Actual trip: -
See that tree? It's made of Holly Wood...
Across the street from the motel was a Subway where we had
breakfast. When you're in Los Angeles you have to check
out either Warner Studios or Universal City Studios. We
chose the latter. The studio lot is a very popular attraction
among tourists. We left the Mustang in a nearby parking
complex and entered the site. It was still early in the
day so the place wasn't too crowded yet. The first thing
we did was to have a quick look around. Naturally numerous
stores selling movie merchandise littered the place. We
visited a large music store too. It even had some Brujería!
Close to the entrance of the store, one of the DeLorean
cars from the "Back to the Future" trilogy was
displayed, and further away yet another famous car could
be admired: Kit, the intelligent Pontiac Firebird from the
popular "Knight Rider" TV-series. This car fascinated
especially Marco. There is no way to deny it, Mark. We have
it on tape!
The entire lot must have covered several square miles. Hence
we tried to coordinate our movements so we could participate
in most of the tours, which began every hour or so. We saw
the "Back Draft" attraction, a brilliant pyrotechnics
show, and took a ride "Back to the Future", a
computer simulated roller-coaster ride. The "Wild West
Show" and "Water World Show" were action
saturated, with actors doing backbreaking stunts like falling
from great heights or being blown up. Each show lasted about
15 minutes and the time was well spent.
We also went on (what seemed) an hour long guided tour of
the studio's fake neighborhoods. Naturally we didn't have
to walk around. No, we were driven in a specially designed
vehicle that consisted of three independent cars, which
were linked together. Our guide, who was a real comedian,
showed us the houses where famous actors and directors had
stayed while shooting their films. He also showed us some
more cars, like Tom Selleck's legendary Ferrari 348 from
the "Magnum" series, and the A-Team van.
At one point in time, our vehicle stopped at a small lake.
Suddenly, the waters parted in a weird, biblical way and
we drove into the pond with water towering on each side
of us. As we approached the other shore, Jaws, Spielberg's
man-eating shark, attacked us. There certainly wasn't time
to get bored on this ride! Still, the fun didn't end there.
We were taken into what seemed to be a subway station. Without
warning an earthquake shook our vehicle and the roof above
us collapsed, sending a large fuel truck hurdling towards
us. It hit a concrete barrier and exploded right in front
of us. Meanwhile, on the other side of our sightseeing bus,
a wall of water came rushing down a stairway. That was rather
intense! As we drove out of the subway station, we encountered
King Kong, who was having a bad day. The gigantic animated
monkey was roaring and blowing steam at us even though we
didn't try to mess with it in any way.
Also, we had the dubious pleasure of crossing an unstable
bridge. Not surprisingly it collapsed the exact moment we
had reached the other side.
We passed a reflecting pool with a large fake background.
According to our guide this was the place pop group "TLC"
had shot their video called "Waterfalls". Finally
we saw the set of a new Schwarzenegger movie ("Jingle
all the Way") but unfortunately none of us got to see
Arnold in the flesh.
It was mid-afternoon before we got our lunch. By this time
the place was becoming crowdy so after a final visit to
the souvenir shop, we decided to leave at around 6 PM. It
had been a very entertaining day indeed.
That evening Marco wanted to visit one of the dance-places
in LA. According to our guidebook there were several to
choose from. The first, however, was closed so we went to
the next one on the list. This club was situated in a poorly
lit neighborhood and it was strange that so few people were
entering the establishment. We locked the car and went to
the entrance and were confronted by the doorman who kindly
informed us that it was "Gay Night". We were out
of there so fast we must have left vapor trails!
Mark's enthusiasm had plummeted dramatically so instead
of looking for more clubs we toured Mulholland Drive, a
famous road above LA with excellent scenic lookout points.
We had the road to ourselves and stopped frequently to get
pictures and video footage of the twinkling lights of Los
Day 01: Leaving NC
Day 02: Tupelo, MS
Day 03: Henryetta, OH
Day 04: Roswell, NM
Day 05: Flagstaff, AZ
Day 06: Las Vegas, NV
Day 07: Victorville,
Day 08: Long
Day 09: Los Angeles, CA
Day 10: Thousand Oakes, CA
Day 11: Malibu, CA
Day 12: Lompoc, CA
Day 13: Lompoc, CA
Day 14: Palo Alto, CA
Day 15: Palo Alto, CA
Day 16: Fallon, NV
Day 17: Escalante, UT
Day 18: Grand Junction, CO
Day 19: Lafayette, CO
Day 20: Colby, KS
Day 21: St. Louis, MO
Day 22: Knoxville, TN
Day 23: Burlington, NC
Epilogue: Author's notes