Day 1 – Friday, July 22, 2005
Both my wife and I had to work that day and our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30 pm. I was glad that I had scheduled myself only for a half-day. While in the midst of getting ready for the trip, the power went out here at our apartment and I found out later in a wide area of the Northwest Metro. I had to find an ATM to get some cash and I was able to find one close by in Plymouth. The power finally came back on around 4:30pm. We loaded up and went to the airport, being shuttled there by one of our friends so that we did not have to pay the exorbitant parking fees for leaving one’s car at the airport for over a week. We arrived at the Northwest check-in location and found out that one of our bags was 10lbs overweight. The clerk was insistent that we rebalance the weight between our bags. I was really perturbed to say the least, it was hot outside, I wanted to get on the airplane and get to California, not deal with some cranky clerk with an attitude. We took our bags to the side and attempted to rebalance them to the proper weight. We went back to the counter and tried again, we were still overweight, not as much, but still overweight. I had an idea and it worked, but I was still pretty ticked off about the clerks attitude. After getting luggage checked, it was on to security and I expected to have problems because of my ankle and foot having the plate and metal pins. To my surprise I did not set off the metal detector and we were on our way. We boarded the aircraft on time and waited what seemed like an eternity. We kept seeing these mechanic types come on and off the plane and that is never a good sign. We left 20 mins late and arrived early in LA. We claimed our luggage and caught the shuttle to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, there were a couple of big events going on, so there were a lot of people milling around. We were able to get checked in and up to our room right away. The picture above is the room that we stayed in at the Four Points Sheraton near LAX. Incidentally, the bed is one of those comfort beds that they advertise. There was a card on the bed that described every component of the bed, including pillows and sheets and where one could purchase an identical bed. The bed was very comfortable but probably overpriced.
Day 2- Trekking northward towards Ventura
We got up moderately early so we could pick up our rental car and begin our journey northward towards Ventura. When I had booked this hotel, I was assured by a staff member via email that the rental car company shuttles stopped at this hotel. When I talked to someone in guest services I found out otherwise, so we had to walk a few blocks to get to the Hertz location to pick up our car. The second picture on the right is a view from our hotel room the next morning. Well, when we arrived at Hertz, we were there along with everyone else who was on vacation. It was 9:45 and our car was reserved for 10 AM. They had 28 stations but only four clerks working. I said to my wife, we are going to be here for a while! The closer it got to 10 AM, clerks started arriving and the stations were filling up which allowed them to process more people and get them on their way. We did not have to wait too long and we got a really nice 2005 Toyota Camry which only had 3000 miles on it. We were ready to go!
We hurried back to the hotel and got our luggage together checked out and headed northward. It was nice to be back in California! Our first stop was Westwood and Beverly Hills. Remember, I grew up here so a lot of these places I had either been to, or did not care much about because I was not a tourist. My wife had not been to or seen some of these places, so I showed them to her for her enjoyment. We saw the Beverly Hills hotel, Rodeo Drive, the former homes of Jimmy Stewart and Lucille Ball. We also went by and stopped at Graumann’s Chinese Theater, another Hollywood landmark and took pictures of the various stars handprints, footprints and messages to Sid Graumann. Hollywood is one of those places that people who live in So Cal know about, but never venture there. We were there in the midst of a lot of people trying to do the same thing we were, take pictures. It was getting hot outside and we hadn’t eaten anything. I was starting to feel nauseous and we both were a little cranky because of it.
We finally made our way to my old stomping grounds in Woodland Hills. I showed my wife various landmarks of my teenage years there. Where I caught the city bus to go to school, where I played video games after school. Where I went to school, etc. We stopped at a Jack in the Box restaurant that I used to frequent when I was a teenager. We were hungry and tired and needed to eat!
After we ate and cooled off in the air conditioned restaurant, we headed towards Ventura. Our final destination that evening was the Pierpont Inn….
More details and pictures later…..