Subtitle: Tekno & Jamaal's SoCal Solace Vacation
We woke up on Wednesday morning a bit later than usual with plans to go sightseeing in Hollywood. Jamaal, however, had a different idea once we got going. We had seen a huge shoe store on the way to Disneyland the day before, and he definitely wanted to hit that before we left Anaheim, but first we had to go to Downtown Disney for a few souvenirs and pictures of the place.
So we checked out of our Motel 6 and headed back to Disney. There was a 15-minute parking area for dropping off/picking up, and since we were picking up stuff from the gift shops, I figured we’d park there, since it was just a run in, run out kinda thing. We parked and walked toward the entrance, snapping pix along the way.
Once we got to Downtown Disney, we stopped into the first store and picked up a few shot glasses, magnets, and Key Chains. There were some funky Mickey gloves, but I wasn’t spending $17 for them this time, so I got the one thing I was determined to get for my first trip to Disney: Mouse Ears. I got the traditional Disneyland Mouse Ears (been wanting a pair for ever) for $7 with my other things, took a pic of me at a fountain, and back to the car in about 20 minutes.
After getting back to the car, we headed to the shoe store, after stopping once again at Carl’s Jr., and Jamaal suggested leaving early and heading to Vegas. I thought about it for a sec, and gave it. More time in Vegas we fine by me. I was hoping that since we’d be in Hollywood Friday, maybe we could head to Venice Beach then, and get more pix of the Hollywood sign.
So we shoe shopped and asked for directions for a good bit, then it was off to Vegas. The drive was just at 3 ½ hours out in the desert. We gassed up and got more food for the drive at Quiznos and Starbucks. Then it was off on the most beautiful drive ever. The snow capped mountains and desert terrain was stunning. Traffic moved swiftly, rarely reaching below 90mph for us. We passed by Calico Ghost town (yes, I’m directing that to * you * you-know-who), and then into the desert. Simply beautiful…
Chapter 3-(hey, you know what they say, “What happens in Vegas…”)
So I wanted to get a picture of the billboards on the way back that said, “What happens in Vegas” & “Dosen’t get past this billboard”, but we went by too quickly. Oh well, next time.
Speed: The ride was fun for the 2 rides, food was great, Manhattan Express wasn’t the worst, but definitely not something I’d pay for again, and High Roller Sucked. The other rides (that were running) on the Strat were still good, though. Grumbles…Insanity…Grumbles. I’m just glad I didn’t wet myself on Xscream. And Star Trek: The Experience was awesome. Next time I’ll spend more time at the Adventure Dome, and in those Sexy newer Arrow trains on Canyon Blaster.
But now it was time for #106. Buffalo Bills was interesting. In fact, I wouldn’t mind staying a couple days there on our next trip. The casino was nicely themed, and the Log ride looked like fun, but we only got tix for Despy, even passing up what would be our 3rd S&S tower.
Slightly rough, yes. But the trains were prettier than Maggie’s. You start in the casino. Jamaal and I were in 1-1 with two other guys being in the very back. We waited for a few minutes and then were dispatched. You go down a dip, and then start up the lift that takes you outside. The first drop was great, just a bit rough at the bottom, but still wonderful. The subsequent bunny hops were air filled for us, and both of us liked the ride, which circles the casino. I’d rate it above average. Another hyper down in the books. Another former record breaker.
We were already 40 minutes past Vegas, so our drive back from here wasn’t bad. Eventually we stopped at a gas station in a little settlement in the middle of the desert that we had stopped at on the way to Vegas. I don’t think the temp ever got below 80 the couple days we were there. We were going to meet up with the Strat group that morning, but were told Insanity wouldn’t run till later in the day (maybe, grumbles), so we got our Despy credit early and headed back.
Though I may have wanted to do more sightseeing, once we got to Hollywood it was already around 4pm, with a concert at 8:15. So we parked at the bottom of the Universal Hill and took a tram up. Ate at Citywalk (Panda Express, a theme in our trip) and did some shopping round there. It was getting cold enough. We really didn’t have a lot of time before getting in line for the concert.
Eventually, we were in line to be let into the Universal Amphitheater. This was a very nice place. Finally we made it to our seats, yay for tired legs! Still didn’t know who the opening act was. Then someone told us: Phantom Planet, the guys that sing the theme song for ‘The OC’. Plus we found out this was the opening nite of the tour.
Phantom Planet was great, they made a new fan. The crowd loved them as well. They had a fairly long set with many good songs. It is always refreshing to hear a good * Live * band. During intermission, we went for a potty break, and I spotted someone I walked by that looked familiar. I knew I recognized this person. At the top of the stairs, I mentioned it to Jamaal, and coming back down the stairs, he was like “oh my, it is him”, our first celeb sighting…Ian Ziering. Yeah, my sister watched 90210 for years (ugh). Oh well, we had better seats than he did.
Then it was time for the Main event. Maroon 5 came on to screaming fans. They did the songs off of their album and some new songs as well. Another refreshingly good live band. I could and would see them again in a heartbeat. At the end, they went off stage, and of course the lights stayed off. I knew it wasn’t over because they had yet to play my favorite song.
Then they came back out, spewing thank yous to the crowd while playing ‘talking music’. Then they went into it, and I knew the end was near. I really love “She will be loved”, and the audience went wild for that one as well. Bravo!
After that, Adam Levine (lead singer) mentioned that the drummer had been off the tour due to injury, and they had a (very capable) back up drummer. But since it was L.A. and this was their hometown, Adam took the drums as the Drummer came out to play guitar and sing 2 songs. Their rendition of “Seven Nation Army” by White Strips (a fave here) was great. Then it was “Highway to Hell”, which just happens to be a song (if I’m not mistaken) about being on tour.
Great way to end a Killer show! When are they coming around again? Oh, that’s right, they’ll be in WV on the 31st. Too bad I can’t go. One interesting tidbit: The lead singer from Phantom Planet actually sat with his girl friend and family right behind us for the entirety of Maroon 5’s set. Great nite.
Then it was a late arrival at Days Inn in Buena Park. We met up with Tim Danner (dannerman) who was also staying there that nite for a few minutes before bed. Was I going to be too tired for ERT in the early AM?