Monday, January 8, 2007
The Continuing Saga of California
After seeing the stars on the sidewalk, I was on a mission. I HAD to find that darn "Hollywood" sign that is on the mountain. We could see the mountain, we could see the antenna on top of the mountain but we could not find that darn sign. So we drove and we drove, and I even suggested getting out of the car and standing on some one's roof top. But Alas, my dear old dad in the back of the car said, "There it is" and by gosh, there it was. A lot smaller than what I had expected, but at least we got to see it. You can see it in the distance on the mountain. Pretty cool.
We then drove through the posh Beverly Hills, past the turn off to "Rodeo Drive" and over to Santa Monica Beach. We stopped here and took a walk. It was a nice sunny day probably in the low 60s. There were a lot of Michigan people there because they were having a pep rally there in the afternoon. We didn't stay here too long because we had to get to Ryan's great Aunt and Uncles house and then onto my Great Aunt's house.
We then travelled towards San Juan Capistrano (spelling may be off on that one) to Ryan's Aunt Dorthea and Uncle Roger's home. We were welcomed into their new home were family was gathering of new relatives that I had not yet meet. It was a great opportunity to put a face to the stories that I often hear from Ryan's mom and his Granny, both of who were there at the house when we got there. You see Granny has two sisters that live in California and before any of us were planning on going out there for the Rose Bowl Granny and Ryan's parents had planned to go out for a party. Granny's oldest sister May turned 90 on January 4th and her kids planned a surprise birthday party for her. May didn't know that her sisters, Ryan's Granny and his Aunt Barb from Calgary, had come to California for the party. It was going to be a great surprise. I am looking forward to hearing the stories from that party.
So, we went and visited with Ryan's family for about an hour and a half and then we had to get on the road again to drive another 2 hours to see my Dad's Aunt Margaret.
Now this drive was very interesting. It was RIGHT through the mountains. It had many quick turns and around every corner was another mountain. It was a great surprise for us who had been driving on the concrete highways all day. But again, people drive unbelievably fast on these roads. We were continually pulling over to let the locals go by as they were lining up behind us.
We ended up getting lost, as had happened to us quite a number of times on this trip, which made the trip about an hour longer than what we expected. However, when we reached my Aunt Margaret's house we found a lady very happy to have us in her home, and it was all worth the travel headaches. She was so happy to see my father and I and meet Ryan. She had dinner waiting for us, which was a nice treat to have a home cooked meal when you have been eating out everyday.
After catching up with her for a couple of hours we headed home to our hotel to prepare for our early morning wake up for the Big day, New Years day. We had to be at the parade 2 to 3 hours before it started, even with tickets. Luckily, Ryan's Uncle Roger, who had been to the Rose Bowl 17 times, gave us directions to parking areas so we wouldn't have to pay a lot for parking.
Now, the Rose Bowl parade was absolutely spectacular. This is something that everyone has to see once in their lifetime. The parade on the television does not do it justice. Nor do my pictures on the camera. Every float is made with many different variety of flowers and other natural ingredients such as feathers, bark, etc. It is truly a wonderful site to see. The parade lasted about 2 1/2 hours. There were wonderful bands with lively music and each float was truly spectacular. George Lucas was the Grand Marshall, so there was about 4 floats with Star Wars themes. They say that about 1 million people go to the parade.
We then headed over to the Rose Bowl for the big game. The anticipation of this event was high, and the temperatures were lovely, high 60's. Of course we were hoping for a Michigan win, we did just travel across the country not to see them loose. Unfortunately, that is what happened. Michigan lost to USC. It was a pretty bad game, Michigan got a total of one touchdown. However, the atmosphere of being at the Rose Bowl was pretty terrific. I mean where else could you sit outside in a t-shirt on New Years Day and watch a football game.
After the game, we had to drive back to Las Vegas for our flight home on the following morning. Which meant little sleep again. The one thing about this trip was that it was the most exhausting trip that I have ever been one. We did a lot in a short time span, but it was too hectic. Ryan and I both want to stay at home for a long time after that trip.
I then worked three days once returning home. There is a lot of the flu going around, both gastrointestinal (Norwalk), and upper respiratory. So I was determined that I was not going to get sick. I was disinfecting all the phones, and computers that I was going to be using at work so I wouldn't get sick. So Friday night I get home from work at 8, and around 9:30ish, my stomach starts to feel strange. By 10:30, I was sick with both diarrhea and vomiting. It was horrible, the pain in my stomach was unlike none I have ever felt before. Today I am starting to feel a little more like myself. Extremely weak, as I haven't really eaten anything all weekend. I sure hope that Ryan doesn't get this.
So that is the story of a whirlwind trip to California. Next time we go, it will not be so hectic.