Seven of us spread out on any surface we could the night before when the lights went out. Caleb and his girlfriend Rosey took a bed, Igor and Hilton took a bed and kept some distance between themselves, unlike the first night when they had an experience of the unintentionally intimate kind, (lets just say that Hilton’s nickname, snuggy, came from that experience). For their sake, they were both asleep. Amelia and Kevin couched it up and I used my camping pad on the floor. Four walls and a roof beat a tent any day. We woke that morning at different times. A few of us strolled down to the local deli for some bagels and coffee. When we got back everyone had their eyes open, took turns in the shower, and began packing. Their agenda was to make it to Caleb’s friends house in San Francisco before dark. My agenda was to split with them, hang around Santa Monica and Venice Beach all day until it was time to meet up with Mickey. Mickey is my brothers, father in-law and he is currently in Los Angeles for work. He and I spoke a few days ago about hanging out while he was here and fortunately for me he offered to let me stay at his room until he leaves. Back to the morning split. We gathered our things and made a few trips to the parking garage. I didn’t have room for the plastic fireman’s hat on the Goose, so I attempted to give it to someone else. Hilton, being the great fellow he is, took the hat and generously made a donation to my trip. (Thanks again man. I won’t soon forget it.) By that time all things were gathered and the final trip to the parking garage was under way. When we got there, we took a few pics, a few folks checked out the Goose, we said our goodbyes, and parted ways. At that moment I wanted to go along with them on their trip so bad. I wasn’t too excited about being on my own again. Like when I left my brother in Las Vegas, I had that same tightness in my chest and feeling of loneliness. Again it went away about a half hour later when I got down to the beach and started taking in the sights.
The guys highly recommended walking down to Venice Beach from Santa Monica. It’s a beautiful walk just a bit over a mile long. First, once I made it to the beach, I checked out the Santa Monica pier. Little did I know, before Igor filled me in, that the Santa Monica pier is the absolute end of Route 66. That really tied in well with the other stretches of Route 66 that I’ve been on. Now, at some point in the future, I’ll have to track down the beginning of Route 66. Santa Monica pier is full of street performers, tourists, fisherman, and is home to a few restaurants. I’d say that it’s a “can’t miss” while in the area. The other can’t miss is Venice Beach, just south of there. The walk from Santa Monica to Venice Beach could be described as a sandy, adults playground. Bicyclist’s, roller bladers, workout buffs, runners, volley ball regulars, and surfers all made up the group of active outdoor folks and 99 percent of them were adults. When I grow up I want to hang out on the beach and play all day too! Along the way are these two sets of swinging rings. The object is to latch on to one with one hand, swing to build up momentum, and snag the other ring and make it all the way across, via the other six or seven rings. I just had to try it. I made it, and can admit that I could use more hand strength. Perhaps taking my backpack off would have helped. It had my laptop and camera in it. After that I continued onward to Venice beach a.k.a the freak show capital of the United States. Unless you’re a tourist going to people watch then you’re an eclectic artist looking to sell your work or gain attention in Venice Beach. I saw one older Indian guy with these wacky roller blades on, playing 80’s hairband music with his electric guitar and wearing tattered clothes with a turban on. Interesting fella. Gift shops abound, painters and photographers display their best work, and there are no shortages of guys pushing their music cd’s on you. It was neat for a one time experience, but I preferred the walk along the beach on the way back to Santa Monica better than the wild and sketchy looking people of the vendor area. Walking along the beach on the way back was the first time that I’ve ever seen really good surfers in a large group in action. On the Atlantic, I’ve seen one guy at a time, here and there, but this was different. The waves were bigger and the guys and gals were really good. It looked like a lot of fun. I can see now why people pilgrimage out here to live this sort of life. It’s not for me though, I don’t have long hair, talk like I’m cooler than I am, or have a tan. Plus I’m a land lover. Eventually I made it back to the Goose in Santa Monica and made my way south to Manhattan Beach to meet up with Mickey just before five.
Mickey, from the first time I’ve met him, has been one of the nicest and most generous guys that I’ve come across. My brother sure did well by marrying into April’s family. Honestly though, all of us get along great and the “in-law” thing just don’t seem to rear its ugly head in our family. He agreed to let me grab a quick shower when I first arrived. By that point, it had been two days and I could clear a room with my arm pits. After that we hunted down a Mexican restaurant, caught up on things, and generally had a good time. Back at the room, I finally finished the post that I’d been slowly working on all day while he did his own thing on-line. We called it a night early and that was that for day 104.