Visiting the Petersen Automotive Museum with LA F1 Fans

After several years of gathering to watch Formula 1 on television in bars around Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Formula 1 Fans meetup group gathered for a non-race event to tour the Petersen Automotive Museum last Sunday.

Inspired by a Twitter discussion of Bugattis, group co-leader Mara picked a date in February for us to gather and tour the museum. I had not visited the museum since it re-opened in December, 2015, after a $125 million restoration, so I was excited to see the museum with fellow car racing fans. Not sure how many  people would attend an event that did not involve watching Formula 1, Mara was pleasantly surprised when over twenty people pre-paid so that our group received a discounted ticket rate.

Meeting in the museum lobby, Mara checked everyone in and purchased additional tickets while we mingled and discussed the latest developments in Formula 1 (the hot topic was Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement, Valtteri Bottas’ signing with Mercedes AMG Petronas to replace him, and Felipe Massa’s un-retiring to drive this year with Williams).

Everyone gathered to pose for a photo in the lobby before we entered the museum.

LA F1 Fans group photo before our Petersen Automotive Museum tour

LA F1 Fans in our first non-race viewing event at the Petersen Automotive Museum

After trying to squeeze all of us in the elevator, and bouncing a few times, our group split and made our way to the third floor to begin exploring the museum. The top floor featured early cars, such as this replica of the first practical car, an 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, as well as General Motor’s 1996 EV1, the world’s first mass-produced electric powered vehicle.

The first practical car an 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen replica at the Petersen Automotive Museum seen with LA F1 Fans

The first practical car – an 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen (replica). One prototype was built and 25 replicas.

1996 General Motors EV1 at Petersen Automotive Museum

General Motors’ 1996 EV1, the first modern, mass-produced electric vehicle.

This being Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood and the film industry, there are several cars featured in movies on display.

1963 Volkswagen Beetle, Herbie, driven in the film Herbie Fully Loaded on display at Petersen Automotive Museum

1963 Volkswagen Beetle, “Herbie” driving in the 2005 film, “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”

We wandered the exhibits on our own pace chatting with fellow F1 fans.

LA Formula 1 Fans at the Petersen Automotive Museum talk by a 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne XP-37

LA F1 Fans discuss car design in front of this 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne XP-37

This 1953 Nash-Healy was particularly beautiful.

1953 Nash-Healey designed by Pinin Farina on display at Petersen Automotive Museum

1953 Nash-Healey designed by Pinin Farina

For those more interested in race cars, this 1997 Porsche 911 Gt1 was a special treat to see.

The McLaren P1 on display showcases the production vehicles developed by the other side of the McLaren F1 team parent company.

2015 McLaren P1 at the Petersen Automotive Museum

2015 McLaren P1

An exhibit on American racing legend Dan Gurney opened January 28th. “The Eagles Have Landed: Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers,” features 11 AAR cars, memorabilia and short films on the walls of the display about Dan Gurney’s racing career.

Dan Gurney exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum featured the 1967 AAR Eagle Gurney-Weslake V-12 #36 F1 Grand Prix Car

Dan Gurney exhibit featured several of his race cars including the 1967 AAR Eagle Gurney-Weslake V-12 #36 F1 Grand Prix Car

Dan Gurney Moet & Chandon magnum sprayed from 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans podium at Petersen Automotive Musuem

Dan Gurney memorabilia on display includes the original magnum of Moet & Chandon champagne he sprayed from the podium when he and A.J. Foyt won the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The ground floor of the museum featured a large exhibit on the Bugatti. Most of the cars are from the Mullin Auto Museum (perhaps one day we can organize a group visit there).

1931 Bugatti Type 50 S on display at Petersen Automotive Museum

1931 Bugatti Type 50 S

The 1925 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum

The 1925 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix

Mara suggested that we meet at Tom Bergin’s (the second oldest bar in Los Angeles) down the street from the museum once we were finished touring the museum. I was part of the last of our group that was in the museum, and there was a small remaining group in Tom Bergin’s by the time I arrived that enjoyed beer, Irish coffee and lunch together.

LA F1 Fans at Tom Bergin's after touring the Petersen Automotive Museum

The last of the LA F1 Fans at Tom Bergin’s after touring the Petersen

LA F1 fans have lunch and Irish coffee at Tom Bergin's after a Petersen Museum visit

Yvette, Mara, Mike and Eric enjoying lunch and Tom Bergin’s famous Irish Coffee

LA F1 fans enjoy lunch at Tom Bergin's Irish pub after the Petersen Automotive Museum visit

Anmol and Alen enjoying lunch at Tom Bergin’s

LA F1 fans enjoy Irish coffee at Tom Bergin's after a visit to the Petersen Automotive Musuem

John, Dave and Kiera enjoying Irish coffee at the bar at Tom Bergin’s

In all, the first LA F1 Fans non-race meetup activity was a success. Everyone seemed to enjoy the museum and the opportunity to visit with other Formula 1 fans.

Based on the success of this gathering, Mara already scheduled our next meetup on March 12th to visit the Malibu Cars and Coffee gathering.

The 2017 Formula 1 season opens on March 26th with the Australian Grand Prix. Join the Los Angeles Formula 1 fans meetup group to see where we will gather to watch the race.

Watching Formula 1 in Los Angeles

Last weekend, we licked our wounds because we weren’t in Austin to watch a beautiful, sunny weekend of Formula 1 racing at Circuit of the Americas. But we found a salve for not being there in person with the next best thing, watching the race live with fellow Formula 1 fans in Los Angeles at Pirelli P Zero World.

LA F1 Fans at Pirelli P Zero World to watch Formula 1

Watching the USGP at Pirelli P Zero World with fellow F1 fans

Thanks to the LA F1 Fans meet-up group Mark Sternberg created a few years ago, each week during the Formula 1 season LA fans gather to watch the races with fellow F1 enthusiasts. We once thought we were the only Formula 1 fans here in the US, since hardly any of our friends knew what we were talking about when we said, “Formula 1.” Now we meet with other followers of the FIA’s premier motorsport series, Formula 1, to watch races at various locations throughout Los Angeles.

Most race weekends, the group watches a tape delayed broadcast of the race due to the international nature of the sport. With races occurring around the world, finding a location to watch a race in the middle of the night, and the willingness to watch in the middle of the night, is a tough proposition.

Usually, the LA F1 group gathers at the Britannia Pub or Cock and Bull Pub in Santa Monica. For the season opener in Australia, Mark arranged for a viewing party at Tom’s Urban in downtown LA. A few weeks ago, the group returned to Tom’s Urban to watch the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka live – starting at 10:00 PM Los Angeles time. The new U.S. Formula 1 team, Haas F1, sponsored the party and offered team hats and other team promotional items that Mark raffled off. Over 100 people gathered to watch.

Last weekend, for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, the LA F1 Fans group met at Pirelli P Zero World in Century City. Pirelli is the official tire for Formula 1. A catered buffet, wine, and beer were offered (for a fee), and we enjoyed a big screen viewing of the race.

Pirelli P Zero World LA F1 fans viewing party

Pirelli’s P Zero World in Century City, Los Angeles

Lavazza cappuccino at LA F1 fans Pirelli P Zero World for Formula 1

A Lavazza cappuccino and Formula 1 viewing

It was a good, but not great race. Our group really made some noise when Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were battling for fifth position near the end of the race and Alonso and Massa almost took each other out.

LA F1 Fans at Pirelli P Zero World to watch the USGP Formula 1 race

Watching the USGP at Pirelli P Zero World in Los Angeles

During the commercial breaks, the fans chatted with each other and looked at the cars on display and parked outside.

McLaren at Pirelli P Zero World for LA F1 Formula 1

A McLaren 570 GT parked in the back of Pirelli P Zero World

McLaren Pirelli P Zero World LA Formula 1 fans

McLaren 650S in Pirelli P Zero World

McLaren at Pirelli P Zero World for LA F1 fans viewing

There’s a McLaren behind us but we’re all focused on the action on the track!

Williams Martini Racing Pirelli LA F1 fans

Wearing my Williams Martini racing shirt to support Felipe Massa by this beautiful Maserati

This weekend, Formula 1 is in Mexico, offering US west-coast fans an opportunity to watch the race live at a reasonable hour. Join them tomorrow at the Britannia Pub in Santa Monica, and cheer for your favorite team and driver among fellow Formula 1 fans!

What: LA F1 Fans watch the Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix live

Where: Britannia Pub, 318 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA

When: 10:30 am

Details and to RSVP: http://www.meetup.com/LAF1Fans/events/235117340/

While Mercedes AMG Petronas has clinched the constructor’s title for the third straight year, the driver’s championship is still in play. Nico Rosberg could clinch his first F1 world championship if he wins the race and his teammate, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, finishes tenth or lower. But Lewis is on the pole for the race, with Nico in the second grid position and the Red Bulls breathing down their necks in third and fourth. It should be an exciting race. We hope to see you at the Britannia to watch with us live tomorrow!

Who do you think will win the race? Who do you think will win the driver’s championship?

More photos from the USGP viewing party are here:

McLaren Pirelli P Zero World LA F1 fans viewing

Back of the McLaren 570 GT

McLaren Pirelli LA F1 fans viewing

The McLaren 650 S from the back

 

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Team USA’s Road to Rio Tour

The Team USA Road to Rio tour visited Venice Beach, California, last weekend, and I stopped by for a quick visit. The tour has been traveling around the United States since last summer, visiting nine cities with the goal of, “giving fans access to Team USA athletes and experiences earlier than ever before, and heightening awareness and excitement for the Rio Games in the buildup to 2016,” as the press release announcing the tour stated.

As I walked along Venice Beach towards the Road to Rio tour, I saw these national flags in the sand. They reminded me of all the countries coming together to compete at the Olympic games.

Team USA flags

Team USA had a large area along the beach with a zip-line, concert stage, and several booths and trailers with Olympic memorabilia on display. Some local celebrities and Olympic athletes made appearances each day, and there were musical acts to entertain the crowd.

Team USA main stage

Liberty Mutual sponsored the tour and insures all the medals that Team USA athletes win at the Olympic games. They had a photo stand set to pose with an Olympic medal.

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Here I am posing with my “Olympic medal.”

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Another photo station had us pose as if we were on the diving platform.

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In one of the trailers, there was an area to experience different Olympic sports through virtual reality. Since I posed as if I was diving, I tried the diving demo narrated by Olympic gold medal diver David Boudia. I always have had an appreciation for the Olympic divers, but this really provided a sense of how high those diving platforms are! In the demo, David explained how divers start on the lower platforms, train there and then when they are completely comfortable they move up to a higher platform. By the time they reach the 10 meter platform, they are comfortable with the height.

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Virtual reality demos at the Road to Rio tour.

On the other side of the VR station was another photo opportunity – to pose for a high jump. I laid back on this green prop and the back drop was filled in to look like I was clearing the high jump bar.

Team USA high jump

Green screen and green cushion for the high jump photos.

Team USA Kiera pole vault

Here I am completing a high jump!

Another trailer featured displays on American Olympic athletes and Olympic memorabilia.

Team USA trailer

Examples of team uniforms were on display.

 

Another photo station posed us with the back drop of the beach in Rio. I held the torch used for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics torch relay. It weighs more than I thought! I remember seeing the torch relay run through New York City on the way to Atlanta in 1996.

Team USA torch

Here you can see how my teal shirt blended into the background because of the ‘green screen.’

I loved this display of the gold, silver and bronze medals for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. They are beautiful.

Team USA Atlanta medals

The last station I visited was the Los Angeles 2024 booth. Los Angeles is an official bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. As we stood in front of a rendering of what the Santa Monica beach and pier would look like with the beach volleyball courts and stands set for the games, we held the symbol for Los Angeles’ bid theme, Follow the Sun.

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It was a fun event, and I want to thank the wonderful Team USA ambassadors that worked at all of the stations. Every single one of them was welcoming, enthusiastic and having fun. Their attitudes were infectious. Thank you!

The Summer Olympic games begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5th. I will be at home watching as much coverage as possible and cheering for Team USA!

You can support Team USA by making a donation to Team USA and/or purchasing Team USA gear in the Team USA shop.

 

Plane Spotting Iron Maiden’s “Ed Force One” at LAX

Living close to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), I enjoy seeing the planes coming from the east making their final approach for landing when I’m driving on the 405 Freeway. Or when we’re walking our dogs on the Strand in Manhattan Beach, we try to guess the plane type and carrier as we watch flights depart to the west over the ocean.

When private planes and charters come to LAX, they are often parked on the south side of the airport, near the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Imperial Highway (aka the 105 Freeway). I wonder sometimes who the planes belong to, or who is flying in them. On Sunday, when I saw a plane there, it was clear who was in town.

As I drove north on Sepulveda, heading to Santa Monica, I saw a 747 plane with Iron Maiden livery. Iron Maiden was in town to perform two shows over the weekend at the Forum in Inglewood. Returning home a few hours later, I decided to try to get a picture of it. It was difficult – you could see it perfectly from the streets but it was parked at a busy intersection with a highway overhead so views of it were obstructed.

I finally parked, walked down an incline, and was able to take this photo – unfortunately the 105 Freeway is blocking the full view of the plane.

Zoomed in view of Iron Maiden plane parked at LAX.

Zoomed in view of Iron Maiden plane parked at LAX.

I could see some people walking along the green fence taking pictures of the plane (pictured above in the distance, closer to the plane), so I looped around to attempt parking near them with the intention of then walking back to take photos. Unfortunately, they were parked on the side of an off-ramp, in a no parking zone, and as I pulled over to park, I noticed a police car behind me. I thought better of parking there and moved.

I next went to Imperial Avenue in El Segundo. This street parallels Imperial Highway, but instead of being on the same level as LAX, the land is hilly, so there are some spots that provide excellent views of LAX and the southern runways.

On Imperial Avenue in El Segundo looking over LAX

On Imperial Avenue in El Segundo looking over LAX. The building on the far left, with all the planes parked outside, is the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The first five planes closest to me are all A380s.

A KLM 747 taxis on the runway at LAX.

A KLM 747 taxis on the runway at LAX.

Here is a map of where the plane was parked and where I was standing to watch the runways. It is a great location for plane spotting, watching both the incoming flights from the east and then seeing planes depart to the west.

While I was too far from the parked plane to get a good photo (and it was obscured by other buildings at LAX from this vantage point), there was a large crowd gathered with several people wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts, presumably from the concert the night before. The gentleman standing next to me, Ron Monroe, had a DSLR camera with a large lens, and he was taking pictures of all the planes departing, so I asked him about the planes, identifying them, and watching them land. He said this spot usually only has a few people watching and most of the people there today were there for the Iron Maiden plane. Ron took some beautiful photos of Ed Force One departing LAX that I shared below. I encourage you to visit his gallery on Flickr (he also took photos of Ed Force One landing at LAX a few days earlier. You can see them here, here and here).

/Air Atlanta Icelandic, Boeing 747-400, "Ed Force One" Photo credit: ©Ron Monroe

Air Atlanta Icelandic, Boeing 747-400, "Ed Force One" Photo credit: ©Ron Monroe

Once the plane started moving from its parking spot, there seemed to be excitement in the gathered crowd. I learned from some of the other onlookers that Iron Maiden’s lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson pilots the plane, and the plane is called Ed Force One.

After about twenty minutes, the plane was at the end of the runway and started moving towards take off, and I was able to capture the departure on video.

Iron Maiden and their crew was headed to Tokyo for their next concerts there as part of their Book of Souls world tour. Interestingly, after I shared this post, I saw an article about an associate curator at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology who helped translate the band’s Book of Souls song titles into ancient Maya hieroglyphs, two of which appear on the tail fin of Ed Force One. You can read more about that here.

Immediately after the plane departed, the crowd dissipated. One woman, wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt, said, “I want to cry. It’s all over now.”

Did you see the Iron Maiden plane at LAX? Have you ever visited an airport to watch planes taking-off and landing? Let me know in the comments below!

Reflecting on the “Best” of Instagram 2015

Here are my best nine Instagram posts from 2015:

Best Nine

A week or two ago, I noticed people posting a photo collage on Instagram with the hashtag #2015bestnine. I googled and soon learned how to discover your best nine photographs you shared on Instagram that garnered the most likes.

It is quite simple – visit http://2015bestnine.com/, type in your Instagram user name, and the site searches your posts and compiles the top photos in a collage you can post to Instagram, share to Twitter or save as an image. The site also compiles your total number of likes (5,332 for me) and the total posts you shared in 2015 (299 – almost one per day!).

I was surprised to see my results – all the photos are from right here in southern California – and it was fun to remember the story behind each one.

My most liked photo (in the top left of the collage) is from a calligraphy workshop this fall in downtown LA at the Design Love Fest studio. I have followed Lauren Essl’s feed, @BlueEyeBrownEye, for a while, and I was excited to be able to participate in one of her workshops. I took the introduction to calligraphy class, and I learned enough to address all of my Christmas cards this year with calligraphy!

From Lauren Essl's Blue Eye Brown Eye introduction to calligraphy workshop at Design Love Fest in Downtown LA

From Lauren Essl’s Blue Eye Brown Eye introduction to calligraphy workshop at Design Love Fest in Downtown LA

The middle column of my photos is from right here at home – almost daily walks along the Strand in Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach are always Instagram worthy. The middle photo is with a Paradise Bowl – delicious acai and pitaya bowls that are perfect after a long walk along the beach! Sometimes it feels redundant to keep posting photos of the beach at sunset, but every time I am there, the scene is so beautiful I have to take another picture!

Below the calligraphy post in the first column are coffee photos, both from Two Guns Espresso in Manhattan Beach (they also serve coffee at the Manhattan Beach Yacht Club at the end of the Manhattan Beach pier). Nothing makes me happier than a delicious espresso, and Two Guns makes the best Flat Whites around! These photos make me miss visiting Caffe Luxxe in Brentwood – my office used to be close to their San Vicente location, and I enjoyed stopping in for a cappuccino (and sharing it on Instagram) before going to the office (n.b. they roast the beans for Two Guns).

The column on the right is food – the top is a chicken sandwich from the Free Range LA food truck. They were in front of Stumptown Coffee in downtown LA, right around the corner from the Design Love Fest studio where I took my calligraphy class! Since Free Range LA says they are #ChickenGawds, I had to try one of their sandwiches. I had the “classic” but they allowed me to customize it by adding some of the “original” slaw. Mmm, mmm, good!

The original sandwich from the Free Range food truck. It was huge - I didn't have dinner that night.

The classic sandwich from the Free Range food truck. It was huge – and oh so good – I didn’t have dinner that night.

The bottom two photos are from a blogger gathering at Gloria’s Restaurant and Bar in Huntington Park. Thanks to Chef Turok (Brian Menendez) for organizing the event and inviting me. The food was delicious, the margaritas yummy (they created three different ones for us to sample), and the mariachi music was fantastic!

2015 was so much more than these nine photos, but it is fun to share things daily and then see what resonates the most. It will be interesting to see what I post this year, and which ones become favorites. Have you discovered your #2015bestnine? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2016!

Visiting the LA Auto Show

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The LA Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center (South Hall entrance).

Last weekend, Dave and I visited the LA Auto Show on Saturday. Through Dave’s membership in the Audi Club, we were able to enter the show an hour before it opened to the general public. What a treat to see and take photos of the different car manufacturers displays without crowds of people!

The LA Auto Show is at the Los Angeles Convention Center and is open through Sunday, November 29th, and show hours are 9:00 am – 10:00 pm daily. There are cars to suit everyone’s interest, an aftermarket hall, and opportunities to test drive some vehicles too.

Here are some photos of the cool cars we saw.

We first explored the Audi booth, or rather, we made a beeline to see the new Audi R8 in the Audi booth.

I event sat inside for a little bit – there’s a surprising amount of head room (not an issue for me, but for those with taller builds, I imagine it would be quite comfortable).

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Here are the displays.

BMW:

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Mazda:

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Cadillac:

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Acura:

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The new Acura NSX was on display with a screen above showing the overhead view.

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When I walked by the Alfa Romeo area, most of the cars were still covered, but this 1968 33 Stradale was unwrapped and gorgeous.

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The 1965 TZ2 was also uncovered and looking fantastic.

Alfa Romeo 1965 TZ2

Alfa Romeo 1965 TZ2

The Maseratis were also still under wraps but slowly emerging. I love the look of the Maserati front grill, and their trident logo is iconic.

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We briefly ran through the Mercedes booth, stopping to take photos of this.

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And the SLS

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We left the South Hall and rushed over to West Hall, hoping to see the Ford booth before the show opened. We wanted to be able to ogle the new Ford GT before the crowds came. It did not disappoint in person!

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Both the race car and the street car were on rotating stages so you could see the car from every angle.

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It was really interesting to see the back and look under the car to see how the air flows beneath it. We can’t wait to see this race!

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Although I am not crazy about the yellow color on display, the lines of the street model of the Ford GT are beautiful.

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After staring at the two Ford GTs for a long time, we looked at some of the other Fords on display, like this Mustang GT 350r which Dave declared is, “my next car.”

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We went outside to test drive the Fords. Ford had an Explorer, Edge, CMax, Focus and Mustang to test, but in order to test the Mustang, you had to drive another car first. Dave tried the Explorer and I drove the Edge. Both were nice comfortable rides and handled well on the short drive around Los Angeles’ city streets.

We both drove the Mustang – it has eco boost which makes it not as front heavy as usual. There was also a paddle shift option on the car, which I tried for a small section but it didn’t have the same feel as the manual transmission I am used too, so the Ford representative switched it off.

After our test drives, we went back into the hall to see the Fiat booth – I love the Fiat 500s, and was also interested to see new Fiat Spiders on display.

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We took a quick glance at the Dodge Viper.

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We left the south hall and went to see the Porsche display, which was in its own contained area in Petree Hall. Not surprisingly, it was very crowded.

The 911.

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It was nice to see the race 919 Hybrid FIA World Endurance Champion car on display.

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While I was adding money to our parking meter Dave visited the Galpin Hall and saw the Aston Martin from Spectre…and didn’t take any pictures of it, or tell me about it. I love the beauty of Aston Martins and am bummed I didn’t see any.

In the After Market Hall, there were some modified Lamborghinis and Corvettes on display.

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Of course I spotted some original Abarths – modified by Madness Autoworks in Signal Hill (Long Beach). They are so tiny compared to the modern versions!

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This is only some of what is on display at the show. There are literally hundreds of cars to see, to sit in, and to test drive! It is fun to see the new cars the manufacturers are showing, and also to compare different makes and models of cars if you are in the market for a new one.

It is the last weekend of the LA Auto Show, so head downtown and check it out!

 

Taking Flight for #FriFotos

Last week, the theme for #FriFotos was FLIGHT. Finally I was able to share some of the photos I took from an airplane! I used to always want to sit in an aisle seat when flying, for easy access to the bathroom and to be able to stretch my legs. But, once I was seated at the window after a long-time of aisle-only seats, I saw that being by the window was fun – looking at landmarks, seeing the airport during take-off or landing, and spotting other planes in the sky.

Here are some of my photos from last Friday (May 30th). This week’s theme is colorful, so get your photos ready to post on Friday, June 5, 2015!

Aer Lingus planes in Dublin.

Aer Lingus planes in Dublin.

This bird is taking a break from flying and resting on the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Resting on the Manhattan Beach Pier, January 2015.

Resting on the Manhattan Beach Pier, January 2015.

Here is a view from my seat flying from San Diego up to San Francisco. Whenever I fly up the California coast, I try to sit in a window seat on the right side of the plane.

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Flying San Diego to San Francisco in October, 2013.

Leaving Los Angeles (LAX) and going east across the country, most planes bank to the south and then fly over the Palos Verdes peninsula. It was a beautifully clear day in December when I took this photo (en route to Newark).

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Beautiful view of the Palos Verdes peninsula. Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach – the “South Bay” are just up the coast.

Arriving into Los Angeles, the approach is from the east. Here, as the sun sets, you can see downtown LA in the distance and the beautiful mountains.

Approaching LAX, December 2014.

Approaching LAX, December 2014.

One of my happiest views from an airplane is when we fly to Hawaii, especially when we visit Kauai, our favorite island. Even though it was overcast and rainy the day we landed, we were excited to return for a relaxing stay.

Arriving into Kauai, December 2013.

Arriving into Kauai, December 2013.

Do you have any fun photos from your flights?

New to #FriFotos? Here’s a quick guide on the rules by Jeffrey Epstein.

#FriFotos was started on 15 October 2010 by Jonathan Epstein (@EpsteinTravels). Jonathan is the President and Owner of Celebrated Experiences, a company focusing on travel to the UK and Ireland. He is passionate about photography, his favorite hobby. Each week Jonathan cohosts #FriFotos with Stephanie Diehl (@TravelDesigned), Charles Yap (@CharlesYap), and Spencer Spellman (@SpencerSpellman). Jeffrey Epstein (@jeffreyinmotion), CEO of HBIM was a key advisor in the creation of #FriFotos and continues to assist in the Forum’s growth and success.

Flashback: Penn Serves LA: Habitat for Humanity

When I worked for the University of Pennsylvania’s Western Regional Office in Los Angeles, I was fortunate to help a group of dedicated Penn volunteers as they created opportunities for local alumni to come together to serve the community. Since an initial meeting in April, 2012, this group, called Penn Serves LA, has organized numerous volunteer opportunities for Penn alumni and their families all over the greater Los Angeles region.

Here is a post I wrote on April 1, 2013, for the Frankly Penn blog about their Habitat for Humanity event.

In April of this year (2015) Penn Serves LA is offering several opportunities to serve with Meals on Wheels. You can learn more about the group and register to participate at one of their events via their website.

Here is the original post:

Penn Serves LA: Habitat for Humanity

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

On Saturday morning, March 9th, I drove to a house in Lynnwood, California, hoping to take photos of the Penn Serves LA group working on a Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles project. There was a dumpster in the driveway, and a work truck parked out front, so I assumed I had arrived at the proper place. As I walked toward the home, I noticed people on the roof wearing Penn gear. I guess I’m at the right place, but why are they all on the roof? It turns out our job wasn’t to paint, as many of the volunteers expected, but to remove the roof from the house!

I checked in with the Habitat for Humanity on-site managers, and they said, “Oh, sure you can help…just sign this waiver, put on some gloves, grab some goggles and head up the ladder!” Gulp. This wasn’t what I was expecting, but seeing that everyone else was on the roof, I took a deep breath and up I went to join twenty other Penn alumni and friends.

Penn Serves LA volunteers at Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles

Penn Serves LA volunteers hard at work taking off the roof.

The Penn Serves LA volunteers were all busy working with tools to scrape and pull tiles and nails off of the roof. Others were filling buckets with broken-up roof pieces. That became my job, filling a big paint bucket with roof pieces, walking over to the edge, and flinging the contents over the side into the dumpster. On my first attempt, about half of the contents landed on the ground, and half in the dumpster. The bucket was heavy, and I felt like I might fling myself off the roof with it! The Habitat supervisor encouraged me to go closer to the edge of the roof, and if I felt the bucket going, just let it go. Pretty soon I got the hang of it, and wandered around the roof helping to collect and dump all the tiles everyone was helping to remove.

Penn Serves LA volunteers on the roof for Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles

Back-breaking work.

The Habitat staff stopped us for water breaks, making everyone climb down, drink some water and rest. And we enjoyed a long lunch break, with a beautifully displayed spread of sandwiches, tangerines, carrots, chips and cookies provided by Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16, one of Penn Serves LA’s directors. While we ate, our group talked about jobs, where we lived, and what we studied at Penn. Everyone seemed happy to be there and were enjoying the tough work since we were doing it together.

Penn Serves LA volunteers work on a garage roof Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles

While most of us worked on the house, this group removed the roof from the garage.

Happy Penn Serves LA volunteers at Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles

Happy Penn Serves LA volunteers.

Penn Serves LA volunteers moving a tarp from the lawn Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles

Now we had to move the tarp from the front lawn.

The tarp was really heavy for Penn Serves LA volunteers Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles

It was really, really heavy!

Habitat for Humanity currently has grants to work on homes in three areas of Los Angeles, and Lynwood is one.  The family we were completing the house for currently lives in 100 square feet of housing.   Recipients of homes are asked to contribute “sweat equity” of 250 or 500 hours, depending on whether their home was remodeled or whether they were receiving a newly built home.  They get 30-year mortgages with no interest, and only one person has ever defaulted because the folks who get the houses are all hard workers with good credit.

The roof our group removed was 1,600 square feet, and we worked alongside the woman and her family who will be living in the house. They were great and so excited about their future home.

“What a fantastic experience it was to work alongside so many terrific young Penn alums and their friends. We got crazy dirty doing really hard work, but it was so satisfying and the group was Quaker strong, determined and indefatigable,” said Jane Gutman.

Jane continued, “I am soooo tired and wait ‘til you see the photos showing how dirty we were…I probably won’t be able to walk or move tomorrow, but the Habitat guys were so encouraging and supportive and our group totally came together and just never stopped…an awesome day!”

Penn Serves LA founder Jane Gutman helping to remove the roof Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles

Jane Gutman helping remove the roof pieces.

Penn Serves LA director Jane Gutman showing off roof dirt Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles

Jane Gutman showing us all the dirt from the roof!

The Habitat for Humanity event, which was co-sponsored by the Southern California Regional Advisory Board, Wharton Club of Southern California, and PennClubLA, was the fourth Penn Serves LA event since its launch in May 2012.

The Penn Serves LA Habitat for Humanity volunteers after removing the roof! Los Angeles

The Penn Serves LA Habitat for Humanity volunteers after removing the roof! Hurrah, Hurrah!

See all of the photos from our day here.

Are you active in community service? Want to get your favorite nonprofit involved? If you have a nonprofit in mind for a future Penn Serves LA event, let us know. Our initiative provides alumni with the unique opportunity to showcase their favorite charitable organization. Send us an email at pennservesla@gmail.com with your name and Penn affiliation, the organization you would like us to serve, why you got involved and how Penn Serves might help. The group would like to expand to other cities, so please contact us if you’d like to spearhead a similar effort in your town.

Penn Serves LA is an initiative to encourage Penn alumni, parents and family across all schools and all years to come together and serve those in need through established nonprofits working in underserved communities. Children and spouses of alumni and parents of current students are also invited to participate (please check age requirements). Penn Serves LA is regularly scheduling service events throughout the year. Penn Serves LA is working in partnership with PennClubLA, Wharton Club of Southern California, and SCRAB.

You can read about our first event at Turning Point Shelter in Santa Monica, our second event at the Midnight Mission, and our third event at Inner City Arts.

The Penn Softball team volunteered at Habitat for Humanity in New Jersey – here’s the link to a story and video about their experience.

This article originally appeared on the Frankly Penn blog on April 1, 2013.

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Flashback: It’s Cold Outside!

Given the beautiful weather we’ve been having in Los Angeles the past few weeks, and the frigid temperatures on the east coast, I thought it would be fun to re-visit a post I wrote for the Frankly Penn blog last year (March 13, 2014 to be exact):

I work in Penn’s Los Angeles office, and I always enjoy returning to campus for some seasonal weather. When I was back on campus the last week in February for campus meetings and the annual Penn Alumni board retreat, I was treated to a real winter blast.

I left this in Los Angeles….

Sunny and warm in California (Manhattan Beach, CA)

And arrived for a week of cold weather and some snow!

Snow falling as seen from my temporary office in the Sweeten Alumni House

My Sweeten House colleagues were less than excited to see more snow given the harsh winter this year, but I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I even enjoyed bundling up in all my winter clothes that I never get to wear in Los Angeles, especially on Friday, when the temperatures were in the teens.

Cold temperatures!

Bundled up in a sweater, a down jacket, a hat, a scarf and gloves! Brrr!

College Green looking magical in the snow.

The next time I’m on campus, for Alumni Weekend, campus will be lush and green and in bloom for spring.

This article originally appeared on the Frankly Penn blog on March 13, 2014.