|PCH north of LA|
|The h-g on the beach cycleway|
Our first stop is Los Angeles - of course - and we stay out at Marina Del Rey in a hotel right on the marina (shades of our stay in the South of France). We rent bikes and spend a day on the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, a paved bicycle path that runs 22 miles (35 kms) mostly along the Pacific shoreline. Indeed, it runs not quite along the middle of the beaches, but close to it. We head north towards Santa Monica and the interesting bits in between. First, Venice Beach, with its famous subset, Muscle Beach. Initially built in the 1930s for gymnastic and acrobatic performances, Muscle Beach has gone through a few transformations in its time and now the weight equipment is in a caged pen: it looks like the workout yard in a prison. All sorts of famous people have trained here, but I have heard of none except Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I'm not sure that's a great recommendation. There is much strutting, posing and wearing of bandanas. The beach is still the venue for weight lifting and the tanned and well oiled (if strangely hued) body building competitions for which it is famous.
|The doctor is in - just how bad is that back pain?|
The pier at Santa Monica is part fun fair - the Ferris wheel and roller coaster have spectacular views of the ocean and back to the city. - art traditional seaside pier with an aquarium, arcade, shops and yes, fast food.
|Santa Monica from the pier|
It is easy to see why Los Angeles is a such a magnet. With a great climate, golden beaches stretching for miles, a laid back outdoor lifestyle and on the other hand plenty of glitz and glam, there's plenty to like, even for those with the most eclectic tastes. But alas our days are numbered and we move on up the coast to Santa Barbara.
The general word is Santa Barbara is beautiful, and I have vague memories of watching a TV soap opera of the same name back in the 1980s. Note, however, I couldn't remember a thing about the show until I just looked it up on Wikipedia - then memories of Eden and Cruz came flooding (well, trickling) back. I am pleased to read "The show was famous for its comedic style and offbeat writing." so I can't have been completely deranged to have watched it.
|Santa Barbara Mission|
|Main street of Santa Barbara|
Now this is getting a bit depressing - I will finish with a beautiful sunset and a promise of Part two of this trip: the vineyards of Paso Robles, Hearst Castle and Cannery Row.
|Moonrise over Santa Barbara|