Our friend, Melissa, calls L.A. “la la land”. Yesterday, we took a road trip down the mountain and got to experience the craziness firsthand.
The drive off the mountain is spectacular. At first, you get just glimpses of the megalopolis, and then, you turn a corner, and voila! Miles of city, as far as you can see. The only parts that aren’t inhabited are the steep slopes of the mountains surrounding the urban areas.
It was a bit of a shock to come off the 2 lane mountain road and suddenly be in the midst of a 5 lane freeway, with everyone driving like they are impervious to basic physics. I had to drive not just defensively, but aggressively, to navigate the exit ramps and merging. Even going 10 miles over the speed limit was way too slow; we were getting passed by everyone, who then promptly cut us off on their way to their preferred lane. My forearms and abs were sore by the time we got to our first destination, from tensing so much.
Our first stop was “the mothership”, the Lazy Daze factory where our RV was born, in Montclair, CA.
We needed a few replacement parts, and this company is super old school. If you want a part mailed, you have to mail them a check, wait for it to clear, and then they mail the goods to you. So much easier to go in person and just hand over cash. We also got to see their wall of Lazy Daze history and memorabilia, and we toured one of the original models.
In contrast, there was also one of the current models awaiting pickup. It was a bit snazzier!
Next we continued west, and went to lunch in Alhambra, just south of Pasadena. We went to Grill ‘Em All, a heavy-metal themed burger joint, where all the menu items are named after metal bands. If you’re into such things, they offer a burger called the Behemoth, where the “bun” is grilled cheese sandwiches. It was all delightful.
Next up was ice cream! I hate to say it, but I was just not a fan of Fosselman’s Ice Cream. The flavors were inventive and tasty, but the mouthfeel of the ice cream was really lacking. It seemed almost…low fat. It takes a lot for us to not like an ice cream, and I’m really confused about why this brand is so popular in the LA area!
We spent the afternoon in Griffith Park, just north of Hollywood. It is the largest municipal park in the US, with over 4000 acres to explore. We parked at Griffith Observatory, whose terraces offer lovely views.
We took the Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail to gain even more elevation, and to see the iconic Hollywood sign.
From the top of Mount Hollywood, we had 360 degree views of the park and the city.
Finally, we headed off for the real objective of the day: to visit with our friends, Melissa and Andy, who live in Pasadena. On the way there, we saw this:
Melissa and Andy have a lovely bungalow on a tree-lined street. Their backyard is an oasis, with real grass (I may have rolled in it a bit), and edible trees like persimmon, fig, avocado, lime and lemon! I spied one lonely, ripe fig, and JJ and I got to share it. What a delicious treat!
We enjoyed a cookout on their patio, and told them all about our camphosting adventures. We also mentioned how sad we were with the ice cream. Being good hosts, they recommended we go out for ice cream, Round 2!
Success! We went to Coolhaus, and all was right with the world.
We made plans with them to come up and camp with us around the end of the month. Our first visitors!
That may have been our one and only trip to the big city! If we go again, we will probably plan to stay somewhere overnight, rather than try to do the drive in one day.
In work news, the 4th of July went off without a hitch. Campers were subdued and well behaved, and everyone was quiet by about 11. I had heard horror stories about past holidays, but it seems that the truly nuts opted to stay home this year. We even got to see the fireworks display over the lake. It was gorgeous!
In closing, please enjoy a photo series taken by the lovely and artistic Nicole Gibbs. She snapped these photos just a few days before we left on our adventure, and recently sent them to me. Everything looks so suave through her lens!