Thursday, July 21, 2016

Los Angeles, CA

The Destination

Los Angeles, California

L.A., like New York City, Houston, Chicago, and other megalopolises, is a sprawling giant.  Interstates and other highways crisscross one another and occasionally rise into a tangled mass of curved bridges.
*Image source

Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the USA.  As shared in this article, you know a city's traffic is bad when residents rank concerns about traffic above personal safety, housing costs, and retirement savings.  Plan for the conjested traffic, have some good music or books on tape, and your frustration level will stay much lower while you travel around in L.A.

We entered Los Angeles from San Bernadino, and passed through the city to Hollywood.

*We passed this iconic building on our way into Hollywood.  It has been home to Capitol Records since the 1950's, and since that time the light at its top has continuously flashed "Hollywood" in Morse Code.  

*My wife and I had dinner at the excellent Miceli's Italian Restaurant, the oldest Italian restaurant in Hollywood, where the waiters occasionally break into song to the live accompaniment of a pianist.

Early the next morning, my wife ran a 5k race on Hollywood Blvd.  All the lights of Hollywood were blazing at 5am!

After the race, before Hollywood Blvd was re-opened to traffic, I got a picture of my wife in front of the world famous Chinese Theatre.

Until recently, it was known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre.  Grauman opened it 1927, and it has been the site of many red carpeted opening nights for classic films.  The hand prints of many of Hollywood's iconic stars through the years are imprinted in the concrete at the entrance to the theater.

The red carpet was pretty empty this morning.  No paparazzi.

On our way out of Hollywood we passed this street vendor cooking out of a shopping cart (DHEC approved?).

Our next stop was The La Brea Tar Pits, located on Museum Row on the Miracle Mile.  The Tar Pits are an active archaeological dig, where Mastodons and Saber Tooth Tigers are still being dug up every year.  Over centuries, these creatures got stuck in the soil which was only a thin crust covering the sticky natural asphalt that bubbles to the surface.  There is a fee to enter the museum itself, but you can walk around the grounds and view the tar pits and ongoing digging and excavating for free!

Our final stop in Los Angeles was also our first view of the Pacific Ocean on this trip.  We visited the Santa Monica Pier, where Route 66 officially terminates (on the pier).
 Santa Monica Beach from the entrance to the Pier.  The sun is beginning to set over the Pacific Palisades & mountainous Malibu in the distance.

 *The amusement park on the pier includes a still operational 1920's wooden carousel in The Hippodrome.

At the end of the pier we had some neat views of a sea lion swimming nearby, and swirling water churning back under the pier.

Just outside of Los Angeles, we stopped at one of the great American restaurant chains, In-N-Out Burger.

Founded in 1948, and with over 300 locations, In-N-Out Burger has a cult following.  Yet if you live outside the Southwest or Pacific Coast, you have likely never been to one.  Here is the entire menu...
*Courtesy of

Friendly, energetic folks are ready to serve you quickly.  The restaurant is clean, the food is good, and the price is just right!

One the highlights of any In-N-Out meal is the fresh cut french fries.  You can see the young man in the background of the picture below "making" the fries.  Your french fries were probably whole potatoes half an hour before you get them.

Stay tuned as we travel past a ghost town through Death Valley, CA to Las Vegas, Nevada!

*Ghost Town outside of Death Valley, CA

 *Riding into Death Valley, CA
*Death Valley 

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