My day was long, I got a lot of reading done and was lucky enough to have a seat for the whole ride, both to and from downtown. I left my house at 11:00am and arrived at Clifton’s door at 12:32pm. My friend did end up driving and we had a great lunch at Clifton’s Cafeteria, sitting and talking for about 2 hours. (More on Clifton’s after the jump.) We said our good-byes at Pershing Square around 2:50pm and I decided to take the subway to Wilshire and Vermont and jump back on the Rapid there. Subway was great, nice and speedy, though there were slightly more dodgy (read smelly) people on the train with me than there were on the bus. I got on the 720, ambled down Wilshire, I changed to the BBB #12 and continued down Westwood to my stop and walked 5 blocks home. I was in the door around 4:25pm. 3 hours of travel time. Wow. What have I learned? That I can take the bus on long trips, but I don’t always need to take the bus on long trips. Again, I’m fortunate in this regard.
Follow me after the jump for more of my n00by bus adventure and lots of photos.
The #8 Big Blue Bus had some great theater. A gentleman boarded, I think it was Mickey Rooney, looking a bit down on his luck* and he said loudly to the driver “SENIOR!” and tossed his quarter into the box and sat down near the front (where I was). A stop or two later he shouted up at her, “I want to stop at Manchester!” The driver was polite and said “Manchester? There is no Manchester on this route. Do you mean Rochester?”” Mickey didn’t hear her so a kind gentleman touched him on the shoulder and repeated what the driver said. “Manchester! Manchester!” Okay Mickey, we get it but there is no Manchester. He got up and said, “It’s two stops from here.” And we arrived at Massachusetts Ave. Aha. All was well. As he was getting off, a woman was waiting for him to pass and he said to her “Get on!” Thanks Mick.
While waiting for the east bound 720 there was this sign at the stop:
I wanted to get the arrival time, I really did. But the sign never changed. I had recently read Fred Camino’s blog post: 10 More Ways To Improve L.A.’s Public Transportation System and today was a real world example of why his #2 and #3 are really needed. I had worked in London for about 3 weeks in the fall of 2006 and took the bus every day to work from my hotel. It was great having constant updates about when my bus would arrive. Why is that not happening here? And the Rapid bus is a Bendy Bus, as they call them in London, though I found it funny that with an almost straight shot down Wilshire, there is not much necessity for bending.
The ride down Wilshire was uneventful and I read further along in “Pride and Prejudice,” occasionally looking up from Mr. Darcy to see where we were and to ooh and ahh over those beautiful old buildings the further east we got. I debus-ed and made my way to Clifton’s, taking some pictures while waiting for my friend who was only a few minutes behind me. As I was taking photos of the exterior sign, a male passer-by said, quite jovially, “Here you are! Here you are!” We smiled at each other.
Our lunch — mmmm boy it was delicious! We went a bit overboard but I have to say the beef and mashed potatoes and gravy were really good and the mac salad some of best I’ve ever had (which is saying something serious when you come from Hawai’i) and oh that pumpkin chiffon pie. MMMMMMMMMMMMM is all I can say. Their motto should be “Come for the Kitsch, stay for the Food!”
After a long leisurely lunch, we walked around a bit, looking at all the details in the place. We asked if we could go up to the roped off third floor and they said yes, but that it was dark. It was fabulous and 180 degrees from the floors below.
Outside afterward, gazing down Broadway with its gorgeous old theaters, like this one:
I couldn’t help but notice and take a photo of this gem:
I love that for some reason — Family Pants. Pants for the whole family. You just don’t see those two words together as often as you might think. Family Pants.
It was a great day, and while I’m not going to bus downtown again in the very near future, I’m glad I know how to do it and what it is like. And Clifton’s! Oh how I will sing it’s praises up and down! I want to have birthday parties there and take visiting family there and make sure that we keep it busy enough so that it never closes! Please go there and eat eat eat! You will not be disappointed.
*Of course it wasn’t Mickey Rooney.