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Old 22 Nov 23, 07:16 PM  
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Dibbing with Tink
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Huxwolds California Dreaming (Aug 23) - Day 14: A Very Sad Travel Home Day

Huxwolds California Dreaming (Aug 23)
Day 14: A Very Sad Travel Home Day (Thurs 31/08)

Day 13: Universal Studios & A Chilled Evening at Ovation Hollywood

NB - my trippie notes for today were written almost 2 weeks later, so are based on photos, receipts and memory

Today wasn’t easy to write about, as it started with some really sad news. I considered not including it, but it was an important part of our holiday and feels wrong not to mention it…

I woke up at 3:30am and tried to drop back off but couldn’t. I checked on the final Sooty WatsApp update from our cat sitter (he was fine and she said she’ll miss her daily visits), and then checked socials and watched some Community.

At 5:25 my phone started ringing - it was my sister Becky calling to let me know that sadly our step mum Gill had passed away this morning…

It had been expected, but it was still tough to take in, especially as it was just under 2 weeks away from Dad’s 1st anniversary and what would have been her 80th birthday, and also as she’d been doing ok when we saw her a couple of weeks before our trip.

Becky and I spoke for about 10 mins - I tried to be quiet as I didn’t want Tom to hear, but Rich did wake up. We sat in bed for a while, talking things through and taking it all in.

We left Tom sleeping, as we had a really long day ahead of us, and Rich said we should try to get some sleep too, but I couldn’t as my head was to full, so I had made myself a coffee and quietly sorted out most of the packing.

At 8am I made another coffee and a cuppa for Rich and took my drink downstairs to the pool area to call my step brother Karl, who told me a bit more about what had happened over the last few days and this morning (it was 4pm back home). My stepsister Jo was at his. I then rang my stepsister Mia, and spoke to her husband Mark, as she was getting some much needed rest.

When I got back to the room, I woke Tom and explained what had happened, and then he went off to his usual spot to call Lola.

We needed to get something decent to eat before the flight home, so we stuck to our plan to go to Hollywood Burger for breakfast, and we were all ready to head out by 8:55.

I distracted myself by taking a few pics of Hollywood Boulevard along the way…

It took 20 minutes to walk there…

I went for the Blueberry Pancakes with a side of bacon and a Hot Tea. Rich had the Breakfast Combo burger with French Toast Bites and an OJ, and Tom had the Wafflicios with Crispy Chicken and a Fountain drink (Total $53.82 Inc tip)…

I was a bit disappointed that it was Green Tea as it said Hot Tea on the menu so expected normal tea - it was ok, just like a really weak brew. I used the restroom and the food was out by the time I came back, so no pics.

Mine was nice but too big and with way too many blueberries. I only managed about 1/2 the pancakes. The bacon was good though…

Rich really enjoyed his, talking about it later he said he should have had 2 burgers instead of the French Toast side as it was so good. I think Tom enjoyed his too.

9:45 - We headed out. We’d planned to pop into Amoeba Music for a mooch, but it was closed until later, as was our other stop Iguana Vintage Clothing. So we just mooched back to the hotel, taking a few final pics and getting back to the room by 10:15…

I did a final rejig of the cases and strapped them up. The big one felt like it was overweight, so we’d have to check them at the airport

A couple of final view pics…

10:55 - We left the room and I checked us out. It took a while as the receptionist had to update the bill as destination fees were showing but they should’ve been covered by our payment. She said it happens all the time, and we ended up with a $0 balance in the end.

We sat in the lobby area for a while…

I saw an email saying that our flight had been cancelled and rebooked, for the same time but with a new flight number. There was 7 minutes between the two emails, so I was glad I hadn’t seen the first one straight away as I would’ve panicked…

Although it was a bit early, we decided to order our Uber XL now, just incase it took a while to connect us to a driver, and there was one 2 mins away ($85.96 + $10.06 / 15% tip).

By 10:25 we were pulling out onto Hollywood Boulevard for the final time, taking the last couple of pics along the way…

There was quite a bit of traffic and our driver was a bit of a tutter and he swerved in and out of lanes a lot. He said he’d drop us at Arrivals rather than Departures as it was less busy.

12:10 - We arrived and unloaded our cases and took the lift up to Ticketing (Departures). We found a weighing scale and checked the bags. The Purple medium (which had most of the shopping / collectibles) was well under at 13.5kg, the Black Medium (clothes, toiletries and BBQ sauce / drinks) was 22kg and (as suspected) the Black Large (clothes and power cables) was over at 26kg.

Rich and Tom nipped out for a smoke / vape whilst I did some rejigging - mainly by swapping plushies from the purple case with clothes from the big one. I also managed to squeez the power cables and a few bits into mine and Tom’s hand luggage bags.

We ended up at 22.5kg for the big case and 16.5kg for the medium, so not too bad.

As we hadn’t checked in online, and also had new flight details, we had to do full checkin. There was a bit of a wait as there were only a couple of lanes open, and one large family who didn’t speak much English and didn’t seem to have the right flight booked. They were also trying to check in carrier bags along with their cases.

1:00 - We eventually got checked in and were assigned new seats, given that it was a different flight to the one we’d originally booked. I was a bit concerned that we were going to have a random traveller sat between us, as we were assigned 21 G, H and J. The checkin assistant double checked and reassured us we were all together but I was worried about seat 21I, so when we were outside in the smoking area, I found the flight / plane on and it turns out there aren’t any I seats on the plane (see below)…

On many aircraft, the rightmost seats have letter designations HJK, skipping the letter I. This is because each seat has a row number followed by letter; letters that may be confused with numbers (I, O, Q, S, or Z) must be avoided, usually for people with dyslexia.

This actually worked out better than our original reserved 3 window side seats together, as Rich and I were in the middle row and Tom was just across the aisle, so both Rich and Tom got to have aisle seats.

We stayed in the smoking area outside Departures for about an hour - There were some interesting characters, I’m sure some had been smoking more than just tobacco…

We headed for Security at around 2pm…

As LaX has TAS Security at each Terminal, there were only a couple of lanes, but hardly any queue and we were all done and airside by 2:08.

Terminal 4 was really small, with a couple of shops and only a handful of food options…

We popped into the very small Duty Free store to get some cigarettes for Rich ($116 for 400 Marlborough Lights)…

We found some seats and I googled to try and find out where the other food options were, as we were sure we’d seen a food court area. There were lots of other options, including an Earl of Sandwich across the other terminals, and it said you could get around via a network of tunnels, bridges and buses, but we didn’t want to risk getting stuck at the wrong end of the airport (we’ve since seen a Yellow Productions vlog of a tunnel walkthrough so we know what to do if we ever go back to LaX).

Tom popped into Hudson News to get us a Dr Pepper and Sprite to share ($7.34) and we filled up our water bottles at the water fountain.

At 2:30 Tom and I left Rich with the hand luggage and went to look at the handful of food options in T4. It was all quite pricey and not very enticing (except for Dunkin Donuts, but we needed something more substantial).

We needed up getting a couple of baguettes for me and Rich from Home Boy…

They were all a bit fussy looking and I’d found the lettuce over here quite bitter tasting, so I went for a simple Ham and Cheese and chose a Cali Turkey for Rich ($36.11). We had to wait about 10 mins, even though they were pre-prepared and we’s opted not to have them heated.

Tom hadn’t fancied the sandwiches and wasn’t massively hungry, so we went to the takeout kiosk of Sammy’s Woodfired Pizzas and ordered a portion of fries for Tom and a 2nd portion for me an Rich to share ($21.88). It was very expensive and would’ve been $20 for a simple burger…

There was a wait for the fries too, so Tom said he’d wait and I went back to Rich, taking a few pics of our plane at Gate 43 as I was passing…

The sandwiches were not good - they’d given me a Cali Ham instead of Ham & Cheese, and the Cali Turkey had Avocado on it (I should’ve guessed). Rich ended up having the Ham one and I picked the Avocado and lettuce off the Turkey one…

Both were dry, bland and very disappointing! Luckily Tom had got plenty of mayo for the fries so I was able to rescue mine a bit, but I still left almost half. The fries were really nice though.

With everything that had happened this morning, I’d forgotten that we still needed to get our cat sitter a gift, so I popped into the shop (I think it was Hudson News). They didn’t have much choice, so we’d have to get her some chocs once we were back home.

At about 3:50 we headed to our Gate which was less than 5 mins from where we were sitting, and we boarded pretty much straight away.

I’ve never seen so many people swapping seats on a plane - Tom originally had 2 children sat next to him and I think their Mom was in the centre seat of the row in front. She wanted Tom to swap with her but he politely said no. He’s really tall and would’ve been uncomfortable stuck between 2 strangers. In the end the couple in front swapped with the 2 kids by Tom, so it worked out well.

The seat swapping in the cabin carried on for ages, with some people moving multiple times and getting their bags in and out of the overhead bins. In the end the flight attendants had to do an announcement saying passengers needed to be sat in their original seats and that we couldn’t taxi off until everyone was sat down.

I think we did taxi off on time (4:30) but the family in front were switching their kids between seats right up to us being on the runway - it was unbelievable!

Rich dozed off during takeoff, but I decided to try and stay awake until after food as often if I doze off for a nap and get woken up, I can’t get back to sleep.

I put on 80 For Brady and settled down to watch it with my cozy American Airlines blanket wrapped around my shoulders.

As per the flight out, a lot of passengers were up getting their bags and using the loo whilst the seatbelt sign was still on. The dad from the family in front of us was a bit of a pain - messing around and shaking his seat which annoyed Rich.

Also, as with the flight out, we didn’t get any pre dinner drinks or pretzels, but they did start serving dinner at about 5:30, getting to us at 5:45. Rich and Tom went for Chicken and I had Pasta again…

Dinner came with a small bottle of water and I also had a Ginger Ale. I think Rich and Tom both had Coke…

The pasta was ok - quite tangy and tomatoey. I ate my bread roll and cheese and crackers, but left my salad and gave my brownie to Rich who hadn’t eaten much of his pasta.

I took the chance to have a stretch and pop to the loo whilst Rich was awake, and then we all got settled back down. Rich dozed off and I watched the rest of 80 for Brady, which was really good.

More drinks were served after dinner. I got another can of Ginger Ale incase I woke up thirsty later.

I put on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as the HP films are one of my go tos for falling asleep, as I’ve seen them so many times. I think I slept for most of it. I took a screen shot timestamp at 9:22 (around the half way point of the flight) which is when I probably put on Deathy Hallows Part 2. Again I was able to sleep for most of it and my next screenshot was 11:41 (7:41am UK time).

I can’t remember if I put anything else on to watch - I may have dozed a bit more after this (I’m not sure), but I hadn’t done too bad all for me.

1:00am (9am Uk) - Breakfast was served. A vanilla yoghurt, with coconut & cashew granola and a Fig Bar…

I had a coffee too as I didn’t think I’d be getting anymore sleep. The granola was horrible, but I ate the yoghurt and Fig Bar. Rich and Tom didn’t like any of it.

Another loo break whilst Rich was awake and then I got my bits and pieces organised for landing.

At 2:15 (10:15 UK) we started our descent into Heathrow and we were were disembarking 30 mins later.

We had a bit of a trek to Passport Checks, but we were through fairly quickly. The cases took ages to come out though, so we didn’t get outside to the much needed smoking area until 11:45am…

Once nicotine levels were replenished, I popped back inside Departures to use the loo, then Rich went in to get changed into his driving home clothes / shoes…

Rich and Tom had another smoke / vape and we headed to the carpark to the Purple Parking pick up area. I’d forgotten that we needed to call when we landed (and it hadn’t registered when Rich asked me earlier) so they said it would be 15-20 mins to bring the car around. It was more like 10 mins though and we were on the road by just after 12pm…

There was a bit of traffic on the M4 and M25, but it was ok once we got to the M40.

Tom told us he’d not slept much at all on the plane, so he was shattered and ended up dozing off.

We tried stopping at Oxford Services for a loo and coffee break, but there was a huge queue back to the roundabout so we decided to carry on a bit further to Cherwell Valley.

Cherwell Valley was absolutely rammed too. Tom and I got out to use the loo, whilst Rich looked for a parking spot. We nipped into WHSmith to get a Pepsi Max each for Rich and Tom (£2.92).

Tom went back to Rich whilst I went to Greggs to get a large Cappuccino for me and a sausage roll for Tom (£4.50).

Rich had driven up to the Greggs entrance to pick me up. The coffee was lovely and kept me going for the rest of the journey. As usual we talked about our highs, lows and favourite meals.

I think we got home around 3:30pm. I put a wash on straight away and Tom gathered his gifts for Lola and work uniform for tomorrow and headed straight over to see her.

I kept myself busy and distracted myself from yesterday morning’s sad news by sorting out our shopping haul…

I also got most of the washing done, but I only had 3 pods left though so couldn’t do it all until we’d done a big shop on Saturday.

Rich popped to Asda to get some bits for tea (can’t remember what), and we battled through the jet lag, finally giving in and going to bed at 8:30pm.

The Weekend / Back at Work Jet Lag…

We didn’t sleep well at all on Friday night and I was starving and wide awake from 12am to 4am. The weekend was a bit of a haze of cat naps and being wide awake and hungry at midnight.

This made my first week back at work more challenging than I’ve had anfter any of or Florida trips, with the midnight waking / hunger carrying on until about Thursday.

Summary, Final Thoughts & Future Plans

Edited at 07:13 PM.
HEMANCLOFTY is offline Girl Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
Old 23 Nov 23, 08:44 AM  
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Mortimer Mouse
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Great trip report, with so much detail! Thanks for taking the time to write it.
Sorry to hear of your sad news.
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Old 23 Nov 23, 03:18 PM  
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Very Serious Dibber
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I am sorry for your loss
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Old 23 Nov 23, 06:53 PM  
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Very Serious Dibber
Join Date: Sep 19
Thanks for another great trippie!
Sorry you had such bad news at the end x
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Old 9 Dec 23, 12:44 PM  
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Condolences on the loss of your step mum.

Glad you had a straightforward flight/journey home. Jetlag gets worse the older I get.

Thanks for a great report
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Old 30 Dec 23, 06:10 PM  
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So sorry for your loss.
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