Monday, October 15, 2012

DAYS- 54 & 55 —Malibu, Santa Monica, & President Reagan…

I’ll admit that I’m getting a bit behind trying to keep with my write ups while on my trip.  I thought it would be easy but sometimes at the end of the day of sightseeing all I want to do is veg out a little.  So in an attempt to keep up, I’m going to try to combine two days into one write up.  So here we go…

DAY 54- Malibu Beach and Santa Monica…
I woke up with less than my usual 5 hours of sleep.  The La Quinta Inn where I was staying ended up being Grand Central Station for local college students in the area; particularly the third floor area where I was staying.  I called and mentioned the noise to the front desk at about 12:30PM and nothing seemed to happen.  Finally, I must have dozed off a bit because the next thing I knew it was 2:30AM and the college kids were still going strong.  Thank goodness I found my ear plugs from RAGBRAI with me.  I put those in and managed to sleep till almost 6AM.  But I definitely felt like I was dragging.  I went down to breakfast where there were a few married couples all looking like they were suffering from a lack of sleep.  I said to the room, “So, did anyone get any sleep last night?”  No answers came but a great deal of heads were shaking no in response.

The night before I was playing with the idea of hitting Venice Beach, running by Walt Disney Concert Hall, and then visiting the Getty Museum but I was thinking with a lack of sleep that might be pushing it.  I was also wondering what the traffic would be like in the area.  I decided that I might want to do a change of plan.

I still thought I would drive over to Venice Beach but I thought I would take a more scenic route and go by Malibu Beach and Santa Monica.  So after fueling up, I headed south on Hwy 101 to Westlake where I hooked up with Hwy 23.  Now this was an area where I saw a ton of cyclists; Hwy 23 wound up and down and around and eventually over to the ocean beach.  But meanwhile, there was low traffic and wonderful views to see.  It crossed paths with Mulholland Highway and that was where all of the cyclists were coming up from.  The road was very curvy and I drove slowly.  I had a couple of times where I pulled over into a dirt edge and waved motorcycles around me.  I was in no rush and I was very much enjoying the scenery and watching the cyclists.
Photo- Cyclist along Hwy 23's curvy and scenic road.

I took a left onto Hwy 1 and headed south.  In less than a mile, I was driving along the beautiful Malibu Beach.   According to the sign there was 27 miles of Malibu Beach, and I drove along it all.  I did get out at one area where there was plenty of parking off to the side of the road and I took off my sandals and walked on the beach taking photos.  I got back in my car and headed south.  I took the turn up and over to the Santa Monica downtown area. 
Photo- Malibu Beach.

Photo- Santa Monica Park- beach to one side & city to the other.
Between the downtown area of Santa Monica and Hwy 1 there’s a long park area that perched on the edge of the cliffs that Santa Monica sits above.  I had to check this out.  I found a parking spot, put money in the meter, and walked along with my camera.  The park seemed to go on and on and on.    It was a wonderful area to walk; on one side you could overlook the beach and on the other you could watch the city.  It was a hub of activity with people cycling, walking their dogs, running, and visiting.  I even saw what looked like a model shoot being done. About every block or so there were public restrooms and plenty of park benches available.  Periodically to continue walking along the park you would need to cross with a street light where the road came up or went down to Hwy 1 but those were only about once every three blocks.  I put away my camera for a while and just walked along enjoying it all.  I headed back to my car just in time to pull away from the curb before my meter flipped to red.  I drove through a bit of Santa Monica’s downtown area and it was stop and go traffic.  I was rather amazed that anyone got anywhere in this downtown with a car.  You could walk faster than you could drive.
Photo- Yep! Driving in downtown Santa Monica can get you very slowly somewhere. 

I proceeded to drive further south to the Venice Beach area.  It was very crowded and I couldn’t get very close at all.  Parking was expensive and then you had to walk almost ½ mile to get to the beach.  Nope, it was just too crowded and too expensive for me.  I went back to driving north towards Malibu Beach.  I had passed a sign that said US I-10 on the way south.  I figured I would see about catching that to go into LA and see the Disney Concert Hall.  I must have passed it or it wasn’t accessible from the direction I was coming. 

The traffic was getting to be stop and go all along Hwy 1 heading north.  I went by the Getty Villa that I had seen on the way south and I thought I might just catch that on the way back.  Nope, not today!  There was a long line of cars from there that was causing some of the backed up traffic on Hwy 1.  I continued north and thought I would see about catching another way back to Hwy 101.  I turned off a couple of times at street lights only to find dead ends within a couple of blocks.  But eventually I did find another two lane road that headed back through the mountains.  This one was still scenic but was not as curvy.  I easily found my way back to the hotel before sundown.  I also found out that it was a good thing I hadn’t gotten in line of cars for the Getty Villa earlier because they were taking timed pre-purchased tickets only.

DAY 55- President Reagan Library—
On the drive back to the hotel the day before, I had noticed a sign mentioning the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Air Force One.  I thought that sounded interesting and after finding about the Getty Villa’s pre-purchased tickets, I figured I had better find out more about ticket information with regards to the Library.  I also wanted to find out if it would be open on a Sunday.  They were open on Sunday and I could easily pre-purchase the ticket on-line.  I decided why not.  I always thought that President Reagan was more interesting than most of the presidents.  I also remember where I was the day there was an attempted assignation.  It was kind of like his presidency was a part of my life and that would make it more interesting to me too.

I purchased a ticket for the 10:30AM start time slot.  They recommended you get there 15 minutes before your time frame and I got directions from Google again.  So, I needed to make sure there was a good amount of cushion just in case.  I left almost an hour and 20 minutes before my time slot.  30 minutes later, I was parked in a spot outside the Library and Museum waiting.  I decided to just go in and see if it took any longer to check in because I was unable to print up my ticket this morning.  The printer at the hotel broke and they never bothered to get a replacement.  Can you say this La Quinta did NOT impress me and I was surprised because normally they are a consistent good line of hotels.

I went in with only a confirmation number; the gal behind the counter said no problem.  Before I knew it, I had my ticket, a sticker to put on my shirt, a receipt just in case I lost the sticker, and a collective little ticket to take home with me.  I was directed to the doorway where the tour started.
Photo- The beginning of the tour of the President Reagan's Museum.

The gal welcomed me and directed me further along the hallway while stating that there was to be no flash photography in the museum and no photography inside Air force One.  I checked to make sure that my camera was on a no flash setting and then proceeded down the hall.  Around the corner they were showing a four minute film as an introduction to President Reagan.  Another lady volunteer said that she highly recommended seeing the film and that it was very short.  Okay I said and I sat down on a padded bench as the film played.  It was a quick and emotionally patriotic film about President Reagan. 

I then continued down another hallway to where it was Reagan’s early years.  His history of being raised in Illinois, working hard and helping out with his family who were struggling to make ends meet.  In his later high school years, he acted in plays and found his love of acting.  It went on to talk about his first jobs in radio and how that helped him to become the great communicator later in his life.  I was surprised that he had a sports radio position in Des Moines, IA.  He started to get into professional movie acting by a chance run in. 

Eventually, the history of the museum worked its way to how he became the governor of California.  It went into detail on how he made his two terms in California successful.  Then, the jump he made to the national platform.  The microphone incident at one of the debates; they even had the microphone there. All those things that helped lead to him being the President of the US.   They even had a mini version of the Oval Office in the museum; an exact replica of how it looked while he was there.   All of those details they had down to the last detail with family pictures that would have been behind his desk at the time.  It started in with his early presidency and then you turned a hallway and headed down to Air Force One.

Heading down that hallway, all you could see was glass but you knew it was inside, enclosed in the building.  While going down that hallway, I made the comment how did they get that plane in here?  The volunteer standing by said that a whole book had been written about how they did that but essentially they moved it in one main section except for taking off the wings from the nearest airport. They had built some of the building prior to the planes arrival but the plane was assembled a bit when it arrived.  Then, they continued with finishing the building around it.  The plane was all intact except for the fuel tanks, which were no longer needed anyway.
Photo- Air Force One inside of a building!

I was in awe when I came around the corner and saw Air Force One in this large room with a HUGE glass window its nose pointed towards.  I walked around it and headed to the entrance to go on it.  It was here that a volunteer stood and took your picture as you entered.  She said to wave and smile as I enter.  She gave me a card with my photo number to check out later.  I went on the plane.  This was SO cool.  Presidents have been in this same plane as what I now was walking through.  There was the communications board area, the President’s temporary Oval Office, the First Lady’s office, the White House Staff area, a galley area with Presidential china on board, and an area for other guests of the president’s.

Next, I was downstairs and directed to the area to look at my photo.  It wasn’t too bad and I was wearing red.  I looked rather patriotic and had a good wave down.  Oh, why not?  I spent the money and purchased the picture.  How often can you say you’ve been on an Air Force One and have proof that you actually was.  It was priceless!

Next, the museum continued with Reagan’s presidency and the Berlin Wall.  They showed the famous speech he did at the Berlin Wall, and talked about the negotiations with Soviets.  Then, they went on about the history of the Ranch in California and Camp David.  Next, it was some more history about him in the white house and his relationship with Nancy.  It even talked about Nancy and showed some of her clothes and the sense of style and practicality that she had in helping him out.  She was a true partner to him.  Then it went into the AL timers and his death with films of the funerals. 

Then, you were at the gift shop which was the end of the museum for Reagan but there was a special display that was being shown in the museum by D23 which is the Disney Official Fan club, or so it stated.  This display talked about Walt Disney and his early years then took you through some of the early films through displays of the costumes and drawings and movie posters.  It brought back a great deal of fond memories of growing up.  And I really thought that it was fun to see some of the real costumes that were used in the movies.  Then, the display continued downstairs where there were more recent movie memorabilia and costumes that could be seen.  This was fun to see too.  It's as I'm leaving and go outside to my car that I pass by where President Reagan was put to rest.  It rather felt strange to think of him lying here but there was a wonderful view and maybe that was why it had been chosen.
Photo- President Reagan's final resting place.

Photo- The view out over Simi Valley from near President Reagan's final resting place is.

Next, I found myself on down the road heading into downtown LA to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  I rather thought that this was appropriate after what I just saw.  The traffic wasn’t all that bad.  I guess Sunday afternoon isn’t a popular time to be in downtown LA.  I was able to find the Hall pretty easily as I got off the freeway ramp.  I pulled for a couple minutes into an illegal parking spot off the side of the road and took pictures of the Concert Hall.  I just LOVE the look of this building and it was one of those things that I just HAD to see in real life.  Wow!  That was cool!  Then, I was off and on my way to Santa Ana for the night and hoping that this La Quinta hotel was better than the last one.
Photo- Walt Disney's Concert Hall in downtown LA.

No comments:

Post a Comment