Swimming in the Pacific Ocean for the first time then dodging Lamborginies and Farraries, Bentleys and Benzes; through the streets of LA I race. Seeing the Hollywood sign provokes intense jubilation. Though I could never reside in this reality, this city has captured my heart.
For the last few days, I have been in Los Angeles, California. Someone special arranged for me to stay with a friend. For three nights, their apartment served as a basecamp for me to explore the city and prepare to cross the border. Thank you Matthew and Sarah! Sarah, it was a pleasure meeting you. I used this time to order new supplies. A tent and battery pack are waiting for me near San Diego at the home of a fellow tourers father. I also downloaded maps for Central America and had my front derailleur fixed at a local bike shop. Yesterday, I planned to escape this sprawling metropolis but its gravity was to large.
In an apartment in downtown LA, I awoke yesterday morning with every intention of resuming my ride south. Instead, I worked, explored, and slept in Hollywood in front of the infamous sign. I decided I must see Hollywood Blvd, and the stars in the pavement, before departing the city. Then, heeding the siren call of those very large letters, I turned north for the sign. I climbed steep hills and ignored road blocks. I passed Mercedes limousines and extra fancy houses. I was on a mission. I reached the top of the hill. I dismounted and walked up a sandy ridge and I captured a selfie with the Hollywood sign. I was as close to the sign as I could get. Or so I though.
Descending the mountain a resident invited me to hang out. Guy and his Buddy Eddie informed me of a road that terminates above the Hollywood sign. I followed their instuction and pedaled to the top. The area is fenced off with cameras, razor wire fences, and security. It is now almost impossible to climb a letter. When I returned to Guy’s house to get my gear he put me to work. He had trees in need of a prune and a tree guy at hand. I free climbed into the canopies with his tools and spent two hours at work in trees overlooking the iconic image: HOLLYWOOD. I have experienced breathtaking vistas atop trees in Pittsburgh, PA. They pale in comparison to the view from this random job. It was an experience I will never forget.
The job completed I hung out on the carport turned patio. After sunset, with the nearly full moon illuminating the trail, we hiked nine miles (roundtrip) to the summit of Mount Hollywood. I was here earlier, though not at night. The view is 360 degrees of LA chaos. Amazing… I’m sitting here now. I left Guy’s this morning at 6am, dodged coyotes, and watched the sunrise from this vista. Yes, life is very good.
A special shout-out to the folks at Bike Kitchen, a nonprofit coop for working on and building bikes. Here I trued my rear wheel and met some awesome people. It is LA’s version of Pittsburgh’s Freeride. It is an incredible place.