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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Adventures in Ventura! – California and the Canyons

California & the Canyons at Universal Studies

Hello Friends and Family,

After a wonderful experience in San Fran, we were on our first of many road trips. Our first stop was white water rafting, where we loaded into rafts and began our bumpy adventure down the river. The guide was particularly impressed with Josh G and Josh L and he came up with a unique challenge for the boys: trying to paddle upstream! And they succeeded!  The trip members were all smiles as they shared stories of their rafting adventures.

We then hopped onto our bus and continued to Lake Tahoe, our first camping stop.  This was to be a new experience for many of our trip members. After getting comfortable in our tents, the trip members had a chance to play basketball and explore the campsite’s facilities.  The bonfire we built after dinner gave our group the perfect opportunity to bond, share some laughs and test each other’s knowledge in a Battle of the Sexes.

The next morning we enjoyed a leisurely sail on a three-storey yacht across Lake Tahoe. Right from the start, the trip members were entertained with a friendly arm wrestle competition. Some epic battles included that of the twins Adrian vs. Abby – and although Adrian was afraid of losing to his sister, after a tough battle, Adrian was still able to come out on top. On the lower deck, Tracy and Ariela had fun recreating the famous titanic scene, one behind the other, looking out into the water. Simone, Delaney, Amanda and Laura really enjoyed the beautiful morning on the boat: they relaxed and soaked up the sun (not forgetting to put on sunscreen, of course)!

After the boat ride we headed to the beach to take turns waterskiing, wakeboarding and tubing. Leading up to the day, we were encouraging each other to step out of our comfort zones and try something new. It was great to see beginners Miranda, Natalie, Rachel, Melissa and Ariane make the sport look easy as they glided through the water. Adrian, Margaux and Amanda had a lot of success on the water despite a couple of memorable wipeouts that never erased the smiles from their faces. The instructors mentioned that they had never seen a group so eager to learn and were extremely impressed with everyone’s determination. The trip members had a terrific day out on the water and we all enjoyed some free time at the beach swimming, playing volleyball and tossing around the football.  Working up an appetite, we returned to our campsite for Mexican night and spent the evening singing songs around the bonfire.

The Battle of the Sexes competition continued the next day on our way south to Ventura Beach.  The bus ride was filled with lots of singing as well – what a musically talented group we have! After a quick stop for laundry (where Christiana and Alice helped Harris fold his clothes), we headed to the beach and had a blast!  Laura, Matt, Jake, Simone, Emily and Rachel were some of the ones that headed straight into the ocean while others organized a volleyball game that turned into a large nine-on-nine match. Everyone worked well as a team and it was great seeing everyone have a turn serving the ball. Our dinners at this camping stop were really scrumptious: one night we had a BBQ with grilled chicken, steak and salmon – and the other night we celebrated Italian Night.  As a treat after dinner, the group headed to the cinema for the evening to see Monsters University, White House Down or Despicable Me – all three got pretty good reviews from the students.

Leaving Ventura, we arrived in Los Angeles and headed right to Universal Studios.  Upon arriving, we took the back lot tram tour to get a behind-the-scenes peek at how movies are made.  Everyone was amazed at the 3D King Kong experience and laughed at host Jimmy Fallon’s jokes – we even sang his silly theme song back on the bus at the end of the evening.  Sabrina and Courtney danced the Ho Down Throw-Down to the Hannah Montana song in front of the crowds. Everyone was impressed with the Jurrasic Park, Mummy and Simpsons rides – and those that went to the Haunted House were quite spooked after their visit. Tracy and Samantha in particular enjoyed retelling their haunted tale.  As a group, we went to the Hard Rock Café for dinner and ended the evening walking through CityWalk before checking into our dorms.

More to come about our stay in Los Angeles and our surfing adventures – there are so many sights and sounds to experience out here in SoCal – can’t wait to fill you in.

California & the Canyons at Universal Studies

The Westcoast Blogger