A magical week in LA before returning north


Wow, what a full week this has been!

Happy post-eclipse, for any of you reading who may have been able to view all or part of it. I was slightly disappointed to have not been able to travel to a “totality” destination (especially since I just missed totality on the last eclipse—I went to work at my job in Portland rather than taking the day off to travel to Salem) but I am grateful that LA had at least a partial eclipse, and that the weather was clear and sunny to allow us to enjoy it.

But let me back up a bit:

When I left you last week, I was bidding a fond farewell to San Diego.

The following morning, I bicycled from my Pacific Beach sit to San Diego’s Old Town Transit Center, where I boarded the northbound Coaster train to Carlsbad. I stayed the night in a Carlsbad hotel, and then in the morning my friend Daniela picked me up in her tiny-and-packed-to-the-gills yellow Fiat. At first, we weren’t sure how we would be able to fit my whole rig in the car, but where there’s a will (and a bike rack!) there’s a way. In short order, we were headed north.

She dropped me off at my cousin Nathalie’s place in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, near Pasadena. Daniela then continued north on her epic road trip back to Portland. (I’m sure I’ll see her there soon!)

For my part, I had a free day, and Nathalie wouldn’t be home from work until the evening, so I took the opportunity to get my bike repaired at an awesome Brompton-certified bike shop, Just Ride L.A. The shop is downtown, but after about a ten-minute fully downhill bike ride, I was able to catch a bus that took me the rest of the seven miles to the shop.

I was really impressed with Just Ride L.A. They had more Bromptons available on the shelf than any other Brompton shop I’ve seen.

Not only that, but when I mentioned to the employee, Danny, that I happened to have a friend in LA with a Brompton, he said, “What’s her name? It’s a small community!” When I mentioned her name, he told me that he had a brand-new purple 12-speed Brompton on hold for her, ready for her to pick up the very next day! He even showed me a photo of the bike. Clearly, these folks care about their customers.

I needed a specific repair, since a piece of the rear fender had fallen off the bike(!) while I was riding down Nimitz Blvd. in San Diego a couple weeks ago. However, Danny told me that he could save me some money on the labor for that repair—and the usual one-week wait they have for service—if I would allow them to do a full tuneup on the bike, with a no-charge “rush” to get it done by the end of the day, since I explained that even next-day service wouldn’t really work for my situation.

I hadn’t budgeted the time nor money for this, but I had to admit that the bike was due for a tuneup, and getting it done before my return to rainy Portland sounded good.

So I pivoted my plans for the day, and dropped off the bike for a few hours. He even gave me a loaner Brompton, so I could enjoy tooling around downtown LA, which I had never done before.

Of course I had to visit the legendary LA vegan doughnut shop, Donut Friend, where I enjoyed a hazelnut-cream glazed doughnut that was amazing.

After that, I visited several downtown pocket parks, all of which impressed me with their lush beauty amidst the urban pavement and auto traffic.

That evening, Nathalie and I enjoyed a catchup talk on her balcony, over a dinner of incredible sandwiches she treated me to from Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher. (I had been dreaming of that place since my last visit, more than a year ago. If you find yourself in LA, go! They have two locations.)

The following afternoon, it was time to ride my freshly tuned bike and its trusty trailer from Highland Park to my new cat sit in Los Feliz, just south of Griffith Park. It was a gorgeous day for the move (my rain curse was finally broken!) and I was pleased to find that most of the nine miles were on car-free bike paths.

There was a steady climb at the end, but I made it to my destination in time to meet the host momentarily, and receive the keys in person.

And this sit has been everything I dreamed it would be. What a wonderful way to spend my week in LA, and my final week in SoCal for the season.

The condo was built in 1976, and it has a wonderful feel I probably can’t convey in words. For me, it evokes Simon and Garfunkel’s The Dangling Conversation (although that was released ten years prior) in the best possible way. It is spacious yet warm-feeling, light-filled yet cozy, full of lush plants and midcentury furnishings… this space is definitely one of my favorites from the past year and a half I have been cat sitting, and I hope I can come back sometime.

And the cat!

Ellie was one of the sweetest and easiest-to-care-for cats I’ve sat for… but her facial expressions have often been comically surly! (Her people have assured me that this is her standard demeanor.) I hope you’ll indulge me; I can’t help sharing an extensive gallery of her scowls, but also snuggles and flops. It will be hard to say goodbye to her tomorrow.

While I’ve been in this place, I have been out and about exploring the city, too. I went back to the OsteoStrong in Studio City, enjoying classic subway views along the way.

Then yesterday, I took a spur-of-the-moment trip out to Pasadena, to meet a man who had contacted me after stumbling across my blog.

Peter lives in a sort of ad-hoc community in Altadena, largely tied to a classic (40-year-old!) vegan grocery store and cafe. Sadly, the store was closed when I visited, since the proprietor was taking a short medical leave. (I wish I could have met him, because he sounds like an amazing person.)

But I had a good chat with Peter, and got to meet a few of his housemates, one of whom was a turtle named Slider!

It was another gloriously sunny day, so we all enjoyed the front yard while we talked about community, traveling, and bicycles.

Then today, I had another spontaneous adventure when I made my way up to the Griffith Observatory lawn to take in the partial eclipse. I took the bus partway, then walked up seemingly endless flights of neighborhood stairs until I reached the dusty path upward to the observatory.

Along the way, I met another interesting man, Shin, who has lived in LA most of his life since arriving from Japan with his family in 1979. Shin had his adorable dog Percy with him, as well as some mats for sitting on the ground. Neither he nor I had managed to find eclipse glasses to bring (I had visited five optometrists’ offices yesterday afternoon, to no avail) but I was relieved to discover once we arrived that the gift shop was indeed selling them, despite their website’s warning that they would not be available today.

It was really cool to hang out on the observatory lawn, with probably a few hundred other people, for about two hours, and watch the moon slowly take a bite out of the sun. It only obscured about half of it, so we didn’t get cold or dark, but it was still surreal to experience.

The descent from the observatory afterward provided the incredible view of the city I had seen for the first time about a month ago, when I did a sit in Burbank, and had a magical meeting with a new friend at the observatory.

Tomorrow morning, I will rise early and bicycle about seven and a half miles to LA’s Union Station, to board the train back to Portland. (No rain in the forecast on either end—fingers crossed that holds!)

As always, I’m looking forward to the journey. I’m also feeling incredibly full and joyful from this past wonderful week, and these past wonderful two months in California. I’m so proud and grateful to have manifested about half of my original plan from twelve years ago, to live in San Diego from December through March. Maybe I can manifest that fully next year. For now, I’m excited to spend the next six months in my beloved Portland.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons, contributors, and godfunders!)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *