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Goin' back to Cali - an estrogen free journey to the Golden State

fractal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
There is a special relationship between a father and son. A young boy will look up to his father as a model to be. A father is almost like a superhero - always stronger and mightier than any other man. That's when it's easy to be a Dad. It's when you can do no wrong in the eyes of your your son. You can lift him up with one arm, throw him effortlessly into the air then catch him and tickle him on the way down to the ground. You show him how to do anything, answer all the questions, and be his coach and mentor.

Then the boy grows up. The son gets bigger and stronger and smarter. The Dad is no longer perfect and no longer wears the cape. He starts to leave the shadow of the father to become his own person. It's a difficult time for the relationship. The father yearns for the blind respect and awe that was given just "moments" before while the son craves his own.

And that's where I am. I have a 15 year old son (Sterg) that is growing too fast for my liking. He has found his antlers and is testing them on the "old man". The last year has been testy as the boy in the shadow is trying to overshadow his Dad. It's his quick jabs at the "love handles" or the chest that isn't as tight as it used to be that usually ends in a wrestling match with me placing him in the "Cobra Clutch" and he pleading Uncle - only I'm breathing heavier after each match.

When the opportunity came up for us to take an 8 day trip together I knew it would be more that just a trip. We were off to California to do many things; to see new things, to meet old friends and clients, to visit "Walt's park" for the first time, to compete in a Junior Olympics Water Polo Tournament, and not the least of which - to see where our father-son relationship really was.

For more background on the trip take a look at my pre-trip report http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/fractal-son-head-west-a-disneyland-ptr.841067/page-4#post-5060735

Our trip started at the Philly Airport waiting for our Virgin Airlines flight to LAX. This is when I found out that is was not "cool" for me to take pictures of Sterg. The one's I got I had to sneak or were under threat after I reminded him of how fortunate he was to be going on this trip. The young Sterg would eagerly pose for any picture - the smart-alec Sterg of only a year ago would offer up goofy faces, but would at least pose. This version wanted nothing to do with a camera - or was it the person behind the camera?



 
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fractal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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For our flight, I upgraded our seats to Main Cabin Select. These seats are in the first row right behind first class. The seats are the same size as the regular cabin seats but offered 4 more inches of precious legroom - which I thought was important on a 6 hour flight. The seats also afforded you the perk of checking your bags in the "first class" line which likely save us 15-20 minutes and the additional perk of "priority" status in the security TSA line. At the Philly airport - this saved us at least 20-30 more minutes.

On the flight we also had free movies and meals. Was it worth the extra cost? On a cross country flight I thought it was. I don't think I would pony up the extra cash for a flight less than four hours. The flight itself was smooth and we landed in LAX ahead of schedule - around 9am local time. With time to kill before my scheduled meeting we decided to head to the Getty Museum.



Admission is free but you have to pay for $15 for parking. Not a bad deal for one of the premier art museums in the world. Instead of taking the "train" from the parking garage up to the main building, we decided to walk the nearly 1 mile good incline. Actually we were convinced to walk by the "Getty CM" at the bottom of the hill who promised us wonderful sights during our "short" walk up a "slight" incline. As Sterg and I joked about the retaining wall view and the Olympian walk that contradicted the "CM's"
sales job I noticed how difficult it was for me to keep up with him without breaking out into a slight jog.

Finally we made it to the top. The building itself is spectacular - as are the views of the city.









And what do you know - I even coerced another picture of sonny-boy.

 
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mamamouse

Well-Known Member
AGGGHHHHHH ok ur intro made me cry!!!!! i'm certainly not a boy but it made me think of my dad :(
trust me there will come a day when he'll wish he had even just a few more minutes of your time *sigh*
 

fractal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Getty is gorgeous! If you appreciate art and architecture it is well worth your time. Most of the art is from the Renaissance period while the buildings themselves are great examples of modern form.
















Even if you are not crazy about art, the view alone is worth the trip. Not to mention the beautiful gardens.








I could have stayed there all day, but after the first hour Sterg had his fill of "old statues and paintings". We grabbed something to eat at the cafe then made out way out of the Getty.
 
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fractal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Navigating through a strange town is never easy. Navigating in and around Los Angeles is crazy. The traffic deserves all of the bad reputation it gets. If it wasn't for the HOV/carpool lanes I think we would still be there. Signage is also a bit iffy - sometimes they have the exit number, sometimes they don't. Having Sterg in the passenger seat with his IPhone was my saving grace. My navigator plugged in a destination and we were on our way - we actually made a pretty good team. With more time to kill, we drove around through the Beverly Hills and Hollywood areas, but didn't take too many pics.



I had my meeting at 3:30 with my clients and we all went out for a nice dinner at "Lawry's The Prime Rib". It was great to see them again after 4 years. They retired and moved out West. The company was great and they really enjoyed asking Sterg questions about water polo and the upcoming tournament. I enjoyed watching and listening to him as he engaged in a real adult conversation. The restaurant itself was elegant and we all really enjoyed our prime rib!



After our meal and our goodbyes, Sterg and I hopped in our car and started our trip to Anaheim. The question was - what time would we get there and will it give us enough time for at least a small taste of Disneyland?
 

sweetpee_1993

Well-Known Member
Ugh! Yes, your opening was a well-painted picture. I feel ya. Our boys are similar in many aspects but then different because of how off-the-map we are with the whole homeschooling and other things that still keeps them quite close to me. Boys are truly a mystery to me, tho. Just when I think "I got this" the whole game changes and I'm clueless again.

The Getty had some amazing views! Gorgeous pics!

Aren't adult conversations that include your offspring like a little sliver of light at the end of the tunnel??? When they actually hold intelligent conversation with other adults that include regular people topics I'm always hit by the thought, "Thank you, God. There's hope after all." LOL!
 

PolynesianPrincess

Well-Known Member
YAY a TR from Chris!!!! Can't wait to read all about it! The Getty looks beautiful. Totally a place my Mom and Grandmother would LOVE!!!
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
OK, just a few posts in and you've already gotten me a bit choked up...and craving prime rib all at the same time. The pics of the Getty are beautiful. We drove by there about 9 yrs ago, but just never had the time to make our way up there. LA driving is also crazy...not sure how we survived with nothing more than a map. Can't wait to read more. :)
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
The Getty looks beautiful. Totally a place my Mom and Grandmother would LOVE!!!
The Getty is one of the best museum complexes in America, if not the entire Free World. And just one of the many stunning cultural and natural wonders to be found in Southern California. I'm so glad to see a TR by a parent that doesn't just relegate itself to theme parks/water parks/themed dinner shows, but instead gets a child out into the world to see exciting things that don't happen to involve singing pirates or refillable mugs.

That said, I too am looking forward to the next chapter in this TR, as they are headed towards another sparkling jewel in SoCal's crown of famous cultural offerings... Disneyland! :D
 

fractal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
AGGGHHHHHH ok ur intro made me cry!!!!! i'm certainly not a boy but it made me think of my dad :(
trust me there will come a day when he'll wish he had even just a few more minutes of your time *sigh*
I am much closer to my son than I was with my father. I admired my father. He worked hard and we worked together for a few years but we never connected beyond that. I do miss him though.

Great, so far. The Getty is beautiful.
Thanks and yes is it!

Ugh! Yes, your opening was a well-painted picture. I feel ya. Our boys are similar in many aspects but then different because of how off-the-map we are with the whole homeschooling and other things that still keeps them quite close to me. Boys are truly a mystery to me, tho. Just when I think "I got this" the whole game changes and I'm clueless again.

The Getty had some amazing views! Gorgeous pics!

Aren't adult conversations that include your offspring like a little sliver of light at the end of the tunnel??? When they actually hold intelligent conversation with other adults that include regular people topics I'm always hit by the thought, "Thank you, God. There's hope after all." LOL!
And if you think boys are hard to figure out, I also have two girls! :) If you find yourself in the LA area, the Getty is a must do.

Yes, Sterg really impressed me with how well he handled himself. I was all ready to rescue him from some of the questions but pleasantly didn't need to.

YAY a TR from Chris!!!! Can't wait to read all about it! The Getty looks beautiful. Totally a place my Mom and Grandmother would LOVE!!!
Thanks! The Getty was "all that"!

Been looking for to this tr. Glad your back home safe and sound.

Thanks! Hopefully get to update more soon. I really want to dig into our experience at DL and DCA.
 

fractal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
OK, just a few posts in and you've already gotten me a bit choked up...and craving prime rib all at the same time. The pics of the Getty are beautiful. We drove by there about 9 yrs ago, but just never had the time to make our way up there. LA driving is also crazy...not sure how we survived with nothing more than a map. Can't wait to read more. :)
You have to visit the Getty next time you are in LA. It's actually pretty easy to get on/off of the exit. You really need two people to drive around LA if you are not familiar with the area. Having Sterg navigate saved us a lot of time and aggravation. Thanks and hope to update soon!
 

fractal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Getty is one of the best museum complexes in America, if not the entire Free World. And just one of the many stunning cultural and natural wonders to be found in Southern California. I'm so glad to see a TR by a parent that doesn't just relegate itself to theme parks/water parks/themed dinner shows, but instead gets a child out into the world to see exciting things that don't happen to involve singing pirates or refillable mugs.

That said, I too am looking forward to the next chapter in this TR, as they are headed towards another sparkling jewel in SoCal's crown of famous cultural offerings... Disneyland! :D
Yes- wanted to add a bit of culture to our trip.:)

I'm going to try to really get into our experience at DL. I will say this - it was not what I expected.

Beautiful!
Thanks!

Love the pics! :)

Thank you!
 

Disneyfalcon

Well-Known Member
Fractal! I didn't know you were headed to Walt's park!! I am hoping and betting it surprised you in a good way. The Getty museum is awesome and gorgeous. We love it there.

And your intro was just perfect. Loved it!!
 

fractal

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We made a right out of Lawry's onto North La Cienega Boulevard. Sterg was on his IPhone plugging in coordinates for a drive to the Howard Johnson's in Anaheim.

"Go up here a bit Dad" he said.
"Now make a right"

I made a right and we found ourselves going through Hollywood on the old Route 66.

"Pretty cool" I said as we drove past some neat stores and fancy cars.

As the quality of the stores and the cars started to drop I began to get a bit nervous. I knew there were some seedy spots in Hollywood and it seemed we were heading into one. Meanwhile Sterg was getting a kick out of the signs on the "gentlemen clubs" that seemed to be on every other block.

"Live Nude Girls and Dancers - I got to take a picture of that!" He said enthusiastically. He posted it on his "Instagram" with "Things you see with your Dad while driving in LA". His buddies loved it. His "girl"friend didn't. Neither did his mother who called me soon after...

"Chris, what are you two doing out there?"

"Just driving through Hollywood trying to get to our hotel room"

After we calmed Val down I made Sterg reassure me that we were heading in the right direction.

"Don't worry Pops, almost there."

Not long after we reached the on ramp for route 101 - heading for Anaheim. Traffic was insane - where were all these people going at 8pm on a Tuesday? We made our way to the HOV lane and made decent time to Anaheim. We started to see exits for Disneyland and then our exit. The Howard Johnson's is right off route 5 on South Harbor Blvd. You make a right off the exit, and at the next light you make a U-turn (the unofficial highway sport of California) and there HoJo's sits on the right. We didn't know it at the time, but the Disneyland Resort was a stone-throw's to the left.

We checked in and took out luggage to our room in Building 5. There was construction in this building which meant that we had no elevator. So we hauled out luggage up the stairs to our room. There was plastic sheathing hanging right by our room and notices about water being shut off and construction noise. I was starting to get nervous. If Val was with us she would have immediately went to the office and demanded a new room. I decided to first see how the room looked on the inside. It was clean enough but was pretty close to the highway. It was now past 9pm so we had to make a decision. If I got into a full blown argument at the front desk to change rooms it might cost us an hour or so of time. Disneyland was only open until midnight.

"OK Sterg, what do you want to do?"
"I'm fine with the room Dad - let's hit the parks!"

Testosterone ruled on this trip.
 
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