03 December 2016

So Cal trip Day 1: Family Grave markers, Hollywood

Up early, but took longer to be on my way, about 0730hrs, than had hoped for. Texted to my long distance travel contact, Christine Bentley-Johnston, and couple of other people. Drove down via I 5. One thing that always gets me is how mountainous Southern California is and lots of houses on the mountainsides. Sure main part of LA is in valley, but so much in foothills and further into the mountains.  

Arrived at first stop, Mountain View Cemetery Altadena, about 1400hrs. There were a couple of gentlemen at the gate to direct people to a funeral and were able to provided me the map and info I needed to find the Rice plots. 

The map has ‘street names’, there are however no street signs. One must follow the curves of street and count intersections. I found the plots for the Rice family in two different rows. Virgil and Eleanor are feet to feet, not next to each other. I was a little stiff from driving and couldn’t clean off  the markers very well. I took some pictures of just the markers and then wider views of the area. There are trees nearby, so they are in shaded area. Went back to front gate area and took pictures there, before leaving for next stop.

There was some traffic on last part of drive through the pass and increased as got closer to more populated area. It was interesting finding Glendale Forest Lawn, there was more traffic and I was less sure of the exact way to get there. 

It was even more interesting trying to find the Lloyd plots. Glendale Forest Lawn is bigger than Mountain View cemetery. I was given two maps, one of the whole place and a section map with just the section with plot location. The small section map had no context on it, no street name or anything, just the way the road curved. There are no clear markers on the grounds to see where the sections are. There are no street name signs, just signs pointing out where this/that statue/stained glass window is. When finally figured out where the map was directing me and got there – it did not fit with my memory at all. Getting old and it was 1995, but still not close to memory. Looked more closely at the map and the plot number was different from what I had given the lady at the gate, one number was switched.

There was an exhibit of Disney art in the museum, so I thought I would try to find the museum before going back to front gate to get map with correct plot number. The museum did show up on the direction signs at two intersections. However, I never did find it; perhaps the museum building does not have a sign in front and I just drove pass without realizing it. I was really getting frustrated. I know how to use maps. I rarely get lost. I was having difficult time at Glendale Forest Lawn with their maps. It was getting late and I wanted to get to hotel before dark which comes too early at this time of year. I found my way to the front gate and went inside and got correct plot number map. She turned her computer screen around so I could see the context. There was still some difficulty locating the correct area without clearly visible section markers. Finally found the two plots while wearing the wrong shoes to be walking on a hill. Got my pictures and headed out to find the hotel.

I made the mistake of letting my local contact know I was at Glendale Forest Lawn when I first got there, that started exchange of texts about meeting up that evening. After all the frustration of locating plots, I was reluctant to agree, just wanted to get to room and kinda crash. While driving to hotel my roommate texted that she was there and we had a wonderful view.

The traffic was getting worse with people leaving work. The street maps I had did not cover the area from cemetery to hotel. I had to kind of put it together from the bigger area maps. Stress rising. Traffic getting heavier and less forgiving of tourist that doesn’t know where she is exactly or exactly how to get to where she needs to be. Trying to get to hotel when said I would. Did I mention the TRAFFIC? And still getting texts about meeting up with folks…I did not read while driving only when stopped at lights. They don’t have protected left turns…how backwards is this strange place? I managed to retain enough cool and not tell the coordinator to jump off a bridge and just let me get to hotel before asking anything more from me. My sense of direction and filling in the missing part of map had returned and I found the hotel. Only to realize I had not checked map or hotel info on where entrance was. Drove one block past and made left turns until found entrance. I would have been happy dancing if not so tired. 

At the time this was nearing overwhelming stress, but I did see some humor in the situation as well, even more of that now as looking back. I hope that humor comes through in my words at least a little bit.

Valet parking, no option, horrors! doing without easy and immediate access to my car! Got stuff needed unloaded and got checked in. Room did have a great view – Chinese Theater across the street. Nice to see Sharon again. Got a text that Jack Morrissey had arrived with some FTF folks. Went down and got my catalogs from him as I opted to save shipping cost. Greeted the FTF folks. Invited to dinner, opted out – didn’t want to drive, couldn’t wait that long for food, wanted less expensive option. The wait that long was prime consideration, felt needed food and rather soon. Took about 30 minutes to get settled a little in room and Sharon and I went out on foot to hunt for food.  Headed toward a McDonald’s but saw Mel’s Diner down half a block. We both had a nice dinner there. We caught up, talked about the upcoming auction and what we wanted. Back to room and bed early. 

01 December 2016

Southern California Trip November 2016: Preparation

I wanted to visit Southern California last year with the big Disneyland anniversary. Visiting relatives - living and dead - and some friends was also on my list. There were some sights that I wanted to see as well and take pictures with digital camera. Just as well it didn't happen last year. There was a Twilight event in Hollywood 19-20 November that I attended. That event prompted the timing of the trip. I wasn't sure how that timing around Thanksgiving would work with relatives and friends, but it worked out. Also gave me the opportunity to possibly attend LosCon this year. 

There was a closed group set up on Facebook for those interested in the Twilight event. I made some comments about other things to do in area if arrive early or staying late. One of them was touring around Griffith Park on Friday the day before the event. A couple of people responded that they were interested in joining me but weren't sure about the timing until closer to event. 

I looked into the attractions at Griffith Park, specifically the Observatory and the golf courses. Turns out there are four (4) golf courses in Griffith Park. One of them was used to film the meadow scene in Twilight movie. I investigated each golf course and info that I could find on the filming site. All I could find with some help from Karen Mah was Redwood area on the course. We narrowed it down to two most likely ones. I finally called and talked to Emily, Wilson golf course has the area. She wasn't personally aware that a scene from Twilight was filmed there. She suggested when I visited to talk to the guys at the golf cart and could get a ride out. Happy Dancing! 

Found the cemeteries where my grandparents are buried and plot numbers on the web site "Find a Grave". Decided it would be most efficient to stop at those places on way to Hollywood;  Altadena and Glendale are a bit north of Hollywood. That would mean getting up and early start on day I leave. 

Also looked at hotels in Hollywood and Anaheim. Jack Morrissey recommended The Roosevelt or Lowes for those attending the Twilight event, as close to the event and nice. Looked at those, no way I could afford alone or even with a roommate really. There are some other chain ones close by. A friend offered to pay the over-my-budget-cost of staying at the Roosevelt. Amazing and so generous! Decided to wait for motel reservation in Anaheim. 

There was a roommate thread in the event closed group. I posted that there was an extra bed in my room. Sharon Lottes took me up on the offer. Help defray the cost to me and my generous friend. Met Sharon at the first Twilight event I attended, Stephenie Meyer Days September 2013. It would be nice to see and spend some time with her. 

Printed out some maps to get me to the cemeteries and Roosevelt and I was ready. 

This is first of five or six posts about my recent trip to Southern California 17 to 27 November.