Kate goes to California, Day 6: Los Angeles

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As predicted, when I woke up on day 6, I couldn’t lift my arms higher than shoulder level. Washing my hair that morning was super fun.

We left the B&B around 9:00, not actually ever meeting the owner. I had heard someone in the kitchen when I was getting dressed, but there were no other guests there and I think she lived mostly in a guest house on the property. We put our key back in the lockbox and headed out.

The little restaurant next to our B&B in #ojai. We went to Wendy's. Haha! #kategoestocalifornia This is the little restaurant right across the street from the B&B. We had opted NOT to try their burritos the night before (hence, Wendy’s).

We went through Ojai proper, stopping at a grocery store to get muffins and juice for breakfast in the car. We were headed for Los Angeles and had to get there by noon for very exciting afternoon plans. Our trip took us up and around a mountain, and then through Santa Paula and Fillmore.

#ojai #kategoestocalifornia

USA! USA! USA! #fillmore #kategoestocalifornia They have a lottttt of flags. USA! USA! USA!

#santapaula #kategoestocalifornia

#fillmore #kategoestocalifornia

Then we hit highway 5, and boy was it good to be on a major highway again.

Next stop!! #losangeles #kategoestocalifornia

We made it to LA without any problems, and found our destination. We were early, so we stopped for lunch and killed some time in a little independent pizza place.

Just before 1:00, we headed down the street to Universal Studios.

Okay, so. I have been a huge fan of Chelsea Handler ever since a friend told me about her show way back when. I think she’s hilarious and I don’t care that she’s mean to people, it’s funny. Her panel always has me in fits of giggles. I knew she was finishing up with Chelsea Lately this past summer, so when we planned this trip, I checked the ticket website, no joke, twice a day minimum, in the hopes that she would still be filming when we got there. As it turned out, the following week was her last week, so when the July dates were finally posted, I pounced on them. No guest had been listed but I didn’t care, I grabbed the tickets and was soooo excited for it.

Chelsea Lately taping! #losangeles #kategoestocalifornia

You aren’t supposed to take pictures in the studio – in fact I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to bring my phone in at all, but I couldn’t help it, and I also couldn’t help snapping this picture really quickly:

Shhhh, don't tell Chelsea Lately security that I snuck a pic inside the studio. #chelsealately losangeles #kategoestocalifornia

The guest ended up being Kelsey Grammer! It was a terrific taping, and when I watched the show later, I was pretty sure I could hear myself laughing, which I’m sure does not surprise anyone who knows me.

After the taping, which went later than we expected it to, we had to hurry across the city to find our condo and meet the owner’s girlfriend, who was letting us in. If I remember correctly, it took us a couple tries to find the right street, and the condo ended up being built on a giant hill, but eventually we managed to park the car in a place where it wouldn’t roll right into the road, and make our way inside. It was one of those building that had outside spaces inside, if that makes any sense – this was a giant open area in the middle of the hallway:

The view from the open-air hallway at our #losangeles condo. #kategoestocalifornia

I had chosen our condos specifically for their proximities to the ballparks we were going to. It had worked out perfectly in San Francisco. In LA, google maps had told me that Dodger Stadium was only a 15 minute walk from the condo, which was great.

Sigh.

If only, right?

Here’s what google maps doesn’t tell you. That Dodger Stadium sits at the top of a literal mountain, that half the walk to the stadium was steep downhill through a literal ravine, and the other half was up that mountain. By the time we got to the top – which, thanks to my Fitbit I know was the equivalent of walking up 13 stories, I wasn’t just out of breath. I was downright irrationally MAD, because I was still a little crunchy from the day before and the LAST thing I wanted to do that night was climb a mountain. I was already dreading the walk home through the ravine. And our seats were in the nosebleeds, in the second to last level of the stadium.

“Yeah, we’re finding a fucking elevator,” I think I muttered. “I am NOT walking up 15 more stories to our seats.”

I was a great travel companion that day. HAHA.

Getting up to our seats was worth it in the end, because Dodger Stadium is a neat place and we had a great view. It had nothing on the view from AT&T Park in San Francisco, but was cool in its own right.

Climbed a literal mountain to get here but I suppose it was worth it. #ladodgers #dodgerstadium #losangeles #mlb #baseball #kategoestocalifornia

The game itself was a lot of fun (I think we saw some young hotshot pitcher but I can’t really remember those kinds of details – I tend to remember really important things like the fact that I thought I could probably outrun SF Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval) and the Dodgers won which I thought was good because Dodger fans are craaaaaazy. Oh, and I tried my first churro! Remember how I was talking about the ballpark food being way better in the US than at home? I figured I should probably try the snack that had made me giggle the most, the all-important churro. It was yummy even though I ended up with Cinnamon Sugar Cleavage (it’s a common ailment). And I got my ballpark pics in, although I’m not certain what is wrong with my face in the first one. At least I was wearing my Dodger blue!

I don't know what's wrong with my face in this photo, but I'm wearing my Dodger blue!! #ladodgers #losangeles #mlb #baseball #dodgerstadium #kategoestocalifornia

Ballpark selfies are a requisite. #mlb #baseball #ladodgers #dodgerstadium #losangeles #kategoestocalifornia

I read only afterward that apparently you can see the Hollywood sign from the stadium, but either it was behind us or we are blind, because we never saw it.

#dodgerstadium at night. #ladodgers #mlb #baseball #losangeles #kategoestocalifornia

Speaking of the Hollywood sign, we had talked about going out to see it. We really had no interest in doing any of the touristy things in Los Angeles, like Rodeo Drive and the Walk of Fame. We really were there only for the ballgame, and the Chelsea taping was an added bonus. In the end by the time the game ended we were tired and didn’t really feel like driving half an hour out of our way just to see the sign.

Incidentally, we did not get home the same way we got to the stadium, because I just flat out refused to navigate the ravine. (Seriously, I was a lot of fun that night.) Dodger Stadium runs free buses from the terminal to the ballpark and back again, so we hopped on a bus to the terminal and then took a 5 minute cab ride back to the condo. I was asleep probably 20 minutes after getting home.


Kate goes to California, Day 5: Highway 1

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I feel as though I could start every California post with the sentence, “one of the things I was most looking forward to was…” because I was looking forward to every single part of it.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 29th, we awoke early, cleared out of the condo, and headed out to pick up our rental car at Union Square. It was time to leave San Francisco and start our journey down the coast.

If you’re wondering what my bruise looked like by then, here you go:

#kategoestocalifornia #bruise

After a bit of a gong show at the car rental place (thanks mostly to the fact that our travel agent put the reservation in the wrong name AND the wrong location – and also, the manager at Alamo who helped us out looked at my driver’s license and said, “so your birthday is April 21, 1967?” Um. Not quite.), we were given keys to a car and told where to find it in the parking garage around the corner. As we walked into the garage, I pulled a classic Kate move, and tripped over a fucking SPEED BUMP and went flying. I landed flat on the concrete, bracing myself on my hands. My first thought was, ohhh lady, your shoulders and neck are going to killllll you after a day of driving! Once I had righted myself and was assured that I had no broken bones, we continued up several levels to where they had told us our car would be.. and found an empty lot. I tried calling the office so they could just tell us where it was, and couldn’t get through to anyone, so we went back down. By that point, the line was incredibly long and we were already behind, so I cut the line and spoke to the manager again, who looked confused when I told her there was no white car, in fact no car at all, where she’d told us it would be, but in a relatively short time she had keys to a little red Chevy Cruze, which was thankfully where it was supposed to be, and we were able to get on our way. After I loaded up on painkillers, I mean – and set a reminder timer for 3 hours so that the pain already radiating through my neck wouldn’t get too far ahead of me.

Getting out of San Francisco was relatively easy, considering it was 8:30 AM and what I would have thought was rush hour. We just hopped on highway 1 and headed south. We needed to get to Ojai by that evening, but other than that had no real agenda, and I wanted to take the scenic highway as far as we possibly could, so I had mapped out several stops along the way to program into the GPS and keep us on that road. The first city we programmed in was Pacifica, but there wasn’t anything we wanted to see there – it just served to get us on highway 1.

South today, please! #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#pacifica #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

Then we headed to Half Moon Bay, where we had planned to check out a few beaches that are known for the surfing and giant waves, but because it was kind of a gloomy morning, we just took a couple quick photos and then grabbed breakfast. At McDonald’s. For the class factor.

Kind of a gloomy morning in #halfmoonbay. #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#halfmoonbay #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

Then onto Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

No fun allowed in Santa Cruz No fun allowed in Santa Cruz.

#santacruz #kategoestocalifornia

I don't remember where this was but it was before Carmel. #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

Monterey was next, and we had planned to go to the aquarium, but it was absolutely PACKED when we got there, and we had a looooong drive ahead, so we didn’t want to take half an hour to find parking and then several hours in the aquarium. We just drove through the town and went past a chapel I had read about that was supposed to be quite pretty.

Santa Cruz? I think this was between Santa Cruz and Monterey, after the sun came out.

#monterey #kategoestocalifornia

From Monterey we went to Carmel-by-the-Sea, and to be honest, I think I could have stayed there forever. It took us quite a while to get through the line of cars going down through the village to the beach, and then we drove along the beach for a ways before we found somewhere we could park for a few minutes, but it was worth it.

#carmel #kategoestocalifornia

#carmel #california #kategoestocalifornia

#carmel #california #kategoestocalifornia

#carmel #california #kategoestocalifornia

By that time, the clouds had disappeared and the sun was out, and it was hot and beautiful. I just had to get my toes into the Pacific, and it had to be in Carmel. I abandoned my flip flops as soon as we reached the bottom of the steps down to the beach, and headed for the water.

Carmel-by-the-Sea. #carmel #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#carmel #california #kategoestocalifornia

I had intended only to go in ankle-deep, but I couldn’t help but wade in a little further to feel the waves wash up around my legs. Those waves are big, though, and the next thing I knew, I was wet up past my waist. I squealed and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Carmel-by-the-Sea. #carmel #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#carmel #california #kategoestocalifornia

Back at the car, I had to dig a towel out of my bag and fold it up on the seat of the car because my dress was soaked. It didn’t bother me one bit – I was happy to have actually gotten my feet (and half my body) into the ocean.

Our next order of business was to get through the mountains, and find some lunch. We ended up finding lunch IN the mountains. We stopped at a lovely little roadside restaurant and had amazing sandwiches for lunch before hitting the road again.

#bigsur #kategoestocalifornia

The drive down highway 1 was every bit as beautiful as I had hoped it would be. At one point I remember saying, “why does anyone live anywhere other than California? Our sides of the highways sure don’t look like this!”

Why does anyone live anywhere other than California? No sides of highways back home look like this! #bigsur #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

Just a pretty stone tunnel on the side of a mountain on the edge of a cliff. You know, the usual. #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

Sorry not sorry for all the selfies. Yesterday I stood on the edge of the world. #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia That one time I stood on the edge of the world

We stopped in a tiny little village that I can’t remember the name of, just so that we could stretch our legs and get something to drink. It might have been near Cambria? It was basically one road, just off highway 1, and had a few souvenir shops, three real estate agents’ offices (the irony of which did not escape us), a gas station and a restaurant. It also had an ice cream shop, so after we grabbed soft drinks to go at the restaurant, we got ice cream cones. Something about eating an ice cream cone in the southern California sunshine just felt right to me.

#kategoestocalifornia

I was very glad to get out of the mountains, because although the drive was absolutely gorgeous, the twists and turns made me a tiiiiiny bit nauseous at times. This is a screen cap I took of the GPS, showing just a small section of the road. It continued like that for, oh, eight thousand miles?

twists and turns. #highway1 #california #kategoestocalifornia

In Cambria, we stopped at a roadside pull off for more pictures because clearly you cannot take too many photos of the beautiful California coastline. However, before I took these photos, a giant bug – and I mean GIANT BUG, like the size of a toonie at least (that’s a two-dollar coin for my non-American readers) – came flying at me. I squealed and ran out of its path, and I’m not kidding you guys, it changed direction and came after me again. And then it did it again. THREE DIFFERENT TIMES. Like, there were people watching. I drew a crowd. Finally, in desperation and certain that this bug was actually going to kill me, I reached out with my phone as a shield and literally whacked the bug with it as hard as I could. And it flew away. And then after I recovered from four heart attacks, we realized there were ELEPHANT SEALS napping and sunning themselves on the beach!

#highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

#cambria #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

Elephant seals taking naps in #cambria. #highway1 #kategoestocalifornia

The last official sightseeing stop on the list for the day was Morro Bay, and there wasn’t really anything to see there except this giant rock landmark, so of course, we took a picture of it.

#morrobay #kategoestocalifornia #california

However, while Morro Bay might have been the last “official” stop, it was not in fact the last stop we made before we got to our destination. Once through Morro Bay, we got off highway 1 and headed inland. And right around the time we turned onto a road where the GPS said our next turn was 70 miles away, I realized I needed to pee. Badly. I thought, okay, no problem, at the end of this road I’m sure there will be somewhere we can stop. Except that 70 miles in a long way, and it was a highway in the mountains in the middle of NO WHERE, and by the end of it, I thought I might die. We pulled off the highway as soon as possible and found what I thought was a convenience store. I ran inside and BEGGED the employee to let me use the washroom. He made me leave my purse, so I tossed it aside and ran behind the counter and down a hallway with floor to ceiling shelves packed with liquor bottles. I had a little giggle to myself as I finally peed, that I had just run into a liquor store in the middle of No Where, California, and pretty much yelled at the poor guy that I needed to use the washroom.

Our destination for the night was a B&B in Ojai. I chose that town because of the television show Brothers & Sisters (yes, seriously). It always looked so pretty in the show. It was dusk when we got there and found the house and instructions for getting in (the owner wasn’t home), and we were tired and I was feeling a little crunchy. We dropped our stuff, and ventured back out to find something to eat. The B&B was actually a little outside of Ojai in the tiny town of Meiners Oaks and choices were limited, so we settled on the Wendy’s drive thru and scarfed down some burgers. Then we found our way back to the pretty, I loaded up on painkillers and muscle relaxants to try and not be insanely sore the next morning from my parking lot fall early in the day, and fell into bed.

For the record, this was the pretty B&B:

#ojai #kategoestocalifornia

#ojai #kategoestocalifornia



There

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He’s there.

When I’m watching soccer.

When I yell “ya bum!” at overrated and overpaid baseball players.

When I’m driving and one of his favourite songs comes on the radio.

He’s there in his sister’s eyes.

My aunt claims she and my dad looked nothing alike.

In his grandson’s silly faces.

Carter - 16 1/2 months

In my sense of humour.

When a monarch butterfly flits past in the Rogers Centre in the middle of a baseball game.

When a silly expression of his suddenly pops into my head.

When I yawn and realize I make the same funny sound he did when he yawned.

He’s there in moments like this, when I realize I’m spending an evening doing exactly what he would do (soccer + book + dog).

Laying on the couch, reading and watching #soccer. Definitely channeling my dad tonight. Except I'm reading on an iPad and streaming the game online, and he would never have tolerated such nonsense. #missyoudad

When I do something boneheaded and I can hear his voice teasing me.

When we talk about all the funny things he said.

He’s there.

I just wish he was here.

Remembering this guy today and finding it hard to believe it's been 4 years since I saw his smiling face. Miss him every day. #dad #missyoudad