39.6 mi / 10.7 mph / 1343 ft. climbing
Home: West Hollywood VRBO
It was 45 degrees at sunrise, so a bit more-tolerable than yesterday, but still pretty chilly. But it was once again dry, so that means nothing to complain about.
Despite the winter chill, the roadsides along the beaches on the way into Malibu were already packed with cars fairly early in the weekend morning. It seemed to be a lot of surfers, but plenty of other varieties of Californian were out as well, clogging our shoulders, opening car doors, and swinging surfboards in our path. C’mon, man! Just like all their December flowers, going to the beach in December initially seems like a self-conscious act of Californian show-off-ism. “Look at us, we go to the beach in December! Aren’t you jealous?” But like the flowers, it really must be more than showing-off, because actually jumping in the cold water and getting your head bashed repeatedly by waves isn’t something people do just for the show-off points.
But still! Couldn’t they maybe take December and January off from their Californiaing? Leaving things more-open for all the friendly tourists taking seasonal refuge in their state? They’d still get a whole 10 months of outdoor action in, which is more than most places, and plenty of time to maintain their Californian cred!
But then we showed off our nearly-Californian cred (we’ve been “living” here for more than two months after all) by spotting dolphins! No paid whale-watching boat needed to take us to them, all we had to do was be traveling slowly enough down to the road to be able to notice their fins rising and falling between the waves. It wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as being enveloped by a mega-pod like we were on the boat, and they were much further away, but it was still pretty exciting since the discovery was “our own”.
The other surprising Sunday-morning activity was the packs of sports cars driving up and down the PCH. A big Porsche group, a smaller Ferrari group, and multiple packs of guys (and girls?) straight out of “The Fast and the Furious”. It felt like a weird time-warp, because I hadn’t been aware that anyone (especially Californians) were still into non-Tesla performance cars anymore! But it did fit in with all of the hillside Malibu mansions that we enjoyed gawking at.
The riding got fairly insane on the PCH as we left the more beach-y areas and got more into residential Malibu. And nothing to do with the “Fast & Furious” guys. Just a shoulder constantly being filled, to varying depths, with cars parked in front of the oceanside residences on our side of the road. So we had to spend much of our time out in the high-speed travel lane, and then those moments when we’d be able to take refuge in the shoulder were almost worse, because they would inevitably end with some shit-parking jerk’s car forcing us unexpectedly back into traffic.
Finally we were able to escape to the bike path into Santa Monica, and we were truly into “Los Angeles”! The broad beaches filled with volleyballers, the lifeguard towers, the mix of weirdos and tourists traversing the trail; it felt like we were inside an episode of ‘Baywatch’ (a show we’d shamelessly re-watched in the last year).
We only had a short time on the beach though, as we needed to head inland to our West Hollywood VRBO. We nearly retraced, in reverse, the ending of my 2012 bike tour. And I learned that the reason I felt so fast and powerful upon that return to urban riding is because I had unknowingly been going downhill on Santa Monica Boulevard! So we were now grinding up that hill, though this time one block over, on Broadway, via a comfortable bike lane that probably didn’t exist in 2012.
I wanted Rett to do some scuzzy bike-tourer shopping on Rodeo Drive, because it would be funny to see how ‘Pretty Woman’ she’d be treated at the immaculate luxury houses, but she felt that would be too sacrilegious, so the next best thing was setting up our chairs and bikes and tarp and doing an extended lunch in the middle of Beverly Hills at Beverly Gardens Park.
So, Los Angeles! We’d be holing up for a few days, mainly to avoid some record-setting rainfall, but with a chance to do some LA touristy stuff too. Unlike San Francisco, we didn’t have a specific date by which we needed to arrive in Los Angeles, but it still stands as a major marker of our travel thus far, and we’re really proud to have gotten to here from Seattle on our bicycles!