The response to this year's Great Los Angeles has so far been amazing! It's on track to be our biggest yet.
A few things to note (and there will be more emails later this week):
If you are planning on Tweeting the walk, please send us your Twitter account name ASAP! We'll be compiling them so folks at home can follow along all day. Send 'em to this email.
Also, we're still looking for a venue for the afterparty in Venice Beach. We'll be ending up at Washington and Speedway (aka the beach), so spots around there would be great. If you have any suggestions, please let me know ASAP.
And now, the Frequently Asked Questions:
1. WHEN/WHERE? Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 -- the Saturday before Thanksgiving, like we do every year. We're meeting on the side of the Shrine Auditorium, on Jefferson (across the street from USC Parking lot D); people will start to gather in the front of the historic auditorium around 8:30 or so. Just look for the crowd of people who look like they're about to embark on an urban hike. This year, we'll have a speaker or two to kick things off; we'll probably leave the Shrine at about 9:30.
2. WHO? We're expecting over 150 hikers this year. We're still taking RSVPs at franklin_avenue(at)yahoo(dot)com... but we'll take anyone who shows up too!
3. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? C'mon, it's completely free! But you're on your own when it comes to lunch, dinner, water, etc. So don't forget to plan accordingly.
4. WHAT'S THE PATH? From the Shrine, we'll hike up Figueroa until we get to Adams. From there we start to head west on Adams -- but we'll also be taking a few detours onto side streets north and south of Adams in order to take a look at classic Los Angeles architecture and homes. Later, we'll make our way up to Washington and walk through the Mid-City district. We keep on walking down Washington, and through Culver City, before eventually finding our way to Venice Beach and the ocean.
5. WHAT IF I CAN'T GET THERE THAT EARLY, OR DON'T WANT TO START THAT FAR EAST? Just wait for us somewhere on the path and join in once we pass by. Several hikers will be Twittering as well -- including us, at @greatlawalk. Check one of those Twitter accounts to figure out where we are.
6. HOW LONG IS THE HIKE? 13.5 miles. That's five miles less than last year's, which is why we'll be taking more time this year to explore side streets. IMPORTANT: This is not a race. Sure, you can sprint all the way to the end, but where's the fun in that? There's no prize for who gets there first. Instead, take a breath, and join the bulk of us as we leisurely stroll toward the ocean and stop frequently to take in the sights.
7. WHEN WILL WE GET TO THE END? With so many hikers, people will eventually start to space out. Impatient, faster walkers might get there soon after lunch. But the bulk of the walkers will get there around 4.
8. WHAT ABOUT LUNCH? We'll be taking a lunch break -- probably around 90 minutes or so -- in the Mid-City area. The Atomic Cafe is preparing a Great Los Angeles Walk special for participants, and the Mid-City Neighborhood Council will be on hand to pass out water and goodies. There are more hikers than the Atomic can handle, but there will be other eateries in the vicinity as well. We'll have a list of many of them to pass out during the walk. We'll then alert everyone via Twitter when we're set to restart the hike again.
9. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WALK IS DONE? We'll take a group photo at the ocean... and then celebrate in Venice at a destination to be announced later this week.
10. HOW DO I GET HOME? We've tried in the past to arrange for a bus to take stranded walkers back downtown -- but didn't get enough takers.
My advice: Either plan with a friend and get to Venice Beach around 8 a.m., parking one car, then carpooling to USC (where you'll park the other car). OR: Park at USC, walk to Venice, then eventually take Metro back to USC. OR: Park at Venice Beach at 7 a.m., allowing yourself enough time to board a Metro bus to USC. Traffic's light that time of morning, so the bus ride is relatively quick. And that way, when you arrive in Venice, your car is waiting for you.
Head to GreatLAWalk.com for more info on Metro options, including a link to the Metro's Source blog, in which several bus options are given.
11. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR/BRING? Loose, comfy clothing. I'd wear shorts, a t-shirt and then bring a jacket -- it gets chilly at the beach in the evening. Also, tennis shoes... sunglasses... a hat... sunscreen... extra socks... a blister kit (optional, of course -- I haven't brought one, although Band-Aids are a good idea)... and most importantly, a camera! We'll all be documenting it and posting pics later.
Several of you have ordered Great Los Angeles Walk T-shirts, which is cool (www.cafepress.com/franklinavenue) but not mandatory. For the rest of you, I suggest white T-shirts -- so we can all recognize each other as Great LA Walk walkers!
12. HOW SHOULD I TRAIN FOR THIS? It's not a marathon, so training isn't really necessary. I suppose you should walk around your neighborhood in the days before hand... but I'd avoid any big gym routine the day before, so you're not sore the day you're hiking. But other than that... I didn't train at all for the first three walks, and came out just fine.
13. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? Why not? There's no special reason, no charity, no protest, no issue we're promoting -- other than a passion for Los Angeles. In 2006, I organized our walk down Wilshire to mark my 10th anniversary in Los Angeles. But it was so much fun, and it was a chance to meet so many new people, that we did it again in 2007, down Pico, and in 2008, via Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd. It's the Saturday before Thanksgiving as well, so somehow I don't feel as bad gorging on sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie a few days later. And hey, it'll be a cool conversation piece at your holiday party.