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Living it up in LA - News - bespk

Living it up in LA

Posted on Tuesday, 23rd October 2012 by Eunice

We spent six days in the same place; a first on the whole trip and quite a welcome break after living out of a suitcase for most of the last three months.  Guy spent the Wednesday with Steve McCarthy; having the wheels on the car balanced by Nate Jones at ‘Cowboy Tires’.  (The name is deceptive as Nate used to work for John Surtees; when he was doing Can Am, is a friend of Bernie Ecclestone, and knows Bob Dance, who is a friend of a friend - small world).  After this they went off to pick up maps and then indulge in some site seeing; Grand Union Station, the Gamble Mansion in Pasadena, Steve's home and place of work.  Much fun and male bantering.

Meanwhile Eunice stayed in downtown Burbank, doing some essential shopping, getting new fliers printed, as believe it or not we have already distributed the 500 we set off with.  Then it was time for some personal indulgence, which included an hour sat by the pool soaking up the sun.  Pure bliss!  She could almost believe it was a holiday.

On Thursday we did proper tourism; visiting the Warner Brothers Studios which is just around the corner from the hotel.  Although they still make some films, the majority of their work is now in television and working in cooperation with other film studios.  It was a very interesting day and gave us an insight into how shows are put together; from the filming, to the computer graphics, dubbing, sound and special effects.  We got to walk around the sets and learnt how the same house/street etc. can be filmed from different angles to create different scenarios.  They have the most amazing sound studio ( the Eastwood studio), where a full orchestra can still create music for a sound track. This is now regarded as a rather archaic facility, but kept because Mr Eastwood (who is a composer himself) protested when the Studio threatened to demolish it - hence the name.  We were given lunch during which it was time to play spot the stars; but there were not too many in evidence. A very special day and although we are not familiar with most of the shows they create (except of course ‘Friends’ and the Harry Potter films), it was really enjoyable.   To cap it all we were given a real Oscar to hold.

We had our chance to meet a real star on Friday through Tina van Curen (owner of Autobooks, Aerobooks, Burbank)  We were invited to view Jay Leno's garage.  Eunice was somewhat bemused by all the fuss as she had never heard of or seen ‘The Tonight Show’  which he presents; nor aware of his vast knowledge and collection of cars.  (Guy was through his son, Antony).  His staff are extremely skilled;, many of them having worked in the aircraft industry and keen to share their personal stories. Initially we were free to wander around before being given a tour in a golf buggy. We were told some of the history and stories that belong to the cars.  Jay likes to be able to drive any of the cars in his garage at any time; so they all have to be in full working order.  He kindly invited us to lunch, (barbecued ribs and rolls, real man food), eaten like a Neanderthal - the only way, but no throwing bones as the workshop is like an operating theatre.  Jay was then keen to show us his Eco jet car, which is powered by a helicopter engine.  It is Eco in the sense that it is made out of aluminium and recycled products, but once the jet is fired up the theory somewhat goes out of the window,  or in its case out of the door as it cannot be started inside, due to the heat, fumes and noise. Jay was keen to show us several other cars - the Chrysler turbine car, which was never sold, and several of his motorbikes.  He has a jet bike too; which he admitted was a relief to get off of at the end of a ride.  California does not seem to have too many speed restrictions, but no highway patrol would be able to catch him on that.  It would have been easy to stay longer, but we had a long list of things to do; so had to take our leave.  We have some photos of us together with Jay who kindly signed the car for us to help remember it all.

The rest of the day was spent purchasing various essential items in preparation for the rest of the journey.  Going into Mexico is a bit like being pregnant or about to have an operation; everyone is keen to tell you all the horror stories they have heard.  We have, however met some lovely Mexicans and also had lots of encouragement from others.  We finished the day having dinner with Steve and Marianne McCarthy and their daughter, before being driven back across LA in a taxi at break neck speed.

Saturday was a grey and miserable day; to our surprise.  We have got used to blue skies and sunshine;  the norm in LA.  There were even a few drops of rain, big surprise! After all the excitement of the previous two days we had a relative quiet day, catching up on laundry, Spanish and other jobs, before meeting the LA clan, (Tina and Chuck van Curen, Michael and Candace Andrews, Steve and Marianne McCarthy) for dinner at the Smoke House Restaurant for dinner in the evening.  It was our way of trying to say thanks to them for all their help and support during our time in the city and we hope we will stay in touch.

We departed for San Diego, taking a non-Freeway route out of the city which took us a long time. Travelling through the city was interesting and we witnessed our first police arrest with guns drawn.  Very scary if you are not used to that kind of thing.  Once we were out of the city; Pacific Highway 1 passes through some very affluent coastal towns.  We drove past the immense Long Beach, with all of its lifeguard stations, surfing fanatics and cool dudes.  No Samantha  Anderson in her red costume to be seen for those who remember Baywatch.

As we were driving along we became aware of a man on a Norton motorbike who kept passing us then falling back.  When we reached Huntington Beach it was clear that he wanted to chat; so we pulled up behind him.  He was keen to know what we were up to and then informed us that he and his wife had recently sailed around the world. These intrepid travellers.  As he lived there, he was able to tell us the best place in town for fish tacos.  Very good they were too.

We then had to take the Freeway as there is no choice south of Dana Beach for a brief time.  The journey thus far had been lots of stopping and starting with all of the traffic lights and as the day seemed to have flown by we decided to stay on the Freeway down to San Diego.  The car is behaving in a very different way since it has had its wheels balanced and thanks to all the guys in Tulare is running very well - altogether feels a much more comfortable ride.

We arrived in San Diego and managed to find the motel; slightly out of town but very tranquil,  overlooking a marina on one side and the city, in the distance, on the other. 

Today (22/10/2012) we have visited downtown San Diego. Both Eunice and Guy remembering old haunts from previous lives; when Guy gave a paper at the conference centre in the 1980’s and Eunice had a happy time with her family when they were much younger.  After a delicious lunch we explored the Escher-like; Horton Plaza, buying only a map of Mexico, so that we can send the one we have used until now, home.

It is fitting that it is almost exactly 3 months since we departed on this venture and we are just about to enter a whole new experience.

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