Grand US Tour 2010: First Snow Experience

PauTravels' family in Carson City, Nevada

In continuation to our northern California trip to San Francisco in this month-long US trip of 2010, we then pushed eastward of the Bay Area.   We drove about 4 hours further to the city of Carson in Nevada where we have booked for an overnight stay at Days Inn Carson City.   We intended to go up to the Lake Tahoe area which lies divided by the states of California and Nevada to have our first experience of snow.

So around 10 in the morning after breakfast, we drove away from our hotel in San Francisco with my brother again taking the wheel.   Once more the travel was long but the scenery that we see as we climb up to Tahoe is very different from the path we took from Los Angeles to San Francisco.   Now instead of farm lands, we passed through different towns and as we go further we see pine trees.

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Grand US Tour 2010: Driving North to San Francisco

PauTravels with the whole family in San Francisco

The past 3 weeks of the December 2010 has been a very fun-filled and memorable for me and my family as we take this grand tour of the west coast.  But after Christmas we still had more to visit in our itinerary.   So after going around Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles and San Diego, our next target is driving north to the beautiful city of San Francisco and continue to the Lake Tahoe area for a chance to experience snow.

Drive North to San Franciso

Our rented 15-seater Ford e350 van

For this trip, we have rented a 15-seater Ford e350 van from LA Van Rentals from their office near LAX.  This is to fit about 11 of us including my own family, my parents and sister, my brother and his family and my cousin Angel.  My other aunt from San Diego and her family rented a separate 7-seater car for them plus Angel’s mom.  They are driving straight from San Diego.

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Grand US Tour 2010: A Trip to Legoland

PauTravels in Legoland California

It was quite a long 2010 US tour for us but we still had a lot more places in our list to go to until new year.   And since we were already in San Diego that Christmas weekend, we have visited already SeaWorld San Diego and at the eve of Christmas we headed to another themepark in the city of Carlsbad, Legoland.  Legoland is a different themed park where aside from the different thrill rides it offer, it also featured it’s most famous toy, the Lego blocks.  Every structure inside the park is shaped like Lego block or even made of Legos.   It was a unique park.

Trip to Legoland California

Lego Welcome sign outside Legoland

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Grand US Tour 2010: Sea World San Diego

PauTravels in SeaWorld San Diego with family

With the rains falling heavily from our first day in Disneyland and the next 2 days, we have postponed our supposed consecutive trips back for Disneyland for after the new year.  Instead we were left stay mostly at home and hoping for the weather to go better.  And even with 2 days lost in our hectic 2010 grand tour, we had to proceed with our itinerary.  This is our trip to San Diego for the Christmas feast and to check out San Diego attractions.

So the day before Christmas eve, we departed the Los Angeles area to drive south to my aunt’s place in San Diego.   The drive south takes about 2 hours long but we took more time as we were caught in a heavy traffic jam which I think cost us about an hour longer.   The traffic jam basically started from Carlsbad exit where a lot of cars are headed to the outlet center there.

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Grand US Tour 2010: Rainy Christmas Time in Disneyland

PauTravels with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Disneyland

In continuation of our theme park tours in the Los Angeles area for our 2010 US Trip, we took our opportunity of going to Disneyland in Anaheim.  We got tickets for 3 days of visiting Disneyland or California Adventure within 14 days the we used our first CityPass ticket in Universal Studios.

But then since we went to Knott’s Berry Farm, the weather has gone worse.  The rains were more frequent than when we were in Knott’s Berry.  And since we only have limited time to spare in the next days as Christmas is very near, we decided to go and try our luck.

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Grand US Tour 2010: Visiting Charlie Brown

PauTravels in Knott's Berry Farm California

The day after our trip to Universal Studios, we once more headed for another theme park and this time in the city of Buena Park in Orange County south of Los Angeles.  This is to the home of our beloved Charlie Brown and Snoopy of Peanuts in Knott’s Berry Farm.   I had never been to this park before and so I made sure that it is part of our 2010 tour itinerary.  And fortunately, my aunt had free passes for 4 of us for that day.  

And so aside from my own family, my mom and sister joined us, as well as Angel and her mom, and my aunt’s whole family.   We went there with two cars.   But then even before we headed to the park that morning, we were already having second thoughts if we should proceed or not.   Because like the rainy day ahead, it was also a bit wet that morning.

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Grand US Tour 2010: Rainy Visit to Universal Studios

PauTravels in Universal Studios Hollywood with family

As we go through the second week of our month-long US trip, we now go ahead into visiting California’s theme parks.   We purchased the Southern California CityPASS that includes a 3-day park hopper to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, general admission tickets to Universal Studios and SeaWorld San Diego, and an optional admission to either the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  The CityPASS is valid for 14 days from the first use.  It was a big discount compared to purchasing each ticket so we took it.

And the first park that we visited was the Universal Studios Hollywood located just northwest of the Hollywood Sign.  On that day, my sister Nina joined us for the day.

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Grand US Tour 2010: Los Angeles Area

PauTravels in Hollywood

At the end of our first week in our grand US tour of 2010 where we visited the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, we decided to spend some time going around Los Angeles which is just about 30 minutes drive north.

Los Angeles Area

the Halliwell Manor from the TV series Charmed

Angel, Jen, Janine and myself took this road trip around the tourist destinations in Los Angeles.  We targeted on driving to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica that day.  And our first stop is a destination not known by most people except for those who watched the TV series of Charmed which is about 3 sister witches.   Well the series was depicted to happen in San Francisco but their manor house is located in Los Angeles in 1329 Caroll Avenue.  It is near the Echo Park and the historic Filipinotown area.  I didn’t know there was even a historic Filipinotown before.

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