Thursday, March 26, 2015

Along the Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach to Crystal Cove State Park

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

I do love Southern California -- sun, ocean, some mountains, and always some intriguing new thing to catch the eye.

We drove to Crystal Cove shopping mall (near the state park of the same name, just south of Newport Beach) to meet our nephew and his wife and boys for lunch. It being Los Angeles, the 41-mile drive took an hour and a half there, and slightly longer to get back. Driving Hwy 1 is always interesting -- marshes with egrets (white herons?), a few rivers, lots of industrial complexes, plenty of blue ocean and white surf, some districts with barred windows and some with well-off beach homes.

I'm always curious about what all of those pipes and tanks and chimneys and buildings behind the fences are for. Even without knowing the answers, I like the shapes and patterns.

The Long Beach Harbor in the distance, one of the busiest in the U.S. This may be the Los Angeles River -- we didn't have a detailed map.

One of my favorite sights in LA., because it's so unexpected, is an oil well. There were a few dozen of them  in this area, but sometimes there's just one in someone's back yard (they have this phenomenon in other states too).

Three ships. The object that's second from the left is an off-shore drilling platform with a tiny boat (a tug?) next to it - more oil.

The vehicles on the road are often intriguing too, like this Pi truck.

Sculpture near Huntington Beach.

Crystal Cove Promenade is an upscale shopping strip near Crystal Cove State Park. It's so upscale that there are no public restrooms -- you have to be in a store or restaurant. It had fountains (drought? what drought?), a Trader Joe's, and a superb pizza place (Z;s pizza).

California colors and styles -- bright, flowing, drapey.

The flowers were as exotic as the clothes -- this bloom was four inches or more across, and there were dozens of them on vines that grew up the pillars along the length of the mall.

The honeybees love these funky red flowers.

In comparison, the Easter lily no matter how exotic it may be, seems tame.

There were cute dogs, of course.

Z pizza had excellent food, and the Sweet and Saucy Shop nearby had amazing min-cupcakes, tiny tarts, and a few chocolate chip cookies. These are some of our choices.

Alyson White, nephew Paul, and Jim; Drew, Brady, Grant White. We are hoping to see more of them in the next couple of years.

More industry, on the way back to Redondo Beach.

We had time in the evening to walk along Redondo Beach to the pier, and back to the hotel.

There was lots going on -- the Goodyear blimp,

Surfers -- not such big waves yet, but more are forecast in the next few days.

Gulls and their tracks.

Incoming tide - the easy way to get my feet wet in the Pacific.


Kids in surf.

Shore birds in surf.


And Neal -- Neal was here.

The pier had restaurants, pelicans and gulls, artwork, and people enjoying the evening.

A rookery had pelicans, cormorants, and gulls.

There were more cute dogs,

Good views of the surf beating up against the rocks, and

paddle-boarders in a protected area.

Going back, we saw trees on the bluff, with deciduous ones bent away from the ocean by the onslaught of the wind, while the palm trees seem to be fine.

Pattern on top of a wood post.

An amaryllis growing in the ground, at the home of well off people (it was being well watered).

A Carns shadow selfie.

The beach was filling up with people coming after work.

Exotic flowers -- bananas?

Sunset -- we went back to the hotel and got left-overs from lunch, and took our clothes to the laundry next door. Now we are packed and ready to drive back to Menlo Park in the morning.

A pigeon on the pier, quite confident of his place in the Universe.

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