July 1, 2016
We’ve reached the half-way point of our eighteen day road trip vacation. We’ve logged 2,880 miles in the Ford Expedition and visited five states. It’s been a whirlwind adventure. Every day has been packed with driving through incredible scenic landscapes, visiting amazing natural wonders or fun cities, and reconnecting with friends and family rarely seen. It’s been fantastic; I’m looking forward to the second half and the many adventures still ahead.
This morning we started in Clovis, California. Jenna navigated us all the way to Santa Monica and the beautiful beaches of Southern California. We passed countless vineyards, orchards, and fields of all types. It was the first time on the drive that I didn’t love the drive. However, it still beat driving through the monoculture states of the Midwest.
The beaches here are a lot of fun. They are massive, for starters, extending hundreds of feet from the parking lots to the water. Lifeguard stands are positioned regularly along the beach and the inland edge of the beach is a long and winding path for rollerbladers, bikers, skateboarders, and many other form of non-powered wheeled personal transport. Adjacent to this path is one for slower pedestrians. Along the beaches are cafes, volleyball courts, places to rent bicycles, and outdoor playgrounds for adults that include slacklines, rings, bars, swings, etc. It was fun to watch people at play, enjoying the sun, wind, smells, and being active. California is beckoning me to return, for sure. I’m in love with her.
We walked on the beach and the pedestrian path from where we parked ($8) all the way to the Santa Monica Pier, where we’d planned to ride the rollercoaster and ferris wheel. The roller coaster was pretty tame, but the views atop the ferris wheel were incredible. The weather was a perfect mid-70ºFs and a slight breeze. The sand was warm and the people interesting.
From the beach we drove to LAX to have dinner at the In-N-Out and watch airplanes. When we pulled in an A380 flew by, low, directly in front of us. That definitely got my adrenaline flowing, big time! The line of cars for the drive-in snaked well past the entrance and into the street. Since we were staying we were able to park in the parking lot, which was nice. The line for the food was long, but quick, and ordering was easy as the menu is limited. While the girls waited for the food I stepped outside to watch airplanes land. We ate at a table outside on the patio, which was nice. Then we took pictures of airplanes landing runway two-four right at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) until the sun was down and the light was crap.
Our room at the Holiday Inn Express in Hawthorne is nice. I’m wicked tired, so calling it a day.