Presidential Library & La Brea Tar Pits
Jul 8, 2019
|Today we went to the free hot/cold buffet breakfast. No waffles, they had the pancake machine instead. Afterwards we relaxed in the room until it was time to leave, about 9:30. We drove over to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for the 10:00 opening.
The library had a special exhibit entitled "The World of da Vinci". We decided to tour the library and see the exhibit last. The library was a chronological journey through Reagan's life. Beginning with the values he learned from his childhood in Dixon, Illinois, through his college years at Eureka College, where he played football and was in drama productions.
He began his radio career during college and used it to eventually land in Hollywood. Reagan made many films and was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild many times where he used his negotiating skills. But, in the 1950s his career began to wan and he moved to TV where he became the host of General Electric Theater. He was also the spokesperson for GE. He would visit the over 150 GE factories around the country and honed his skills giving speeches, talking & listening to the factory workers, and giving speeches on behalf of GE at local organizations in the cities in which sthe factories were located.
Throughout the library there were many interactive exhibits - you could go on camera, stand at the Presidential podium, games, etc.
We then went through his political career from Governor of California to becoming President. (He switched from the Democrats in 1962 to the Republican party.) In one section you walked through a hotel door and experienced the attempt on his life.
One of the highlights of the museum was being able to walk through Air Force One and Marine One which both had old technology that younger people would not recognize. There was also a section of the Berlin Wall, and of course, he and his wife are buried on the grounds.
Jean had read a book about the Presidential Libraries, and one of the complaints it listed at the time of its publication was that there was no mention of the Iran-Contra Affair. They now have a small section about it. What we did not see was much about his mistakes/goofs. Neither one of us saw anything about his first marriage to Jane Wyman with which he was married for 9 years. One of Reagan's distinctions was that he was the first President to be elected that had been divorced.
We then did a quick walk through of the very impressive exhibit "The World of da Vinci" looking at the recreations of his inventions from the his codex and painting of the "Last Supper". By the time we were done, we had spent three hours at the library. It was time to move on to LA. Traffic moved fairly well along the way, but became heavier as we approached the city.
Our next stop was to see the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. Jean had never seen the pots, and I last saw them over 40 years ago. The museum was had many interactive activities, plus there were portable stations manned by volunteers where you could touch and handle some of the fossils. There were many fossil skeletons to be seen - Mammoths, other large animals such as wolves, birds such as the California condor and others, rodents, etc.
The museum also had movies, presentations and tours. You could observe the people in the Fossil Lab who were cleaning, cataloging and studying the fossil finds, from large bones down to insect remains and everything in-between. All are important to help identify what the environment was like, and help determine the food chain - which was one of the lectures to which we listened.
We walked the grounds out to the actual tar pits which are scattered throughout the park area looking at the activity, especially at Project 23. What has been removed is on what the people in the Fossil Lab were working. And we also observed the excavation at Pit 91. Next door is the LA County Museum of Art. And on the grounds of the park they had a large exhibit through which one could walk through, so we did. We then returned to the museum for a lecture and some other things Jean wished to do.
Since we were done by 4:00, I wanted to go over to the nearby Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard where I recently found that one of my relatives on my mother's side was buried. On the winding way through Hollywood we encountered many beautiful mansions.
We arrived about 4:20 at the cemetery and went to the very impressive office where the receptionist was able to quickly look up Delta Brown Paine's record and gave us a map to her location in a mausoleum. We quickly located her marker, and then Jean just wanted to drive around the cemetery on the way out. This is where famous people such as Mel Blanc, Cecil B. DeMille, Fray Wray, Judy Garland, Don Adams, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr and Jr, and many other are buried or entombed. Unfortunately we did not have a marked map, nor the time since the cemetery closes at 5:00. The security detail were on golf carts herding the people out so they could close the gates. Maybe next time we are in the area, we will pay the $20 and take the two-hour guided tour.
We now had a 14 mile, one hour ride with heavy traffic on the roads of LA to our hotel which was the Homewood Suites by Hilton Los Angeles International Airport, obviously near the airport. We arrived about 6:00, checked in and I parked the car in the nearby garage for which you have to pay (welcome to a city hotel).
We were given a voucher at check-in that was for the social time, good until 7:00. We entered the restaurant expecting to encounter what we have done in the past at the socials which is usually a small buffet and open area to mingle should you so choose. Not so here. We were escorted to a booth and a given special menu from which we could each order one appetizer and drink. No socialization going on. Jean got the chicken fingers with fries, and I had the meatballs. They were good, but not enough for me.
Attached at the back of the hotel were some stores, including a Subway. The rooms are suites, so we had a kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave, dished and silverware, etc. So we shared a foot-long sub back in our room, read, relaxed and watched TV. Tomorrow is a long travel day ahead.