Again, this post is pretty long and very photo heavy. So get another cup of coffee or tea and enjoy yourself…
Ever seen City Slickers? I love the scene when they’re all telling each other what their best day was. Well, I’m getting ready to tell you my best day from my California vacation. You might be surprised to know that it wasn’t the day that I got to interview Roma Downey. Nope, even though I loved that day and all that happened during it, it wasn’t my favorite. My favorite day was Tuesday. Here’s the lowdown:
I got up early and decided that I’d take a scenic drive. My dad sent directions for me. It was like a mission sent to Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible. Except it didn’t self destruct. And I didn’t have to hang from any cliffs or jump from any motorcycles. My drive started on South Topanga Road. It’s a two lane road right off PCH but a bit busy. I followed the road for about 4 miles and turned onto Old Topanga Road. Now, this was quite the road. Curvy, quiet, country, beautiful. Every turn provided something beautiful. People live in fairy tale environments.
Not a sound around me except a small creek, birds, wind and the very occasional passing car. Curvy roads and nature, that’s what this ride was all about. Around every curve was some beautiful sight to see or a beautiful soundscape to behold. I kept pulling over to snap pictures and shoot videos. Here’s one video.
You have to listen carefully to hear the horses and phone but I swear they’re on there.
The drive was nothing less than stunning. Which, for me, wasn’t surprising for California. I felt like I was getting out of the car after every turn.
My remote was out of batteries so in order to take some self portraits, I had to work with the timer…ugh. Oh well, I’m not in Cali everyday so a photographer has to do what a photographer has to do, right?
And, of course, my traditional jumping picture:
After driving along Old Topanga Road, I hooked up with Mulholland Highway. I took that for a few miles and then drove on Stunt Road. When I turned onto Stunt Road, there was a sign that said “Grooved Centerline for next 4 miles”. Guess they don’t want anyone doing any stunts on Stunt Road! It was quite curvy, I have to say. I can only imagine how fun it would be to drive with a Jeep, convertible, or a motorcycle.
My last turn was onto Las Flores Canyon Road and I think it was the most twisty, curvy, winding road I’ve ever driven on. It was simply beautiful. That road put me right back onto Pacific Coast Highway. This little drive took over an hour but probably would have been quicker if I hadn’t stopped a million times to take dozens of pictures. But then, what would have been the point, right?
I headed north on PCH after stopping at a Radio Shack to get batteries for my camera remote. Just a few miles up the road, I pulled off to check out Escondido Beach. You park on the side of the road and enter the beach access through a gate. Once inside the gate, this is what you see:
Taket this pathway to a set of stairs. Many, many stairs. I counted all the stairs I took to get to this beach and it was over 100! But totally worth it! Descend the steps, open another gate, continue down some more steps and viola, you’re there! It was early on a weekday morning so there was no one on the beach. It was quiet except for the sounds of the crashing waves. Heavenly.
I climbed all the way back up to street level and continued north on PCH. I had places to go and things to see.
And here’s where my day goes from great to greater; why it’s my best day. I spent over an hour on the shore of Leo Carillo Beach. If you take a trip to Malibu and don’t stop here, you’re nuts. At first glance, it looks like any shore of Malibu except for the gigantic rocks just off shore. In this picture you can see a surfer enjoying the waves.
See all the rocks in the foreground of the picture? There were millions of them! I’m guessing the tide was low and revealed all these colorful rocks. Tiny crabs, shells and sea urchin things were waiting for me to discover them.
Just a few yards from where I was standing was this breathtaking scene:
It was right out of a movie set. Huge rocks, little tide pools, big tide pools, more creatures and caves…
Since I started blogging, I’ve met a few other bloggers and considered some of them friends. Ocean Soul is one of those bloggers. They are lovely ladies. As I sat at the shore, I sent them an email telling them that I was thinking of them and realize now why they call their blog Ocean Soul. I sat there, taking in all the beauty and actually said out loud to myself, “Nothing can beat this.” And then I saw this:
Right in front of me was a tiny little pool of water, no bigger than a 5 gallon bucket, full of crabs, sea anemone and star fish! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I just started crying like a dork. I’m so glad I was alone on this beach. This whole trip was from God. The opportunity to have my flight and one night paid for, the opportunity to interview Roma Downey, the fact that we had a little extra money for me to stay a couple days, the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, the scenic drive I had just taken…all of it I felt was a gift from God. And while I was enjoying my gift, He continued to give to me. I just love when God gives us extra special gifts just for the heck of it. I started looking around a little more closely and found dozens and dozens of star fish. It was amazing.I sent another email to Karen at Ocean Soul telling her about my experience and my kiss from God. In return, she asked me if I had stuck my finger inside the anemone center. That thought hadn’t crossed my mind and I told her I hadn’t & asked if I should. I said they look like they’d suck my finger off and leave me with a stump. She assured me that it’s fine. Feels sticky and strange, but it’d be fine. After a long debate, I figured that I couldn’t come to California and not do it. If I didn’t, I’d definitely regret it. So, I did!
Karen was quite proud of me and I have to say I was, too. I did end up sicking my whole finger inside and it was still pretty freaky. I’m so glad I didn’t walk away without trying it. I’ll leave you with some more pictures of my day:
And that was my best day. Delightful drive, breathtaking trip to the shore, connecting with online friends, and that wasn’t even the end of it. I’ll be back to tell you about the rest of my day – Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and how I connected with a stranger (that isn’t a stranger any more).