vacation on the left coast

Well, I’m finally writing about our family vacation. First of all, I took two weeks off from my job as web developer at St. Norbert College. This was the first two-week vacation I can ever remember taking. It was very nice!

We left town on Friday, March 17 and flew from Green Bay to Los Angeles. We came home on Saturday, March 25. We flew on United Airlines, and while our flights out there were fine, our flights home sucked! The United Airlines employees were horrible! I could write forever on that fiasco. Suffice it to say that they cancelled our flight from LAX to Chicago (due to “crew problems”), they didn’t give a crap about getting my family home, our luggage arrived in Green Bay while we were still at O’Hare trying to get a flight home. We ended up renting a car from Hertz and driving the rest of the way. It was good to finally be home (no thanks to the idiots at United).

So, about our vacation. It was very nice. Tricia was born and raised in Orange County, so we planned to spend some time with family, and then also take the girls to some tourist attractions. We also had a list of restaurants that we used to frequent that we wanted to be sure to hit.

Friday, March 17

We stayed at the Best Western Orange Plaza, a small motel not far from where we used to live (9 years ago). It was a good central location for us to launch from each day.

Saturday, March 18

We drove around town a bit, checking out our old stomping grounds. We took the girls to see our old house. It looked so small. We went to Portola Park in Santa Ana, where we used to take the girls to play when they were quite young. We checked out the 7 Eleven where we used to get cherry slurpees. We visited the cemetery where Tricia’s Mom and grandparents are buried. Tricia and the girls went to see Disney Princesses On Ice at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, while I met up with Adam Sandler, and old friend of mine. We had lunch at McDonalds on Katella in Ahaheim. It was cool to see him again.

Overall, a pretty relaxing day. Later in the evening, I took Casey and Randy for a drive to see Huntington Beach. This was pretty cool for them. They didn’t really remember the ocean too much. Found a great little shop on Main St. where we bought some post cards.

Sunday, March 19

The girls and I went to 9:30 Mass at Holy Family Cathedral. This was kinda cool, since this was the church where they all were baptised. We also took pictures by the 131-year-old tree in front of the church. Tricia had breakfast with her sister Sharon, and their friend Sara. The girls and I then drove to Huntington Beach again to check it out during the day. Checked out the ocean, bought some post cards, took some photos, etc.

Then we went to Tricia’s dad’s house. It was pretty nice to see Hal again. Tricia’s brother, Mark, and his kids Mayumi and Jared were also there, so it was very cool to get together with family we hadn’t seen in a number of years.

Monday, March 20

DisneylandDisneyland (map). All day. Tricia’s brother and kids came along too. It was a lot of fun, though a lot of walking. I keep track of the steps I take for a health program at work. This day, I walked 31,246 steps (about 15 miles)! My feet were pretty dead by the end of the day.

Tuesday, March 21

Disney’s California Adventure. All day. When we still lived out there, I worked at the Disneyland Hotel for a few years. So it was pretty cool to see all the new stuff that Disney has done with the area. They completely took over Walnut and Cerritos streets. They built this new theme park in the old parking lot. They did a great job. If you get a chance, be sure to check out the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Wednesday, March 22

Hollywood. This was a liesure day, so we drove up to Hollywood. We started off with a picnic lunch in Griffith Park. Unfortunately, they’re doing some work on the Griffith Observatory, so we couldn’t drive up there to see the view, and we didn’t see the Greek Theatre. Oh well. So we just drove around, checked out the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre, Hollywood Blvd (map), Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive (map), etc.

Thursday, March 23

Knott's Berry FarmKnott’s Berry Farm. This was a pretty nice day. The park was practically empty. Virtually no lines anywhere. Carly really got into the log ride, so we went on that 3 times. Also went on Bigfoot Rapids, where we got quite wet. It was actually kind of sad that there weren’t many people there. But it made for a quick day. We got through all the rides we wanted to hit in an afternoon. Not bad.

Friday, March 24

Universal Studios Hollywood. This has changed significantly. Back when we were dating, Tricia and I had season passes to Universal, so we went there quite a bit. We all enjoyed this a lot. They still have the 45-minute tram ride, where they take you around the back lot and tell you all about the sets and what TV shows and movies they were used in. The girls found this quite interesting. Saw the neighborhood plane crash from War of the Worlds. At the end of the day, Tricia’s sister-in-law, Linda met us in Universal City with Mayumi and Jared, and we had dinner at Buca di Beppo. It was pretty good. Jennifer Love Hewitt was there. Kinda cool to see one famous person while we were in town.

That’s about it. Overall it was a great vacation (except for the screwed up flights home).

Throughout the week, we managed to eat at a number of the restaurants on our list:

Hopefully it won’t be another 9 years ’til I go back.