Sunset over the Pacific

Quintessential California

I hadn’t planned on visiting Santa Monica, but I’m very glad I did. It was so beautiful.

palm trees

From Hollywood, I got on the 101 going north with the intention of taking Barham Boulevard to get a closer peek at the Hollywood sign or maybe visit Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

palm trees along the pacific

I blew past that exit pretty quick—oops. So I got on the next exit with the intention of turning around onto southbound 101 and finding Barham Boulevard that way.

looking north

No luck: I got lost driving around Universal Studios.

pacific ocean

I’m not sure what happened after that… I think I somehow got into the neighborhood north of 134, then ended up taking that to 101 again, which I thought would take me southbound.

more palm trees

Boy, was I wrong.

chopped down palm tree

Somehow 134 had magically turned into westbound 101. This freeway business is insane in Los Angeles.

curved palm trees

So there’s me: driving on these crazy interstates with crazy Californians in my car from Massachusetts and my maps from Hertz. I managed to navigate myself onto southbound 405 without incident. I decided then, since I had come all the way over here, I might as well go see the ocean.

birds of paradise

I hopped onto highway 2 and cruised towards the Pacific.

bridge to the beach

Getting back to downtown Los Angeles was pretty straightforward, but took a while since everyone else was going there, too. Oh, well. The beach was well worth the trouble!

this bridge is old - 1935

I found a meter to park at but only had enough quarters for an hour, so I started walking with a purpose towards the pier. I didn’t think I would make it all that way, but I had a half hour to try to get there (and a half hour to get back before getting a parking ticket).

over the pacific coast highway

During my walk, I found this bridge that went down the hill, over the Pacific Coast Highway, and led me right to the beach. Of course I had to go down (I was well aware that I would have to go back up, too).

on the other side

on santa monica's beach

Dang, it was just so perfect. These photos make me happy.

seagull tracks in the sand

I thought the seagulls’ tracks in the sand were pretty funny.

pacific ocean

tides of the pacific ocean

I stood in the tide for a few minutes, before I had the same feeling when I stood in the Atlantic: where’s the bathroom? Bad planning—I had to walk all the way back across the beach (which basically meant I would be leaving).

people on the beach in santa monica

But I knew I’d be visiting another beach the next day, so I was sort of okay about leaving so quickly. I guess I had to get back to my car before the meter police showed up, too.

my shadow on the beach in santa monica

But it was hard to go since it was pretty perfect out there.

beach in santa monica

Santa Monica

I had missed a couple photos above the hill, though. This is Santa Monica.

Santa Monica

pelicans

These are pelicans, but they looked like pterodactyls.

waiting for sunset

sunset on the pacific coast highway

I noticed that the sun was quickly sinking into the ocean, so I found a spot along the rail to watch.

sun is sinking

It took less than 5 minutes for the sun to completely set.

sun is setting

I wish I had been listening better. I was distracted by the fact that everyone else had also stopped to watch the sunset.

sun is gone

It was a very lovely afternoon.

twilight on the pacific ocean

Next up: driving along the Pacific Coast Highway and exploring Laguna Beach.