Everything started with a BIG BANG! My Gram just turned 80 this year! WHOO HOOO! So months ago we started planning her party and my sister, mom and I started thinking of a vacation. We decided that we could drive back with my aunt and uncle and spend a week with them in Manhattan! This worked out great until I found out that Summer X-Games was being bumped up to June instead of July due to the Summer Olympics. This was perfect except I had already bought my ticket to go home so I had to do some minor adjustments there. That was not bad at all. So I would be going from LGA to LAX. AGAIN. I did this last summer too….I seriously couldn’t have planned this if I tried!
Starting travels: OFF TO NYC with my mom, sister Claire, and Aunt Mary and Uncle Dan. Audio for this section: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UjsXo9l6I8. We all drove back after Gram’s 80th party. I packed for two weeks. We spent a week in NYC and went all over the city. You would be amazed at the history that city proves. It amazes me how large and intricate the designs of the buildings are. It also amazes me at the time spent erecting such estates! We could never have designs like we did back then because of safety regulations and people suing on another. A few of the stops we saw: Ellis Island, Fraunces’ Tavern (where President Washington made his last address), Wall Street Exchange Building, the monument for 9/11. We saw Lady Liberty from afar and almost got into a wreck on the ferry. That was interesting! We also saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway! That was such a treat. 🙂
We ran into a former FW Wizard’s player on a cross bridge in Manhattan…that was so very funny and leave it to my mom to “cock block” me or else I might have gotten to go on a date with him. WAH WAH
We saw Shakespeare in the Park, went to Strawberry Fields, saw the Dakota Building(where John Lennon was shot), Central Park and saw the movie Psycho Monday night at the HBO Summer Film Series! That was great. There was one random girl at a suspenseful part that let out this great blood curdling scream! It was fantastic. Your dad is such a bad influence on my and my sweet tooth. We ate so hearty. We had ice cream (that was heavenly!), NY style bagels, and oh man meatball subs. I felt so fat! haha….then we all traveled to the airport and that was so crazy. When we arrived there was this thick uncomfortable anger in the air….apparently the flights from the day before were canceled due to the storms that were rolling through. Thank Goodness that my mom was there too because I would have been screwed otherwise. You see LGA was unusually busy as people were trying to re-book etc. Mom stood in the line outside to check in baggage and I stood inside. She texted me when she got close and I just went into her line. I will never again say to someone the line outside always takes longer because point proven wrong here. 40 minutes later…we were through and on our way. All of us were flying back to ORD then they were going on to FWA and I was headed westward. Well on that specific trip, my flight got delayed and delayed and finally we were on our way after a 4 hour or so wait. I don’t mind when I am traveling by myself to wait it out…I personally get to meet and see more people this way. 🙂 Besides the delay was bc the plane had engine troubles…I want to fly and land not fly and crash halfway, you know? But maybe that is just me! HA….
Once I finally got on my flight and made my way out to LAX it was pretty smooth sailing. I sat next to someone really interesting and we talked a lot of the time. 4 hours later I was there! My friend came to pick me up and we immediately went to In-and Out Burger. I ordered a Double Double (which is a #1, I think?) fry and coke. It was an awesome start to a great excursion in California. We all went home and retired early as we had plans to go to Disneyland the next day. I slept really well. 5am came really quick. We were on our way soon enough. We had to pick up our tickets at this place that is licensed to “rent” day passes out at $75. Only stipulation was that you had to pay in cash and return them same day. Easy enough, right? It was a little shady but all things considered it saved us so much money! Day passes are now like $125 per day!!! YIKES!!!
Disneyland in Anaheim, has 2 parks that are within walking distance of one another unlike its Disney World counterpart which is all spread out. They had just redone the California Adventure and Disneyland. Both were distinctly different. It was actually more enjoyable in a lot of sense that you could walk and do everything you wanted in 1 day if you wished. I, first of all, do not care for roller coasters usually, however I went on several of them being the daring ballsy girl I am. I really had a lot of fun. They had a ferris wheel there that had sliders on them so when you would go around at certain points it would slide you back and forward. Some points were lighter than others, but man if you got a good swing it was a doozie! Went on this Toy Story 3D ride where you played arcade type games virtually against your seat partner. That was cool. Once we rode the ferris wheel, the outdoor roller coaster, and the Toy Story ride we were on our way to walk around Cars Land. They built this part up and changed it to fit the movie Cars. It is so darling and retro. The Ice Cream shop was centered around those orange traffic cones. It was so great. Now they did have a ride to which was 240 minutes long to ride!??! YEAH RIGHT! So we sacrificed that ride for the Disneyland side of things. Before we left, we ate the most delicious corn dogs, I bought Minnie Ears and we were on our way to the other side!
On the Disneyland side of things, we went and got Fast Passes for Space Mountain then went on a few other rides. We walked around Toon Town which had the “It’s a Small World” complex as well as the characters houses! Literally, it’s a small world was its own complex and it was huge!!! We walked through Mickey’s house and saw the outside of others. We didn’t walk too far into it except just to say “I have seen and entered Toon Town!”We went on Star Tours (3D simulated ride), saw Captain EO (this is the one with Michael Jackson from 1986!!), went on Space Mountain(far superior to Disney World), Thunder Mountain (outdoor coaster), Indiana Jones (which this one was where you are in a car and going around a track but you are on it getting tossed around as though you were really there–totally worth it!!), Went through the Haunted Mansion (which you sit in a car and ride through the Mansion–so cool–and I guess through the Christmas Season they transform it into the Nightmare Before Christmas!) and Pirates of the Caribbean. We ate dinner on the Bayou. OK let me explain first…when you are on the ride Pirates of the Caribbean before the ride gets into the fight stuff you are sitting quietly rolling down the river. When you look off to the right side of your boat, you see people eating and dining outside on this back garden area of a Southern Mansion. The Blue Bayou is the restaurant!! So literally you’re eating dinner in the ride! It is so wonderful. They had seafood and Cajun items on it. It was expensive but worth every bit of it to be in that sort of atmosphere! I had so much fun and after a bit of shopping we went home. I got my picture with Mickey Mouse. That’s OK you can be jealous if you want and they even had a “Sunset Blvd” set that you could get your picture taken in just to say you were there! OK now if you were wanting to dance, they had a “Mad Hatter” Tea Party going on which reminds me a lot of how Pleasure Island used to be. Just a DJ playing songs and a good-sized dance floor with a bar on the side. That was a sight to see man! It was really well done…and worth the walk over to see. We left shortly there after. I had a day or so’s break before I started work for X-Games.
When I actually checked into my room at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, this place creeped me out! It was ancient and gorgeous, but in a very bad part of town. L.A. is interesting in a lot of different ways, but it is still a hole. So back to the hotel, I guess there have been a lot of films shot there (one of which seemed to be a theme in NY as well was Ghost Busters!) and you would really recognize it once you saw it. I had heard that the writer of The Shining used that hotel as inspiration for the LONG corridors…you just look and expect there to be two little girls on tricycles. I for once had the room to myself. That was awesome! I asked the front desk if there was any “ghost” sightings or weird situations that have happened there. Of course there was duh!! So a few suicides, a murder, people walking in the hallways and in the Ballrooms, and this hotel was used by the Mafia a lot back in the day. Oh and the staff had stories. A true ghost hunter at heart! We did this with your mom in NYC as well. It was cool. Weird things like hotel room doors not having numbers on the outside of them (which is I am sure where some of the murder or suicides took place!). It was a cool place but very creepy. OK now what you have probably been waiting for…X-GAMES!!! Well I walked to work almost every morning. That was nice but the first day I was there I had to go pick up chap-stick as I had lost my other one. It seemed to look like it was right around the corner so I just left about 45 minutes early and started on my adventure. Long story short and for another day, I found myself lost on 11th street trying to get to the intersection of 11th and Chick Hearn Ct. Where I went wrong? I took a left instead of right. I found myself in the 300 block not the 600 block and starting to panic! God always seems to send someone to help though….”excuse me…can you tell me how to get to LA Live?” ….one woman responds, “I think you might need to take a bus to get there…” First of all, I knew I was not THAT far out of my way…then finally another gentleman says, “you are on the right track, just turn around and walk toward the big buildings. You are doing just fine, just keep walking and you will run right into it!” THANK YOU GOOD SIR! I made it with a minute to spare so I was all good. My boss just shook his head and laughed at me.
I was able to meet up with my dearest friend D from my college days. She to be honest is the only one that I really make the effort to keep in touch with as she is such a real and sincere friend. She is awesome. Her brother came out with us and we had a ball. I miss living close to her. She has a 2-year-old that I have yet to see!!! What the heck is up with that?!? She is one that has not changed one bit! 🙂 I am forever grateful.
This past week just flew. We had the usual 2 venues and I had to train another logger this year. He did very well. I felt like that position might be a revolving door as this is the 2nd time in 2 years having to train someone new! My X-Games family was all in good spirits and were very welcoming. I love that. That sort of energy you just want to bottle it up and take it home with you. The highlights of the Games, this year??…well we had 2 major crashes in Rally Car. The main man who is known world WIDE as one of the best Rally Drivers hit a cement area on course upon completing a jump and blacked out. Another young Rally Driver (who really had great energy and was really a hopeful contending driver) crashed straight up into the ramp. The nose of the car slammed and it was enough impact that it flipped the car over on the track. The car then caught fire and the driver staggered out the other side. It was amazing he didn’t hurt himself more so as he suffered a shattered ankle. That was unreal. Then the “spotlight” event was the HotWheels Double Dare Loop where two Rally Car drivers drive and do a “6 stories high have to hit a certain MPH” to get around this thing! 500 gallons of orange paint later this thing looked awesome!!!
When they actually went around this thing, it seemed as though they were going so VERY slow! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0Y8tmRYYiA BUT over all that went so well. There were 6 under 18 contestants for the “Skateboard Big Air” event 3 of which were 11 years old! It is amazing to see that they look up to all of these older seasoned athletes for guidance and support. Here is the special: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NfrRXjNr40 It is a very tight-knit community of athletes at these events. The “Moto-X Step-up” event is where the athletes have to jump on their Moto-X bikes over a bar set at a certain feet high and they have to make it over without knocking the bar over! These athletes made it to 47″ tall!!! CRAZYYYYY! They were most definitely hurting though afterwards. Oh and lastly the major unorganized chaos that was Rally Car, there was several false starts so that took forever to complete! Behind the scenes, we were like “OH NOT AGAIN!” It was not only semi embarrassing but just bad. Travis Pastrana was out in elimination round which was such an awful disappointment. He was so angry and frustrated. I can’t blame him though as they work so hard to get these contestants where they need to be and then at a moments notice without a second glance you crash and your out! Once all the games were done and shuttles were reserved for trips back to the airport for flights home, we all went to the wrap party. This is where it just was bittersweet and shady as you know what?! My dear friend Jordan and I walked from our hotel to this place which was only a few blocks away. You know it is bad when you see more homeless people than you do on the street walking!!! I didn’t realize how close we were to Skid Row but HOLY CRAP man!! We got “cat called” and it was just bad. Needless to say, we walked with a larger group back. SCARY territory. But we all made it back safely. In the morning, I got room service and ordered breakfast. I AM SO GLAD that I did as that meal was what held me over for about 9 hours.
At the airport, they were still trying to get cancelations fixed. That was an utter nightmare. I was sitting and conversing with several individuals in the crowded terminal area. I had to laugh because a cute man sitting next to me overheard me talking about cheerleading and asked if I knew anyone that cheered at my rival college. I didn’t but I knew people who did! As we exchanged names and conversation, I realized I was sitting next to one of our BMX riders!!! He was totally awesome and what a lovely meeting! I gave him my card and he ran to board his plane! He lives in Chicago which is not that far off from me! EVEN BETTER.
At the airport, they were still trying to get cancelations fixed. That was an utter nightmare. I was sitting and conversing with several individuals in the crowded terminal area. I had to laugh because a cute man sitting next to me overheard me talking about cheerleading and asked if I knew anyone that cheered at my rival college. I didn’t but I knew people who did! As we exchanged names and conversation, I realized I was sitting next to one of our BMX riders!!! He was totally awesome and what a lovely meeting! I gave him my card and he ran to board his plane! He lives in Chicago which is not that far off from me! EVEN BETTER. I shortly there after receive an email that states “nice to meet you…” That was sweet. Well he just was waiting as a girl threw up all over her row and so they had to clean it up. He was sitting first class though so he avoided that mess! Never a dull moment!
On my flight to ORD, I sat next to a girl who was heading out to the Netherlands and a gentleman who is an audio mixer in Hollywood who was going home to see his family. That was great. Both were lovely individuals. When we arrived at our terminal we all had to run. My flight was in another terminal and the girls connector flight was set to leave very quickly after we arrived! On my way to my terminal, I was chatting with a gentleman who has customers in the FW area! We share a few clients what another example of how stinking small this world is!! I also got a snack on the way and talked with another woman as she had been waiting for almost 6 hours at the time I arrived to our terminal. She had a great attitude and was awesome about everything. You could totally tell she sparkled from the inside out, if you know what I mean!
Now from there, it was a 40 min trip home. Not too shabby. My sister picked me up and then I made it home in one piece! It was over all a great trip and I am so thankful that it all happened! WONDERFUL memories and just glorious times of reflection through traveling. VERY fortunate that I am able to swing this. 🙂
I am one heck of a blessed woman to have such excitement and adventures at a young age! I know these little adventures are not finished and that this is only the beginning…