Posts Tagged ‘on the road’

PART 6: DAVID AND SANDY ON THE ROAD – LA LA LAND AND BEYOND

Since we got to Los Angeles  around 3 in the afternoon, before David’s friend Michael (from whom we planned to “mooch” a place to stay) was home from work, we drove around a bit for him to show me a little of the town.  Stopped in the Sherman Oaks Galleria where they filmed lots of movies (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” comes to mind) and I bought a few postcards. David had worked in a building next door and said he used to visit the food court during his lunch hour. In its present iteration, the Galleria contains nice restaurants, stores and the Arclight movie theaters where my kids and I now attend first run cinema every time I am there to visit – but I digress. David drove down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, where I took pictures, etc. and marveled that I was at last in Hollywood!

We returned to Michael’s around 5 and what a really nice place – apartments in a gated courtyard with a pool in the middle,  I thought – just like on “Melrose Place” on TV. (I was definitely star-struck – ha).  Michael’s a very nice guy – old friend of David’s from when he lived here a few years ago.  Michael is a counselor and I hoped he and David would discuss David’s illness and maybe Michael could offer him some comforting words.

I called my friend Chad who he asked me to have dinner and go to a movie. We reminisced about the “Passenger 57” goings on (I was a “featured extra” and he was production assistant during its filming near Orlando and we became friends). He drove me around town a bit and we had dinner at Tony Roma’s by Universal Studios and went to the huge Cineplex Odeon there to see “Sneakers”.  (You can see how long ago this trip was, by the age of the movies we are discussing!)  We saw a poster for “57” on display in the lobby and both got excited.  Can’t wait for it to open to see all the work we both put into it! Chad brought me back to Michael’s around 1:00 am and said he’d take me on a “sampler platter” tour of Hollywood tomorrow.

David came in right after I did from a bar where he was hoping to run into some old friends.  Apparently, he located a couple since they are meeting us for dinner tomorrow night.  Michael came in around 4.  David and I are both sleeping on his L-shaped HUGE sofa, feet-to-feet. The next morning, David, Michael and I walked down to Sunset Boulevard to have breakfast.  I know I must be in LA when the menu offers tofu and avocado and sprout omelets!

Chad picked me up at 12:45.  We all took some pictures in Michael’s courtyard and then we were off.  David and Michael were going off on their own expeditions and Chad wanted to show me “his” Hollywood. Over the hill and down Melrose Avenue past all the trendy shops and cafes,  by LaBrea tarpits, down Wilshire Boulevard, to Rodeo Drive.  Chad parked his car and we walked on Rodeo, took a few pictures and wandered in a few of the fancy shops.

We took a long drive around Beverly Hills, Bel Air, etc.  Down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards.  Took me to the Samuel French Book Store where I could have spent all my money on movie and theater-related stuff.  Bought T-shirts for me (“I act therefore I am, I audition therefore I may be”) and Mandy (“ I can’t, I have a rehearsal”) and a coffee mug for Erik that had “screenwriter” on it.  Got a free bumper sticker that read, “I brake for auditions”. Fun.

This will be my star!

Parked again near the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and walked on the sidewalk of stars and Chad took a picture of me on a blank star saying it would be mine someday. Ha.  Funny how our ambitions and life itself changes. Recently my son took me to some of the same locations and I was surprised at how some things had changed and others had not.

We drove up to Griffith Park Observatory by the Hollywood sign and saw a beautiful view of the cities of Los Angeles and Hollywood and directly below our vantage point, a deer meandering through the woods. Neat.

A blurry Hollywood sign

Chad took me back to his apartment in North Hollywood to show me his photo album from “Passenger 57” and we shared our memories of working on our (for both of us) FIRST feature film production. We met David, Michael and their friend Al at Micelli’s Restaurant and enjoyed a nice meal (Italian) while servers serenaded us. Hated to say goodbye to Chad at the end of a fun day.  He got kind of choked up and so did I.

Later that evening, David drove me up to La Canada Flintridge area to see the lights of the city stretched out below.  Incredible – looked almost as if we were in an airplane coming in for a landing!  The place where we stood was totally dark and quiet – eerie but fascinating and beautiful.  It was a really long drive and by the time we got back to Michael’s we were both exhausted.  A long but wonderful day. My first – but not last it would turn out – visit to Los Angeles!

To be continued…

Part 3: On the Road with David and Sandy

It’s an all-day trip from our homes in Florida to the home of David’s sister in the panhandle of Florida.  When we arrived, his sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew were there to greet us.  I don’t think they believed how ambitious our trip was hoping to be, but they went along with the joke anyway!

They prepared a lovely spaghetti dinner for us and we spent a fun evening feeding a little baby squirrel that had fallen out of its nest, watching TV, and telling them all the high points in our up-coming trip. We watched an episode of “Northern Exposure” and David said we were going to visit the little town in Washington State where it was filmed.  I thought – sure we will.

After a pretty restful sleep, we were off early the next morning – our first official day on our own and heading west. We started a tradition of taking a photo of the various state welcome signs to prove we had actually crossed into them and taking videos from the camera David’s folks had loaned us. The wandering adventurers were on their way!

The first official day of our journey; leaving David's sister's home.

The first few days, David refused to let me drive his car, but as we continued and he grew weary, I would take over some of the duties.  Men.

Alabama, then Mississippi, then Louisiana.  We whisked through familiar places in anticipation of new scenery.  We did make a stop in southern Mississippi and it was then I learned of David’s penchant for casinos.  Many hours were spent while he tried his hand at Black Jack and I lost my allotted $20 in slot machines.

We were back on the road and decided to keep driving until we tired.  Sometime in the middle of the night, somewhere west of San Antonio, Texas, we pulled over to a rest area to use the facilities and take a little catnap.  We awoke with the sun, still crammed into the tiny little car!  Freshened up and found a wonderful place for breakfast which featured “Texas-sized pancakes”.  Platter-sized and filling, but we felt ready to cross the state!

We stopped to take pictures along the way and decided that we should take a little side trip into Mexico at El Paso.  We parked the car on the Juarez-side of the bridge and were immediately “greeted” by young guys offering to watch our car for us for a small fee.  This made us both a little nervous but we walked around in a pretty little park (within eye sight of the parking area) and walked to the top of a pedestrian bridge over the highway to take a few photos and then scurried back to our lifeboat!

We drove around town a little bit, but didn’t see much that we wanted to explore,  so it was back over the Rio Grande and into the U.S. once more.  It had been an adventure, but David was a bit unnerved by the thought of buying “insurance” for his car and all our belongings.

We drove north into New Mexico, had some dinner in Truth or Consequences (named after an old radio game show) and decided to start looking for a place to stay (and actually PAY for – no mooching tonight) around Gallup, NM, as we had a full schedule planned for the next day.  It was fairly late and dark by the time we got to our destination and we could not find a motel anywhere.  Finally, off the highway was a cute little adobe building with pink neon letters proclaiming “Vacancy”.  I stayed in the car while David went into the office to pay.  A few minutes later he came out, with key, but grinning from ear to ear.

“The manager said that since we wanted to stay the night, we should not be too loud!”  Apparently they rented by the hour.

(To be continued…)

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