“Hollywood Night in those Hollywood Hills”
January 3rd - 7th, 2013

This trip is about spending time with friends (old and new) and Steve Carlson, with a mini LA vacation thrown in. I took A LOT of photos, so I'm only going to put a few photos within the story. The rest of the photos are going to be on a separate page.

It’s Thursday January 3rd, 2013. The alarm goes off at 4:00 am. UGH!!! It’s time to get up, shower and finish packing…I’m going to Hollywood today!!! 5 glorious days and 4 great nights!!!

I parked my car at the office garage and caught the hotel shuttle to the airport. The airport was still decorated for the Christmas holidays and I tweeted a picture of it. I had a seat in the exit row; that was great. I had so much leg room, but my hips just made it in the seat. I did not realize that the seats are solid on the side; ain’t no wiggle room; but I’ll take the leg room. The flight was uneventful and arrived early. But arriving early meant sitting on the tarmac waiting for our gate to open up; so we actually arrived on time. My friend Cheryl will be flying out on Friday to meet up with me.

I got my luggage; even though it was only 5 days; I had 9 changes of clothes, depending on what we ending up doing; BUT only 3 pairs of shoes!!! The Enterprise car shuttle was right there waiting for me when I came out. I rented a Toyota Camry; very nice. I preset my Garmin with all the addresses that we’d need for the weekend. Even though it was 10:00 am, I headed toward my hotel.

The weather is great, sunny and warm (well warm by Chicago in January standards); the Californians thought it was cold. Traffic is light and the GPS is taking me the scenic route through Beverly Hills. I get to the Hollywood Celebrity Hotel and of course, it’s too early for my room to be ready. So I head up to the Griffith Observatory.

The GPS takes me up a very curvy road, but beautiful (Later on I find the easy route). Once up there, the lot is full so I park along the side of the road with everyone else. I walk up the hill and as I’m walking around Facebooking and Tweeting my battery is going out. So, I walk back to the car and get the cord to charge my phone and also an extra battery and charger for my camera (just in case).

I discretely looked around the outside of the building for an outlet. The Observatory doesn’t open up till Noon, but there were a lot of people there, since the kids were still out of school. I found an outlet and sat next to it and plugged my phone in. I went through the pictures I had taken thus far. I sat there for about 20 minutes and then it had enough juice to last a little while. The inside had opened by now and I was HUNGRY, so I headed to the cafeteria. I got the Mac-n-Cheese and a Hot Dog. The Hot Dog was good, but the Mac-n-Cheese was just okay.

After lunch, I headed into the gift shop and then into the lower level. The lower level has the “Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater”. The show is a short film on the history of the Observatory and it’s narrated by Leonard Nimoy. The lower level also has a display of the planets. It was a wee bit dark to photograph, but I did try. I did get some creative shots off the rings of Saturn and the galaxy pictures they had on display.

I made my way upstairs and bought a ticket for the 2:45 showing of “Centered in the Universe”. I walked around the main level and found a cool or should I say “hot” monitor. It measures the temperature of the area. I took of picture of how hot I am. LOL!! I had a while before the showing so I went back outside and plugged in phone in again, for about 15 minutes. I almost fell asleep sitting there. I was getting the lack of sleep headache.

As we got into the theater, our seats were already reclined. Bad idea. Shortly after it started you could hear the occasional snoring. I found myself sleeping as well as the people next to me. After the short nap, I decided to head back to the hotel. My room should be ready and maybe I could get a proper nap in.

It was a quick drive back down the hill. On the way to the hotel, I stopped and picked up some groceries: fruit, water and a few snacks; stuff to have in the room and to carry in the car. My room was ready and I dragged everything in from the car. The room was the first one off the lobby, so we were right next to the breakfast area and the fitness center. I did bring my workout clothes; with every intention of working out…Yeah Right!!! Not once! The hotel is great place to stay if you are not looking for frills. It is clean, safe and spacious. We had a microwave and a mini fridge; which really helped out.

Okay, we’re hitting 6:00 pm now. Getting a little hungry again. Where to have dinner? I knew the Hard Rock Café was close and I haven’t been to one in years. I also wanted to get my nails done so on my way out I asked at the front desk and he said that the “Loew’s Hotel next door had a spa.”

I went over to the Hollywood & Highland Center to see if they had a nail salon. Surprisingly, they did not. I took a few photos of the tree and water display and then headed to the Café. Dinner was good. I had the Turkey Burger, Salad, Fries and a Hurricane to wash it all down. Of course I took my glass home and the cute stirrers that came with it.

I needed to hit the CVS store for a couple of items and it was just down the block a ways. I saw things that I wanted to see in the morning or should I say daylight. Once I got my items; I headed back to the hotel. I stopped by the Loew’s hotel to see about their spa. The Concierge said that their spa was closed for remodeling, but that there was a salon near. He called them and found out what time they opened in the morning. He gave me their location; it was just a few blocks away. I was getting pretty toasty and tired. Once back at my hotel, I settled in for the night, watched some TV and then went to sleep.

Friday January 4th, Cheryl’s coming in and we start the “Steve Carlson Event Weekend”. I get up and go out and see what they have for breakfast. Not much on the healthy side; Waffles, Muffins, Toast and Croissants. I opted for the ego waffles. Then showered and headed back through the shopping center to head down to the nail salon. I stopped along the way to look at the stars in the side walk and at Grauman’s Chinese Theater to find the Star Wars impressions and to see who else was there.

As I headed to the salon, I about took a header on the cement. I was talking to one of the sign guys (the ones on the street that try to get you into the stores) and there was a smashed piece of fruit on the sidewalk. I started to fall and he grabbed my arm and helped me stay upright. It would not have been a graceful fall either. Thank God he was there. I then got to the salon about 9:45. They opened at 10:00. They spent a good hour with me and my nails. I got the gel no chip. This style is really addicting; you walk out and your nails are bone dry and they last for about three (3) weeks.

I headed back toward Highland, on the other side of the street to see the stars on that side. You have to really watch where you are walking as the sidewalk has cracks and mini potholes. I didn’t need a twisted ankle; even though I did bring my walking cane to LA, just in case. I took several pictures. I found a lot of the Star Trek guys and of course I had to take another picture of the “Journey” star. I was there in 2005, when the guys’ got their star. I went into the Roosevelt Hotel and walked around, but there wasn’t much to see. I found the restaurant that we were all meeting at later that afternoon. It was about a 5 minute walk from the hotel. I was getting a wee bit hunger and knew that we wouldn’t be eating till late, so I stopped in at Mel’s Diner (a favorite place of mine) and had a better breakfast. I then went back to the hotel and waited for Cheryl to arrive. Cheryl got to the hotel between 12:30 and 1:00. She unpacked, relaxed and then we got ready for one of the best evenings this year (so far).

As we headed to the restaurant I realized that we hadn’t put the tattoos on yet!!! What tattoos you ask? Well, there are five (5) of us girls who call ourselves “Carlson’s Corner Club”; during the Kane shows we’d always be in the corner where Steve was; plus Steve has a song called “Spot in the Corner”. So I designed a tattoo with Cheryl’s help. I also put together a little gift package for everyone attending the event. The envelope contained: 5 of the tattoos, a 4x6 of the Hotel Café show flier, a 4x6 of the flier with a space for autographs, a 4x6 of the “Official Carlson’s Corner Club” membership card, a little wallet size of said membership card and a card that had my name, email and address on it. I let everyone know that if they wanted a card with their photo on it, they could email me and then I would send them a jpeg of it.

So, Cheryl and I stopped along the way and put the tattoos on. When we got to the restaurant around 3:00 pm, there were a couple people already there. We went around and introduced ourselves and we did that each time a new person arrived. Amy, our host arrived and introduced herself to those who were new. Several of the attendees have done the weekend with Steve before. Then we noticed a guy taking our picture through the restaurant window. Brent, our photographer had arrived and he was snapping away.

Those in attendance were (spelling of names may not be totally accurate): Stephanie, Amanda, Karen, Dwayne, Cheryl, Alexandra, Jane, Heidi, Cheryl K, Laura, Linda, Andy, Joann, Holly and myself; 15 in all. Once everyone arrived and the limo found a parking spot, we all headed up to the Hollywood Hills. Brent took photos of us getting into the limo; just let me tell you, there is no graceful way to get into a stretch hummer limo. Once inside the limo, I passed out my little gift for everyone. Our ride up the hills was interesting. We stopped at the end of the street that the house we were headed to was on. Ty, the driver wasn’t sure how he was going to get the limo out, once he drove in, as it was a dead end street. After a few phone calls and a walk up the street, he continued on.

As we are getting out of the limo, there’s Brent taking our pictures again and again, not graceful. We walk down a few stairs and there is Steve greeting everyone as we arrive. Cheryl does happy jumping. She was thrilled to see Steve; she wasn’t expecting him to be outside greeting everyone. She introduced herself and went to shake his hand and he said “We don’t shake hands here.” He gave her a kiss and a hug. I was next and I got a kiss and a big hug.

We then went inside the house. Description of the house: Rectangle, about a 30 x 60. The long side of the house that faces the city is floor to ceiling glass. The glass parted in the middle so you could open the windows up. There are three (3) rooms; split the house in half long ways; the one half has the kitchen and living area with the wall of glass. The other half has two bedrooms right off of the living room and a couple of bathrooms. There really wasn’t much to the house, but the view was spectacular.

The view from the house was breath taking. Steve welcomed everyone and then the mingling started. I took some pictures of the view and of Brent taking a picture of me. When I got the chance I talked with Steve and asked if it was appropriate to ask him to sign a few things. He said “Oh Yes”. He signed my CD covers that I brought (after I got back home, I discovered that one of the covers didn’t get signed as it was hiding in one of the CD booklets.). I also created a special magazine cover for him. It was inspired by his healthy eating and cooking videos. I used the magazine “Cooking Light” as the template. I had one for him and one for him to sign. I also showed him what I created for everyone that attended. He liked it. He asked that I hang on to them until the end of the night.

As he was looking at the magazine cover, he pointed out the title “Cover Me in Gold” Fondant. He liked that. I said that “Cover Me in Gold” was my favorite song on the new CD. I asked if it was based on a particular track. He said that he was talking to a friend of his that is a Formula 1 driver; and the song emerged from there. Steve also poured Cheryl and me a couple of glasses of white wine during the meet and greet. Cheryl and I talked with Nicholas and Taylor, who work with Amy.

Then it came time to get ready for the StageIt show. Steve suggested that if you have to use the facilities, now would be the time; instead of having to try and duck under the camera. We all took a seat on a very long white couch and silenced our cellphones.

The musicians were, Steve Carlson, Daan Lutgendorff, Henri O'Connor and David Olivas. The show started with a big laugh. Brent took pictures throughout the show. The set list consisted of:
Different Town
Faded Away
Wasted Jamie
Cover Me in Gold
One Thing
“Tuning Break” app on tablet
What Goes Around Comes Around
Pinata Novia
Torch in the Rain
Mad Jeanette
Something in the Water

After the StageIt show ended, we got a great encore of songsfor about 30 to 40 more minutes. We would shout out songs and he’d sing them, for the most part. We would also sing along with him. It was a fantastic time. Then it was time to head back to the restaurant Musso & Frank. This is one of Steve’s favorite restaurants.

We gathered our items and did one more bathroom run. Once we got back in the limo, Steve and Daan joined us; it was time to back out and down the hill. Yes, I said “Back out” and it’s dark out! Brent did a great job helping Ty back out of the dead end street. And while he was directing Ty; he was also still taking photos. Brent is multi-talented.

Ty took us back to the restaurant. Amy said that we were supposed to go to Grauman’s Chinese Theater first and take some pictures; but Ty was already parked. Steve said that we could walk it, it wasn’t that far. So, we did. Let’s just say that I have a hard time walking slow, so I was always ahead of the group, but I wasn’t alone, Amanda and Heidi were up there with me. So, we would stop and let the group catch up. Brent took several group shots at the Theater. Then we walked back to Musso & Frank’s.

I wanted to sit next to Amy, so I could ask her about the business and her clients. I think this concept could be something that Jonathan Cain, Steve Augeri and Jason Scheff could really utilize. Cheryl and I gave Amy feedback on what we thought worked and what we thought could be improved on, and we talked price point. Steve sat at the other end, but our end had Brent, and ladies .. he is a cutey.

Musso & Frank’s is an old world Italian Steakhouse. The menu for the night was:

First Course: Baby Iceberg Wedge Salad or Cream of Tomato Soup

Main Course (choice of): Filet Mignon, Grilled Swordfish or Fettucine (Steak and fish came with a potato)

Dessert: (choice of): New York Style Cheesecake or Spumoni

I finally followed my doctors (2 of them) advice and had the beef. Conversations were good; we were getting to know each other. Before dessert, Steve and Brent switched places, so that he could chat with the other half of us. Steve had ordered the cheesecake for dessert, but when he saw Cheryl’s Spumoni Pie he was like, “I want that”. Luckily, Brent was eating Steve’s cheesecake, so Steve got to get the Spumoni Pie. During the conversation, Steve said that he loved my laugh, I said, “Thank you” and told him how as a kid my nickname was “Giggles”. He smiled and said "I can see that."

The night ended shortly after that; I ended up not only taking ½ of my cheesecake home, but ½ of Amy’s as well. It was a huge piece of cheesecake. Steve was staying and hanging out with some friends of his, but we were tired, especially Cheryl. She got up at 4:00 am Chicago time and it was 10:00 pm LA time. Cheryl and I got another hug and kiss from Steve. It was a really good evening.

Saturday January 5th, our day was quite open, as we didn’t need to be back to the hotel till about 7:00 pm to get ready for the show. With rain predicted for Sunday, we decided to hit the beaches today: Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu. I had already preprogramed the Garmin, so we loaded the car and headed to Venice beach. It was a gorgeous day out. And I had on sandals and suntan lotion, woohoo!!!

Traffic was really good. We parked at the south end of Venice Beach. I did grab the Garmin and put it in my bag; you never know when you might need directions. The plan was to walk up the boardwalk and then walk back to the car and drive up to Santa Monica Pier. Well, once we got to the north end of the boardwalk, Cheryl goes, “Isn’t that a ferris wheel?” It didn’t look that far away. I pulled out the Garmin and brought up Santa Monica Pier…. 1.5 miles. We can walk that!?!?!?

We walked slowly and stopped a couple of times; I didn’t get out of breath at all. I did really well. My doctors would have been so proud of me. Once we got to the pier, we were getting hungry, so we looked for a place to eat along the pier. I stopped a couple of times to take in the view and snap some photos. There was even a mermaid posing for pictures on the beach. We ate at Mariasol Cocina Mexicana. The food was really good. After we ate, it was time to head back down the beach. And it was getting quite chilly; the wind had picked up and the sun was going down.

So, we looked for sweatshirts. It may have been chilly, but I still was not going to spend $40 to $50 on a sweatshirt that I really did not care for. We looked in several shops and decided, too expensive. We decided to look in one more shop (below the pier) and he had sweat shirts and hoodies for $25; much better prices and a better selection. Cheryl and I ended up with the same style of sweatshirt, just different colors. We then proceeded the long walk back to the car, in order to drive to Malibu. We were determined to hit all three beaches. The round trip walking was a total of 5 miles.

Once back in the car; we drove up to Malibu. It was dark by the time we got there, but we could hear and somewhat see the ocean. The Lagoon was closed, so we could not drive out to the beach. It was getting close to 6:15 so we headed back toward the hotel. Traffic was getting bad, so we programmed the Garmin to take side streets. We drove all the way up Santa Monica Blvd, past Rodeo Drive. Right, where we were going to go on Sunday. We got to the hotel at 7:00 pm..perfect. We showered, dressed, makeup and this time…tattoos before we left. This is the first trip that I was switching between two different purses. So I had to make sure I was switching everything I needed; especially the camera and extra batteries.

We drove to the “Hotel Café”. It wasn’t far, like 5 minutes. We ended up going around the block twice. They have no sign out front that says “Hotel Café”. The entrance is in the back, in the alley. I thought screw it, I saw a guy waving a light for parking and I pulled in. He pointed me toward the back alley. I pulled up to the garage entrance and there was Brent. I put down the window and he said that he thought the garage was full, but to go ask the guy. The guy had one spot left. We parked and paid him, only $15; cheap.

We headed back down the ramp and talked with Brent. Brent asked me to take pictures inside. He said that it was really dark and he was most likely not going to be able to get too many good shots. Amanda came out of the club. Amy had put us all on the VIP guest list and had spots reserved for us right in front of the stage, for Steve’s segment. Brent wanted to get some test shot, so the three of us posed for him and then I wanted a picture of just Cheryl and I. Amanda said that it was hot in the club, so I took Cheryl’s and my coats back up to the car. Brent was also trying to find a good spot for the group photo.

Steve came out and did individual shots with each person and then we gathered for the group shot and Brent disappeared. Amy was like “Where did he go?” Brent then appeared above us. He took the group shots from above out a widow in the garage. These turned out better than the ones from the Theater. We all then went inside and found our seats. Brent, Amy, Nicholas and Taylor had taken one of the photos from the Theater and fixed it up in a frame for each one of us as a take home gift. That was so sweet.

At first I went right in front of Steve, but that was too close for good pictures. So, I went to the back of the table in between Cheryl and Stephanie. Brent was right it was dark, not one white light on the stage, a photographers nightmare. I did some experimenting with settings. I shot about half the show and then low and behold; a light bulb went off…I can change the ISO setting. DDDUUUHHH!!!!!! I changed it from 800 to 1600 and then 3200. My composition and framing were very much improved this show. Of course, I always think other people take better pictures then me.

There were 7 to 8 people on stage during the set. I don’t have the set list for this. Of course the set list was too short for us. We wanted him to play all night, but there was another artist slated after him. I do love it when Steve does “She’s Not There”, it's my favorite song to see him do. After Steve got done, he was going to be selling and signing his new CD at the merch window. The club floor pretty much cleared out. Cheryl and I headed to the ladies room.

When I came out, I headed toward Cheryl and she stopped me and said that Jensen Ackles was right behind me. OMG!!!!! My fan girl moment was just about to happen. I was freaking speechless and y’all know that don’t happen to me. He was taller than I thought. He and Danneel were on their way out. I just followed like a little puppy dog. I had no clue what I would say to him, I was in awe. It’s better that I get it out of my system now, then when I see him in October. I got caught in a group and then lost them when they got outside.

Then Cheryl and I found where the merch window was and waited in line. Steve had his calendar and his new CD. The calendars were out of the plastic, but the CDs were not. I got out my trusty box cutter and slit the CD open for Steve to sign. He also signed the calendar for me. We went back into the club area, but it was pretty bare, felt bad for the next guy coming on. We headed to the outside to see who all was still there. Everybody was there, just hanging out and talking. Jane was talking with Brent and we got to hear about Brent’s movie “Eagles in the Chicken Coop”. You can download it on iTunes. No one really wanted to go. We were exchanging Facebook and Twitter handles.

A little bit later on, Steve came out and did a final goodbye to everyone. So we all got another kiss and hug from Steve. I do believe his dad was driving; Steve got in the backseat. It was close to 1:00 am, so it was time to head back to the hotel. Three of the girls; Karen, Stephanie and Holly, talked about getting a cab. We asked where their hotel was. They said about 6 or 7 blocks. We told them that we’d give them a ride back and save them the cab fare. We dropped them off and then on the way back I was hungry, so we stopped at a hamburger joint. I got a hot dog and the chili; both were disappointing. I did not even finish the chili.

Once back at the hotel, I wasn’t quite tired yet, so I downloaded the photos from the beaches and the show. Once I was ready to hit the sack, it started to rain. One drop would hit the air conditioner and a ting would sound, and then in a little bit another drop and a ting. I knew that the “ting” would keep me up, so I put in my ear plugs.

I woke up at around 8:30 and went to the bathroom, as I got in bed Cheryl got up and went. I could tell as she was walking that she wasn’t ready to get up yet, so I went back to sleep. I then woke up at 11:30, WOW!! Cheryl left a note that she was out on the computer checking her email. I texted her that I was up and that the earplugs I put in worked really well. I went in and showered. When I got out, Cheryl was back. She’s so sweet; she got me some waffles from when they had breakfast out. She couldn’t believe that I slept through the people getting their breakfasts, her showering and the vacuuming of the hallway. She even checked to see if I was still alive. She didn’t know that I had put the ear plugs in.

We finally headed out to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive or “Row-dee-o” Drive as the Garmin called it. We found parking and then walked up and down the street. Since it was Sunday, some of the stores were closed. We didn’t go into any of them, since we were not buying anything, just window shopping. We did go into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel; homage to “Pretty Woman”; plus we needed to use the facilities. The bathroom in the hotel was gorgeous. I took a couple of pictures, of course.

We were a bit peckish and I remembered that Sprinkles cupcakes were a big thing in LA, so I punched it into the Garmin and there was one about 3.5 miles away. So we got the car from the valet and followed the Garmin. Garmin’s are a good thing and Garmin’s are a bad thing. The Garmin directing us to a gated community, finally we pulled up and talked to the guard. He said “we weren’t the first ones.” He directed back to where we came around the block from. It was the right address, but it looked like a warehouse.

Kudos to the modern day phones, Cheryl searched on her phone and found an 800 number for sprinkles. I called it and got the address for their Beverly Hills location. As we are driving back to Beverly Hills and to Rodeo Drive; we were like NO WAY!!! The location was literally ½ a block from where we stood at one point earlier. Sprinkles does not have a large sign, it is really easy to miss. We found a parking meter and walked to the store.

There was a line outside. The Cupcake Concierge was coming down the line letting people know what cupcakes were available that day. Cheryl mentioned that they have a cupcake ATM, and they did. When the concierge got to us, we talked a LONG time. She had been to the Hotel Café before, so we talked, music, cupcakes and restaurants. She gave us several places that we could go for dinner.

Once we got in the door of Sprinkles, they started taking each of our orders. I got three different ones: German Chocolate, Red Velvet and Milk Chocolate. I went for the ones that did not have the buttercream frosting. They even travel packed one of my cupcakes for the flight home. We checked out one of the restaurants right there and decided to head to The Grove and eat there.

I love the fact that I preprogrammed all the possible paces we wanted to go into the Garmin, it made it so much easier. The Grove/Farmers Market was one happening place; 2 of the garage levels were already full. We found a space and then headed down the escalators. We picked the perfect spot as we emerged right by the quote Center Court. The three main restaurants were right there. We looked at each of the menus and decided on La Piazza. They only had outside dining available at the moment, so we ordered an appetizer and a drink at the bar and waited for a table inside, the sun is going down and it’s getting chilly.

They make a great French Martini; just as good as Mon Ami Gabi’s in Oak Brook. We had: Appetizer: Rollino al Forno: Rolled and Baked Pizza Crust, Stuffed with four Cheeses, Italian Prosciutto and Mushrooms

Cheryl had the Beet Salad and I had the Tomato and White Bean Soup.

And for the main course we each ordered a pizza. When they brought the pizzas out; I took one bite of mine and the bottom was burnt. We sent both of our pizzas back. They were both burnt on the bottom. They apologized and sent out some bruschetta for us. We laughed because we had had enough bread by then. The next pizzas they brought out were perfectly done. We each took pizza home in a people bag.

We walked down and through the Farmers Market, keeping each other from buying unnecessary souvenirs. We went into Barnes and Noble to get some Starbucks Coffee and Hot Chocolate. I love their Peppermint Hot Chocolate. As we walked around the store, we hit the Bargain Books section. I found and bought a Cookbook by Nigella Lawson that was autographed by her, for only $10.00. I said; that’s mine.

We walked a little more and then sat down in one of the patios. We people watched, Tweeted, Facebooked and talked. The fountains went off while we were sitting there; it was like a mini Bellagio fountain show. We watched as the stores were closing up. They were taking in their doggie water bowls; how cute. We decide to head up to the Griffith Observatory and try some night shooting. On our way back to the car, we found a restroom. A REALLY NICE restroom. Cheryl asked at the concierge if they were part of a hotel. They said no, we're part of the Parking Garage. Chicago doesn’t even have a parking garage with a Concierge and a really nice restroom. I mean washcloths to dry your hands with and two lounge areas and it’s a free garage.

We made our way to the Observatory. The way I went on Thursday was closed off so, I went the way the hotel had originally suggested. We past two houses that were really decked out for Christmas. This way also took us right past the Greek Theater. I know that place; Tracy and I saw Journey play there; Matt LeBlanc and his family were in the audience. We got to park in the parking lot at the Observatory. They were still open.

We admired the views at night and took some great pictures. I showed Cheryl where I sat and plugged in the two times. We walked around the back and then went inside. We were going to be coming back in the morning before our flight home, since Cheryl had not seen it during the day. The inside wouldn’t be open when we come back in the morning; so we went inside tonight. We did a somewhat quick run through, as we were both getting tired. Then we headed back to the hotel. We got things ready for packing in the morning.

Monday January 7th, aaawww our last day, on our way home to chilly Chicago. We showered, had breakfast, packed, loaded the car, checked out and made our way back to the Observatory. I didn’t even need the Garmin to get there. The views were better this morning then on Thursday. There was not as much haze/pollution in the air. We stayed up there for a bit taking more pictures. Then it was time to return the car. I punched up Enterprise and we headed off. I wanted to be at Enterprise by 12:30 and we were. We got on the shuttle and they took us to our airline.

The trip ended with a wee bit of drama at the airport. We go to check-in and check my bag with the skycap and he said that he can’t check us in; we have to talk with someone at Cabin Services. We go inside and the line attendant sends us down to the kiosk to check in. The kiosk lets Cheryl check in, but it won’t let me check-in. She sends us back down to the line attendant, who now, lets us get in line. We get up there and the whole fuss is over the .80 cents…that’s right EIGHTY CENTS; that they owe me from changing my flight. It takes them a good 20 to 30 minutes to give me a voucher for .80 cents.

After that, then we still have to go through security. We get up stairs and the line splits…which way to go…right or left? We head left. The line is still taking forever. We were supposed to start boarding at 2:25 pm. They called for all passengers boarding at 2:00 through 2:15; it was 2:00. Everything happens for a reason. As we get to where we can see the security belts; Cheryl goes “Hey, isn’t that Daan?” As a matter of fact it is Daan. We didn’t see him after that, but for some reason we were supposed to see him then.

After we finally get through, we need food. We had planned on eating at the airport. I grabbed a burger at Burger King and Cheryl grabbed some snacks. We did not have to wait hardly at all to board. Cheryl was in group 3 and I was in group 4. She had a window seat and I had an aisle seat. We were hoping no one would be in the middle seat. No such luck. So I moved to the middle seat and gave the guy the aisle.

The flight was uneventful. I listened to the Steve Carlson playlist on my phone and watched the movie. I find that I don’t really need to hear the movie to figure out what’s going on. Once we landed, my luggage was up right away. We made our way to the hotel pickup and the Hyatt Rosemont bus was right there. He brought us back to the hotel. Cheryl and I got in my car and I took her home. I went home and unpacked, got the laundry sorted and items put away. I got to bed about mid-night, I think.

The trip was well worth the money we spent. It was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities you just don’t pass up. I hope you have enjoyed another one of my great adventures and all the photos to go along with it.

For more photos click on this link. Hollywood & LA Photos

click here to go back to the StageIt and Hotel Cafe Photos. StageIt and Hotel Cafe