At this very moment I am 10,000 feet up in the air.
It is about 10:30 AM on August 2nd, 2017, and I am currently on a flight returning home to Sacramento from Los Angeles. My brother Kael and I have just spent the last 3 days in LA capturing a shit ton of incredible moments and sceneries…one last hoorah before he goes back to Tucson for school at the University of Arizona. Despite how much fun we’ve had and how productive we’ve been the last few days, I’m actually in a rather bad mood for two reasons:
- I’m upset that I had to leave Kael. Him and I are two peas in a pod and I miss him when he’s gone.
- I’m even more upset that I didn’t continue on to Tucson with him.
I definitely could’ve saved myself moderate amounts of regret and frustration if I had planned this better, which planning is usually one of my strong suits. You see, I really didn’t have any reason to fly back home. It’s the middle of summer and my schedule is pretty open. I could’ve easily just gone with him. On top of that, our parents were flying into Tucson the very next day! So not only was I coming home to do nothing, I was also coming home to no one. Very goth, I know. But this actually yields the perfect set up for me to get a lot of work done, as I now have over 100 pictures to edit, a blog to finalize, a website to update, various social media accounts to maintain, and at least 4 naps to take. Before I find more things to complain about, though, I should probably get into the details of the trip…since that is what you came to read about, right?
Okay…here it goes.
The trip started off with us leaving Yuba City sometime mid morning on Sunday July 30th. We weren’t in too much of a rush to get down there, but we actually made pretty decent time with very minimal traffic…I think we pulled into LA at around 4:00 PM that day. Our older brother, Cole, lives in Hollywood, so luckily for us we were able to stay at his place while he was vacationing in Greece. The location of where he lives seriously could not have been more ideal for us. It was right in the middle of everything. As soon as we got settled into our accommodations (and took a 20 minute nap), we hit the ground running. From this point forward it was non-stop action for Kael and me. The first thing we did was go to the top of Mulholland Drive to get pictures overlooking the city. I’m not sure that this location was the exact one that Kael and I were picturing before we got there, but we ended up pulling out some really good shots. Then, our appetites started to get the best of us.
Going into the trip, we both knew that we were going to be in a prime location for some really amazing food. And if you didn’t know this already, the Williams brothers are internationally recognized for being able to store large quantities of food in their stomachs. Needless to say, we were stoked for the dining experiences this trip was going to bring for us. In fact, I think that for me, personally, my favorite aspect of traveling is going to different restaurants. Although I am admittedly a picky eater, it is always a cool experience for me to be somewhere and eat in a place that I never have before.
Anyway, the first restaurant we went to is a rather iconic spot in Los Angeles called the Pink Taco. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you have not. Either way, I highly recommend it if you’re in the area. Some of the best fajitas I’ve ever had, and Kael’s nachos didn’t look terrible either. Now, like I said earlier, we can put away some food…seriously. So although the dinner satisfied our savory cravings, we still had enough room set aside to devour something that could curb our sweet tooth’s. After dinner, we drove about 45 minutes out of our way for a special dessert parlor called Sloan’s Ice Cream. Another “must visit” if you go to LA. I don’t remember exactly what Kael got, but I myself took down 9 whole scoops of ice cream ranging in flavors from cappuccino to cotton candy. All were delicious, and left my stomach and me very content.
Moving onto the second day, this was probably our most action packed day. We started off the morning at Kettle Glazed Donuts, where the both of us got no less than three items each (carb loading). We were going to need all the energy we could get if we were going to successfully tackle the day ahead of us. So after we fueled up, we headed towards the Griffith Observatory…a very popular location for epic photos. Once there, we got a few decent shots with the Hollywood sign in the back, and some others here and there that were alright…everything we were shooting seemed kind of “bleh”. Nothing really stood out, so we consulted Instagram for some inspiration. We knew that our friends Guillaume and Nedim were shooting at this spot a few weeks prior to us being there, so we looked to see what kind of shots they had gotten. After looking at their pictures from the same location, the ideas started flooding in, and our shots started looking a lot more epic. I was actually asked to get down from a ledge I was sitting on, but that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is that we got the shot.
After we’d had enough of sneaking around the Observatory, Kael and I made our way over to Woodland Hills to get a workout in at Bradley Martyn’s Zoo Culture. I was very excited to check this place out, as I had only seen it in videos on YouTube, and had only heard good things from friends of mine who had visited. After experiencing it for myself, I can honestly say that this place was oozing with good atmosphere. From the moment you walk into Zoo Culture, you can tell that you’re about to have a good workout. There was great lighting, the music was bumping, and getting to meet Bradley was super motivating as well. Although he was mid workout while we were there, he still took the time to meet, greet, and chat with everyone who came up to him. Much respect for that.
Post workout, Kael and I destroyed some Waba Grill then headed back to home base to clean up and get ready to take more shots. I believe the only spot we took pictures at that night was at the LACMA Urban Lights exhibit. If you can’t picture the spot that I’m referring to, just Google it and you’ll recognize it immediately.
The following day, Tuesday, was our last day in LA. This meant that whatever spots we had left to hit we had to get done that day, and we probably had 3-4 more locations to visit, not counting Gold’s Gym in Venice (AKA the Mecca of Bodybuilding), where we were planning on getting a workout in with Nedim.
So, before we picked up Nedim, Kael took me to one of his favorite breakfast spots in LA called the Urth Caffe. Kael had been talking about this spot since he and his friends went to LA a few months prior to our trip, and from what he said it seemed like a really cool joint. In fact, when Kael first started talking about this place, I was in the middle of watching the HBO series Entourage, and realized that they go to the Urth Caffe allllllllll the time in the show. Once I found that out, I was sold.
As it had turned out, the hype around the Urth Caffe was very well deserved. Kael and I both just ordered granola with fruit and a couple of Spanish lattes, and I think that we both left feeling very full, yet wanting more (if that makes sense). The latte I got at the caffe was my first ever, and I can’t believe I was missing out on such a good thing for so long. Anytime we are in the area, you better believe we’ll be revisiting the Urth Caffe.
From here we went and picked up Nedim at his place in Culver City, which was right around the corner from the Warner Bros. studio lot, and headed off to Gold’s Gym for a workout. Kael and I first met Nedim during the 4th of July when we went to Newport Beach, and from the get-go we could tell that we were all very like-minded. Because of this, we were able to hold good conversations about our hopes, dreams, visions, and much more. We talked about everything from the state of the fitness industry to what aperture is in regards to photography. Above all, though, we had a killer workout.
If the atmosphere at Zoo Culture was motivating, then Gold’s Gym in Venice took it to a whole other level. It was like everywhere we turned there was some big-bodied fitness industry hot shot that we had heard of.
Everything up to this point in the trip, and everything after leading up to this exact moment that I am sitting on this plane, are exhibits that suggest that the WCM crew should consider moving down to Southern California and setting up shop. Everything about us is inspired by the culture there. Those are our roots, and that is where it all started. I can’t escape the feeling that we should consider migrating down there.
I feel like I could say a lot more about the trip, and the time that we spent down there. To sum it all up, though, I’ll leave you with this quote from one of my recent Instagram posts:
“If most American cities are about the consumption of culture, then Los Angeles is about the production of culture…not only nationally but on a global scale. Just being in the city with all the characters you can feel that. The people here are drawn by the dream, and everyone is on their mission. The hustle and bustle is certainly hectic to commute through from place to place, but it’s refreshing to be in a city where people understand that you have work to do; that you too are on a mission.”
In the upcoming weeks, the entire crew will be traveling to Vegas for the Mr. Olympia competition, then immediately over to Tucson for a rip roaring good time at the University of Arizona.
Thanks for reading,
Benton Ryne Williams
West Coast Muscle
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