On The Road: LA and the First Drive

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Finally fitting in some time to get some sort of blog up as we sit here waiting for our delayed flight from New York to Toronto. Our road trip part of the trip wrapped up just over a week ago, absent of any major hiccups and a great start to the adventure.

That being said, and bearing in mind we were all considerably jet lagged, but the first few days in LA did not really set the tone for what we wanted from the next few months. That’s not to say it didn’t have it’s moments, but it certainly isn’t going to be too high up on our highlights list for the trip. I should also mention it was 35 degrees every day we were there, but despite this, we consistently seemed to be the only ones choosing to wear shorts instead of baggy jeans.

The first night was a write off, barely able to keep our eyes open as we stumbled up Hollywood Boulevard to find some food to eat, then stumbled back home, fast asleep by 9 PM. We did have the fortune of being woken up by our hostel roommates about 2 hours later, and then the slightly more welcomed arrival of Eddy, the fourth of four in our group.

We were staying in Banana Bungalow Hollywood, a well rated hostel and besides it’s somewhat seedy location, the hostel was actually very good.

The best day we had in LA was a trip to Venice Beach and Santa Monica, followed by a [unnecessarily scenic] hike up to Griffith Observatory to watch the sunset over the city. Perhaps it was just our location of being right on Hollywood Boulevard, the run down, over touristed and uninspiring street, that dampened our thoughts of the city, but at least our last impressions were far better than our first.

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Now it was time to pick up our car and hit the road. First stop: the Grand Canyon or I should rather say Flagstaff. We didn’t really ease ourselves into the driving part, taking around 8 hours to get to Flagstaff, stopping for lunch in the town of Barstow which seemed more like a parking lot filled with every and any fast food chain in America. The drive itself was fine though, we all adjusted relatively well to driving on the wrong (right) side of the road, listening to the beats and stylings of young Blizzy, a guy that coaxed Phil into buying his CD on Hollywood Boulevard, and comfortably sitting in our trusty little Fabrice.

We arrived in the town of Flagstaff in the evening, about 20 degrees colder than LA but a very friendly and quaint vibe. We grabbed what is still one of the best meals to date at a small restaurant, plenty of free bread (always a winner in our books), some hot clam chowder, and a much needed vegetable filled main meal.

That will have to do it for now though, up next will be the Grand Canyon!

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