Driving Far and Flying High

So I left off at the end of an amazing day in Vegas.  We hit the road around 10pm and headed west again, back to California.  This time we stayed north and crashed at a hotel just outside of Los Angeles.  Wednesday morning we got up EARLY (after going to bed LATE) and headed to the police station.  Yes, you read that right.  We willingly entered a LAPD compound.  No big deal.

We were there for a ride-along that Brian had arranged through his job, as an exchange/observation kind of program.  The best part of this? We were riding along with a helo unit, aka we were going to be in a helicopter for 2.5 hours.  A-MA-ZING.  After roll call we toured the facility, I “flew” a helicopter, then we got ready to head out with Deb and Ken who have flown forever.  They were hilarious and bickered like an old married couple.

 

First thing we responded to a burglary call and helped the ground units enter the building safely (with guns drawn).  It was so cool to hear all the conversations over the radios and see the police in action.  After we left that scene, thankfully because we had been circling to the left for 5-10 minutes, we went on a little tour around the hills.  First stop, the Hollywood sign.  I could’ve thrown a softball at it.  So cool!  We then flew back through the city, just patrolling around and waiting for another call.  During this time our pilots played tour guides as they pointed out the houses of Johnny Depp, the LA Housewives, Tom Brady, Jennifer Aniston, etc.  Very fun and I got a lot of great shots and videos, some of which are shown below:

Before this flight, I knew that L.A. was a big place… but it is HUGE!  We had to put our tour on hold to respond to a suicide attempt off a pier on the beach.  An older man had jumped but a bystander had jumped in after him and was doing an amazing job keeping him afloat.  It was really interesting to watch the lifeguards, air (us) and ground patrols work together to save this guy.  We were then called off to help locate a few stolen cars with our lo-jack capabilities, which was fun but tedious trying to spot the car from the air.  At the end of our shift we flew through downtown, over the Kodak Theatre (where they were setting up for the Oscars) , and over Dodger Stadium.  Really cool, once-in-a-lifetime experience and crossed “ride in a helicopter” off my bucket list!

After the ride we hit the road again back to San Diego.  After relaxing a little (for a change) we went to a great sushi place, Hapifish (check back for a restaurant review), and then Brian dropped me off at the airport for my red-eye flight back to reality on the East Coast.  After a layover at JFK, I landed at Dulles at 8:28am, literally ran through the airport, told the cab driver to drive quickly, and ran into school just as the warning bell rang.  A quick change in the bathroom and I was ready to teach at 9:00am.  If you want to see all the pictures from the trip, check out this link and thanks for traveling with me!

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