I have decided to divide it into a different post for each day, since we packed a lot into our trip, and it would take me forever to write (and you forever to read) a single post about the trip.
I will start off by saying that I highly recommend doing the drive along the coast from LA to San Francisco. It was gorgeous.
We left Chicago on a Sunday morning and arrived in LA around 1pm. After getting our rental car – which was a Jetta (this will have mild relevance later) – we headed to our hotel, which was on the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
Unbeknownst to us, only a few blocks from our hotel was the epicenter of LA's annual gay pride festival, so it was busy around our hotel. Other than the business, I really liked the location of our hotel. We could walk to bars, restaurants, and stores, and we were about a 10-15 minute walk from the Sunset Strip, which I will discuss in greater detail later.
Upon our arrival, we made a rule: if we were going to eat any fast food, it had to be at a restaurant that we don't have in Chicago. Without hesitation, we immediately went to the In-N-Out Burger in Hollywood on Sunset, which took us about 15 minutes longer than it should have, due to the sheer number of scantily clad men walking and driving around. There, we not only ate some delicious burgers, but we also saw what appeared to be a 17-year-old pull into the drive-thru in a black Lamborghini. You just don't get that kind of braggadocio in Chicago.
From there, we headed to the LaBrea Tar Pits, which Jester was extremely excited about seeing, since she loves ponds with bubbling tar. It was a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be, and, frankly, a bit of a disappointment, aside from the family of mammoths watching their father die.
After a quick trip back to the hotel and a drive around some of the Hollywood Hills, we headed to Pasadena to have dinner with my cousin Matt. We stopped by his house to see him, his wife, and his daughter, who is a couple weeks older than Daughter. As a Midwesterner, I was shocked to find that people in California have in-ground pools.
Matt showed us around old Pasadena, where many Hollywood stars and bigwigs used to live back in the day. It was gorgeous. Then we went to dinner at some place called the Yardhouse, which appeared to be a chain, although that didn't concern me because their beer list was bigger than The Beatles and, by the transitive property, bigger than Jesus.
All three of us had dip sandwiches of one kind or another to complement our beers. After dinner, we dropped Matt off and headed back to the hotel. On our way back, we passed Sobchak Security. Thankfully, I always carry a briefcase full of my undies – the whites – just in case of a situation like this, so I threw the ringer into the parking lot, where Walter no doubt picked it up and rolled out of there with an uzi.
But I digress. I was giddy. The Brothers Weeser* (minus Dan and Tim, oddly) were meeting us at our hotel and then taking Jester and me to The Rainbow – a legendary bar on the Sunset Strip where many a rockers have gotten sloshed over the years after shows.
The Sunset Strip is my Graceland. So many great bands cut their teeth at music clubs on the Sunset Strip. The Whisky A Go Go, the Roxy, Gazzarri's (now the Key Club), as well as other clubs near the Strip, like the Troubadour, Starwood, and Madame Wong's, were the stepping stone into superstardom for The Doors, Van Halen, Guns N' Roses, The Byrds, Motley Crue, Poison, Frank Zappa, Quiet Riot, Ratt, Buffalo Springfield, Alice Cooper, WASP, Chicago, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, various other hair bands, various punk bands, and countless others. If there was one time period and place I could travel to, it would be about 1982 to 1985 on the Sunset Strip. People were having sex in dumpsters. Of course, I would probably now have a 26-year-old kid, which would be weird.
And then, in a flash, it all changed. One of the most recognizable faces – and dongs – in the world walked in. The Weez, Jester, and I were having a rather heated conversation about the ability to control our dreams and the dreams of others, when out of nowhere appeared The Hedgehog. That's right, porn legend Ron Jeremy. He was apparently there to hang out with screen veteran Armand Assante, who was sitting at a table about ten feet from us.
The Hedgehog hung out there for a while and slithered around the bar. Sadly, Jester was being a complete pussy and refused to ask The Hedgehog for a picture or a quick shag. The Weez had the pleasure of pissing next to him, which must have been emasculating. "Water's cold. And deep, too."
Eventually, we left, walking through a noticeable waft of weed smoke as we passed what appeared to be a band having a party on the side patio of The Rainbow. Only in California! Needless to say, in the apt words of Angelino Ice Cube, it was a good day.
Coming in Part 2: Rodeo Drive, flying down over Mulholland, and fate.