Roadtrip August 2017, Part Four
Trip back to LA:
Our return trip to the Southern part of California wasn't as glamorous going upwards the first time, with one prime exception. Planned as early as my father bought his Model S, we had planned ourselves a factory tour trip of the main Tesla factory in Fremont, where the Model S and Model X are produced each day. Was not able to use my DSLR very much on this portion, but I'm happy with the quality my Nexus 6P was able to get while we were there. And to our surprise as we were pulling up to the factory supercharger, we spotted a grey Model 3 charging right along side us. To see this car in person was quite breathtaking, I had always thought the 3 looked rather strange, almost like a combo of the X's odd styling and after seeing it in person, I quickly changed my mind. It is roughly about 25% smaller than the Model S but just as sexy as the other cars. A lot more room for side items, more cupholders, and a more simplistic but spartan design as far as the interior goes. One of the things I liked about the exterior was its door handles, they are not done like the pop out handles of the Model S, but rather a lever system where you place your thumb towards the inside of the handle and the rest extends out in a simple two step motion. Works very well and while I could not enter the vehicle, it felt smooth and kept the aerodynamic aspects of the car intact.
The factory itself is monstrous, it was a former Toyota/GM plant that Tesla bought for a steal of something like 90% off its couple billion plus price tag. We were seated mostly on a car track with our host driving us throughout the complex while workers and tons of robotic arms worked in unison to bring these wondrous vehicles to life. Somewhat shrouded still to both workers and the public, some Model 3 lines were starting to come online and saw quite a few parts to the steel frame laying in areas ready to be assembled when the time is right. Overall a very cool experience and I would highly recommend visiting the plant should yourself ever own a Tesla or know someone who does.
LA, a city I've heard so much about and have known about my entire life, the central point of everything popular on the West Coast and a hub for nearly every industry on this planet. A city that nearly every creative type will find themselves in at one point or another, a magnet to the attractive and charismatic, yet with a seemingly seedy underside and level of corruption to those that tread to far into the underbelly of the entertainment industry as a whole. Not so say that those aspects can be ignored for forgotten about, yet a thought keeps in the back of my mind how lost a city can be within its own self.
I won't lie, as much as I was excited to experience it with my own eyes, I was highly skeptical on what I was going to encounter. One of the most rough places to have a work/life balance and just survive in general. Yet, the four days I had in LA were quite impressionable and I was honestly impressed not only with the sheer amount of things you could do in it, but lasting memory it had on me. Our drive in was thankfully a lot more forgiving on the traffic side of things, came in through the West side of the city, towards one of the more convenient supercharger locations in Oxnard. A large, sprawling mess of highways and a slightly dusty atmosphere were my first true thoughts of how I referenced the city inside my head and I more or less saw the same things as we were reaching towards the East Hollywood / Los Feliz side of town for our hotel.
My sister had just recently moved to the city and were fortunate enough to be within walking distance and had quite the decent little neighborhood as I explored more on foot over the course of the trip. Our hotel (Hollywood Hotel) was fortunate enough to have a Tesla charger available for a few hours of free charging, a huge advantage since with the amount of other Tesla's in CA I imagined supercharging would be highly inconvenient most of the time. First night in we were invited to quite a charming spot in the city called "Home Restaurant"(1760 Hillhurst Ave), very hipster-ish but great food and drinks for good prices in all honesty. The outdoor lighting was great as well, with the climate generally sunny year round and little rain gave it an almost tiki-bar patio vibe and was a spot I could easily see myself come back to again.
Our second day in the city was more exploratory on my part and did a bit of traveling to an area directly east of downtown LA. Los Feliz feels like a small neighborhood with both old and new families coming in and a large abundance of natives as well. Walked around a good 5-6 block radius around my sister's apartment and was quite pleased with the place, lots of good variety in places to eat and pretty easy access to a nearby grocery store. This was the area of town where I could see myself live in a more realistic manner, I cannot imagine what kind of job I would need to live in a more classy part of town. Felt like a more realistic area where young people working are trying to live a little while stay within their means, I tend to be a low key and frugal type of person with most things and this was the place I felt the most comfortable with. Visited Koreatown for lunch with a killer dumpling place (Myung In Dumplings, 3109 W Olympic Blvd B), and to the Arts District for Angel City Brewery (216 Alameda St) with drinks with a friend my sister's BF knows. The district was quite distinct with its many murals, a lot of which I could not fully get the light I wanted on them but was just as enamored with their vibrancy and color.
Third day was a venture to Santa Monica and Venice Beach for a good portion of the day. An area I've been wanting to see in person for quite some time and was eager to see the prime people watching and street art in the area. The beach is quite vast and as we can into the Venice Fishing Pier entrance, it took me a good bit of time and distance to reach the Amusement Park and other pier on the other end. Quite a variety of people during my walk over to the otherside, young and old and some oddities that only a picture could describe (none taken however, I highly respect people's right to be photographed and only ever post with their permission). It was one of the only places where I could see everyone from famous stars (possible I saw some but couldn't say who honestly) to the everyday kind of person. Some pics below will show the beauty of the beach and what I saw.
Last day in LA let me have a bit of free time and exploration on my own, woke fairly early so I could see the Griffith Observatory since we failed earlier in the week with securing a parking spot. Lovely view of the city, sadly the morning cloud cover / smog prevented me from seeing the entire landscape. I was able to visit two art museums during the day, one was one of the more newer places known as The Broad (221 S Grand Ave), where after waiting in line for about 2 hours, I was able to grab a selfie (something I rarely do) of the famous exhibit known as the "Infinity Room" by Yayoi Kusama. Lovely place otherwise, saw some photos by Andy Warhol, Jean‐Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, and many others. The other museum was a place where I could not photograph anything but was delightfully insane and fascinating all at the same. That place is known as The Museum of Jurassic Technology (9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City), highly recommend if you are curious about some of the oddities of human history and just plain odd and unique pieces that you should see for yourself.
This more or less wraps up my thoughts on the city, towards the end of my series of travel blogs, I will have a reflections posting about my musings of what I saw in each city and rate various things on my journey.
Thanks for reading folks, next post in a week or so detailing more about driving up the PNW and Portland. Pictures below.