From the UK to the UK via CA, NV, UT and OR
Day 1 – London / Los Angeles
After a ridiculously early start, my National Express coach deposited me at Heathrow in plenty of time to allow a relaxing massage in the Concord Room – this is a first for me and proved a very pleasant way to start my trip.
Boarding the plane it appeared that I was going to have the entire cabin to myself.
However another couple of people boarded shortly before take off – this still meant that I was able to have 2 areas to myself, one set up for sleeping and the other for working – quite the best way to travel I'm sure!!
The flight proved uneventful, with just a little turbulance to deal with and soon enough we were landing in the city of angels.
Prior to leaving the UK, I had arranged a hire car with Budget and after a short wait in LAX to get my oversize baggage back I was collecting my steed for the next 22 days.
It has possibly the most intoxicating engine note I've ever heard coming from a 6 and I can already tell it's going to be tough to give it back!
A quick trip to Santa Monica and I was checking into the Seashore Motel, my home for the next 2 days.
No time to waste and I take a trip to the famous 3rd street promenade
Before walking down to the beach and out on the pier.
The pier has been through a number of changes in its 100 year plus history, coming very close to demolition midway through the last century.
Happily some forward thinking locals convinced the powers that be that it was a national treasure worth saving – judging by the number of people present on an overcast April day, I'd say they've succeeded.
Close to the pier is the world famous muscle beach.
Not much going on there this afternoon, but the whole sea front is alive with people walking, cycling rollerblading and the like – its a very nice area and I thoroughly enjoyed my walk around.
Heading back to the motel it's time to grab some dinner before hitting the sack.
Up early tomorrow to start my holiday proper.
Last edited by dangermouse; 04-29-2009 at 08:22 PM.
Muscle Beach, eh?
I didn't even know there really was such a thing. :)
I look forward to your next installment.
You could drop that steed off here...
Wow, that looks like an awesome road car -- might be a little tough on the storage of gear -- but oh my, what a sleek little hot rod!
Yep, it's a 350Z Roadster and Mark's quite right, storage is a bit of an issue, as is gas mileage (13.6 ave since I picked it up, but hey.... it fitted right in in Beverley Hills today!!
Originally Posted by glc
Day 2 report follows shortly
You always capture great images
I, for one, am looking forward to this year's trip report -- you've always had such good photos in the past.
Day 2 – Los Angeles
The alarm raised me from the dead at 6.30 this morning and in short order I was collecting my tea from Starbucks and lowering the roof on the car, ready to take the 13 mile trip to Warner Brother's studios where I had pre-booked their tour for 8.20am
LA traffic however is as bad as everyone says and it was 8.20 before I even pulled into the lot.
Luckily the tour was running a little late, and I made it into the briefing room to start the tour wirth moments to spare.
After a brief orientation video, the guided tour starts proper.
We were taken outside and seated in a small open electric vehicle which then set off into the secure areas of the Warner complex.
The tour route changes daily depending on what is being filmed in the area at the time, today there was nothing being filmed as it is “the off season.”
This is the time of year when all the shows have finished their filming runs and the networks film pilots for new shows and test them in front of live audiences
(tickets for these tapings are free of charge from warner)
This is the set from a new series called Eastwick – a spin off from the movie the witches of Eastwick.
Todays tour was fascinating, a real behind the scenes look at how shows are made – we visited the stage for the show 2 and a half men, as well as walking through several properties that have been used in many shows.
This corner building was used for all the external shots of Central Perk in Friends
And here's the internal part, set up, as it was during filming, in a completely seperate soundstage.
The stars of friends still make $24m US each per year from synication and merchandise!
The sets for the hit show ER were still being broken down, following the end of its historical 15 season run.
After the tour finished, I headed into Hollywood and jumped on one of the open top tour buses.
As anyone who's read my previous reports knows, I love these tours, they provide a fantastic overview of a wide area without the hassle of parking and navigating.
This one starts right on the walk of fame, I'm unsure about the walk, I wonder if the sheer number of people who have stars here has diluted its iportance (Britney Spears already has a star for example)
No-one could argue that this one is not deserved however
The starlight tour covers 18 miles of prime real estate throughout the Hollywood area and with its hop-on hop-off policy allowed me to walk Rodeo Drive,
I also jumped off the bus at the world-famous La Brea tar pits – this is not only a tourist site, but also a working excavation (albeit only for a few months a year)
Many of the things that they have recovered here are on display in the attached museum – this is a little bland and although it's only $7 I wasn't that impressed.
Just down the road is the Petersen Auto Museum ($10) a collection of interesting vehicles from the past 100 years. The entry is tricky to find (it's actually in the attached parking lot)
but once inside it's an excellent journey through automotive history.
From the elegence of 1920s Rolls Royces
to the powerhouse that is the current Bugatti Veyron there's enough here to sate the urges of most petrolheads!
As the tour ended back at the Chinese theater, I heard dozens of girls screaming – as no-one knew I was on the bus, I figured that they weren't cheering for me!
It turns out that a teen movie actor by the name of Zac Efron was in town to attend the premier of his new movie 17 again – apparently the scraggy haired actor is quite a hit with the ladies!!
One thing left to do today – bag a photo of the iconic Hollywood sign
i'd been tipped off that the best place to get a picture is from the Griffith Observatory, high in the hills above LA
I'd expected the observatory to be closed, as it was now 6pm, but in fact it's open until 10pm and, apart from the planetarium it's also completely free.
I ended up heading first into the optical telescope on the roof.
During the evening hours this is set up to allow views of Saturn and its rings
Heading into the observatory museum proper, visitors are taken through a historical timeline of both the observatory and the skies – fascinating stuff and very child friendly.
The final stop is the Planetarium, this live show takes 30 minutes and costs $7 – money well spent as it's a fascinating trip through the stars.
Enough for one day! grabbing a pizza I set the sat-nav for the motel.
Great, great thus far
Yeah, you gotta love that LA traffic --
Enjoying the tale -- keep it up.
Great report !
I can almost see Joey, Chandler and co having a coffee in Central perk.
I too love the 'Z' and continue to keep an eye on prices, although I fear it will be a couple of years yet. Untill then I will have the howl of the V6 coming on song ringing in my ears !
Look forward to more.
Day 3 – Los Angeles / San Diego
A much simpler day planned today, I drive down the famous route 1 to Long Beach, the scenery is as fantastic as I've been told.
I spend an age trying to find somewhere to park as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is in town this weekend and all the roads appear to be closed!
Eventually I manage to park at the aquarium and go buy a ticket for a boat tour of the bay.
This doesn't leave for over an hour, so I've plenty of time to walk around the harbour and admire the lighthouse and the city as a whole.
The harbour has been designed to look like a boat, complete with portholes in the supporting wall. Very cool.
The boat trip is a short 45 minute narrated trip around the harbour and includes sights of serveral of Long Beach's oil wells cunningly disguised as man made islands!
We see sea lions basking in the sun
and get an up close look at the Queen Mary, once England's finest vessel, now a hotel and tourist attraction – interestingly she's almost twice the size and weight of Titanic – I guess things always look bigger in the movies!
After the trip returns to the harbour, I head off down I-5 to Disney and spend the next 8 hours getting alternately wet and sunburnt!
After a fantastic fireworks show – I dread to think of the amount of money they must spend on pyrotechnics – I hit the road for the 90 minute trip to the campsite just outside San Diego.