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   01.09.06 || Los Angeles

The last weeks of 2005 consisted of lots of travel for me. The week before Christmas I went to Las Vegas with Krissy to visit her brother, and the week after as a graduation gift from my parents we went to Los Angeles. So Christmas night we boarded our flight to LA to spend some time as tourists. Obviously I can't go anywhere without taking multi-thousand pictures, so I've condensed that and have links here to pictures from that day.

An addition to the pictures from this trip we actually had GPS on my computer. It was quite cool to use, and it also allows for making GPS Trail. You can zoom in, get directions with it, it talks to you, very nice navigator. So while we were doing our touristy stuff, I left GPS trail on. You can't stalk us because we’re not there anymore, but here's where we were: The blue line is our GPS Trail. Here's a closer view of our LA GPS Trail .

Day 1 -- 12/26/05
Recommended from our hotel we decided to take VIP tours to see the main attractions of LA. We wanted to take a tour company to see the main things, and we could go back to them later in the week, so we got to see all the main attractions, and they let us walk around at a few. Then we proceeded to our hotel, Beverly Garlands, and got checked in. They also provided a shuttle bus to Universal Studios Hollywood, so we waited around for that, and went to the City Walk at Universal. Then we ended the day with a ginormous dinner at Saddle Ranch Chop House.
>> Day 1 Pictures

Day 2 – 12/27/05
We started out by checking out the Hollywood Sign, come to find out that the sign is not lit up at night. Being a ‘landmark’ I thought it would be lit up. We decided to head out west to Malibu Beach and just tour along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Rather interesting drive, seeing all the houses, built on every level of the mountain. We also watched the sunset while we were on the Malibu Beach Pier. Then headed back and waited in line for like 45 minutes to drive through the Light Festival in Hollywood.
>> Day 2 Pictures

Day 3 – 12/28/05
Starting out driving by the NBC Studios where Jay Leno tapes we headed down to Bel Air. What an amazing amount of money goes into those houses; grand entrances, steep slopes, small driveways. Then we headed back to Rodeo Drive. Walking in that area there were the shops that sell the $1500 purses are interesting, but more interesting to dad and I were the cars that drove by. Bentleys, Rolls Royce, Porsche, these cars that drove by worth more than a house, amazing. I have a picture of a Bentley; its worth from what I could find online is about $140,000. I'd be scared to have that on the road! Then we made our way over to Venice Beach. It’s not a clean place to be, lots of “art” (graffiti) there. More interesting is the vast variety of people there, many different cultures. Another interesting thing to see is the west coast was expecting high tide and big waves when we were there, so they were building up the sand on the beach to help keep the water back from the buildings. A cookout at mom’s cousins’ house ended our journey today, and we also moved our hotel location to Mission Viejo, CA.
>> Day 3 Pictures

Day 4 – 12/29/05
The fourth day into our tourism we headed down to San Diego. It’s only a little over an hour drive and we stopped at La Jolla Beach where we found many resting seals. Off La Jolla Beach you can see the scatter of houses everywhere on the mountain along the coast. In California people aren’t afraid to build on the largest slopes. The larger the slope, the more houses there were. As we headed south through San Diego we went out on to Coronado Island, even though it’s more of a peninsula and found this tourist hotel, Hotel del Coronado. It was huge and nice, but looking after we got back the hotel rooms start at $260 without a coast view, more like $350 a night with a coast view. Then we stopped at the beach along Mission Blvd in Coronado for sunset. Only being a few minutes from Mexico, we had to go down to the border to see what it was like. Surprisingly it seemed like there was quite a few people going through to the other side. Avoiding crossing the border we didn't spend much time there, and headed back. We hit what seems to be typical CA traffic coming back up to Mission Veijo.
>> Day 4 Pictures

Day 5 – 12/30/05
Our last day in LA included driving more on PCH and seeing all the sites we could. We made it up to Venice beach again, and then made our way to return the car and get on the plane back to Chicago. Weather in LA while we were there was in the mid 60’s, pretty nice actually, and it was in the mid 30’s in Chicago.
>> Day 5 Pictures