Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Day Four -- Hollywood

Hollywood turned out to be a major disappointment. And the main reason? Traffic. Hollywood was supposed to be our closest venture, a mere half-day trip that would allow us some rest back at the Palm Springs resort pool. However, despite its closer proximity to Palm Springs, the traffic was terrible.

First, we started off by avoiding a near head-on collision on I-10 heading into L.A. As we were traveling in the left-most lane, a white Pontiac suddenly appeared in the lanes traveling opposite, separated from us only by the guardrail.

The Pontiac was in the act of smashing into the guardrail. All we heard were the squeal of its tires, with a quick glimpse of the car careening perpendicularly into the guardrail. CRUNCH! The car had just spun out and smashed head first, doing at least 70 miles per hour, into the guardrail a few yards in front of us. As the car impacted into the guardrail, a cloud of shattered glass, plastic, and other debris floated into our lane.

The momentum of the impact lifted the rear end of the Pontiac into the air, threatening to turn it over the guardrail and into our lane. If this had happened, we would have hit it straight on at 80 miles per hour. We'd probably have been killed.

As it was, the car slammed back onto the opposite side of the highway, as we drove through the debris cloud. My reflexes were good, and I kept the car straight through the debris. Any swerve would have impacted cars on our own side of the highway. We were safe, and it took us a long while to cool down from this excitement.

After this, the traffic slowed down to a creep as we entered L.A. We finally arrived at the Hollywood Diner on Rodeo Drive, just in time for lunch. Lunch was delicious, and afterward, we strolled by the shops on Rodeo.

After this, we drove to the coast to see the Pacific Ocean once again. Then, we drove back on Sunset Boulevard through Beverly Hills and Bel Air. We were intending to see Paramount Studios, but because of the traffic, it was already nearly three o'clock, and any studio tour at this point would guarantee that we'd be stuck in rush-hour traffic going back home.

We reluctantly decided to skip Paramount, and got stuck in traffic anyway, arriving home just in time for dinner with Mom (who decided to skip Hollywood for the day). She turned out to be the smartest one of all of us.

Lastly, I wanted to show one of the really cool sites, off the tourist path, near Palm Springs. Just north and west of Palm Springs is an enormous farm of energy-producing windmills. There must be over a thousand of them! It was really cool seeing them all spin around, thinking of all the clean renewable energy they're producing.

Update: Mom alerted me to a video of a burning windmill. When we were driving on I-10, we noticed that one of the windmills had been burned to a crisp. We assumed it was hit by lightning, but didn't really know. Heck, it could have just been a fire in the generator. Anyhow, it was cool to find this video of the actual windmill burning:

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