Well…you may be asking yourself where Day Nine is. It’s there. It happened. It just didn’t have any photos. You see, we left from Vegas and headed southwest into a gray cloud. One of those “freebie car washes” I’ve commented about on other days. Well, this one was a little different. Yes, there was a whiteout rain storm where everyone crawled at 10 mph. Stop n’ go for a few hours. There weren’t any accidents that we could tell. Just a stupid little road check in California where they are stopping all cars for “Agricultural Inspections.” I think it’s more like profiling, because when we rolled up in the Mustang, the government employee just waived us through. The freeway opened up and I let it all hang out. Well, up somewhere north of the speed limit. Just a tad. Heck, everyone was doing it (peer pressure).
We motored along, enjoying the scenic mountains. The radio displaying an outside temperature of 105 degrees as I sipped my Dr. Pepper® from Carl’s Jr. We tried to book a hotel for the night. Lots of places near Santa Monica (our end point) were booked. They were also like, $500/night for a Holiday Inn. No. I’m not lying. We ended up catching a deal in Pasadena, about an hour east of the ocean. Nice little town, Pasadena. Once again, our hotel did not comply with Road Trip rules, but that’s kinda ok, as we were off Route 66 at the time. Pasadena Inn…is where we stayed. No link, it’s not that exciting.
For dinner, we went to Jake’s. A burger joint proclaiming “Best Burgers in Pasadena Since 1947.” You know what else happened in 1947? The Roswell UFO crash. Yeah, I covered that one too (Day Six). This burger was quite good. And like most good burgers, the bun seems to always disassociate itself from the burger and you end up with a terrible mess. At least for me it does.
Today we make history. Well, for us, anyway. Today we land on the beach of Santa Monica, the End of the Road, Route 66. We took the scenic route into town via Sunset Boulevard. Iconic in it’s own right, Sunset takes you through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, up and down and around winding corners. Quite fun, actually, especially the blind corners with a stop light 20 ft. beyond. That, and the sign across that intersection that says it’ll take your photo if you blow the red light. We stopped. Quickly. I saw a few palm trees in Beverly Hills, and then we were out of Beverly Hills. I’ve seen more exotic cars in Birmingham, MI, than I did all day in LA. I also didn’t see but maybe 2 Mustang GT 500’s…and ZERO Mustang GT 5.0’s. I felt pretty cool, sportin’ my bug splattered Detroit muscle car around. Since the speed limit is mostly 25-35, I left it in 2nd or 3rd gear, that way I could easily belt out some music when the opportunity presented itself. When there’s no gridlock, traffic moves surprisingly well. The roads are marginally better than Michigan, with the highways of LA being a bit better overall.
Santa Monica. A cool, breezy day in the low 70’s. Clear blue sky. Sunburn. We parked the car by Santa Monica Pier and started to walk around. We were meeting a friend of Brian’s for lunch, so we grabbed a table at Mariasol. A Mexican restaurant (again) with decent food and a nice view of the beach. Service was nothing special, but the food was tasty. In fact, I’m still tasting it, it was that good. You can’t go to a beach without getting into the water, so we walked out across the sand, fully dressed, and stood at the water’s edge. When the tide came rushing in, I bent over and got my fingers wet. Mission accomplished. We drove down to Venice Beach but didn’t have time to stop and look at the freak show, so we started our way back to Hollywood to check out that freak show instead. We ran into afternoon rush hour traffic and netted an impressive 12 mpg in the Mustang.
We parked in Hollywood and began our tour of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We saw some stars (on the sidewalk), some interesting shops…and…that’s about it. No famous people. Heck, no bombshell blondes, either. Back into the car an hour later and off to the Hollywood sign. We got directions from some guy in a costume shop on Hollywood Blvd., and they were perfect. Right up until we saw the sign that said, “NO ACCESS TO HOLLYWOOD SIGN.” We drove on, past the sign and up a rather steep hill into a residential area on our quest for Hollywood. We were not disappointed. We parked in some dirt parking lot where we found a sign that said “Hollywood Trail and Sign.” We walked up a small dirt trail for about 100 ft and to our right in all it’s glory…only a few miles away, The Hollywood Sign. We took some photos, then left.
Mulholland Drive. Icon. I want to drive it. I’m apprehensive. The hills around the Hollywood sign were narrow and very steep. Do not stop on those hills if you respect your clutch. We thought about going out and doing the drive, but I was kinda tired and wanted to rest. So did the Mustang. We decided to try Mulholland tomorrow and we parked for the night. We walked to dinner, this time at Barney’s Ltd (worst website ever). I opted for the Sausage and Peppers with Penne pasta and Mozzarella and a chilly Cherry Coke®, the first Cherry Coke served at a restaurant on this trip (to my knowledge). For extra good measure, I took a piece of chocolate cake back to our room, it was awesome.
So, our Route 66 adventure has been completed. Well, sort of. You see, this vacation was based around Route 66 as the end all, be all road trip adventure. And so far it has been great! But, I have more vacation time, and this Mustang wants to run. And run it shall. We are leaving LA tomorrow morning to run the hills of Mulholland Drive. I hope to videotape this part (with audio) for any car fans reading this blog. I hope you’ll enjoy it. After Mulholland, it’s off to San Francisco. The adventure will continue on for a little while longer, so I hope you’ll stay tuned! More exciting commentary and photos to prove it!