Thursday, October 26, 2006

Last day in California


Grrr, fargin Blogger. I lost the Hollywierd entry and everything else is out of order. I need to take some time to fix it-but it's really ticked me off, hence the delay in posting the rest of the trip report!

Day six-we'd originally planned to head back into LA and find Pinks, Tail of the Pup and look for some of the LA landmarks we'd heard about. However, the venture into Hollywood made us realize that it wouldn't be all that great, so we went to plan B.

A goal for the trip was to dip our toes into the Pacific. We live near the Gulf, we'd grown up near the Atlantic, so to travel 3000 miles and not do it would be dumb. After vegging in the room (which now would cost 70 bucks tonight, woohoo!), we decide to head west on Harbor Blvd. Suburban Orange county is much like LI, and similar to Florida as well. It's like LI in that towns merge into one another without any clear indication that you've entered the next one. It's like Florida in the sense that you'd pass this seedy, run down strip mall, and then the next block would have this opulent, gated community.

It's lunch time and we're hungry. We continue with our rule (mom and pop or west coast chain only) in searching for lunch. I'd figured we'd probably get another In and Out burger, but in Costa Mesa, while waiting at a light, we see this little mom and pop that looks like it'll fit the bill perfectly. Ed does some creative navigating to get us back to the place-Pasta Connection.

This place is a winner. Homemade pastas, sauces and bread. We started off with mozzerella sticks, which came out with this delicious marinara sauce. The bread and salads come next, and the dressing? Homemade. The bread is accompanied by an amazing pesto, which younger son likes so much, he asks for more of it to top his ravioli.

Ed will tell you, I am *very* picky about eating Italian out. He has to drag me to the various italian chains, mainly because I cook it at home (except veal). This is a place that he would NOT have to drag me back to-ever. The manicotti was perfect, I know he enjoyed his lasagna and the kids finished their meals. That, my friends, is a rare occasion. My advice if you're going to Disneyland, and you want Italian, make it a point to hit this place! Do not trifle with chains around here.

Fully sated, we venture further west on Harbor and end up on Newport Beach, which is an island. Parking is at islands in the middle of the four lane road-weird. We park and walk to the waterfront, passing homes that cost millions, but are roughly the size of our place.

It's windy, sunny and hard to see the coastline that is just a couple of miles away. Darn smog! At the water's edge, there's something of a bluff, and we doff our crocs to dip the toes.

BRRRRRRR!!! Yikes, it was friggin COLD! Understand, as a Long Islander, you could head into the ocean in September and it'd still be swimming temperatures, even into the first or second week in October. The water temps would be somewhere in the 70's. The Pacific was probably around 60 degrees. We later talked to a couple of locals and were told that the Pacific is generally not swimable, except for much further south (hmmm, two and a half hours south to Mexico and still wouldn't consider it). Another illusion shattered.

We admire the view and take plenty of pictures. There's a sailboat regatta going on, a windsurfer and plenty to watch. For not going in the water, an hour seemed like 10 minutes! The kids had a ball running back and forth in the waves. Suppose we should head over to St. Pete Beach and enjoy the warmth of the Gulf again.

Back to the hotel, taking a different route. I'd noticed on the See's website that there was a location *near* our hotel, and ventured a trip down that road. Remember, these towns run together, I'm not sure if we'll be far enough out on Chapman to even pass by the See's shop. However, we hit pay dirt, it's a little stand alone store on the outside of a shopping center. This trip nets 2 pounds of various yummies and another tin of Toffeettes (alas, we finished them last week). I suppose we should be thankful that they're all the way on the other side of the country.

Back at the hotel, we head down to the pool and the jacuzzi. I had really hoped for another round with the jets of the jacuzzi-they work wonders on the plantar faciitis. Ed and I enjoy small bottles of wine and laze away the rest of the afternoon poolside with the kids.

We'd hardly purchased any Disneyland merchandise (except those knobs), so we head over to Downtown Disney, fully expecting it to be like Florida's. It's not. The world of Disney is, though and we plunk down money for things to bring back to the family. Food is in short supply here, and the one place Ed and I thought we'd try (Brennan's) is closed for a private party! Ugh. Guess this means we have to come back, because we didn't get to check out the Haunted Mansion, the Matterhorn, or Brennans! ;)

Legoland wouldn't take the Lego store gift cards that have been sitting in my wallet for ages, so the boys got to get things from the lego store here.

After walking and discovering that none of the remaining food choices appealed, we detour through the Grand Californian (beautiful) before heading to the hotel. The boys get pizza, we get Del Taco and we attempt to fit more stuff into the luggage that won't fit.

The next morning, we're up early to head to the airport. I end up driving the car for only the second time. We arrive in plenty of time for our flight and get a brunch of California Pizza Kitchen. Well, it originated in California, and we didn't have much to choose from. For an airport kiosk, it was surprisingly good. Enough so that we went to one in Orlando a few weeks ago (even better).

The flight was turbulent enough that we couldn't get out of our seats for most of it. The bummer is that I'd hoped to see some of our country from the air-the clouds prevented it. Oh well, guess we have to go back!

We arrived in Tampa intact. Obviously! A week wasn't enough and was enough. One friend has joked that we finally took a 'real' vacation. You can tell she's not a fan of the mouse.

And so concludes the trip report that took six weeks to post!

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