Day 1: Travel Day

We had a super early flight, which has its perks.  There is very little traffic, and the airport is a lot less crowded early in the morning.  Our flight was uneventful, which is a good thing.  We had a slight delay getting to the car rental facility due to the apparent lack of buses running, but the weather was nice, so the wait wasn't so bad.

Downtown L.A. from the plane.

Downtown L.A. from the plane.

We stopped in at the office to pick up a box and then had lunch at Farmer Boys.  Thankfully, our room was ready for us when we checked into the hotel.  We rested for a few minutes and then went to the pool.  The water was cold!  But that didn't stop Katie from jumping right in.  The rest of us were content in the hot tub.

Monday through Wednesday, the hotel offers a reception with a light dinner and drinks for guests.  So after a little more rest in our room, we filled our plates with grilled chicken and fruit, and sat on the patio to eat it.

View from our patio table.

After our meal, we enjoyed a stroll to Marie Callender's to get some cookies from their bakery.  Always a favorite!

Inside Marie Callender's


Lovely sky tonight.

Day 2: Hollywood Hike & More

While Jason worked today, the girls and I journeyed up to Hollywood on a mission to hike to the iconic Hollywood Sign.  We had no trouble finding the trailhead and even got a nice parking spot in the shade.  We lathered ourselves with sunscreen, which I typically don't use, but glad I did today.  The weather was beautiful.  Not terribly hot with a nice periodic breeze.  However, the hike itself was quite strenuous.  Not even a quarter of a mile in, my heart was already pumping.  We were thankful for the little bit of shade on the front end of our ascent up the mountain.  Unfortunately,  shade was severely lacking the rest of the way.

A sign to the left of the parking area.  We went to the right for the Sign hike.



It was a good 2.5 miles up with breathtaking views along the way.  Or maybe our breath was taken by the steep grades.  Either way, we were short on breath!  Toward the end of the trail, we had two options.  We could veer right to hike up quite a bit further to the back side of the sign.  Or, we could go left for a less strenuous hike to the front of the sign.  Not to be lazy, but we chose the easier hike, partly because we wanted a view of the front, and party because we were worn out.  We became acquainted with a couple of other hikers along the way, and saw many others.  We weren't the only idiots climbing that mountain!

This may have been our last largely shaded area on our way up.

And the interesting tree providing that shade.

A glimpse of the Sign.  A canyon still separated us.

Nice view!

Riding on horseback would have been great!

Another nice view.

Getting closer!

Opposite the Sign is a view of Los Angeles.

Rounding our last bend in the path.

The steep climb up for the best view of the Sign.

We saw a helicopter tour while up there.

The trek back down was slightly easier.  Although, some parts of the path actually seemed steeper on the descent.  Going down is harder on the knees and feet, at least for me.

And poor Katie slid along some sandy dirt and rock as we turned a bend.

Thankfully, I had extra water and a clean washcloth for her bleeding scrapes. It took a few minutes for her to come to her feet again.  Once she did, we continued down until we finally reached the end.    Some smart planning proved useful for this adventure.  We had plenty of water (2 bottles each, plus more in the car), a washcloth, and healthy snacks (peanut butter balls & fruit).  Oh, and I had my flip flops in the car, knowing I would want to remove my gym shoes after the hike.  Smart!



We sat in the car for just a little while before taking off to head back to our hotel.  We decided to drive down Hollywood Blvd. to see what type of weirdness we might see.  Nothing much to report except for a man asking for a ride to the moon.  Then, we detoured through Beverly Hills so that Katie could see some "really cool cars," to which she did and was pleased.

A drive-by photo.  Didn't want to get out and walk again!

The drive back was extremely long and tiring.  The first step out of the car was rough, but it didn't take long for our muscles to loosen back up.  After we cleaned up, and Jason returned from work, we walked over to Marie Callender's for a delicious and deserved meal. 

Our hotel complex.