Swimming in the Pacific Ocean for the first time then dodging Lamborginies and Farraries, Bentleys and Benzes; through the streets of LA I race. Seeing the Hollywood sign provokes intense jubilation. Though I could never reside in this reality, this city has captured my heart.

I spent most of a day here at the observatory study the stars, the planets, the sun and even a giant pendulum that eliminated any doubt from my mind about the earth being round..
I spent most of a day here at the observatory study the stars, the planets, the sun and even a giant pendulum that eliminated any doubt from my mind about the earth being round..
At the top of Mount Hollywood watching the sunrise.
At the top of Mount Hollywood watching the sunrise.

For the last few days, I have been in Los Angeles, California. Someone special arranged for me to stay with a friend. For three nights, their apartment served as a basecamp for me to explore the city and prepare to cross the border. Thank you Matthew and Sarah! Sarah, it was a pleasure meeting you. I used this time to order new supplies. A tent and battery pack are waiting for me near San Diego at the home of a fellow tourers father. I also downloaded maps for Central America and had my front derailleur fixed at a local bike shop. Yesterday, I planned to escape this sprawling metropolis but its gravity was to large.

In an apartment in downtown LA, I awoke yesterday morning with every intention of resuming my ride south. Instead, I worked, explored, and slept in Hollywood in front of the infamous sign. I decided I must see Hollywood Blvd, and the stars in the pavement, before departing the city. Then, heeding the siren call of those very large letters, I turned north for the sign. I climbed steep hills and ignored road blocks. I passed Mercedes limousines and extra fancy houses. I was on a mission. I reached the top of the hill. I dismounted and walked up a sandy ridge and I captured a selfie with the Hollywood sign. I was as close to the sign as I could get. Or so I though.

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Hollywood Blvd.

Descending the mountain a resident invited me to hang out. Guy and his Buddy Eddie informed me of a road that terminates above the Hollywood sign. I followed their instuction and pedaled to the top. The area is fenced off with cameras, razor wire fences, and security. It is now almost impossible to climb a letter. When I returned to Guy’s house to get my gear he put me to work. He had trees in need of a prune and a tree guy at hand. I free climbed into the canopies with his tools and spent two hours at work in trees overlooking the iconic image: HOLLYWOOD. I have experienced breathtaking vistas atop trees in Pittsburgh, PA. They pale in comparison to the view from this random job. It was an experience I will never forget.

The job completed I hung out on the carport turned patio. After sunset, with the nearly full moon illuminating the trail, we hiked nine miles (roundtrip) to the summit of Mount Hollywood. I was here earlier, though not at night. The view is 360 degrees of LA chaos. Amazing… I’m sitting here now. I left Guy’s this morning at 6am, dodged coyotes, and watched the sunrise from this vista. Yes, life is very good.

A special shout-out to the folks at Bike Kitchen, a nonprofit coop for working on and building bikes. Here I trued my rear wheel and met some awesome people. It is LA’s version of Pittsburgh’s Freeride. It is an incredible place.

The view of the sign over the house where I slept.
The view of the sign over the house where I slept.
How do you check the fuel level on this thing?
How do you check the fuel level on this thing?
On the patio where I slept.
On the patio where I slept.

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The view from the patio.
The view from the patio.

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