Trek America Edition: Part 1
Where it started.
So, an 18+ hour journey spanning across two different flights, and I make it to Los Angeles (LAX airport) from the UK. It’s ridiculously late, I’m suffering from a sever case of jet-lag and trying to adjust to the humidity. Well, it is a stark contrast from Manchester. That aside, I’m happy. My first solo travel and I have all my luggage still in tact.
I’m flying out all this way to the States. I want to see and do as much as possible, as I cant see myself coming back out here for at least another couple of years. So I book an extra night in LA through Trek America and stay at The Custom Hotel LAX. Locations works perfectly in this instance as we the tour depart from here in a day’s time. Meaning I cut down on another journey within the city. My room’s a twin room, with the other bed waiting to be occupied by another ‘Trekker’. How exciting. The not knowing.
Trekker: Self-given reference to another Trek America member. I won’t be disclosing member names during the trip (I may do on occasion).
Day 1 – Pre-Tour
Location – Los Angeles, Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive, etc.
We’ve lost a day due to flight delays but we are in Los Angeles. It’s muggy again, and cloudy. But again. We are in Los Angeles. Another two ‘trekkies’ have arrived early so we head out exploring. But not before picking up a Mustang. Yes, a Mustang. How else do you get around in LA? The musings of my fellow Portuguese trekkie, he’s also kind enough (ballsy enough) to drive us around town.
First stop, Venice Beach. My first thought is where are all the muscle men and women? Spoiler. They arrive later.
I like it, definitely a hippie, skater vibe going on. It literally has people of all ages, walking, rollerskating, cycling or skateboarding up and down the beach.
Some, a lot of fun graffiti lining the shops and paths running in between. Within 30 minutes, I see people of most backgrounds and classes. The homeless situation here is very real, but everyone we pass is so laid back and friendly. Maybe it’s the sea and good weather. I hear that helps. It’s definitely a place that’s full of characters, and everyone I see is a character therefore no one individual stands out. Maybe one of the reasons Venice Beach is a hit for all the expressive types?
So, Muscle Beach – part of the package really. Wasn’t what I was expecting. A little underwhelmed. Where were the people? Maybe we came at the wrong time, but we did spot a few nomads trying to tackle the equipment.
- Tips: Hire a bike, skateboard or rollerskates for a few hours around $15-20. Or even a day. Venice Beach is huge and you can spend a good 2-3 hours walking from one end to the other. Pretty much the entire beach has marked out routes making it very wheely friendly.
Some hours in, after some surfer spotting we have lunch at one of many cafe’s lining Venice Beach (bit pricey given the location). There’s also plenty of restaurants/bars as you walk down to the beach which would probably be a better bet. But we wanted to stay close, given we were heading back to the car.
Venice Beach: In Pictures
My favourite? What looked to be a woman in her 50’s (at least) skating down holding an umbrella. You really do see it all in LA.
After the excitement and uncertainty of Venice Beach, it sort of set the tone for the rest of Los Angeles. However, it’s not all painted faces and master of tricks. Regular people, a lot of tourists (depending on where you stop) and then just a lot more traffic. It’s so hard to drive fast in LA. Maybe it’s the laid-back lifestyle. No rush to get anywhere. We clearly needed help with driving on the other side of the road. Much more difficult to grasp the American highway code. Anyway, a few close calls later and we’re driving up the windy roads to the Hollywood sign.
There it is, that Hollywood sign that appears in so many movies, and we’re stood (albeit a fair distance) from it. Moment. A moment with the mustang we (D) decided to hire and get us around. We also drive down Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive and caught a glimpse of how the other half live. Pretty damn well, may I say.
Day 2 – First Day of Trek!
Location: Hotel Meet-Ups, Los Angeles, onto Vegas (next post)
Feeling pretty chilled to meet the rest of the group. The majority of having spoken before the tour so first-time nerves out the way. Messy paperwork, intro’s and about 40 minutes later we were out heading round LA with the whole squad. A strong case of the Cali sunshine and we head down to the Hollywood Boulevard for the Walk of Fame. Instantly go into fan girl mode reliving out the legends that grace us along the 15 blocks.
2 days in and still not taking to the dry heat very well, but here we are setting off Sin City – Las Vegas!