While working in Southern California, we wanted to spend a couple days in Los Angeles doing the tourist thing. We packed the camping gear on the bikes and headed to L.A.
Tent Camping in Los Angeles
As you can imagine, it’s not easy to find camping near L.A. there are some RV parks close by, but most do not allow tents. We found the KOA Fairplex in Pomona with tent sites so we made reservations. Although the campground was nicely maintained and had friendly staff, I don’t know why anyone would choose to camp here other than location, location, location. We were lulled to sleep each night by soothing city sounds. I am not kidding when I say we heard planes, trains and automobiles all night. If we go back to camp in L.A. again, we will consider sites in Angeles National Forest. They are close to the city and I believe it would be a nicer camping experience, if nature is your thing.
Riding Angeles Crest Highway
Angeles Crest Highway is a beautiful winding road through the San Gabrial Mountains and Angeles National Forest. There is a popular motorcycle enthusiast lunch stop midway along the route called Newcomb’s Ranch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in because they closed around noon due to the winter weather. In fact, we were lucky that Angeles Crest Highway was open from end to end. Starting from the west and riding past Newcomb’s Ranch we started to see snow on the ground that got higher and thicker around every turn. The air temperature dropped to 36 degrees and we crawled along on our bikes avoiding piles of snow and small rock slides. We were in awe of the beautiful winter scenery and often the only ones on the road.
Los Angeles Hollywood Sign
It’s not easy getting a good view of this famous sign. We found a nice one after using Google Maps to wind around and find Lake Hollywood Park. There is free street parking, but the spaces are limited.
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier appears in countless films and TV shows. It has been a part of California history for over 100 years. The pier also marks the end of historic Route 66.
For the full experience, ride over the bridge at the Santa Monica Pier entrance and park on the wooden boardwalk lot. Heads-up to bikers – they charge per vehicle, even if you share a space.
The pier is a true shtick tourist attraction, but packed with interesting characters, performers and great beach views.
Grand Central Market
A must for foodies – so many choices! This market in downtown Los Angeles has everything from a butcher shop to gourmet PB&J. Bring your hunger and your patience, it gets extremely crowded.
Want a way to wind down after a long day of site seeing, check out Spire 73, the roof top bar atop the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The “tallest open air bar in the western hemisphere” opens at 4pm and has no cover charge until 8pm.
Big thanks to California Through My Lens for being an awesome resource and inspiration for many of our excursions in California.