Once the worst part of the day was over with, I couldn't have been more happy to see this sign:
Because we were finally on our way to our last stop of the day and the place I was most excited to see...Santa Monica, and more specifically, the Pacific Ocean:
I don't think I realized when we started off across the beach, just how wide it is...it took us FOREVER to get to the ocean!
We had to cross a major thoroughfare:
Go down a steep incline and walk way too long through sand:
But once we made it, I was like a kid in a candy store!
I wasn't expecting the current to be so strong, so my traditional feet in water pic was a bit difficult:
If I wasn't such a big bathing suit chicken, I so would have been out there with those people:
There were people everywhere, but I don't think I noticed much...I was too in awe of both the water and the pier:
Especially the pylons for some reason:
The pier itself was pretty eclectic and wild, but I did enjoy it...it felt like an artsy-type of community and those are my peeps!
And I was able to get much better pylon pics from above (although part of me really wanted to be down there, damn the danger):
We still had plenty of time and I wasn't ready to head back just yet, but the decision wasn't entirely up to me, so I conceded and we headed back to the street:
With one final panoramic view:
I wasn't quite ready to give in completely though, so I wandered up and down the pier while he waited for the bus. I used the time to walk the cliffs and get some good pics:
It just so happens, I was trying to get a picture of the purple house, but once I got home and started looking at Santa Monica real estate, ended up falling in love with the white house which you can barely see in the far right corner...now if I could only win the lottery!
Did you know that palm trees aren't native to California? I didn't either and considering how questionable our driver's knowledge was, I'm not sure it's true, but it made for a good story and got me taking tons of pictures of them, something I rarely do in Florida.
When all was said and done though, they did seem like they didn't really belong, but oh well. A lot of the architecture reminded me a lot Miami, but I guess it's just old Californian:
But alas, the sun began to set and the bus came back, so my fun was over with:
Some interesting characters on the street:
And a little peek at Venice Beach:
with a super-speedy flyby Marina del Rey:
On the way back, we went through a rather questionable area, but it again highlighted the trash along the roadway:
And although I didn't get an unimpeded view of the LAX sign, I managed a clearer shot than on Day 1:
I'm used to tunnels in cities I've traveled through in the East and they rarely ever bother me, but going through one in major earthquake country was a bit nerve-racking:
Then there was the fun that was traffic again:
By dusk, we were back on property and, although I enjoyed the end of the day, the day as a whole was pretty exhausting:
We had dinner reservations at Napa Rose though, so we had to get a bit dressed for it. I did manage to get a great shot of the moon from outside the resort...keep in mind this is hand-held on a hazy night, but I'm still quite happy with it and it may be tied for my favorite photo of the entire trip!
And I'm going to stop this post here before I get to our dinner. Stay tuned!