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A Trip to The Past in a Car For the Future: Driving Around Los Angeles in a Chevy Volt

Alexandra Williams, MA

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Chevy.

Trunk space in the Chevy Volt

Either I am giving myself a jolt with the Volt battery, or demonstrating the roominess of the trunk. Or just being dorky!

pic of Hermosa Pier plaque

The Hermosa Beach Plaque at the Pier

I grew up in Hermosa Beach, in Los Angeles County. Over the past 30 years, I’ve probably gone back 5 times, mostly because I had moved far away. Thanks to Chevy, I was offered a Volt to drive around for the weekend anywhere I wanted to go in L.A. Immediately I knew I’d head to Hermosa for day one. For day two, I picked downtown L.A., as I fell in love with the downtown area when I took a tour with the Los Angeles Conservancy a few months ago.



Day One – Hermosa Beach:

When I was growing up, Hermosa was a family beach town. Parking was not really an issue. It is now! First off, I didn’t care how far I had to park from the beach, as I like walking. Secondly, it was a moot point, because I was so excited by the OnStar feature that I called to get locations of charging stations, and was directed to a spot about 2 blocks from the beach, right in front of the local surf shop. Not only was the charging station free, I got to park for as long as I wanted, as opposed to the 2 hour max for everyone else. Score!

collage of Pier Ave. Jr. High

I went here when it was Pier Ave. Jr. High. Shop and Home Ec. were where the museum now is. My friend’s parents are listed on the plaque as supporters of the community center that it became. And I played volleyball (dressed in ugly green stretchy one-piece gym suits) where the skate park now is. As to the art show, it’s worth a visit when they hold it. Truly gorgeous works. Oh, the movie “Carrie” with Sissy Spacek was filmed here.

pictures from the Hermosa Beach Pier

The Hermosa Beach Pier doesn’t have concession stands or rides, so it’s uncrowded and worth a visit. You can see south all the way to Palos Verdes, and north to Santa Monica. A few years ago, city leaders added a Surfer’s Walk of Fame, including a high school cohort of mine. If you like to people-watch, walk, bike ride, play or watch volleyball, surf, swim, paddleboard, stand-up paddle, or build a sand-castle, this is the perfect spot.

picture of lifeguard station at 22nd street in Hermosa Beach

This is my favorite picture from the weekend because it’s the 22nd St. lifeguard station at the beach by my childhood home. We would dig for sand dabs, get sunburned, put sand in our hair, bury each other in the sand, swim in the ocean, and even build July 4th bonfires before they were outlawed. I sat here for a while and teared up, thinking of my childhood. Enjoy the present so that you can have happy memories when it’s the past.

picture of charging station at surf shop in Hermosa Beach

A free charging station in front of the surf shop on Pier Ave. & Monterey in Hermosa Beach. I parked here for 4 hours for free! And the Chevy Volt got fully charged in that time!

After walking around H.B. all day, I called my new BFF at OnStar, and headed off to a party that a high school friend was giving. In the 70s, my mom directed plays, and she encouraged this friend in his love of working with sound. He grew up to own one of the most respected sound companies around, doing many of the concerts you’ve probably been to. You just never know how a seemingly small act of encouragement can grow. He credits my mom for his path. I credit him for throwing a party that had fire-dancers, aerial silk artists, and excellent music, sound and a light show. I wore hot pink shorts for the hot tub and completely ruined my niece’s life. I forgot the Auntie Dress Code for a moment! hahahahah. She’s now scarred for life.

Day Two – Downtown L.A:

After sleeping in till 8:30 (it was a non-alcoholic party, FYI; I was just tired), I drove the Volt downtown. Did you know you can park in Pershing Square on the weekend for just $7 all day?

picture of Pershing Square

Pershing Square. Look for the inlaid river going into the fountain. And the pet walk area. In the winter they convert part of the Square to an ice rink.

We (family tagged along) wandered around looking at whatever caught our fancy, and swore that we’d do a Conservancy Theatre tour soon.

Exterior views in downtown L.A.

When you go downtown, remember to look up, as there’s always a unique detail to catch your eye. Or art. Or the reconstruction of a landmark. And even the grand opening of a quirkily-named shop! Watch out for griffins!

When we were kids our mom took us to lots of museums, including the La Brea Tar Pits, where we all threatened to push each other in (my parents had 5 kids, hoping to eventually strike gold, I guess), but I don’t have memories of going downtown. I love history (my undergrad degree was in medieval history, which my dad said qualified me for government work), so I am that nerd who reads every plaque on every building. Downtown L.A. has a lot of historic buildings, so it will take me years.

picture of interior scenes in L.A.

Did you know you can go inside the Bradbury Building, the Biltmore, and of course, The Last Bookstore.

picture of Angel's flight and farmer's market in downtown L.A.

No trip to downtown L.A. is complete without a visit to Angel’s Flight (you can ride it when it’s working, which is rare, sadly) and the Farmer’s Market.

You got that, Chevy Volt people? I need the car again FOR YEARS, as I finish these trips through history and my memory. I promise to stop yelling, “Charge me up, baby” at all the charging stations!

pic of some oddities seen in downtown L.A.

I decided that I need to wear THIS and decorate the tailpipe of the Chevy Volt with THIS. So L.A.

This trip started and ended with the Chevy Volt, so it’s fitting it should start and end with pictures of it. In my own inimitable style, of course. If you are on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you can see my other photos using the hashtag #ChevyFitTrip. Four other bloggers will be sharing their trips around Los Angeles and New York using this same hashtag, so follow along all summer.IMG_7876

And of course, for more about fitness, fun and active aging, follow Kymberly and me:

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Walking for a Cause

Alexandra Williams, MA

Walking is great exercise. It helps keep you healthy, gets you out in the fresh air and is a wonderful way to relax. It’s also a fabulous way to raise money for your favorite charity.


Bought glow shoes for one son; Skechers gave me a pair of running shoes for my other son. Grateful!

Two walking-related items are near and dear to my heart, and I hope you’ll consider both.

SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk

First up is the October 27 SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk. Based in Manhattan and Hermosa Beach in Southern California, the walk raises money to support children with special needs, as well education in the South Bay (the area of L.A. County that includes the two beach towns).

This is a triple-hitter for me – I was raised in Hermosa Beach, I have a child with special needs, and I love to walk. After attending the blogger press conference about the walk, I was totally hooked. According to Jill Jensen, the manager of Events & Outreach for SKECHERS Foundation, over 10,000 people are expected at this year’s event. That’s impressive for a fundraiser in only its fifth year. In 2009, the inaugural year, 1,712 walkers raised $220,000. This year the goal is $1 million.

I will be part of the Fresh Brothers Pizza team. I met the owner at the press conference and was so impressed by her generosity to kids that I’m now a customer for life. I also met the director of the Friendship Circle of the South Bay, Jason Flentye, and was moved to tears by what they do. Knowing that special needs kids already have lots of institutional support (IEPs, OT, PT – you will know these abbreviations if you hang around with special needs kids – speech therapy, medical, mobility therapy, vision), Friendship Circle focuses on what the kids themselves want – friendships. They match up volunteer typical students with special needs students, with an emphasis on fun. I can say (almost without crying) that my kid lacks friends. He has lots of people who are nice to him, yet no-one who invites him to anything. Not since 5th grade. He’s now in 11th. It’s possible that I care about this more than he does, as he’s quite a happy guy. So, yeah, I REALLY like what Friendship Circle offers.

After the press conference, I walked the Pier to Pier route – literally, it goes from the Manhattan Beach pier to the Hermosa pier- just to get pics to share with you all. And to revisit my childhood town, as I only rarely go there.

Manhattan Pier View from MB Pier to HB Pier Welcome to Hermosa Beach IMG_4677 22nd Street beach in Hermosa Manhattan Beach Pier w/ sun

I hope you’ll be moved by the mission (or the beach pictures) to join me on Sunday the 27th. Some walkers are even coming from as far as New York, so you have no reason not to join in! It’s only $25 ($30 day of) to register. Or you can donate to my team. I want to send my son to one of their camps next summer, and if you donate they might just have enough money to include him.

Charity Miles

Love the Charity Miles logo!

Love the Charity Miles logo!

The other walking-related item I want to mention is the Charity Miles app. I’ve used this app for quite a while and recommend it. Super easy – you download it FOR FREE. When you walk, you designate one of their many charities as the “recipient” of your walk miles FOR FREE. The founders and their sponsors then pay money to the charity you chose, based on the total mileage. Get it? You pay nothing; you walk and get fit; a charity gets money thanks to you. How can you resist? Oh, you can also run or bike, but I think running is evil unless it’s a soccer game, and my bike has cobwebs because we live on a mountain with nowhere safe to ride.

I hope you download and use it.

What are your favorite charitable events?

I was not paid anything to tell you about either of these laudable walking items. SKECHERS gave me a free pair of shoes to thank me for coming to the press conference. I paid to register for the walk with my very own plastic credit card.

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