Archive for October, 2010

Due to time and technical issues – and the fact that much of the last few days has been more about regular life than about life on the road – I’m going to lump my Hollywood time into one posting. If I did it today, I wouldn’t be able to add the pictures or give the full story. So tomorrow (Monday) I’ll post an update on all my days in LA. Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

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(I’m hoping this post comes out ok- it’s the first one I’m doing from my phone due to some internet issues and I just realized I can do it this way…)

OMG OMG OMG –  I’m in HOLLYWOOD!!! You may think I’m crazy, but the fact that this is where I was going really hadn’t occurred to me. I was simply heading to LA to see my high school friends Jay Dugre and Mike (who I also call Duffy, to clear up any confusion) and their families, which I’ve been trying to do for 15 years.

My entire childhood dreams were consumed with Hollywood. I was obsessed with movies from the golden age, and wanted to be Vivienne Leigh, Katherine Hepburn or Elizabeth Taylor. As I know I mentioned in an early post, I was going to grow up, become a famous actress, win my first Oscar at 40 and adopt a four-year-old Vietnamese girl. While it didn’t exactly turn out that way, Hollywood has always held the sparkle and mystery for me. I really can’t believe I’m here.
While I would’ve loved to just jump into it all, I had a list a mile long of things I needed to do when I got to LA which I saw as my next catch up stop. Work and life logistical things I won’t bore you with, but that’s how I spent the majority of Day 50.

Jay, Cesha and baby Jack did get me out of the house for a bit, though. We went and walked around the Farmer’s Market, which has every type of yummy food imaginable, and is by the very cool Grove movie theater and shopping area, complete with trolley to take you from one end to the other.

I must say the weather out here is fabulous. I was so happy to shove my Fall wardrobe back in the trunk and break back out my flip flops, capris and tank tops (after washing of course).

The evening was spent relaxing with Duffy and Jen, watching Modern Family and mapping out the remainder of the trip
I’m on track to return on December 10, unless any house or work stuff come up in the meantime. I’m amazed at all I’ve seen of the country so far, but even more surprised at how much I’ve yet to explore…

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I woke up on Day 49 right down the street from Hearst Castle, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country, and the place I’d specifically been driving to the day before. And you know what? I just didn’t feel like going anymore, so I didn’t. I got my morning ocean fix, and then got back on the road.

Harmony was the first town I drove through, population 18. They must not count cows because I saw way more than 18. I was heading inland, and rather than hike around the woods again, I was ready for a town. San Luis Obispo fit the bill. I was able to find a nice little restaurant with free wifi to update the blog before exploring. I made my way through the town, stopping in the visitor’s center and having a nice chat with a young girl who clearly loves her town and is excited by all it has to offer. Her enthusiasm was catchy and I spent the next couple of hours following her suggestions:

  • The 18th-century Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa at the heart of town
  • Bubble Gum Alley, where people have lined the walls with chewed bubble gum trying to break a world record (not sure if they acheived it or not, but I didn’t contribute, or get too close to the walls…)
  • The Freemont Theater, an art deco movie theater
  • Motel Inn, the world’s first motel – it’s closed but still standing
  • Madonna Inn, which is as much a tourist attraction with its outlandish pink decor and more than 100 uniquely decorated guest rooms, as it is a place to stay

After driving through Buellton to see the landmark Anderson’s Pea Soup Restaurant, I made my way to Solvang which is a completely Danish-style town. You feel like you’ve crossed over to Europe as you walk down the cobblestone streets and look in the windows of all the little shops, spotting a windmill here and there. It would’ve been a fun place to stay, but I had Santa Barbara in mind.

As I drove toward Santa Barbara, I suddenly realized that I no longer had any desire to do any more sightseeing – I just wanted to see my friends. Sure, horseback riding on the beach in Santa Barbara would be fun, but I’ve been trying to get to LA to see Mike and Jay for 15 years. Why postpone it any longer? Anything else would just be wasting my time. So I plugged Duffy’s address in Aidan and made a beeline for LA.

When I got to the Santa Barbara exit and saw the sign for the mission, I did veer off course for a few minutes. I saw the Mission Santa Barbara, dubbed Queen of the Missions, and spent a few minutes on the beach catching the last lingering rays of light before getting back in the car. It was after 9 when I reached Duffy and Jen’s house but I’m here. And so happy to be with my old friends…

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