My dear friend Suzanne is on a year-long round the world trip and one of her stops is here in LA LA Land. She started off in Scotland and made her way east from there, thusly landing here as she nears the end of her trip. We haven't seen each other in 6 years we figured (we met as camp councelors in Maine one summer long ago) and knowing how much she 'loves' LA I decided getting OUT of LA was the best way to spend our time together. I needed to get out of town, and she thinks this place is a waste of space. So this past thursday we hopped in Abby's wee VW (cheaper to drive than the Jeep) and headed north to Santa Barbara with the top down and the tunes on. Suz had never been in a convertible so this was a real treat for her as we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway/Route 1 and she got to see Malibu and everything else in between.
We arrived in time for a quick walk around town and a late lunch at one of my favourite SB spots - Brophy's. With a small wait we got a table on the deck overlooking the Marina. It was so nice to be there on the water, to feel the cool air as I ate a bowl of chowder, and to be with an old friend. We hadn't been sure when we left LA how we would stay over - it was a possibility that we might just grab a hotel, but I packed some camping gear just in case. By the time we ate lunch it seemed to be too perfect NOT to camp. After a walk along the beach we decided it was time to set out and find a place for a night or two. I had asked the folks in Santa Barbara Outfitters if they could recommend a campground not too far out of town so they suggested a place called Paradise Road off the 154. Off we went, but when we got there it felt too hot and too far inland so we headed back up the 101 to El Capitan State Beach. We were promptly turned away by a snooty park ranger who stated 'oh we're booked up 7 months in advance and so is every place along the coast - but good luck!'. I was thinking 'how could this be? It's a thursday!'. So I left feeling discouraged, and we drove back into town, went to a movie leaving it up to fate as to where we would sleep for the night. That's the cool thing about traveling with some people, they roll with it and don't stress figuring 'hey, worst case we sleep in the car and find something tomorrow night or head home'.
After the movie it was about 8.30p and we headed back to Paradise Road. We lucked out. Boy did we luck out. They too, we found out, were booked months in advance but had 3 'first come first serve' sights. We grabbed one and set up camp. Apparently this being the 'fiesta weekend' didn't help matters. Everywhere we went in that area was crowded with visitors, rodeo people and parade goers. I have to say - one of the things that is getting to me about this area is the fact that everywhere you go to get out of the city is nearly as crowded as the neighbourhood in which I live - which has also become more crowded in the last 5 years. It's getting harder and harder to escape from people, get some peace, and just hear the crickets.
One of the best couple of hours we spent was when I convinced Suz that her life wouldn't be complete unless we went ocean kayaking. I assured her I had done a lot of paddling in various forms and that she was in good hands. Convincing her that her life wouldn't be complete unless we paddled under the ginourmous pier dodging the supports was another story, but she caved (or I may not have given her much of a choice since I was steering) and we made it out alive. It was awesome!!! No one was around and it was one of the coolest things I've done in a long time! I may have just discovered the trick to escaping humans in Southern California - get out on the water in any way, shape or form you can...just get out there! Hop in your car, put on a Dylan tune, and head to the ocean!
Thanks for tuning in....Until next Monday...CHEERS!!!!!