Here’s the ‘too long, didn’t read’ for those who want to get the rundown quickly: The trip happened without issue, everyone had a great time and everything we wanted to do was done in excess!
Now for the (still slightly TL;DR) details…
We flew out of Fargo’s Hector Airport successfully, dragging a stroller, 2 car seats, 2 carry on’s and two diaper bags with relative ease. We would advise anyone thinking about parking at Hector longer-term to re-think, as their “$48 max. per week” is quite bull, and ends up costing $2 PER HALF HOUR after that “$48 max.”
We landed at LAX in Los Angeles and after waiting for our crazy rental-car-shuttle driver, we headed to San Diego in what they call a ‘full size SUV’ (Ford Escape) – then went to our hotel just north of San Diego.
San Diego Zoo! It was amazing – WAYYYYYYY bigger than anyone thought and we ended up ignoring every ‘timed’ attraction to get lost for 3 hours around some parakeets. We had such a fun time here, and it was everything Andrea hoped and expected + more. Here are a couple of pictures. SUPER long day, but temperatures stayed low and we stayed hydrated.
We took a break from the 13,000+ steps our pedometers logged to head to the ocean! La Jolla is a crazy place with tons of ‘normal’ Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Tesla’s, so we were kind of shocked to be seen in our Ford, but it was nice sliding in to tiny parking spots. We spent quite some time on the beach, digging for sea shells and overall just had a wonderful time (after realizing that you go to the beach WITH your bathing suits on, as there is NO place to change there)
San Diego Zoo Safari Park! For those unaware, San Diego Zoo had so many animals that they created a second park just for the desert-type larger animals. This place is a bit smaller than the Zoo, but they make up for it with actual Safari rides IN TO ENCLOSURES to feed giraffes and other animals. Friendly heads up – small children (under 12) can’t go on these, but there is a whole area just for them, which is a great make-up! We had TONS of fun, and after getting back to the hotel, we realized that Under Armor ‘no sweat’ clothing is NOT sun-proof, and you WILL burn through it (learn from us, PLEASE).
We ended up having a whole day to burn (no pun intended) and swung by Sea World for a few hours. We had a good time seeing some very large animals not anywhere else. The park is much smaller than the San Diego Zoo’s, and VERY confusing to attempt to navigate, but we had a great time overall.
Ahh, this day we packed out of our San Diego hotel and headed up to the ‘City of Angels’ – where you’ll need all the angels help to prevent you from FLIPPING YOUR LID in 4 hour traffic 🙂 When we finally made it there, Andrea learned a hard lesson on how spoiled we are with restrooms available in every store we go in to, and an even harder lesson on what an actual in-city gas station bathroom *really* looks like. We spent quite some time on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and saw about 1/2 of it during out hour on the footpaths.
Ahh, the fun day of surprises 🙂 We started the day by heading to the La Brea Tar Pit(s?). This giant hole in the middle of L.A. is a bubbling pit of tar (and water now) that they are still excavating mammoth and other pre-historic bones from. While there, we noticed a food truck roll up – then three more – then after a few minutes, there was honestly more than 20 food trucks, some from the Food Network’s show, and we ended up grabbing something from one of them, knocking off another ‘must do’ from the ongoing list. Then we headed to lunch, where AJ found out where we were going for the afternoon, and what so many people worked to make happen: AJ not only got to see a Conan show, but she and her family got to sit with the stars on the show that night in the exclusive ‘green room’ and meet the man himself, Conan. This all happened thank you to a bunch of persistence, Reddit and two very amazing ladies (Lisa and Sona) at the Conan Production studio.
We had to wake up at FOUR in the morning to make it to crazy-shuttle-bus-driver pickup today, and ended up getting super lucky at LAX by the TSA fast-tracking our family past a quite-long backed up line. Pro Tip: mail your laundry, carry on’s and souvenir’s back home – this helped TONS with less to worry about, VERY handy. We then had a bunch of trouble on the actual plane, getting moved to the back and separated a bit, but the flight ended safely in Fargo, where we found that if we leave *everything* on in our vehicle, the battery will be nice and dead when we get back. Thank you again Mr. Jojo for taking the time to super-man his way over to jump start us with his cute little chick BMW. We made it home and were VERY glad to sleep in our own beds…
Just kidding, we weren’t done yet – with a day of at-home-laundry-cleanup out of the way, we again headed to Mayo in Rochester for another infusion! 🙂
Thank you to everyone who has helped and all the positive thoughts during the planning and execution of this, it’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally done. We still have many Zoo’s on the list, and in about 10 more days we will have another ‘results’ visit to Mayo, so look for another update shortly!
Goodbye for now, and take care all!