11 December 2016

So Cal trip day 5: Elvis' Star and Tar Pits

Monday, 21 November, was day to move on after the Twilight Saga Auction. I invited my roommate, Sharon Lottes, to join me on my adventure to find Elvis’ star on Hollywood Walk of Fame and then to the La Brae Tar Pits and Los Angeles County Museum of Art and whatever other fun we could find. 

We woke and got ready, ie packed, with plenty of time to find Elvis’ star before checking out of hotel. We checked on line at HWF site for location, the address seemed far away if numbers went the usual way. Sharon did a google search and came up with different answer. Her answer was closer, so off we went. It wasn’t there. We asked a local merchant and was told that his star had been moved to the start of the HWF. So we walked in other direction and walked by the front of the Chinese Theater finding the slab with the Twilight Stars hand and foot prints. Walking further on we found Elvis’ star! Took pictures for a friend. Returning to the hotel to check out and load up car.

Sharon used her phone map app to give me directions to the Tar Pits. It was nice to have a navigator on board. She has been there before and really likes the museum and grounds. She has a reciprocating museum pass, so had free passes to get in. Thank you for sharing that! The parking however was not free and nearly full, we did luck out with a convenient spot. We had already driven around the block and street parking was all taken. It was interesting driving around it though. Kind of a preview of the grounds.

I remember reading about the tar pits when I was younger and reading a lot books about archaeology and archaeologists. My parents both grew up in Pasadena and on one visit to the area I wanted to go see the tar pits. We didn’t go. Found out why on this visit. 

The big tar lake has some sculptures around it showing animals trapped, one is of mother in the tar pit and her baby on stable ground. Sad to see even as sculptures. You can see the bubbles in the lake in several places. There were other spots in the parking lot area and around the grounds that are fenced off to protect people from getting stuck. There are some buildings around some active digs, well active in the summer when hot enough to soften the tar so they can work on it.

One fenced in area had nearly a couple dozen huge crates – Project 23. These were taken out of ground after the fossils were found when digging for a new parking structure. Nice way to compromise between the archaeology community and the building people. They now have 23 crates to work on year round and it takes about a year to go through a crate. There are informative signs all around the buildings and the big tar lake. One mentioned the Page museum being built in 1977. We had visited family in the area in the mid 1960’s, so there would not have been much to see around the tar pits if we had visited. 

As part of the grounds walk we included the area around the LA County Museum of Art. There is a sculpture garden, mainly Rodan’s work. Not my taste. A collection and display of old street lamp posts was outside. Interesting. Different sizes and shapes. Then there is this big boulder sitting across a trench in the back of the main art building. Have no idea what that is all about. We opted out of the special exhibit of Guillermo del Toro in the American Art building. Instead we headed to see inside the Page museum. 

The Page Museum is an interesting structure. Square and mostly underground. Open atrium in middle with just a grid over the roof area. There are stairs on one side to climb up to roof and down to front door. Inside was fascinating. The museum store is front and center just behind ticket area. First stop is a green screen picture opportunity. We said sure why not. Three different poses for $25, pick up at the end. Fun. 

Lots of skeletons, a few recreated scenes, one with mastodon moving and sound effects. My personal intense interests in archaeology had waned as I grew older, but still interested. There was a viewing room to watch technicians work. That day they were going through some debris looking for microfossils. Interesting. Not sure how they see the difference from sand or whatever and the microfossil. There was a film show to watch, we didn’t. Picked up the pictures and decided cool enough to keep. 

Checked out the museum store….had the cutest mastodon keychain, Himalayan salt lamps on sale, and slabs of agate that struck my fancy among all the items. I’ve been looking at getting a salt lamp and was able to find one I liked. The agate slab makes up for not getting the bookends during the auction. A lot less expensive and I got to choose shape and color, so a good deal.

Jack had texted about getting together for late lunch with some others that were still in area. Timing worked out when we were done with the fossils. Back to Hollywood and Highland complex for lunch with Jack and a few other fans. It was a nice way to finish off  the Twilight adventure. He also gave me a DVD copy of Mr Holmes film signed by Bill Condon. Sweet! Thank you to Jack and Mr Condon for that. 

Burbank airport was not much out of my way to Anaheim, so I took Sharon there for her late afternoon flight home to Arizona. After my map disaster at Glendale Forest Lawn, it was nice to remember how to get to Anaheim from Burbank without going through downtown LA and traffic at 1700hrs (5pm). Ok, so I pulled into a parking lot and double checked the maps before actually hitting the freeways. Got to my Disneyland motel about 1930hrs after turning the wrong way on the street with hotels. Turns out it is the same motel I stayed at when attended the WorldCon in Anaheim in 2006. Nice big room and bathroom, free breakfast in morning, empty refrig with a freezer compartment – all my ideas of luxury hotel room. Disneyland / California Adventure the next day!

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