Los Angeles 2010

It has been a cold snowy winter and it has barely started, so I was glad to go to LA for a seminar. The weather in LA was upper sixties to low seventies for the entire week. I had a seminar at the Crowne Plaza last year so I was familiar with the hotel. I liked the hotel even though parking is kind of a pain. The ramp is not attached to the hotel and if you stay at the hotel you cannot park on the first three floors of the ramp, which means that that you have to have to wind your way up at past three floor before you can begin to look for a space. The other irratating thing about the ramp is that is the parking spaces are really small, you barely have room to open your card door, even if you are driving a compact.

I went up to my room to unpack and noticed the sleep kit that they leave for you on the bed. It contains lavender to relax you , a sleep mask and ear plugs. I had noticed the same package on my bed last year and thought it was kind of odd because I never heard one plane. My room this year was on the other side of the building, the side facing the runways. My first night I was woken up at about 5 am by a plane taking off and never made it back to sleep. The second night I tried to sleep with a pillow over my head, it was better but I still woke up early because of airplane noise. After that I slept with earplugs in and did not hear a thing.  The trick to staying at this hotel is to get an even number room, they are on the side of the building facing away from the runway.

Mariott LAX
Mariott LAX

We had a bunch of people signup for the class at the last minute so I was short on some of my training materials. No big deal, I checked Google maps and saw that there was a Kinko’s just a block and a half down Sepulvada. Luckily one of the reviews for the that Kinko’s began with a rant about how hard it is to find. Their comment was that nowhere does it tell you that the Kinko’s is inside the Marriott which is the truth. I waked to the Marriott and there wasn’t a Kinko’s sign to be seen. Once inside I thought it would be easy to find but it wasn’t, I finally had to ask.

Kinko’s was closed but you could still use their computers and printers for a price, I sat down and swiped my credit card. I had a PDF of the handouts so I pulled it up on the computer. The kiosk showed me the what it would cost to print, $125!!  I opted to have the handouts shipped from work. It saved me about $100.

I was leaving the building after striking out at Kinko’s when I noticed Champions Sports Bar. The place was hopping so I grabbed a beer be walking back to the Crowne Royal. It was really a nice bar, lots of TV, good service but they didn’t have Fat Tire beer. I decided to go back later in the week for dinner.

Champions Sports Bar
Champions Sports Bar

The last time I was in LA I went to Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Malibu. I did nothing after class this time. I don’t know if it was because it was dark to early or I just did not want to deal with the traffic.

I turned in my rental car in on Thursday because I thought it would be easier to take the shuttle to the airport on Friday and I am glad that I did. My GPS let me down again. I have an IPhone with GPS Drive. The GPS program works fairly well but it seems to steer me wrong about once per trip and it did it when I was returning the car. I knew I was going in the wrong direction but I kept going for about half a mile before turning around. Once the GPS recalculated it wanted me to go the wrong way down a one way. I eventually dropped my car off and caught the shuttle back to the airport where I grabbed a cab to the Marriott so I could have dinner at Champions Sports Bar.  The cab ride was a short one but I did not know that there is a minimum fare. When I asked the cab driver why the fare was so expensive he proudly presented me with an official looking piece of paper stating the fare rates for local destinations. My short cab ride cost me $20 including tip.

The shuttle ride back to the airport on Friday took much less time than dropping off the rental car on Thursday. I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant at the airport and it was the best meal all week. Every other time  I have flown back from the west coast the last direct flight out was no later than 3:30 PM but this time I was able to get a 6:30 PM flight getting me into Minneapolis at 12:30 AM. I arrived back in Minneapolis in the middle of a huge snow storm. The drive from Park N fly to my house was a white knuckle drive. I never made it over 40 MPH but I was sliding all over. Luckily I did not have to stop for anything, if I had I don't think I would have gotten going again.

I have a little Audi TT and the last set of tires that I put on the car were suppose to be really good all season tires but they aren’t worth a crap in the show. The drive home that night prompted me to put tires on my TT. It made all the difference, my TT is great in the snow now.

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