At around 8:15am we were off. About 30 people, most of whom didn't know each other, gathered together for the great Wilshire Walk of 2006, coordinated by fellow blogger Mike of Franklin Avenue. A little congregation of people who share a love of this city so much that they really wanted to experience one of the great Boulevards in all it's glory. Up close and personal.
We made a few stops in many of the beautiful churches along the way and were even able to get into the Park Plaza. After a few minutes of milling about in the grand lobby I happened to be near Mike and the elevator when he said "hey, who wants to go to the roof?" In about 5 seconds flat there were maybe 7 of us in the elevator and we were on our way to the rooftop. Once there we were afforded a-freaking-mazing views. On our way back down we had a little difficulty getting the elevator doors closed so we were forced to walk down about 11 flights. Then someone in our party received a phone call from a friend downstairs, a security guard was kicking everyone out. Oops. After a swift and stealthy exit we all had a great laugh about the adventure.
One of the main motivations that kept me going was the prospect of having drinks at Trader Vic's in the Beverly Hilton where Santa Monica & Wilshire inersect. That being said, every time we passed a closed cocktail lounge the topic of Trader Vic's came up. Nathan & I dreamed of sipping on frothy beverages with umbrellas in coconut mugs while the rest of the group continued their journey Westward. Imagine our despair when we found out that it was closed and wouldn't open until 5pm!! It was about 1pm and we were in the BH, our group split into 2 and took a quick lunch break. My group went to a lovely little Thai restaurant on Little Santa Monica with interesting artwork in the bathroom. Be sure to check that out in my photos.
After lunch it was decision time. Keep going or turn around and head back Downtown? I had started to get a little tendonitis or something in my right foot, which made it painful to walk but with the excitement of possibly making it all the way to the end I plugged on towards Westwood. Big mistake. Halfway there I really started to be in MAJOR pain, having to walk on just the ball of my right foot because walking normally shot pains straight up my leg. Joy. Nathan started to get blisters because for some reason he decided to wear big black boots instead of sneakers. Finally we made it to Westwood Blvd. and I had to officially stop. I was in horrific pain. Nathan and Kolby bowed out as well. Kolby had good reason...he was wearing a 40+ pound backpack in preparation for an upcoming hike in Nicaragua and his feet were in really bad shape at that point. The 3 of us limped and hobbled to a nearby Jamba Juice to rest. After about an hour Kolby decided to take the bus to Santa Monica and meet up with the rest of the group at Border Grill while Nathan and I took the bus back Downtown. Yes, Nathan rode a bus...I should have taken a picture as proof.
Once in Downtown we decided to get that drink we had talked about all day long. The Daily Grill wouldn't be open for another 30 minutes so we looked around and I pointed to the Bonaventure and proclaimed "I wanna spin!" So the BonaVista Lounge was it. We arrived at 5pm, after numerous 360º rotations we left...at 1am.
What an amazing and eventful day in so many ways. When others heard of what we were doing (walking the entire length of Wilshire) and why we were doing it (just because) they looked at us as if we were insane. Maybe we were. But when we all looked at each other yesterday we saw complete strangers as instant best friends. Thank you Mike, for organizing this. Schedule willing, I will be a participant in future walks.