Saturday, June 23, 2007

Oooh L.A., L.A.!

Let's hear it for Hollywood!

Our first night in LA (ok not technically LA but just outside it) was in Costa Messa. We were put up for the night by someone Michelle used to work with in London. On the way in to town, we just had to stop at a proper American diner called 'Ruby's' (my mums name) for a decent burger, well 1/2 a burger- we share meals sometimes as you can quite often get refillable drinks and fries.

Ruby's Diner

We went out for quite a few beers (ok, 3 or 4- I'm very out of practice these days!) and the next morning I had to get my bike over to Petersson Performance Suspension in Anaheim to get my Ohlins rear shock serviced, though 'rebuilt' would be more apt as most parts that could wear out had worn out. After another $245 had left my account (man, this country is expensive) we headed over to San Fernando Valley, past Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Our hosts for the next thee days were Irl and Marni, a really great couple who both work in the tv and movie music editing business.

Stig sorting out my rear shock at PPS, Anaheim

Irl and Marni

Wanabe rock stars

Irl and Marni wouldn't be home till 7pm so we spent the day checking out some of LA including Venice Beach, which was fun as the board walk is full total characters. The houses along the beachfront and on the canals were just amazing. We rode along Santa Monica Boulivard and Bevely Hills where I suddenly realised that I didn't actually have Irl's address on me so I had to ask in some hotels if I could use their internet as there seems to be hardly any internet cafes in the US. I also wanted to go up Laurel Canyon as I new thats where the rock stars live so that was nice too. When we finally turned up at the house, Irl made us what I can only describe as the best gourmet deli sandwich ever- just what we needed.

What the Union Canal behind my flat in

Slateford should really look like!

Paying homage to the Lord of cheesy sax-

Kenny G!!

The next couple of days were spent checking out more of what L.A. had to offer including the Getty Museum and The Griffith Observatory, both really beautiful buildings up in the hills. I also had to check out the Guiltar Centre where all I could do was drool at hundreds of vintage Fender Statocasters and Gibson Les Pauls on sale for around $78,000, a bargain I'm sure you'll agree. I really wanted to see some live music while we were in L.A. and the best place to look for listings is the Rodger Waters was playing that night in the Hollywood Bowl but it was a little pricy for our budget, so I noticed that one of my favorite guitar players, Scott Henderson, was playing in a small club called The Baked Potato. And so it was that we spent that evening enjoying some live jazz fusion while eating huge baked potatoes.

Scott Henderson Trio

(baked potatos not shown)

Griffith Observatory

On our last day, we rode out to Malibu beach via Topanga Canyon road which was also great, full of fantastic properties. We also checked out Mulholand Drive, another place where the rich and famous live so we stopped outside Jack Nicholsons pad but he wasn't coming out to play. Down on Long Beach, we took a look at the Queen Mary but it was a tad expensive to do the internal tour. Cool to see her though. I have to say that L.A. is now one of my favorite cities.

Queen Mary and a Russian sub

Our next stop before leaving L.A. was George's place in Norco, just outside town. We'd met George in Baja and he'd invited us to stay. He was out of town that day picking up his daughter Sarah from the end of her college year up north but he sent me an email to say the doors would be open and just to make ourselves at home. Norco, you may or may not know, is horse capital of the USA so I think my cousin Sarah would love it. Its got a people population of around 25,000 and a horse population of 50,000 and you kind of get that impression when you ride through town ie bridle paths instead of sidewalks. No longer had we unpacked when George and Sarah came back so I helped unpack the pickup of Sarahs belongings. We had a really nice night listening to George playing one of his many banjos and I even joined in with my piss-poor version of duelling banjos! George also ran me across town to the auto store the following morning so I even managed to get an oil change in. I'm really enjoying this side of the trip where we meet total strangers, sometimes for a matter of minutes by the side of a road who are kind enough to put us up for an evening and in fact leave the front door open for us!

George showing us his banjo skills

Less 'duelling banjos', more ritual humiliation!

George and Sarah

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