You may have forgotten that I haven’t completed writing about our L.A. Trip last September, but I have not forgotten. Here’s the next installment.
After a visit to my alma mater, we made the obligatory stops to get gas and provision ourselves for the drive north. It was a bit later than we had intended to leave, but by noon we were on the 101 and headed north. As we were in Los Angeles, our rented minival became mired in the ever-present west side traffic as we crawled past studios and suburbs before we finally broke free around Thousand Oaks, not far from the place where The Funeralmobile met her end in a blaze of glory. But that is another story. We climbed out of Thousand Oaks over hills dotted with coast live oaks and grazing cattle competing with encroaching subdivisions. We descended in to Oxnard and continued through Ventura to a shopping mall in Santa Barbara for a potty stop.
Now, as an aside, it’s becoming something of a running joke between Alissa and I. I am adamant that there is more to L.A. than Hollywood and Disneyland. However, it’s been hard to prove. Our 2007 trip was right before a writer’s strike and everywhere we went, crews were doing shoots in a desperate effort to get everything they could in the can. At one point, we went to a park for a picnic and had to dodge a Desperate Housewives shoot on one side and a music video on the other. When you factor in the number of personal friends I have in the industry, and it makes the case a losing one. So you fast forward to 2010, and we ran into some kind of a shoot, with lots of extras at Griffith Park. Then, at this upscale mall in Santa Barbara, we had to keep the kids from running off into the middle of some kind of photo shoot while each member of our party was taking their turn in the bathroom. The model was was waiting in the same lobby as us between shots, so I asked her what the shoot was for. It turns out it was for an Appleseed catalog.
Anyway, we continued up the coast past that beautiful blue Pacific before turning inland and traversing Gaviota Pass. We didn’t stop at Pea Soup Andersen’s (sadly) but continued up to Pismo Beach. I was hoping that the Monarch butterflies were making an early arrival in the butterfly grove, but none had. We did however get to let the kids run free on the beach for a while. Of course this led to all sorts of messiness, but it was all in good fun. We had a restful dinner at Applebee’s (going for the familiar) as darkness fell. Then we drove into the night, up and over the Cuesta Grade and on to Salinas for a good night’s rest before a greuling day two. We knew it would be the longest driving day of our trip. We just had no idea how long it would be.