Los Angeles, CA Trip

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Day 1

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The traveling campers of Camp Courageous are Cruising the Country, for the second weeklong of the year! IMG_9735This time to Los Angeles, California!! IMG_9737We are already off to a great start. We had one traveler check-in at Camp (aka Rolo House), two in Marion, two in Coralville, three in Bettendorf (where we also ate at Pizza Ranch).IMG_9739 We then started the bulk of our drive to Chicago. IMG_9740We watched the movie “Rush Hour,” on our way to Chicago. IMG_9748Which was perfect because the movie is taken place in Los Angeles!

IMG_9750We arrive at the Holiday Inn & Suites shortly before 8:30pm.
We met two more travelers and there parents here at the hotel, we are now totaling 11 travelers and 4 staff.

We have to get up early, so have a great night and we will talk again tomorrow night, where we will already be in California!!! Whoot Whoot!! Prayers and good thoughts are always appreciated!


Rolando Morales

Day 2

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

The Travel group is in HOLLYWOOD!!! IMG_2856Where stars are born!! The travelers are super pumped and ready to tackle this busy but fun city. IMG_2857We started off our trip to California before the sun came up. We made our way to Chicago Midway Airport in good time.IMG_2858 We had a little traffic, but not to bad. When we arrived at the airport, there wasn’t any heavy traffic, so we pulled right up to the gate.IMG_9781
I dropped off the travelers, they checked into Southwest Airlines, while I parked the bus.DSCN0154

Going through TSA went pretty smooth. Luckily we weren’t in long lines waiting for security. They even had us keep on our belts and shoes! It was a great and easy. IMG_9767After security we made our way to our gate. We made our selves comfortable before our flight. IMG_9770We then witnessed a group of heavy traffic of people coming to our gate. The weird part of this, a lot of them were wearing Jamaica shirts! IMG_9768So we were pretty confused. It turned out we needed to switch gates. So we made our way to the next gate and as soon as we got there, our gate changed again! So third times a charm! IMG_9767Which it was.

Our flight arrived at the gate ready to take us to Los Angeles, California!IMG_9763 We pre-boarded, made ourselves comfortable as best as we could for this 4 1/2 hour flight and we were off. It was a pretty smooth flight, a little turbulence but nothing too bad.IMG_9761 The travelers enjoyed listening to music, reading there books, or sleeping! Which some of the staff and travelers took advantage of!

DSCN0157Before we knew it, the time flew by and we were in California!! HOLLYWOOD!!! Once we made it to our gate, we let everyone else off the flight first and made our way to baggage claim.DSCN0162 We were pretty hungry, but there is a bunch of construction going on at LAX, that there were not a lot of choices for restaurants, so we decided to just hop on the free hotel shuttle and eat somewhere close to the hotel.DSCN0163 Which was the best plan! Because the food that we ate was delicious!! You could either get a pizza, sub, or salad! Some of us got all three! (There was a deal!) Before lunch, we checked into our hotel, dropped off our luggage and made our way to the restaurant.DSCN0165

After lunch, we made our way to Manhattan beach! This beach had some BIG waves and pretty windy, but it was worth the visit. It wasn’t too far from the hotel, so that was a great thing! IMG_9758We walked on the pier, which some of the travelers never seen before, so that was a cool experience. At the end of the pier was a free will donation aquarium. They had many sea life from the pacific ocean. A employee of the aquarium saw our group and showed us some good sea creatures.IMG_9757 One that stood out the most was the sea cucumber! Supposedly if you kissed the sea cucumber you would have 7 years of good luck! Travelers Shane Hughes puckered up his lips and was ready to kiss the cucumber! It was pretty funny! After listening to the presentation and exploring just a few more sea creatures, we made our way to Manhattan village, where we explored some shops. IMG_9788They didn’t really have a ton to choose from, regarding souvenirs, but it was nice to walk around, shop at one of the stores and then made our way to dinner.

After dinner, we made our way back to the hotel where the travelers are fast asleep! Even though it seems like 8pm here, it is 10pm in Iowa! So they were ready to crash!!

Tomorrow we venture off to Downtown Los Angeles. Stay tuned to more fun times in L.A!


Rolando Morales

Day 3

Good Evening Camp Courageous,

We had a full day of exploring! DSCN0172We did it the right way, hired someone to drive us around. We hoped on the Hop on Hop off tour bus that picked us up outside of our hotel.DSCN0173 It was a really easy and convenient location. The bus drove us about an hour to get to Hollywood blvd. There are different tour lines for this particular company.DSCN0178 The Red line (hollywood), the yellow line (Santa Monica), the green line (Venice Beach), the blue line (Universal city), and the purple line (Downtown L.A).DSCN0181 We took the purple line to Downtown L.A. On this tour, we were all given headphones so we could listen to a pre recording of what was popular on this route.IMG_9812 We learned about the history of Los Angeles and of course about the Hollywood life of this star field city.IMG_9816

Did you know that Thomas Edison owed the rights to movie production. Movies originally started in France and the first movie to be made in California was in 1914.IMG_9823 We found out that 15 million people live in the greater Los Angeles. We even saw a famous tunnel that famous movies Terminator and Independence Day were filmed and of course many other films. DSCN0183There were so many actors names and movies that were mentioned on this tour. As we toured, we saw many well known tourists sights, like Chinatown, Tokyo town, Korea town, and the world famous Walt Disney Music Hall. This was our first stop on the tour.DSCN0185

When we arrived at the Music Hall we stopped in, greeted the clerk and received our free handheld audio players, where we had a chance to take a free tour of the hall.IMG_2863 We learned so much about the Hall, from the history of Disney’s daughter starting the hall from all the wonderful performances that many well known stars had the opportunity to play music. DSCN0188They even had a garden on top of the Music Hall, where we had a chance to see the Children’s Music Auditorium. We even had a great shot of Mount Saint Gabriel.DSCN0190

After the tour, we had lunch in the the Music Hall cafe and then hopped back on the tour bus. We then were dropped off in Chinatown, where we did some shopping and took many pictures.IMG_2864
One picture was in front of the statue of famous Karate artist Bruce Lee, traveler Thomas Williams loved this part.IMG_9838 Traveler Brandon Clark had been asking about where they filmed Rush Hour, and before he could ask again, we saw the sign that said here is the spot where Rush Hour was filmed!IMG_9839

It was great!! Once we were down shopping, hopped back on the bus and toured the rest of the way back to Hollywood. IMG_9801It was great tour and the campers had fun learning about the city of Los Angeles.

IMG_9796Once we arrived back to Hollywood, we shopped at the Hard Rock cafe gift store and afterwords we ate at Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood.



IMG_2870After our delicious meal, we went right next door, so see celebrity hand prints in cement!IMG_2877

IMG_2879 The campers had the opportunity to see there favorite stars hands, feet and signature. It was pretty cool! After our star experience, we shopped a couple more times and then hopped back on the bus to head back to the hotel.IMG_9853

IMG_2880It was such a fun day in Los Angeles we cannot wait to do it again tomorrow! This time we will tour Hollywood and Universal city. DSCN0199

We cannot wait for the fun to continue!


Rolando Morales

Day 4

Good evening Camp Courageous,

IMG_9868The motto of the day was “Party Bus” dubbed by traveler Dusty McArtor.IMG_9870 When we loaded the star line bus there was some dancing music playing and Dusty and the other travelers were cheering and loving the moment!IMG_9881

IMG_9877The moment that they realized “WE ARE IN HOLLYWOOD!!” IMG_2888

IMG_2887The driver was all about pumping up everyone and sending us all out to have some fun!


IMG_2889Today we spent the majority of time touring Hollywood and Beverly Hills.IMG_2893

IMG_2894When we arrived in Hollywood, we went straight to a prime spot to take MANY pictures of the well known Hollywood sign.IMG_2895

IMG_2896Right after we did this everyone was begging to go to Starbucks! So we had to stop.IMG_2897

IMG_2898Shoot, on our way to Hollywood we counted 13 Starbucks! That’s just the ones we saw!!IMG_2899

IMG_2901There were some that were two on just one street! Crazy! DSCN0211

DSCN0212So we fed into the publicity and all bought some Starbucks coffee and tea.IMG_2904

IMG_2905After our indulgence, we made our way to our first attraction, the Hollywood Wax Museum where we had so much fun taking pictures of all our favorite stars.IMG_2906

IMG_2907From Michael Jackson to the Terminator!! This attraction wasn’t on our itinerary, so the campers were pumped about visiting this fun museum!!IMG_2908

IMG_2909There were a lot of opportunities to dress up with our favorite stars and the travelers took advantage of it.IMG_2911

IMG_2912Before we knew it, it was time to take a tour of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. DSCN0205

DSCN0210We hopped on the red line bus with Star Line and toured these famous locations.IMG_2918

During the tour we listened to an audio recording about these places. We even had a chance to know where the movie stars love to eat and shop! IMG_2922Millions of Milkshakes was where stars come and make there own milkshakes and there is also a GPS that tells you where they are.IMG_2923

IMG_2927Beverly Center was the shopping center for the rich and famous. We toured for about an hour, so it was time to get some grub!IMG_2928

So the next stop was the farmers market in West Hollywood. We heard to get some great food, we needed to stop here and it was delicious! IMG_2929Everyone had multiple restaurants to choose from. So no one went away hungry! IMG_2931Afterwords we treated the travelers with some delicious ice cream from a place that had been open for 80 years. They are actually closing their doors, so it was fitting for our group to enjoy this treat.IMG_2933

After lunch we hopped back on the bus and toured the rest of the red line. After we got back we hit up the last and biggest gift shop on Hollywood blvd. IMG_2934Here the travelers had time to indulge and traveler Shane Hughes had a chance to get his name on a STAR! DSCN0216

Outside of the gift shop were some men putting down names on a star and we would have a chance to take a picture with our feet on the star. Just like the movie stars!DSCN0213

After our gift shop we went to two other surprise stops, Ripley’s Believe it or not and Guinness World Record museums. They were right next to each other. The first museum was Ripley’s. We had fun learning about interesting artifacts and peopleDSCN0226. We even made faces in a mirror where we later found out that a camera was filming us the entire time. We met the tallest and smallest people in the world. We even saw a match stick ship that was made by a man from Iowa. Pretty cool!DSCN0230

We then made our way to the Guinness museum. Here we witnessed records that were made and we even had a chance to make our own records.DSCN0228 From stacking ten silly monkeys to flipping cups. We even had a dance party at the end of the museum. You know how Camp Courageous Campers love to dance and party!DSCN0238

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. So we ate at a Mexican restaurant and then went over to Disney’s chocolate store to have a free sample of caramel milk chocolate! DSCN0239Very delicious! After that it was time to head back to the hotel on the same bus that we partied on this morning, with the same Double Decker DJ! We jammed all the way back to the hotel!!! “HOLLYWOOD!”

DSCN0219Tomorrow we tour Venice beach and visit Santa Monica. We then fly out of Los Angeles around 5pm and will be back to our Chicago hotel about midnight. Prayers and good thoughts are much appreciated!

Day 5

Good Afternoon Camp Courageous,

IMG_2937I am sending a two part email, since we will be getting to the hotel around midnight central standard time. IMG_2936So the second email I send, will hopefully report that we made it back safely. Keep those fingers crossed ;)!

IMG_2938Before we had to leave Los Angeles, we made it a point to venture off to the beach! Since the last time we went to the beach, it was quite windy and the waves were HUGE!! IMG_2942This time it was a different story. If you can, please visit the Camp Courageous Facebook page of the live feed of our beach adventure.IMG_2943 This morning, we made our way to our last Hop on Hop off boat tour. IMG_2944Our shuttle picked us up at our hotel and drove us around Venice Beach and Santa Monica.IMG_9921 Both were great places to visit and we loved driving along the beach. The stop we chose to take was at Venice Beach Boardwalk.IMG_9924 Where there were gift shops, restaurants, basketball courts, surfers, weight lifters and just walking on the beach.

IMG_9929We walked on the beach, some of the travelers put there feet in the water, some just stayed on the beach, sat on the sand and dug their toes in the sand. IMG_9941They really enjoyed there last time experiencing the Pacific Ocean and Venice Beach. IMG_9916Before I forget, the basketball courts were part of the movie “White Men Can’t Jump” and as we heard that we noticed that a commercial was being filmed right on the basketball court.IMG_9915 It was pretty cool. Also, Arnold Schwarzenegger use to lift weights on this beach and a Golds Gym not to far from the beach. IMG_9918We really wanted to see weight lifters, but there were none weight lifting or we didn’t know where they were located.

IMG_9944After we toured the beach, we visited one gift shop and then hopped back on the bus. We then stopped at a Crepe shop, where the group each had some delicious Crepes and fries and a drink. Afterwords, we made our way back to the hotel to grab our luggage and head to the airport.IMG_2953

We are now at the airport waiting at our gate. We board in about and hour and half. We have a 4 and half hour flight to Chicago. Prayers and positive thoughts are greatly appreciated for a safe flight!

To be continued….


The flight went quick!! We were back in Chicago in no time. We grabbed our luggage and were out the door!

We made it to the hotel and is settled in our beds! Tomorrow we begin our drive back to Iowa and dropping off the travelers along the way!

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers!


Rolando Morales


P.S Thank you to all the travelers who went on this trip!! It was great spending time with all of you! A special thanks to my volunteers Carolyn Rundle and Mallory Pettengill! It was an awesome experience!