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Vacation Round Up

October 8th, 2011 at 08:01 am

I'll take a guess and say we ended up around $950. We had $700 to spend, plus can maybe squeeze $200 from the regular gas and grocery budget, so not bad. It seemed were we spending less than planned, so I didn't bother keeping track. (But yeesh, it does add up fast!).

Pictures and costs later.

Monday we drove down and thus started the theme to our "be flexible" vacation. We left around 8:30 with a 3:00 ETA. We were planning to stop about half way for a picnic at a rest stop, but the one we had aimed for was CLOSED. Oy vey! I quickly put in parks/gardens, etc. into the GPS but we were simply in the middle of nowhere. Certainly nothing the GPS could help us find. We settled for Jack-in-the-box parking lot because it was like the first place we saw. While eating and looking at their window ads, I said we should probably get some ice cream so we could get out and stretch. (There was just really no where to get out and walk around - just streets and busy parking lots). Dh happened to have a $10 gift card (credit card reward - VERY random) and so we went inside and got more food for free.

OF course LA traffic sucked, so we arrived about 4pm. Which was fine - hotel check in 4pm.

Nice surprise - didn't have to pay for parking. MIL had changed her timeshare thing to "elite" and though I expected to pay a chunk of change for their parking fee, I was excited that it was $0.

We had stayed at this hotel before, and it is just a few blocks from Disneyland. I REALLY wanted to go to Disneyland. Their night event we could have prepaid $200 for, but seemed pretty iffy to do so with such a big drive. But once we were there I REALLY wanted to go. I think dh thought I was a little crazy, but he obliged. We walked over to see if we could even get tickets. IT was about 5pm and we were in luck. IF the place was crowded it was going to suck, but if empty I knew we would have a blast. So we took the risk.

$240 and we were in! (All day would have cost $300+).

There were no lines and we rode several rides twice. The Toon Town was closed and the FantasyLand was crammed with kids. By the time we made it back they had shut down FantasyLand. Frown But other than that, we did all the rides we wanted to. LM and I were pretty exhausted by 10:00 though we had one more hour. We decided we did well and started to make our way out.

We were in the park but 5 minutes when we ran into other families from school. Too funny! Actually, several people asked us if we went to the school because we looked familiar. We didn't see anyone *we* really knew. Lord knows why we stand out so much. LOL. We thought it would be likely since many people were going down, but not the second we got there. Maybe because it was so empty. We didn't see anyone else all week but the same people near the restaurants, etc.

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Day 2 was our low key day. We slept in and went over to the La Brea tar pits and their museum. I don't think I have ever been and it was SO COOL! We got interviewed for a TV show. IT was definitely the LA experience.

We met dh's friend at a hot dog place called Vicious Dogs. Dh had heard about it, but it is not well known at all. I highly recommend if you are in the area. We had to try their bacon wrapped hot dogs. YUM.

This is near Hollywood, so we did the Hollywood thing and went to the Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theater, and the Ripley's Believe it or Not museum. We have one in SF and we have certainly been, but the kids never had.

We drove by LA Ink since it was right by the big tourist trap. I am glad we did. I wouldn't have gone out of the way or anything, but the place looked so TINY. The building is actually on the corner, and it was kind of fun to see how TV pretties things up and makes them look different. IT looks like this tiny little crappy building on the corner. To top it off I just happened to see Kat's brother walking down the street towards the building.

IT was only Tuesday and I Was already sick of crappy food and restaurant food in general. I just wanted a giant salad, so we seeked out Sizzler. Thankfully it had a really nice salad bar. (In Sacramento we have a newer "luxury" Sizzler and it is DIVINE. This one was close enough - the salad bar did compare).

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Wednesday was supposed to be a full day at Disney OR California Adventure (or both). We hadn't decided, but Tuesday night BM's cough was acting up (he hasn't had any signs of asthma in like a YEAR, but of course I Didn't bring his inhaler and he started getting that usual cough). Forecast called for rain so we were felling pretty iffy on a big Disney day.

We decided Wednesday morning to skip it. IT was COLD and pouring down rain. Forescast called for rain ALL DAY.

I can't say I Was too upset. Disney was kind of a side/on a whim thing, and we had covered that on a discount. So, I was satisfied.

Dh had seen some signs for a dinosaur exhibit at some museum. So we decided to go to some famous donut place for breakfast and hit the museum.

http://www.nhm.org/site/

This was SO the highlight of our trip. The museum was incredible. I have been to several museums and this was by far the best museum I have ever been to in the States. They had these interactive computers everywhere and the most amazing dinosaur display (among other things). We thought we might go for a little while, but had to be kicked out at 5pm pretty much. They are serious about their 5pm closing!

For dinner we checked out a newer area closer to our hotel (Wasn't there last time). They had all the big name restaurant chains and the lines were out the door. We settled for Indian food because no one was there. We spent $70 on dinner. I was annoyed because I just wanted some supermarket fare (deli sandwich?) but dh wanted "real food."

Mental note - close walking distance is good, but unless you get there early and want to spend a lot of money, don't bother! They were all pricey chains, otherwise.

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Thursday we did LegoLand. The 7 hours that they were open was not enough. Last time we really had the impression that it was a *little kid* place, but the kids were definitely not bored. They have tons of stuff for older kids too. I wouldn't pay full price again probably, but we got in for $160 (the kids were free).

For dinner, we met up with friends and they treated. WE had a divine Thai feast (a restaurant by our hotel that we had found last time). YUM!

That night BM hit his head by the pool and we spent a couple of hours going to emergency, etc. HE is totally fine. QUITE the black eye, though.

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Yesterday we slept in and checked out the last minute possible (10am). WE can do late check out with MIL's timeshare *elite* status, but we wanted to get going on the long drive. The kids wanted McDonalds for lunch (we let BM choose in his black eye state) and we got home around 6pm. We had to stop by the grocery store for bread, so we picked up some sushi too. We decided to have hot pockets, ramen noodles and sushi for dinner. Don't ask. It was both quick and cheap. LOL.

Today we get to eat REAL food again. Oh, I am so ready for good home cooking.

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We did so good on gas. On the way down we had cringed at gas prices, so were pleases when we found $4.04 per gallon in the middle of nowhere, just before the last stretch. BUT, right after we filled up dh spotted $3.75. !!!

So, on the way back we stopped and filled up for $3.75, which had also been the price by our hotel. For reference, that is the same price as at home. Dh thought I was crazy and we were fighting about it. "Why would you fill up there? We've only been driving 2 hours." Um, so we can fill up at home again and skip all the $4+ gas. Geez Louise. For reference, he is like the cheapest person I know. But he was really annoyed I stopped so early for gas. I had to pee anyway, so was stopping regardless! All I have to say is I am writing down the place and it is the only place *I* will ever stop for gas again between here and LA. I need to remember! We could have easily paid $4.30 or so anywhere else along the way.

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Overall the trip was a pretty good success but I am SO HAPPY to be HOME and sleeping in my own bed. Home Sweet Home! Neither dh nor I really care *that much* for travel. LA has some cool stuff, sure, but I was sure sick of all the traffic and smog. & no bed compares to my bed. I just never sleep as well anywhere else. & we tire so quickly of all that eating out! Our bodies are just used to much better food.

1 Responses to “Vacation Round Up”

  1. Looking Forward Says:

    Sounds like you guys squeezed a lot in! Big Grin What good family time.

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