Beach Day!

*This post was written on Thursday, but because I had no WiFi so I posted it early Friday morning.

I returned the bike rental and jumped on a bus to take me to Santa Monica Beach. It took a while because traffic is bad in Los Angeles, but after almost an hour we made it. 

The beach was great. I walked on the pier real quick, saw some groovy musicians like this one below (I would not be surprised if he pulls in $100K+ a year the way people constantly flocked to him).

I walked the beach, found a spot in the sand, and plopped myself down. I laid around for around three and a half hours. I put some sunscreen on, but I still got burnt in places I failed to cover.

I headed south towards Venice Beach. When I got to the boardwalk I regretted not going there earlier and spending more time there. There was a ton of activity. Skaters in the skate park, volleyball on the beach, merchants everywhere selling art, shirts and whatever else. My favorite was the street performers below. They put on a good show, but then they also spent a lot of time asking for money. 

I thought it was so cool that I was on Ocean Avenue from the song.

After the show I was in a rush because I had purchased tickets to the Comedy Store again and the show was at 8:30. I took a quick on the beach and got an Uber which took some time.

The comedy show was funny. About the same as the show I saw the night prior. What caused me to go back was that David Spade and Joe Rogan were in this show. Joe Rogan was pretty good, but I expected David Spade to be funnier than he was.

As the show was wrapping up I got really tired again so I headed out to a nearby IHOP. I hadn’t eaten since 10a that morning so I was hungry. I checked my Greyhound app to learn that my 12:35a bus was an hour late. Blah.

I took another Uber to the Greyhound station and got lectured on proper Uber etiquette and how not to get robbed. When I walked into the Greyhound station I was shocked at how normal the people were. I was kind of expecting it to be the worse yet, but there were very few sketchy-looking people.

The bus ride to Fresno was fine. The problem is I missed my connection to head towards Yosemite so I had to pick up another bus that was later. 

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The Truth About Hollywood

Once arrived at the train station I took the Metro bus to West Hollywood where my hotel was. As I looked out the bus window I couldn’t believe how rundown and ugly the city looked. Not that there were boarded up buildings or anything, but it just wasn’t the glamorous city I was used to seeing on TV. One of my Uber drivers said that that wasn’t the first time he had heard one of his customers say that. 

There is however a lot of homeless people. They camp out everywhere. Again, something I wasn’t expecting.

I got off the bus and walked to my hotel. On my way I passed Canter’s and I stopped in for a sandwich. It was nothing special and actually kind of dry.

Once I got to my hotel I sat pool side and tanned because my room was not ready. The room itself was really nice and clean looking.

After I got settled I figured it would be easier and more cost effective to get around using a bike. So I walked to a nearby rental shop near my hotel and rented a bike for a mere $35 for 24 hours. 

I decided to go to the observatory because I knew there was a good view of the Hollywood sign from there. However, I believe that I was over ambitious and I definitely underestimated the elevation that I was dealing with. 

The observatory was a nightmare to get to. By the time I did get there I was a gross sweaty, sunburned mess. The place was also packed so that didn’t help anything. However, I did get my picture and I looked around just a bit. I was surprised to see the fog/smog that covered the city.

On my way back, I briefly stopped at a relative of friends (stranger to me). She was very hospitable and once she saw how sunburned I was she even gave me sunscreen.

Wrong direction dufus

I took the scenic route and rode down Hollywood Blvd. I didn’t see many names I knew, but I did get my picture with Mark Wahlberg’s star on the Walk of Fame. I also rode down Sunset Blvd. And maybe I just was not in the right place on the street, but it looked like crap as well.

Marky Mark

I went swimming for a bit after getting back to my hotel and I also booked a ticket to the Comedy Store. They had this show called the Original Room where they advertise 16 headliners in one night (went from 9p-2a). I personally did not recognize any of the names, but it seemed like a good time.

The show was really funny and while it was dirty, they mostly stayed away from pervertedness and humor I don’t care for, which I much appreciated. I stayed until 12:30a and I was at a point where I could barely keep my eyes open. I Ubered back and hit the hay quickly. 
Today I woke up later than I wanted, so I rushed down the street to get to the nearby laundromat (the only thing I didn’t like about this hotel was no laundry). While doing my laundry, I grabbed breakfast at the diner next to my hotel which was really good.

Now all I have to go do is return the bike and take the bus down to the beach. 

Grand Canyon-sized Adventures

Once we finally made the two-hours trek up to Williams they dropped me off at the Grand Canyon Railway entrance. I had a few minutes to grab my ticket, get another pressed penny or two, and see the part of the little Wild West skit that they put on.

The Wild West show

The train ride was neat and much more of the scenic route. It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes when it’s only an hour drive over the same distance. Nonetheless it was more entertaining with our car guide Nick and the musician who stopped in to play us some tunes.

View from my seat
This was Nick
He sang some tunes

When we got to the Canyon I just glanced at it in a rush to find somewhere to eat. My plan was to hope to eat and then rent a bike and ride around for a few hours.

Well I did eat at the Blue Angel Lodge and I was pretty proud of myself for no reason of my own. There was a wait for larger groups, but being that I was eating by myself they seated me right away.

After eating I stopped in the one visitor center (because the Grand Canyon has two visitor centers and a park headquarters) to charge my phone and get more information on where exactly the bike rentals were. 

I started to walk around the South Rim, hoping to find the main visitor center. I ended up taking too long and by the time I finally made it to the visitor center I had to start making my way back in order to catch my shuttle to the Amtrak station.

My favorite part of the Grand Canyon was how symmetrical it was. I loved how the layers of rock were so uniform throughout the entire structure.

Love this picture. The symmetry

When I got to the Amtrak station what was supposed to be a 45-minute layover turned in into a near 4-hour layover. During that time I read and got a pizza from across the street to satisfy my hunger. I even made a friend!

The train trip has been long and we are in the final hour. Next stop: LA!

Sunrise on the train