The last leg

Santa Monica Pier

9th July – 137 miles from Palm Springs, California to Santa Monica, California

After another breakfast in the motel we drove straight to Santa Monica, where we parked at the beach, grabbed hot dogs on sticks for lunch and set about finding somewhere to stay.

That turned out to be a challenge. Santa Monica was very expensive, and we wanted to stay for at least two nights. We ended up finding a place with no air conditioning for more than we’d spent anywhere else on the trip, which wasn’t ideal but at least it was conveniently located.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the boardwalk and pier, before heading out for the evening. We ate outside of a restaurant on the Third Street Promenade, a pedestrianised street lined with shops, bars and restaurants, and from where we could enjoy people watching.

10th Jul – Day in Santa Monica

Santa Monica

For our day in Santa Monica, we chose to split up. I think at this point in the trip, our energy was flagging and we were probably more than ready to be alone for a while. It’s not easy spending so much time with someone, even a very good friend, and tensions had gradually been building.

It might also be why I have few photos of the last few days of the trip. I was probably rationing film, in order to avoid having to start a new roll, and so I only have a couple of shots from Santa Monica and beyond. I had previously been to California on a previous trip, so I also didn’t really feel the need for more photos. Once again, though, I regret not getting enough pictures of the general street life.

The route from Santa Monica to Venice Beach

I walked to Venice Beach and beyond, as far as Marina Del Rey, stopping to watch the various street performers. One of them was a juggler whose act involved choosing “volunteers” from the audience, but as I passed he was clearly rehearsing with his chosen volunteer.

Marina Del Ray

On the way back, I took the opportunity to paddle in the Pacific Ocean, to mark the trip nearing its end.

We joined up again for the evening, and tried a different restaurant for dinner on the Third Street Promenade. After dinner, we tried an English themed bar but didn’t stop for long. It was full of English tourists and probably some ex-pats, and, while it was interesting to see the American take on an English pub, we felt it defeated the object of the trip to travel so far just to end up in a pub that could be anywhere at home.

11th July – 80 miles from Santa Monica, California, to Ventura, California

We had planned to spend three nights in Santa Monica, but the prices drove us further up the coast for our last night. We spent the day doing some last minute shopping for bargains in a local mall, before finding a bar at the top of the Holiday Inn with expansive views over the ocean. The bar didn’t serve food, so we found a nearby restaurant and then another hotel bar with some really good live music.

We sat at the bar, which was clearly popular with the locals, and the barmaid took it upon herself to introduce us to everyone who came in. She also tried to encourage us to go somewhere more lively, but as it was our last night and we had the long flight home the next day we didn’t want to overdo it.

12th July – 127 miles from Ventura, California, to LAX airport, California

Finishing the roll of film waiting for our flight

Our last day was just a functional trip down to LAX, with a stop off for a last Mexican meal before heading home. Although the flight wasn’t until late afternoon, we didn’t have time to do much other than have another wander around Marina Del Ray before getting into the admin of returning the car, checking in, and then spending the last of our dollars aimlessly in the airport.

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