A Travellerspoint blog

Day 33 Los Angeles to Auckland

overcast 15 °C

A slow morning following another late night, but knowing tonight would be our last at LAX airport there was a renewed enthusiasm. Some breakfast (still doing our best to avoid the pastries, donuts and cakes), some packing ready to check out at 12, half hour on Skype with Louis my son, and a generally chilled morning and we felt ready to head for the number 40 metro bus down Hawthorne Boulevard to Redondo Beach and the a South Bay Galleria, which is a big shopping mall. The number 40 was full of locals when we got on and there were at least 3 people who instantly offered us their seats, seeing that we had 2 kids and a double buggy (stroller).

Lunch and a new hand luggage bag which would allow us to reduce from 14 items to watch down to 13 and we were on our way back to the hotel to collect our bags they'd stored for us and head for LAX. Telling Dottie for the third night in a row that she was about to go on a plane made we wonder if she believed us, but as always she was in high spirit. We bagged a bassinette seat and were very impressed with what Air New Zealand had to offer, having spent almost our entire flying time on 'the worlds favourite airline'. It was interesting to compare.

A 13 hour flight with a 2 year old and a 7 month old is not perhaps all that high up on your 'how best to spend the next 13 hours' league table, but thanks to the fact that both kids were just a dream, and with the help of 'Tap the Frog', both Nat and I couldn't believe how 'ok' we felt as we touched down in Auckland 2 minutes ahead of schedule at 6.43 on Monday 22nd.


Posted by cpbrooks 02:33 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Day 32 Los Angeles to Los Angeles......again

Shrimps, sharks, standby

sunny 20 °C

Deciding to make the most of an extra day in L.A. We set off for the Aquarium of the Pacific down at Long Beach. It's one of those cities where no matter where you are going from and too, every trip is half an hour, so by the time we updated the campervan people and friends and family in N.Z of our delayed arrival, and got ourselves together it was approaching lunchtime.

Our first odd thing of the day was the taxi ride down to Long Beach. We rocked up with the two kids and a double buggy (stroller) fully expecting to jump in the taxi, but Matt our driver wouldn't take us without car seats for the kids. Obviously this makes travelling around in Long Beach somewhat limited. Public transport isnt easy and it further supports the theory that you really need a car of your own for L.A. Anyhow Matt kindly suggests holding on to the car seats whilst we visit the Aquarium and gave us his number to call him when we were done.

I'd never heard of the restaurant we had lunch in, Bubba Gump Shrimps, although from updates from FB it seems many of you have. Really recommend it for a fun and different place to eat. The cocktails and drinks menu was a table tennis bat that had been turned into a ring binder, if you can imagine. We accidentally had two cocktails and two large beers between us. They are due to launch in London in the next few months


Beautiful weather, a couple of drinks and the disappointment of last night (and by that I mean not getting a seat on the Brisbane flight) was soon forgotten. We continue to be amazed by the climate here, check out this floral display, late October, outside Bubba Gump


Dot loves fish, I'm not sure she has put two and two together yet that following fish and chips at Bubba Gump she then went to see lots of her favourite fish at the aquarium. Most of all though she loved the play area they had where she was able to press buttons to squirt water, we couldn't get her away.


Dot even plucked up the courage to touch the baby sharks.


Our second night at LAX airport proved no more successful than the first. We saw a couple of people from the previous night who were also trying to get on. Our expectation was that we wouldn't get on so we made the most of chatting to them and wondering where the other people from last night had disappeared to. The kids were great, back at midnight and straight on the phone to book our Air New Zealand flight direct to Auckland. A slight dent in the budget but a guaranteed trip out tomorrow, and direct, which is great.

Emergency Chinese at the airport last night and a fortune cookie that brought a smile to our faces......


Posted by cpbrooks 10:01 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Day 31 Los Angeles to...Los Angeles

Bye bye beast, 911, fast food, shuttle bus, breast pump

semi-overcast 26 °C

Parting with the beast was a sad moment. In a 'difficult to turn, reverse, pull over, get round bends' kind of way we grew to love it. With just two hours sleep, two kids and a van to get packed up and over the other side of L.A., it was never down as a nice morning. Dottie walked off at one point and we found her by the shuttle bus stop for Disneyland.....she had better plans.

Beast back at Cruise America it was off in style to the Holiday Inn up near LAX airport just so we had a base and a potential emergency bed for the night should our standby tickets to Brisbane go tits up. The flights a late night one, 23.45. A full stretched limo ride later we are at the hotel.

Settling into the hotel, which is surrounded by Macdonalds, Poco Loco, KFC, Taco Bell etc etc we knew lunch would be fast food and dinner would be fast food. Great!! (I think I can see the pounds going on) Hopefully we'd get some rest in the afternoon. Nat then realised we'd left the breast pump in the beast......with the risk of 'explosion', we decided to take the embarrassment and call Cruise America to see what they could do (about getting us the pump, not risk of explosion) The outcome was a breast pump being driven in a stretched limo across L.A. at our expense, but cheaper than a new pump (it wasnt a posh limo by any means). I picture it sitting there all on its own on the rear leather seats, in the height of luxury.

To further ensure that we managed to get no rest we got a call from the police. It seems someone had made a 911 emergency call from room 124, our room. We explained that a combination of using a 9 to get an outside line, the fact that the US is +1 and the number we'd been trying to call was 1-800-BREASTPUMP, it's easy to see where we went wrong. Police satified, the phone goes again and its the hotel reception checking we are ok. Moments later the manager turns up at the door, obviously not convinced by the call and because we obviously look like shady customers. A quiet afternoon turns into 'all round to ours' for a party.

No sleep, courtesy of the kids, the breast pump and the police (and perhaps a touch of our own stupidity, but obviously not a major factor!!), all packed up into our 14 items (from Day 3 or 4 I think) and it's off to LAX......only to bring the very same 14 items back 4 hours later. No seats. The joys of standby travel. The good news was we didnt lose anything....for once. Secretly I was rather excited to sleep in a nice hotel bed, rather than stuffed up the end of the over cabin bed in the beast or precariously cramped up trying to sleep on the plane with one or other, or perhaps sometimes both, kids on my head.

Not our best day, and we've lost the ability to upload pictures for some reason, not that there were any to note today.

So its another day in L.A.....one less in N.Z.

Posted by cpbrooks 20:14 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Day 30 Disneyland

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, goofy

sunny 32 °C

We set off for Disneyland with a very excited Dottie. She was going to see her favourite Minnie in her house. A hot day ahead with the forecast of 32 degrees we sun creamed up, got our complimentary muffins from the campsite and boarded the free shuttle bus.

Everything at Disney is Halloween themed, pumpkins of all shapes and sizes everywhere.


Walking down Main Street we hit the castle and Fantasyland ( there would be no grown up rides......it was all about Dottie today, shes done mountains and lakes and hiking for a month........ No bears (except Winnie) or raccoons ........hopefully......maybe a few chipmunks.


Dumbo was worth the 30 minute queue (line) and the Mad Hatters Tea Party sent Dot into a spin.


It's a small world after all......had both Nat and me in tears.......it is a very small world after all. The song fills the rest of your day whether you like it or not.


Clearly, a very popular ride. I've never seen so many kids in one place.


The highlight of the trip was meeting the real Minnie Mouse. She invited us in her house and in Dots massive excitement, she lost it. Dot that is, not Minnie. Full on terror at just a mouse......


I think Dottie was pleased to find that Mickey was away on a film shoot and so she had his house to herself. She used his phone to call Betty Noo Noo (it seems most calls are to Betty Noo)? We somehow found the courage to see Goofy.


The day was topped off with pineapple ice cream, a ride on the carousel, the parade and darkness.


A fabulous day.....our only big mistake was sitting up until 4am once back at camp drinking beer with some new Aussie friends we made......ouch

Posted by cpbrooks 18:41 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Day 29 Kings Canyon to Anaheim (Los Angeles)

Fruit, laundry, swimming


Nat and I were both a bit reluctant to leave the mountains and the national parks. There is a certain calmness about everything, everyone is civil, time just passes without a fuss. But, we have a plane to catch and we decided to attempt our longest drive yet and go all the way to L.A......260 odd miles, down through Orange Cove, across to highway 99, through Bakersfield and then on south to the interstate 5 and on to L.A. Question is could the kids hack it? The prize would be a whole day at Disneyland....not that either of them know what Disneyland is. 

We pass endless valley floor covered in fruit trees. Row after row. Oranges, grapes, apples and lots of other things we couldn't identify flying past at 70 miles an hour. 


At Bakersfield I was regretting not taking my camera in the Wallmart as Dottie wandering through the halloween costumes looked like it was potential going to be photo of the day. 

About an hour out from L.A. you reach the bottom of the central valley of California and the mountains of the Sierra Madre and Tehachapi ranges appear. As we passed up over these we entered the Angeles National Forest and got some great views of Pyramid Lake, a potential camp area had we not made such good time.


As we leave the National Forest the traffic of L.A. starts and we are back in the chaos of the city before we know it. The Sat Nav, which I know I have slatted in previous blog updates, finally paid her way. Directing us to what feels like heaven at the Anaheim Resort RV Park.  For the first time in a month we have what is called a full hook up, basically, sewage, electricity and water all direct to the beast and unlike the last 7 days, we don't have to be concerned about using resources. It's all on tap. I realise that not all of you, but maybe some, will relate to this pleasure......the two doors to the right of the beast are a very posh washroom and shower, and a full on laundry........imagine our joy!!!


To add to this, it's bloody hot and we have a pool and jacuzzi......oh, and wifi, free wifi, all night. And.....the Disneyland shuttle stops about 30 yards from the beast, so no beast tomorrow either, just Mickey and his friends. This actually must be heaven. 


We've  done 3 lots of washing, showered and are now heating up the left over pasta bolognese from last night........we miss the raccoon though. It's been 32 degrees here today and we are sitting out in mid October on the sort of night we rarely enjoy back home. We love Southern California.


One little boy couldn't take the pace.....


Posted by cpbrooks 22:38 Archived in USA Comments (4)

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