Los Angeles to New York/New Zealand

Wednesday 14 August

We packed the last of our bags, checked out of the hotel at 12pm and headed over to the pool. We spent the rest of the day at the pool eating watermelon, swimming, and chilling out. Met some New Zealanders and Josh said: “it’s the first time in 8 weeks that I have heard bro, chur and nek minnit all in the same hour”. We left the hotel at 4pm to head to the airport. We said our goodbyes to boys and dropped them at the LAX international terminal to board their flight back to Auckland, NZ. That was a fun time. Not. The girls dropped the rental car off and caught the shuttle back to the LAX domestic terminal to board their flight to EWR (Newark, New Jersey).

tFD4S-gw uDZp93Fw VhjYIWKg IT2xwM4w

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park

Tuesday 13 August

Today was AMAZING! Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth. We arrived when the gates opened at 9am and entered Disney California Adventure Park. The rides we went on were, Soarin over California, Guardians of the Galaxy, Grizzly River Run, The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Golden Zephyr, Silly Symphony Swings, Incredicoaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, Radiator Springs Racers, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. Our favourite was Radiator Springs Racers, and being in Cars Land was awesome! We got a little wet on the Grizzly River Run ride, but we weren’t complaining as the temperatures were in the mid-30s! Little did we know, the worst was yet to come…

We headed over to Disneyland around 2pm and the rides we went on were Pirates of the Caribbean, Hyperspace Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure, Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Mad Tea Party, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, King Arthur Carousel, Star Tours, It’s a Small World, and Splash Mountain. By the time we had done a few of the rides, Mum and Dad’s stomachs weren’t up for too much more, so Tayla, Danika, and Josh went on a few while the parents rested their stomachs. 

When we were at Disneyland Paris in 2002, Tayla and Mum went on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. It was terrifying for Tayla who wore tall shoes to reach the minimum height for the ride, and for Mum who held onto Tayla so she didn’t slip out underneath the bar! When they got off the ride, Tayla said, “I don’t want to do that again” but today, she did it again! But I think it was Mum saying she didn’t want to do it again this time…

Tayla and Mum went on the Dumbo ride to recreate the picture they took when Tayla was 4 years old at Disneyland Paris. Went all went on It’s a Small World ride which Dad and Danika went on 8 times in a row when we were at Disneyland Paris because the line was so short and she loved it! This was while Mum and Tayla were on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. All five of us then proceeded to line up for Splash Mountain. We had no idea what was coming for us. By the end of it, Mum and Dad decided that was all their stomachs could take, Tayla was half soaked, and Danika and Josh (who were the two closest to the front) were absolutely drenched. After Josh got out, he rung out his shirt! It was definitely a laugh, but wished we had done it during the heat of the day rather than at 10:30pm at night! We had a random guy in the back of our boat who had a great time laughing at us complaining and our screaming (as you can see in the picture)!

We watched part of the Fantasmic Show, a performance done in New Orleans Square and on the water with the boats. We then watched Disneyland Forever (fireworks show) in front of Cinderella’s Castle which was magical. Tayla, Danika, and Josh went on the Matterhorn Bobsleds (which Danika wasn’t particularly fond of), and then watched the classic Main Street Electrical Parade. Josh decided he wanted to fit as many rides in as he could in the last half an hour he had, so he went for it. Mum, Dad, Tayla, and Danika went on the Disneyland Railroad to the Autopia ride where Mum, Tayla, and Danika got off and went for a spin and did some skids in the cars, while Dad continued on the train to the Main Entrance.

We left the parks at 12:30am and started our short, but slow walk back to our hotel. Our feet were sore and we were all exhausted. We did 16 hours in total at the two parks, and we did it well! Until next time Disneyland!

Yqt9nElg mPGLVS4w xslFfOTg bcQyDW8Q 3swBzKlQ hBBc4oAg u7DVlZ_go1rMVA0wEP4yIRiA llluZB0w sblZAfXw toVaBkuw

Los Angeles – Chill Day

Monday 12 August

Today we had originally planned to go to Universal Studios but we were all exhausted from our big days and knew that Disneyland was going to be a long one! We hung out in our hotel room and packed our bags (made sure that everything could fit for our next legs of the journey!). Mum and Tayla then went to Ross Dress for Less (our favourite store) and Walmart to get luggage scales, but of course, ended up with a bit more. We enjoyed swimming in the pool and spa in the afternoon.

Los Angeles – Church and Beach

Sunday 11 August

We went to Oasis Church in Hollywood for the 1pm service and it was great as Holly Wagner was speaking and it was an awesome message about “living your best life”.  We then visited Venice Beach and walked along the markets and Venice Muscle Beach. They are developing a new Muscle Beach area so not a lot was happening there with the people working out.  There were entertainers dancing for tips, and lots of interesting people. Saw bags of cannabis at one of the stalls advertised for $5 which was cheaper than a keychain in some stores. The whole place stunk of marijuana.  We then drove to Hillsong LA and went to the 6pm service and heard Robin speak who was awesome. After Church, we had Kebabs for dinner and then headed back to Griffith Observatory so we could spend some time up there. Unfortunately, the telescopes were closed by the time we saw them, but it was amazing up there. 

0EkBaPXg BCvdsMHAb6-HP_0AANQrvuMwmR5jUH7gCg2ujCLQ1x5cP9JQfRnyAxnQE-q-TNkQ G0fBi5wgHkgYx3iAQ13txGVw

Los Angeles – Hollywood and Santa Monica

Saturday 10 August

We went to breakfast and left at 9am to head to our Hollywood City Tours at 11am.  Alana, our driver was awesome and started the tour at 10.45am. We visited Hollywood Hills where we could see the LA skyline and Hollywood Sign, however, it was further away than we thought.  We saw Runyon Canyon Park which is apparently where the celebs walk their dogs or have their dog walkers walk their dogs. We drove through the expensive Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and saw Celebrity Houses such as Gwen Stefani, Brittany Spears, Leonardo di Caprio, Bruno Mars, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (houses were next door to each other), Sylvester Salome, Simon Cowell, and ‘Tony Stark’s’ house in the Marvel Movies.  We drove along Rodeo Drive seeing the expensive cars and shops. The tour was awesome!

We then did the Hollywood Walk of Fame and got some yummy frozen yogurt.   We headed to Venice Beach and stopped at the Venice Canals. We had previously seen a ridiculously long queue for In-n-out Burgers so decided to get an early dinner.   It was good value, simple but good! Tayla, Danika, and Josh got a Lime Scooter so they could Lime from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier. Unfortunately, they are banned from the walking/cycling path so they ended up liming the back streets and walking the last part along Santa Monica beach.  Santa Monica Pier was so crowded but we enjoyed being there for sunset. There were lots of stalls, Pacific Park theme park and people entertaining for tips. Holly Brunt who is at Summer Camp in Redding, California was in Burbank for the night picking up kids to take to camp, so we went and picked her up from her hotel at Burbank and then went to the 

Griffith Observatory.  We didn’t realise, but it closed at 10pm, so Chris dropped everyone off to the Observatory which was an incredible view over LA and then went to find parking but was told if they were in the park after 10pm they would get a $175USD fine so Chris drove back up and picked the others up and we drove back down.  Then we drove around in search of Downtown LA and drove past lots of homeless, some with tents set up and rubbish everywhere. We then found the Graffiti Walls in the Arts District/Fashion District. We dropped Holly off and headed back to our hotel in Anaheim. On the way home there was an accident on the freeway which had us stopped for about 30 mins.  Some cars next to us failed to stop and created another nose to tail. The cars drive so fast on the freeway, especially at night time.

1DUuHBeg 2Z5KwZiw BgI1G-UA FIo8gVIA 9KM7F-BA 5k-OgYcQ TkZOtvsAXZWKdWhgeO5mtdYA 1vVMJpvQ q6cg8x7wOCsXDVfA IdQtVWlg BMgd-wzw -u-e1m2A -m-sMNpQwxXUuD1QzSyxPhSw pydIQL1Q

Ensenada to Los Angeles

Friday 9th August

We got up early so we could go back to the Outlets near the border and continue our shopping.  We stopped at the Ensenada Sign to get some photos. However, it took us 2 hours once we hit the queue to cross the border to make it up to the border.  During our 2 hour crawl to the San Ysidro Port of Entry, there were people walking up and down trying to sell us stuff – it’s called ‘working the line’. There were children juggling, people selling stuff – we bought some churros and then others begging.  We had a guy wipe down our windscreen so we gave him $1 and then he kept wiping down our car – went around our car 6 times and then when we gave him some loose change he growled and said we should have given him another $5. It was a rental car – we didn’t want our car wiped down!

We had Chick-fil-a for dinner which was really nice but pretty expensive and then made our way to Best Western Stovalls Inn in Anaheim.

32 09.08.19 Ensenada-80 32 09.08.19 Ensenada-78 32 09.08.19 Ensenada-96 32 09.08.19 Ensenada-100 32 09.08.19 Ensenada-102 9V6Taj0Q

San Diego to Ensenada

Thursday 8th August

Chris paid the guy at the hotel to keep two of our bags there so we didn’t have to take them to Mexico.  There were no checks at the border and we were able to drive straight through. We headed to Ensenada to meet up with Josh and Selina from YWAM who was going to show us around the base where Danika will be staying from September 19th.  We didn’t have internet so had to stop and ask several times for directions and realised that Danika really needs to brush up on her Spanish as not many of the locals spoke English. We met the leaders of the course Danika is doing and they invited us to come back tonight as they had a youth worship event where they were grateful that Danika could take photos for them.  It was great to see where Danika would be staying. They have new buildings that are nearly finished which will improve the facilities. There is also a top of the roof chill out, sofa area which is cool. When Danika said she didn’t like country music, Josh assured her there would be none there.

Selina recommended a place for Tacos so we got some and headed to the beach.  There were guys playing music and dancing. It was a very cool atmosphere, and you really felt like you were in Mexico.  

Went back to YWAM base to join in with worship (last night of youth camp at the base) – Danika took photos for them.  It was awesome to see the team we had met, lead worship and many of the songs we knew.  

At the end of the night, someone played a joke and played ‘Country Road’ and ‘Thank God, I’m a Country Boy’ which burst her bubble just a little!  

We went back to our Airbnb – which we named Barbie’s dream house.

32 08.08.19 Ensenada-5 32 08.08.19 Ensenada-8 32 08.08.19 Ensenada-16 32 08.08.19 Ensenada-24 32 08.08.19 Ensenada-49 32 08.08.19 Ensenada-57 32 08.08.19 Ensenada-61rcm5sjYgdaSGMtBQjwT_VWsg lmJgGzCw

Los Angeles to San Diego

Wednesday 7th August

We arrived in LA at 7am and went and picked up our rental car, and upgraded to a ‘Dodge Caravan’ to fit all of our luggage and started driving South. We stopped at the Original House of Pancakes for a delicious breakfast stop to keep us going through the day, then stopping at Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach where there was a row of Op Shops.  We drove around San Diego and drove through the Balboa Park which had some arty buildings and gardens, Little Italy and around the city and then kept driving South. We arrived at our accommodation near the border to drop off our bags and head to the Las Americas Outlet Shops near the Border. We went to Nike, which was expensive, then Levis and then on Sandra’s recommendation went to Ross Dress for Less and we never looked back!!!  Hours later we emerged (Josh would say he went in and out 5 times, during the time we were in there). When we left, all the food outlets were closed, so had Carl’s Junior for dinner and then went back to our accommodation, Quality Inn and Suites near the border.

32 07.08.19 After flight to LA The Original Pancake House-4 32 07.08.19 Drive from LA to San Diego Little Italy-3 32 07.08.19 Drive from LA to San Diego-11 32 07.08.19 Drive from LA to San Diego-13 32 07.08.19 Drive from LA to San Diego-15 32 07.08.19 Drive from LA to San Diego-33 32 07.08.19 Huntington Beach-11 32 07.08.19 LA Thrift Store-5 32 07.08.19 LA Thrift Store-6

Talkeetna to Anchorage to Los Angeles

Tuesday 6th August

We said our goodbyes to Robin and left Talkeetna with Larry and headed to Anchorage, stopping at some shops along the way – instead of stopping at Repco to get car parts as we would in NZ, we stopped at an aircraft parts shop.  We stopped at Walmart and Costco and then had an all you can eat for lunch with Larry – Sushi, Asian, Seafood which was delicious. It was so hard to say goodbye to Larry at the airport. The connection we had in 1996 was awesome but now it was even stronger and we are already missing him and hopefully, it won’t be 23 years before we see him again.   

We were happy that our bags went through at a kilo over.  Our hand luggage was certainly also maxed out. We got a coffee each and Danika and I went to get some donuts and popcorn.  They had massive bags of popcorn (cooked over 30 minutes earlier) for $5 so we got it and then Danika used it as a pillow as she lay on the floor.  We certainly didn’t blend in with Josh getting a sticker for oversized luggage and Chris nearly getting one. Our flight to Los Angeles was at 11:40pm.

32 06.08.19 Last day in Talkeetna-10 32 06.08.19 Last day in Talkeetna-13 32 06.08.19 Dragon Seafood Restaurant & Grill with Larry-3 32 06.08.19 Airport ANC - LAX-4 32 06.08.19 Airport ANC - LAX-5 32 06.08.19 Airport ANC - LAX-1