April 28, 2015
This is one of the few times on our trip where we will stay in the same hotel two nights in a row. It’s very nice to be settled and not in the car for a bit. We’ll be back on the road tomorrow, but today was a day to explore Santa Monica and nearby Venice Beach.
When we rolled into town yesterday we didn’t follow the true path into Santa Monica; but we’ve done it before so we weren’t making ourselves crazy about it. Nevertheless, we did want to get a picture of the corner of Olympic and Lincoln – the official ending point of the Mother Road – or starting point depending on one’s point of view. When we were here in 2007 this building was Norm’s diner.
We use Jerry McClanahan’s “EZ66 Guide for Travelers” for turn-by-turn directions and pointers to must see, must stay, and must eat places on the road. Jerry calls the official ending point “unsatisfying”. Many people consider the Santa Monica pier is a better designation.
Still others point to a Will Rogers plaque in nearby Palisades Park as the end. You can see a picture of that in this 2007 blog post.
Just south of the pier is Muscle Beach.
It’s not the same as it once was with body builders doing their thing, but there are some pieces of apparatus such as swinging rings where some talented men and women showed their stuff. I imagine this place is really hoping on the weekends.
With about five $1 bills in my pocket we headed down a three mile walkway to the weirdness that is Venice Beach. There are street musicians and performance artists and we like to tip those we especially like. It didn’t take long before we saw a site that amazed- the hovering man. This guy has it all over those silver painted statue-guys seen in most cities.
We also were serenaded by some musicians – some good, some earnest. This guy played the blues with skill and passion.
Before long we were hungry and thirsty so we stopped at a little beach side cafe and enjoyed the view. The palm trees that line the walkway are a real treat.
There are shops that sell all types of souvenirs!
Interspersed among the weirdness are little gardens.
Of course people watching is really the big attraction. Based on the aroma in the air, I think Carla and I were the only ones not high. I saw this couple earlier and when we got back to Santa Monica I saw them again and asked if I could take their picture. Unfortunately I didn’t capture their shirts well enough: his shirt has half a marijuana plant and the the word “Best”; her’s has the other half of the plant and says “Buds”. Very clever I thought. They have to be custom made.
At this point we were pretty tuckered from our long walk and we rested up in our hotel room. We then went out to dinner and walked along the pier at sunset.
We had a wonderful day in Santa Monica. We have another day in the “Southland” then we head out on the Mother Road in earnest.