Welcome to L.A.: Traffic, Telescopes and Waffles

Trip Start Apr 19, 2012
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Trip End Apr 22, 2012


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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, April 19, 2012

 After five days of being “on-the-clock” at the conference, it's Thursday and I was officially on vacation mode. Laneshia and the kids were to fly in today at 4pm but in the meantime I set out on a day of sightseeing.  A little-known tour stop is L.A.’s City Hall which was made famous for the Dragnet TV series. But it also has an observation deck on the 27th floor which offers terrific views of L.A., free of charge. I love getting a bird’s eye view of cities – that’s the planner in me I guess.

After a half-day of meandering downtown, I jumped on a shuttle bus and made my way to the airport to meet Laneshia and kids upon their arrival which was right on schedule at 4pm. Since we were heading south of L.A. for the weekend I needed a rental car which I picked up at the airport. So after a week of traveling by bus, train, motor coach or foot I was going to experience a taste of driving in L.A. And did you catch the time? When we set out from the airport we were in the heart of “rush hour”. Bad move as we barely moved. “Rush” it was not. I thought I was being slick by easing into the HOV lanes, but the traffic moved at the same speed as the regular lane – which was slow speed. Jadin said he’d hate to live here in have to drive in all this traffic. I said, “me too”. But L.A. is a cool place, traffic withstanding.

My itinerary had us going from the pickup at LAX (airport) on the west side to the Griffith Observatory on the north side of L.A. My well thought out itinerary was not that well thought out as I didn’t factor in the traffic (who’d a thunk…L.A….Traffic…). That 20 mile trip took close to two hours. We did make stops along the way including a potty stop and a stop at Randy's Donuts and its landmark building with the really big donut on top. That was definitely a photo op moment as I had the kids position their hands as if they were holding the 32 foot donut. 

The trip to the Griffith Observatory located on a hillside high above the L.A. basin was worth the traffic hassles. It was a beautiful place with wonderful views of Downtown L.A. and the famous Hollywood sign. And we arrived just as the sun was setting making it an even better time for viewing as a sea of city lights started coming on and City of Angels started sparkling.

The Observatory had a large telescope built in and projecting out of the main building and so we lined up to take a look at the planet of Venus through the lens. That was cool seeing a planet up close. We also got to see a large swinging pendulum which showed the speed of the earth’s rotation in real time (I can’t explain it – you’ll have to look that up).

After about a hour in the observatory, Laneshia and the kids were getting hungry so we headed back down the big hill towards the world’s famous “Roscoe’s House of Chicken n' Waffles” in the Hollywood area of town. Funny name, good food. I had eaten here the night before and so I brought Laneshia to try out their home cooking. I had my second order of chicken and waffles in two nights – good stuff –how could I not order the namesake of the restaurant; it’s what made the place famous. Laneshia passed on that and went with greens and chicken. Aria wanted a waffle but not chicken, and Jadin wanted chicken but not a waffle (he had a chicken sandwich). So by some form of combination we all had “chicken n' waffles.”

After filling up, I took the kids on a short drive down Hollywood Blvd. then I hit the highway towards Carlsbad which was 80 miles south of L.A. Luckily, since it was well after 9pm at this time, the traffic was much lighter and was able to actually travel at the posted speed limit. The kids got some sleep while I drove. They had a long day.

We checked into the Homewood Suites in Carlsbad about 11pm and spent the next hour or so settling in for a short night’s sleep before a big day at Legoland tomorrow.

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