Monday, June 28, 2010

Monterey, CA

After traveling up Highway 1 to Monterey, we decided to stop for the night and spend the following day there. I was okay with that plan because it allowed me to see some more sights from the book. Monterey was the original capital of California, a little fact I was unaware of before this week. The town is beautiful and still contains more than 40 buildings built before 1850. We started the morning out at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

We saw lots of fish and sharks...


and more jellyfish...

Pink flamingos...

Sea horses...

and even cooler sea horses...

and the cute penguins.

I thought this was funny, but maybe I am just immature.

After the Aquarium we headed over to Pebble Beach. You don't have to be a golfer to enjoy the holy- grail of golf courses. But if you are, you can play a round for $450. Or, you can pay $10 and just view the course along the 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. That's what we did. Here are few goodies from the many pictures I took along the way...

Check out the fog...

Those are Sea Lions on the right side of the rock!

After Pebble Beach, it was time to head to San Fransisco. We booked our hotel off of We were expecting some sort of national chain hotel, but were surprised when we found out we'd be staying at Hotel Kabuki in Japantown. As soon as we walked into the hotel, we were all excited to stay there. The hotel has beautiful accomodations and I think it's safe to stay we've never stayed in a neighborhood or a hotel quite like this one before. Upon entering our room, we had Japanese robes waiting for us.
Jordan getting some relaxation in...
Quote of the Day: "War! Huh-yeah, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing..."--Jordan, impersonating Jackie Chan from Rush Hour.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Route 1, is described by the book as "America's dream drive." The last leg of our family vacation will take place in San Fransisco, so we decided to take PCH from LA to San Fran. Today, the route took us through Malibu, Santa Barbara, the Santa Ynez mountains, Big Sur, and the Monterey Peninsula. The drive is full of breath taking views of both the ocean and mountains. I convinced my family to stop in Santa Barbara at La Super-Rica Taqueria for lunch. It is in the book and is a street corner "shack" famous for their soft tacos. When we arrived for lunch, the line wrapped around the building. After waiting so long the day before at Pink's, I knew I'd hear some groaning from my family. But as soon as the food hit their mouths, the complaining stopped.

I ordered the #1 and #9, steak soft tacos and a cheese quesadilla. This place was so good, and so far, my favorite food spot the book has suggested.

After lunch, it was time to hit the road again. We made a few stops for some must see views and stopped for the night in Monterey. Here are a few pictures from the drive.

At our last hotel, my brother and I found a CD behind the dresser. So Jordan took the miscellaneous CD for us to listen to on our road trip. We had no idea what was on it and were pleasantly surprised that we actually liked most of the music. We were even more impressed with the amount of songs on the dang thing. It was the never ending disc of music with 88 tracks. Here is the picture to prove it...

So far, I'm loving California and I can't wait to see what it has in store for me this week!
Quote of the Day: "How are we doing on gas?"--Dad
I was in the driver's seat for the majority of our trip today. Our rental car has a fuel gauge that indicates how many miles you can drive before a fill up is necessary. But my dad has never owned a car with this feature. I'm not sure if it was a lack of trust or understanding of how the gauge works, but he felt it necessary to ask about the gas every 30 min. Fun times!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Day three in Cali was spent in Hollywood. We started the afternoon out at Hollywood Park for some horse races. Jordan discovered a love for betting on horse races (aka gambling) last year. So we headed out to the park so he could show my parents the ropes.
My Dad ended up being the only one that came home with winnings. Being a big spender, he waged $2 on his first bet and won! I had to take a picture to document the earnings from his first win...

This guy came out and played his horn before each race to announce the horses taking the track.

After a few hours at the track, we headed over to Pink's for dinner. Pink's is a famous hotdog stand and a must see landmark in Hollywood. It has been in the same location for 69 years. Celebrity sightings are common there, but we didn't see any during our visit. :( When we arrived, the line to get in wrapped around the building! We waited in line for close to 1 1/2 hours for our dogs! Many thanks to my family for visiting so I could mark it off in my book!
Pink's is famous for their Chili Dogs, so that's what I got...along with onions, mustard, and cheese. Can you say heartburn? We got some onion rings and fries to share. I had an Orange Crush to wash down all of the grease.
Jordan ordered the Giant 12" jalapeno dog with bacon and cheese.
That was taking it a little too far for me, but he seemed to enjoy it!
Quote of the day: "This guy should feel blessed to have people waiting in line to buy his hot dogs."--Dad

Los Angeles, CA

We decided to kick off day two of family vacation by touring the Getty Center in LA. The center is named after Jean Paul Getty, an American industrialist, who made billions in the oil industry. He was also an avid art collector. He built a house in the Pacific Palisades to house his collection. When he died in 1975, over $661 million of his estate was left to the museum. The Getty Villa is still open and Jean Paul Getty is buried there. However, as the Getty collection grew, more space was needed. So a center was created. The center was designed by architect Richard Meier and opened in 1997. It is 110 acres and six buildings. It took 14 years and $1 billion dollars to create. It is beautiful and overwhelming. The center is free to enter, but $15 to park. And if you think you can find free parking, guess again. The center sits atop a mountain and over looks LA. You have to ride a tram up the mountain just to get to the center! The museum houses many famous pieces of art, including Van Gogh's Irises.
Anyone that has ever traveled with me knows I HATE to look like a tourists. I prefer to blend in with the locals. So, you can imagine my disgust when we got out of the car and I spotted this...

My dad placed his brochure on the museum in his shirt pocket....

"Let me get that for you dad....I'll just keep that for you in my purse!"

Here is one view of LA from the museum.

The center also contains a beautiful outdoor garden and sculpture park. We spent a lot of time outside admiring it all.

This picture features the architecture of one of the buildings.
Jordan was not as excited about the museum as the rest of us...
Jordan and I sat outside next to this sculpture for awhile. Everyone was posing next to it and getting their picture taken...I'm not sure why. But I did it too!
After the museum, we drove to my Uncle's condo in Little Tokyo. I loved his place! He took us on a tour of downtown LA and then to eat at Philippe's. Apparently it is a pre-Dodger game staple. Here is a picture of the crowd of people all waiting in line for a sandwich! Almost everyone was in their Dodger gear. There were a few, including my brother, sporting some Yankee pride.
Philippe's is a sandwich spot. They have five choices, Beef, Pork, Ham, Turkey, or Lamb. And all sandwiches are served in a halved french roll. They claim to have invented the French Dip sandwich in 1908. My uncle has been eating here for the last 50 years. He was amused when I told him it was listed as a place to see before you die in my book. I would love to go back when I have more time to really enjoy the place. But we were in a hurry, we had a Dodger game to get to after all!

The Dodgers were playing the Yankees. And out of all the games we've been to, we've never been to one quite like the one we experienced last night. The game was a sell out and about 40% of the stadium contained Yankee fans. This is rare for baseball. The stadium is usually full of home team fans with a handful of visiting fans. The atmosphere was more like a college football game, not baseball. It made for an emotionally charged game. We witnessed the ejection of many fans, fights, and a Dodger fan pouring a beer over the head of a Yankee. And people say Baseball is boring to watch...
The Yanks won. Here are Dad and Jordan sporting their team pride.
Next up: Hollywood Park for some horse racing and Pink's, the famous hot dog stand.
Quote of the day: "Everybody wants to be a star."--Lindsay, referring to all of the wanna be singers and comedians that seem to be everywhere we go!