July 21, 2015, Ojai- My first shot, up Pacific Coast Highway, was rather fast- with only the usual five-minute slowdown around LAX to add some vintage Los Angeles to the mix. Actually, because of advance planning, I haven’t encountered gridlock in the City of Angels, regardless of the route. I-5, I-405 and I-10 have all been no worse, and usually better, than Phoenix, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston or New York. I take that back: Once, and only once, I spent an hour on the 91, from Anaheim to Riverside.
My first stop on this varied and fascinating day was at a Peet’s Coffee, in Santa Monica. Main Street has dirt-cheap parking lots, and my spirits guided me to the one across from Peet’s, even before I spotted the coffee shop itself. Good thing, this, as I arrived right at the appointed time to meet with a long-time Word Press friend. Kate has been an inspiration to me, since 2012, when I first read her account of a road trip across the South. Since then, she has focused on many aspects of life, not the least of which being establishing a home, with husband, Brian, and their adorable dog, Frank.
Our conversation lasted about an hour, running the gamut from “How I Met My Wife” to various aspects of our respective journeys- and, of course, Frank- her second-favourite being. Life intervenes, though, and at noon, she was off to work and I, to Malibu.
At the Los Angeles area’s northernmost beach-meets-canyon wonderland, I was greeted by a sanguine presence. Mr. Gull, of course, was at the Sport-Fishing Pier, calmly awaiting dropped bait and other delights.
I wandered around the beach area, near the pier, for about forty minutes, just enjoying the sights and sounds of families, young adults, and the sea itself, at play.
I’m not sure how I would do in a sea kayak, or on a boogie board. Those days passed, with yours truly being only a marginal swimmer.
The City of Malibu has gone to great lengths to add flora to its roadsides, both along the highway and on its canyon feeder roads. Some, like this palm, are native.
Others, like bougainvillea, just make everything cheerful.
No visit to this area, however short, is complete without a drive in the Santa Monica Mountains. I spent about an hour, here and there, spotting one actress known on television, standing in a driveway, apparently waiting for her ride and looking at me like I was a celebrity. At another overlook, while I was sitting in my car, eating a muffin, another young lady, whom I recognized as a child star from the ’90’s, zipped into the lot and jumped out of her car, getting back into it, on the passenger side and sitting with the door open, gazing out at the luscious canyon. (Out of respect for these folks’ privacy, I do not identify them in my posts, nor do I approach them for conversation, especially when it’s just the two of us in an isolated area.)
Here are some shots of the exquisite mountains and canyons, which gaze down on the eternal sea.
One could wander for days on end, along Mulholland, and its feeder roads, often without seeing a soul, even in these havens for the people of the entertainment community, and their looky-Lous. I had a few other spots to catch, though, before the day was done. One that I had considered, Neptune’s Net, a cafe on the Ventura County side of Malibu, found me there at 3 P.M., not my idea of meal time. So, it was on to Point Mugu, and Ojai, which will be the foci of the next post.