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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Summer 2016 Trip - Day Nine

July 28th - Thursday

Like I mentioned on the previous post, we rearranged our plans for this day so that we could instead drive back to Ventura to visit JoAnna and Brandon.The main activity I had planned for today, it could wait for the next day when we headed out of state.
We woke up late today, but that was because of the packed evening we had the night before. I do remember that after I got ready for the day, I ran over to the CVS across from the hotel to grab ice for the cooler to keep our bottled water chilled. Well, we loaded up in the car and headed out. Traffic wasn't bad on the way out, but we made it back to Ventura right around lunchtime, then we picked JoAnna up. We were hungry (especially from traveling), so she suggested a sushi restaurant called I Love Sushi nearby her place. I think this place is what the girls would have really loved to have their birthday dinner at.





We ate lunch (well, as much as I could swallow raw fish), and then went shopping at the Vons in the same shopping center. Amanda's eye pain was getting unbearable to her. So we bought some eye drops and Auntie JoAnna bought the girls each a Beanie Baby for their birthday.

We left Vons and headed over to Marina Park (it's a couple miles south of Ventura Pier). JoAnna walked the girls over to the beach to play in the water, over to the boat (that people can climb on) and the playground.




The pain in Amanda's eye was getting much worse, and after discussing it with JoAnna, we decided to let JoAnna watch the girls for an hour at her place while I took Amanda to the closest Urgent Care to have them look at her eye, and to hopefully see if they could see what was causing the pain.

So we dropped the 3 of them off, and we went to the Urgent Care. I'll spare you the details of the whole doctor visit, but they saw that "something" had indeed scratched the eye and that is what was causing the pain. They prescribed her stronger medical eye drops, so we stopped at a CVS next to pick it up and headed back to JoAnna's.

By this time, Brandon was off work and we were starting to get hungry... it had already been 5-6 hours since we had lunch. So we all decided on ordering pizza from a local pizza parlor near her place. I'm not positive, but I think we started to watch Zootopia again while waiting for the pizza. We had the pizza delivered and I'm glad JoAnna and Brandon suggested it, because it tasted as if they had used fresh ingredients, not canned ingredients like the big pizza chains do.

After eating, we wanted to try to visit Ventura Beach again to see the beach one last time before we left California. So we drove over to the pier area and parked in the area where we parked a couple days prior. We walked over the skywalk that goes over the freeway, down to the pier and onto the beach walk.




This was perfect timing because we made it this time, just in time to see the sun set. For some reason, I thought the sun would be setting out in the ocean, but that direction is actually southwest. Trying to comprehend this in my head right now is still not clicking. I was probably was thinking this because when I was in Ocean Beach (San Diego) back in 1999 (the last time I was at a beach), the sun set out in the ocean.

We walked west along the beach walk and got near the end of the beach walk, where we noticed people had made rock art/statues from the big rocks on the beach.

So we started having fun and making our own rock statues as the sun set and nighttime was now here.






After we finished creating our masterpieces, it was now officially dark and we started heading back to the pier… but the girls and JoAnna wanted to play on the playground that is on the beach next to the pier. So we let them play for a few minutes before we finally had to call it a night.

Walked back to our cars, gave our hugs goodbye, then took that 80 minute drive back to LA. The girls had so much fun this day, and I'm glad JoAnna said something, because I did too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Summer 2016 Trip - Day Eight

July 27th - Wednesday

With a busy and jam packed day the day before, we all slept in and then took our time getting up and ready for the day. This made it so that if we were going to do what we were going to do as I had planned, we were already WAY behind schedule. The first thing I had planned was to visit the La Brea Tar Pits, then head over to the Dodgers game... but before we even left, JoAnna wrote me. I'll spare what was said. But in the long run, we had a talk and I adjusted the plans I already had for the next two days so that we could instead head back out to Ventura on the 28th (the following day) to spend the day with JoAnna and Brandon again.

Now that that was planned and everything was looking up, we still had things already planned for the day... and we had to get going or we were going to miss the game.

We drove through heavy traffic and accidentally got off on the wrong exit. So we drove through the streets of downtown Los Angeles to get to Dodgers Stadium. Found the stadium, paid to park, and sprayed ourselves in sunblock before walking to the gates to get inside.



When we got closer to the stadium, we noticed there were multiple groups of kids (because each group had a same color shirt with the name of the daycare or activities group they were with printed on them).




This only slowed down the process to get through the gates and metal detectors because the adults in charge of these kids were trying to get them to follow their instructions and listen. But after about 20 minutes of standing in line, we all made it through and handed them our tickets. We knew it was going to be hot day at the game, plus I wanted to wear a Dodgers hat, so we went into look at the merchandise. Well, I paid twice as much as I expected ($140) for the 4 hats. I should have bought them at Walmart for a portion of the cost... but I wasn't thinking. We missed the first pitch and national anthem because we were paying for the hats, and then we had to grab food. It was my first ballgame, I wanted a hot dog (Dodger Dog). After finally grabbing our food, we found our seats near right field.
To be honest, I only saw a total of about 1 inning of the 3 we were at the game. One of the girls wasn't feeling well, so I spent my time sitting outside the bathroom listening to the commentaries made over the PA while she did her business. Then, since one twin had a lemonade frozen treat, the other one had to have one... So I had to go get that.

Because we were sitting in the sun, it was becoming miserable to enjoy the game. So I ran up and asked an employee if we could sit in the empty seats located in the shade. He said yes, but that too didn't last long because the twin who wasn't feeling well, wanted to leave. So we did. I checked the final score later in the day, and it was the same as when we left (Rays 3-1). So the next game I/we go to will be an evening/night game, we will have eaten prior to the game... and I'll have tummy meds in my pockets.
So we grabbed all of our souvenirs, left the stadium and headed out to the parking lot... so we could hunt for the car. Luckily, I remembered looking around at the parking post when we were walking in (they were giant baseballs with a letter and number on each one). We found the car, packed up our souvenirs, and drove back to the hotel.

I guess it was probably a good thing that we left early from the game, because we had a laundry bag full of dirty laundry that needed to be washed (because we were now out of clean clothes) and more activities planned for later that night. In order to let the girls rest to feel better before we left later that afternoon, Amanda watched them in the hotel room while I did the laundry. The closest laundromat was supposed to be next to Ralph's, but when I arrived, I discovered that it was permanently closed. Searched Maps on my phone and found the next closest laundromat just a few blocks down the street. Headed there, did the laundry and headed back over to Ralph's to pick up a few groceries to help us out for the next couple of days. When I arrived back at the hotel, we sorted our clothes, folded and put them away in our suitcases. We then gathered what we needed for that night (the backpack of snacks) and headed out to see the Hollywood sign.

Google Maps had us take basic streets to the sign, over taking the freeways due to heavy traffic at that time of day. This proved fine, because we ended up driving past street art and Paramount Studios.
We made it to the dog park closest to the sign which allowed parking on the street. We walked as close as we could get to the sign and took pictures of us (selfies) with the Hollywood sign in the background.
We then loaded back up into the car and drove over to TCL Theaters (formerly Mann Chinese Theaters), which was not too far away. I realized we had to park underground, then walk up to street level by escalators. I thought it was just the theaters themselves, but over the years, nice restaurants and shops have now surrounded that area... almost like a giant mall area. We walked out onto Hollywood Boulevard (where the Hollywood Walk of Fame is) where we saw people dressed up as characters from movies to let people pose next to them to let the person wearing the costume earn a buck or two... Just like people do on The Strip in Las Vegas.
We walked over to the front of the theater, and since I couldn't get all of the building in one shot, I had Amanda watch the girls very closely (by sitting out of the way on steps) while I quickly ran across the street to try taking pictures of the theater.
After getting a few photos, I walked back over and found my 3 lovely ladies.



We walked back over to the front entrance of the theater where it's known as Hollywood Footprints. It was amazing to try and see who all the actors were (as well as explaining to the girls who some of them were if I recognized the name), and to put our hands/feet in their squares to see if they would fit.
We left the footprints area and walked around. Amanda posed next to a man dressed as Jack Sparrow...


...And then we looked inside a gift shop for post cards. The girls found a birthday gift for their mom, and presented me with this award (no, we didn't buy it-- But I should have).
With it getting dark, it getting crowded (since it was very touristy), us getting hungry and we had to still travel down to Santa Monica Pier... we had to leave then or we might miss out on things at the pier. But on the way, we stopped to fill up at a Chevron... but found the center of the universe. There was a Chevron across from a Chevron!
Continued on our way through basic streets to allow us to hop on the I-10 to get to Santa Monica. We arrived and parked kitty corner to the parking garage we parked at the night before. Walked out onto the sidewalks and to the front of the pier. There it was! Finally! We took a group selfie and started to walk down to the food stands on the pier.
We looked at the menu of one place outside the building, decided what we wanted to eat. Was heading in to order, tug on the doors... they were locked because they were closed. I was upset because if you are closed, you turn off your lights to make it appear closed! Anyways, so we walked a little further down the pier and found another hamburger stand and saw that you order through a window and they were still plenty much open. So we stood in line, ordered our food, and waited awhile (20 minutes) before they called my name to get our food. It was still very crowded for that time of night, and all the eating table s were in use, so we found a spot on the ground near the railing of the dock (out of the way from getting stepped on).
We finished up eating, a quick potty break, had a couple of souvenir California key chains with the girls names etched on them, and then walked to the second half of the pier to see all musical performers and to look at the fishermen casting off the dock.Oh yeah, and to walk around idiots playing Pokémon Go! while they were on the dock.


We at the end, we found a neat display displaying items from and about Route 66. 



Started to head back to the front and let the girls play a game to win a prize or two. They each paid $5 of their own money to play this one game, and luckily both won a prize... Thank goodness!

We played a few games of Skee-Ball (with the remaining quarters I had from the laundromat) and decided to call it a night, so we started to walk back to the car. We left Santa Monica and headed back to the hotel to get ready for bed, because we had to be up in the morning to head to Ventura.

See all the pictures from Day Eight by clicking here...