Our first stop on the 7 th of August was El Matador State Beach. The weather was perfect for swimming, with overcast sky and chilly winds. However, for the couple of us that wanted to go for a swim it was not an obstacle. No, the obstacle should have been the rocky shores and underwater rocks, as Imants proved without a doubt by hurting his toe on one of these rocks quite badly. The time limit of half an hour prevented any further injuries to group. Here, I feel it appropriate to mention that both Imants and Salvis reported that their cars show that more than 1000 miles have been driven in the USA.
Next up was the Science Center. The center itself contained a lot of interesting rooms and experiments. For example, there were rooms showing the flora and fauna of deserts, rivers and arctics, as well as several experiments involving crash tests, wind turbines and structural integrities. It offered opportunities to see Gemini, Mercury and Apollo capsules.
But, all that aside, there was one exhibit that stood over the rest – Space Shuttle Endeavour. The majestic shuttle made for a truly breathtaking sight. To be fair, several artifacts were shown before the shuttle, for example, the tires, galley, nose cone, etc. and they were all fascinating as well, but nothing quite compares to seeing the shuttle. It was truly inspiring.
Next up, was Griffith observatory. Not much to say here, other than that it is a pretty building and provides an excellent view towards LA. Well, the main reason for the lackluster review is that it was closed. Still, we got a couple of pictures out of it, including our first in front of the “Hollywood” sign. After visiting the observatory we drove down the Santa Monica boulevard towards Santa Monica pier reaching the end route 66. The boulevard had a subtle change from run down houses in the beginning and the middle to the stunning heart of Los Angeles. At the end of the boulevard was the Santa Monica pier, end of route 66. The pier contained several shops, a couple of good ocean views and several attractions.
After visiting the pier the group decided to split up with some enjoying the Sunset boulevard in, well, sunset and others electing to stay in LA. As i was with the group that stayed, I will speak about that. We did two more things. Firstly, we checked out the pedestrian street with it’s shops and shops and dealerships and some cool hedges that were cut like dinosaurs and were part of a fountain. A rather uneventful trip, if you discount Laura finding a shoe shop with a sale going on and myself with Salvis visiting a Tesla dealership. Secondly, we went for a swim in the ocean. The water was warm, the air hot and the waves went over my head by just a fraction. In the end, our swim was rewarded by the sight of Santa Monica pier lighting up for the night and an sunset over the ocean.
At that point it was time to head home. We took a detour through Sunset boulevard as well although we didn’t see much as it was already dark outside. We did get pictures with the sign saying “Beverly Hills” though and did get to enjoy LA in the night with it’s neon signs, posters and all around colorful exterior.
Unbeknownst to us one more adventure awaited us – shopping. As we needed some food we went to nearest Walmart which was closed. There we received instructions (in Spanish/broken English) to the place with the nearest 24/7 Walmart which we mistook for a separate shop which in turn created a problem with navigation leading to us enjoying our night for two more hours before we finally got to our motel and could get to bed.