As we leave San Diego heading north, the PCH follows Interstate 5 for quite some time. Interstate travel doesn’t really feel like the adventure we were looking for, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Trying our best, we stayed off the highway along the coast, and north into Oceanside. It was about this time that Kelli and I were ready to eat, and a quick search pointed us to Ty’s Burger House. Perfect choice. Great menu, excellent beers, and an incredibly comfortable atmosphere means that if we are anywhere near here again, we will be back. Highly recommended! It might be worth a trip to Oceanside alone.
Out of Oceanside, and back onto I-5, we head past San Onofre, another iconic surfing spot, and head into San Clemente. While not officially US 1, we at least got off the interstate, and into local businesses and the everyday life of the people that live there. Slow moving traffic, and tons of small shops eagerly enticed us to stop and shop, but alas we had a schedule to keep. Maybe another time San Clemente. We definitely need to go back.
North of San Clemente, we entered Dana Point, and rejoined the PCH on our northbound tour of the west coast. Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, all places I have wished to visit for so long.
Once we get to Seal Beach, the PCH heads inland away from the coast until we reach Santa Monica, and our stopping point for this segment of the drive.
Second Stop: Los Angeles
Los Angeles is one of the most popular cities in the United States (I’m sure you already know that), and a place that we needed to see for ourselves. From the freak-show fun of Venice Beach, to the elite hideaways of the Hollywood Hills, we wanted to get a small taste of it all. With only a day and a half to see it all, we played the full-on tourist role and made the best of what time we had.
Just after checking in to our hotel (and hours of being in the car), we decided to head out for a walk to check out the surrounding area of Santa Monica. On foot, we crossed the PCH over toward Santa Monica Pier, and then south toward Venice Beach. Along the way, we saw people walking their dogs, their birds, and their snakes. Tons of rollerbladers, bike riders, and skateboarders all telling pedestrians that we were in their way. We passed muscle beach (nobody was there), street performers and artists along the way. The souvenir shops were closing up as we approached sunset, and so we turned and began heading back north to the hotel.
Before calling it a night, we decided to explore Santa Monica Pier a bit. We had no idea that the pier was the western terminus of Route 66! Cool! The pier would be a great way to spend most of the day. There are plenty of places to eat as well as play games, and ride rides. It felt like a carnival with an incredible ocean view.
Just up the road from our hotel was the Third Street Promenade. It’s about four blocks of Third Street open only to pedestrian traffic and designed just for shopping. There’s food for every taste, and stores for every style. Live music echoing from every direction, and the smells of outdoor dining overwhelm the senses. We highly recommend visiting here. You could spend the entire weekend (maybe longer) without a car here walking the Promenade and the Pier, as well as Ocean Front Walk.
No Trip to LA would be complete without a visit to Hollywood Blvd. In true tourist style, we did what we had to do. We braved the traffic, and headed in to see where stars are made.
It was exactly what we expected. Bumper to bumper cars, shoulder to shoulder tourists and people waiting to be “discovered”. There were people jumping around in homemade costumes. Some good, some bad, some just terrible (think brown Spiderman wearing a fanny pack). If they see a camera, they put on a performance hoping you snap a photo so they can suggest a “thank you” for their efforts. There are people selling things, others very politely asking for money, and a few pushy types trying to get you to go into their souvenir shop.
The strange thing is, there is magic in the air. For some reason, while we were there, we felt a strong urge to find an agent, and try acting as a new career. You really feel as though there is a chance you could become famous overnight while you walk down this street. It is definitely a crowded, hectic place to be, and we truly enjoyed it.
So, what do Jed Clampett and Weezer have in common? They both know that Beverly Hills is the place to be. Strolling along Hollywood Blvd, we what seemed to be hundreds of vans, shuttles, and busses just for tours of the area. We found a Beverly Hills stars tour that promised to show us where many celebs live, plus a drive down Rodeo Dr. Kelli successfully talked him down to a two for one deal for a ride in the roofless van they used. It was a perfect way to see the sights without having to worry about the crazy LA traffic.
Beverly Hills has some very strict rules about the tour vans, some of which restrict them to certain streets. Fans of architecture would enjoy a tour like this, as well as fans of celebrity gossip. We saw houses which are regularly used in films, and locations where some celebs made some not-so-good decisions.
Towards the end of the tour, we realized that not many celebs still live in Beverly Hills. At least not on the tour route. Most of the homes we stopped at were described as “So-and-so used to live here, now they live in Malibu.” Although we never saw anybody famous, it was nice to finally see where so many stars have called home.
Now, I gotta go call my agent. I think I saw a house for sale.Share This: