We just got our first sight of L.A. after what should have been a 30 minute journey took four times as long thanks to the infamous L.A. traffic. The smog is absolutely real, a thick haze of grey hangs over the entire area for miles, it’s absolutely unreal. The sky is perfectly clear, but it’s not blue on the horizon, just pale and drab. It effectively conceals the city from view until you find yourself swallowed up in it, caught in the crushing jaws of gridlock. The weather is still gorgeous though, I hear it might even rain this weekend. More updates to come.
We’re in LA and struggling through the clogged streets. Already we’ve seen someone back down a one way road, as well as a plethora of Maseratis and Mercedes. We stopped at the TCL China Theater, and are currently beating a hasty retreat to the Griffith Obsevatory, which apparently offers the best view of the city available. The suburbs up on the hills are gorgeous, reminiscent of A2 actually, a far cry from the concrete hell of downtown LA. The palms that line the streets are massive, over 50 feet tall, all swaying gently, lazily watching the turmoil unfold below.
The lots around the observatory were completely full, with people and cars lining the roads. Not only was it a 40 minute walk to the Obsevatory from the nearest space, but the smog was so bad you could barely see the city anyways. We decided to strike out on our own and after a short hike into the Hollywood hills we found an outlook of our own, with a great view of both the observatory and the Hollywood sign. For anyone who wants a good view of the sign, drive to the Griffith observatory, then instead of going up the peak and parking there, drive past the lots and back down into the hills, then hike for about 15 minutes on foot for a tremendous view.
Right now we’re on our way to the Santa Monica pier, the tops of the palms are rustling contentedly, the sun is bouncing off the high end coupes, and the ever prevelant tinge of exhaust hangs heavy in the air. As we cruise through the city streets, chocked by bewildered Asian tourists and bolstered by the 80’s music blasting from our speakers, its really starting to feel like California.
10 minutes have passed, and for those of you enjoying our trip vicariously, allow me to describe to you the view from our home on wheels. In front of you stretches a gleaming ribbon of multi-colored metal, interrupted periodically by the the tall white silhouette of a box truck. Great ferns and palms line the highway on both sides, the crisped remains of their leaves from every year prior still clinging to their trunks, giving them the look of a giant furry cone of exploding green ice cream. You’re crawling along at about 5 mph, lazily viewing the cookie cutter suburbs and ridiculous custom vanity plates the locals seem so keen on. The traffic picks up a little, affording you a wonderful view of the worn out pavement between you and next car, old skid marks veer off towards the guard rails about every 50 feet, making you wonder what became of the perpetrator, before you’re distracted by the sight of of a neon green Prius aggressively merging across 5 lanes of interstate traffic. More updates to come.
We’ve arrived at the beaches of Santa Monica, and from the pier we looked out across the pacific, our ultimate goal, the west coast adventure. The people are gorgeous, the land is gorgeous, the weather is gorgeous, even the homeless are better, everyone and everything is as relaxed as it possibly gets. The view from the pier is worth the trek, it looks small from a distance but I assure you, there’s space enough for 4 ska bands to play without disturbing each other in the slightest. Everything a beach should be, the shore of Santa Monica is worlds away from pacific powerhouse of LA, worth every minute of painstaking delay. We’re now headed through the Santa Monica mountains, more updates to come.
We crossed through the Santa Monica mountains with no trouble, causally observing the terrific coastal cliffs and spires. After a long drive northwards, some of it through vineyards, some through dusty farms, and the rest through spectacular mountain roads, we made it to the Los Padres national forest (dedicated post forthcoming). I’ll talk all about it later, suffice it to say, the mountain forests and valley tunnels had me absolutely staggered. Due to the fear of running out of gas, we turned back before making it all the way through, an unfortunate but wise decision, as the next gas station is miles and miles away, and there’s even a silver lining; we’re now headed to the Santa Barbara coast to see the sunset. As we race the sun down to the coast, blasting along the stunning mountain roads through miles and miles of lush green hillside, I can’t help but think “what drought?” More updates to come.