Your Pal Bill

California, and the Fourth

In my last entry, I mentioned I would be going to California for the weekend. A few weeks back on a Thursday I took a few hours off from work and left early to head over to PDX, where I caught a flight to LAX. All my flying last year earned me "MVP" status this year. Up until now, I hadn't really been able to take advantage of it, but on this flight it gave me a complementary upgrade to first class! Lovely. Upon landing, I picked up my rental car and hit the freeways. By this time It was nearly midnight, so I didn't run into any traffic on my trip to my downtown hotel.

The next morning I got to sleep in a little bit, as there wasn't really anyplace in particular to be until lunch. I headed out of downtown up Sunset & Hollywood Boulevards to Hollywood, saw the walk of fame, Chinese Theater, etc. I called my pal Chris and met up with him for lunch near his workplace in North Hollywood.

I thought we were just going to go to some place around there, but he had me drive a little ways to the Disney Studio Lot! He had called ahead and arranged for a visitor pass. After some security-checking at the gate, we parked and went to the commissary for lunch. After lunch, he walked me around the lot. Apparently there was not a lot going on right then, as summer is not TV production season. No celebrity sightings.

The studios were pleasant, a low-key Disneyfied campus of quiet tree-lined walkways among art deco buildings. There aren't public tours, so I was happy to be able to see what it is like "behind the scenes." I took Chris back to work, and called to see where my parents were. (Aside: times like this trip is the reason God and Al Gore invented cell phones. I used mine more in a few days than I usually do in a month.)

I still had a few hours to kill, and lo and behold I found myself mere blocks from the the North Hollywood Metro Red Line station. I took a ride all the way to Union Station and back. Union Station was very nice, I enjoyed the spanish revival/art deco style. It is bigger than Portland's of course, but not nearly so large as Washington's. The trip was also pleasant. Although LA is not known for its transity ways, I actually liked the train. I think the problem with it is that there just isn't enough of it- LA is so huge and there are relatively few rails.

After returning in "plenty" of time to get to where my parents were, I hit the road. Plenty of time turned into "ohmigosh I'm really late" time quickly after hitting the LA streets. I started on the freeway but wasn't getting anywhere fast. So I hit the surface and made better time. At least I was moving. I picked up my parents at their hotel and took them to UCLA for the big graduation ceremony. That's why I was here in the first place, my cousin Lauren graduated from school.

The commencement was held in Pauley Pavillion, which I found to be pretty boring, actually. I can't see how it could get as impossibly loud there as it does in The Pit. The ceremony itself was fine, speeches, yadda yadda. The commencement speaker had a friend help him out which was awesome though.

After the big ceremony, we headed back to their hotel in Marina Del Rey. We all (many family people by this time) walked a ways down to a nice Italian place for a late dinner, then all headed back to our respective hotels. The next morning I was up early and headed direct to UCLA (through much better traffic) for the departmental ceremony, again in Pauley. This time, not so much with the speeches, but there was the calling of everyone's names. Urgh. But, that kind of goes with the territory. A few hours later, we breezed our way up to Sherman Oaks for a nice lunch, then headed back to Marina Del Rey through agonizing traffic.

I went with just my parents and walked around in Marina Del Rey for a bit (not a pleasant walk, IMO) before resting in their room for a spell. After a bit we headed out with some other family-people to Santa Monica, where we walked around in the yuppified downtown and ate at the CPK before heading down to the famous pier. It wasn't all I expected, I guess. It could use some gussying-up, not to mention a better sidewalk from downtown.

Early the next morning I returned my rental car ( a not-great Pontiac Sunfire) and hopped in with my parents up to Malibu! We took the 1 up to Oxnard where we caught the 101. We stopped to see Santa Barbara (seems lovely) and had lunch at the In-N-Out in Santa Maria (home of Michael Jackson trials!). All during the trip I had extolled the virtues of In-N-Out, only to be pooh-poohed by my crazy parents. Well, once they got to munchin', they had to concede that I was right, of course.

We swung through King City real quick to see where my parents lived for a few years before I came along, and eventually we were in the bay Area. We had a quick dinner in Walnut Creek before visiting my grandparents. We chatted until late, then I retired with my parents back to my aunt's house. The next morning we slept in a bit, then headed back to see my gradparents for lunch. In the afternoon, mom and dad dropped me off at BART, and via 2 trains and AirBART I arrived at the Oakland Airport for my return flight, again in first class.

This past weekend I went up for the annual trip up to the cabin for the Fourth of July. It was fun, seemingly tons of kids around.

July 04, 2005 11:33 PM

Comments (2)

08/27: stacy said:

ah...airBART.

Also, In-n-Out does suck. But...it's still better than English food on the whole.

And, there were tons of kids around at your annual 04 July trip because everyone keeps procreating!! ugh! :)


08/28: Trevor said:

I prefer to think of Santa Maria as the home of Tri-Tip.