Rollin’ Along Pacific Coast Highway – An All Star Layover in Los Angeles

After a hectic couple of days packing our bags and running errands, it was finally time to start our journey to Southeast Asia. Trying to avoid 24+ hours of travel in one go, we headed off to L.A. a day early before heading to Bangkok.

We got up at a mind-bending time (4:30am) to snuggle the kids and then head to the airport and catch our flight to LAX.2015/01/img_3284.jpgOur early morning departure turned out to be a little unnecessary as our flight was delayed about an hour and a half. After walking the entire length of the Nashville airport a couple of times, we finally boarded and were on our way to sunny California!

We arrived in L.A. around 2pm and headed to our hotel for a quick nap before inhaling some pizza for late lunch. We sat outside in the balmy 75F weather of California, while our loved ones at home gritted their teeth against a 12F wind chill. It was good practice, as Thailand is swelteringly hot every day of the year. It was nice to turn up the heat gradually, as I fear our organs may have shattered due to the immense temperature difference between Nashville and Bangkok.

With very little energy left, all we could muster up was a stroll down to the center of El Segundo which killed about 1.5 hours. Satisfied with the days work, we turned in fairly early as we had 10 hours to kill in L.A. the next day and wanted to be properly tuckered out before boarding our 15 hour plane trip to Hong Kong late the next night.2015/01/img_3242.jpgStarting out on the right foot: breakfast at the Mariposa Diner

We made a list of our ‘must dos’ in L.A., jumped in our rental car and hit our first destination of Whirlwind Tour-L.A. 2015: The Pacific!2015/01/img_3231.jpgSanta Monica seemed like a good place to start, so we shucked off our shoes and strolled on the fine sand for a couple of hours. We took a brief trip down the pier to take in the ocean views and practice dodging street vendors. 2015/01/img_3287-0.jpg2015/01/img_3288-0.jpg

Being so close to the Pacific Coast Highway and not driving on it seemed like a wasted golden-sanded opportunity, so we brushed the Santa Monica beach from out feet and drove north to Malibu…where every home perched over the ocean looks like Tony Stark could live there.2015/01/img_3232.jpgIf John Levy could pick only one place to visit in L.A., he would choose the Rainbow Bar and Grill. I know this, because I asked him…and that’s what he said. The Rainbow is located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood and has a long history of rock and roll bad-assery. Your Honor, I present the following evidence to the jury: 1) Elton John was the opening night band. 2) There is a seat at the bar reserved permanently for Lemmy. 3) John Belushi ate his last meal there (lentil soup) 4) Regulars of the Rainbow have included John Lennon, Keith Moon, Micky Dolenz, Grace Slick, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, Robert Plant, Ronnie James Dio, Alice Cooper. 2015/01/img_3233.jpgWe didn’t happen to see and rock stars during our visit, but we were there at 2:00pm on a Monday. We did sit next to a couple in their 80’s who sat in a booth opposite a framed picture of them sitting in the same booth. This picture hung along side a picture of David Lee Roth…so I suppose they are rockstars in their own right. In other news, the Rainbow serves a pretty righteous BLT with avocado and, based on the decor, I am assuming I peed in the same toilet as Patty Smith once did.

Before heading further into Hollywood, we wandered down the street to another famous landmark: the Whiskey a Go Go. Van Halen rocked this place in their time, and are immortalized in the pavement just outside the door.2015/01/img_3234.jpg2015/01/img_3286-0.jpgAlthough John had been to L.A. a couple of times before, he had never been to the Hollywood Strip, so we sat through 45 minutes worth of gnarly L.A. traffic to move 3.5 miles deeper into the city. Of course it was worth it, because…this:2015/01/img_3236.jpg
The sun had set over Hollywood and it was time to drop off the car and hang out in a plane for 15 hours. Doesn’t that sound like fun? To make it even more special, we had another 3 hour flight after that one! Not to mention a 16 hour shift in the space/time continuum, which really does yer head in. Long story short…we made it through alive and I am writing this post while nestled into our air conditioned apartment in Bangkok, exhausted from a full day of walking through some incredible temples and a maze of tiny streets. Greetings from the future!

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