Another update from Californian Extravaganza!
The Westcoast Blogger
Hello Californian Extravaganza Parents!!!
We are now just a day away from LA and cannot wait. Let me update you on the happenings since we last wrote on our way to Tahoe via a stopover in Winnemucca where we experienced our first laundry stop……. Things went well and many of us did our own laundry for the first time and it was a great success! “This was my first time doing laundry by myself. It was a lot of fun. It was cool doing laundry with my friends” said Morgan K. After washing our whites and darks, we were ready to cross the California state line and begin our 14 day stretch in the “Golden” state.
Our first stop in California was Lake Tahoe. We broke up our drive with a stop in Squaw Valley to attempt their ropes course. “I was the first person to climb the 100 foot tree. It was a good experience because I’ve never climbed anything that high before. When I got to the top it was such a beautiful view” describe Jamie F. about her climbing experience. We made our way around the windy roads of the lake to Tahoe Valley Campground, where we would stay for the next two nights. After cooking a delicious fajita dinner, some tour members played a pop culture trivia game with Andy and Ryan, while others played basketball with Liz and Justin. We enjoyed a wonderful snack of ‘smores’ and banana boats and then went to bed, resting up for an active day ahead of us.
Tuesday morning we woke up anticipating a great beach day. We lathered on the sunscreen and prepared for a fun filled day of waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and a boat cruise on the lake. “The boat cruise was a great experience to be able to see the amazing view of Lake Tahoe. It was fun to relax with all of my friends and play cards on the boat” illustrated Rachel D. We made our way back to the campsite to prepare the evening’s meal. Our snack was chocolate fondue. We were able to dip bananas, strawberries, and marshmallows in creamy Hershey’s chocolate.
The next morning we awoke eager to reach the day’s destination – The Westin Hotel – San Francisco. To get ready for our next day’s visit to Alcatraz Prison we watched the movie “The Rock” on the way to San Francisco. As soon as the movie finished we were able to see the island of Alcatraz off to the right of the bus and in the distance the Golden Gate Bridge. We arrived at the Westin happy to settle in for the next three days. We had some time to shower and relax before we were off to our dinner destination “Mel’s Diner”. The original Mel’s was featured in the show “American Graffiti”. With full bellies, we took a short walk to City Nights Teen Dance Club. We strutted our stuff on the dance floor while we requested some of our favorite songs. “The dance club was so much fun because we got to dance to the “Cha Cha Slide” and the “Macarena” with our tour director, Andy” said Emily Mallon. When the evening came to a close, everyone was delighted to plop into the amazingly comfortable beds that the Westin had to offer.
Thursday morning we made our way to Alcatraz Prison – former home of some of the worst prisoners in the history of the United States. “It was really cool because I got to speak to an actual prisoner who experienced four years of their life on Alcatraz. I was able to stand in an actual jail cell. I surprised myself that I was able to stand in the cell” Casey E. said of “The Rock”. After our interesting tour throughout Alcatraz we made our way to Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. We were pleased to find out that the Ghirardelli Factory was handing out free samples of chocolate. Our day might sound busy, but we weren’t done there. We made a brief stop back at the Westin to recharge our batteries and put on some warm clothes. We were off to AT&T Park – Home of the San Francisco Giants. We ate burgers and garlic French fries and sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. Julie made a valiant effort towards starting the “wave” – a ballgame favorite. We must have been a good luck charm for the Giants because they beat the San Diego Padres. What a great day!
We woke up Friday morning excited for another fun and busy day in San Francisco. We had omelets and pancakes at Lori’s Diner for breakfast. We were greeted by a real live Groucho Marx at the front door. The 50’s themed diner was a great place to fuel our bodies up for the day ahead. We made our way towards the village of Sausalito, stopping at the Golden Gate Bridge along the way. “The Golden Gate Bridge was a very beautiful view. Although, I thought it had been destroyed in the 3rd X-Men movie” exclaimed Brian P. We left the bridge and had some free time in the quaint town to explore and purchase a few trinkets. “Sausalito was really cute and I would love to stay there on a vacation for a few days. It reminded me of Greece because the town was built into a mountain” Olivia T. described. We ate lunch at the Metreon and once lunch was done, we hopped on our bus to visit the most famous crooked street in the world – Lombard Street. “E and I were really proud of ourselves for walking all the way up and down Lombard St. without falling. The view was surprisingly really pretty” exclaimed Lindsay S. Arriving back at the Westin we were given some time to relax before taking a cable car ride to Chinatown. We dined at Brandy Ho’s Hunan Restaurant. There were a variety of dishes including sesame chicken and beef and broccoli. Upon arriving at the Westin some people relaxed for the evening while others participated in an exercise program called Zumba. “Zumba was a really great workout and fun at the same time. It was a great bonding experience with some of my fellow campers.” Cailey G. expressed. At the end of Zumba, as we were walking to the elevator to go back to our rooms, we were surprised to be in the midst of a reality TV show celebrity. Bob from “The Biggest Loser” was staying at our hotel. We were immediately star struck.
We are now in Ventura Beach, California to camp for two days and looking forward to a well deserved sleep in.
We’ll talk to you soon!
The Californian Extravaganza Staff