Thursday, June 11, 2009

Southern California Vacation

Sunday, May 24th: Just before Memorial Day, Liz and I (Stephen) went on a 2 week vacation to Southern California. At the last minute Liz's mother (Brenda) decided she wanted to go on vacation as well. We picked her up in Nephi on the drive down to California. The plan was that she was going to stay with some relatives that live in Huntington Beach, while we stay with a friend of mine from college. When we went to drop Brenda off, no one was home. So we took her with us.
My friend Jenny, her husband Mike and 9 month old baby Andy live with her parents, JoAnn and Larry in Huntington Beach. Their friend JP also lives there (he has 2 kids, Adrianna and Luke). Jenny and Mike came with us for a lot of the stuff we did, so did JP, and Brenda did for some stuff as well. Brenda ended up staying with us for a couple days until she was able to get ahold of her relatives. She flew back to Utah after week a week. Staying at Jenny's house was nice (except they had a cat, and my allergies occasionally gave me grief).
Monday, May 25th: On Memorial Day there was a big picnic in a nearby park. Then that night we went to Medieval Nights. Basically you sit in this oval theater and eat dinner, while performers put on a show with horses and jousting and fighting in the center area. For dinner they served roasted turkey, soup, baked potato and garlic bread. The thing was, they served it 'medieval style' - i.e. no utensils. The show was cool. We got to sit on the front row. The knight that represented our section was the Black & White knight. He was the best actor, though the was the first one to get killed off.
Tuesday, May 26th: Brenda went with us to the Newport Beach temple. Then afterwards we went to the beach. I went body boarding for a little while. But then I got caught in a riptide (again) and the lifeguard tower on the pier told me to swim away from the pier to get out of it. I don't know why riptides are so attracted to me. Then we went to a street fair on Main Street in Huntington Beach. One vendor sold some pretty good caramel popcorn that had been created in such a way as to not have any husks or shells.
Wednesday, May 27th: I hate LA traffic. We had to drive through it to go to Universal Studios. It was kind of neat seeing how they did some of their special effects. They had a 'Mummy' ride that was a roller coaster in the dark. I didn't like that you had no indication of where you are going at all. The ride we liked best was the Jurassic Park ride (kind of like Splash Mountain at Disneyland). The backlot tour was also kind of neat.
Thursday, May 28th: We went to the Longbeach Aquarium of the Pacific. It was a pretty big place (2 levels, outdoors and indoors). One of the really cool things I liked was that in the main hall, it's a big ceiling. They have windows, but occasionally all the windows would have shutters that would close on them and make the inside dark and they would show movies on the inside walls. There were all sorts of cool sea animals. Even sea lions and stingrays. Nearby the aquarium, the Queen Mary (an old cruise ship) is docked. It is now a permanent hotel. There is also a Russian submarine docked next to it. We then visited with some relatives of Liz that live in Huntington Beach. Ammon actually works on a sea launch platform that they take to the equator and launch satallites for DirectTV.
Friday, May 29th: Knott's Berry Farm was next on the list. Though I did not see any berry farms anywhere around there. There were some pretty fun rollercoasters - like one that uses electromagnets to shoot you up a really tall vertical track. For dinner, JoAnn and Larry met us there and we ate a restaruant there that serves some pretty good chicken dinners.
Saturday, May 30th: California Adventure had some fun things. They have the Tower of Terror where you sit in an elevator and it drops you a couple of times from a height. The Xcelerator was another electro-magnetic rollercoaster, but both Liz and I really enjoyed it.
Sunday, May 31st: We took it easy. We went to Jenny's church. Then we relaxed for the rest of the day as our feet were pretty sore from all the walking.
Monday, June 1st: Jenny and Mike went with us to Disneyland. Though before that we met with one of their friends who works at Disneyland. We ate at IHOP in exchange for him getting them into Disneyland for free. Our first ride that we tried to go on was Space Mountain. We got to the front of the line and it broke down. We came back later and did it though. Space Mountain was one of my favorite rides. We also tried to go to Indiana Jones - it broke twice when we went, but the third time was the charm. Matterhorn and Splash Mountain were also classics, but we waited forever in line to go on them. Liz found some soft-serve pinapple flavored ice cream that she fell in love with. We went on the Jungle Cruise (a boat ride around where the operator shows you different animals). Everything he said was a pun.
Tuesday, June 2nd: Jenny's family owns a condo closer to the beach (even though her house is only a mile from the beach). We went there and swam in their swimming pool. We went to the street fair for a second time.
Wednesday, June 3rd: Sea World was great. The Shamu and dolphin shows were neat. In the Shamu show they had these 4 huge TV screens that rotated and moved accross the stage. The animals would splash the crowds and do jumps and flips. During lunch there were 2 downpours that lasted for a few minutes a piece. It was weird. There was a ride called Atlantis that was like Splash Mountain. But after the first splash, there is an elevator that lifts the ride car up to a height to continue the ride. I thought it was a really cool idea. We watched Any while Jenny and Mike went on it. But after the first splash, it broke down and they had to get out. Liz and I went on another ride where you ride a raft down a river. Liz got drenched by a waterfall. For dinner we went to In-N-Out. It was the first time Liz had gone there, but she liked it.
Thursday, June 4th: Back to Disneyland for a 2nd day. Liz loved the Finding Nemo ride. You get in this yellow submarine, that takes you around and shows you different parts of the movie. Pirates of the Carribean was also neat. In the dark drifting along, seeing all the pirates. I could have sworn that I had gone to a Pirates of the Carribean ride before. I thought it was a theater type thing in California Adventure. But I hadn't gone on that one before. We went on the 'Small World' ride. I had remembered it as being very short. That song get's a bit annoying after a bit. But Liz liked it. On the way back from Disneyland, Liz conference called her family while her brother David opened his mission call. He is going to Arcadia, CA, Spanish speaking. We then went with Jenny and JP to see the new Star Trek in a movie theater. Jenny hadn't gone to a movie theater since she had her baby.
Friday, June 5th: The San Diego Zoo was exhausting. It's like it's built on one big hill. More then that, it never when down, it was always up. I never thought those 'uphill - both way' stories older people talk about were real, but the zoo proved me wrong.Most of the animals were sleeping. The Koolas were fun. The one panda bear was asleep.
Saturday, June 6th: Saturday was supposed to be a relaxing day where we would pack and get ready to go home. But we ended up going with trying to go with Jenny, Mikeand JP to a car show. Unfortunatly it was mroe then what we wanted to spend to get in. So we walked around the library it was next to. We also went down to the beach again, where we waded into the water and played some frisbee on the beach. JoAnn and Larry treated us to a restaurant called Claim Jumper. It was pretty good, though more then we could eat. We went to watch / support JP as he went to a coffee shop called the Lost Bean where he played guitar and sing. He is a pretty good performer. I then made my famous Orange Julius drinks.
Sunday, May 7th: Did the 11 hour drive back to Utah.

Overall, I think we liked Disneyland the best of all the things we did. We were extremely worn-out after all that walking. I actually had blisters on my feet. I did check my email a couple times to make sure my work hadn't imploded without me. But it was a very fun vacation.

Check out more pics from our vacation:


Janell said...

That's a lot of amusement parks! Sounds like you had a nice time.

B. said...

This is a familiar vacation for my family. We used to do the So. Cal. amusement parks almost every year. Its been a couple of years and you guys look like you are having so much fun I will have to start planning a trip.