Tour Blog

Our intrepid team chronicles the plight of our brave choir boys as they travel hither and yon experiencing life on the road – and having a blast!

Day 11: Turning East

Good evening all you adventurer followers! Today we made our turn to the east for the first time in 11 days.

The boys woke early this morning to load the bus, enjoy some breakfast and head to the wonderful traffic of Los Angeles. First, we had to tell our fearless navigator, Camden, farewell, as he flies home for work. He will see us again at the homecoming concert. Charlie says he already misses him!

We departed the hotel near San Diego for the smog and heavy traffic of Los Angeles. Charlie did an outstanding job of dashing and braking and dodging and slowing as the crazy drivers around him wove their way through the lanes to get one car ahead in the thick traffic. We arrived at our destination a bit early so the boys balanced their spending money, updated their journals and wrote letters.

At last the time for our tour of Warner Brothers Studios was upon us. We watched a short film on the history of WB and then boarded three different limo style golf carts to tour around vast property housing facades of buildings from ER to Batman to Fuller House (which was filming while we were there and some of the boys saw the dog from the show).  There were tons of studios and much, much more. Here are some of our photos…

Following our journey through the campus of Warner Brothers Studios we headed toward Ontario, CA for lunch/dinner. To my fault, the timing with traffic and the tour threw us off our normal schedule so we missed out on lunch and took an early dinner at the Golden Corral. I don’t think they left anything behind. Here’s what took place during code green today (code green means they can do pretty much anything they want)…

 

 

We finally made it to the hotel and spent a little time letting the food settle before hitting the pool.

Once again, at the end of the night, the boys got their mail, we had some cupcakes to finally celebrate Henry’s Birthday (formally), and now the your little cherubs are sleeping.

We have a late start tomorrow since we only have to drive 240 miles. That’s a really short drive for this year’s tour. Las Vegas is our next stop. The boys seem to be excited to see Blue Man Group. Should be a great day and evening tomorrow.

Lastly, here is the latest episode of Jake and Sam’s Vlog.

Don’t forget…our Homecoming Concert is just one week away!!! June 28 at 7:30 p.m. hosted at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Maple Grove.

 

To be continued…

 

Day 10: The World Famous San Diego Zoo and La Jolla Beach

Good evening all those who have been following our journey to the west coast!

Today was a busy day. We started off with a great breakfast here at the Best Western in Miramar. The boys lined up to make their own waffles, eat scrambled eggs, toast, cereal, pastries and more. The eating area is rather small so the boys carried their things back to their rooms.

After breakfast we headed for the world famous San Diego Zoo. Charlie delivered the boys right to the front and dropped us all off. He ended up parking the bus clear in the back of the parking lot. The boys don’t know how good they’ve got it having Charlie as their bus driver. He’s makes a lot of sacrifices for them. Not only time away from his business, but time sitting on a hot bus waiting for them to finish their adventure for the day. This day, however, Charlie was able to come into the zoo with us. That is always a treat.

We split the boys into five groups and off we went in separate directions. The San Diego Zoo is massive! There are so many things, plants, animals, etc. to see. Some of the groups chose to hop on the Guided Tour Bus right away to get a flavor for the zoo and then determine what route they wanted to take the rest of the time. The boys spent time seeing the  insects, reptiles, elephants, birds of all types, lions, koalas, tigers, bears, jaguars, hippos, rhinos, etc. Several of the groups took the tram ride from one end of the park to the other. From high above the zoo you can see all the happenings below as well as the beautiful San Diego skyline. It is definitely worth bringing your family to see. I hope to bring my family some day.

We spent about three hours exploring and discovering before departing for lunch. Today we ate at IHOP or IHOB or whatever they call it now (marketing nightmare is what I call it). Anyhoo, there was one waitress and one cook on duty when we arrived. I walked in first, as I typically do, to let them know we had a group of 31 and then explained how we work things on our end. She laughed, like she didn’t take me seriously. Then she said, “noooooo” with a laugh and a smile. The boys entered the restaurant quietly and took their seats. Then began the menu distribution and ordering of beverages. There were lots of ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’ handed out during our entire meal. The boys ate up breakfast meals, burgers, unlimited fries, pancakes and so much more.

As I was paying the bill, the waitress told me this was probably the most well-behaved group she has ever had in the restaurant. She told me about a youth basketball team that had come in the week before. Those boys were running all over, shooting straw wrappers at each other, being very loud and offering no ‘pleases’ or ‘thank yous’. In fact, one of the team members bumped into her and knocked an entire tray of food on out of her hands. I must admit, our boys are pretty extraordinary.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel (it was pretty much across the street). There we changed into our swimming gear and headed over to La Jolla Beach! The day had been mostly sunny while we were at the zoo but became rather cloudy and cool as we landed on the fine sands of the beach. Those overcast skies are called June Gloom here in San Diego. It happens in the mornings and in the early evening. The temp was right around 64 deg. as we hit the water. Many of you joined us on Facebook as we streamed from the beach. You saw how we run things at the ocean and saw how cold it might have looked. It really was that cold. The water temp was right around 67 degrees. Brrrrrrrrrrrr!

After drying off a bit and spraying the sand off our feet we boarded the bus to return to the hotel. We ordered in pizza and the boys are now in bed. We have an early morning tomorrow needing to be on the road by 7:30 a.m. as we journey through Los Angeles traffic to get to Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.

Have a lovely night! We’ll chat again tomorrow.

To be continued…

Day 9: Difference in Temp

Good evening all you who music and boys love! Today was a great day of sight-seeing, eating, driving, sleeping and performing. We hope many of you were able to join us for the live stream of a portion of tonight’s concert. The boys did a fine job and receive many, many compliments. More on that in a moment.

The morning started with a cool swim in the pool at Palm Canyon Resort. Remember, the front manager allowed us a late checkout. The boys gathered around 9:00 a.m. after enjoying some cereal in their rooms. The water was cool and refreshing and quite a treat for the boys. They splished and splashed and zoomed down the water slide (it had closed down last night before we hit the pool).

Following the pool we changed into our travel uniform and loaded the bus. We were delayed slightly as I had roped Charlie and Joseph into attending a time-share meeting. Hey! Don’t laugh! They scored two 7-night stays at any Diamond Resort and $250.00 for the choir. That’s almost 1 tank of fuel! Once they joined us we were off to the Palm Springs Aerial Tram.

When we arrived, the temp was approximately 97 deg. When we ascended this picturesque tram ride the temp was 62 deg. at the top of the ride. It felt very refreshing. Once we got to the top, the boys dined at the Pines Cafe where they had salad, two vegetable sides (mixed veggies, mashed potatoes, roasted fingerlings or corn on the cob) and a main entree (vegetarian lasagna, BBQ ribs, or baked chicken). It was delicious.

We then ventured out to view the scenery. The view was magnificent. We know some of you were able to see us live for a moment or two. The boys love it when they have viewers interacting with them, so thank you for tuning in. I have pictures of the Tram Ride, but I left the camera on the bus. I will try to include them tomorrow.

Following the tram ride down we boarded the bus and continued west toward L.A. and then south to San Diego. As we were driving the temps continued to climb. Then, uh-oh, the A/C stopped working. You know it! I tell ya we need to stop coming to California. Luckily, the boys were sleeping and didn’t really notice. The further south we went the cooler it got and then the A/C started working a little. The temps began to dip into the low 70’s so by the time the boys awoke it was fairly cool. More on this in a bit…

We checked into our hotel, headed to Carl’s Jr., its right next door, changed into our concert uniforms at the hotel and then headed to Torrey Pines Church in La Jolla. Although the audience in the church was small, our viewership online was a nice size and both were very appreciative. While we were performing, Charlie was talking with alum dad Alan Carlisle, who helped Charlie with the A/C issue. As of now, all is back to working. Thank you, Alan! It’s so great to have folks like you willing to help the Choirboys out!

I spent a little time this evening interviewing a few more boys. I hope you enjoy their responses to the question of the day: If you could open a store, what would you sell?

And, lastly, here is the most recent episode of the Jake and Sam’s Vlog. Enjoy!

 

To be continued…

Day 8: Driving, Desert and Darkness

Good evening all you wonderful Choirboy fans! This evening’s blog will be rather short for a couple of reasons. 1) We are having poor cell and wifi connections and are just trying to get something up for you all and 2) we pretty much spent the day on the bus.

We depart the great state of Utah and drove through Nevada, passing our hotel where we will stay during our night in Las Vegas. They boys even saw the Luxor with the large mural on the outside of Blue Man Group, the show we are seeing in a few days. We made a few stops along the way to get out and stretch and to make our lunch.

We arrived at Palm Canyon Resort around 5:30 p.m. PDT and checked into our rooms. The rooms are all two bedrooms with two bathrooms and a full kitchen. It is also a time-share resort. It’s rather nice! We ordered pizza from a local joint and gathered in one room to enjoy the pie! Just before the pizza arrived, we walked down to the lobby/registration area to sing for the staff.


The boys were a big hit and the Front Desk Manager asked if there was anything we needed. So, I asked if we could get a late check out since check out is at 10 and we don’t really need to leave until later. He said, “Sure thing. I will mark your rooms down for a later checkout.”

Following our dinner we headed to the pool to swim in darkness. The pool was open until 10:00 PDT so we let the boys stay in the water as long as possible. As I type, the boys are showering and getting ready for bed. They will get a good night’s rest as we head to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a tram ride and lunch at the top. We will then make our way to San Diego for a concert. A portion of this concert will be live streamed on Facebook. The Concert begins at 7:00 p.m. PDT (That’s 9:00 p.m. CDT).

Jake and Sam appreciate your suggestions for their blog and are trying to incorporate them as best as they can.

To be continued…

 

Day 7: Hoodoo and Horses

Good evening all you western settlers! We are so glad that you are joining us this evening to learn about what the choirboys have been up to. Today was another relaxing day and the boys all said it was a GREAT day. We started with a great continental breakfast here at the hotel. The boys enjoyed pastries, pancakes, fruit, English muffins, orange juice and a variety of cereals. After all had eaten their breakfasts we prepared to embark on our trip to Bryce Canyon.

Upon arriving at the Visitor Center, the Choirboys explored an exhibit area and took in an educational film about the creation of and story of how Bryce Canyon came to be. It’s a pretty amazing phenom as to how this great national park came to be. We then returned to the bus and Charlie dropped us off at Sunset Point.  Here we began our decent into the amphitheater.

We all hiked for about 50 minutes seeing some amazing formations along the way. This blogger highly recommends this national park if you are ever traveling this way. It is my favorite national park.

As the boys ascended the final few paths we could see the end was coming. Everyone made it down and back up the Navajo Trail. Charlie was there waiting for us and, once the bus was loaded, it was off to pick up some groceries to make sandwiches for lunch. We returned to the hotel for lunch and we split our group into two to head out toward the stable for our trail ride.

It seems as though everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time on the horses. Thank you to Above and Beyond Senior Services for their matching donation and to all who donated online. The trial ride was slow and steady but the choirboys were ready to go.

After both groups had completed their trail ride, we headed for dinner at Ruby’s Inn where everyone enjoyed a great buffet! Then, some shopping at the General Store. We made a hefty investment in Ruby’s General store and some boys were interviewed for the question of the day, “What is your favorite thing to do with your dad?”

We headed back to the hotel and many boys had some code green in their rooms. That is all, except for the Bus Crew! These boys, Aiden, Connor, Steven, Louis, Josiah and Jake headed to the bus to do some cleaning. They did a thorough job sweeping, taking out the trash and evening dumping the toilet and refilling it.

The boys all gathered in Camden and my hotel room where the Bus Crew handed out some advice for doing a better job of taking care of the bus, we talked about how tour was going and how we were getting along with our tour partners. On every tour it is fairly consistent that about a week in the boys start to get a little testy with their partners. We took some time to talk about how to work through our misunderstanding, differences and preferences so that we have a great rest of tour.

Finally, the boys cast their votes for Choirboys of the Year. We currently are narrowing down a field of six nominees: Braeden, Sam A., Luke, Tristan S., Anthony and Archie. Tomorrow, they will narrow the list down to three and then cast their final votes. The recipient of the Choirboy of the Year award will be revealed at the Homecoming Concert – June 28th at St. Joseph the Worker in Maple Grove.

The boys are now snug in their beds and looking forward to arriving in California tomorrow. We will enter Pacific Time so the blog will be posted yet a little later than normal. Thank you for all the comments and feedback from our fans.

I’ll leave you with Episode 6 of Jake and Sam’s Vlog…

To be continued…

Day 6: Travel Day

Good evening all you great fans! Today’s blog entry will be brief as we mostly just traveled on the bus today. The boys were awakened by the calming voice of our prefect where they were urged to ready themselves for breakfast. At 8:30 this morning the boys enjoyed a breakfast of pancakes, breakfast potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon and orange juice. By 10:30 we were on the road from Grand Junction, Colorado headed west toward Bryce Canyon, UT. Actually, our hotel is in Tropic, UT a small town about 10 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park.

During our travel we talked about what we would be doing in Bryce Canyon and horseback riding was brought up. We had talked about this during our tour planning months, but, due to budget constraints, we had to drop from our itinerary.

After some further discussion, I was able to contact a business owner to ask if they would be willing to make a matching gift of $1,000 so the boys could have the experience of riding the trail through Red Canyon, a trail used by Butch Cassidy! They agreed and we were off. We posted on Facebook earlier today and within a few hours we were moving toward our goal. We are so grateful to those of you who took time to make a donation.

Entering into Utah, we saw some beautiful sights. But most of the sights were on the bus…

We stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s and then made our way to Tropic, UT where we checked into our hotel. The boys had some time in their rooms until dinner. We ate dinner at Rustler’s Restaurant.

The boys just gathered together and we read some information about Butch Cassidy, handed out mail and are placing their votes for Choirboy of the Year. They are now headed for bed for tomorrow will bring hiking in Bryce Canyon, horse back riding in Red Canyon, and shopping at Ruby’s General Store.

Jake and Sam’s Vlog post for Day 6…

To be continued…