Leaving the beautiful, wild and remote Joshua Tree behind, we headed to the beautiful, eventful and populated Los Angeles. Our budget didn’t allow us to stay too close to the city so we spent our nights nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains, about a forty miles northeast of the city. Our two weeks in the area was a pleasant mix of city life, outdoor activity and relaxing.
Lucy and a sunrise
While in the typically sunny southern California, our bad luck with weather continued. Los Angeles frequently nears the top of best climate lists, but we had cloudy, windy, rainy and foggy weather. I’m not complaining because most of the people reading this are wintering in Ohio and I believe in making the best of what you’re given. But it is causing me to reflect on the great weather we had all last year and hoping for sunnier times ahead.
Foggy Los Angeles
We took a few trips into the city but the infamous traffic deterred us from too many visits. The Getty Center overwhelmed us with their immense art collection. Griffith Observatory provided great views of downtown and the Hollywood sign. Santa Monica was great people watching but the two hour, forty mile drive home put a damper on the night.
Santa Monica Pier
Just because we live on the road doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with the typical day-to-day responsibilities. Most time consuming, obviously, is working 40 hours a week. But there’s also the mundane – dishes, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping. There’s the self-care – visiting the eye doctor and dentist. And there’s the trip related – finding and reserving campgrounds, applying for hiking permits, figuring out where we want to go. We used our two weeks in Los Angeles to get caught up on these.
Channel Islands National Park protects a collection of islands off the coast of southern California. Overnight and day trips to the islands are available, but a whale watching tour fit our schedule best. As stated earlier, we encountered some rainy and cool weather; luckily the morning of our tour was cloudy but dry. We happily spent our time on the top deck, while the unlucky were getting sea sick below.
According to the captain, grey whales are usually quite predictable, so once one is spotted, you should be able to follow along and watch it breath and spout. We saw nearly ten whales during the trip but were unable to spot each more than once or twice. The highlight was a whale breaching we witnessed just before the trip ended. Although from a distance, it was breathtaking to see the giant creature leap from the water. Zach valiantly attempted but failed to get a good picture of a whale.
A whale’s tail
The dolphins on the other hand were plentiful and photogenic. Twice, our boat was surrounding by a pod of dolphins, some following along very close to the bow. They appeared so happy and playful and it was a majestic experience.
Up close and personal with a dolphin
We had a busy, eventful two weeks in Los Angeles, but by the end of our time, we were ready to move on. Next stop, Death Valley National Park!