California Road Trip: Los Angeles

Hello from a Motel 6 in sunny Santa Barbara!  I just got here a couple of hours ago.  I’m finally on my road trip after months of waiting.  It feels surreal and wonderful. During my drive time so far, I’ve been thinking about how best to format these blog posts.  I know that people won’t want to read every single detail of my day like, “First I went here, then I went there, and then I ate this one thing that cost $12.57, and blah blah blah…”  Nah, what you really want from a travel blog is photos!  So I’ve come up with a format that I think will be really fun, easily digestible, and hopefully informative!

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I’m going to be splitting each post up into cities or general areas.  As I spent my first two days in the L.A. area, I’m lumping it into one post.  For the next city I’ll just jump right into it, but for this one I also wanted to talk a little bit about my personal experience so far.  As was mentioned in other posts, I’ve gone on quite a few solo road trips before, but the last one was already 3 years ago.  It’s a different experience every time because (obviously) I do different things, but also it seems that my solo traveling comfort level is changing gradually as I get older.

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I remember on my first trip at 21 I had no inhibitions whatsoever, but I was also (admittedly) naive at that age.  I did some things that I would never, ever consider doing in present day.  I’m so glad I did them, but I’ve noticed I’m taking it a lot easier this trip. I’m also a lot more naturally cautious.

Additionally, during previous trips, I would try to make the most of the entire day including the late hours of the night.  This time though, so far anyway, I’ve settled into my hotel room around 9 or 10 each night with some takeout and Netflix or a book.  I get this weird feeling in my stomach during these times, like I should be seeing as much of the city as possible.  But then I tell myself that I’ve got a week to go and that I have to take care of myself in addition to having a blast.  I guess you could chalk it up to getting older.  Either way, I’m trying to embrace the positive virtues of plain ol’ relaxation.

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I’m also an early bird by nature, and I’ve certainly not been doing nothing – I can cram a shitload of stuff into the day!  It has been wonderful so far.  Though, I have been to L.A. so much in my life that I sort of don’t count this as part of the exploration portion of the trip.  This leg was more about seeing friends and discovering some new spots in a city I sort of know.  The next leg is where the adventure begins!

Without any further ado, please enjoy…

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DAY 1

  • Met up with an old friend, at which point we watched our other old friend play a real live Quidditch game.  It was INTENSE.
  • Had delicious cocktails with said friends at Mandrake Bar in Culver City.  Highly recommend the Mint Julep.
  • Backtracked to Anaheim where I slept at a Super 8 on Disneyland Dr.
  • Got some late night thai takeout from Fasai Thai and had the BEST ICED TEA EVER.  I can’t stop thinking about it.

DAY 2:

  • Got to Disney right when the parks opened.
  • Grabbed coffee and breakfast, and set up on a bench in California Adventure to eat it and people watch.
  • Called Dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day – walked around the park for 30 minutes chatting with Dad and seeing the sights.
  • Won a couple of stuffed animals at the Disney pier games and found some little kids to give them to 🙂
  • Met up with another old friend for lunch at The Ivy (where it is said the celebrities eat).  The food blew my mind.
  • Visited The Last Bookstore – officially the coolest bookstore I’ve been to (other than Powell’s in Portland).
  • More sightseeing in different parts of L.A., followed by a short drive up to Santa Barbara where I was in for the night (writing this post).

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  • Reconnecting with all three of the friends that I saw – there is a special kind of joy that comes with seeing old friends and finding out what they’re up to these days.
  • Seeing the Disneyland fireworks right over my hotel on the first night.  Magical!  Also loud.
  • Walking into The Ivy and immediately being offered a complimentary glass of champagne.  Uhm, YES PLZ.

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There I was, walking down a quiet street in Echo Park with a friend. We had just grabbed a drink at a hip spot and were chatting about something or other when suddenly I couldn’t hear anything he was saying because I found myself staring into the gorgeous-but-also-terrifying eyes of miss Aubrey Plaza.  She was sitting outside of a coffee shop talking with someone and I think I looked at her face a little bit too long because she looked right at me with that signature Aubrey Plaza deadpan stare and I almost fainted with the effort of trying to keep my cool.  When we were out of her line of sight I looked at my friend to see if he had seen what I had seen.  He confirmed.  We quietly squealed.  It was a delightful surprise.

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The entrance of Disney’s California Adventure, all decked out for the 60th anniversary celebration. 

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The Hollywood Tower of Terror

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Radiator Springs Racers waterfall

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Disney in the morning!

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A little courtyard in Adventure Land that I never noticed before!

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Teacups, of course

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Happy 60th birthday Disneyland, we love you!

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Kitschy, colorful decor at The Ivy in Beverly Hills

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Bomb ass food at The Ivy – I got lobster ravioli… YUM!

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Wooly mammoth at The Last Bookstore

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Pages and pages and pages

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Book art is the coolest art

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Like, seriously

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I really wanted this painting, but it was $600.  I just love it!  Whatever that thing is is my spirit animal for sure. 

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The historic Bradbury building – it has been featured in tons of movies, including Bladerunner and 500 Days of Summer!

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Neat little half-indoor, half-outdoor food court

2 thoughts on “California Road Trip: Los Angeles

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