Sunday, April 29, 2012

City Adventures

 

Traveling the country in our RV, we usually try to find areas that are in small towns or totally off the beaten path. Well, as far off the path as the extension cord will reach.

Here in Acton California, we are in a very large campground that is in a very small town. The cool thing this town has is a Metrolink Train station about 6 miles up the road. It runs into Los Angeles Union Station about 65 miles away.

They have a weekend pass, that for $10.00 you can ride all the trains, subways and city buses that you want to. Maxine and I have never been to a city with trains, subways and we have never even rode on a city bus. We thought that this might be a fun adventure to see some things in the LA area without having to drive, pay for parking etc..

We decided on Friday evening to go on Saturday morning. The first train scheduled was at 6:50 am. That means two things that upsets me right off the bat. First, the alarm clock has to be used. Second, I do not get my 2 hour coffee time in the morning. I guess I can suck it up for one day.

Our plan for the day was pretty loose. We wanted to take the train to Union Station, catch a Subway to Hollywood, then take a bus out to Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier. Our last train scheduled back to Acton was at 8:55 pm from Union Station. That should give us plenty of time to get a glimpse of it all.

We get up and drive the 6 miles to the Metrolink station. We purchased our weekend pass from the vending machine, and waited for the train to come.

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Max sitting under the warming lights.

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A few other people trickled in right before the scheduled train time. We waited and waited and then finally a guy checked on his I-Phone that the train was broke down and they were sending another train. It would be about an hour delay.

After a hour and a half delay, the train pulled into the station.

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The train seats were pretty comfortable and roomy. We had several stops along the route to Union Station and each one was getting progressively into bigger cities.

The scenery was pretty looking out the window

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The ride into Union Station took about an hour and a half. I did not take pictures inside union station. Where we exited the train, and then where we picked up the subway to Hollywood was nothing but a few flights of stairs.

The subway ride was interesting in and of itself. There is a whole cast of characters that travel on the subway. We rode it to the Hollywood Blvd and Highland exit and started from there. This is where the Kodak building and Grauman's Chinese theater is.

Welcome to Hollywood Baby!

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The area was just what I thought it would be. Vendors trying to get you to buy a tour of the Stars homes (which most do not live here anymore anyway) to street performers trying to hustle a buck. It was also a little depressing to see all of the homeless. During the day I bet we had close to 15 people ask for handouts Sad smile 

Since it was noon we were getting hungry so we opted to just hit the McDonalds before we walked the Blvd

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The sidewalks have the stars inlayed on both sides of the street. Here was Jack Bennys

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As we walked down to Hollywood and Vine, we had to keep telling people no, that we did not want to take a tour. There was shop after shop selling everything from T-shirts to lingerie.

We passed on all the shops and just wanted to walk the Blvd and people watch. It was interesting for sure. There are all kinds out there!

Max at Hollywood and Vine

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The Capitol Record Building.

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As we were walking I did run into an old childhood friend of mine!

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And Maxine spotted Bumble Bee from the Transformers! DSC_0185

Of course we had to go inside the shopping area at the Kodak building and check out the plaza.

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From there you can get a view of the Hollywood sign on the hill.

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We went next door to Gruamans Chinese Theater.

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This is were all the footprints and autographs are set in concrete. I was really disappointed.

I mean, here Roy Rogers imprinted his best attributes. His pistol and Triggers Horseshoes.

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George Burns imprinted his best Attribute, his cigar.

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I would have thought that Jane Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe would have imprinted their best attributes as well. But they didn’t! Shucks!

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Max, next to one of the Chinese Heaven Dogs that guard the entrance to the theater.

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We spent a couple of hours walking the Blvd and watching all the zaniness. It was fun….once!

Our plan was to catch a city bus to the Santa Monica Pier and then walk south along the boardwalk to Venice Beach.

I really should have spent some time researching bus routes. We found a bus stop and asked a nice young lady if this bus would get us towards the pier. She said it would get us close and we could hop on another. My first mistake was assuming that bus routes would be posted at the bus stops. Nope. They may give a street or general area but not specific stops and transfers.

It was hard to determine what street we needed to be on to get on a specific bus. It took us two hours of confusion, a couple of different buses and lots of waiting but we finally made it to the pier. There is also a whole different cast of characters on city buses Smile

At the pier crowded was not even close. Beyond the cars in the center of the road was nothing but people out on the pier.

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We decided to walk along the boardwalk first to check out the beach scene. It is divided where people can walk on one side and then there was another section where people can rollerblade or bike ride.

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There were plenty of beach activities ranging from beach volleyball to a skateboard park.

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The beach went for miles in both directions from the pier.

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The Santa Monica Pier has a great history. Currently it has a small amusement park, shops. street performers, and a few restaurants.

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A Carousel

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Even a Trapeze School!

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And of course its famous Ferris Wheel

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We ate dinner at the Mexican Restaurant that is at the end of the pier. It had very good food and was very nice with its outdoor seating and ocean views.

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Our last train out from Union Station was at 8:55. We still had about a hour and a half bus ride and a twenty minute subway ride to get back in time. It took us awhile to find the right bus again to get us to a subway station that would get us back to the train station in time. With the chance of missing the last train, we had a little anxiety getting back in time. We made it with 20 minutes to spare, whew!

Our Train ride back to Acton took about an hour and a half and we made it to the station just a little after 10:30pm. For some reason we did not want the day to end so we drove over to Palmdale and had a late breakfast meal at a Denny’s. It was close to 1:00am by the time we made it home.

We had a great adventure with new experiences going into such a big city. We normally try to avoid large populations at all costs, but this was a good change of pace and it reminded us how special this lifestyle is.

Enjoy Your Day!

5 comments:

Laurie and George said...

Nice memories of that part of CA. I don't like big cities much, either does George. Nice that you can take the train in to LA.

Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace said...

Excellent- if you get a chance go to downtown LA really beautiful old buildings.

Steve and Joan said...

Wow that was a lot for one day. We are from the country so when Steve and I went to Seattle last weekend we were a little out of our element. We took the bus around town. We ended up walking from the Space Needle back to where we were staying since we couldn't figure out which bus to take. Sure is fun seeing new places. Took our first bike ride here in Oregon. Beautiful! Have fun!

Dan and Tricia said...

Looks like a nice visit. I've been to the Santa Monica pier. Bet you were exhausted the next day! That's a lot of big city life you did!

Mike and Terri said...

What a cool day! Like you said, public transportation would be the way to go so you could avoid the hassle of driving, parking, etc., but I can understand it was probably kind of confusing. Glad you were able to conquer it in the long run and enjoy the sights.