Route Map


Day 23: From the Promenade to the Pier

Start: Los Angeles, CA
End: Los Angeles, CA
Miles Driven: 16.5 (5263.5 total)

Today we went to Santa Monica for last-minute shopping and sun bathing before our big flight tomorrow...which actually leaves in seven hours. So we will leave it at that.


Day 22: Shop 'Til You Drop

Start: Los Angeles, CA
End: Los Angeles, CA
Miles Driven: 15.0 (5247.0 total)

Ever since Jack in the Box, Patrick had been itching for his next west coast fast food experience. Today, he experienced In-N-Out Burger. The menu was a tribute to simplicity: one can get a hamburger, cheeseburger, or Double Double (double meat, double cheese). Patrick obviously opted for the latter along with the only other menu item, french fries, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Next, it was Katrina's turn for some indulgence. Rodeo Drive is the heart of swanky Beverly Hills, and though we didn't have enough guts to actually go inside Valentino, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace or any of the other stores, window shopping was pretty impressive. We also stopped by Beverly Hills City Hall just a few blocks away.

After Beverly Hills, we headed to Melrose for a different shopping experience altogether. Vintage stores lined the street for block after block (vintage in the sense of old, not necessarily cheap). Patrick did find some gems though, which you all can look forward to seeing in future blog posts.


Day 21: Southern California Safari

Start: Los Angeles, CA
End: Los Angeles, CA
Miles Driven: 294.7 (5232.0 total)

Over the course of the trip, we passed over many opportunities to visit zoos in order to visit the biggest of them all: the San Diego Zoo. We braved the 405 and drove the two-hour route south with that one destination in mind.

However, our first order of business upon arrival was not looking at animals but eating animals, as Patrick sat down to have a hamburger. We spent the next four hours navigating the maze that is the zoo. The highlights were watching the pandas and elephants have lunch, being on the wrong end of a rhino snot-rocket, and observing the drama of the gorilla family (they could have their own reality show). Somehow we also managed to see no less than seven animals urinate.
For dinner we drove into downtown San Diego. The city was less metropolitan than we expected, but offered a wide range of restaurants and had some cute independent shops. We ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant in the Gaslamp District and then headed back north for the night.


Day 20: Go Getty

Start: Los Angeles, CA
End: Los Angeles, CA

Miles Driven: 10.8 (4937.3 total)

Today's big adventure was the Getty Center. J. Paul Getty was a billionaire art collector, and his museum now has the largest arts endowment in the world at $3 billion. The physical construction of the center alone is amazing with 6 or 7 large buildings, several huge fountains, and two large gardens including a cactus garden. We could have spent days there, but in order to avoid traffic on the 405 we were limited to hours. We viewed a couple of photography exhibits, a collection of paintings from Dresden, and Patrick's favorite, the Impressionists.


Day 19: U-C-L-A...fight fight fight!

Start: Los Angeles, CA
End: Los Angeles, CA
Miles Driven: 12.4 (4926.5 total)

This morning, Robert led us a few blocks from his townhouse to hike Runyon Canyon. As we arrived at the trail head, so did Famke Janssen (Jean Grey of the X-Men movies), and more impressively, 30 photographers waiting to take her picture. We moved on briskly so we could hike in peace. As we got further along the trail, it was amazing how we felt out in nature--not minutes away from the bustle of Hollywood Boulevard. The fantastic views of LA from the top, however, did remind us where we were.

Next Robert took us to The Grove outdoor shopping mall. We grabbed a snack, perused the stores, and enjoyed the plaza decked out in holiday decorations. After heading back to Westwood late afternoon, we relaxed for a bit before cooking our own dinner for the first time of the road trip! It felt pretty great. At 7:00 we got decked out in UCLA gear and walked up to campus to watch the #1 basketball team crush Sam Houston State University.


Day 18: Cruising the Coast

Start: Redwood City, CA
End: Los Angeles, CA
Miles Driven: 434.8 (4914.1 total)

Southward bound back to LA, we began our day with a stop in Monterey Bay. As we strolled along the shore we came across one cove with what we thought was a rocky beach--but the rocks turned out to be harbor seals basking in the sun! Monterey is also home to Cannery Row, a center for sardine distribution and these days shops and restaurants.
For the rest of the drive we took the Pacific Coast Highway. The sky was clear and the view of the glistening Pacific was outstanding. It may have added hours of travel to traverse the cliffs overlooking the ocean, but it was absolutely worth it.


Day 17: A Day in the Bay City

Start: Redwood City, CA
End: Redwood City, CA
Miles Driven: 109.5 (4479.3 total)

Our first destination once we reached San Francisco was Alcatraz. A short ferry ride delivered us to the island, which besides being famous for it's historic prison offers some of the best panoramic views of the bay area. Touring the cell block was fascinating and eerie all at the same time.

Back on the mainland, we walked down Fisherman's Wharf and saw the seafood stands, restaurants and street performers. For a cheap lunch, we grabbed a loaf of bread to share at Boudin's. We continued on to Ghirardelli Square--just to look at the chocolate factory--and ended up staying for a delicious brownie sundae dessert.

We then hopped on a crowded cable car to climb the hills away from the bay. As our car paused at Lombard Street, we jumped off to check out the curviest street in the world. Quickly we felt sorry for the residents of the street, not because of the steep and windy street they have to navigate daily, but because of the bumbling tourists constantly snapping pictures outside their doors.

A quick check of the watch showed it was getting late, so we decided to head farther north to see Muir Woods before it got dark. The route took us across an impressive red bridge that is apparently known as the "Golden Gate". The redwoods at Muir towered over us as we hiked along the park's main trail.

The drive back to San Francisco was just as scenic with the sun setting over the Pacific. Once it was dark, we climbed Telegraph Hill to view the skyline at night. Exhausted from a long day of sightseeing, we began the drive home to Redwood City--but not before stopping to see San Francisco City Hall, which was all lit up for the holiday season.