In March of 2020, the usually glamorous Hollywood had a strange post-apocalyptical vibe as the COVID-19 pandemic rolled in. Deserted streets, boarded up shops, and an eerie feeling greeted us at famed California tourist destinations.
Right around the corner from Six Flags, Valencia Travel Village offered us a parking spot for a few days. We drove by the closed and quiet amusement park and headed to the beach. Santa Monica Pier was closed and a hostile wind threw fine sand at our faces as we braved it for a mandatory photo op.
Next, we stopped in Beverly Hills. The city was empty and we took all the photos we wanted, unobstructed by crowds of tourists.
I appreciated the beautiful art deco buildings and the murals on Beverly Hills High. We strolled on Santa Monica Boulevard, inevitably humming Cheryl Crow’s song. We appreciated the town’s bold decision to ban smoking (sorry smokers, I am allergic and hate to be subjected to second-hand smoking when I’m trying to enjoy fresh air or a meal).
The famed Rodeo Drive was boarded up and quiet, and the stars lining up the sidewalks had only a handful of admirers. The thought of walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame occurred to me, but the atmosphere was so strange, that I just didn’t feel compelled to do it…. I don’t know, without the annoying hoards of admirers, it just didn’t feel real, or maybe it became irrelevant in the context of the pandemic.
A late evening round of rain brought about a beautiful rainbow to brighten up the day. Of course, I only had to take a look at my sweet pets to cheer up.
With more and more venues shutting down—including state and national parks—and with uncertainty growing, we decided to head back to our home in Tennessee. So, on March 20, 2020, we said good bye to the West Coast and hit the road, headed East.