Background: About a year ago, I got a great idea for a road trip. I’d take my kids, fly from my hometown of Houston TX , to San Diego CA, and then drive from San Diego to Oakland. We’d stop and see all the sights along the way, and then fly home from Oakland. Then I asked my friend Gina, who lives in California, if she’d like to come along. With her kids. She agreed, and Death Match 2014 was born. Two ladies, seven kids, and a 15-day road trip up the California Coast.

Day 6 – We began with the Free Breakfast at Holiday Inn Express – Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was standard Holiday Inn fare; not as great as the Homewood Suites in San Diego, but certainly good enough to start our day. My teenager was convinced he saw the singer Lorde staying at our hotel. I agree this girl was a spot-on double, but I really doubt that Lorde is staying at a Holiday Inn Express…

We headed over to the La Brea Tar Pits. We were surprised to discover that it smells very strongly of TAR there. (I know, we shouldn’t have been surprised, but we really never thought about it!) The smell was very off-putting to some members of our party, but we all hung in there. The Page Museum was indoors (smell-free) and pretty interesting.

Page Museum Blog

There was a short film about how all the animal bones got into the tar, then displays of lots of animal bones that have been recovered. They even have an area where you can see the process they go through to clean up the bones that they find. There are several different “pits” where you can go see the work in progress, but everyone was getting hungry again (I think the main theme of this trip is “We’ve got to find some food!”) so we skipped seeing the rest of the outdoor pits. We did stop to take some fun photos!

La Brea Tar Pits

Had lunch at a Johnny Rockets. It was ordinary, but served our purpose. The thing that’s beginning to stand out about Los Angeles is just how HARD it is to find a parking space. Google maps will say a trip takes 15 minutes, and it does… But then it takes another 15 minutes to find a parking place, and then 10 more to walk back to your destination from wherever you managed to park. Whew.

Oh, and forget about turning left. At an intersection, it’s manageable, but not in the middle of a block. Just forget it. We actually have started taking random streets up into the residential Hollywood hills just to avoid making a left turn into our hotel. As we were driving on tiny winding streets among the houses, my teen said “Hey, this looks just like Grand Theft Auto V!” He felt right at home…but I didn’t run over any pedestrians or bicycles.

The day ended with a swim in the hotel pool and early bedtimes!

Day 7 – This morning, our group split up. I took my teenager for a tour of the Caltech campus, while Gina took the other SIX kids to the California Science Center to see the Pompeii exhibit and the Space Shuttle Endeavor. First let me say that Gina deserves a medal for doing that! She is one brave lady.

Here’s the lowdown from my kids’ perspective:

There were a couple of movies about the story of Pompeii; an introduction telling about life in the city and about Mount Vesuvius, and then later in the exhibit there was a movie depicting the destruction, including some special fog effects. But they had places where you could sit away from the fog if you weren’t going to like that. The kids also enjoyed the audio guides to tell about the artifacts, but cautioned that you shouldn’t hold TWO audio guides to your ears and try to get them in sync: that’s just too loud.

My six-year-old was worried that the Pompeii exhibit would be scary, but the Science Center employees tried to set her mind at ease. She was still hesitant, up until the very end where she saw the casts of bodies. Then she thought they should have added some ketchup or something to look like blood. Oh boy.

The Endeavor exhibit included information about lots of different space missions, and my 10-year-old really enjoyed this part of the Science Center. He liked reading about all the materials that made the Space Shuttle. There’s also a part of the Space Station there. You’re not allowed to touch any of the things, but it’s still very cool.

In the afternoon, we walked to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was not far from our hotel. The area is full of people wearing random costumes, looking for money to take pictures with tourists. We saw Darth Vader, the Power Rangers, Mr. Incredible, Michael Jackson, and a weird duck-looking guy. It’s also crazy crowded. For two moms with seven kids to keep up track of, it was a little unnerving. Plus, the kids were ready to leave as soon as we got there. So we headed back to the hotel again.

Chinese Theatre

A guy dressed as Freddy Krueger saw Amber (the 6-year-old) and walked toward her. He bent over just a little, and then tipped his hat to her. I think he recognized a fellow villain!

For dinner, we decided to try a place my husband saw on television: Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. It was really hard to find a place to park, but we were glad we went. The chicken was fried just right, and the waffles had a hint of cinnamon, and it was served with hot syrup. Delicious! It’s a small place, so you may have to wait on the sidewalk for a while before you can get in. It’s worth the wait.

Roscoe's Chicken n Waffles

And once again, it’s time to call it a night! Thanks for following along.

My name is Brenda Arnold-Richard, and I’m a travel planner with Travel with the Magic. Like the Travel with the Magic page on Facebook, and follow me on Pinterest to see more of our trip.

It’ll either be fabulous or awful, but it’s bound to be interesting!