We're getting excited for this year's GREAT LOS ANGELES WALK this Saturday! The good news: Rain does not appear to be in the forecast, and it looks to be a mild day -- making it perfect all-day walking weather.
A few things to note (and check both here at the Great Los Angeles Walk's Facebook event page later this week):
If you are planning on Tweeting the walk, please (a) follow @greatlawalk if you don't already, and (b) message us or respond to us on Twitter to let us know! Also, even if you won't be Tweeting, make sure to follow @greatlawalk to get updates on where we are (and where we're making pit stops) throughout the day.
Also: We've heard from a ton of people via our email address; I wish I had the time to respond to everyone, but I don't -- and Spam filters are preventing me from sending mass bulk emails. I hope this answers most of your questions.
And now, the Frequently Asked Questions:
1. WHEN/WHERE? Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 -- the Saturday before Thanksgiving, like we do every year. We're meeting at downtown’s Triforium sculpture (at Fletcher Bowron Square – at Temple and Main -- across from City Hall). We'll probably have a speaker or two to kick things off, at around 8:45, so get there early. The Walk leaves PROMPTLY at 9.
2. WHO? We're expecting over 200 hikers this year. We're taking RSVPs at greatlawalk(at)mail(dot)com (yes, "mail," not "gmail") and on Facebook, but RSVPs are not necessary. 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 downtown, we'll walk west on Temple, north on Vermont, west on Hollywood Boulevard, south on Fairfax, west on Santa Monica Boulevard to 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? 19-ish miles. 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 5.
8. WHAT ABOUT LUNCH? We'll be taking a lunch break -- probably around an hour or so -- in the heart of Hollywood. We're also in talks with a handful of food trucks to park along the route and offer special deals for Walk participants.
9. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WALK IS DONE? We'll take group photos at the ocean... and then celebrate at Locando del Lago in Santa Monica. Lago Santa Monica will offer Great Los Angeles Walk participants $8 pizzas (regularly $14-15 each) and $20 “litros” (carafes, regularly $34 each) of their signature market cocktails exclusively on Saturday, November 19 -- plus, they're even reserving a portion of the outdoor patio for walkers to mingle.
10. HOW DO I GET HOME? Either plan with a friend and get to Santa Monica early morning, parking one car, then carpool to downtown (where you'll park the other car). OR: Park at downtown, walk to Santa Monica, then eventually take Metro back to downtown. OR: Park at Santa Monica at 7 a.m., allowing yourself enough time to board a Metro bus to downtown. Traffic's light that time of morning, so the bus ride is relatively quick. And that way, when you arrive in Santa Monica, your car is waiting for you.
BUSES: Thanks to Joni Yung for doing the homework on this. She recommends you visit Metro (http://www.metro.net/around/maps) for details. But here's a thumbnail:
The last BBB10 bus leaves Santa Monica for downtown at around 7pm. It's the return from downtown that's at around 8pm. so if you're going to party after the walk, your choices are the 704 (or the local 4, both via Santa Monica/Sunset), the 720 (via Wilshire), and the 733 (via Venice Blvd). some run more often than others, some will drop you off closer to City Hall than others.
11. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR/BRING? Loose, comfy clothing. I'd wear shorts, a t-shirt (and perhaps a sweatshirt, given the temperature) and 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.
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; in 2008, via Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd.; and in 2009, we hit West Adams as we walked down Adams and Washington to Venice Beach. Last year, we returned to Wilshire for the fifth walk... and this year, we're hitting Hollywood.
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.
14. IMPORTANT: You are walking on your own volition. The Great Los Angeles Walk is just a casual opportunity to walk with other Angelenos through the city. It's not an official organization of any sort -- and is therefore not responsible for your conduct or anything that may happen during your hike. Be careful, and be respectful of others and of your city.