We left our house Friday afternoon on the 2pm Southwest flight to Houston. Upon landing we tried to stay on the plane as it was heading to Los Angeles, and it would give us a chance to at least be on the west coast. Apparently the flight was oversold, so they kicked us off. We tried to jump on a flight to Seattle, yea that didn't happen either. Our last flight that we did get seats for was the San Diego flight, but literally just as we were to jump on the flight, we decided that San Diego was too far south, so we didnt jump on. We spent the night at a Doubletree hotel right near the airport. They had a great pool and we ordered steak sandwiches. Rick and I sat there and tried to decide our next plan of action. He wanted us to jump on a flight to Hawaii, but I didnt want us to get stuck. So, we were looking at an early flight to Los Angeles or another one to Albuquerque. I chose L.A. We landed early by 9am and immeadiately rented a car and drove to Venice Beach. We hit the marine cloud layer and walked out on the pier. Below us floating in the Pacific, were tons of surfers waiting to catch a wave.
We walked down to muscle beach and played on some of the equipment outside. Emma and Reece climbed the ropes in the sand. They were playing loud music from the muscle beach gym and there were lots of guys playing basketball. Lots of t-shirt stores and souveniers stands lined the walkway. The beach front homes were incredible. All were without front lawns, just a wall that ended up atteh sidewalk. Dogs were everywhere. And bikes. Seemed like a very carefree lifestyle.
The kids wanted to see some of the iconic parts of Hollywood, so we headed to the Hollywood sign and to get lunch, since we walked so much around Venice Beach. Weird occurrence with Venice Beach, the day after we left, they had a freak lightning storm blow up and killed 2 people on the beach and hurt like 7 others. Upon returning to the rental car, we also realized we had parked in a paid parking area and received a nice, fat ticket for $64. Ouch
Drove inland to find the Hollywood sign and drove right past a Hollywood institution, Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles restaurant. There was a short wait, and the place was packed and the food came out quickly. Reece just wanted a waffle, Emma and I got s combo plate, with 2 thighs, mac&cheese, collards and cornbread.
The kids all agreed we wanted to find Walt Disney's star on the walk of fame. It was somewhere on the 6700 block of Hollywood Blvd. Rick parked and the kids and I started walking. It was now pretty hot, where the shore had been cloudy and cool. We immeadiately ran upon some pretty famous stars, like Johnny Depp, Marilyn Monroe and Tom Cruise. That's where all the tourist traps were also, like the Madame Toussads wax museum and Ripley's Believe it or not. We found Walt's star and then walked down to the Chinese Theater where all the hand and footprints are. Didnt realize that the Twilight stars and Harry Potter stars all have footprints there.
Decided that was enough so we started heading north. It was very deserty, with not much to look at. Drove for about 2 hours and turned west again towards San Simeion. The captain on the flight from Houston had told Rick, we couldn't miss the Hearst Castle on the coast there. When we finally arrived, the last tour had just left, and we didn't realize you had to take a tour bus to the actual castle. Also, it was pretty pricey. Night was fast approaching, we still had no where to sleep and thought we could make it to Monterey. We soon found out, yea, not so much, Monterey was still going to be 3-6 hours up the coast along VERY windy roads and depending on traffic and clouds, could be even longer. That's where we got trapped, by the local hotels and their high prices. There was literally no where else to stay and we were forced to shell out over $250 for a room, but at least it had breakfast and was on the same side as the ocean. It was called the SeaBreeze Inn and was cute. The windows were all open to the cool breeze from the water. We took a walk down by the ocean, along the rocky dunes. The kids were exhausted from having been up since 4am, and Reece was quickly turning into a weepy mess. None, of us had eaten very much, so we headed to one of only 2 restaurants in the small town, a Mexican one. Got a quick meal and margarita, Reece was being impossible. I downloaded a few movies from Amazon for the kids to watch the following day, and we all turned in for the night.