November 30, 2022

California, Here We Come! (National Parks Trip #3)

This post represents another installment in the series documenting our West Coast National Parks trip in the summer of 2017.  Alan and I, along with our 18 year old daughter, Kyra, logged a total of 8,513 memorable miles of adventure over the course of five and a half weeks during the months of July and August.

The morning of Day #9 on this epic journey to the west coast found us hitching up at Lake Mead RV Village in Boulder City, Nevada.  After our quick stop in Las Vegas, we were ready to continue our westward journey.  There we were, more than a week on the road already, and we still hadn’t come close to a National Park.  That would change soon but, first, a stop in the City of Angels.

When our kids were young, I planned all of our vacation itineraries.  Now that it’s just Alan and me traveling together, the same holds true.  Since Kyra was 18 on this west coast trip, her suggestions were thrown into the mix.  While the main purpose of our extended journey was to visit National Parks along the west coast, certainly there was much to see and do along the way.  Working with a limited time frame, we did the best we could, fitting in as many experiences and attractions as possible.  It proved to be a rather eclectic trip, as Los Angeles was one of the few “must do” stops on Kyra’s list.

Westbound through southern California

Where in the heck were we going to find a campground around Los Angeles?!  As it turns out, I came upon The Californian RV Resort in Acton, California, and it looked like a good fit for our brief, overnight stay.  (I just checked – it’s currently enjoying a rating of 8.0 out of 10 stars on CampgroundReviews.com.)  We rolled out of Boulder City, Nevada, that morning with the address of The Californian in our Garmin GPS.  Between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, we had been hoping, hoping, hoping to connect with my childhood friend and her husband, whom I had contacted well before our trip.  Janine and I grew up next door to each other and just a year or two apart.  She and Tom were married exactly one week before Alan and I were, and it had been decades since they had moved to California and we had last seen them.  Lady Luck wasn’t on our side, though.  Janine and Tom already had vacation plans with their kids and grandkids, and we knew they would be out of town as we passed through Apple Valley.

The Californian RV Resort in Acton - that's us, second from the left

We did find another way to inject a little fun into our travel day, and a stop at Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner in Yermo, California, was planned.  Tiny Yermo (population 1,082), is in the middle of nowhere, and we decided that Peggy Sue’s was probably the main employer in town.  The diner is situated on a huge lot, so truck drivers, bus drivers and RVers are assured of ample parking any time of the day or night.  With the thermometer hitting 106 degrees as we traveled through this hot, dry area of California, the A/C and cold drinks at Peggy Sue’s provided as much comfort as our meals did.

"Get in Here" - love it!

The 50’s theme was carried through to the menu, which offered traditional diner fare such as burgers, sandwiches, shakes and pies.  The creatively named offerings brought smiles to our faces – the Patti Page Patty Melt, the Tina Turner Tuna Sandwich, the I Love Lucy Cream Pie and my personal favorite, the Mickey Mouse Club Sandwich.  Not only did I think the name of the sandwich was a clever play on words, but I vaguely remember my big brother watching the Mickey Mouse Club when the show aired in the 1950’s.  Let’s hear it for M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

The most, uh, charming thing about the d├ęcor at Peggy Sue’s wasn’t the Elvis fortune teller, but the unusual vignette in the ladies’ room that was guaranteed to startle every female guest who entered it.  When Kyra returned from a trip to the restroom, she told me I had to make a visit.  So, I did.  And this is what I found.

It was frighteningly realistic!

Within just a couple of hours of leaving Peggy Sue’s, we checked in at The Californian, dropped off the travel trailer and headed into Los Angeles.  Our destination was the corner of Hollywood and Vine – the location of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A man by the name of E. M. Stuart, the volunteer President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, is credited with the idea of creating a Walk of Fame in 1953.  Although it took a number of years to organize and obtain approval for the project, construction began on the Walk of Fame in February of 1960.  It was dedicated in November of 1960 in conjunction with the Hollywood Christmas Parade.  The project was actually completed in the spring of 1961; at the time, it had 1,558 stars.  Tomorrow (December 1, 2022), actor Billy Porter will be honored with the 2,741st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bob Hope has four stars on the Walk of Fame; this one is the star for Live Performance.

Stars added to the Walk of Fame are honored in at least one of five categories – Radio, Motion Pictures, Recording, Television and Live Performance.  To date, Gene Autry is the only celebrity with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to be honored in all five categories.  Personally – and with all due respect to Mr. Autry - I think Champion, the Wonder Horse, should have his own star on the Walk of Fame.  That hasn’t happened yet, but hope springs eternal.  After all, according Gene Autry’s official website, not only did Champion receive thousands of fan letters each month, but he was awarded equal billing with Gene above the leading ladies on the movie posters advertising their films.

After a quick run up Mulholland Drive for a breathtaking view of the city lights, we once again braved the LA freeway traffic to return to The Californian RV Resort, less than an hour away.  It was a long day and a late night, but we walked with and under the stars on the Walk of Fame, and enjoyed a slice of Hollywood history that dates back more than fifty years.

Day #10 will finally find us on our way to our first National Parks on the west coast.  Come join us as we visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks!

 

10 comments:

  1. Very informative, Mary. It was a bit of a letdown, however, to find out I didn't know just about everything. (Only child syndrome.) I'll swear you need to plan our trips...

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    1. Do you mean that I may have actually taught you a thing or two? Oh, I am so impressed with myself! Mike, I'm not sure if my style of travel planning is a blessing or a curse. It's definitely an affliction. There are hazards to the inclination to believe that no piece of travel trivia is too obscure.

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  2. Mary, I love that you asked Kyra what she wanted to do on your cross-country trip, and that you accommodated her desire to see Los Angeles in your National Parks Grand Tour. I remember when my sister and I were young, our family made a cross-country trip from Florida (mostly visiting national parks). We wanted to go to Disneyland, and my folks took us there. Great memories, 50 years later!

    I'll bet you never expected to see that cowboy in the restroom at the diner, haha! He really does look realistic!

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    1. At least Kyra had clued me in to the fact that something unusual was going on in the restroom. If I had just walked in on my own, I would have thought I went in the wrong door and raced right back out. I'll bet that's happened on more than one occasion there!

      It was thanks to Kyra that we made stops in both Los Angeles and San Francisco while we were in California. Alan and I are not particularly enthusiastic urban travelers, and we had a lot of National Parks on our list to visit. Kyra is probably more adventurous with her city explorations than the two of us put together. That being said, even though it was a brief visit, we all had a great time!

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  3. Mary,
    I loved the pictures (and the bathroom trip), but most of all, thanks for the information on the Californian. We're going to California in February to visit our kids and we always stop in Las Vegas on the way home. This might make a perfect place to stop on the way there. I learn so much from my blogger buddies. Have a great weekend. Joe

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    1. Always happy to help, Joe! I pick up so many good tips from fellow bloggers that it feels good when I can actually return the favor. The campgrounds along the way and between National Parks on this trip were a combination of public (our preference) and private (our fall back) and mostly all about location, location, location. If we plan to visit Los Angeles in the future, I'd stay at The Californian without hesitation. Although we were only there briefly, I really enjoyed the view of the mountains out our dinette window!

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  4. Peggy Sue's Diner is a must-stop when we travel Highway 15 to Las Vegas or beyond. I usually order the works... hamburger, french fires, and a vanilla malt. Yum! Besides the food, you mentioned two of my other favorites: the Elvis fortune teller and the... ummm... gentleman in the ladies room. Did you get out back to see the dinosaurs?

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    1. Dinosaurs? There are dinosaurs at the diner and we somehow managed to miss them?! I'm getting the feeling that, apparently, there is nothing that cannot happen at Peggy Sue's. Janis, I think it's neat that the diner is a favorite of yours! Who would have thought?!

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  5. Yes, dinosaurs and a gorilla, if I remember right. And ducks... but those are real :)

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    1. Hmm. Now I'm thinking this place should be called Peggy Sue's Diner & Menagerie!

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