Day 21, Hollywood – Santa Monica – Hollywood. No End of The Epic Journey.
1/9 I woke up in Hollywood, California.
The mornings in our company do not seem to work. Today was no different, as we called the reception at 11:40 to extend our stay till tomorrow, as we simply couldn’t get out of bed early enough to check out. The plan was to get more decent Hotel for the remaining few days of our journey, with a spa and big pool, good gym.. but this will have to be enough for now. Since we skipped the proper ending of the route in Santa Monica, and also didn’t make it to the Huntington Gardens on time, we decided to head back to Pasadena and see for ourselves what was all this fuss about and what can one do with 120acres of expensive land (without checking the prices of the land, I came up with this statement just by looking at the quality of properties out here, and some of them are pretty stunning).
The Gardens live up to the expectations. It was one of my favourite places during the whole trip. There main area is broken down into the theme gardens contain rare plants from around the world. The gardens are divided into more than a dozen themes, including the Australian Garden, Camellia Collection, Children’s Garden, Desert Garden Conservatory, Rose Hill Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science, Desert Garden, Herb Garden.. but the only four that we have seen due to Shane and Leah being pretty bored, were Japanese Garden, Zen Garden, Rose garden and the Chinese Garden.
They were absolutely amazing, with koi carps swimming around and pretty much eating from kids hands, great scenery.. Bliss. We got some information on Bonsai trees from a lady who was looking after them in the Zen Garden.
It’s great to see people with passion, who actually love what hey do and want to share the knowledge with others. It doesn’t happen too often as most of people hate their jobs with passion and live from a paycheque to paycheque.
If I was to live in the area, this park is where you would find me. There is an amazing library “on the premises”, containing an extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts, including a Gutenberg Bible, the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer, and thousands of historical documents. The rare books and manuscripts in the library are among the most heavily used in the United States. The library holds some 6.5 million manuscripts and more than a million rare books.
It is the only library in the world with the first two quartos of Hamlet; it holds the manuscript of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, the first seven drafts of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, and many other great treasures.
The library often places these and similar items on view for the general public. Actual use of the collection is extremely restricted, generally requiring a doctoral degree or at least candidacy for the Ph.D. and two letters of recommendation from known scholars. The research division of the Huntington grants a number of short and long term fellowships each year to scholars wishing to work with the collections.
From the gardens we headed back to San Bernardino, but half way there I have spotted an interesting stop back in Pasadena, so very reluctantly, Shane turned back.
The road guide said that in a private house, in Pasadena, there’s a Bunny Museum with Guinness World record number of various bunnies: over 28.000 of them! Fluffy, wooden, chocolate, metal.. they’ve got it all covered!
You arrived without prior notice (as there was no info in the book with regards to pre-booking anything or any tickets), to find the door open, and route 66 sign outside.
I walked in after a short knock to find Candace Frazee, who jointly with her husband owns collection, washing dishes in the kitchen. She looked quite shocked to see us: “Have you got an appointment?” Well, this is the first museum I would have to book an appointment for…: “Noo, do we need one?” “Well, you are lucky that I’ve got someone else here. Feel free to look around”. So we did..
There are a lot of rabbits. A lot of rabbits. They could as well be a wall paper. They fall from the ceiling in two fully stuffed small rooms, it’s a rabbit maze. There is a private part, where the couple sleeps, and also the bathroom is not for public use, but everything else is available for viewing. She said the rest of the house, closed for visitors, looks pretty much as “bunnyfied” as the open for viewing part.
There are also some real rabbits in the kitchen. The cereal are rabbit shaped. You cannot see the fridge from underneath the rabbit stickers.
The craze started when Candace’s husband, Steve, gave her a fluffy bunny for Valentines since they call each other Hunny Bunny.
It would be a tacky heaven if it wasn’t for the lady herself, reminding me of someone. She had the stare of Ted Bundy and red lips to complete the look.
I wanted to leave, but the lady had a master plan, how to lock us in her rabbit hole forever…
“You guys have an amazing English accent, BBC is recording a movie (that’s right, not just a mare program, a MOVIE!!) about the bunnies and they have asked me to record a brief interviews with some interesting people. I would love to record one with you!!”
And that’s how we made it in Hollywood. Almost.
A rather strange threesome surrounded with rabbits. Neither a part of the threesome was Josh Hartnett, nor the 28.000 rabbits had anything to do with The Playboy Bunnies.
Straight from the movie set, we got back on 66 and headed for Santa Monica Pier, to look for a plaque symbolising the end of our journey.
We parked up and went for a stroll down the pier. There are different endings to 66 according to different sources. We found quite recent on on the pier, but since we were following the old alignment of the road, we were after the old sign, too.
The sunset was amazing.. by now we should probably be used to this, since America is the worlds capital of awesome sunsets, but it surprises me everyday, since we got here. There was a mild breeze from the ocean and a sense of accomplishment was in the air.
We didn’t kill each other after 28 days in one car.
We’ve covered over 5,500 miles to get here and finally done it with a few days to spare before our flight back on the 5th of September. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to do this. I love my family more than ever and I hope we can do this again, different place different time, in the same company.
Even though my sex life has been shelved for four weeks, and sometimes we felt like strangling each other, it was a bonding experience everyone should undergo to see the value of people you may not usually have time to hear. Listening and hearing are totally different things.
I love my boyfriend more than ever, and think none of my previous relationships would survive such a journey. I would wipe the knife on the dirty cloth and dig a shallow grave somewhere around Arizona, maybe Yosemite if they were lucky, and give the shovel to Elmer Long to add to his collection of bizarre things.
I am very lucky to have them in my life.
We did not find the plaque with the “End of the Route”.
I don’t care.
This is just the beginning of our journey.