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New York - Los Angeles

Old Jul 8th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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There was a guy complaining on the phone to somebody on the train to Lincoln on Tuesday that Amtrak hadn't warned him about the flooding and no trains to Omaha, all i could wonder was where on earth he had been :/
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Old Jul 9th, 2011, 12:17 PM
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It's so interesting to read TR's of people from other countries! Whenever we returned from trips, DH and I tried to pretend we'd never been in the States.

OH, DH and I also stayed at Gershwin in NYC twice. It and the Park Savoy have/had great prices.

Are you a dancer in real life?

Thanks and I hope the rest of your trip is a little less hectic than mid-west portion has been.
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 09:42 AM
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Friday July 8th

Had set the alarm for 8.15am so we could get up in time for breakfast, thankfully it woke me up this time! The food selection on offer was really good and I enjoyed a waffle while Anneliese had fruit loops, turkey bacon and bread and jam Making the waffle was almost as fun as eating it

We didn't have to check out of the hotel till noon so used the time between finishing breakfast and checking out to repack the bags ready for the train trip to Los Angeles and to catch up on emails and with friends back home via facebook

After checking out we were able to take the hotel shuttle to 3306 Fountaine Avenue where the grandparents of Ginger Rogers lived and where Ginger lived for a time, what i didn't realise for sure until we got there was whether the house was still there or not and so was rather disappointed to find a grass lot between 3304 and 3308, but was nice to be on the street at least

From Fountaine Avenue we went to the Crown Center, luckily the guy driving the shuttle had no problems with that Had lots of fun looking round the shops in the Crown Center and for lunch had my first chilli cheese hot dog of the trip Anneliese was more than content with a cheese burger. Visited the Crayola Store where Anneliese spent a good hour colouring and admiring everything for sale, somehow managed not to buy anything!
Went to have a look at Kaleidescope but unfortunately we got there just as they were closing, so we went out to the fountains out front of the Crown Center stopping on the way for Frozen Custard, i had a scoop but couldn't get Anneliese interested, suprising considering how much she loves icecream.

She had plenty of fun playing in the Fountains however and we spent a good hour and a half there, at 6pm they had what i could only describe as a 'water ballet' performance performed by the fountains with music. Was a real treat to watch and am glad we stayed I was reading Fred Astaire's autobiography which helped me lose track of time, not that Anneliese complained at all Although she was pretty good when i told her it was time to get dry and dressed

We then walked over to the Liberty Memorial, I asked directions from a lady hoping to go see the Statue of Winston Churchill and his wife, what i didn't realise is that their statues are by the Plaza which was about 15 minutes drive from where we were so unfortunately didn't have time to do that as had to go pick the bags up from the hotel.

Had real problems working out which way was going from reading the map so ended up getting a cab from Union Station, as both the Station and the Hotel are on Main St, boy did i feel silly when i could see how easy it would have been to walk it :/

Thankfully was able to get the shuttle back from the hotel to Union Station, was much easier with the suitcases not to have to walk back, had a good hour to wait before we were able to check the bags but hadn't really taken much notice of the station the evening before so now had plenty of time to appreciate the architecture, was a shame however that I didn't realise before about the model railroad before, but we were able to get a glimpse of it which was better than nothing

Once we were able to check the bags it was much easier, went for a walk with the hope of finding a grocery store but had no luck, got a chance however to see a little more of Kansas City as well as some good views of the station and railroad tracks!

The South West Chief was half an hour late getting in, the same as the night before and was absolutely packed, we got assigned seats on the lower level thanks to the upper level being completely full, although we may be able to move tomorrow, feel bad once again but there's not much i can do about it!

Someone enquired why i have an English accent, made me smile, but was happy to reassure them that I have an English accent because thats where we're from!

Have a full day on the train tomorrow, the first time in this trip where we have two nights on the train in a row!

Saturday July 9th

Woke up just before what i thought was 8am only to realise an hour later when i overheard someone complaining on the phone that it was nearly 8am and noone had come and asked whether people on the lower level would like breakfast. As someone who couldn't manage the stairs it was understandable, thankfuly a Train Attendant appeared soon after.
I would have offered but i didnt like to interrupt his phone call and as Anneliese was still sleeping i didn't like to leave her.

Woke up with earache thanks to the altitude change but at least for the trip back to Independence on Wednesday i'll be prepared, not to mention the train trip back to LA on the 16th

Decided against going to the dining car for breakfast even though it was still possible to be seated, Anneliese was more interested in the snack boxes with Tuna and i was happy enough with chicken wings having missed out on dinner the night before

Was suprised by how quickly after breakfast was done that they came round asking about lunch and dinner reservations, i made reservations for lunch at 1.45pm and it was barely 10am more than enough time to have a nap and watch a movie!

Unfortunately i woke up from having a nap to find Anneliese had accidentally spilled apple juice which had gone on her dvd player which of course now wasn't working, it would turn on but none of the buttons were working except the one that turned the volume up :/ I dried it as best i could and then turned it off and put it away and hoped for the best. I had a look at it but it says not to open and to find your nearest Sony dealership.. As its out of warrenty it'd probably be cheaper to buy a new one As its a region 1 player and all the dvds i've acquired/bought on this trip will play only on region 1, i'm praying that a miracle will happen and it will work again!

Fortunately i packed plenty of other things to keep Anneliese occupied, including her drawing pads and pens which kept her happily busy until the announcement for lunch reservations at 1.45pm was made

Lunch on the train was pretty good, i had the angus steak burger with cheese while Anneliese had pizza and icecream (although not at the same time) We shared our table with a woman and her teenage granddaughter going west to Arizona Was a pleasant meal and not to expensive

After lunch we went to the lounge car taking the puzzle of the United States with us, would think that I'd get better at remembering which state goes where but while i remember a few, the puzzle still takes a long time to complete while i try and attempt to remember the rest, this time Anneliese was remembering quicker than i was

About half an hour before we reached Albuquerque we saw smoke in the distance which increased in size the nearer we got to it, unfortunately the Train Attendant didn't know where the fire was exactly or how long it had been going on, but will try and remember to keep a look out on the trip Eastbound to Independence to see if its still going

Soon after i decided to try out the dvd player again, hoping against all odds i decided to try putting it on hold and taking it off to see if that would help at all, the first successful step was that i managed to lower the volume, with a little patience i managed to make all the buttons work, its still being temperamental but its working and thats all that matters! Keeping it far away from any liquids from now on

At Albuquerque they asked us to move upstairs which i had no objection to as i felt rather awkward sitting in the lower level especially with a 4 year old, although the other people it turned out barely realised she was in there for most of the trip, she was that good and quiet
The Train Attendant complained that he was about to run out of seats everywhere, which puzzled me and other people with the South West Chief being a train where reservations are required and all! Surely having a reservation must guarantee ya a seat afterall

Had opted not to make dinner reservations so went down to the cafe car with Anneliese around 5.30pm, she opted for tuna again and was very good at eating all of that and the apple sauce, i've found the E.A.T snackboxes pretty good but it puzzles me why they all come with Apple Sauce and Trail Mix, Anneliese will eat apple sauce but neither of us care for Trail Mix so the packets are building up

Spent a peaceful evening watching Wallace & Gromit with Anneliese, got chicken wings for myself around 8 from the lounge car and finally managed to persuade Anneliese that it was time to sleep by 9pm, she complained about that saying she wasn't tired but i didn't take her to seriously and oddly enough she was fast asleep by 9.15pm.
I envy her for being small enough to curl up on the actual seat and legrest without having to sleep sitting up, she looks very comfortable in her sleeping bag with my big Amtrak blanket tucked round her It feels much colder tonight than it did last night, i'm guessing that the air conditioning is just better in this car!

Was raining when we reached Flagstaff, we were a little late but we're still expecting to be early into Los Angeles (we're due at 8.15am) so time to turn in and get some shut eye!

Looking forward to Los Angeles and not moving about for the next 4 days! (specially looking forward to a few nights of sleeping in a bed!)

Its been a long and busy but exciting week!!
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Old Jul 10th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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Hey,

glad you like it

I'm not a dancer, i did dancing when i was younger but i can't pretend to be anywhere near as good as Ginger or Fred!
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 12:32 AM
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Sunday July 10th

After spending most of the night awake with ear ache i finally dozed off around 3 only to wake up suddenly at 7.09 when someone nudged me to find that we'd arrived in Los Angeles and that i needed to wake Anneliese, pack up and get off the train ASAP! Somehow we managed it by 7.20! Was more amazed how quickly we managed to pack up and get off than by the fact that we were over an hour early into LA..

We were being met by my friend Jeff who i'd met in Los Angeles on my last trip and i had no way of contacting him to arrange a more convenient meeting place, by the time he found us at 8am he was more grateful that we'd even stayed at the station so it all worked out ok

Took the Red line down to Hollywood/Vine and went to the Hotel that we're staying at for the next 4 days and thankfully was able to store the luggage, i would really not have wanted to have to drag it round Los Angeles till 3pm, so am very glad they were able to store it.
Then we walked down to Holywood Boulevard to find that the only place open and serving breakfast was Mcdonalds, with no other option in the vicinity and increasing hunger i conceeded that it would probably be ok and found myself pleasntly suprised by how much better breakfast is at Mcdonalds in the US than it is in the UK and also cheaper Sausage, bacon, pancakes, english muffin, egg and hashbrown for $4 fed both Anneliese and myself, i'm not sure i'd eat breakfast there again but it was much better than i dared hope it would be!

After Macdonalds we went further down Hollywood Boulevard to the Disney Soda Fountain Store where i increased my pin collection, when i visited last year they had no pins exclusive to them but this year they have plenty, but somehow i managed not to buy them all!

Then we paid a trip to Build a Bear as promised to Anneliese, I was once again hoping that we'd be able to find an item of bear's clothing showing where it came from and this time was not disappointed, finding a t-shirt with LA on the front, we also made good use of the sale getting a 3 piece outfit for $5 (from $12.50)
Strolled out into the area above the Kodak Theatre and found some fountains that Anneliese enjoyed watching, was a bit to warm and sunny to stay outside however so we didn't stay there for to long.

Spent a while longer looking at Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame before walking down to the big music and dvd store. I was most disappointed to realise that the 2010 Astaire- Rogers boxset does not include all the extras that the 2006 boxset does Had to be talked out of buying the 2006 boxset just for the extras which include photos, replicas of press books and a cd), but am now considering selling the boxset that i own so i can get the 2006 boxset instead Aside from that I found Old Bear and Friends on dvd for Anneliese so she has something else to watch on the train

After the dvd store we went to Denny's for lunch, was the first time i'd been in a Denny's since last September and as that Denny's was in Minot, ND, i guess there could be a chance now that its underwater :/ Was impressed by tbeir children's menu, i chose more breakfast items but no pancakes Anneliese was rather taken by the sports cups they were advertising on the children's menu, we asked for one but were told they had none left :/ when they brought the drink out it came in one of the cups, they said they'd been able to find one more and kindly didnt charge for it

After Denny's we first went and did some grocery shopping to save having to eat out all the time (perhaps) and then went and bought swimwear with the hopes of going to Santa Monica tomorrow!

Amazingly that took up all the time before dinner and so opted for Wendy's, they had a different toy with the kids meal which Anneliese appreciated, maybe a bit to much of the same sort of food in one day, but will hopefully make up for it with more variety tomorrow

As the bites on my legs have been getting worse not better We went to CVS to try and find some different cream in the hopes that it might actually work.
From there we went to Graumans Chinese Theatre and saw some of the hand and foot prints, I quickly found Fred and Ginger's which are handily right next to each other. Also saw Jennifer Aniston's whose are the newest hand and foot prints to be laid down

As it was by then dark and getting slightly cold (about 64F) we opted to go back to the hotel and get some sleep! The room is pretty nice although describing it as having a kitchen and then it only having a fridge and a microwave is rather a stretch but its definately not bad
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 03:37 AM
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fredandgingermad:

I just came across your trip report. It is very hectic and fast paced with a 4 year old. What an adventure you are both having.

What do you think caused the bites on your legs?

Keep it coming.

Sandy
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 04:22 AM
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I'm enjoying your trip report and looking forward to the next installments. If the bites on your legs are itchy, try Benadryl lotion. Pretty cheap and works great!
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 06:52 AM
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Witch hazel works very well on bites as well. Glad you finally made it to LA!
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 07:36 AM
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It looks like i've had an allergic reaction to something I got some cream for it from the pharmacy so hopefully that'll work quickly enough
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Old Jul 11th, 2011, 10:40 PM
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Monday July 11th

Nice relaxed start this morning Left the hotel about 9.15 and walked down to the Hollywood/Vine Metro station, i bought a Metro day pass at the station even though we're only taking buses today because you can only buy single rides on the bus or use a Tap Card. We met my friend Jeff at Vine and Sunset and went to catch the bus, the plan for the day was to visit the beach at Santa Monica

Upon changing buses I spied a KFC, i'm a big fan of their mash and gravy and hadn't yet had it on this trip so as it was already 11am we decided to stop! Was well worth it

After enjoying lovely mashed potato and dr pepper while evefryone else had chicken and potato wedges we went to catch the bus to Santa Monica It took around 45 minutes to get there which was longer than expected, so glad i didn't ask to attempt to walk it!
We got off before Santa Monica as Jeff wanted me to be able to see all of Venice Beach and all the vendors that have been set up The best part of the walk along the ocean front was the Hawaiian Shave Ice i found! I haven't had it since Hawaii New Year 2007/08, Anneliese didnt think much of it which left more for me

We finally reached the Carousel, Anneliese was definately up for riding it! Had bought the tickets ($2 for an adult $1 for a child) when discovered that Anneliese's shoes were missing, they had clearly fallen out of the stroller after she'd taken them off :/ So had a nice walk back to find them, which thankfully we did, could not imagine having to explain to my mother who bought them if we'd been unable to find them :/

The Carousel was pretty good, although Anneliese was dsiappointed that the outside horses didn't go up and down.. I'd unsuccessfully tried to persuade her to move to the middle so was unfortunate but she wasn't bothered enough to want another ride! We then went onto the pier itself and walked through all the rides and entertainment, all lovely and expensive so didn't go on anything, did treat myself to a go on the dance machine in the arcade but that was merely $1

Then went don to the beach itself Anneliese was really excited until we went down to the water when she got all scared The tide was coming in and she didn't like the way the water rushed at her and tried to knock her off her feet, she was much happier playing in the sand! trying to get the sand off her was a pickle, apparently bathing suits aren't supposed to get wet

We stayed on the beach for about an hour and then decided that it was more than time to head back and try and find something to eat! Was amazed to discover it was already 3.45pm, time clearly does go fast when ya having fun!
Got the bus back from Santa Monica Bvld and then on the way back got off by the Farmers Market Had promised Anneliese a visit to the American Girls Store if there happened to be one in LA after she saw some of the dolls on the train from Chicago to Omaha, was interesting looking round the Farmers Market on the way, i'd seen it from a tour bus last year but had never actually been, enjoyed looking at the history and the photographs of it since it opened in 1934

Found the American Girls Store, managed to persuade Anneliese that noway was I going to buy her a doll costing $100! But took her upstairs to look at the Bitty Babies and the Bitty Twins, have promised to back again before we fly home and buy her a baby doll, we spent a good hour in the store, but Anneliese was having fun and it was much quieter than the store in New York!

Anneliese had picked up the catalogue which kept her occupied between leaving the store and getting the bus, we went into a toy store so i could see if i could find anything small for the train to Independence on Wednesday and she didn't even notice we were in there, let alone that we'd left! Took the bus back to Hollywood Bvld and as far as the Disney Soda Fountain Store Went and had a look inside and briefly considering stopping for food but decided against it as wanted something a little more sustainable.

Decided on IHop instead where Anneliese ate free, i had the International Crepe Passport which came with Nutella and Bannana Crepes with Strawberries, 2 eggs, bacon and sausage i've heard the pancakes there are really good, but as the crepes came with both bacon and sausage they won out

After IHop we walked back to Hollywood Bvld and then walked back to the hotel via CVS, Anneliese fell asleep on the way, boy am i glad we bouught the stroller on this trip!

Looking forward to a slower paced day tomorrow and a lie in!
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 04:07 AM
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 06:53 AM
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Your DD is an amazing traveler. Unless you've edited out things, she seems to be a great companion.
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 10:58 PM
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Tuesday July 12th

Nice relaxing day today, slept in till 9 although Anneliese was awake earliar but entertained herself very nicely with her toys and the food from the fridge
We stayed in the hotel till about 11, went down to breakfast after the morning rush, really appreciated the choice of fresh fruit they had on offer!

I'd purchased the CityPass allowing us to take a tour (on foot) of Hollywood, Starlines tour of Film Stars Home (bus), Madame Tausurds and either The Kodak Theatre (which is closed till after we leave) or The old Max Factor Building which is now a museum.
Decided to take the walking tour while it was still fairly cool, was really interesting and learnt a lot about Hollywood in its early days, was impressed on visiting Graumans Egyptian Theatre to see that they are having their own salute to Ginger Rogers for her centenary on the
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 12:04 AM
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Clicked submit accidently before I'd finished

Tuesday July 12th


Nice relaxing day today, slept in till 9 although Anneliese was awake earliar but entertained herself very nicely with her toys and the food from the fridge
We stayed in the hotel till about 11, went down to breakfast after the morning rush, really appreciated the choice of fresh fruit they had on offer!

I'd purchased the CityPass allowing us to take a tour (on foot) of Hollywood, Starlines tour of Film Stars Home (bus), Madame Tausurds and either The Kodak Theatre (which is closed till after we leave) or The old Max Factor Building which is now a museum.
Decided to take the walking tour while it was still fairly cool, was really interesting and learnt a lot about Hollywood in its early days, started at Graumans Egyptian Theatre where we got to go inside went up Hollywood Boulevard as far as Graumans Chinese Theatre spent a fair amount of time there and then came back again to where we started with a running commentary the entire way Was impressed on visiting Graumans Egyptian Theatre to see that they are having their own salute to Ginger Rogers for her centenary on July 15th-17th showing 6 of the movies that she made with Astaire. We'll be Independence, MO but nice to see that they are doing something!
The tour lasted just over an hour which was easily manageable and Anneliese coped very well, mainly reading her magazine

After taking the tour we went down to Build a Bear, in a moment of weakness i had promised a new outfit for being good! As all she wanted was the same outfit from before as sadly she'd lost the trousers was all good as that outfit had been in the sale

As it was by now 2pm, lunch was definately in order, i asked Anneliese where she wanted to go and she asked for the place with the cups, so Denny's it was Fortunately i remembered where it was but unfortunately they didn't have any of the sports cups :/ Food was worth it however!

From Denny's we walked back to Hollywood Boulevard, we then found the Max Factor Building only to find that they are only open Wednesday-Sunday.. Something to do for tomorrow

I had a look on the maps to try and work out how to get to Beverly Hills from Hollywood Boulevard as would love to go and get a glimpse of 1605 Gilcrest Drive (for many years the home of Ginger Rogers) but as was almost 5pm decided that it would better wait until we get back to Los Angeles on July 18th.
Then went to the Disney Soda fountain Store, considered having icecream soda but it then occured to me that taking the bus tour in the evening would likely be much more pleasant than taking it in the middle of the and a good chance to sit down, so decided to leave the Soda Fountain Store till tomorrow and just bought yet another pin (in the sale at $4)

Had to wait a little while for the tour after arriving at their kiosk at the back of the forecourt at Graumans, thankfully they were able to store the stroller safely and provide a booster seat for the bus The bus tour was really really good, Anneliese enjoyed it which was a bonus except when the wind picked up, but i'd brought her wind proof jacket just in case! We saw quite a few houses of the Stars including the Playboy Mansion, the house where Michael Jackson lived and died, Ol Blue Eye's house (Sinatra) and the former home of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt being the most memorable. I had been hoping to see Pickfair (the former home of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks) as i know that the house where Fred Astaire lived is close by but needless to say it wasn't included :/
The best part of the tour was going up into the Hollywood Hills and being able to stop and see Los Angeles from above! Also got a really good view of the Hollywood Sign, but unfortunately my camera decided to die just at that moment

Decided as it wasn't to busy and we were virtually right next to it that the Hard RocK Cafe would be a good place for dinner, despite it being 8.30pm by this point Anneliese was still wide awake but thought it would be better to eat sooner than later! Thankfully with the All Access Card we were able to get seated straight away and drinks and food were ordered pretty quickly.
It was then the bad luck started :/ For some reason the kitchen 'Crashed' no idea why it didn't seem anymore busy than in Washington DC and we had to wait an hour for the food to arrive, was not impressed at all :/ By the time the food finally arrived Anneliese was showing signs of tiredness and she'd barely eaten any of her dinner before she actually fell asleep. For me having Steak and smashed potatoes again I was not happy that the potatoes were cold, luckily once i mentioned it fresh hot 'smashed' potatoes were brought, only calling them 'smashed' poatoes was stretching it a bit, i've had smoother jacket potatoes :/ I complained as really wasn't happy with the service recieved, if London (which gets really busy) can manage then surely everywhere else can! They were really understanding and gave me a 50% discount off the bill which calmed my ruffled feathers Meant that i couldn't use my All Access Card but was only going to use the points to get money off the bill anyhow so now can use that money another time! And 50% off was more than i was expecting Plus they kindly boxed Anneliese's food for me

Got Anneliese back to the hotel as quickly as possible. Had a really nice relaxing day, its been hot but nice breezes!
Tomorrow we take the train back to Missouri, apparently its much warmer in the Mid West could be interesting!
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Old Jul 14th, 2011, 09:53 AM
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Wednesday July 13th

Woke up nicely at 9am just before my alarm went off Needed to have enough time to pack up and get out of the room before checkout time of 11am, was nice to have enough time to get everything packed and relax a little at the same time!
Got the luggage out nicely, somehow only had 6 bags including the car seat and the suitcases Will make it easier for taking the train from Kansas City to Independence on Friday Morning!
Anneliese had left a book in Nina’s car by mistake and she very kindly had agreed to mail it on to us in LA, we weren’t expecting it to reach LA until Saturday and I had explained it to the hotel staff while checking out who were fine about holding it till our return, the book must have wanted to come to Independence with us as somehow it arrived in this morning’s mail! Am very impressed with the mail system in the US, it only took 2 days to reach us! I’ve known mail in the same city to take longer

Was able to store the luggage at the hotel which was great as we had 5 hours to go before taking the metro to Union Station
Decided that the Hollywood Museum in the old Max Factor Building would be a good way to end the first segment of our time in Los Angeles, more so because its only open on certain days and unless we were going to visit on the day we go home this was the only chance, the history of the Max Factor Building was probably the most interesting part of the museum although they do have some good artefacts on display. Was interesting to learn that Ginger Rogers opened the Redhead’s Room, despite the fact that when the Max Factor Building opened in 1935, she was a blonde! The main person featured in said room today is Lucille Ball; Max Factor created her red haired look!

As usual was keeping my eyes peeled for anything Ginger or Fred related, was a fair number of photos of Ginger mainly advertising Max Factor but only two of Fred :/ Was disappointed to find that even though they are celebrating the Centenary’s of both Jean Harlow and Lucille Ball they have nothing for Ginger I did ask at the end and they explained that most of the artefacts have either been donated or are on loan from people who mainly live in the local area, they asked if I knew anyone who’d be interested in helping with such an exhibition on Ginger but unfortunately i had to explain that I’m only a fan

Loved seeing Cary Grant’s Rolls Royce and also Jean Harlow’s Packard Car, am a big fan of old cars and it’s nice that people are willing to loan such lovely things, although I didn’t ask how they got the cars up to the top floor of the museum!

I’m not sure I’d have paid the $20 asked ($15 for an adult, $5 for a child) if It hadn’t been included in the Citipass or if I’d been able to choose between that and the Kodak Theatre tour but it didn’t disappoint and we spent a good 2 hours going round Liked reading the list of Marilyn Monroe’s favourite actresses and actors!

As Anneliese had been so good during the time spent in the museum, I took her to the Disney Soda Fountain Store for lunch where we had waffles shaped like Mickey Mouse, what i didn’t realise until ordering was that they offered child sized portions which was much more convenient and the child meals included a drink which i didn’t find out till i paid the bill! (Anneliese was to bust colouring in the picture on the other side of her menu!)

After lunch we took a walk down to the start of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and saw the statues of the four women, we’d seen it from the bus the day before but had never seen it up close, was nice to see it and took up some of the time left that we had before going back to the hotel.
The walk back took longer than expected as was very busy on Hollywood Boulevard but after a stop at a CVS to get Anneliese some sweets for the train we got back to the hotel to pick up the baggage by 4pm, plenty of time to get to Union Station

The walk to Hollywood/Vine was pretty good, Anneliese had to help with pushing the stroller as i had my hands full with the suitcases but a nice young man took pity on her when we got onto Hollywood Boulevard and very kindly came down to the Metro Station with us which made life a lot easier all round. Fortunately we didn’t have long to wait for the train, journey didn’t seem to take half as long as it did when we arrived on Sunday! Got to Union Station with enough time to check in where seat assignments were given as the train is completely sold out today, we also thankfully had enough time to check the big suitcases so won’t have to worry about them until we reach Kansas City on Friday Morning Unfortunately we’ll have to deal with them for catching the Missouri River Runner to Independence

All we had to do after that was wait for the track number to be announced, 45 minutes before the train was due to leave it was shown as being delayed, which as it starts in Los Angeles I didn’t really get.. We met a couple from Southampton, England whose sole purpose of the trip had been to take the Empire Builder from Seattle to Chicago; thanks to the flooding they had been rerouted first on the Coast Starlight and then on the South West Chief, slightly unfortunate for them, but it made me appreciate all the more that despite the flooding we were still able to get to Omaha, had the trip been about a month earlier then we wouldn’t have been able to go.
At 6.05pm they finally announced that boarding for the West Bound South West Chief would start in 20 minutes, the train was only due to depart at 6.15pm Anneliese had enjoyed the wait playing with the giant teddy bear of an older girl who fortunately didn’t mind that teddy was being included in Anneliese’s picnic, as the teddy bear was bigger than Anneliese it was more amusing to watch than anything else!
Fortunately despite everything including having to move seats after settling thanks to the imminent arrival (at Riverside) of a second large group of Boy Scouts (there was already one group on the train) we departed Los Angeles at 7pm, only 45 minutes late..

The new seats we have are probably better than the seats originally assigned, in the middle of the car rather than towards the back and at least now we’re not between two groups of Boy Scouts!
Unfortunately after they announced the lounge car open, they prompted closed again for the dinner break meaning I had to wait till 9.10 for dinner, slightly unfortunate, but while Anneliese watched Dumbo and Swan Princess I watched Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn in ‘Stage Door’ (1937) which lasted long enough for me to able to go get dinner in the middle of it

Looking forward to another full day on the train but looking forward more to being back in the American Midwest even if the temperatures are much higher than in Los Angeles! Its a different sort of heat after all
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 07:00 AM
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Thursday July 14th

Woke up at 2am after 3 hours sleep with really bad ear ache  dozed on and off but the pain didn’t want to go away, had the remainder of the chicken wings I’d got for dinner the night before and found that chewing helped a little so I looked through my backpack to see what else i had and luckily found some chewing gum which helped enough with relieving the pressure to allow me to drop off back to sleep by 4.30am.
Woke up next at 6.30am to hear the dining car making their first announcements for breakfast but as i was still tired and Anneliese was still asleep I thought it would be better to skip breakfast in the dining car and just get cereal from the snack car

Didn’t wake up again till nearly 9am, feeling much more rested than I had at 6.30! Anneliese was still asleep but she woke up soon after so I went to the snack car with her and got an E.A.T snack box for her and cereal and milk for me which did us fine and was cheaper than the dining car.
After that Anneliese watched Dumbo and then Wallace and Gromit and I read ‘Ginger – My Story’ while we waited for someone to come round to make lunch reservations. Everything seemed to be running a little behind as they didn’t come round until nearly 11.30am, if I’d known that it was going to take so long we would have gone into the lounge car as it’s nicer to sit in there than to stay at your seat all the time but never mind. Got lunch reservations for 12pm, on this trip the later reservation times had gone first leaving the early sittings still available as opposed to the west bound trip when it had been the other way round! Much nicer to have lunch earlier rather than later
We reached Albuquerque at 11.35 so had a chance to step off the train and get a breath of fresh air before lunch. Took a look at the vendor’s offerings but didn’t buy anything. At lunch we sat with two Boy Scout leaders, there is around 60 boy scouts on this train going to the same place as the boy scouts we saw on the way out west, apparently different groups of boy scouts go every day for 2 weeks throughout the summer to a camp about an hour’s bus ride from Raton and go hiking, it explains why we’ve seen so many of them! When we reached Raton there was another big group getting on, going home, uniforms didn’t look half as pristine as the group getting off

We spent some of the afternoon in the lounge car helping with a jigsaw puzzle, then Anneliese complained that she was tired and that her tummy hurt so i took her back to our seats and gave her some calpol (child paracetamol) and then she fell asleep for a good two hours while I first watched part of ‘Roberta’ (1935) then read some more of ‘Ginger – My Story’ before deciding that there was no harm in having a nap myself

On waking up the 14 year old sitting across from us offered to watch a movie with Anneliese which was really nice of her, it was a Disney cartoon movie that I’d never heard of let alone seen but Anneliese really enjoyed watching it The other 4 people sitting by us including the nice 14 year old girl had opted to go for dinner in the dining car so at 6 they went off to dinner and i tried to persuade Anneliese that she should have something to eat, however no success, she was far to engrossed in the movie. I put time to good use by watching some more of Roberta until everyone else came back from dinner
When everyone else came back from dinner, Anneliese and the other girl watched Beauty and the Beast while i was able to go to the cafe car to get myself some chicken wings for dinner As the attendant was quick to observe it was my second portion of chicken wings on this train trip but they are officially my favourite food on Amtrak and I’ve yet to see them anywhere else
Spent the evening chatting to Jeff and Mary sitting across from us about the different types of food that are available in England and the United States, the discussion around breakfast was the most interesting, the comparison is very different! Tidied away everything that won’t be needed tonight as we reach Kansas City early tomorrow morning, looking forward to getting to Independence and exploring the place, also very much looking forward to Saturday, just hope i get to meet other fan’s of Ginger’s with this being Ginger’s Centenary and the main reason for our trip
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 07:28 AM
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You are so brave to travel with a child unassisted! A. sounds like a wonderful kiddo.
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 07:44 AM
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She is coping much better with all the travelling than i ever dared hope she would and enjoying it just as much as i am!
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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You two make quite the travelers! I love reading your adventures and am glad you seem to be having a good experience so far. Beware--it's supposed to be beastly hot here this weekend so take care out there!
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 08:15 PM
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Friday July 15th

Woke up at 3am to find the train stopped, have no idea why as we weren't in a station but we must have been stopped for around 45 minutes, was really warm on the upper level so went downstairs to the lower level where the air was cooler luckily Anneliese stayed asleep!

Woke up again at 6am to hear predicatbly that we were running half an hour late, they must allow plenty of cushion time however as we only got to Kansas City 5 minutes after our scheduled arrival time of 7.24am Was hard saying goodbye to the nice people we met on the train, Anneliese especially was sad about it, very warm in Kansas City, wasn't totally prepared for how warm it was going to be specially at this early hour!

Had to wait a while for the luggage to be brought off the train and shortly after was heading back down to the platform for the 8.15am Missouri River Runner and for the short trip to Independence!!

Took about 15 minutes to get from Kansas City to Indpendence, left the mugginess of Kansas City behind and were greeted by Blue Skies and Sunshine, unfortunately one thing i'd neglected to obtain beforehand was a map so while i knew the address of the hotel i didn't have a clue how to get there :/ I figured the easiest way to find out would be to walk to the main road and see if we could find anywhere open to ask for directions!
Luckily there was a bike shop at the end of the road and the owner was able to give us directions, only a mile to the hotel thankfully

We'd got about halfway up the road and was just passing some type of place of worship when a lady stopped coming out of whatever it was and asked if she could give us a ride anywhere Thankfully she knew exactly where we were headed, was very grateful, it wasn't far to go but in the heat (and it was only 9am at this point) and with general tiredness it would have taken an awfully long time to get there on foot.. She was very kind and offered her number incase in need of any more assistance

It appears that the hotel we're staying in is just opposite the former house of Harry S Truman, we're just over a mile from where Ginger Rogers was born!
We got to the hotel around 9.15am and explained the dilema of wanting to leave the bags at the hotel while we waited for the room to be ready and maybe have a look round Independence, they then asked if we'd mind instead of having a room with two king sized beds having a room with one queen, as its only for one night it wasn't a problem and meant we were able to settle in straight away With it being so warm outside decided to spend a few hours relaxing before venturing outside.

As it turned out we both fell asleep and stayed sleeping for most of the day, woke up at 4pm feeling much more relax although it seemed much longer than 8 hours since we'd arrived, odd to think that only a week ago we were in Kansas City!

Went to the front desk and asked about directions to a playground with water fountains that was listed in the hotel directory, was warned that it was a bit of a walk and that it was very hot outside still but it didn't take that long to get there. After the long walk from the Zoo to Downtown in Omaha nothing is that long a walk!!

Anneliese had lots of fun playing in the fountains, fortunately we remembered her bathing suit so no problems with getting soaked this time! Unfortunately I'd forgotten to take anything to entertain myself but managed ok, nothing more entertaining than listening to a little of Ginger and Fred
My music got interrupted when we'd been there about an hour by music which sounded to my ears awfully like an icecream van, asking somebody if such music meant the same in the US as it does as home in England confirmed that yes it was an icecream van! One much excited Anneliese She had an icecream shaped like Tweety and I had a watermelon Snocone which was much refreshing. Even though it was very hot and sunny even after 5pm I much prefer the heat out here in the Midwest than i do in Los Angeles. Plus here it stays warm even after then sun has gone down

Went for dinner at Wendy's and found a grocery store on the way, much appreciated the drinks machine by the grocery store that decided to give us two cans of Sierra Mist for the cost of one, sadly it wasn't quite so willing with the Dr Pepper (my choice of drink)
At Wendy's the guy heard me order a meal and repeated what i'd ordered and then somehow only charged me for the burger, on checking the order i pointed out that I'd ordered a meal, he aknowledged that it was his mistake and added the drink and fries at no extra cost to me The food at Wendy's in Independence was just as good as it was in New York, Maryland and Los Angeles!

We then walked back to the hotel, had difficulties getting in but it turned out that they change the door code at midday after checkout but as we'd arrived so early we'd been given the doorcode from the previous day
The Hotel layout is kinda strange, the first floor is technically the basement, the second floor is where the checkin desk is and the 3rd floor is up the first flight of stairs, this puzzled me greatly when trying to find the ice machine which was on the first floor, downstairs..
One thing that is a really nice touch is that on every floor there is a general tv area that guests can use to watch dvds/blurays in!

The main disadvantage of having slept all afternoon clearly was that Anneliese didn't get tired till 10.30pm but she sat watching her new dvd quietly which is good Now thankfully she is fast asleep and soon hopefully i'll be doing the same. Tomorrow is the Centenary of Ginger Rogers, she was born at 100 W.Moore Street on the 16th July 1911 Tomorrow hopefully we'll be able to find the house, the directions from google maps look simple enough
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