Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hollywood Style

Today was our day to do whatever we wanted for sightseeing in the City of Angels.

Donna LOVES it out here, and could not wait to get back.  I had never been anywhere near here and thought I knew what to expect, but was looking forward to seeing how accurate those expectations were.

I mapped out a nice route with some things we wanted to see, with enough time for us to get back and swim in the Pacific.  And for the first time, IT WORKED OUT!  I hoped to be back at the hotel at 4, and damn if we weren't rolling into the parking garage within 10 minutes of it.  In the meantime, we took a ride through Beverly Hills, up Rodeo Drive, the Sunset Strip, and parked our bikes within sight of Hollywood and Vine.  Our 2 hours on the meter gave us the perfect opportunity to take a stroll down the Walk of Fame to the Chinese Theater, pick up some MORE souvenirs, and catch a bite to eat for lunch.

On the way, the crowds steadily thickened, until we were corralled in by a crowd fence along a closed Hollywood Boulevard and unable to move.  The crowd was gathered around Robin Williams' star, which had become a memorial of written blessings, candles, and personal items.  Such a sad and somber scene, and a tragic end to a loved comic genius.

Just down the street, at the Chinese Theater, the red carpet was being set up for the evening's premier of some movie that I don't remember.  We couldn't get ourselves an invite, so we looked for some lunch.

This experience gave me the insight to reroute well in advance of the traffic logjam and find an alternate route to Mulholland Drive up through the Hollywood Hills.  This in itself is an amazing drive past probably 10 billion dollars' worth of real estate and culminating with an overlook of the Hollywood Bowl below, and the city proper off in the distance, and a photo op with the famed HOLLYWOOD sign on Mt. Lee, which I was NOT leaving without.  So cool.

Despite the usual traffic on the Hollywood Freeway and the 405, we made it back on "schedule" as you just read.  We put on our swimsuits for the first time after hauling them 3,600 miles over a week and a half, grabbed a couple towels from the hotel pool, and jumped on my bike for a quick mile down to Venice Beach.

We set up shop on the sand, and I went all-in right off the bat.  That's what I came to do, after all.  We did some late afternoon sunbathing, which I suspect included a bit of a nap for both of us, and then walked up the beach to see the freaks and weirdos.

We were not disappointed.  An added bonus was all the weed doctor's "offices" which promised a legitimate health evaluation that could possibly, maybe result in a medical marijuana card within 24 hours, possibly (depending on your health, of course.)

Aside from that, it was exactly the same as Donna remembered.  I guess freaks and weirdos on Venice Beach are as permanent as the Coliseum in Rome (if a couple centuries behind...)

We had a killer burger and some microbrews on the beach and again arrived back at the hotel after dark.  This time, we had to be on the road in the morning, and there was shit *everywhere.*  There wasn't so much as a sock in any bag.  Oh well.  Tomorrow's problem.  In the meantime, we had a great day in perfect weather.  As far as what I expected, I was pretty well on target, but the reality is, well, real.  Now it's experience, and not just imagination.  And Donna is happy as a clam!

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