Road Trip 2013: Day 6, September 4, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Nonna & Pops arrive in Hollywood!
The night went well-Whitman ate twice as is the norm for the trip.  He has been sleeeping in bed with me and when he starts stirring I jump out of bed to get his bottle.  No one usually hears us at all and since he can kind of hold his bottle and since I can kind of hold it while sleeping soon we are both back to our peaceful sleep.  When he woke up at 5:30, I looked at the clock and thought “aw, I still have another hour before we get up.”  And then not one minute later, I heard the shower start.  I didn’t realize that Robby was hanging out in the bathroom.  I think he was that excited about picking up my folks that he couldn’t sleep.

As we were talking, Keaton stuck her head out of the closet and was soon getting her clothes on with Graham to go to breakfast with Robby.  I had my shower and then Reagan, Anderson, Campbell and I went downstairs for breakfast.  While at breakfast, there was a man behind me drinking water out of a gallon jug.  That was unusual to me but Campbell could not take her eyes off of him.  She finally
shouted out “look at what he is drinking, Momma.”  So I just quietly replied that he was very thirsty-goodness!  The man did get a good kick out of it.  Anderson was thrilled to see that they had vanilla yogurt and Reagan said that this was the best hotel yet.  Funny how the kids really have no concept of nice-this hotel was fine but we have had nicer already on the trip-but to Reagan it was the best yet!

We loaded up the car and did such a good job that Nonna is not going to have to sit on the roof after all.  The kids watched a movie and we drove back through windmill valley.  Pops text and said that they had landed and were walking to the next gate so they are getting close and since we left at 7:50, we were ahead of our little schedule.  We didn’t think there would be much traffic on the way to the airport since it is a weekday and all.  Surely there aren’t many cars in LA.  

Now on our way and even just a few miles from the hotel, Robby decided to pour himself a drink.  He picked up the 2 liter that had been rolling around the car and started to open it.  I asked if he wanted help but he said that he could do it.  In fact, he could not do it at all!  As you guessed the 2 liter fizzed and Robby ended up wearing more coke than what ended up in his glass!

The kids Ghostbusters cartoon said that they were in Tombstone, Arizona.  They thought it was pretty neat that we had just been there.  A few minutes later, Graham asked if we were in L.A. and I told him that we were not yet-there were only 5 lanes of traffic and not 7 or more like we will soon see.  Though at that time I was able to see the haze of smog hanging in the distance.  I can’t forget to have Anderson do his breather for the next few days-at least until we get to the clean air in Yosemite.  Well, I take that back-the air may be a bit smokey still there.
It wasn’t long before we were in LA and getting gas.  We filled up, pottied and headed across the street to Randy’s doughnuts.  Once we drove around forever looking for that place but today we drove right to it.  Robby was on a work call so I took everyone but the baby to go and pick out our doughnuts.  We just bought ourselves a dozen and then jumped back in the car to head to the airport.

Robby was still on his call driving through the streets of LA and I was climbing around in the back of the van passing out the best ever doughnuts.  The kids practically finished their doughnuts before I was back in my seat buckled-that is how good they were.  

While we were getting doughnuts, Pops called to say that they had landed and were ready for their ride to arrive.  We navigated right to the airport and drove right to Nonna and Pops like we had knew exactly what we were doing.  The kids were delighted to see them and Pops said that the best part of his day so far was seeing them.  Graham shouted “I know.”  Keaton continued shouting at Nonna telling her things-she wanted to tell Nonna that she was buckled, that she had on shoes, that she ate a doughnut and on and on.

Our next adventure led us down the 405, 105, 605 and probably a variety of other interstates and over a zillion HOV lanes to the Santa Monica pier.  The HOV lanes are just plumb awesome-even the kids realized how neat it was to be zooming past the other cars in the parking lot of the freeways.  The first stop with Nonna and Pops was the Santa Monica Pier.  

We found a pretty perfect parking spot and then walked down the pier.  There was lots to see including the ending point of Route 66.  Everyone really wanted to do the rides at the pier but Robby was able to convince them that more was to come.  When we left the pier we walked down to the Pacific.  

We let the kids take off their shoes-Robby was following Sonia’s advice to “not be so tense.”  We told them to not get their clothes wet knowing how that was to end.  Luckily they didn’t get too wet and Keaton was the only one to end up in the water-Anderson had to rescue her.  She had run to the edge of the water like the big kids but she just couldn’t turn and run back quickly enough.  

After we took the customary baby’s feet in the Pacific Ocean we walked back towards the car.  We did stop to hose everyone’s feet off and then we were on our way.  While we loaded up, Robby bought lemonade for everyone to cool off with.  It wasn’t too long of a drive through the streets of LA until we made it to Rodeo Drive.  Robby dropped me and Nonna off and we spent a few bucks there (kidding).  

Then we ate lunch at Pinks Hot Dogs.  The kids had plain hot dogs.  I had one with sour cream, tomatoes and relish.  Robby’s hot dog was a tortilla wrap with a polish dog, chili, cheddar cheese and bacon.  Pops had a hot dog with mushroom, bacon, melted cheese and onions (the Mulholland Drive Dog) and Nona had a cheese, chili, and onion dog.  And everyone had Orange or Grape Crush in a bottle.  This was quite a big treat for my kids since sharing a coke is usually the norm.  Yes, Pops bought the drinks for the kiddos and after seeing how excited they were about that he will probably buy them their own drinks for the rest of the trip-he will come back a pauper!  Though it didn’t get him much praise with Campbell because just a few minutes later, Pops told Graham to eat more of his hot dog and Campbell said “you know you aren’t our Daddy.” Robby reminded her though that he was her Pops.

After Pinks, we headed up into the Hollywood Hills.  And when I say up, I mean way up.  We have a spot that we have been to a few times that takes you to one of the best and closest places to view the Hollywood Sign.  The road up there is narrow and curvy and when we finally made it, we hopped out to take our picture.  Then we hopped back in the van and had to turn around to get down.  We didn’t think that Robby would be able to back down that road so he had to turn around.  The road was about 6 feet wide and this car is about 16 feet long-wouldn’t you have loved seeing him turn around.  Back and forth, back and forth, over and over again until finally he made it.  I was out of the van to make sure that he didn’t back into soemone’s garage door and then to make sure that he didn’t plummet over the side of the hill.  It didn’t help Robby’s nerves any that a police man had pulled out and was patiently waiting on us to turn around.  I waved to him in my best friendly, Southern wave.  

Then it was back down the hills to drive through Hollywood and Vine followed by a stop at the walk of fame.  We found a great spot to park (not really realizing that it was a 15 minute only spot-so Robby had to keep returning to the car to fill the meter).  We saw where the Academy Awards is held and then walked to see all of the stars in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  

Stars were neat and the kids enjoyed putting their hands in them.  But that isn’t the interesting part.  The interesting part was all of the “characters” on the street.  Of course there was a Spiderman and Star Wars person there-those folks that expect a tip if you take a picture near them.  But the interesting part was Graham’s reactions to some of the lady characters.  One was a penthouse bunny girl and Graham could not take his eyes off of her.  Then there were two other lovely ladies dressed as police officers.  Graham kept asking if they were “real police officers.”  Anderson was interested in them but not nearly as much as Graham was.  I quickly covered their eyes and hightailed it back to the car.  Well, we did hightail it to the car but more because of the meter than the characters.  

Back in the car, we passed out the juice boxes and headed on.  We crawled slowly down the road to another road where we crawled even more slowly.  Robby was not so patiently waiting for a HOV lane but it seemed to never come.  Anderson kept asking when we were going to get there and we kept telling him “30 minutes”-the GPS said that it was only going to take us 30 more minutes for about an hour.  The kids were happy with their Kindles and we were busy watching the sites and traffic.

We made it to the hotel which is the best ever Disneyland hotel.  It is right across the street from Disneyland.  At Disney World you stay on site and may even stay at the closest hotel to Magic Kingdom but that still includes a 15 minute bus ride and monorial ride.  This is right across the street-in 100 yards I could be walking through the gates of Disneyland or California Adventure.  

Our room is on the 3rd floor which is fine-not as convenient to the car and laundry but we are on the end of the building closest to the street so we are that much closer to Disneyland.  The kids were more thrilled that we had another pull out sleeper sofa in this room than anything else.  Oh and they also love staying in motels like this and Nonna and Pops have an adjoining room to ours-the kids were so excited with all of this that they were jumping on the beds and climbing on tables like they had never stayed in a hotel before.

Robby and Pops unloaded the van while I unpacked as quickly as possible.  Then we had quiet time and I gathered the kids back to our room so Nonna could rest for a bit.  Pops was supposed to get to rest but he ended up walking over to the park to get our tickets with Robby.  After our brief rest, we headed to the pool and to put some laudnry in the wash.

The kids enjoyed playing-Nonna sat on the edge and Robby swam with them.  The water was a bit cold so Pops and I stuck our legs in the hot tub.  Whitman enjoyed swimming and so does Keaton.  And Cambpell will be plump exhausted from all of the dog paddling she did tonight.  After a while swimming (actually after the exact amount that our clothes were in the wash) we headed back upstairs to get ready for supper.

We didn’t have to work too hard to prepare for supper since we had a picnic in the room.  Pops seemed impressed with our choices-turkey, cheese, jelly, peanut butter, pimento cheese, chips, salsa, cheese sticks, grapes, bread, tortillas-us Dennies know how to picnic.  We even forgot to pull out dessert.  But that is probably a good thing-I started off with 3 flat bins full of food (one was big, one was medium and one was small.  The little one is empty now and is not longer a food bin but now a paper collection bin (yes, my bins not only have numbers but also names).  And the other 2 are becoming more and more empty.  By the time that we leave here, we will probably have to run by a store.

After supper, Anderson and Graham studied the maps that they picked up in Hollywood.  They are beside themselves excited about going to Cars Land.  I keep reminding them that we will not go that direction in the morning but they don’t care-they can not stop talking about it.  I better set out Reagan’s Mickey Mouse earrings because I know that she will want to wear them in the morning.  The Disney shirts are laid out, the trading pins and autograph books are in the bag and soon we will be up at the gates!

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