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Gerard Gilberto | | November 20, 2014

College Football Road Trip: Going back to Cali

  Southern California leads the series against UCLA 44-30-7. Only 16 of those games played at the Rose Bowl.

The Chicago Cubs did not win the 2014 World Series.

I still haven’t seen a pig fly and the Harlem Globetrotters are still the greatest show on earth.

So perhaps it’s the playoff hungry Cleveland Browns causing the feeling that hell has frozen over?

Hell or not, our beautiful country has fallen victim to temperatures frigid enough to turn a New Yorker's dream of enjoying the benefits of living in a city nicknamed “HOTlanta” into a disappointment rivaling that of the third Godfather movie.

Snow blowers are working overtime, goose-down bubble jackets will probably make a comeback sometime this week and you're escaping to beautiful southern California – “on such a winter’s day”.

This week’s destination is the Rose Bowl. The stadium where just 10 months earlier Jameis Winston hoisted college football’s newest relic and the Seminoles donned pretty roses in their ears, dreadlocks and bandanas making them the bell of the sport’s (crystal) ball.

UCLA takes on Southern California in a battle for Hollywood supremacy that I’m sure folk’s were wishing would be settled in a Mike Trout-Clayton Kershaw clash of the Titans in this season’s World Series.

But you don’t need Ice Cube and the late Al Davis to tell you that most of the time you can’t always get what you want in Los Angeles. You and the LA diehards will have to settle for a seat to college football’s game of the week in one of the few cities in America where a polar bear would not feel comfortable walking around.

But before we get into the heart of Los Angeles, let's get the maps out or pinch the screen on your iPhone and pull back a little to see what's along the road outside of LA.

There is a city four hours outside of Los Angeles that I'm sure you've all heard of. I'm not going to give away the name. Let's just say it's in south Nevada and if you go I don't expect to hear many stories.

Beyond Las-- oops almost gave it away -- that city there are some of the most beautiful national parks in the country around Southern California and even just outside of that city.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area sits at the base of the state of Nevada close to the California border. This time of year would be good for a trip to the Red Rock Canyon’s “Ice Box Canyon” trail. Ice Box Canyon comes to a head at a seasonal waterfall, meaning sometimes there is a waterfall and other times, it's dried up. This seems like the time of year that the fall should be flowing.

Now you get into California and due east of the city is Joshua Tree National Park -- where the streets have no name and you still won’t find what you’re looking for – all U2 albums aside, Joshua Tree is also known for the interesting shape of the trees, a geological wonder named Skull Rock and the comedy of errors in the story of the Byrd’s Gram Parsons’ posthumous hijinks.

There are a couple very famous national parks north of Los Angeles that are definitely worth visiting. Yosemite and Sequoia National Park run into each other and will be a refreshing change of pace from both the desert as well as the city.

Sequoia is home to the world’s largest trees – millions of thick trunked Sequoia trees towering what looks like miles high from the human eye at ground level that have more than one hundred feet of width at the base.

Yosemite is just a sprawling natural landmark with a bunch of popular paths to hike; taking the Mist Trail into the heart of the park will take you past Vernal Falls and beyond Nevada falls. Taking the John Muir Trail on the way back to the road will give you a perfect view of the trail you took to get inland.

South of Los Angeles, in a town outside of San Diego, there is a park named Cedar Creek Fall’s trailhead, home to “The Devil’s Punchbowl.” Yes – I know there are many different Devil’s Punchbowls but this is the cool one…

Jul 7, 2014 at 6:49pm PDT

After you decide which National Park or parks you would like to go to and you finish your hike or swim, let’s go IN THE CITAAYY of L.A.

All that hiking has to have gotten you hungry, so here are two L.A. staples that should definitely hit while you’re in town.

In-N-Out Burger. Don’t be scared, go animal style and if you’re anything like my friends it’s your civic duty to go to In-N-Out Burger and take a picture of what you’re about to eat and put it on Instagram.

The other great spot to hit is Roscoe’s Home of Chicken and Waffles. There are quite a few of these scattered about Los Angeles and it’ll definitely be worth stopping in for a “Herb Special,” or a “Big Mama Special,” or (and no this is not made up) and “Obama Special.”

If you’re hungry for some desert after another west coast staple is See’s Candies. There is an interesting place on Hollywood Boulevard that would challenge you (“you” being the person that is actually going on all of these road trips; if you’re out there, I’m sorry for the Indiana to California stuff on short notice) for the title of world’s biggest college football fan.

33 Taps is the name of this Bar and Grill and last week they were showing Division III football; Ithaca and Cortland battling for the Cortaca Jug. Three-thousand miles away from DIII football in west New York, folks got to see Cortland turn a busted field goal snap into a dagger through the hearts of all fans of the Ithaca Bombers. Now that’s commitment.

Keeping with the theme of this week’s road trip, Griffith Observatory is one of the best places to see Los Angeles as well as the hikes that are offered up to the HOLLYWOOD sign.

If you really feel like being a tourist, there are tours that you can take of the mansions in Beverly Hills that are home to celebrities and other famous people. There are tourist attractions worth seeing (Hollywood Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater) in regards to the showbiz-dominated nature of Los Angeles. When you walk around the city you’ll see the desperation all over the place form people who want to be actors, rappers and stars. If you hold your hand open for too long on Hollywood Boulevard, you’ll end up with a mix tape in your hand.

One thing you’ll also get to do that I’m sure you’ve been missing is go to the beach. Beautiful Pacific blue waters with waves crashing on to the beaches in Santa Monica, Venice, Newport, Hermosa and plenty more. Just go for a walk by the piers and soak up some beauty.

When you make it to the Rose Bowl be sure to see the Court of Champions, the Rose Bowl’s version of Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. The Court of Champions had recent renovations to fit future names on the Wall of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame which commemorates the greatest performances in the history of the championship game as well as the greatest players in UCLA history.

That will conclude this week’s college football road trip.

"And I gotta say, today was a good day."

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