Okay, so we both got to leave work early on Wednesday and that helped us get a jumpstart on the drive to Bakersfield. We have done this drive plenty of times before but it has always been on a Friday night on our way to Vegas. Let me just say that going on a Wednesday makes all the difference. There was NO traffic on the road 99% of the time. It was so nice and we made it to the hotel in record time. Had we known, we would have powered through to LA but there was no way to know.
Checked into the Rodeway Inn in Bakersfield with no problems. Unpacked the dog and headed across the street for some Jack In The Box. After that we settled in. I watched an episode of Lost online that kept cutting out but the internet connection was free so I guess I couldn't complain and then headed to bed.
The next morning we woke up showered and packed everything into the PT. We stopped for gas and I got some water and some snacks(one of them was a sleeve of chips ahoy cookies…this will come into play later) and we headed back out on the road.
Traffic wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be. Still not fond of the LA freeways but we didn’t have to go into the REALLY scary part…only six lanes instead of like a thousand and the traffic wasn’t bad.
We got to the hotel at around 11:30 or so and went in to see if we could get an early check in. Our room wasn’t ready so they told us that we could leave our car there and walk around. They said we could probably check in anytime after one.
So we headed outside and set Pappy up in the car. We cracked the windows and left him some water. It wasn’t very warm out so we knew he would be fine there. Once he was set up we grabbed the camera and set out for Hollywood Blvd!
The hotel was only a few blocks away from the Theater where we were seeing the play that night so that was what we wanted to check out first. We hoofed it over there and I got some photos of the lobby with all the RENT pictures up. It just made me all the more excited for the show that night.
After that we walked Hollywood Blvd all the way down to the Chinese Theater…took some video and pictures…went into a couple of shops looking for goodies for the kids back home but we decided that nothing was grabbing us so we’d just get souvenirs at Universal Studios the next day.
Needing a rest we stopped for a slice of pizza and a much needed soda before stopping at a shop Rob wanted to check out. I got bored and told him I wanted to check on the dog so he gave me the car keys and I headed back up to the hotel. Or so I thought. I got turned around and took a wrong turn…well I wasn’t supposed to turn period but for some reason I thought I needed to. When I realized I was lost I called Rob and left him a voicemail to call me back. He didn’t check his phone til he was almost at the hotel so he had to backtrack to help find me. Once we figured out where I was I met him on the road I was supposed to take and realized what my mistake had been. I was still quite proud of the fact that I didn’t have a panic attack and had managed to stay strong the entire time. Rob mentioned too, that he thought I would be in tears by the time he found me and was quite glad that hadn’t been the case. No longer lost we got to the hotel and checked in around 1:30 or so.
I headed up to the room to take my usual video and pictures while Rob moved the car to the parking garage and gathered up the dog.
The hotel room was really cool. It was two doubles when we had asked for a king but those are the breaks when you ask to check in early. (And it was really quite cute when Pappy figured out he could leap from one bed to the other.) The room had really cool black and white photos of movie stars on the walls, an IPOD docking station(that didn’t work), a fridge/microwave/coffee maker, and a two showerhead shower(one of them didn’t work). I really liked the bathroom.
Rob arrived at the room with the little dog in tow and announced that we might have a little problem. I had left the open sleeve of cookies in the front seat without thinking and since our dog is a bottomless pit when it comes to food, he had scarfed down all that was left(about 3/4’s of the sleeve).
I set up the laptop and hopped on the internet to research dogs and chocolate. Turns out that a dog of Pappy’s weight would need to ingest 7 ounces of semi sweet chocolate for it to become toxic for him and the whole sleeve had only weighed 6 ounces so I wasn’t that worried. We did however, keep a close eye on him since we now knew the symptoms of chocolate poisoning.
He ended up being fine, although you could tell it had upset his stomach as he didn’t really eat his dinner and was kinda sluggish that night.
We basically just hung around the hotel until it was time to get ready for the show. Then we walked down to the Pantages Theater and waited anxiously for the doors to open.
When we finally got seated I and I saw the set I started to get really excited. I mean, I was already excited but this made it REAL.
I won’t go into too much of a teeny girl gush about the play but I just have to say it was amazing! The entire cast is just phenomenal and seeing Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp in the roles that they created was truly a dream come true for me.
After the play we headed back to our hotel and we noticed a really long line had formed. Rob said they were probably waiting to meet the cast and asked if I wanted to get in the line but I passed. The line was really long and just seeing the play had been enough for me. We did stop by a fence and I was able to get some video of Anthony Rapp signing autographs with my phone so that was kinda cool.
Back at the hotel we ordered grub from the diner below and brought it back up to the room. I uploaded all my pictures and video. I was able to load some of them on my myspace but the internet connection started giving me fits so I got frustrated and walked away. Ate and went to bed.
The only time I had been to Universal Studios was in Florida like a hundred years ago so I was pretty excited.
Once we got passed all the people trying to ask us questions and sell us crap it was fine but they were kind of annoying. I expect that in Vegas but the fact was that we had spent money to get into the park, therefore I don’t think we should have to deal with that sort of thing.
Anyway, the first thing we did was the Shrek 4D ride. It was one of those sit down ones where the chairs move as you are watching a 3 D movie. Pretty cool.
Next it was onto the Simpsons ride. That was very cool. Very similar to the Back to the Future ride(I actually think that is what this ride used to be) where you climb into a “car” and are put in front of a big screen that fools your brain into thinking that you are on a roller coaster. That is the only kind of roller coaster I can handle. Rob really liked this one as did I. When it got to scary I could just close my eyes and know that I was safe.
After that we did the Terminator 2 ride which I had done back in Florida but it was still cool. I like the idea of the live action coupled with the action on the screen.
Next we hit the heinous escalators to get down to the other level. Okay, so I am afraid of heights and I don’t do normal escalators well, but these were very long and very steep and there were FOUR sets of them. Rob had to talk me down from panic attacks while I was on all of these. Not cool.
By the time we got to the bottom and I knew I was safe, my hunger kicked up. Rob said that there was a Panda Express down the way so I left him at the Jurassic Park ride and went off in search of food. He was going to do the ride and make sure it was “Kelly Friendly”.
Panda Express was closed but they had a cafeteria type set up in the cafe where you could get a variety of dishes, two of them were Panda Express meals. So I got Orange chicken and Mandarin chicken with chow mien and fried rice and an eggroll.
Rob came back to report that the ride would be fine for me. He said that there was a small drop at the end but basically it was like Pirates of the Caribbean…no biggie. I wasn’t done eating so I sent him off to check and see if I would be okay on the Mummy ride while I finished up my lunch.
He reported back that he Mummy ride was not for me, it was basically a roller coaster.
Since Jurassic Park was on the way in and we knew we’d have to come back that way we opted to head out further and see what we could find.
What we found was Shaggy and Scooby and mystery machine van. We got our pictures taken with them
and then went on the Special Effects ride. I did this one in Florida too but that was long before CGI and all the cool stuff they can do now so it was completely different. Very cute and funny too. I love it when you can tell that people really love what they do for a living.
After we opted out of Backdraft because I had seen that one in Florida as well and Rob didn’t seem interested in it and went on the Jurassic Park ride.
So that small 3 second drop at the end of the ride? NOT so Kelly Friendly!! It seemed like it went on for days! I had such a panic attack flush when we finally landed that I thought for a second I had actually peed my pants! Fifteen minutes later my hands were still shaking. So now we know that it is not a Kelly Friendly ride, and Rob got a better idea of what I can and cannot handle when it comes to rides.
Once I had calmed down Rob took off to ride the Mummy ride one more time and I got a churro and checked my email on my phone.
Then it was back up the horrific escalators and back to do the Simpsons ride one more time. Rob opted to do the Haunted House without me. I know myself and those things freak me out bad. When the people jump out at you I freak out…and after the last ride, my heart couldn’t take anything else!
We were pretty much done at that point so we left Universal Studios and went to the City Walk part. That is where we got our trinkets and toys for our friends back home. We stopped at the Hard Rock where I got two tee shirts and Rob one. We stopped at Game Stop and picked up a couple of games for our Wii.
As we were leaving the store a gentleman stopped us and I thought “Oh, god, now someone is trying to sell us something from inside the store??” Well, it turns out he was from CNN and wanted to interview us on camera about the state of the economy and how we are still able to purchase games for entertainment.
That was kinda cool. Our answer by the way was that we had cancelled a couple of trips we were going to go on this year in lew of purchasing the Wii. We figured in the long run it would give us more entertainment than a couple of short vacations. So keep your eyes glued to CNN kids and you just might see us! And Rob told me putting make up on to go to a theme park was unnecessary!
At that point my feet were screaming at me so we headed for the car. The problem was that it was only quarter of six and our dinner plans weren’t until seven or seven thirty. We could have gone back to the hotel but that meant getting the dog all excited only to crate him up again an hour later. Plus the Mexican place where we were meeting Rob’s friends was just down the street from where we currently were. So we just kind of chilled in the car for a while. I reclined the seat and tried to take a nap but I couldn’t. We basically played on our phones for the remainder of time and then motored over to Ernie’s Taco place where we met up with Nina and Will.
Rob and Nina met on a Drew Carey newsgroup eons and eons ago. They actually had only met in person once when Rob was catching a connecting flight in LA coming home from a DBFest in Amsterdam–I think I got the details on that correct. They met at a bar and talked for two hours before going their separate ways.
Nina is known on the Internet as the Slackmistress. She has a blog and she and her husband Will do an internet show every Saturday night called Be The Marriage. Rob had kept up tabs on Nina through her websites and shows and was really excited to see her again while we were in LA. I was worried we wouldn’t have anything to talk about and it would be one of those awkward deals where you just sit across from the person in uncomfortable silence.
I needn’t have worried a bit. Nina and Will are two of the most outgoing and down to earth people I have ever met. They kept us entertained the whole dinner with funny stories. They invited us back to their place and as much as we wanted to go, it was getting late and we had to get up and drive home in the morning so we passed.
Back at the hotel the dog was VERY happy to see us. We had planned to do some packing that night and I planned to dye my hair but we were just too tired.
The next morning we were packed and checked out of the hotel by 10:30. The ride home was pretty good. After a couple of pockets of traffic it thinned out and was quite smooth. We made really good time and were very happy to be home.
Thoughts on the trip:
RENT was of course amazing. I cried tears of joy, I was so happy that I was finally able to see it.
The other thing on this trip of note was that my anxiety was at a minimum. Even on the freeways. The only thing I really had a problem with this trip was the escalators and those things were just not normal! I was fine with all the walking, my back didn’t hurt and I didn’t have that weird fear that I was going to fall over while walking around with nothing around me. Even when I got lost, I was fine with it. I didn’t panic and just found a solution.
I think that has to factor in on the fact that this trip was one of the smoothest ones we have ever been on. We learned to not sweat the small stuff and it really made a difference. I came away from this trip with a really good feeling about everything.