We hear, from time to time, “Corvettes are all show and no go”. This is certainly not true about the Corvette and usually the result of jealousy and ignorance; a statement made by someone who has spent a fortune for something exotic and now is going to hate on your modestly priced supercar. When we talk about Los Angeles, the phrase is absolutely right on. You don’t go anywhere in LA but there are plenty of showy things to make you want to go there. Going to LA is harrowing. We were going right in to it’s heart to stay at the Magic Castle. We gathered at the rest stop just north of Oceanside. Janet Smith and Sam Campbell had done all of the work. There were 27 of us including guests. The immediate goal; get to Hollywood without any major traumatic events and in a reasonable time. This was one of those trips where, with minor hiccups, everything went right. Did we run in to traffic in the traffic pit that is LA; sure. The 405 had an accident every few miles, so traffic was schizophrenic; slowing and then hurrying, but we stayed together almost the entire way. When we made Hollywood, we could see our object, the Getty Museum which was on the hill and we could all see a bathroom break in our immediate future. We got there before noon but we really started our adventure at 7:30AM, se we had a lot of time to enjoy our Corvette interior.
The Getty Museum was impressive. It’s an architectural wonder. Some of the gardens are pictured above and they’re splended and water savvy as well. After we found the cafeteria we looked at the attractions. They were featuring a collection of tapestries from the Palace of Versailles. Actual Gold thread was used to create these incredible classical and biblical scenes that adorned the pleasure palace of the Sun King, Louis the XIV. Not to be overshadowed by the French, the Italians were on view with a Bernini exhibit also at the Getty featuring the magnificent renaissance sculpture. You may remember Bernini from Rome and the Vatican if you’ve gone. His work is most famous as the piece covering the Altar in St. Peters; the Baldachin. Not to be missed, from the Salons of 19th century Paris, pre impressionist and impressionist works by the greats of the medium. Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet. All in a wonderful setting with unobstructed views to the ocean.
We checked in to the Magic Castle hotel around 3PM. The accommodations were reasonable although not plush; really quite modest. The trick was you have to stay at the hotel to be admitted to the Magic Castle itself. That meant we didn’t have a lot of choice about the accommodations which were, in some ways, more like a motel than a grand hotel. Another trick was we had to have a certain number of guests to get the cool discount. Thanks to good planning and fallback guests, we were able to get the preferred rate for the club. More good news; the staff of the hotel were on their game. They were friendly, entertaining and thoroughly committed to our comfort and their bitching about having all of us show up at the same time was only cute; not annoying-they really tried to make us all feel welcomed. After check in, we were able to get settled and spend a little time by the pool; some of us wanted to get a head start on cocktails-there was something to do for everyone.
At 4PM, our cocktail party was ready. The club met in the two bedroom suite to have some cocktails and admire each other in appropriate attire. The women were beautiful in gowns and fantastic looking dresses and the men stately and handsome in suits and tuxedos but admittedly made more handsome by the fact they all owned Corvettes. But the cocktails would only pour for an hour. Many felt that we needed another couple of hours of cocktail time; Okay, I felt we needed a couple of more hours of cocktail time, the thing is I was just in the middle of a great conversation with a very attractive lady…
At 5PM, we walked through a bookcase in the wall to the main bar and lobby of the Magic Castle. This was an event on a lot of bucket lists so there was palpable excitement. It was my first time to this venue. Not wanting to miss anything and not wanting to be too sober for the experience, I quickly loaded up a refreshment and found the nearest line to stand in. Lucky for me, I was in line for the slight of hand show. Even better, the entire club was in line. The entire club was led in to the small room that’s small dimension could only handle us. A magician came out and did some flat out amazing tricks; I mean things disappearing right in front of you. Next he asked for two volunteers. Catherine Guiant and our new prospective member Jeff Butler assumed the positions at the card table right next to our magician/sorceror. The magician had to fight Catherine off as she tried to look under his cup and tried to get to the bottom of what was plainly amazing. Catherine was merely doing what we all wanted to do. The magician was flat out incredible. If you had seen these tricks on the street without preparation, you might’ve run away for fear of the devil. Let’s just say it; we were liquored up and seeing some pretty crazy stuff. A good time was in the works.
When we left, we were hungry. That was a good thing because it was dinner time. Dinner was delicious. The dinner menu was first class. Gourmet. I had the Wellington and the Sea Bass. Best I’ve ever had. The food was world class.
Next, more magic. This time the magic was in the larger stage area. The first magician was Handsome Jack who did more of a comical show than a straight magic act. He was followed by the headliner who did more of the standard tricks you might expect; the stuff that came out of the first magic kit you get as a teen. The act really failed to capture the crowd’s imagination although his skill was considerable and I couldn’t explain how he made billiard balls reappear and disappear so I should probably be less critical. The problem was we had an early start and it was getting late. Many of us nearly fell asleep during this portion of the show. Take fatigue, add booze and a full gourmet dinner, you get a pretty groggy group. The big portion of our run had broken up with people exploring the castle at their leisure. Our sub-group decided to call it a night and we headed back to the hotel around 11:30PM.
The big group was heading to the Regan library early; around 8AM. That meant I had to go with the second group that left a little later. I took the top off. The weather was just too nice and there’s nothing like the power of the Corvette, the open road and no traffic. About 75 degrees. It was almost hot. No traffic to the museum meant we got there in about 30 minutes. The museum/library was really outstanding. You wouldn’t think an exhibit dedicated to one person could make such an impression but then you look at the attractions. You got to see his jelly beans; his clothes from the assassination attempt; a part of the Berlin Wall; his football uniform from high school; his diary; Nancy’s gowns. Oh, there was a 707 called Airforce One set up in a rotunda with 360 degree views-not bad. The Irish pub he visited when he went back to his roots was there; the whole thing. They transplanted it when the museum was built. His helicopter is there. The building is just flat out amazing. Weather you agreed with his politics or not, the museum was stunning. Perhaps the Donald Trump museum will be more amazing but this library was hard to beat. Many members wanted to check out books but we quickly learned that this was a different kind of party. Museum is the better noun.
So, we left after that. We ran in to all the traffic. It took quite a while to crawl home. We ended up stopping for dinner just out of sheer boredom. The trip was a whirlwind. I’ve listed all the members who joined us from memory; that’s how fun it was, I felt like I have 26 new friends. I want the club to know that we had a really great time and if you couldn’t be there, we hope you enjoy the adventure vicariously through this post. This was a bucket list sort of trip that many of us will never forget. Next time, more cocktails.
- Margaret Olsen
- Lee Olsen
- Mike Wilbanks
- Christina Wilbanks
- Randy Standke
- Dawn Standke
- Randy Brown
- Janet Smith
- Tom Silva (guests of the Browns)
- Sue Silva (guests of the Browns)
- Kerry Butler (potential new member)
- Jeff Butler (potential new member)
- Pat Guiant
- Catherine Guiant
- Roger Backstedt
- Charlotte Backstedt
- BJ Comer
- Sam Campbell
- Beth Campbell
- Randy Kilpatrick
- Judi Spuris
- Viki Lassiter
- Jim Lassiter
- Anne Randall
- Brent Randall
- Larry Yarham
- Sherry Yarham