Surprise Side Trip!!!

When Robby told me that Los Angeles was only about as far away from San Diego as Shreveport is from Alexandria, I KNEW we had to plan a little "Surprise Side Trip" for everyone.

As Robby was printing our boarding passes off to head to San Diego, he mentioned that Los Angeles was in a decent driving distance from San Diego and the kids might enjoy taking a day trip there. I immediately thought it was a GREAT idea...but only if we didn't tell them where we would be going; keeping this a "surprise" would just add to the fun! So, when we got to the airport, Robby and I mentioned having a little mid-week surprise in store for everyone...and THAT'S when the guessing began! He told them to guess all they wanted, but if he heard the answer, we would not be going. I still heard whisperings for days...even from Robby's mother, who could be heard telling someone that she wasn't going to voice her guess because she wanted to go wherever we were planning to take them too.

The night before our departure to L.A., we told everyone that we needed to be up and on the road by 7 a.m. Well, we ended up running about an hour behind that scheduled departure time, but we were still doing pretty good for such a large group of people. Once on the road, we told them where we were heading. With excitement, people began updating their facebook status' to say, "Heading To Hollywood!"

It wasn't a bad road trip there and we easily found a parking garage to park that big, old 12 passenger van. Then, it was out to hit the pavement and find a new adventure here in California. I don't know why I thought L.A. would be warmer, but we were all pleasantly surprised at the cool temperature...and quite glad that we had brought our jackets and sweaters along. Our first stop was at the "Kodak Theatre'. We did not get to actually see the inside of the theatre itself, but DID get to walk into where the entrance was. WOW! I could now visualize this place when American Idol came on next season. We all grabbed a quick cup of hot coffee and headed out to catch some more sights.




As we made our way along the sidewalk, "stars" began to appear...well, not "people stars", but "sidewalk stars"; it was the "Walk of Fame"! Attempting to snap pictures of our favorite stars was a daunting task...all the tourists were STANDING on top of them. THAT'S when I decided that if one wanted to snap THEIR picture, they had to get just as pushy as some of those other tourists! While I was trying to get all the pictures I could, I looked up and there we were...standing outside of the "Chinese Theatre'! NOW it was REALLY on! I began edging my way in to get more pictures of the hand and footprints, along with their handwritten messages and signatures that were etched into the concrete. I sort of wandered off (like a dog chasing a squirrel...) and when I looked up, I saw my family in the distance stretching their necks and looking around. I KNEW they must be looking for me and made my way back around to them. It was time to head on down the road and Sarah made a request that turned out to be one of my FAVORITE parts of our little side trip to L.A.








Sarah asked if we could find "Madame Toussard's Wax Museum". I hadn't ever really visited any wax museums and wasn't sure what to expect. WOW! Was I PLEASANTLY SURPRISED! Now, THIS was definitely the way to go if you wanted to get your picture taken with the stars! We moved around taking snapshots with all of our favorite pop artists, movie stars and sports icons, past and present. And, OF COURSE, I was THRILLED to find MY personal favorite (and EVERY southern girl's idol...), Scarlett O'Hara! As one rounded each corner, a song from those music legends or famous line from a movie could be heard playing. So, naturally, when I saw Scarlett, I ran over to her just as Rhett said, "Frankly my dear...I don't give a damn." OH!!! I just LOVED this place; we ALL had SO much fun there. We moved right along for a little lunch at the "Pig and Whistle" next and then loaded back up in the van to "window shop" down Rodeo Drive!












The guys were not as excited about going to Rodeo Drive as we girls were, but I must say that they tolerated it quite well.  OK...all except Ryan, who by the end of the day had a melt down.  And to be fair to him, he WAS still suffering from that sunburn, in addition to begin subjected to the torture of shopping.  Not much was bought on Rodeo Drive, but Poppi DID buy Parker Ann the cutest little pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes on sale!  (I don't even have a pair of those...).  We FINALLY ended up back in the van and hungry for dinner, but decided to get out of L.A. first.  WOW!  Remember that good drive INTO L.A.?  Well, we all glanced at our watches as we sat in the WORST traffic I have ever seen.  It was 5 O'clock...It took us almost an hour just to get off of Santa Monica Blvd.!  We stopped halfway back to San Diego for dinner and by the time we turned onto our street the van was silent; everyone had fallen asleep from their very busy day.  Not too tired, however, to stop in the kitchen and have a taste of the delicious creme brulee' that Caitlin had made the day before.








Robby declared that Day 5 would be a "relaxing day"...WHEW...Thank goodness!  We would all be sleeping in, the next morning, lazing around the house until noon and then going out for the afternoon.

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