Monday, March 06, 2006

California Dreaming; Sunday on the Coast

Sunday morning was amazingly quiet without the Rat Pack and the activity of checking out and preparing Black Magic for her move uphill. Before checking out of the motel, I called my dad and talked to Braxton and Carol Anne in Elephant Butte, where they had arrived after a relatively quiet, stress-free, and no-big-problems-at-all trip a third of the way across the country from Ventura to the Butte. They sounded tired, but word was the Larry was already back on a boat on the lake, even if there wasn't any wind to speak of, and Carol Anne was happily showing off her new "baby" to Vicky, Sue, Jo Ann, and Maureen of the Adams Cup squad.

Pockets relatively empty and credit cards approaching red-line, I wasn't especially ambitious, but there was a need to make one more trip to West Marine, where I got a couple of presents for Carol Anne and Black Magic. Then Gerald and I went to the harbor, where we introduced ourselves to the manager of the scenic Ventura Yacht Club, took a mini-tour and chatted with her, and bought a burgee. Then we walked around the beach and the Channel Islands park visitor center, getting some exercise to make up for indulgences earlier in the weekend. We tried visiting the Pierpont YC but no one was around.

It was time to drive south. We went down Harbor Blvd. south to Oxnard and Channel Islands Harbor. No one was around at a local yacht club, but two tall ships were in port; the 1750s ship replica Royaliste from San Francisco and the Baltimore clipper replica Lynx from Maryland. We got to talk a bit with the crews and watch them prepare to take passengers out on a mini-cruise.

Next we found our way to the PCH - Pacific Coast Highway, route 1 - and took the scenic drive south through Malibu, passing lots of names that evoked California nostalgia - Zuma, Topanga Beach, etc. We tried to find a parking spot near the Venice pier before giving up on tha tidea and wound up in Marina del Rey at a familiar haunt, Edie's Diner. We also passed time looking all over the harbor, walking out the north breakwater to watch boats - mostly sail - coming in and out of the harbor - and discussed all the advice we could have given a few of the skippers when we saw screwups and problems now and then, such as the halyard that hadn't been raised fully, the topping lift that was still up on another boat, and a small sailboat that was being tacked ineptly. Ah, we could have rented a boat, bought a bullhorn, and put a sign up that would have said, "Advice - One Sixpack of Beer". (For Carol Anne of course) We also noticed an Etchells in the parking lot of the Santa Monica Windjammers yacht club.

Too soon it was time to leave the waterfront, return the rental car, eat overpriced food at the airport, and endure an extra-long wait for a delayed flight. But, at least we didn't have to drive a diesel truck for 900 or a 1000 miles and the cats were very happy to see us.


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