So Brian decided to celebrate my 40th birthday in a matter befitting our friendship: run around L.A. like fool for an afternoon? Yep, he entered us in the Amazing Los Angeles Race. We have found both success and disappointment in past endeavors but this we had a wild card and secret weapons up our sleeves for this one.




Meet the wild card, Dwayne Musick.




Yeah, this was going to be fun.




We hopped on the 10, waved goodbye to the SGV, and put the pedal to the medal.




That's the brake pedal, unfortunately.




Evidently CalTrans shut down two lanes for roadwork. I guess they didn't get the race memo.




At first I thought Bill was happy to see me.




Nope, it was just the "banana" in his pocket. More on that later.



Finally the freeway opened up and we were able to shake that ass.



Then Brian almost killed us (actually it was some douchebag that refused to yield when his lane merged with ours).




Downtown L.A. was suddenly in our sights.




Then Hollywood.




Almost there.




We parked the Minivan of Magic in a near-empty parking lot across from the Hollywood Bowl.




Bill was ready.




As was I.




It was a beautiful day in Hollywood.




The race organizer handed out forms.




Dwayne made sure he included emergency phone numbers, since this was going to a day of physical exertion he had not experienced in years.




Thumbs up for hot chicks in the race.




Especially those with hot legs.



Then it was time for Team Diggler bust out the secret weapons.




Of course, when I say "secret"...




...I use the term in its loosest form.




Brian came packing heat.




We're talking wildfire, baby!




Team Diggler! (Special thanks go to Alex Rai for lending us the regalia for the day.)




Later Dwayne had to clarify to Bill the lyrics were "shake that ass" not "smack that ass."




While instructions were given...




...I sized up the competition.




We were a confident group.




And it showed in more than one way.




Palm trees and clear blue skies.




I love L.A.




Our first clue led to our first problem of the day. We had to find an envelope hidden under a park bench that had our team number printed on it. We fanned out and found plenty of other team numbers but not our own. After about 15 minutes of scouring the place I asked a park maintenance worker who was raking leaves if he had seen a stray envelope and he told me he had raked one up. Apparently the tape used to affix our envelope to the underside of the bench had given way and our envelope fell on the ground, only to be cleaned up. He showed me where he had disposed of it minutes earlier and we were finally on our way (in last place).




We hopped in the Minivan of Magic while Bill opened up our clue.




Whatever it said...




...sent us to the parking structure at Hollywood and Highland.




We had to find someone standing on Hollywood Blvd handing out the next clues, no easy feat considering the throng of tourists.




We clearly made up some time because we caught up to one of the groups while heading down the subway escalator.




Even better, we were ahead of at least one other group.




And this is where it began to fall apart: We knew we needed to take the train but it occurred to us that the destination was to be discovered in a packet that was given to us with our team badges by the organizers. Well... that packet was left in the Minivan of Magic. That was parked in the parking structure. That was up two subway escalators and a set of stairs. Across Hollywood Blvd. Down three parking structure levels. And then I would have to come back again. Damn. So it was left to me to hoof it back to retrieve the stuff. Damn.




The long and disappointing delay made Dwayne nearly end it all.




I made it back and collected our train tickets.




Once the train arrived...




...we all worked on solving the next clue.




Onward to Angels Flight.




The ride gave time for love to bloom.




Yes, this is how we were dressed on public transportation.




And this is how we felt.




Sweet nipples, dude.




Los Angeles City Hall.




The Los Angles Times building.




We knew we are on the right track when we saw another team; unfortunately for us, they were heading in the other direction. That's how far behind we were.




We made it to Angels Flight.




We looked for someone to give us a clue but only found a homeless guy.




So we rode Angels Flight up the hill, hoping to find someone at the top.




After striking out we ended up back at the bottom, still wondering what to do.




Then we saw another team talking to the "homeless guy". Why am I using quotation marks? Turned out that he was the clue dude.




The next clue sent us over to the Grand Central Market.




This is sort of an indoor mall of restaurants.




We had to match the stall number for each place, leaving us with a phone number.




We made the call and took off down the block.




We took a shortcut through a parking lot.




From across the lot it looked like Bill's package shifted.




Color me amazed.




We finally made it to our next destination:




The Los Angeles Public Library.




Thus delivering another roadblock. This flummoxed us. Yes, flummoxed.




We even looked at the Latin on the building face, hoping we would find answers. No dice.




We finally went inside and looked for books of symbols.




Speaking of symbolic...




On our way out we enjoyed the artistic interior.




After finally solving the last clue we hoofed it across town again.




This time enjoying the artistic exterior of Los Angeles.




We were beginning to show signs of fatigue.




We ran into a building we thought was our next destination only to be directed away by the security guard.




Due to the delay at the library we again found ourselves behind.




Would you check out this hunk of man flesh.




While Brian and Bill worked on the puzzle, Dwayne took a breather...




...along with his hunk of man flesh.




The best minds of our generation were in overdrive.




Soon, our bodies followed suit.




We headed past the Disney Concert Hall...




...jaywalking a bit...




...in search of the nearest metro station.




While on the train we discovered that our next destination was back to Hollywood and Highland.




It was a fine day to take a train ride.




While on the train we had to decipher addresses of businesses on Hollywood Blvd...




... in order to identify certain names on the stars on the Walk of Fame. No, Hanna Barbera was not one of them.




The Hollywood Blvd. crowds made it difficult to see some of the stars.



But it also provided fun moments, like when this dude came up and massaged Dwayne on the ass because his buddies paid him five bucks on a dare.




Heaven, we have a problem.




Since you're reading this now it's clear they and the Bible were both wrong. Sucks to have faith.




Especially if you are mocked by a grown man standing behind you wearing a high school wrestling singlet.



At least he's got a hobby.




The coolest star on the Walk of Fame?




Burt Reynolds' moustache, naturally!




I love Graumann's Chinese theater.




Close-up.




My second favorite star of the day.




The finish line was at the Lucky Strike bowling alley on Highland. We had dominated in the latter stages of the race so we were pretty confident that we would win...




...second place?!?!




Inconceivable!




At least we weren't third!




While it was unfortunate that a second place finish received nothing...




... Most Creative won us sweet Amazing Los Angeles Race badges!!!!!! Yeah....




The winning team got their medals. Apparently they beat us by an hour! Sheesh. That made me feel better. I guess they were a bunch of math nerds calling themselves Team Hypotenuse. How they beat the class and sophistication of Team Diggler will forever remain one of life's unsolved mysteries.




Team Diggler met up with Team Two Dudes and Five Hot Asian Chicks.




In the parking structure Brian and Bill finally got into character.




We'll call it a draw.




A naked Dwayne in the passenger seat was an appropriate exclamation point to a fun day.




He just better hope we don't run out of gas on the freeway....