Friday, October 28, 2011

California Trip 19 & 20

Day 19

     So we decided to stay an extra day at the Supernatural Chicago convention to see Jared Padalecki and Jenson Ackles on stage panel.

     The actors were not due on stage till that afternoon, so we drove around and did a bit of shopping at Costco and Target.

     We headed back to the hotel for 2pm to pick up our picture from the previous days photo op with Misha Collins, which turned out pretty nice, considering the time we had to adjust for the picture. Unfortunately, I can't post the picture quite yet as we would need to scan the picture.

     The panel with Jared and Jenson was fun and entertaining. I truly enjoyed watching them tease and mock one another on stage, they were quite funny.

     We left Chicago shortly after the panel ended and made it back to Canada by midnight through the Sarnia Ontario borders and stopped for the night in London Ontario.

Day 20

     Our travels ended by 5pm Eastern time as we pulled into our driveway and we were finally home.

     It was nice sleeping in our own bed and to be amongst our own things, but the dread of work and responsibilities started to weigh heavily on our shoulders.

     Now it’s time to get back to our regular lives and start planning our next trip.

     Thank you for following along and keep coming back for upcoming posts and giveaways I'll be doing throughout the year.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

California Trip Day 15, 16, 17 & 18

Day 15

     On our last day in Vegas, we woke up early and headed out to the Hoover Dam. We took the power plant tour and learned about the amazing history behind the building of the dam. Up close the view was impressive.

     Back at the hotel we took it easy for the afternoon. Gambled, had a few drinks, enjoyed what was left of our time in Vegas, then made our way to the Bellagio Hotel for a Cirque du Soleil show, “O”. Putting aside the drunken guy who kicked me and the woman who kept flinging her long dreadlocks in my face, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Day 16

     We were up, packed and ready to go before dawn, as we had a long day’s drive back through the desert and up through the mountains toward our next destination.
     Crossing them through Colorado, the Rockies were much more of a challenge this time around. The car lost power, and both DH and I were short of breath. I even started feeling light headed. Neither of us could understand it until I saw the sign ahead of us. Welcome to Vail Summit, altitude 10,603ft above sea level. Well, that explained it. Once we started descending, everything got back to normal. We finally stopped for the night in Ogallala Nebraska at around 11pm.

Day 17

     Another long drive and we finally arrived in Chicago at 11pm. 2 things we learned during that day’s travels. Finding change for tolls can get aggravating, and long drives through Iowa and Illinois will render 2 travelers insane. Over exhaustion and never ending roads had us laughing like hyenas at absolutely nothing. A good night sleep in one of the nicest rooms we had yet took care of our sanity.

Day 18

Misha Collins AKA Castiel & Matt Cohan
     Our first day at the Supernatural Convention was enjoyable. The actor panels were extremely entertaining, but unfortunately, I found the Q & A’s a bit unorganized and childish. It’s was incredible seeing Misha Collins on stage, but again the questions being asked were childish, and un-entertaining example...” If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?” ... come on people! How about, “how did you get the part?” or “where do you aspire your acting career to take you?” Now those would have been more appropriate, but hey, we still enjoyed it.

    The photo op with Misha was a little disappointing, I mean, I expected to be rushed through the session, but the factory assembly line they created was ridiculous. We barely got 5 seconds with the guy, and I don’t even know if my eyes were open during the picture, hell did I even have the time to turn my head to look at the camera? The woman at the door almost jumped me for taking the time to say thank you before moving toward the door and this lovely 5 second experience cost us 75 bucks. In my opinion, they should sell less photo op tickets and give everyone at least 30 seconds to say hi to the actors before getting thrown out the door.
Matt Cohen AKA Young John Winchester

Richard Speight AKA Trickster/Gabriel
Hopefully the picture turns out, we will know tomorrow at 2pm once they are available for pick up.

Oh well ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

California Trip Day 13 & 14

Day 13

     We left the magical world of Disney and headed to Las Vegas, the city of sin ... more like the city of boring unless you’re into night clubs and gambling or if you have tonnes of cash to spend on shows.

     Another downfall is that our fabulous Flamingo hotel and resort is not so fabulous after all. Out of all the hotels we stayed at on this trip, including the stops during our drive down, this was the dingiest—and I’ll admit a bit dirty—room yet.

     We took a walk down the strip looking for a restaurant, and we both felt herded down a street like cattle with no restaurant in view. We would have had to walk into to every resort, past the casinos, before finding any place to eat. So back to our hotel we went and had dinner at the Japanese restaurant downstairs, then locked ourselves in our room for the night.

     First impression of Vegas ... not impressed.

Day 14

     Day life in Vegas was a bit better. We slept in, then ventured out to grab some lunch, did some shopping at the shops in our hotel, and perused a mall across the street before stopping for supper at the Cheesecake factory. You know ... the restaurant where Penny from The Big Bang Theory TV show works. The food was yummy.

     Throughout the day, we also fell in love with Caesar’s Palace Spanish Steps, an outdoor bar in the center of a vast terrace where they serve all kinds of frozen drinks. A fun fact about Vegas is that you can bring your drink anywhere with you even back to your hotel.
     We ended our day at our quaint Spanish Steps bar then went back to our hotel for an early night as we are getting up early to head to the Hoover Dam in the morning.

     So far ... Vegas, not so miserable, but I wouldn’t come back.

California Trip Day 10, 11 & 12

Day 10

     It was our first day in the parks. We decided to start at the California Adventures Park. It’s a small park with some sections still under construction, but it had many perks and had all of the magical Disney feeling I crave and love.
     Our day was filled with rides and theme park food. The Aladdin musical stage show was definitely worth it. The Genie was hilarious.

     The night time World of Color water show was spectacular. We also realized, once we arrived back at our hotel, that we could see the water show from our room. It was a slow day, but a relaxing one.

Day 11

     Disneyland Park, Walt’s Pride and joy, was more what we expected. It’s similar to Magic kingdom in Disney world. It was odd seeing the castle look so different.

     At the end of Main Street USA in Disney World, the view of Cinderella’s Castle is Iconic, but at Disneyland Sleeping Beauty’s castle is in its place. Sleeping Beauty’s castle is not as tall, but just as big, majestic and magical.

     It was an eventful day. We met Mickey and Minnie, Pluto and Goofy and became honorary Toontown Citizens for the day. I got to meet Princess Belle, Ariel and Tiana in Fantasyland and in Pixie Hollow, I met Iridessa, Vidia and Tink herself.


     We took a ride through the haunted house, where Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas took us on a journey through his world, then we took a plunge down splash mountain and ran into Winnie the pooh and his gang. We stopped by to visit Rapunzel, but, unfortunately, Flynn wasn’t there.

We finished the day in downtown Disney again.

Day 12

     Our last day at Disney. We returned to California Adventures to see the Aladdin show again with the preferred passes we had forgot at the hotel the last time, then headed to Disneyland to do some shopping, eat a turkey leg and to see the Dreams come True fireworks show, which always gets me on the verge of tears ... yeah, yeah I know I’m weak, but when it comes to Disney, I’m a kid at heart.

     We then rushed across the park to see the Fantasmic show. Similar to the one at Disney World except in Disneyland there are no seats and the show is shown from Tom Sawyer Island, not its own amphitheatre.

     Overall Disney did not disappoint, I enjoyed it immensely and can’t wait to return someday.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

California Trip Day 8 & 9

Day 8

     Our first day in Hollywood was incredible. We began our day with a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood. Not as big as the one in Florida, but way more movie based in the sense that the back lot tour brings you through actual sets where they shoot movies and TV shows and are currently filming, for example, The Desperate Housewives series. That’s right, we actually toured Wisteria Lane.

     After doing some shopping and eating supper at Universal City Walk, we headed back to our hotel and decided that the night was still young, therefor, we took a 5 minute walk down to Hollywood Blvd. to look at the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame and visit the Chinese Theater where a movie premiere for The Pool Boys was currently going on. We didn’t get to see any actors, but it was fascinating to see. Once everyone cleared we were able to move closer and look at all the actor hand and shoe prints in the sidewalk in front of the theater.
     The whole experience was extremely surreal. I mean, I know the significance of Hollywood and the Chinese Theater, yet the reality of standing in front of the most popular theaters in the movie business wasn't hitting me.

Day 9

     The next day we walked back to Hollywood blvd to capture a few pictures of the Hollywood Sign before packing up our things and heading to the Santa Monica Pier. I was adamant about soaking my feet in the Pacific Ocean. I can now say that I’ve soaked my feet at both coasts of the United States (Honeymooned in Florida’s Daytona Beach and Disney World 2 years ago.)

     We spent a few hours visiting the sights, the beach and the pier where we ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. then headed to Disneyland, where Walt started it all. We arrived at approximately 5 pm. Not wanting to waste one day of our tickets on just an evening we headed to Downtown Disney where we had a fantastic New Orleans styled dinner and then dragged DH to the build-a-bear, something they don’t have at Disney World, and made myself a new friend named Patches.
     Another thing that Disney World doesn’t have that Disneyland does is a store where you can customize and build your own model car that you can also turn into a remote controlled car ... we’ll be doing that in the coming days.

We are having a fabulous time seeing the sights and are happy to be staying at Disney for the next three days.

Looking forward to report my next adventures in the next day or two...

Hope you are all enjoying my updates. Don’t be shy and comment below.

Friday, October 14, 2011

California Trip Day 6 & 7

     Ah ... finally, I can take out my shorts, Tank tops and flip flops. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Unfortunately, because of late night events and some locations having crappy internet access, I haven't been able to post regularly. I will try to get up to date before leaving for Vegas in a few days. Meanwhile, here are days 6 & 7

Day 6

     It was rainy and dreary all day, but we made the best of it with a bit of shopping. Luckily, before leaving for this trip, I had found out that one of my favorite Authors (I have a few), Becca Fitzpatrick, was doing a book signing a mile away from the hotel along with authors Simone Elkeles, Michelle Hodkin and Moira Young. So, I brought my HUSH HUSH and CRESENDO novels by Becca with me and purchased her newly released novel SILENCE at the signing. I also purchased Simone Elkeles’s CHAIN REACTION, Michelle Hodkin’s THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER and Moria Young’s BLOOD RED ROAD. I got to meet with all of the authors and have my books signed.

Me and Becca Fitzpatrick
Moira Young, Me and Michelle Hodkin
Simone Elkeles and Me
     I also got an extra copy of SILENCE by Becca Fitzpatrick and had it signed. You all know what that means ... when I get back I will have another book giveaway, so stay tuned.

     After having a late supper we called it a night, knowing that we had an early morning and a long drive ahead of us.

Day 7

     Welcome to Hollywood.

     Wow!! I’m in Hollywood right now.

     We left San Francisco at around 7 AM and drove down towards Modesto California where Laci Peterson and her unborn son Conner where killed by their sociopathic husband/father Scott Peterson. This was a case that I studied in college in my Law Clerk Criminal Law Class. It was a big story at the time and studying the ins and outs of this case, this tragedy stuck with me ever since. I wanted to drive through the town where it all happened as my way of paying respects to Laci and Conner.

     We then headed west and followed the coast down to Los Angeles. The Coastal route, although longer was totally worth it. The views were spectacular, and the beaches were beautiful. Once we hit Hollywood the traffic near the hotel was hectic. We were stuck in traffic 2 minutes from our hotel after an 11 hour drive only to find out that about a block away, Journey was playing at the Hollywood Bowl.

That's all I have time for for now ... I will recap Day 8 & 9 later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

California Trip Day 5

     We started our morning with a crepe breakfast and then took a taxi down to Pier 39's fisherman’s wharf. It was a beautiful day at Pier 39. Lots of action going on as to our surprise, there was a US Navy, Blue Angels air show going on all weekend. It was crazy busy.
     We hung out for most of the afternoon visiting shops and taking in the sites until 5:30PM. That’s when we headed to Pier 33 to catch our boat cruise to Alcatraz.
     The 15 minute boat ride was fun. Our time slot was considered to be the night cruise which gave us some extras. Before docking we got to cruise around the Island which apparently the day trips don’t get to do. We disembarked and followed our guide up steep hills to the jail then we were given audio guide devices and went on our own, listening to the audio tour. After that we got to visit the hospital area of the prison which again is a benefit to the night tour apparently.
    The whole experience was breathtaking. The view of San Francisco from the island was spectacular, and the history that prison contains is amazingly rich.
     Once our tour was complete, and we were back on the main land around 9PM, we rushed back to our hotel to eat a late dinner at a nearby restaurant.

     All in all it was an exciting day and I look forward to more days like this in the coming weeks.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

California Trip Day 4

     We have arrived at our destination. With only six hours left when we left this morning, we stopped in Reno, Nevada to gas up (no we did not stop to gamble) and crossed the borders of California at about one in the afternoon. One thing about Cali I wasn’t expecting, was climbing mountains and to be surrounded by snow once again. I mean come on its California ... who associates California with snow and ski hills?
Snowy Mountains of California
     We reached our hotel, the Best Western Tomo, at about 5 o’clock this afternoon. We settled in and had a Shabu Shabu dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. An all you can eat array of veggies, noodles and rib eye beef strips you cook yourself in a pot of boiling water that you can add an arrangement of spices and sauces to. It was extremely yummy. Might have to do that again.
Shabu Shabu Dinner at Cafe Mum's
     After supper, we took a quick walk around Japantown, where our hotel is located, and stopped at a restaurant in a nearby mall to have a drink, where DH tried his first Mojito.

     We found a great crêpe shop that would put one of our friend’s crêpes to shame. (Looking at you Spanky) We will be trying that in the morning for breakfast.

     Now it’s time to relax, sleep in and enjoy our vacation. Until tomorrow, Goodnight everyone.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

California Trip Day 3

     We have crossed our last time zone and are now in Winnemucca, Nevada for the night. Today was an eventful, but long day. The winds through the rest of Nebraska remained strong since yesterday, and once we crossed to Wyoming, we hit gusts that reached 70 miles per hour. We saw at least six transport trailers toppled over along the side of the WB I-80. Poor DH’s neck and back were killing him from keeping the car straight. The road stretched out for miles and miles with no end in sight. Until we hit the mountains in Utah.
Driving through the mountains
     It hadn’t dawned on me when planning this trip that we would be seeing the American tail of the Rocky Mountains. The downfall was that it was cold and there was snow ... yes, I said snow. We saw temps drop to 2 Celsius in mid afternoon, but the views were spectacular. The white peaks and the towering walls along the highway were just beautiful. Although, that also lasted for miles ... the way I see it ... if you’ve seen a few you’ve seen them all. Couldn’t wait to see what was next.

Spectacular view in the mountains
     Next we entered Nevada. What a change. The climate rose to around 12 Celsius and the roads, again, stretched out straight in front of us with nothing to see in the horizon but vast plains of desert/fields.

     Now we are about 6 hours away from the first destination of our trip, San Francisco and it’s about time, right? Really looking forward to it.

     I must say this is a once in a lifetime road trip ... as in we’ll only be doing this once!! But I’ll definitely be happy to say we did it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

California Trip Day 2

     Another 1300 Kilometers later and we are now stopped for the night in Sydney Nebraska. Another time zone crossed, so it is now 9:30ish here, and back home most of our friends and family are sound asleep. Had an okay night at our last stop and saw something interesting in the parking lot before we left this morning.
Joey Legano's Trailer
One glimpse of the many fields of windmills in Iowa
     Today was more eventful. Listened to the first part of the Hunger Games audio book. (I've read the book but wanted DH to listen to it to see if he'd be interested in seeing the movie when it comes far, so good) In Iowa we crossed many windmills that were a spectacular view, yet once we hit Nebraska we suffered through winds of 55 kilometers per hour and a severe thunder shower that I was sure was going to push us off the road, yet my dear husband felt confident behind the wheel and told me I worry too much. We stopped for an early night, seeing as we are making good time with only 2000 Kilometers left to go.  If we put in another good day tomorrow we should be in San Francisco by mid afternoon on Saturday. 

     Goodnight everyone, we have another long day ahead of us tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

California Trip Day 1

     Our first day on the road went well. We left Ottawa Canada at roughly 6:30 AM and drove straight through the Sarnia border and have now stopped for the night in Joliet Illinois.

      We have driven approximately 1300 Kilometers and crossed one time zone. For you folks at home, it’s about 10:30ish PM but 9:30ish here. We stopped for a nice Red Lobster dinner in Battle Creek Michigan ... YUM!

     We now look forward to a good night sleep, breakfast in the morning and hope to hit the road again around 7AM Joliet time. About 3400 Kilometers left to go.

     Good Night to all