Hillbilly heading to LA
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Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/19/2013 15:20:19 MST Print View

I am heading to LA next week. My son has an interview for a scholarship at USC and I get to go with him. Being from Kentucky, I feel a bit like I'm in the theme song for "the Beverly Hillbillies". Regardless, I will have a little time on my own as he is spending the night and a day on campus without me. I know there's a lot of southern Californians here. I'm hoping to get some advice on day hikes or other things to do in the area. Any advice is appreciated.

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F - M

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/19/2013 18:55:43 MST Print View

Hiking Griffith Park / Hollywood Hills Sign, on the way you can see the Batcave form the TV series.
Will Rogers State Park – lots of trails/fireroads there through the Santa Monica Mountains
Venice Beach – LA at its weirdest; a place that you won’t soon forget. It’s not hiking, but it is an experience.
Hollywood Walk of Stars – Like Venice Beach, an LA oddity that you’ll never forget
California Science Center – If you can get tickets, they have the Space Shuttle on exhibit
The Getty Museum and the Getty Villa are great museums

BTW, the area around USC isn’t exactly the safest area so be careful where you go.
Also, everything that you may have heard about traffic is true. A smart phone with mapping functions will; be a great benefit.

Best regards - Jon

Edited by jonfong on 02/19/2013 20:01:44 MST.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/19/2013 19:02:00 MST Print View

You'll fit right in. Most in LA are from somewhere else. Traffic is otherworldly. I'm sure you'll get some good offers/suggestions.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Joshua Tree? on 02/19/2013 19:21:00 MST Print View

If you have the time, and it seems like you might, try driving out to Joshua Tree, camping (or do a Motel 6 - it's about the same thing!), and hiking around some desert unlike anything in Kentucky!

If you want snow, drive to Palm Springs and take the tram up to San Jacinto - be aware that it's high altitude (9-10,000 ft), snow, and you'll likely need snowshoes, mini-crampons, and full winter gear! See the "Winter in Southern California" thread here for some photos, etc.

There are numerous sites along the coast that will give you a nice ocean side hike. If you want to see what SoCal mountains are like, but San Jacinto seems too much, drive to Chantry Flats, and hike out from there.

All these places have maps and info on the net - and I'm sure any of us here in SoCal would be glad to answer any questions by PM. Some of us might even have time available to do a bit of guiding!

Have a great time while you're here!

Edited by grampa on 02/19/2013 19:21:41 MST.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
LA area hikes on 02/19/2013 19:40:18 MST Print View

If you want to hike near the coast and have the potential for ocean views, consider some of the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation area. It starts around Malibu and heads up the coast for about 30 miles and a few miles inland, lots of various trailheads along the way. Also lots of nice beaches around there.

If you wanted to get away from LA, you could head farther north toward Ventura or Santa Barbara (about 1-2 hours north). Lots of nice day hikes with ocean views and options for longer overnight hikes in Los Padres NF. There's closer national forests to LA, but I don't have any experience with them.

Feel free to send a PM if you think of heading north.

Oh, and take everyone's word about LA traffic... I try to avoid passing through there as much as possible.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/19/2013 20:55:02 MST Print View

I live in Palm Springs which is also close to Joshua Tree. That area was recommended by someone else. It is about a 120 mile drive one way from USC. There is SO much to do in LA.

Right next door to USC is the LA County Museum of Natural History. That alone could take a few days to really explore. Do a Google search -- you might be surprised. There are other museums close by too.

Check out the LA Music Center (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, and Ahmanson Theater, and Walt Disney Concert Hall).

Or ditch the kid and go to Disneyland :)

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/19/2013 21:24:19 MST Print View

When you get to socal, pick up from AAA a hiking book, such as Jerry Schad's 101 hikes in Southern California, another good author is Allen Riedel, and there is another guy...

Also look on Localhikes.com

Depends on how many miles you want and terrain, I'm guessing you are not doing ice trail and mountaineering.
Look into Point Mugu, or topanga canyon, its on the far edge of the map. You can also look into the south bay, by Malaga Cove, Portugese Bend, Del Cerro park

USC. Gangland and ghetto. I avoid it.

I recommend Orange County (aka Orange Curtain)
Whiting Ranch
O'neil regional park
Casper park
Ocparks.com

Its raining today and tomorrow, so El Morro Canyon will be muddy.

Icehouse canyon in Mt Baldy is very popular, 200 cars full by 8am, it will be icy and cold.

Look into the Santa Monica mountains, or Las Virgenes by Mulhulland and the Palissades, that's Pepperdine Malibu area.

Another popular zoo is Switzer Falls trail.

Griffith observatory is free, and outside people hike to the Hollywood sign, it's a tourist thing

don't forget about the LA BREA Tar pits. how often do you see dinosaur (sabertooth) bones preserved in sludge. Nature stinks. hard to believe that the tar pits are active and bubbling, and they still dig out a few hundred well preserved predators and prey. A mammoth too. Note there are two separate areas. The city of Brea (not that one) - you want "La Brea" tar pits.

Edited by RogerDodger on 02/20/2013 09:20:41 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 07:49:29 MST Print View

I went to USC but a long time ago - yeah, lots of bad areas, you have to be careful

LA is a big area and takes a long time to drive across - traffic can be horrible - so you probably want to stay close to wherever you are

That hike out of Malibu is good if you're on that side of the city

San Gabrial Mountains are good - maybe something on the LA side like Chantry Flat or Fern Canyon. Or go up highway 2 but there's probably snow at some point - nice Sierras type granite

Griffith Park?

Santa Monica to Venice along the beach - just for culture shock?

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 09:34:32 MST Print View

Thanks for all the advice and offers. Based on the short length of my trip, I'll likely stay relatively close to the city. You've given me some good options. Hopefully he'll get a good deal at USC and I will have a good excuse to go back for some longer trips. I have stepped in the Sierras and the California deserts a little, but would like to do some longer trips.
A few of you mentioned some negatives about the USC area. Is it really that rough of a place to be? He's really interested in USC but his mother has had concerns about the neighborhood too.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 09:51:52 MST Print View

USC is a reputable school. I know many successful people that went there and didn't get mugged. The area that it's in, is a gang territory ghetto.

On the ultra yuppie side of safety, comparatively, UCI in Orange county, and Pepperdine in Malibu, are another world. Heck even Cal State Fullerton or Cal Poly Pomona have comparatively low to no crime rate.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 09:59:23 MST Print View

I think USC and maybe Occidental are the only 2 California schools he is considering, more for academic and scholarship reasons than anything. He's admitted to film school and there's really no place better for film than USC. I guess the rough neighborhood is something we'll have to take into account. He's a pretty independent kid, but don't want to send him into crossfire. I will at least get to check out the area myself while I'm there.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 10:10:29 MST Print View

I don't think rough neighborhood is a reason not to go to USC

Just keep it in mind and avoid bad areas/times

I'm sure USC administrators could give you good advice about where to go and not go

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 12:02:57 MST Print View

Your first trip to LA ?
definitely Do Not waste it on the outdoors/wilderness/mountains/desert/hiking/camping.

others have offered some great urban suggestions,
there are many others too.
LA has something for everyone.

Edited by asandh on 02/20/2013 12:06:58 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 12:04:05 MST Print View

Just remember to look for the adams apple.....

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 12:16:51 MST Print View

Doug, I learned that on my first trip to New Orleans. For my son, I won't ruin it for him. That's a lesson best learned by himself.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 15:04:19 MST Print View

I agree with the suggestion about the Natural History Museum and also the La Brea Tar Pits. If you leave the denim overalls home and actually wear shoes, you won't have any problems walking around USC or the neighborhood outside it during the day.

However, if you walk across the USC campus at night without a pastel-colored sweater, loosely tied over your shoulders, you're dead meat. Well, if it's burgundy with gold, they're cool with that also but don't forget to put the coins in your penny loafers, for God's sake!

To your wife's (legitimate) concern from so far away about a land you hillbillys hear is full of gangsters, hippies, wife-swappers and republicans... check this out: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-southern-california/256036-usc-neighborhood.html That will give you a good start before you walk around and get a real look.

You'll be in striking distance to check out Oxy, too, so I suggest you head over and walk around. It's great to get a feel for colleges by being on campus during the week and going in and sitting through a large-hall lecture class (nobody cares, and you can always just tell the prof you're shopping her school) to see what the school is really like. Eat lunch on campus in the commons, around students!

If you really do want to hike, I also concur in the suggestions above for the Hollywood Sign/Bat Cave and both Topanga Canyon and Sycamore Cyn, both from the Highway 101 side in Malibu.

Last, figure out what kind of food you'd like to try and then Google yourself some places to hit.

Edited by EBasil on 02/20/2013 15:09:04 MST.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 15:32:59 MST Print View

Don't worry, Erik. I plan on bringin' my squirrel rifle. That'll keep the gangstas away. But I don't think the boy(pretty much man, now) has a pastel sweater to tie up. Maybe we'll check out the thrift store before we go. And I don't need shoes; airport security is much faster without them.

The more you guys talk, the more I think I'll stay pretty much in the city with my limited time. A few museums and great food doesn't sound so bad. Looks like there are some decent walks not far from town too.

I was buying your line, Erik, until you said there were Republicans in California.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Griffith Observatory on 02/20/2013 15:46:26 MST Print View

+1 on hiking Griffith, and would say the observatory is totally worth a stop (free). I like going up after dark on clear nights, great views of the city.

As far as the crime in LA, I was about to say there wasn't anything to really worry about... but I think I'm maybe desensitized, because when I thought about it for a moment, I realized that there is still police tape flapping in the wind in front of my house where they found a guy dead on the sidewalk.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 15:50:26 MST Print View

"Last, figure out what kind of food you'd like to try and then Google yourself some places to hit."

Tommy's

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Re: Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 16:13:23 MST Print View

Jerry says, "Tommy's" and indeed. The one on Rampart (@ Beverly or so?) is the OG one. Also, if not from SoCal, In-N-Out burger. Those are iconic L.A. food.

Oh, but what of Phillipe's Original, across from Union Station, the literal birthplace of the "french dip sandwich" and still really, really good.

Pink's, for a really good, LA hotdog after waiting in line so long you can easily eat it.

Tito's Tacos, for the Los Angeles analog to San Diego's (Ro)-berto's chains of roadside taco dives.

The Apple Pan, burger joint, also dating way back and still true to the old form.

Lawry's, for a hunk of prime rib like the one your Dad dreamed of. Or, like Nick maybe.

FatBurger, also an LA creation now "around"

Baby Blues BBQ in Venice, new but so very LA in its stoke and breadth. Plan to wait for a seat.

Father's Office, for the burger. The burger. Just ask, they'll know.

Yeah, been skipping lunch. Anyway, those are a few of the famous LA joints, but the place is a metropolis: good food abounds. Hell, even in the Valley, ha ha!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 16:37:49 MST Print View

"Jerry says, "Tommy's" and indeed. The one on Rampart (@ Beverly or so?) is the OG one"

That one has huge lines - maybe Hollywood Blvd?

In 1975 there was one in La Canada on the way to the San Gabriel Mountains

You have to develop a taste for Tommy burgers - has to be chili burger - most people would probably consider it disgusting

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
USC on 02/20/2013 16:39:06 MST Print View

I live in Los Angeles.

When are you planning to come out. Right now Mount Gorgonio and Mount San Jacinto all have snow and are about an hour drive from USC area. San Jacinto has tram that will take you up the first 8000 feet and then it's a short 5 miles to the top, well worth doing.
Lots of big trees and mountain air.

http://www.pstramway.com/

If you want to hike up to Mount Gorgonio (old greyback) then take the trail to dry lake, it's another 5 mile trip.

If you want to walk along the ocean there is a bike path from Santa Monica pier to
torrance 26 miles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_Braude_Bike_Trail

The USC neighborhood is safe on campus, a stone's throw from the campus is a rougher neighberhood, not a place to get shot but car thieves and prostitues much like every big city in the country but generally Ca is a gentler place than most of the country.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
USC on 02/20/2013 16:45:59 MST Print View

Also a stone's throw from USC
is the Museum of Natural History and Science Center
http://www.nhm.org/site/
http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hillbilly heading to LA on 02/20/2013 16:54:10 MST Print View

Thanks for the input, Anthony. I'm flying out this weekend but will just be there for a few days. And I need to spend some time looking at the colleges.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 04/29/2013 07:31:54 MDT Print View

How'd the visits go?

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hillbilly heading to LA on 04/29/2013 08:24:31 MDT Print View

The visit was great Erik. I didn't get out of the city really. We did visit the freak show at Venice Beach, though. I didn't realize how much they had planned for me while at USC. The USC campus was really impressive. I didn't think the area around there was that bad either. It's hard to feel intimidated after traveling some of the hollers of eastern Kentucky. They have way more guns than the gangstas of LA.
The bad news was that I wasn't really able to get out of the city. The good news is that I will have more chances. They gave him a scholarship for the School of Cinematic Arts at USC where he'll be a film and television production major. So I'll look back at this post again late this summer when I go back with him to move in.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 04/29/2013 10:34:18 MDT Print View

"They gave him a scholarship for the School of Cinematic Arts at USC where he'll be a film and television production major."

--RIGHT ON!! Congratulations to all of you, especially your son. Outstanding.

Condolences, however: you're gonna have to start explaining about your son, "the Californian" in a year or two. Ha ha!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Hillbilly heading to LA on 04/29/2013 10:44:07 MDT Print View

Congrats! You can get him in touch with Mr. Drysdale and he can swim in the cement pond out back :)

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Hillbilly heading to LA on 04/29/2013 11:23:25 MDT Print View

Erik, people already ask if we're worried about him spending so much time around weird people in California. Honest. I think he'll fit in just fine.
Dale, he's already preparing Ellie May for the dip.