I just returned from a bipolaresque week that began with a few days where I hoped for a dose of tranquility and meditative bliss car camping under the stars immediately followed by the immersive madness of Universal Studios, workplace of a different breed of star. The eventful week ended with a fifteen hour ass numbing drive through the night across the pitch blackness of Central California.

Not being especially adept at nature photography and opting to live in the moment I left my cameras tucked away for the first few days as I repeatedly made aborted attempts to read any of the multiple books I ambitiously packed for the “vacation”. I should have known better since travelling with boys requires constant stimuli and my reward was a total of four pages read multiple times without actually retaining a solitary word. Finally defeated I opted to move on to my journal.

Four days of nature was testing the kids limits so we set off for our ‘mid-century urban chic” oasis in North Hollywood and after a ridiculously long drive to the Yelp approved Magic Dragon food truck we feasted on some mighty fine grub. Later on we finally returned to our hotel to wind down in the pool while watching the final scenes of Top Gun. Despite not being able to erase Kenny Loggins’ pounding of Danger Zone deep into my head I did finally melt away in anticipation of an early call for fifteen hours of Universal Studios and their 3D VR techno themepark extravagance. Harry Potter was the star of our journey and front of line passes allowed for us to ride the feature attraction thrice contrary to the plebes inhumane 120 minute wait in midday sun for many of the more desirable destinations such as Jurassic World, Transformers and The Simpsons nauseating virtual acid trip roller coaster. Thanks alot Matt Groening. Our day came to a close after the ceremonial lighting of Hogwarts and despite my ambivalence regarding all things J.K. Rowling I will say that the Grand Finale was well worth the wait and the accompanying blisters.  

Our final day in Los Angeles provided a more photographic landscape to feast upon and after countless forty-five minute bursts zigging and zagging about town we finally departed our rented fuel gulping monstrosity to meander for a few hours on the Miracle Mile. Wilshire Boulevard provided a glimpse of the La Brea tar pits, a couple of architectural gems, a sculpture garden overflowing with impressive Augie Rodin bronzes along with an assortment of urban art and only in Los Angeles fashionistas and their victims. Our final stop at Soap Plant / Wacko turned out to be a real “tar pit” as we only narrowly escaped after traversing the aisles for well over an hour looking for the perfect alt gifts for friends and family and most importantly our trusty catsitter. 

Tar Art (Hey that’s an anagram!)

I am proud to say that my lone souvenir from this trip, aside from some colorful and painful memories, is a half inch diameter button of the AC/DC emblem with the letters AA/RP substituted. All in all this button pretty much summed up my trip as I sure ain’t no young buck anymore. My kids photographing my slightly thinning cranium as I tried to lie out on an otherwise wonderful day or the back plant I did on my sons lightweight “death machine” scooter reinforced this notion and the countless virtual rollercoaster experiences confirmed that times they are a changing. For now the City of Angels is mostly a playground for the younger Angels and the ones who don’t mind spending a majority of their day flat on their ass going from A to B. No I prefer a quiet stroll, to stop and smell the daisies and the next two wheeler I ride may very well have a couple of tennis balls for me to trick out.