While it wasn?t necessarily our intention to hit opposite ends of the spectrum during our trip to California, I think we did it with flying colors.
After waking up Sunday morning in a tent at 11,300 feet and spending the first half of the day descending the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states — we decided to spend the second half of the day in – where else? – Hollywood! After finishing up with our climbing group around noon, we hopped in the car and drove the 200 miles into Los Angeles, where we would catch our flight home the next morning.
Reminder: We hadn't showered in three days. And we'd spent those three days sweating up and down a mountain. Let's just say, we'd had better hair days. But it was too early to check into a hotel, and we knew darn well that if we DID get showers, we would relax and take a good, long nap before we'd venture back out into the traffic and crowds – and we'd waste our last half day of "vacation".
So to Hollywood we went. We found a spot in a parking garage on Hollywood Boulevard and scavenged around in the trunk of the car to find some deodorant and clean(ish) shirts. After changing clothes in the parking garage like homeless people, and deciding that we probably didn't look (or smell!) THAT bad, we ventured out and tried our best to blend in with all the other tourists.
First stop – Grauman's Chinese Theater. A moment of silence. I have wanted to visit this place for as long as I can remember. It's my Graceland. And I couldn't wait. We decided to go all out and take The Official Tour. For $12.50. Each. Yeah, I know. We're suckers. But we totally lucked out on tour guides. We got the funny, opinionated British lady who spent the tour trying to convince us that she ACTUALLY knows most of the people in the sidewalk and imparting her personal two cents about the movie they were showing (Splice – of which she thinks Adrien Brody should be ashamed), and who DESERVES to be in the cement and who doesn't and what a tragedy it is that so-and-so isn't there and how "absolutely dreadful" it would be if someone like – gasp! – Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan somehow made the cut. We felt like we got our $12.50 worth out of her "comedy routine" – she was great! She warned us that time is ticking. Only two squares of cement are christened each year and there are 45 empty squares left. AND you have to have been in the business for at least five years. So if you have any aspirations for Hollywood – you better get on it!
They've preserved several original things about the building – all the way down to the Ladies Room downstairs, which our tour guide claims has remained unchanged since the 20s and I sat at one of the vanities pretending that Marilyn Monroe once sat there. Or maybe Judy Garland. Though I couldn't have felt less glamorous in my dusty clothes and gritty hair.
We walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard a bit, grabbed some dinner, and then tackled our next challenge – finding the Hollywood sign in the hills. Everyone says you "can see it from anywhere in the city" and I know I'd seen many references of it on TV and in movies — it should be just right there, right? No. It's as if they've made it a game. We searched. We drove around. We Googled it. Eventually we found a website that claims to list "Ideal Photo Spots". So we headed toward the closest one – Franklin & Gower. And this is the "Ideal Photo" I took. This is cropped/zoomed as close as possible. But we found it!
We eventually found a hotel room and absolutely crashed. I don't know that I've ever needed a shower that badly. But we had such a good California weekend — from Lone Pine to Hollywood!