Day 32 of my U2 360 tour across America was a great one spent on a bus sight seeing around downtown LA, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the orginal Farmer’s Market, Venice Beach and Marina Del Ray. When I arrived in Anaheim Monday, I researched bus tours to Hollywood and found StarLine tours. They had a very comprehensive tour of LA and surrounding areas that picked me up at my hotel and brought me back after the tour. This tour was run by VIP tours. I was picked up at 9am and didn’t return until 6pm. It was a long, great day!
The first part of our bus trip, which was mostly folks from England and myself, took us to downtown Los Angeles. Our first stop was the LA Memorial Coliseum, the site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics and where the Dodgers used to play. We passed by USC on the way to the Staples Center and the Nokia Theatre. We drove through the financial district on our way to our next stop at Olvera Street, where there were streets vendors and LA’s oldest house built in 1818.
Please watch my video of part 1 of my bus tour in downtown – LA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEtgusYSPL0
On our way to Hollywood, we drove by the Capitol Records building. Then across from the Hollywood Bowl, I spotted Bret Michael’s tour bus parked with the shades closed. I found out that he was playing at the Hollywood Bowl that night. We finally made it to Hollywood Boulevard and got about 45 minutes to walk around. I walked down the Walk of Stars and saw Mickey Mouse at his star and then came upon Olivia Newton-John’s star, which is the only thing I remember from our 1984 trip. I walked passed the historic Roosevelt Hotel to check out the footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The first I saw was for the movie Giant, which consisted of the footprints of Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. It should have also included James Dean, but he died, so instead director George Steven’s footprints were included. I came across the footprints of Natalie Wood, Bing Crosby, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward together, Roy Rogers and Trigger, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, John Travolta, Nic Cage and finally Lana Turner. I searched everywhere for my favorite actress Lana Turner’s footprints and finally had to ask someone to consult the map.
I left the Chinese Theatre to find higher ground to see the Hollywood sign. On my way, I came across a lot of people camped out in line on Hollywood Boulevard. I asked why they were waiting out. As U2 fans had done in Denver and Seattle, these folks had also brought shoes to donate to Souls for Soul and were waiting for their free U2 tickets from the Hard Rock Cafe. I went into the Hard Rock to get my dad a pin, as he collects them, and was told that June 14, 2011 was the 40th anniversary of the Hard Rock. I finally made it up the Egyptian mall to get to a higher place to try to see the Hollywood sign, but it was very hazy and far away – at least I saw it though.
We got back on the bus and headed through West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, which is actually Route 66. We drove by the Chateau Marmont where John Belushi died and where Marilyn Monroe lived. We saw Mel’s Drive In, where the movie American Graffiti was filmed – the parking lot looks much larger in the movie. We also drove by the Viper Room and saw the corner where River Phoenix died and drove by the Whiskey and the Roxy.
Please watch my video of part 2 of my bus tour – Hollywood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nLcvwmyULs
We drove through Beverly Hills and saw the former homes of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Dr. Then we drove through Rodeo Drive and saw the most expensive car ever – $2.2M, and we drove by the Beverly Wilshire hotel. Our next stop was lunch at the Farmer’s Market, which was the first farmer’s market in the US. I had lunch at Du-par’s, which has been there since 1938. I noticed Diane Ladd was having lunch a few tables away. I snuck a picture, but it was too dark. The farmer’s market is located next door to CBS Studios, so I stood by the gate for a bit to see if I could see Maura West leaving Young and the Restless, but I didn’t see anyone.
Please watch my video of part 3 of my bus tour in Beverly Hills and the Farmer’s Market (uploading now)
Next we were off to the beaches. We drove on Santa Monica Boulevard, which is route 10 – the longest freeway in the US from the west coast to Jacksonville, Florida. We didn’t stop in Santa Monica, but drove by the Santa Monica Pier. It was cloudy at the beach, but I could still see the pier. We then stopped at Venice Beach, and what a crazy place that is. It was a crowded cement boardwalk full of street vendors, dogs, bicycles, segweys, skateboarders and roller skaters. I saw someone pass out and the ambulance came for him. I also got in the filming for a Lipton tea commercial. It was quite an eventful 45 minutes.
Please watch my video of part 4 of my bus tour – Venice Beach http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5PbZZYUS5E
The last stop of our tour was at Fisherman’s Village in Marina Del Ray, which is the largest man-made marina in the world. It was nice to smell the salt air again. I had the best strawberry milkshake there.
I really enjoyed my day touring around LA and glad I took the bus tour because it made it stress free, but it was sort of a blur. I was so concerned with getting all the pictures and videos of every hot spot in the time allotted at each place.
Please look at all of my pictures from my bus tour http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150218284079168.331187.734599167&l=626a66d4a0
Today I’m just going to stay in and relax and have dinner with an old friend later tonight. I’m taking the Saturn in tomorrow for an oil change and will probably check out downtown Disney and hopefully U2 will rehearse at the stadium tomorrow night. Then Friday and Saturday it’s U2 360!!!