Harbor Seal at Asilomar


Harbor Seal at Asilomar

Harbor Seal at Asilomar

Anne, Chris and I went to Carmel-by-the Sea. We had breakfast at Katy’s Place. Katy’s is a venerable and popular eating establishment. We got there early enough that for the first time we didn’t have to wait for a table, but instead just walked in and sat down. After breakfast, we headed to Asilomar. Asilomar is famous for hosting the TED Talks, but it also sports a marine preserve, a beach and some pretty good surfing. We got there at low tide and did some tide-pooling. The seal picture is from this exercise. Later, we went to Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. There were plenty of seals there too. We ended up watching them from a park bench for an hour or so. They would compete for the driest rock that they could manage to slither on top of. All the while a rising tide would float the boats of the less fortunate ones.

Nepenthe


Landward Side of the Bixby Bridge

Landward Side of the Bixby Bridge

To finish off yesterday, after Point Lobos, we continued south on CA 1. I drove us all to Big Sur and there to Nepenthe, one of the best restaurants on the central coast. We stopped at the Bixby Bridge, which is probably the most photographed bridge for car advertising purposes. I have taken photos of it before, but not from the landward side. The drive on this portion of CA 1 is probably one of the most beautiful rides you could have. I know of none other. Unfortunately, I was the driver. All of those cuts and promontories in this rugged central coast coastline translate into a twisty and turning, up and down drive. I got to keep my eyes on the road and not any of the great scenery. The property that Nepenthe is on was once purchased by Orson Wells and Rita Hayward, for a potential honeymoon cottage. Rumor has it that this was as close as Wells was willing to approach San Simeon, the William Randolph Hearst estate of Rosebud fame. Unfortunately, the Wells-Hayward marriage didn’t last long enough to begin construction. Somehow, Nepenthe rose from the ashes of that marriage. My Mother and Dad first visited Nepenthe almost sixty years ago. He checked on it and the same family is still running the place today.

Point Lobos


Great Blue Heron Fishing from Floating Kelp

Great Blue Heron Fishing from Floating Kelp

Wednesday, we all went to Point Lobos, we being Anne and I, Chris and John, my dad. To my mind, Point Lobos is the best park outside of Forest Park in Saint Louis, but I’m obviously being patently parochial here. Still, it is a great park. Located just south of Carmel on Route 1, it features rugged Pacific coastline, plus abundant flora and fauna. What with the drought though the flora was not much to look at, but there was still plenty of fauna about. Anne and I photographed plenty of different species, but I picked the picture of this very familiar bird to us, a Great Blue Heron, as representative. It was situated in such unusual circumstances, standing on top of floating kelp, but why shouldn’t it be there. It looks like it must be a great fishing spot, except for the occasional carnivorous Harbor Seal, which would swim underneath the kelp bed.

Natural Bridges State Park


Natural Bridges State Park

Natural Bridges State Park

Natural Bridges State Park is in Santa Cruz and offers two main attractions. There is its namesake the natural bridges and in this season there are also Monarch butterflies. There used to be three natural bridges, but now only one remains standing. Wind, wave and time have taken their toll. That plus they formed on mudstone, which doesn’t sound like the best of foundations. Those are Brown Pelicans on top of the bridge. It is just the beginning of the Monarch butterfly season, which won’t peak until about Thanksgiving. Plus the day was a little bit too warm for good viewing. You want a chill in the air, because then the butterflies congregate together on the branches of the eucalyptus trees that populate the ravine that the butterflies seem to like the best. Otherwise, all you can see are single butterflies fluttering by. Mid-fifties would be best and we were a good ten degrees warmer on that day.

Monarch Butterflies at Natural Bridges State Park

Monarch Butterflies at Natural Bridges State Park

I Heart Los Angeles


I Heart Los Angeles

I Heart Los Angeles

After Sunday brunch we were left to our own devices again. The Museum of Contemporary Art has two branches. The one in Little Tokyo was closed in preparation for a Hello Kitty convention this week, so we trooped back up Bunker Hill to see the other branch. There was a big Andy Warhol exhibit there. Anne started feeling ill at the museum, so we headed back to the room. She felt worse after a couple of hours, so we canceled our dinner with Lou and Pearl. We really want to see them again, but there was no sense endangering them with disease. Later Dan came by and we walked across the street for some Japanese fusion. Immediately after dinner, Dan left us to attend a sort of comics on comics roast. The next morning, he told us that he had laughed so hard that his face still hurt the morning after.

Anne felt better in the morning and we arranged to see Dan one more time before we left LA. We arranged to meet at a diner that he liked, but when we got there, we found that it was closed on Monday. The next one that we tried was closed too. The third time worked a charm though. After breakfast, we made are farewells. Dan headed off to work and we headed back to the hotel. On the way back, we stopped at The Last Bookstore, an eclectic used bookstore, but aren’t all used bookstores eclectic. We stocked up on bargains. We ended up snaking our way back through the Toy District, which now seems to sell almost everything. For example, we walked along this one city block that was entirely devoted to selling pot paraphernalia. There were dozens of shops there.

We drove north out of LA at high noon. We first got on ‘The 101’, which eventually led us to ‘The 5’ and out of the LA basin. In LA all of the highways are either reverentially referred to with the prefix ‘The’ or cursed with the same prefix. It is all a matter of traffic. Our drive through the San Joaquin Valley was interesting. Everything seems so dry now, what with the drought, but when we got out at a rest stop, it was unexpectedly cool. We passed through the James Dean Memorial Junction without mishap. This is the intersection that he car crashed and died at, while making of the film, Giant. We arrived at my Dad’s house, just in time for dinner.

Sky Blue Scientology


Scientology

Scientology

On Sunday morning Anne and I explored downtown LA on foot. Dan had to pick up a friend at the airport and we were going to meet them later for brunch. We took lots of pictures, many of which you will surely see in the days and weeks to come. Dan called and arranged to pick us up in front of LA city hall. I was surprised when he pulled up in a silver Prius and not his red Ford Focus. It was Jenny’s car, his friend that he had just retrieved from the airport. She performs standup comedy and had just jetted back from a convention in Dallas. We went to Square One Dining in East Hollywood, just down the street from the pictured Scientology mission. I was assured that that was not the one that Tom Cruise attends. Dan’s newest tattoo was a major topic of conversation. Here it is pictured on Instagram. The artist had posted Dan’s leg a couple of days earlier and had already gotten over 5,000 likes on it. About this time the waitress came by and went all gaga over the tattoo too. I made a joke about Dan getting a leg up. The next day, Dan and Jenny were at Pie Hole and the waitress there recognized Dan’s tattoo from Instagram. Dan was rather pleased with this bit of fame.