It’s the early evening of Monday, July 25th…we’re headed to L.A. with the wind in our hair, excited to see Mike’s family and…brake. OK, it’s a little traffic. We’ll be going again soon. We’re speeding up again, we see the Hollywood sign in the distance. We’re so close! Brake…brake………..braaaaake. Moral of the story – do not drive on any highway or any road for that matter in the L.A. area during rush hour or any two or three hours before or after rush hour. Lesson learned. So we finally made it to Thousand Oaks where Mike’s Uncle Greg and Aunt Susan and cousins Dani and Andre (and their dog Tucker!) live. That night, we had a great barbeque dinner and caught up (we hadn’t seen them since our wedding a year ago). The dinner was delicious and it was wonderful to see them!
On Tuesday, Andre, Mike and Kaitlin went for lunch and ran a few errands and then drove home to pick up Dani before heading to Hollywood. We drove down Hollywood Boulevard and got out to see Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was very cool to think about all the history in the entertainment industry that had taken place at that spot and to literally walk in the footsteps (and handprints) of legendary actors like John Wayne, Cary Grant and Debbie Reynolds.
After checking out the theatre, we drove to Amoeba Music, the world’s largest independent record store. It is a huge store full of any music (new and used) you could possibly want to buy. For anyone who has seen the movie Empire Records, you sort of feel like you’re walking onto the set of that movie when you enter Amoeba Music.
We headed home after that and had another nice dinner with the family. And we ate outside…something we did every night we stayed with them because the weather is just so amazing!
On Wednesday, Mike, Andre and Kaitlin went to a beach near Point Mugu. Afterwards, we got some frozen yogurt (very popular in California) and then headed home for dinner.
On Thursday, we hung out at the house and enjoyed some downtime!
Friday was a big day, as it was time to visit…Beverly Hills! Andre, Kaitlin and Mike started out in the late morning, got some Five Guys for lunch and then drove into Beverly Hills to take in the ritzy shops and stare at the rich and famous. Unfortunately, we only saw rich people and no famous people, even though Kaitlin had Mike and Andre on “high celebrity alert” – that’s the highest level. We were able to do lots of window shopping though (although Kaitlin wishes she had gone with some girlfriends instead of her husband and his 13-year-old boy cousin who could care less about the shopping!).
After eating more fro-yo and playing a game of hide and seek in Crate and Barrel (you read that right), we headed to a nearby mall to visit Andre’s favorite store – Game Stop! Andre is a killer gamer and really put Mike to the test during our stay with him! They even played Mario Brothers 3 and Mike reminisced of his days trying to beat the game when he little.
We headed home in the early evening for dinner and to see Aunt Susan, Dani and Uncle Greg, who were all hard at work while we were out sightseeing!
On Saturday, we took the beautiful drive through the mountains to Malibu beach. We got some Starbucks and wandered over to a local arts festival that was taking place. In the late afternoon, we headed home and then out to a delicious Chinese dinner at a restaurant near their home.
On Sunday morning, we accompanied the Agostinellis (Mike’s family) to an outdoor church service at Oxnard State Beach. There were clouds in the sky that morning, the first we had seen in a long time, but as we quickly learned about southern California weather, they never stick around for long and shortly before noon, they burned off. After a fun picnic which followed the service, we walked on the beach and then drove to Ventura, an attractive, vibrant and artsy town north of Los Angeles. We visited the Ventura County Museum of Art and History and then wandered down Main Street, stopping into an old mission, a coffee shop and a thrift store (Ventura is known for its many thrift stores). We headed home in the early evening for dinner and to relax in anticipation of our departure the next morning.
On Monday, August 1st, after saying good-bye to Mike’s family, who had been wonderful hosts and a lot of fun to stay with, we reluctantly packed up Bessie and headed to Huntington Beach, where Mike wanted to surf. When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the U.S. Open of Surfing was taking place that week!
Tune in for our next post, where we’ll tell you all about the famous surfers we saw, our next few days in the L.A. area and then our travels up the coast.
P.S. For anyone who was confused about the title of our last post, “San Di-never-want-to-go,” the meaning behind it was that we were reluctant to leave (“to go”) because we enjoyed being there so much! We stuck with a much more literal title for this post.
P.P.S. To celebrate our L.A. stay, we bring you a special edition of “Stars are Just Like Us!” (as seen in Us Weekly) . And since we couldn’t get pictures of actual celebrities doing these things, you have to settle for Mike, Kait and Andre.
OK, that’s it…