Los Angeles, CA / 2016-07-06

This morning was closest to a normal day back home that we have encountered to date.  Brooke let me sleep in a bit while she woke up with the kids and starting getting them ready.  We all ate breakfast and then I started work (in a corner on a small desk).

charlie_workstation
My work space while in Studio City

Brooke took the kids out into Pasadena to Kidspace, a Children’s Museum, that our local MOSI reciprocal membership gave us free entry into.

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Caitlyn and Lila at Kidspace

She said that Pasadena was a very nice part of LA, with great houses and a very interesting bridge.

pasadena_house
Emily and Caitlyn in Pasadena in front of the house used for Good Luck Charlie

The kids had a great time at the children’s museum which, like the one in San Francisco, was primarily outside.  This differs from Florida, where it is primarily inside.  I continued to work and then went for a jog in Footbridge Square with the tree-lined streets.

Time for a side note here.  I get California better now.  I get the appeal and why people want to be here and why it is so expensive to do so.  There are a few elements at play, but the primary factors have to do with the weather and the landscape.  Humidity is low, the temperature is mild to hot (very enjoyable outside) and there is a dramatic reduction in nagging bugs as compared to Florida.  On top of that, you have mountains, hills, hiking, the ocean, the beach, lakes, rivers, state parks and anything else outside you could want to enjoy.  With the culture and abundance of other things to do (anything you could be interested in) and a solidly low unemployment, I get the appeal.  Now, what pushes some away are the taxes and government oversight.  You are looked down on for having a large, gas guzzling SUV.  If you ask for a bag (which you have to pay for), you are shunned.  And, you have to be ready and willing to accept any type of person that you may encounter, because they all come your way.

Brooke returned with the kids, I wrapped up work for the day and we had lunch at the house.  We then departed to see some of the more famous sites of the LA area.  Our first stop was the Hollywood sign.

hollywood_sign

Brooke found a route that allowed us to get as close as possible without having to hike much.  The other described hikes seemed out of possibility for the kids, so this was the best alternative.  We drove onto the streets winding up to the sign and ignored multiple “local traffic only” and “no view of the Hollywood sign” signs along the way.  A few Lyft and Uber cars told us we were on the right track.  The road narrowed until it came to an end.  Brooke and the girls got out (Weston had fallen asleep) and made the short hike up to the closest views of the sign.

hollywood_sign_3girls
Emily, Caitlyn and Lila in front of the Hollywood sign

The parking attendant was quite watchful and made me move down the street a bit.  Brooke found where I had parked and we switched as I went back up with the girls to get the view of the sign and off the other side, the whole of Los Angeles and downtown.

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Los Angeles cityscape

We made the drive back down and onto Hollywood Blvd to see the walk of fame and the Chinese Theatre.

chinese_theatre_crowded
Chinese Theatre (too crowded for us)

It was packed, similar to what you would see in Times Square and parking was sparse.  Weston was still asleep and this was not high on our list, so we continued on, content with just driving by.  We made our way to Sunset Drive and then to take a real visit past Sur, a restaurant that is the focus of a reality show that Brooke watches sometimes called Vanderpump Rules.  I parked and she, with Emily and Caitlyn, got out to take a closer look and some pictures.

The girls were quite taken by the ambiance of the place and really wanted to eat here (so did Brooke). However, after some quick research it was clear that this was not a good place to take 4 kids, one of which was still asleep.

Another quick side note here.  Along the way, Brooke and I have mentally noted a few places and experiences we would like to do if we came back by ourselves and redid an abbreviated version of this road trip.  Fly into SFO, but head directly down to Big Sur.  Stay in Treebones Resort for 1 night.  Drive down, make sure to see the purple beach and tide falls, and stay 1 night in SLO.  Drive into LA and go to all the bars, restaurants that we can’t with the kids and go on a tour of the city in one of the open air buses.  We also expect to add to this list after we visit San Diego, end our trip there and fly back.  6 nights of lots of fun!

We left Sur and back onto Sunset Drive.  Hunger was stalking us again, so we parked and walked to Mel’s Drive In on Sunset Drive yelp_icon.  Definitely a tourist destination, but it wasn’t crowded and Brooke had purchased a Groupon for it to make our meal half off.  The food was decent and the service was good, but they charged for each refill of drinks, including for the kids, which is one of my pet peeves.

mels_drive_in
The kids with their cars from Mel’s Drive In

We finished dinner and walked 1/4 mile down Sunset to Book Soup, a popular bookstore.  We happened into a Q&A with an author (and then he would be doing a book signing afterward), so it was absolutely quiet except for the author speaking.  With four kids in a store, we knew this would be a challenge, but after locating the kids section and whispering to the kids to keep silent, the most noise we made was Brooke bumping into the library ladders!

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Brooke couldn’t avoid the ladders!

The kids did great and we let them each pick out a book.

We walked back to the car and the temperature had started to drop.  We then drove into Beverly Hills to house watch.  These houses were the largest and most magnificent I have ever seen.  We weren’t on a tour, so we didn’t know the residents of each house, but we did drive by the Spelling Manor and the Playboy Mansion.  One common traits for all of the houses was the amount of trash cans (it must have been trash day tomorrow).  We took a picture of one of these, and they had 17 trashcans lined out.

trashcans_beverly_hills

Some were recycling, some were yard waste and the rest was trash.  We then drove down Rodeo Drive and finally turned to our vacation home, ending the day with some tired kids and parents.

This is day 16 on our California Road Trip Summer 2016.  Make sure to check out the entire trip!

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