a seat that would lie all the way down, my own 17 inch entertainment center with music, movies, and TV. All included in the absurd price of first class, which I did not have to pay for. Here’s a quick movie tip though, avoid “My Blue Valentine”, even though I was in the plush confines of first class that movie was so depressing I wanted to jump off the plane and splatter into whatever desert/mountains we were flying over.
First Class

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We arrived in LA close to 10 AM. LAX is kind of a dump, they are doing some much needed remodeling, but I was very surprised. I usually lampoon Houston for lots of things, but I will say IAH is a much better airport. After a shuttle trip to Budget rent a car, where the representative there tried to up sell Brad on every option you can think of in the rental car process. We were on our way in a high performance low pep Toyota Corolla.

Day 1: Ronald Reagan Library, Santa Monica Pier
I have wanted to go to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA for a few years. It was on my list of places to go in my trip all the way down the Pacific Coast Highway trip I have planned out but not funded for several years. When we decided to fly into LA and spend a few days before heading south to San Diego for Angela’s conference, I immediately looked to see how far the library was. When I found out it was about an hour north of LA, I decided it was the one thing I really wanted to do on this trip. So we drove north to Simi Valley to the library. I try not to talk politics a lot; I despise most politicians from all parties. However, I’ve always admired Ronald Reagan. Grandad and Grandma Briggs really liked Reagan, so that could be part of it. When I think of Reagan, I think of the 80’s and the best years of my childhood, and my grandparents. Papa Murphy was a Democrat, but even after Reagan left office, he would say stuff like, “Daddy Reagan would have went in there and taken care of business” when talking about foreign conflicts.

The library is set up on a hill and you can look into the valleys for miles around. They say on a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean from where President Reagan is buried. The presentations and exhibits are very well done. Walking through and reading his words, and watching the many videos of him, I couldn’t help but to be nostalgic and remember the American pride, we’ve seemed to have lost as a nation. The Air Force One that Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush used is in a big hanger that was built around the plane. They took the plane apart to get it up the hill to the library property. Which when you see the winding road up to the library seems like a feat in itself, the plane is beautifully displayed. They will not let you take pictures inside the plane, but it seems to have been retrofitted to the Reagan years. If not it was severely outdated for Clinton and Bush 43.

Ronald Reagan Library

From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier

After the library we headed back towards LA. We were going there to check out an Irish Pub called Finn McCool’s. The décor and atmosphere of the place was great, except we were there for 15 minutes and never met a server. We were all pretty hungry and thirsty, so we headed to the Santa Monica pier. Now let me just mention a few words about traffic around LA. The words I write here will not be enough, but everything you’ve heard about the traffic in LA being bad is true to the power of ten. Even if you think you are giving yourself plenty of time to get somewhere, add another hour to that. And I am not exaggerating on that. We finally made it to the Santa Monica Pier from Finn McCool’s after covering about 5 miles in 45 minutes. At the pier we ate at Rusty’s Surf Ranch, a burger place. The burgers were ok. We were hungry, and they did the job. Watching people on the pier was fascinating. Goth, punk, hippies, some who were trying to combine it all, they were there. I picked up a few souvenirs at Bubba Gump shrimp. We would have eaten there, but the wait looked to be very long. After that, we took a ride on the Ferris wheel. It was a hazy day, but the view was still awesome!

Santa Monica Pier

From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier
From CA Trip Day 1 2011-04-02 Ronald Reagan Library-Santa Monica Pier

After leaving the pier, we decided to head towards the Griffith Observatory. Unfortunately my Garmin took us up the wrong street. So we did not make it to the observatory on Saturday night, we did however see some sketchy LA streets, only to make it back to our Motel 6 near LAX where we experienced a lot of ‘culture’. If they wanted to film movies and TV shows with a lot of unpaid thug extras. They would have only needed to come to the LAX Motel 6. One time while in line at the front desk, I’m pretty sure there were a lady of the night and her client checking in right in front of us. And she wasn’t one of these classy ladies of the night from a Heidi Fleiss escort service that probably get paid $1000 and up a night. My estimate is maybe $200 a night. I’m basing this on zero experience with the subject other than what I’ve read about and seen on TV, honest!

Sunday April 3, 2011

Day 2: Anacapa Island of the Channel Islands, Pacific Coast Highway, The Griffith Observatory
We awoke early and drove north to Oxnard, CA for a boat trip out to Anacapa Island of the Channel Islands. Once again I was responsible for a GPS snafu and we went to the Ventura office of Island Packers instead of the Oxnard office. Island Packers is an official concessionaire for the US National Parks to the Channel Islands. They are kind of important if you want to visit the Channel Islands National Park as you need a boat to get to an island. Fortunately the Oxnard office was only about ten minutes away from the Ventura office. And we made it with plenty of time to spare. Before we knew we were in the wrong place, we did have a great breakfast at Christy’s deli at the marina in Ventura.

Once we were in the right place, we boarded the Vanguard for the trip out to Anacapa. We were on the boat with a group of volunteers from AMGEN. They were going out to the island to pull up some non native plants that starves out the native plants from water. This place is amazing! If you are out in CA and near LA, you should make it a point to do this. It’s an all day thing, but it will be well worth it. Do plan for a lot of stair climbing, walking, and hiking. You will leave pretty worn out, but once again it will be worth it for the views and the experience.

Anacapa Island

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From CA Trip Day 2 2011-04-03 Channel Islands-Anacapa Island-PCH-Griffith Observatory
From CA Trip Day 2 2011-04-03 Channel Islands-Anacapa Island-PCH-Griffith Observatory

After we got back to the mainland, we took the Pacific Coast Highway back to LA. The views are spectacular!

PCH

From CA Trip Day 2 2011-04-03 Channel Islands-Anacapa Island-PCH-Griffith Observatory
From CA Trip Day 2 2011-04-03 Channel Islands-Anacapa Island-PCH-Griffith Observatory

You’ll recognize several of these famous stretches as they’ve been well documented in pictures, movies, and TV. We wanted to eat dinner at a nice place, but we had the hardest time finding something that didn’t look over our price range or just crazy busy. We ended up at the classy establishment of Tommy’s famous hamburgers in Santa Monica. I’m not sure about them being famous, but eating there did make a visit from the heart attack fairy more likely. After eating, we decided to head for the Griffith Observatory again. This time we made it!

The Griffith Observatory

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From CA Trip Day 2 2011-04-03 Channel Islands-Anacapa Island-PCH-Griffith Observatory
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From CA Trip Day 2 2011-04-03 Channel Islands-Anacapa Island-PCH-Griffith Observatory

It was dark when we arrived, and to our surprise even though you can see the Hollywood sign from the high perch of the Griffith Observatory. The sign is not lit up at night. I did get a couple of pictures in twilight. At the Observatory we rubbed shoulders with people from all over the world it seemed. There was a bunch of young French students there, Germans, Asian, and of course with us there Caucasians. We bought tickets for a presentation in the planetarium, and after witnessing a Tesla demonstration we headed in for the show. The show itself was what you might expect at a planetarium, it was about the history of man discovering the stars. What was not expected was the awesome live narrator who when he first appeared holding a glowing white globe, looked to be Keifer Sutherland’s brother. The pipes on this guy were awesome! Even though he wasn’t singing, he has one of the most distinctive and coolest voices I’ve ever heard!
After the show we headed back to our hotel in the hood.

Monday April 4, 2011
Day 3: Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
This was the Conan O’Brien taping day. They film the show at Stage 15 on the Warner Brothers Studios lot. We were told to be there by 11 am. After going through security screening, we were given group numbers and lined up accordingly. We were group 61. They walked us across the street from the parking garage structure where we checked in, onto the Warner Bros lot. We walked to a queue line, stood there for about 20 minutes, and then walked to Stage 15. It was probably a good half mile walk. We were not allowed to take cameras, so we have no pictures to prove we were there. We do have our tickets. The taping started at 1pm and lasted one hour. About 12:45 a great comedian Jimmy Pardo came out and warmed up the audience and gave us the run down on clapping when the ‘applause’ signs lit up. Then the Basic Cable Band came out and played. Several of them came up into the audience. The trumpet player came right by me and was playing and singing. We were at the top of the stands, I don’t think they panned the audience much, but even if they did it might be hard to see us.

Russell Brand Interview

Andy Richter came out and told a few jokes, then Conan came out and the taping started. Conan did the monologue, and then they went to break. After the break they played a taped sketch where Conan calls family members of employees who work for the show asking for advice on how to make the show better. After another break, Russell Brand came out. He was awesome! He also looks a lot thinner in person. He’s really tall and skinny! After Russell Brand, was Khloe Kardashian. Even though her breasts were about to fall out of her dress, which Conan commented on, that lady is so superficial. You couldn’t help but be annoyed the whole time she was out there. After he, was a comedian Roy Woods Jr., he was pretty funny! Then the taping was over. Conan took the mic and sung a song about this being “the after the show song, the part they don’t see at home.” Then he said goodbye and it was over. We walked back towards the parking garage. On the way, Tracy Morgan stepped out of an SUV. They stopped us from walking so we wouldn’t offend him with our presence I’m assuming. He was on Conan the next day, so I guess he was stopping by for a preliminary meeting. They let us start walking again, and he walked out right beside me. He didn’t say anything, didn’t smile, and just looked annoyed. So I didn’t say anything to him. We kept on walking back to the car.

We also had tickets for a taping of Craig Ferguson at 3pm at the CBS studios. However, it was about ten miles away. We tried to make it, but with the crazy LA traffic, it just didn’t work out. We did go to The Grove shopping center and the LA Farmer’s Market. They are right next to each other. If you want to spend lots of money, you shop at The Grove, if you want some cheaper stuff, step over to the market. We explored both places. Brad and I bought a fedora at The Grove. So we can now say we shop where all of the stars do.

The Grove Shopping Center

From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica

We left The Grove and headed for Venice beach. Venice beach is definitely something you have to see for yourself. There are street performers, people selling marijuana legally under the heading of “Dr. Kush”, all kinds of other miscellaneous shops, skateboarders, cyclists, and the body builders working out at an outside gym. Not to mention the fabulous view of the ocean, and the actual beach.
Venice Beach

From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica
From CA Trip Day 3 2011-04-04 Driving through LA-Hollywood-Venice Beach-Santa Monica

Then we left and went to the Santa Monica Hooters for dinner. It was ok, maybe it was because the NCAA basketball championship was going on, but things seemed to be run very haphazardly. After that we retired back to our motel in the slums.

Tuesday April 5, 2011
Day 4: Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
We toured Warner Brothers studios, the same place as the Conan taping. For the tour you meet up at a building across the street, then meet your tour guide and load up on 15 person golf carts. Our group was only 9. Our tour guide Doug was very friendly and informative. He drove us across to the studio and the tour began. He had lots of anecdotes and was a wealth of knowledge on TV and movies filmed at Warner Brothers. It would be hard to remember everything, but he showed us the back lot where movies such as Spiderman, Ocean’s 11, Ocean’s 13, King’s Row, and a new one directed by Clint Eastwood just wrapped called ‘J Edgar’, starring Leo DiCaprio. We saw Uncle Jessie’s house from the Dukes of Hazzard, the Sever House, one of the houses used in The Walton’s, the hospital from ER, location shots from Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Chuck, the base camp of the Chuck production, the set of The Mentalist. I may go back and write more in depth about everything we saw here. They have a museum with costumes used in old and new movies, Oscars, and a whole floor of Harry Potter which I did not visit. And then the tour was over. There was no mention of tipping the tour guide, which is usually mentioned on a tour where it is acceptable. However, after we were in the car we all second guessed ourselves for not tipping Doug. I am going to try sending him a little something to the WB tour address. Hopefully, he will get it.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
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From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
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From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
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From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour

After the Warner Bros tour, we headed down to Hollywood Boulevard, where we paid $20 to park. If you are new to visiting LA like us and don’t know where to park at low cost or free, you may want to budget an extra $50-100 or so for parking depending on the length of your stay, or just take the time to use mass transit. We packed our four days pretty tight, so we pretty much had to drive everywhere. We had lunch at the Disney Studio Café across from Graumin’s Chinese Theater. The menu was limited, but the chili dog I had along with a fruit dish was great, and we had a really good server.

We then walked across the street and bought tickets for a Star Line Hollywood Stars tour. While awaiting our tour bus, we walked around the courtyard of the Chinese theater. Then we were walked to our tour bus, a 13 passenger van with the roof cut off, optimum for picture taking. The tour was what we expected, they drove us past home of the stars like Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jason Statham’s house which is being constructed, David Spade, Bob Barker, Al Pacino, the home that Michael Jackson died in, the home Elvis and Priscilla owned in LA when they divorced, a home owned by Lucille Ball, Peter Faulk of Columbo, Dr. Phil, Laurence Fishburne, the hotel where John Belushi died, the spot where River Phoenix died, the condo where Cher and Elton John live while in LA, the home of Orlando Bloom, the hedge that Lindsay Lohan crashed her car into in 2007, Tom Cruise’s house which had lots of paparazzi camped out front, Johnny Depp’s home, and lots more but those are the highlights. When we passed by the house Al Pacino is renting a man who could have been Al Pacino was talking on a phone on the porch. When our tour bus pulled up, he walked out of sight. And when we passed back by Orlando Bloom’s house, a guy with his build come out on a motorcycle. Since he was wearing a helmet, we don’t know if it was him. The tour guide, an aspiring screenplay writer from Arizona seemed to think so, but there was also a recommended tip sign up recommending $10 per person for a good tour, and $20 for person if you had a really good time. We figured the more celebrities he claimed we saw, the better the tour experience would be and somehow be worthy of a $20 per person tip on a tour that cost $44. The guy was nice, and tried hard, but he wasn’t real funny. He got the job done for the ticket price, and Brad did tip him $20 for all of us. We thought that was adequate. He probably thought we were cheap. Hopefully, his screenplays are better than his star tours and he will make it big real soon.

Seeing the paparazzi camped out in front of Tom Cruise’s house and a few other houses, along with a herd of tour buses constantly streaming by the homes of the stars, makes you feel guilty for being on the tour. While it was interesting, you can also see why celebrities shy away from wanting to be around people they don’t know. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be civil to people on the street or see casually cough Tracy Morgan cough, but it would irritate me to have people streaming by my house all day.

Hollywood

From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
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From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour
From CA Trip Day 4 2011-04-05 Warner Bros Tour-Hollywood Tour

The tour ended close to 4 pm, and we had tickets for a taping of ‘Rules of Engagement’ across town on the Sony Pictures Studios. We made it over there in about an hour, and made it in for the taping which started at 6 pm. A very funny comedian Ron Pearson warmed up the crowd and kept us entertained during the down time. He explained how the process worked, and when it was time for the taping to begin, he introduced the cast, directors, writers, producers. It’s hard not to fall in love with Bianca Kajlich and Megyn Price when you see them on TV. However when you see them in person it’s a lot harder. I think Megyn Price is married, so Bianca Kajlich it is. Yay for me, yay for telepathic stalking! She really is beautiful! It was really cool to see David Spade in action; he’s a favorite of mine, as well as Patrick Warburton, Oliver Hudson, and Adhir Kalyan. They are all great. They way they handle the tapings in front of a live audience is impressive! Each scene was taped at least twice. Some were done a few more. The whole process took about three and a half hours. About two hours in, the studio staff brought us pizza (one piece we kept being reminded) and bottles of water. Ron Pearson kept it lively with his comedic presence. He also juggles, and at one point had what looked to be an eight foot ladder balanced on his chin while he juggled. Very awesome! During the process he interviewed people from the audience, there were people from all over the world there, including a German couple who was sitting right next to me. They were both students studying abroad, and met in America. Incidentally, I saw the same couple checking into the same motel we are staying in here in San Diego, over two hours away! Small world! Once the taping was over we headed back to our Motel 6 in thug land.

While LA is very hustle and bustle, I couldn’t help but feel a little melancholy that our time there was over for the trip. It makes me want to get back out here and find a job working in the entertainment business. I’m sure a lot of people get that same feeling, but it’s a hard one to shake.

Wednesday April 6, 2011
Day 5: San Diego-La Jolla-Mission Beach
We left the Motel 6 in thug land while the LA Sheriff’s department searched a car in the parking lot with the driver sitting in the back seat of the squad car. As we backed out the malt liquor can sitting on the base of a light post pretty much summed up the Motel 6 property near LAX. If I haven’t mentioned it already, you might want to pick another place to stay in LA. Though we could have certainly done a lot worse judging the appearance of some other places we passed.

We headed south on the 405 for San Diego. It took us a few hours, my brother Brad was stationed in San Diego while he was in the Navy back in the early 90’s. He took us around La Jolla, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen,
La Jolla

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La Jolla Video

From CA Trip Day 5 2011-04-06 San Diego-La Jolla-Mission Beach

and Mission Beach, where you get the classic California beach feel.
Mission Beach

From CA Trip Day 5 2011-04-06 San Diego-La Jolla-Mission Beach
From CA Trip Day 5 2011-04-06 San Diego-La Jolla-Mission Beach

Then we checked in at the Best Western Seven Seas which was just a short distance from where Angela’s convention was being held. Brad and I ate at Hooter’s in Mission Valley, where I had a side garden salad and grilled chicken sandwich. Evidently I also had a side of something not on the menu, food poisoning. I was sick all night Wednesday and most of the day Thursday.

Thursday April 7, 2011
Day 6: San Diego-Coronado-Navy BaseThursday was pretty much a downtime day, which was good in a way besides being sick since we had been hitting it hard since touching down in LA. We saw ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ at a nearby mall. It was pretty good.

From the Coronado bridge

FromCA Trip

Day 6 2011-04-07 San Diego-Coronado-Navy Base

Friday April 8, 2011
Day 7: Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
I was right with the world again. Brad and I explored the city by trolley.

San Diego Trolley

From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
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From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway

San Diego has an awesome mass transit system! It makes me laugh at the little train that Houston built from downtown to the Astrodomain. We took the trolley down to the Tijuana border. We walked halfway across the bridge and u-turned back to America. It’s a border town, and it looks like a border town. Then we took the trolley back to the Gas Lamp quarter in downtown San Diego. Brad showed me a lot of his hangouts when he was in the Navy like Croce’s, and the Horton Plaza mall. It was cool to be with him as he reminisced as no one from our family had been out here with him during his service time. In the afternoon, we did the tour of the USS Midway aircraft carrier which was decommissioned in 1992.

USS Midway

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From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
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From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
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From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway

After that we were pretty whooped from all of the walking. So we got back on the trolley and made it back to our rental car.

Saturday April 9, 2011
Day 8: Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
This trip has been a lot of blast! LA and San Diego are two different paces. LA very fast, San Diego very relaxed and laid back. Today we go back to LA and get on a plane back to Houston/reality. Some of Angela’s associates are catching a ride back to LA, so I am going to take the Amtrak Surfliner train back to LA. Brad and Angela will pick me up at the train station in LA. That should be a fun experience. I’m closing the lid for now.
After closing the lid to the laptop, we went back out to Mission Beach, then the Fashion Valley Mall, Balboa Park, and a little park by the USS Midway.

From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

Mission Beach

From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

Balboa Park

From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

USS Midway Museum

From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

Then Brad took me to Santa Fe station and I took the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train to LA. The views of the ocean and sunset were awesome. Brad and Angela picked me at Union Station and we went to LAX and caught our red eye flight back. It’s now Sunday evening as I type this and I’m functioning on three hours or so of sleep. So I am going to cut this short and I’ll go back and expound on different parts of the trip in a few days.
Santa Fe Depot-San Diego

From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

The Pacific Coast view by train

From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

California Angels Stadium

From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

Union Station-Los Angeles

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From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA
From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

Goodbye LA

From CA Trip Day 8 2011-04-09-Mission Beach-Balboa Park-Midway Park-AMTRAK SD to LA

It was a good trip and I honestly hate for it to be over/being back.

Pictures from Brad and Angela’s Camera

You’re all fired!

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Me calling an World Series game at the Ronald Reagan Library

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

The Great Pale and White Hype

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Dolphins

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

That’s my boat…

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

They’ve only just begun, to live…

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

“Follow Me”

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

There’s something you don’t see everyday.

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

“Look no hand rails!”

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Brad posing for a sunglasses ad

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

“There’s a lighthouse on a hillside, and it overlooks life’s sea.”

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

A bird of leisure

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Bird of Prey

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

You can’t see views like this enough

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Hey look at me, I have a sweat band and I’m bald

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

I can fly I can fly

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Jump Around, Jump Around,

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

The Arch Rock

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Someday, I’ll have my own golf cart to drive around the Warner Bros lot, as a janitor.

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Looking at the Hazzard County Jail

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Midwest USA

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Boss Hogg’s Bank

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Warner Brothers Shop

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Yeah Baby Yeah

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Hey Scooby

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

“Mr. Anderson welcome back, we missed you.”

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

The happiest day of my life, the General Lee and I together at last.

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Where is Sarah Walker?

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Gran Turino

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Atomic trusters to power, turbines to speed

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Get Smart

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Harry Potter

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

The Central Perk set, that’s Doug our tour guide under the Central Perk sign. He was great!

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Base camp for “Chuck” production

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

The Roxy

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be!

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Jennifer Aniston’s house

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Courtenay Cox’s House

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Frank Sinatra’s place

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Say goodbye to Hollywood

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

USS Midway

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera
From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Balboa Park

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Hello Nurse!

From CA 2011-Brad and Angela’s Camera

Brad bought this picture of us that was taken on the USS Midway when we were there a few weeks ago.
It was taken in front of a green screen, but it was a decent picture of us. So he sprung for it.

From CA Trip Day 7 2011-04-08-Exploring San Deigo Via Trolley-USS Midway
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  1. Doug from Warner Bros. Studio TourAnd I am Captain Obvious
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