California: Day Six
Monday, February 22, 2010
Today the sun shone again in Los Angeles. While I have not been lucky with temperature, I have been mostly lucky with rain, the bulk of it falling while I slept. With today's sun came that additional 10 degrees I had been missing since Day One. As the guy at Eagle Rider (the motorcycle rental company) said when I complained about the cold, well it is February. This is our winter. I mentioned Venice Beach and he said, “Yeah, the babes all wear sweatshirts and hoodies; that's their winter coat.”
My last vacation day was a soft day. I walked up to the Denny's and posted the February 14 Polar Bear blog. I got a delicious meal at a cost approximately one-tenth of the breakfast options here at the hotel.
I figured to turn the bike in by 4 p.m. This evening my work starts with a 6 pm screening and meeting and another 7 pm meeting. Film distributors will pitch their movies.
I also wanted to change my hotel room. So despite getting raked over the coals to be here at the same hotel as the convention, which included twenty-five bucks for overnight parking for the bike, I still had to pack my bags yet again, if only to ride the elevator down and back up again.
With my leisurely breakfast and then switching rooms, I figured to check out the L.A. Zoo and get a photo of the Hollywood sign.
My route there was 90 percent freeway. So I also figured to leave and return before rush hour. It is Monday.
Traffic was moderately heavy all the same. These freeways twist and merge with dual lane entrances and exits. Each of these big merges leads to a slowdown. They do severe rubber banding here, speeds from 65 mph to 0 with very little warning.
Is lane sharing an awesome concept or what? I finally got my chance. Cars actually move over to let you through. When traffic slowed, or stopped or crawled, I slid the bike from one lane to the next, hopscotching my way along through the much slower lines of cars. Too bad we don't have the tradition back east. Somehow I think our drivers are just too nasty to let it work.
Unfortunately, California is also populated with distracted drivers. It seems the great majority are on cell phones all the time. They drive with their windshields and rear view mirrors. I don't recall seeing a single driver swivel his head to check blind spots.
Even so I had great fun on the freeways.
The L.A. Zoo was fair at best. But they had meerkats and it was fascinating to see the interest people take in these active little animals. The exhibit had one high rock. That generated never ending activity as the meerkats took turns keeping lookout up on the high rock. They stood on their hind legs in that cute way they do. Sometimes three were up, sometimes only one. What was cool was that every few minutes they would switch positions. They were the most active animals I saw in the whole zoo.
Most of the rest of the animals were just laying in a corner somewhere, or in the case of the single hippo and single rhino, just standing stock still.
It was warm enough in the sun as I walked around the zoo that I actually sprang for a snow cone.
Exiting the zoo I worked my way around to the other side of Griffin Park to ride up the hill to the observatory. And there, up on top, facing away from the observatory was the famous Hollywood sign. I took a few photos, but in the camera lens it is much farther away than in person.
More freeway fun and I was at Eagle Rider at 4 pm, right on time. They checked-in the bike and gave me a ride to the hotel.
Left for next year is the southern end of the PCH and maybe the Hollywood walk of fame and Rodeo Drive, although they are not so much my thing. Across from the zoo is the Will Rogers museum of western history. That I would like to see. It is closed on Mondays. San Diego will have to wait.
If I am back at the IMAX convention next February, I may need to give it another try. I would especially like to ride that upper PCH along the cliffs through Big Sur with another 10 degrees of warmth. But it is winter in California. You have to stay out of the mountains. After we got rain last night, they had snow up in Big Bear, just a short ride to the east of here.