PASADENA... part 3
(griffin's 2011 BotCon report)


Today would be the journey back to LA/Pasadena, and being a public holiday, I was worried that things might be closed.  Fortunately the major department stores and toy sources were open. Even the grocery store opposite the Pasadena Sheraton was open.

I woke up at 6am, and went down to get breakfast (the last few days I went by myself to give them as much 'family only' time during these 12 days). They got up about a couple hours later, and after everyone had eaten, cleaned, changed and packed, we left just before midday (the hotel had a really late checkout, which was good, as it took a while for us to pack all our stuff and get it down to the car in a couple trips).

We headed a different way back (inland rather than the coast road), we stopped off at a Kmart, Target, Walmart and a ToysRUs. I managed to find a few more toys, including store exclusives from Walmart and Kmart, plus Speed Stars Mini-vehicles that were not released in Australia.

This photo I took to illustrate the sheer size of some roads in America.  This stretch of highway between San Diego and Los Angeles had 10 lanes of traffic heading in the northerly direction (everything to the right of that Carmel Valley Rd sign is travelling the one way).
That's more lanes than both directions of most highways in Australia.

This was my lunch at a Wendys today, including the famous 'Baconator' (at the top). I just love the big, thick, square meat pattys at Wendys... it's a pity they don't have stores in Australia.
And a pity I didn't come by more during this trip.

The stop also gave me a chance to take a toilet break... something I found to be rather annoying while in America. No, not the process of needing to take a leak, but the frequency.
I soon realised that all the time I was spending in the room each night, for hours working on the computer and consuming a couple litres of different (diet) soft drinks (called 'soda' in America), my body in its 'dormant' state was storing a lot of it... so when we were out and about during the day, as my metabolism started kicking into gear I would be needing to go to the toilet several times without even drinking anything that morning.
Me eating salty snacks and high sodium junk food probably made this happen even more, as the salt is a catalyst for the body to store more and flush fluids more rapidly.
Or at least enough for Ian to find it amusing that I needed to pee so often while we were out.

Okay, moving on from the icky topic...

The mountains on the way.

Just entering the southern outskirts of greater LA.

Toys I bought on the way to LA, bringing the total to 80 at this point, officially breaking my previous best record in 2009 of 79 toys.
Legion wave 2 (bolt) Bumblebee (which meant I had to start searching for Wave 2 Legion toys now.
Walmart exclusive Optimus with Comettor (placed back into packaging for the photo).
Kmart exclusive Autobot Daredevil Squad.
Speed Stars Minivehicles (all were not released in Australia) - Lockdown (new mould), Revealer Bumblebee (new mould), Stunticon Barricade (redeco), and Bluestreak (this was a toy I wanted, as it is the first useage of the name by Hasbro since 1986, due to them losing the name for a while).

After the last stop at a ToysRUs (which resulted in Ian finding one huge Lego set for a couple hundred dollars, and we had to fit into the car somewhere), we decided to go straight to the Pasadena Hotel without any more stops (it was getting late, and the Sat-Nav was still estimating a couple hours driving time left).

We went down to San Diego via the 405, but came back on the 15.

The surrounding map for the Hotel.



We arrived at the Pasadena Sheraton at 5.30pm.
(a photo of mine from 2009)

I parked at the front entrance and went in to check in, and the first thing I saw in the lobby were two BotCon related signs. I thought they were out a bit early, as the events they listed were not occuring for another 2 days.


Heading back to the car, I got the concierge to help us unload all our luggage and take it up to the room with Ian's family, allowing me to park the car under the hotel and join them at our new room for the next six days.

Our room on the inside.

(Dispensor was already reserving the far bed... but was kind enough to let me use it to sleep in at night)

And our view, which is on the Convention centre side.

A refresher of what the Convention Center exterior looks like, for those who didn't see my 2004 or 2009 BotCon reports. (although, some of these buildings are different to the ones in 2004)

The Auditorium, which would host the Hall of Fame event.

And looking across the street to the retail complex which has restaurants (some I ate at in 2004 and 2009), some retail stores and a movie theatre (which I used back in 2004).
This year I didn't use anything there.

And across the road in the other direction, a yellow BT Skids parked in front of the Gelson's grocery store (the place we pretty much get all our food from during our time at this hotel, both this year and in 2009).

After we unpacked ourselves, we headed across the road to that grocery store to pick up a few essentials. This hotel had a fridge, which allowed for more persishable items to be bought.  That seemed to be the only thing this hotel had that the one in San Diego didn't.
It was already about 7pm when I left to do some locallised toyhunting (I didn't expect to get a chance before the convention started, so really wanted to do it today), and Ian's family stayed behind.
I was back in 2 hours, as things were starting to close up.  It was a public holiday but the stores I went to seemed to be open for their normal hours, which was good for me, so that it wasn't a wasted trip.
After the great finds at Kmarts so far, my first priority was to check out the closest one... which unfortunately was the only one nearby, with others being about an hours drive away.
Checking that Kmart and two Targets that were close by, I came back with another 8 toys. A total of 88 so far.
From the Kmart, everything I found was not released in Australia, which made me really happy - TF2 Activator Starscream, Lights & Sounds Skids (completes the set of 3 - the other two I bought last year at a Kmart), Speed Stars Nightwatch Bumblebee Vs Patrol Barricade, Speedstars Sideswipe Vs Wreckloose (cheaper paint apps to the RPMs versions I found on my first day).
And from one of the two Target stores, two more DotM Legion wave 2 toys (Autobot Ratchet, Mudflap).

By midnight I was asleep.
Tomorrow - Disneyland.
Would it live up to Florida Disney, which I visited last year... I'd soon find out.

Continue onto Tuesday May 31st page
Return to main index page for BotCon 2011

***All pictures in this BotCon report are mine unless noted. Any that are borrowed, should have the source credited/noted.  If you want to use/borrow any of my photos, all I ask is for you to please credit the source as well. I try to take as many of my own photos as possible, and usually only resort to using others if I failed to get something, or my photo wasn't clear enough.

OZFORMERS - Australasian Transformers News and Interaction (our 15th year - longer than any other moderated Transfan community)
BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website (check it out for when and where the next one will be)
Me --> griffin @ otca.com.au