I've finally gotten to the most exciting part of this vacation (for me, anyway). We are now up to Thursday, July 24.
Our original plan was to get up, eat breakfast at the Hawthorne, check out and drive straight to San Diego, and go to the SD Zoo before checking into the Catamaran Resort Hotel in La Jolla (pronounced La Hoy-yah). Well, at the last minute, we decided to embark upon a little adventure. Rachel had told us that we should go Torrance and find Torrance High School, because that was where they filmed Buffy the Vampire Slayer (parts of it, anyway) during the first three seasons. Torrance High School was Sunnydale High School! So we decided that we would try to find it. We went back toward downtown LA, and exited the freeway in Torrance. We began by just kind of driving around. But we didn't find it very quickly, so we called Rachel on the cell phone and she got on the internet and found the address and directions from where we were right that minute (the internet is a wonderful thing, isn't it?). After that, we were able to find it quite easily. Sure enough, we recognized the front of the school right away. Woohoo!! There were the steps and the little cement benches that they sat on. We took some pictures, then found an opening around one side, where a gate was chained, but loosely enough to squeeze through. Trespassing, you say? I think not. We had already watched several students and adults squeeze through the same opening. You see, they were still having summer school. Actually, I was kind of afraid to go in. Sissy, you say? Right on! Christi, she's not afraid of anything! She went on in, then excitedly motioned me to come in. So I did. I got up next to where she was, which was just under a little covered walkway. Looking down through the walkway, and just up a small flight of steps...oh, my heart did a few flip flops! There it was! The famous staircase and covered breezeway that occupied so many central scenes in BtVS!! You know...the staircase that Buffy ran up on the hand rail in "Earshot?" The wall that they sat on so often? The staircase where Wesley stood looking at Cordelia with his "Pierce Brosnan-y eyes?" That one. Yeah. Wow! We decided to be "proper" and ask for permission before we went any further. Sure enough, the receptionists at the principal's office told us that they didn't allow any photographing during school, while the students were on campus. She asked that we come back in about 45 minutes, then we would be free to roam around and take all the pictures we wanted. Ok. So we walked back out (I snuck one picture of the staircase, just in case we didn't make it back). In the meantime, we drove a couple of blocks over and found the house that was Buffy's house during the first three seasons. We took a couple of pictures of the front of that house, being careful not to bother anyone, since it is an actual residence, now. We just kind of drove around and killed time for a while, since we decided that we might never have this chance again. Finally, it was time. We went back, and, well, the gates weren't chained any more. Hmmm....that must be to keep students from leaving during school?? Gate was wide open. We were free to roam around. It was so cool! The hallways that we entered at the top of the staircase looked just right (no lockers anymore). We even found the big half-circle window where Angel killed Jenny Calendar (sob)...another one of those moments of watching Willow cry!! No library, though, and no clock tower. We think we recognized the outdoor lunch area, and we also saw the parking lot that Cordy walked across in "The Wish." Christi picked up a piece of shingle out of a flower bed, so we now have a "bon-a-fide" souvenir from BtVS! I have pictures uploaded at Imagestation. Here is the link to Sunnydale High School pictures. You might have to register at Imagestation before you can see them, but it is free and relatively easy. We got some pretty good pictures. There will be more. These are just from the digital. I have some print shots as well.
After a quick stop at Mickey D's for restrooms, fries and cokes, we set off for San Diego. It was a beautiful drive down. A large portion was right along the pacific coast and passed some military installations where we saw some large military ships. We finally reached the La Jolla area. Our hotel, the Catamaran Resort, was right across the street from Mission Beach, which as it turns out, is rather wild. Lots of young adults & teens, some gang activity after dark, and very typical beach bums (we saw several). There were little beach hovels that opened right up on the beach (at anywhere from $900 to $1600/wk), as well as some nicer ones along a path perpendicular to the beach. When we first checked in we were slightly aggravated because we wer led to believe that our room would be facing the ocean. Turns out it faces north, but we were high enough that we did have a beautiful view of the ocean (captured a marvelous sunset Thursday night) as well as the surrounding mountainous area. We could even see a small piece of the bay to the right of the balcony.
We went down and strolled along the Mission Beach for a while, then...oops...we went and trolled along the...heheh...I said "trolled." I meant "strolled." Yeah, we "strolled along the bay first, which is quiet and peaceful and a bit more "grown up." Then we went across to the beach. After that, we went back to the hotel and spent lots and lots of money at the hotel restaurant. The food was really good, but it was wierd food. Then we hurried up to the room to watch the end of the sunset. A wonderful finish!