Holy moly, I’ve been wicked busy driving about seeing & doing stuff! In July I put 5,722 miles on my car. I went from LA to the much cooler Northern CA then through Oregon and Idaho on to Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and then to Washington via Montana. Somewhere along the way, I decided I might as well visit every state (yes, including Alaska) – only eight left to go as of August 6th. I’m writing this as I wait for the Grand Entrance of the Usk, WA Pow Wow to start. Tomorrow I head to Hyder, AK on a route that will take me through the North Cascades National Park.

So THIS post will be about my time in LA way back in the last week of June until July 4th. More posts will be forthcoming probably while I’m in Maine for a visit August/September.

LA is not a place I ever planned on going. The heat, traffic, and vibe never appealed to me, but a friend who is practically family moved there for work so I HAD to visit. imageJoe Nadeau, my high school friend and college roommate is the artistic director of the LA Gay Men’s Chorus. Luckily, my visit coincided with their summer concert so I got to see him in action directing the Chorus. It was an amazing show! The photos do not do justice to the vibrant, jubilant and vocally superb event. Joe’s come a long way from the days when we played touch football and he gave me my first B52’s tape (yes, cassette tape – I’ll wait while some of you google that).

I was the proud recipient of a parking ticket while visiting. If I’d only READ the sign! Sheesh, Librarians. Despite my best efforts, I also drove in the city. Oh, yeah I was on the 101 and the 5 not to mention the 134. I could tell I was in the West because they are called freeways not interstates. Most of the driving was without incident, yea! Thank you GPS for your help with this. I also took the Metro which worked quite well for me – yes, I conquered another public transportation system. 🙂

When I was in Downtown LA, I visited the library which was HUGE and amazing. Just look at the photos. LibraryI was also super excited to go to the Last Bookstore while downtown, but I was thwarted in a most LA way – it was closed for filming of a netflix show based on the book Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso. No, I did not feel better because the show was based on a book. When Joe and I headed to lunch at the iconic 1930s Clifton Cafeteria (yum & fascinating inside), the street across the way was partially closed and lined with cars from the 1950s – more filming. Then we got stuck in traffic on the way home – it was a classic LA day. 🙂

On one of my driving days I headed the the Getty Museum. The place is like 6 museums rolled into one with a botanical garden. There is a lot to see! While there I discovered that I don’t love 14th & 15th century paintings and that there was more to the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe than just the controversy he engendered. Oh, and great smoggy views of LA. So glad I braved the roads and went here.downtown la

My $7 metro pass took me from Studio City to Hollywood Boulevard to the Santa Monica Pier and back.   This was my day as a traditional tourist. I went to Grauman’s Chinese Theater where the stars put their hands & feet in cement, saw the stars of the stars literally on the sidewalks and lots of other touristy goodness.  From the Santa Monica Pier I walked down and saw Muscle Beach (yes, it was very muscle-y) and Venice Beach. This was such a great walk for people watching!santa monica pier

On the way back I discovered the canals just in from Venice Beach. So beautiful, peaceful and unexpected to me.

The day before I left I walked to the local farmer’s market and got some amazing carrots and cucumbers. I ate them for nearly a week while traveling. So good! On my way out of town I stopped by to see the house used for the exterior shots of the Brady Bunch. I just couldn’t resist.

Despite my reluctance to go, I had a great time with Joe & his husband Eric and the whole LA experience.

Click the below for a photo slideshow.

Click for photos!