On February 21st, my husband and I headed down to Long Beach, California to attend our first LA Travel & Adventure Expo.
It was an easy flight from Spokane to LA. I had pre-booked a Supershuttle shared ride for us which I recommend whenever you don’t want to drive yourself or take a taxi.
I used www.booking.com to reserve a room at the Rodeway Inn, in Long Beach which was easy walking distance from the Long Beach Convention Center. The rooms were updated and comfortable. One great surprise we encountered in our room was the array of toiletries offered.
After we checked in, we headed over to the convention center just in time to listen to Phil Keoghan, host of the Amazing Race. What a treat to listen to him in person after watching him on TV for so many years. He went over some behind-the-scenes tidbits from the Amazing Race that excited us for the new season.
After his talk, he was kind enough to offer a meet-and-greet. When it was our turn to meet him he was more than gracious and struck up a conversation with us.
We spent some time after that looking at the various booths, representing locations such as China, Guatemala, Italy and the U.S.
Later that night we caught the Passport bus (free) at the convention center and took it to the Queen Mary for an evening tour.
The Passport bus is a great way to get around Long Beach for free. End of the line is the Queen Mary and on the weekends the bus runs until after midnight so no need for a cab.
It’s a good idea to pre-book evening Queen Mary tours as they do sell out. I bought ours online before we left Spokane and when we got there, all evening tours were sold out.
Our tour lasted for about an hour, however we went a bit early and had a chance to look at the model ships on display. There is also a bar and several restaurants if you are looking for a nice meal or cocktail.
Before heading back to the Travel Expo the following day, we went to the Breakfast Bar, located next door to the Rodeway Inn, for breakfast. The Breakfast Bar is a hip and warm eatery, offering coffee in real coffee mugs while you wait. Everyone we encountered was friendly and treated us like we were locals (even though I had a camera around my neck).
My husband ordered a breakfast burrito, which came with several choices of local hot sauces.
I ordered the eggs benedict with sausage on homemade rosemary bread.
The food was fresh and tasty and the service was amazing.
After breakfast, we headed to our second day at the Travel show. There were two speakers on Sunday that I couldn’t wait to hear. First, Josh Gates, star of Destination Truth and Expedition Unknown, shared some funny stories and amazing travel tips. For fans of his shows, he is just as funny in person.
After his seminar, he sat down for a meet-and-greet. He graciously signed my copy of his book which was a complete delight for me.
Immediately following Josh Gates, was my travel inspiration, the beautiful Samantha Brown. She gave me the inspiration I needed to start solo traveling, instead of sitting home waiting for someone to go with me. If she could do it, then I could do it. This was a bucket-list moment for me.
I owe her for giving me the courage to get out there and a huge thank you for making wonderful luggage products, of which I own several pieces in both yellow and burgundy. In fact, Kevin bought me an early anniversary present specifically for this trip from her luggage line. Her luggage deserves a separate blog post so more to come on that. All I can say is I love everything about Samantha Brown.
After the meet-and-greet Kevin and I headed down to Shoreline Village.
Lots of cute little shops and restaurants, not to mention a gorgeous view of the Queen Mary. While out on the wharf the weather began to turn so we headed back up to the convention center area for lunch.
We ended up at Famous Dave’s. For those of you who have a Famous Dave’s, I am jealous. Up to this day, I have never liked BBQ sauce. I know, weird. I just have never liked it. I like BBQ when it’s a spice rub, just no sauce. That is until Famous Dave’s. I’m going to have to start buying that stuff online! While in the restaurant, the weather took a turn for the worse. We enjoyed our lunch and relaxed while waiting out the rain. Once it subsided we headed back to the Rodeway Inn to relax before heading to dinner.
Before leaving home, I had purchased a Groupon for the Honduran Kitchen located in Long Beach. Kevin had looked up the public bus route, which we were happy to find out picked up almost in front of our motel and dropped us off a half block from the restaurant. All for $1.25. One thing I love to do when on vacation is take the public transportation offered. You get to sit back and relax for cheap, while immersing yourself into life in that area. Anyway, we got to the Honduran Kitchen easily. If you are new to the restaurant, or Honduran food, they have a dish that is meant to share. It is basically a little of everything for 2 or more people. We were able to try shrimp, chicken, pork and chorizo along with an appetizer, salad, beans and rice. Everything was seasoned perfectly, nothing was hot if you worry about spice, just nice and warm and tasty. As good as the food was, our server, Tony, was the most warm, friendly person. He gave us a little history, explaining everything we were eating and was just a joy to meet. Please, if you are in the Long Beach area, give Honduran Kitchen a try.
All in all, it was a quick weekend but jammed packed full of fun. I learned a lot, had some great food, spent time with my husband and checked off another bucket list item.