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First of a series of posts for ThrowBack Thursday (#TBT) – detailing some past trips and adventures.  Some of these have been previously posted in some form at a previous blog of mine, so if you’re one of the tens of tens that was following me back in the day… well sorry for the repeat 🙂

Back in October 2012, I tried out for and was selected to be on the game show Wheel of Fortune.  You have to pay your own way out to the taping in California (though they do guarantee you at least $1000 which should cover things).

Flight out CVG-LAX

This was actually before I started collecting miles, so I actually (gasp!) paid for my plane ticket.  I was actually pretty excited to get a non-stop round-trip plane ticket CVG-LAX for only $330!  One of my friends had offered to use miles to pay for Carolyn to come too, but after talking it over with Carolyn we decided that there really was no way that she or any of the family could come along. With the baby being so young, it just wouldn’t work out. Had the baby been a little older, or had she not been born yet, we probably would have tried to figure out a way to have somebody watch the other kids so she could have come, but alas, it was just not in the cards.

I flew out on Thursday August 23rd. I had arranged with a local hotel to park there and take the shuttle over to the airport. I always get nervous about how long getting through security and such at the airport might take, so I like to have buffer time. My flight left CVG at 9:24, and so I was trying to make the 7:30 hotel shuttle (they run every 30 minutes), but apparently I just missed it, so I had to wait around till 8. It ended up not being an issue at all – I got to the gate in plenty of time. I even was able to talk to the gate agent and swap my middle seat over to a window seat (bonus!).

Rental car

Flight was uneventful and it always seems weird with the time difference – it was a 4 hour flight, but I left at 9:24 and arrived at 10:55. I went through the airport and got on the shuttle over to Avis. Kerry’s flight was arriving about an hour after mine, so I figured that I could have the car rental all secured, so that when she got in, that we could just leave. The shuttle had 2 stops in Avis – the first one was for “Avis Preferred” customers. I was not quite sure what that meant so I didn’t get off there and instead just went on to the “normal” counter. As it turned out, I was a “Preferred” customer, which apparently consists solely of signing up for free on their website. Then I got the standard car rental line “Oh we’re out of what you reserved so were going to ‘upgrade’ you”. I can not tell you how much this annoys me. I had reserved a compact car due to the good gas mileage, since I was going to be doing a fair amount of driving. Ooh but of course they did not have one of those so I got a “QUADRUPLE UPGRADE!” to a full-size car.

Then the guy at the counter suggested that I could go back to the “preferred” section and apparently one of the features that they have is that if you don’t like the car you got, you can just pick another one from a section of cars. You can also pay a bit more per day to upgrade to a car. While I was slightly tempted by the Ford Mustang, I did not go for that :-) . I ended up with a Ford Fusion and then I just had to wait for Kerry to arrive. Apparently there were some problems with the shuttle – she was saying that she was waiting out front of the airport but no shuttles arrived. Meanwhile I was sitting in the car, just waiting and waiting…. Eventually she arrived and we were off!

Seeing the sights of Southern California

The first order of business was a stop to Randy’s Donuts, an iconic LA eatery. We went to the walk-up window and each ordered 2 donuts.

Then the next stop was over to Hollywood. Traffic on the 405 was slow even though it was the middle of the day, and similarly on Santa Monica Boulevard. Welcome to LA!!! Meanwhile, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to sing Sheryl Crow or Weezer :-) . We also passed by the Los Angeles temple which I had not realized was actually on Santa Monica Blvd. We got to Hollywood and parked at the Hollywood and Highland center, because we were only going to be there a short time. First stop was to take some pictures of the Hollywood sign. I had read that the H&H center was one of the easiest places to get a picture of it. We got ourselves turned around trying to find the overlook but eventually we did. It was…. exciting (okay not really but when you’re in LA, you gotta do it, right?).

Afterwards we went out front and took some pictures of the stars on the Walk of Fame.

At this point, we realized that it would actually be cheaper to just pay for the 1 hour of parking than to buy something and get the validated parking, so we did that and headed out. It had gotten to be quite a bit later than we were hoping – the original plan was to meet up with PJ down by USC (where he works) and grab a late lunch. But it was so late that we decided that given LA traffic (a constant), it was not going to happen. So we audibled and headed up to the Griffith Observatory. That was a pretty cool place and offered some great views of the LA skyline.

After that, we got ourselves a bit lost but managed to successfully navigate traffic over to my aunt and uncle’s house, in Calabasas.

Be sure and check out Part 2 – Behind the scenes of my Wheel of Fortune taping!

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