I recently road tripped for ten days down the West Coast with the family. My son, Cal, recently graduated high school in the Edmond area. We offered him a trip as a “congratulations” for achieving goals he set for himself; he chose the West Coast.
Our vacation for this Sports and Movie Dude featured both filming location stops and sports-related stops along the way.
Our first destination: Seattle, taking in Pike Market, the Museum of Pop Culture, Dick’s Drive-In (as made famous by Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s “Posse on Broadway”) and some of Seattle’s best views.
We then left Seattle headed south. There was a quick stop in Tacoma at Stadium High School. You may recognize this castle of education from 1999’s “10 Things I Hate About You” (the late Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles).
We left Tacoma after having a late breakfast at Grit City (aka The Tacoma Comedy Club, but that’s a whole other story). We hooked a right through the scenic Columbia River Valley. Destination: Astoria, Oregon. For anyone who grew up in the 80’s, Astoria was also known as “The Goondocks” and a hideout for notorious Fratelli Gang in 1985’s The Goonies.
Any movie nerd couldn’t drive past the California Redwoods without talking a long walk. Just a few steps in I felt like I was on planet Endor. 1983’s Return of the Jedi was filmed among these ancient giants and I could imagine the sound of speeders and Ewoks. Jedi fan or not…it’s amazing.
Eventually, we reached San Francisco. No trip to the city by the bay is complete without three things:
1. A pilgrimage to 710 Ashbury, also known as The Grateful Dead House.
2. A stop by Alcatraz. This former federal prison is, of course, the subject of such movies as 1979’s Escape from Alcatraz (Clint Eastwood), 1996’s The Rock (Connery and Cage), and 1995’s Murder in the First (Kevin Bacon). My original trip included a self guided audio tour on a Sony Walkman, but now you just download the tour to your phone with the WiFi and you’re off!
3. An appointment with the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square which you know from Full House or even So I Married An Axe Murderer (Mike Myers).
Next stop was Malibu and the famous Neptune’s Net. The seafood staple has been the set for such famous films as 1991’s Point Break and 2001’s The Fast and The Furious. We tried the clams and shrimp while enjoying the crashing waves and Malibu scenery.
Our final stop on the trip was Disney California Adventure. The newly opened Marvel’s Avengers section was amazing with a Spider Man web-slinging ride. For me, to the Radiator Springs (the town from Pixar’s Cars movie) brought to life was an amazing finish to the day. Dinner at Flo’s V-8 Cafe before heading back to Burbank for the night to ready for the trip home.
Our little family made memories that will last a lifetime and sometimes…that’s what a good road trip is all about.