Your Guide:

           ….not any fool can write this stuff.

It’s all a huge weight on my shoulders, I know, but as your multi-talented WalknRideLA Tour Guide within these pages, it’s a load I accept. Hey, with a background working for failing or bankrupt airlines and shoe-string, dead-end travel companies, I’m well-prepared to take on Los Angeles!

As a kid I liked designing and building things – but not the things other boys my age got into. Not mutant robots or race cars. Instead, I liked putting up treehouses, designing city lay-outs and transportation systems (complete with subways and expressways), and constructing high-rise office buildings. My favorite Christmas present of all time was a Kenner Girder & Panel Building Set. Here’s how it works: with a pegboard as your platform, you build small-scale skyscrapers with little plastic girders and wall panels. My parents gave me not just one, but two sets. Before breakfast on Christmas morning I’d assembled a 5-foot-high skyscraper – the envy of, well – no one. But I didn’t care. (And I could have made it taller had they given me three sets.)

History was always a huge thing with me, too. So huge that I majored in it for a whole year in college. When I found out the only real thing you could do with a History major is be a history teacher, I switched to the far more sensible and practical major: Sociology?

I was into transportation, too – any kind and in any form: trains, planes, cars, boats, buses – no matter, I loved them all. I was always included on any trip to the airport (pick up/drop off my dad for a business trip, visiting friends or relatives, etc.) – or else my parents would never hear the end of it. I loved airports – the smell of jet fuel, the sounds of screaming engines, the movement of people. I got a rush from train stations; bus, ferry and cruise ship terminals, too. If it involved the movement of people, it got my attention.

But back to designing things. When I learned that being an architect also meant learning a lot of math stuff (who knew?) I soured on that career path real fast. [Confession: recently I clocked the travel time on Angels Flight – the little funicular in downtown LA. Knowing the distance traveled in feet and the time it took to get there, I also knew you could calculate the speed. I struggled with this for at least an hour and finally produced an average speed in miles per hour – but I’m still not sure I got it right.]

With those interests in Architecture, History and Transportation, I wound up in Los Angeles – a city famous for ignoring its architecture, history – and any transportation system that didn’t run on rubber.

Well, I soon learned none of that was true. This city has an amazing wealth of architectural masterpieces and a motivated population of preservationists. Its multi-cultural history is unique and runs deep. And its rail transportation system – once immense – is once again, connecting the city.

I had to get the word out.

So there you have it. Your WalknRideLA Tour Guide. Have fun!

Bruce Scottow