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26th March 2014 - Book of Mormon

A fairly quiet day today, our last in LA before a 7 day road trip.

We all went out in the morning - I have no clue what mall we ended up at but no purchases were made other than some lunch.

Back in Carson for a couple of hours before at 4:00pm we all headed to Hollywood again. A 30 minute drive that takes 90 minutes, We met up with Amy, Steve and Theresa at a Dennys for dinner before Ryan joined the Americans in our group and went to the Pantages Theatre, across the road from Kate Winslet's star. They saw a performance of The Book of Mormon - a religious satire musical with lyrics, and music by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone. Best known for creating the animated comedy South Park.

Rayls and I went out to the Glendale Galleria and killed time before meering with the Mormon group again where the newly converted Ryan joined us on the ride back to Carson where we arrived around 11:45pm.

25th March 2014 - Big Bang

Quilt Cupboard

Great day - long but great.

We headed out from Carson around 9:30am and went to Garden Grove to meet up with our friend Lidia. Didn't stay long as she had an important meeting.

We managed a quilt shop in Graden Grove, the Quilt Cupboard. Just after 11am we headed north towards LA and went to a couple of guitar shops. The first was Westwood Guitars on Westwood Blvd and then Guitar Centre Hollywood. This shop has immortalised over 400 musicians through their Rock Walk inductions (Les Paul, Eddie Van Halen, The Cure, Iron Maiden, etc). Their collection of hand prints and memorabilia draws music fans from all over. Cool place and Ryan enjoyed browsing at both shops.

At 2:30pm we met up with Amy, Steve and Thersa for a late lunch at BJ's Restaurants and Brewhouse, not far from the Warner Brothers Studio. Valet parking here, place was a little two fancy for me but the food was good.

At 4:00pm we all headed to the Warner Brothers Studio where we went through the ritual of lining up for a TV show taping. Like the TSA at the airport, the Audience Unlimited people know what they are doing but are not forthcoming with those of us who are first timers.

We did get into the audience for the filming of The Big Bang Theory which we all enjoyed. We had great seats and a good time was had by all. Perhaps Ryan was a little uncomfortable going up front to participate in a match making game which had him answering questions and even singing Waltzing Matilda. We all had a good laugh.

The show went fairly long and finished a bit before 11pm. Subsequently we all headed our own way with us Hartmans getting back to Carson just after 11:30pm

A Long but enjoyable day.

24th March 2014 - Back to LA

Over the Rockies

Back in LA!

We were up at 2:20am and on the road at 2:50am, we had to head into Chicago to pick up Ryan, saw a number of emergency vehicles heading the other way as we headed, assumed that was par for the course in this neck of the woods. Later we found out there was a major train crash at O'Hare Airport. Ryan was waiting outside his hotel, there was fresh snow on the ground in Chicago and it was -6C, cold.

Ryan seemed to have a fantastic time in Chicago. Much bonding with new mates, drinking beer, eating and hockey. The real Chicago experience.

We were on the road to Midway Airport around 3:10am and after a fuel stop we arrived at the airport around 3:30am. Returned the rental car and caught the shuttle bus to the terminal. Nice and early to beat the rush!!!! Wrong, It was too early and there was nobody behind the check in counters and probably up to 80 people lined up. Damn! As we looked for the end of the line some guy asked if we wanted curbside check in - he took us to his area outside (near the curb/kerb). Took our bags, tagged them and put them on the conveyer, all for a tip - worth every cent.

So before 4am we were through security and at the gate. No stress for this old man, well little stress!

The flight, Southwest Airlines 3391, was direct to LAX and took off on time, 6:15am, still dark. 4 hour flight, pretty bumpy at times - especially over the Rockies. We flew over Monument Valley, I could see the monuments - we were there a couple of years ago with my sister Cath and husband Chris. Flew over the Grand Canyon, from the air it seems hard to tell the Canyon from the rest of the countryside - much better from ground level. I was able to watch live TV on the plane, using my iPad. Saw the Malaysian Prime Ministers announcement about MH370 as he made it, no real news there.


Landed at 8:30am LA time, just a tad over a 4-hour flight.

We were the last people off the plane. They tried to tell us that this meant we had to help with the cleaning. The plane was flying onto Vegas next, only 2 people stayed on the plane for the second leg, every seat was taken for the Chicago to LA. After Vegas the plane was going onto Tucson in Arizona.

Bags came OK, first on and close to last off. Shuttle bus to Alamo. We got a Jeep!

Onto Carson and Maria and Charlie’s house. Unpacked the car, and then spent a few hours relaxing - the men had a nap.

It is overcast in LA -bit dreary but much warmer than Chicago.

Ryan and I managed a nap before we all headed out on the 35 minute drive to north of LA to Glendale. 35 minutes is what the GPS said. Took an hour and a half through very heavy traffic along Highway 110.

Given the Big Bang Theory of this part of the trip we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. We met up with Amy, Steve and Amy's mother Theresa,

A fictional version of The Cheesecake Factory is used as a setting in the U.S. sitcom The Big Bang Theory. While the food items that the main characters eat there are versions of dishes that can be ordered at a real restaurant (not surprising when considering how extensive a real CF menu is), none of the details of the show's location--particularly its fairly Spartan setting and the outfits that Penny and the other waiters wear--have any relation to real Cheesecake Factory locations. According to the company, it "does not have any sort of arrangements with the show. The Cheesecake Factory is really pleased to be featured in such a funny and wildly popular show".

We all ate well, served by Josh who did a great job. It is a full service restaurant with proper main courses and not just cheesecake although the desert had by most of us was cheesecake.

After dinner we headed to Amy's hotel room where we chatted some more. At 9:30pm the Hartman's started to flake out after a long day and Ryan drove us home to Carson, doing so in the 32 minutes the GPS said it would.

Great to be back in LA with Maria and Charlie and seeing Amy, Steve and Amy's Mom Theresa.