I hadn’t planned on visiting Santa Monica, but I’m very glad I did. It was so beautiful.
From Hollywood, I got on the 101 going north with the intention of taking Barham Boulevard to get a closer peek at the Hollywood sign or maybe visit Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
I blew past that exit pretty quick—oops. So I got on the next exit with the intention of turning around onto southbound 101 and finding Barham Boulevard that way.
No luck: I got lost driving around Universal Studios.
I’m not sure what happened after that… I think I somehow got into the neighborhood north of 134, then ended up taking that to 101 again, which I thought would take me southbound.
Boy, was I wrong.
Somehow 134 had magically turned into westbound 101. This freeway business is insane in Los Angeles.
So there’s me: driving on these crazy interstates with crazy Californians in my car from Massachusetts and my maps from Hertz. I managed to navigate myself onto southbound 405 without incident. I decided then, since I had come all the way over here, I might as well go see the ocean.
I hopped onto highway 2 and cruised towards the Pacific.
Getting back to downtown Los Angeles was pretty straightforward, but took a while since everyone else was going there, too. Oh, well. The beach was well worth the trouble!
I found a meter to park at but only had enough quarters for an hour, so I started walking with a purpose towards the pier. I didn’t think I would make it all that way, but I had a half hour to try to get there (and a half hour to get back before getting a parking ticket).
During my walk, I found this bridge that went down the hill, over the Pacific Coast Highway, and led me right to the beach. Of course I had to go down (I was well aware that I would have to go back up, too).
Dang, it was just so perfect. These photos make me happy.
I thought the seagulls’ tracks in the sand were pretty funny.
I stood in the tide for a few minutes, before I had the same feeling when I stood in the Atlantic: where’s the bathroom? Bad planning—I had to walk all the way back across the beach (which basically meant I would be leaving).
But I knew I’d be visiting another beach the next day, so I was sort of okay about leaving so quickly. I guess I had to get back to my car before the meter police showed up, too.
But it was hard to go since it was pretty perfect out there.
I had missed a couple photos above the hill, though. This is Santa Monica.
These are pelicans, but they looked like pterodactyls.
I noticed that the sun was quickly sinking into the ocean, so I found a spot along the rail to watch.
It took less than 5 minutes for the sun to completely set.
I wish I had been listening better. I was distracted by the fact that everyone else had also stopped to watch the sunset.
It was a very lovely afternoon.
Next up: driving along the Pacific Coast Highway and exploring Laguna Beach.