On the second day of our vacation (this would be Sunday), we decided to have a "non-amusement park" day. We got up in time to have free breakfast at our hotel (scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast, orange juice, and the best coffee I have ever tasted...all you can eat!), then headed down to the Pacific Coastal Highway (Hwy 1). The first beach that we came to was Newport Beach. We decided to go ahead and stop for a few minutes. By the grace of God, we found a legal parking place (it was metered, but only cost 50 cents), took our shoes off and walked out on a beautiful, humongous beach. It seemed to go on forever. There was hardly anyone there, yet, but there were some surfers out. The waves weren't really big, but there were a few that were big enough to surf a little. There were a few beginners out there who couldn't even stand on the board, yet, but there were a couple of people who seemed proficient enough to whip around, turn corners, etc. We picked up a few shells along that area, as well.
We left Newport and headed on up Hwy 1, going north towards our ultimate goal, Santa Monica. We passed beach after beach. Huntington Beach was probably the largest area. Of course it all seems to be a giant continuation of the same beach, with different names along the way. After an interesting detour which took us through a not-so-scenic area, we finally arrived in Santa Monica. We found Santa Monica Blvd, and located 14th Street. On the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and 14th is a little hole-in-the-wall club called "14 Below." Did I hear a few hearty cheers?? It is reported that Ghost of the Robot plays there on a regular basis (however, they were not on the schedule for July...perhaps they are getting too big to play there?). It was still early, though, so all we could do was take pictures of the outside. I will have some of them online in a few days, hopefully. Then we proceeded to 3rd Street, because it is rumored the James Marsters may live somewhere close to there. We found a little coffee shop called "Infuzion Cafe," thinking it might possibly be one of Mr. Marster's hangouts. Beyond that point, 3rd Street was solid apartments, all looking pretty nice. We got a cup of coffee/hot chocolate and walked down the street to the "3rd Street Promenade," which is a nice shopping area where the street is blocked off for pedestrian use only. This goes on for three or four blocks and has a lot of nice shops in it. Several street musicians had set up and were playing/singing for us. Alas, we did not see any celebrities. At least not that we know of.
After this, we decided to check out Malibu. First of all, it was really difficult (nearly impossible) to get back to Hwy 1 going north. Then there was this JERK FACE COP who felt it necessary to get RIGHT ON MY TAIL, and try to give me a coronary! I swear, he followed me for at least 10 blocks, looking very impatient, like I wasn't going fast enough for him, until he finally turned! (My apologies to any policemen out there who might read this...I really do respect you all...it was just this one...) We passed Santa Monica Pier, a cool looking place with lots of amusement rides and even more people. I would like to go back and visit that place someday. We finally got back on Hwy 1 and headed for Malibu. At a break-neck speed of 10-15 mph. I am serious, the traffic was bumper-to-bumper all the way to Malibu! Sheesh! And let me tell you...MALIBU SUCKS!!! (Don't tell my wife I used that word.) They have let people build these ugly little shacks (and that's all they are, too) all along the road on the ocean side of Hwy 1. You can't even see the ocean at all for miles! There are, of course, some really beautiful homes on the inland side of the highway, but the ocean side is just flat grotesque! We finally gave up and took the N1 up through the mountains. Now THAT was beautiful!! I kept stopping to take pictures, which really annoyed Stephanie. Also, there was this insane bike rider who was tackling this road. We met up with Hwy 101, which met up with I405, which eventually took us back to Huntingon Beach (Surf City). We parked there, changed into our swimsuits, and hit the beach for a couple hours to play and then watch the sunset. That was a memorable first experience. The sunset over the Pacific Ocean! Wow! Afterwards, as we were leaving, people were starting fires on the beach, cooking supper, etc. Some people even had tents set up. It was a very interesting sight. The trip back up Beach Blvd to Hwy 55, though, was awful! It was non-stop, non-go traffic. It took for...ev...er! Well, obviously, it didn't take forever, huh? But it sure took a long time. And another thing!!! Is it legal for motorcycles to ride between stopped cars in California?? Because they do that all the time! Gah!! We finally arrived back at "Room Sweet Room" at about 9:30p (which is 11:30 back home), ordered pizza and collapsed.
Our next day would feature a different amusement park...Knottsberry Farm.