Space Shuttle Endeavour _ California Science Center, Exposition Park

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The Space Shuttle Endeavour has had quite a journey so far, and it’s not done yet.  After 25 flights into space between 1992 and 2011, NASA retired the shuttle and chose the California Science Center in Exposition Park as its final resting place.  Delivering the shuttle through the air and through the streets of LA was no easy feat, either.  And even now, the shuttle is in a temporary exhibition space while a more permanent wing of the science center is being built to house the shuttle.

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The shuttle is deceptively massive.  Because it’s primarily in the shape of a commercial airplane, one already has a preconceived notion that the shuttle will also be of a similar scale.  But it’s not.  This thing is a monster.

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Expo Line _ Opening Day

A grand day.  The Expo Line, the long overdue light-rail line from Downtown to Culver City, finally opened on April 28th.  Rode from Silver Lake with Will, who was visiting, to 7th St Metro Center Station in Downtown LA, the start of the new Expo Line.

Eastbound on Temple St.

Southbound on Glendale Blvd.

Southbound on Figueroa St.

7th Street Metro Center Station, the terminus for both the Blue and the Expo Light-Rail Lines, lies underground at 7th and Fig.

  

The Expo Line follows the same route as the Blue Line out of Downtown LA from 7th St Metro Center Station until Washington Blvd.  The line is underground coming out of Downtown, but emerges to be at-grade with cars around the Staple Center.  The Expo Line splits off from the Blue Line at Washington Blvd., where it continues south on Flower St., passing between a sliver of the 110 freeway on one side USC on the other.  It goes underground at the intersection of Flower St. and Exposition Blvd where it turns Westbound.  It emerges right in front of the historical and beautiful Exposition Park Rose Garden where Will and I hopped off for our first stop: the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The new Dinosaur Hall and renovated Rotunda re-opened in July 2011.

We picked up the Expo Line again at Vermont and Exposition Blvd., and rode it westbound to Crenshaw Blvd.  The light-rail at this point is either at-grade, zooming down it’s own designated lane down the center of traffic, or it rises above the traffic on above-ground stations.  Either way, it’s a thrill to travel down Exposition on what used to be a blighted center-divider of the abandoned rails which used to connect Santa Monica and Downtown LA back in the early 1900’s up till the 60’s.

So many colors.

Adjacent to this stop is the famous Earlez Grille Hot Dog Restaurant, known for their chili cheese hot dogs.  I ordered a veggie chili veggie cheese fries.  

The business started out as a hot dog cart down by Venice beach.  The brothers who owned the cart decided to make it into an actual restaurant which is now a staple of the predominantly black neighborhood of Crenshaw.  It even survived the 1992 LA Riots.

There is also a little corner counter that sells scratchers.  We originally bought 2 scratchers.  We won $10!  We then used the $10 to buy more tickets.  We lost.  Gambling’s a vicious cycle.

We then continued westbound on the Expo Line, getting off at the end of the current line at La Cienega.  The eventual Phase I end, Culver City, will open later in the summer. 

From the La Cienega Station, Will and I walked west on Jefferson until it hit the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park.

Interesting sidewalks / lack-there-of.

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is an amazing hike which takes you to the top of the Baldwin Hills to the south of Downtown LA.  Most people view LA from the north, either taking in views from the Griffith Observatory or the canyon hikes.  But the Baldwin Hills give you a northern view of the city from the south, with views of the mountains (sometimes snow capped) in the background.

There is either a winding dirt trail which zig-zags up the hill to the top.  Or you can take the steps straight up.  Warning, the steps are not up to code.

The recent rains had made the Mustard explode.  Yellow tinted hike up.

Glorious Day.

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