Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
43Trip End Apr 01, 2003
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We left Sacramento in the early morning because we knew we had a long drive ahead of us. Not only was it a long drive but also a boring one. I mean there weren't many interesting sights to look at outside my window. We got excited as soon as we saw the LA county line and then Jenn called her good friend Liz Rizzo. Liz moved to LA from Florida after grad school to pursue her dream of becoming a director.
She is totally our kind of people and she was delighted to hear from us. We picked her up at her place and she gave us a quick tour of her city Glendale before we found a place to eat. Over dinner she told us all about what she has been up to and what it was like living here. Her positive attitude about everything really got us anxious about checking out the LA scene
Sunday - We met up with Liz again and this time we jumped into her car and sped away towards Hollywood. She showed us where she worked and we drove down Hollywood Blvd. passing places we have heard of before such as Graumann's Chinese Theater, Fredericks of Hollywood, and the Walk of Fame. Our first stop was the Silent Movie Theater. This is the only silent movie theater still in operation in the US, according to them. Today's screening was a comedy holiday special, which meant they were showing old Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, The Little Rascals, and Felix the Cat movies in black and white and without sound.
The theater's owner welcomed us by singing a song while he stood on the small stage in front of the big screen. He next introduced the man who would be providing the only sounds during the movies from the pianos in front of the stage. This cool guy was doing this back when your only choice was a silent movie, so he was as original as everything else. We folded down our seats after we bought necessary popcorn and sodas. Even the seats looked antique because they were not cushioned; instead, they provided a pillow for your back
The movies might have been old, but they were brand new to us. Boy, were they funny! They were absolutely hilarious without the use of foul language, talking animals, or racial jokes. During intermission, everybody exited the theater and stepped outside into the backyard area. Homemade cookies baked by the owner's mother were for sale as well as cool refreshments like, lemonade. Afterwards, we went back inside to finish watching the second half of our comedy movie marathon. They sure don't do movies the way they used to. I'm glad Liz brought us here and we had a chance to experience something innocent and natural in Tinsel Town.
We were still hungry after the movies because the popcorn was just not enough. So, she took us to Pink's for a late lunch. Pink's is famous in Hollywood for its hotdogs. Liz told us that sometimes a limo drove up with someone famous in the back and the chauffeur would stand in line for them. This is how popular and cool this place was. It was around three in the afternoon and I could not believe that there was a full line standing in front of this tiny place. We got our dogs and ate them behind the store as we sat at a table and enjoyed the warmth of the afternoon sun
Jenn is a fan of the movie Pretty Woman, so no visit to Hollywood can be called complete without strolling down Rodeo Drive. We saw all of the big famous name brand stores and looked inside from the outside through their large plate windows. Jenn and Liz checked out all of the beautifully expensive clothes and jewelry as we walked up and down the strip. I enjoyed checking out all of the beautifully expensive cars and motorcycles parked in front of the stores. It was definitely a place where the wealthy came to shop. We bought ourselves some tasty affordable coffee and then we headed back to Liz's house.
We sat down in front the TV and watched student films Liz and her two roommates had to make as a final project. Jenn and I were so impressed by the quality and the movie's ability to draw us into it. We have to admit that we liked Liz's newest one the best and not just because she is a friend of Jenn's. It was the most believable and it kept us on the edge of our seat waiting to find out what the main character was going to do next.
We showed them Jenn's scrapbook of our trip and they showed us their student films. We told them about some of the crazy and hilarious adventures we've been on and they told us about some of the funny, nutty stories of things that happened behind the scenes
Monday - It was back to Hollywood for us. We walked along the famous Strip of Fame, stopping every so often to take a picture of some of our favorites. We walked until we made it to Graumann's Chinese Theater. We walked around the front of the theater with our heads down as we checked out the famous signatures, handprints, and footprints in cement squares. The coolest one I think was the one with R2-D2, C-3PO, and Darth Vader's footprints. The meter was running out, so we had to go.
We drove up to an observatory, but it was closed due for renovations. Although it was closed, we were not ready to go yet because we had a great view of the HOLLYWOOD sign. I grabbed the tripod out from the back seat and began to set up the shot. After we took the picture we walked a little hike through the woods. We thought it led to a bird atrium, but we couldn't find anything. We did not have too much time to play because we had to get to the Tonight Show studio.
We saw the long line that led up to the studio doors, but luckily we brought with us a deck of cards since we had an hour and a half to kill. Our card game attracted the attention of these four young teenagers behind us and before long, we had a big game of blackjack going on. When it came time for them to seat us, we happened to be in the right place at the right time. Our seats were right next to the band in the front row of the bleachers. We were excited about our chances of being seen on national TV.
The guests for tonight were George Clooney and Julia Margolies. The guest band was The Vines, until they got into a fight in the green room and damaged some equipment. Jay Leno had them evicted from the show and extended George and Julia's time on stage. Before the show started, a guy came on stage and prepped us for what to expect, how to behave, and threw some t-shirts into the audience. Then he picked four of the hottest ladies in the audience who wanted to meet Jay Leno. After he brought them up on stage, he asked each one of them to do a dance in front of the audience. The third girl slid across the stage on her knees, all the way to his leg, and then began to bump and grind him. Then, the forth girl came up behind the third girl and the two of them began to dance dirty together as if they were in a dark night club. We could not believe what we saw and wondered if this sort of thing happened every night before the show.
We watched the Tonight Show that night at home when it aired on TV. The camera swung around so fast across the audience that I could not pick us out. Jenn, on the other hand, did see one of us because of the tan jacket I wore. I was standing right next to Jenn, so if she saw me then she also saw herself without realizing it. The show was funny and we enjoyed watching seeing it live. I always thought that the host and the guests would talk to the audience during the commercials, but maybe that happened only during Oprah.
Tuesday - Jenn went to the Getty museum where she learned all about the Baroque period. It was a huge museum that consisted of six large buildings. She got there just in time to join a docent tour through the museum. Also, the tour was being filmed for a TV documentary about the museum. It seemed that everywhere we went things were being filmed. So, Jenn may get a second chance to see herself on TV. She saw marble sculptures that looked like they were made of cloth because of the way the statues' clothes seemed to flow down off of the shoulders. The museum also offered beautiful gardens to stroll in and ponder the mysteries of life.
Wednesday - We started out the day with an NBC Studio tour. We watched a short movie on the history of television. We then went backstage to where they make and store the stage props. We walked by a window where we saw people sewing together the outfits. We also saw a studio set where they were in the process of filming the day time soap opera Days of Our Lives. Unfortunately, we did not see any famous people.
The tour ended in the Tonight Show studio. We asked our tour guide if the dancing girls was a typical pre-show occurrence. He chuckled and asked us, "You saw that too?" He told us that that pre-show was not the norm, but it was the best one he has seen in the past two years. Lucky us.
We next made a quick stop at a clothing store called It's a Wrap. All of the clothing was made actors and extras in various TV shows, but some were new and some were used. They some good bargains and some very wild looking clothing. Jenn was the only one of us who bought something there and it was a new little blue dress once worn on the TV show Pacific Blue.
We left the Hollywood scene and headed west towards the Pacific Ocean, Venice Beach that is. With sun shining on our bodies and shades on our eyes, we walked up the strip with smiles on our faces. There were many small shops on our left and Muscle Beach on our right. Muscle Beach did not look like anything I have seen in those old beach movies with Frankie and Annette. It looked like a modern gym, but without walls and a roof. To Jenn's disappointment, there was only one person working out and that person just did not have what she was hoping to see.
We continued making our way towards the end of the strip. We walked across the sand and placed our hands in the cool Pacific water. The sand, the sun, the water, and the waves made us hungry so we stopped at a local place and ate lunch overlooking the water. We walked off lunch by going down to the pier. There were a few fishermen there but they were only catching bait fish. We stopped at one place and watched a lone surfer try to catch a California wave.
We went into a few of the local shops as we walked back down the strip towards our truck. I traded in my sneakers for my rollerblades. Jenn continued to walk through each of the shops in search of pretty dresses. Meanwhile, I enjoyed rollerblading along Venice Beach's sectioned off sidewalks for bicycles and rollerblades only. I zoomed up and down the strip many times. I also really enjoyed weaving my way through the small crowds of people on the main strip. Forwards, backwards, forwards again, and then up on one foot. I really missed rollerblading. The sun began making its way into the ocean and it was throwing sunset colors up into the sky, so it was time I find Jenn.
She did not have any luck in finding a dress, but I had the luck of finding her. I snuck up as close as I could get behind her before I loudly called out her name. We took off our shoes, rollerblades, and socks and walked down to where the water met the shore. We sat down in the sand, relaxed, and watched the sun and the sky above run through its shades of purples, pinks, yellows, and oranges. The sunset show was over and it was now time to turn around and say good bye to Venice Beach. Good Bye
It was a long drive home, but we were so happy to be able to drive in the HOV lane. LA had the most traffic we have ever seen; even more than New York. A funny thing we learned is the people of Southern California do not know how to drive in the rain. Supposedly, it is always 75 degrees and sunny here. We heard many announcements on the radio pleading for people to drive extra careful because of the chance of rain. Both of us grew up in Florida, so we don't even think twice to go out for a bite to eat during a tropical storm or a mild hurricane (this is how I first met Jenn's grandpa, Nate).
We were not done with California just yet. Our next campsite was in sunny San Diego, which was also not far from Tijuana. My good friend Erik flew out from New York and met us in San Diego. So far we have met up with someone we know at each place we stopped at in Cali; Chad and his friends in San Francisco, Liz in LA, and Erik in San Diego. In addition to all of these friends, we will also meet up with an old friend of mine in Palm Springs.
Good friends are a blessing,
Love Dave & Jenn