We had a two-week vacation, and decided that it would be fun to drive down the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California and then drop off our rental car and take a train back home. I’m calling this journey the West Coast Wander, and plan to blog about it every other day so as not to totally alienate those who have no interest in travel, and yet allow those who do to travel vicariously with us. Here’s the first in the series, if you want to start at the beginning. I hope you enjoy it, dear reader.
I have been to Los Angeles once before, years ago, for a couple hours. I saw the sidewalk stars. From the car. I saw Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. From the car. I did have lunch at Pink’s Hot Dogs, which was super cool. But then I had to go.
This time we had a whole day, and I was determined to cover more ground. We actually thought way ahead for once and got reservations at the Getty Center, which was so wonderful that I gave it a post of its very own, here, and it’s chock full o’ photos, so don’t miss it.
To summarize, though, I’d simply say that if you are in the LA area, and you have even the most remote interest in art, I suggest that you move heaven and earth to visit the Getty Center. It’s one of the best galleries I’ve ever seen. I was awestruck. Dear Husband and I both agree that it was one of the highlights of this trip. Heads up, though: the center is free, but parking will cost you dearly.
After that, we decided to drive down some of the more famous streets in town to get a sense of the different areas. I was thrilled to recognize so many names from TV and the movies. We drove down Laurel Canyon, Mulholland, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard, and Hollywood and Vine to see the Capitol Records building.
We also drove to places like the Hollywood Bowl, and I’m fairly certain we saw someone famous walking in, but I have no idea who it was. (Well dressed, long-haired guy surrounded by an entourage that was giving him lots of space. Whatever.) We also saw the Chateau Marmont, where John Belushi died, and, of course, the Hollywood sign.
As much as I’ve traveled, which is a lot, I’ve never felt so much like an official tourist. And in this pandemic era, we were satisfied by seeing everything from the car. I took a lot of photographs of multi-million-dollar homes, and I’m quite sure they were owned by famous people, but I didn’t care enough to find out, to be honest. Los Angeles is a rarified atmosphere. I wouldn’t thrive here, but I’m glad I visited.
In an effort to eat something quick and healthy, we picked something up at the deli of a Whole Foods store. I’d say that was a very California thing to do, but I’ve done it elsewhere, too. A lot cheaper than a restaurant, to be sure.
Then we enjoyed the murals in East LA. I’ve written a couple California Mural blog posts. There are some amazing artists in this state.
We headed back to San Clemente via the highway, and to say that freaked me out is putting it mildly. Whenever we were on an LA highway in the next few days, I was eternally grateful that Dear Husband was doing the driving, because I had to keep my eyes closed to keep from having a nervous breakdown. I just told DH to let me know if there was something I’d enjoy seeing, and tried not to gasp too loudly when I’d feel the car abruptly decelerate. I think I only let out a few shrieks, much fewer than I was tempted to make.
How do people stand this on a daily basis? These are the most stressful roads I’ve ever been on, and mind you, I’ve been to Mexico City and Istanbul and Paris. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that people who live here have a much higher rate of ulcers.
And of course we were doing this during rush hour, and there was a 20 minute backup due to animals on the highway, supposedly. Since this was LA, I was expecting something exotic, like giraffes or zebras. But we never saw a thing. (Especially me, since my eyes were closed.)
That evening we had a home-cooked meal with some family members, and played a few hands of rummy. It was good to do something non-touristy. It allowed me to get rid of all the adrenaline and have a good night’s sleep when we returned to the hotel after exploring San Clemente after dark.
This night, DH asked me not to use the sounds of the ocean on the sound machine to block out the surfers cavorting upstairs. We compromised on the sound of rain, and as he’s lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of his life, he was out as if someone had hit him with a brick. And for once I wasn’t too far behind.
Here are some random photos from the day. Enjoy!
Here’s where you’ll find Day 11.
The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5
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