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Road Games Travel Tips: Lights. Camera. Action. Sun. Football.

Week 14: Seattle at Los Angeles, Dec. 8, 2019, 5:20 p.m. pacific

SPONSORED – I remember the Red Hot Chili Peppers as the headliners from the first music festival I ever attended.

That was 1992 at Lollapalooza, and I was a junior in high-school who needed Mom’s permission to drive with a friend to the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif., up near San Jose. The Red Hot Chili Peppers came on last that day, wearing hard hats that were actually spouting flames to cap a bill that included Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Ice Cube. Yes. Ice Cube.

Almost 25 years later, I was there when the Red Hot Chili Peppers served as the opening act for the return of professional football to Los Angeles. A rock-star return was only fitting for football. This is Los Angeles after all, a city known for show biz, and I’m not sure what’s harder to believe: That it’s only been three years since the league returned to Los Angeles or that the country’s second-biggest media market went more than 20 years without a single team in town.

The shiny new football megalopolis opens next year in Inglewood, which means this is a final go-round of sorts in the historic Coliseum where the Olympic torch burns bright. Seattle’s coach has quite a history here, too, going back to his nine seasons coaching college football, and Seattle tends to play low-scoring, hard-scrabble games against the team that has won the division each of the past two years.

I have a confession of sorts: I have always loved Southern California, which probably has a lot to do with my family’s history there. It’s where my Dad grew up, one of nine children, and it’s where we went every summer for vacation when I was growing up in Klamath Falls, Ore. Some families go to the Grand Canyon. Others to Europe. We packed up the family hatchback and drove the 600-some miles in one day down to the house where he grew up in Montrose, a tiny little townlet near Glendale whose total area isn’t much more than one square mile.

I’m such a sucker for Southern California that I’ll get wistful about Jack in the Box. I’m not kidding. That’s where my uncle Randy took us after going to Manhattan Beach. In fact, this almost qualified as exotic for me back then. See, we didn’t have a Jack in the Box at home in Oregon and the idea of putting a burger on sourdough – while not quite gourmet – couldn’t have tasted any better after a day spent huffing saltwater through my nose.

I have more than 30 first cousins on that side of the family alone, and our annual trips to L.A. meant afternoons in the pool with my cousins or a drive to Manhattan Beach and maybe a visit to one of the theme parks.

Who am I kidding? I still do that. It was about 10 years ago that my wife and I went to Disneyland and spent 12 hours at the park, which isn’t all that unusual until you consider that we don’t have kids and we didn’t have anyone else’s kids with us.

L.A. has always meant fun whether it was going to Manhattan Beach or Magic Mountain or Raging Waters. And while these days I’m most often choosing between a trip to In-n-Out burger or trying to find one of Roy Choi’s Kogi BBQ trucks, it is one of my favorite spots on Seattle’s schedule.

Arrival: You’ve certainly got options. Alaska Air has as many as a dozen flights daily from Sea-Tac to Los Angeles International (LAX). Alaska also flies to Orange County (SNA) and to Ontario (ONT). Now, there’s nothing we can do about the traffic that’s present when you get there, but the variety of destinations should help you get to the right part of the area.

Stadium: L.A. is said to be a city without a downtown, and that’s kind of true. The L.A. Coliseum is in the heart of L.A., though, right next to a science center with some local neighborhoods nearby.

Last time here: Seattle is 1-2 when facing Los Angeles in the Coliseum since the franchise returned to Southern California. The positive sign: Seattle’s points keep increasing. Seattle was held to a field goal in a 9-3 loss in Week 2 2016, which was when regular-season football returned to this stadium. Seattle won 16-10 in 2017 and scored 31 points in a 36-31 loss last November.

Dining: Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner (8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA, 714.220.5055); Kogi Barbecue has multiple options whether it’s their three food trucks or multiple taco stands. The best reference is the website.