California Dreaming

This time next week, I will be in L.A., and then Vegas!

Hard to believe that my first-ever trip out to the West Coast starts at the end of this week. Friday, to be exact. I’m planning on leaving early from work so we have plenty of time to make our 5:35pm flight to LAX, seeing how we’ll be battling traffic to the airport. We’ll arrive around 8:30p, pacific time, so we don’t have a lot planned for Friday night.

I’ve been wracking my brain over this trip for about a month, including selecting hotels and planning things to do, so I think I have a good plan for what Saturday through Tuesday will have in store. We’ll be away a total of nine days and eight nights, if I counted correctly, making this my first real/big vacation that hasn’t been work-related in quite some time. First four nights in L.A., plus part of Tuesday, then off to Vegas for four nights, and leaving Saturday morning.

We are staying in the L.A. Live area, which I understand is full of shopping, restaurants, and attractions near a few of the major music venues in Downtown. There aren’t a lot of large concerts or events planned, thankfully, so we might luck out on parking, crowds, annoying tourists, etc. in this area… I hope. Trips to the Grammy Museum and the Ritz Carlton Spa, both near the hotel, are in the cards for part of one day, and landmarks like the Walk of Fame (of course!)

One full day will definitely be dedicated to seeing the beaches along the Pacific. Read some reviews that suggest that Venice Beach is a “dump”, but makes for interesting people watching. Everyone is their own critic, though. Seeing how I’m from New Jersey, home of the biggest douchebag show ever, Jersey Shore, which put Seaside (aka “Sleezeside”) on the map for all of the wrong reasons, pretty much nothing shocks me, so we’ll see about it being a “dump”. ;)

As always, I am excited for the FOOD… raw food, vegan/vegetarian, and juice places galore, I bet, in addition to notable restaurants from celeb chefs. Contemplated a visit to Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s famous Beverly Hills spot, but I don’t know — might have to come back as soon as I get that six-figure promotion in, oh, umpteen years from now (lol). (Made reservations for the one in Vegas, but I doubt the prices are any better.) Plenty of acceptable substitutes will be easy to find, I bet.

Some sight-seeing of the ritzy celebrity houses is also in order– cliche, yes, but completely necessary for a first-time trip to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and other notable places. I can’t promise you that anything good will happen if I see Justin Bieber’s douchemobile — you know, that ostentatious chrome sports car he owns. I wouldn’t be able to make a homemade molotov cocktail fast enough to throw at that fucker… so I guess a swift middle finger will suffice for the stuck-up brat, and to avoid any jailtime (although I bet any jury and sensible American would understand and acquit me of any crimes.)

On Tuesday, we head off to Vegas by land. It is a 4+ hour trip, I figure, assuming no traffic. We are staying not far off-Strip at a non-smoking hotel (thank goodness…) near the Convention Center, where the AWFS conference, an event for woodworkers that I encouraged Steve to attend (and the whole reason for this trip), will be. We will also celebrate Steve’s 27th birthday on the 25th! Otherwise, I am a little overwhelmed by the number of places we’ll need to visit, but I figure landmarks, again, are necessary for a first-time trip — i.e. Hoover Dam and Lake Mead one day, and the historic neon museum/sign graveyard another.

I’m not looking forward to the 6:00am flight back to New Jersey on Saturday the 27th, but for now, it is far enough away to not think about. The upcoming weather, on the other hand, is something to contemplate. The Weather Channel suggests that L.A. should be in the mid-to-upper 70s, while Vegas will be a scorching high-90’s to low-100’s — YIKES! Guess who will be spending a lot time in the pool…