Southern CA: San Diego, Hollywood, Malibu, & Big Bear Lake
Headed out to play two shows with my bud Nick Fradiani in San Diego & Hollywood and I decided to extend my stay out there a few days so I could adventure a bit with my cameras before flying back home. We flew into San Diego and got over to our hotel for the next two nights overlooking the harbor. The next morning I woke up early while the other guys were sleeping and took Ubers around to several different locations. It was my first time in the area and wanted to make the most of my short time there. I first headed over to Sunset Cliffs to snap some pics and sent me drone up for a flight over the coastline. A popular end of the day spot typically, the cliffs still made for a great place to spend an hour at in the morning. I grabbed another Uber to take me over to the popular La Jolla Cove area next, probably most famous for its resident sea lion population. Had to battle the incredibly strong stench from these guys to snap some shots of these guys playing on the rocks. Before getting a ride back to the hotel I popped into Cody’s and tried their Crispy Chicken Sandy, featuring boneless buttermilk fried chicken thighs, honey-dijon aioli, house made cole slaw & pickles on a brioche bun. Getting back we all finished up getting ready to head over to the House of Blues for load in and sound check. The show went great and we bounced around a few bars in downtown San Diego until last call. The next morning we made our way north up to Hollywood to get ready for our show at The Hotel Cafe that night. A few friends of mine that live out there now came out to hang and watch us play. Set went over great and I had a blast both nights sharing the stage with Nick and Eric.
The next morning Nick & Eric had to LAX to catch flights out so I had decided to stay out there for a few extra days and do some adventuring. I had never been out to Big Bear Lake and headed straight there after picking up my rental car. There were some amazing views going through San Bernardino National Forest on the way to my destination. Arrived in the Big Bear area on a super empty stomach so my first stop was to a local deli to pick up lunch and enjoy it down by the lake. Was fun to send up the drone for a flight to capture some bird’s eye view images from up above. I spent the afternoon trying to see as much of the area as I could with only being there for about 24 hours. Spent sunset down by the lake hoping for some dramatic color but didn’t get anything notable. Attempted a little big of night sky photography but there were too many cars heading into the area and the sky wasn’t dark enough. Woke up the next morning to a chilly 25 degrees and having to throw on every article of clothing I had in my suitcase haha. Even had to pick up a pair of $4 gloves at a gas station so my fingers wouldn’t freeze off! After a warm breakfast and cup of coffee at the Teddy Bear Restaurant I thawed out enough to begin the 2 hour drive back to Los Angeles.
My first destination after arriving back in LA was meeting up with my friend Eric at In-N-Out Burger for lunch. I don’t eat much fast food these days but have made it tradition to enjoy this West Coast only burger spot on each trip out there. From there we headed out to Malibu for the rest of the day, making our main goal to catch sunset at El Matador State Beach. I have been to Malibu a handful of times previously but never to this particular beach. After descending down a long set of stairs I was met with a variety of unique rock formations on the beach, including one that reminded me of an elephant. The scenery here was amazing and the perfect place to end my last night out here. I got to fly the drone a bit over the beach to get some cool top shot perspectives and the stairs we took coming down. The sky never seems to disappoint when it comes to sunsets out here and this one was no exception. Noticing that the setting sun would possibly rest perfectly between a notch in one of these rock formations I quickly scrambled to get into position to fire off shots before it dipped below the rock and horizon. Of course no trip to Malibu is complete without enjoying some seafood along the Pacific Coast Highway and this time we headed to Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market. My buddy Eric has an awesome apartment right int he heart of Hollywood so I crashed here on my last night and we took it relatively easy with a little bar hopping. Tom Petty had just passed away over a week earlier and we happened to walk by his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that night. Was surreal to see the shrine that fans had made all around it leaving memories and notes to the fallen legend. We had just seen him a few months back in Hartford, CT to a sold out show and it was one of the best concerts that I’ve ever been to in my entire life. The next morning I headed to LAX to end off another successful trip out to CA and like always can’t wait to return again soon!