Hello, California!

Oh, California. I’ve been here not even 24 hours, and I’m already in love.

Several months ago, I was tapped to assume the responsibilities that come with writing the cover story for the university’s alumni magazine. Those responsibilities took me this week to Los Angeles, California. … I’ve never been west of Denver and, therefore, with so much to see and explore, I’ve been anticipating this trip for months.

With a 7:30 a.m. flight, I was out of bed at 3:30 and picking up The Photographer at 4:15. At 8, we were in the air.

The flight was fantastic for the view alone. I’m so accustomed, from my years of flying over the Midwest, to looking over farm fields and residential neighborhoods dotted with pools, schools, playgrounds and highways dotted with cars gliding along them. … Today, the views were far different. I got my first-ever live look at the Grand Canyon and barren dessert as far as we could see.

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After finding our rental car and settling into our hotel, we went to work, catching up and setting appointments with our interview subjects – and exploring the city during our down time.

Today’s interview subject was an awesome and inspiring young woman who graduated from the university last year. She was quite active as a student on the campus, and I got to know her while she worked as a social media intern in my office. She left a remarkable imprint on the university, and today she is employed at trendy shoe and accessories company. …

After a tour of her office complex, she took us to a hopping sandwich place, Mendocino Farms, for lunch. The line to place an order stretched out the door and past two storefronts. Once we got our food, the reason was obvious – the market fresh sandwiches and fresh salads they served up were very tasty.

Tonight, we spent five hours resuming our interview and photo shoot with our cover girl, with a break halfway through for a venture to grab some Indian food in Culver City. That was another first for me, and I liked it. …

Exhausted and pushed to our limits, we finally wrapped the interview and photo shoot at about 11:30 p.m., L.A. time – 1:30 a.m. central time.

The Photographer and I have put in a 22-hour day.
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Some quick observations after one day in L.A. ...

The traffic doesn't seem to be near as intimidating or dangerous as other people or films make it out to be. I expected to spend a lot of time stopped in traffic jams, or see other cars whizzing by us at outrageous speeds. We've experienced none of that, and so far it's no different than every other big city I've visited. 
And everything's so clean and well-kept. The fact that there are trash cans every 25 feet probaby has a lot to do with that -- if you litter with that many trash cans around, you're a fool. Properties are meticulously manicured, too.

During a break this afternoon, The Photographer and I headed for a drive. We found a classic rock station on the radio and “Take It Easy” came on. Cruising the palm tree-sided roadways, the bright sun overhead without a cloud in the sky, and hearing that song in the city where it was born – man, it’s never sounded better.

We made our way to the ocean front and eventually to the famous Santa Monica Pier. Truth be told, I thought it was overrated, but it was good to walk it.

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