California 2021:
Day 10 - Los Angeles, CA


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California 2021: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Route 66: IL] [Day 3 - Route 66: MO] [Day 4 - Route 66: OK] [Day 5 - Route 66: TX] [Day 6 - Route 66: NM] [Day 7 - Route 66: AZ] [Day 8 - Route 66: CA] [Day 9 - Route 66: CA] [Day 10 - Los Angeles] [Day 11 - Los Angeles] [Day 12 - Palm Springs] [Day 13 - Joshua Tree NP] [Day 14 - Death Valley NP] [Day 15 - Las Vegas] [Day 16 - Zion NP] [Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim] [Day 18 - Toroweap, Grand Canyon] [Day 19 - Page, AZ] [Day 20 - Durango, CO] [Day 21 - Great Bend, KS] [Day 22 - St. Louis, MO] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

Tuesday, November 9, 2021: The marina was quiet in the early morning as we got ready for today's activities.
We were out of the hotel and on the road by 7:45 AM.
We made a quick trip inland to pick up Del Taco for breakfast, ...
... passing fields with all of their workers, ...
... to get to the Ventura marina to board a Channel Islands National Park wildlife cruise through Island Packers. We checked in, got our boarding pass, and waited for the 9:15 AM boarding time.
We could hear a sea lion barking while we waited, and Debbie located it using the awesome zoom on her camera. It was sitting at the end of a slip barking at a specific boat. It went on for quite a while.
Right on time, we boarded our boat and found seats on the upper deck. The boat was crowded with people as the first part of our wildlife cruise was also transportation to Anacapa Island. Stu, one of the crew, gave us a safety briefing and told us that we needed to keep our masks on the entire time we were on the boat.
We slipped our moorings and headed away from the marina right on time at 9:30 AM.
Check out this boat's cool stingray design!
We enjoyed seeing the amusing names of the various boats as we made our way through the marina.
There were benches and a picnic shelter on the seawall as we went through the channel, ...
... and lots of sea birds, including these cormorants.
We watched fishing boats coming back to the harbor, and wondered why all of the fishing boats seem to be towing another boat.
After about forty minutes, we were getting our first views of the Channel Islands, ...
... and a few minutes later, there was much commotion as we spotted, ...
... dolphins! Andrea, another member of the crew, came over the ship's PA and explained what kind of dolphin they were, and how to estimated their numbers, and why they were here. They were common dolphins, there were several hundred of them, and they were likely fishing. They work together as a group to herd a school of fish into a small area so that they can feed efficiently as a group.
We spotted several larger dolphins with smaller dolphins. Mamas with babies? Probably.
The captain turned the boat and sped up, hoping to entice the dolphins to surf in the ship's wake, and it worked.
The dolphins kept pace with the ship, and there were four or five dolphins right under the surface next to us. They would occasional jump out of the water ahead of the wake, but it was nearly impossible to get a photo when they jumped.
After fifteen or twenty minutes of playing with the dolphins, we got back on course toward Anacapa Island. We continued on course for about five or so minutes when ...
... we were among more dolphins! These were bottlenose dolphins, which are much larger and darker than the common dolphin. These dolphins were very playful, jumping through the wake, ...
... doing twists as they came out of the water, ...
... and sometimes even doing twists in pairs. We enjoyed their company for about ten minutes, and then continued on our course.
We were able to see Arch Rock at the eastern end of the island, ...
... which was covered with birds.
The Anacapa Island Lighthouse was imposing on the eastern end, sounding a horn every few minutes to warn boaters of the dangerous rocks.
The rock face was covered with Brandt's Cormorants.
The cliff face was whitish gray from their droppings.
Just before 11:00 AM, we pulled into Landing Cove, ...
... and began disembarking all of the passengers who were staying on the island. They had to climb this series of stairs to get to the top of the island.
There were pelicans nesting on this part of the island on the cliffs overlooking our moored boat.
They are California Brown Pelicans, and this island is one of two sites in the western US where they breed. The other is on neighboring Santa Barbara Island.
We were able to get these close-up shots courtesy of the 40x optical zoom on our camera. Sometimes having an old-school camera comes in very handy.
While the passengers were still offloading, we watched the waves turn one of the caverns into a blowhole. It is the cavern in the top right of this picture.
When the sea rose, water jetted out of that cavern. It was really fun to watch.
After about ten minutes, all of the disembarking passengers were off, and we headed toward Arch Rock for a closer look at the eastern end of the island.
Two pelicans flew fairly close by as we negiotated our way around the eastern point.
We rounded the point, ...
... and were rewarded with the view of a sea lion climbing the rocks.
It was trying to get up to another sea lion that was basking higher up, ...
... and it eventually made it there.
After twenty minutes or so, we headed back around the point, getting this awesome shot of the lighthouse, ...
... back around Arch Rock, ...
... and back into the landing area to pick up Andrea, who had apparently stayed ashore to help the disembarking passengers. We got to view the pelicans again, ...
... and spotted some blue fish in the clear waters of the cove.
Once almost everyone else was off the boat and onto Anacapa Island, we shifted our seats to the back corner on the top deck of the boat. The breeze was much stronger here, and we bundled up to keep warm.
We thought the wildlife cruise would take us around the islands, but we apparently were going to head straight back toward the marina.
We could see Santa Cruz Island in the distance, but we didn't come any closer than this.
There were oil platforms visible nearby in the channel.
Dolphins! Common dolphins came close to play in our wake.
They swam along side the boat and were clearly visible under the water.
We enjoyed their company for five or so minutes, ...
... and saw this Western Gull patrolling the area.
There were more oil and gas platforms close by, ...
... and Debbie used our binoculars to check them out.
This group of seals were hunting nearby and didn't stay to play.
At 12:30 PM, we were entering the channel near Ventura harbor, ...
... and we checked out the cool concrete formations that make up the seawall.
On the way back in, we got good photos of the beautiful mermaid statues on the seawall.
This one is playing a fish cello with a fish bow.
On the other side of the channel, on the opposite seawall, there is another mermaid on a pedestal, ...
... and she is playing a shell flute. Both statues were installed in the harbor by Alec Benke, who had bought them at an auction in 2005. The flute-playing mermaid was installed in 2010, and the cello-playing mermaid was installed in 2017.
Back in the marina, we passed the National Park Service boat, ...
... and were back alongside right at the scheduled 1:00 PM time.
Ten minutes later we were back in the van, driving past the strawberry fields. Here's another shot of the tractor pulling the portable toilets and the worker's backpacks. The tractor has folding chairs strapped to the front of it for the workers to sit on when they take breaks.
We stopped at In-N-Out Burger for lunch, ...
... and sat in the parking lot and ate it. It was hot and delicious after being out on a boat for hours.
After lunch, we headed south on US 101 toward Los Angeles, passing this Scientology building along the way.
We always enjoy looking for Adopt-a-Highway signs. The heart on the top is a nice touch, don't you think?
Debbie noticed these bells marking the road, and we learned that they mark the 700-mile California Mission Trail connecting 21 missions, four presidos, and several towns from Mission San Diego de Alcala in the south to Mission San Francisco Solano in Northern California.
After all of the gloomy clouds during the wildlife cruise, we were very happy to see the beginning of blue sky as we got further east.
We saw the impressive Church of Scientology of the Valley on Burbank Boulevard on our way to ...
... Circus Liquor. This is a filming location for the movie "Clueless," which is another one of our favorites.
We turned to avoid a slowdown due to a very recent accident and just happened on this statue of Amelia Earhart near the North Hollywood Amelia Earhart Regional Library.
We were in Universal City, ...
... and we turned onto Universal Hollywood Drive, ...
... climbed the steep hill, ...
... and made our way to the Sheraton Universal Hotel, our homebase for the next two days. This glittering dress sculpture was hanging in a display case near the lobby entrance. Debbie ran in to get a parking pass for the garage, ...
... then we grabbed our stuff and took the elevator to the 11th floor, ...
... to room 1117, a king bed room, ...
... with a good view of the Hollywood Hills.
It was a nice room with the smallest refrigerator we had seen on the trip, ...
... and a beautiful bathroom.
We left our room and walked up the street, over the pedestrian bridge, to Universal Studios Hollywood.
We had to get a shot of the Universal Studios Globe, because taking pictures of big metal Earth sculptures is apparently something we have been doing recently. A lot.
We made our way to Universal CityWalk, a restaurant and entertainment district that everyone can enjoy without having to pay admission to the park.
We walked along, looking at the shops like Popcornopolis, Home of Zebra Popcorn, ...
... Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, which has an upside down car exploding out of the sign, ...
... Jamba Juice with gigantic fruit, ...
... Johnny Rockets with gigantic burger and shake, ...
... Bubba Gump Shrimp Company with a map of Forrest Gump's Run Across America, ...
... and King Kong climbing the CityWalk fa├žade, ...
... until we made it to Voodoo Doughnut, where we continued our quest to visit every location they have. Unfortunately, they keep adding more locations, so we keep having to travel. Or maybe we mean fortunately.
There was no one else in line, so we walked right to the counter.
There are so many doughnuts to choose from, but we kept calm and Debbie ordered a Voodoo Doll and a peanut cake, ...
... and Tom ordered a Mango Tango and an Apple Fritter.
We took our doughnuts and continued our walk, passing Cinnabon and its giant cinnamon rolls, ...
... Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, ...
... and these Star Wars life-sized figurines in a store whose name we did not get.
We made a fateful decision to peek inside a store accurately named "It's Sugar," which included this incredible Wizard of Oz sculpture made from jelly beans.
Somehow, this candy got into our bag, and we stood in line, paid for it, and then took it home. Weird.
This Mini Donuts counter was very tempting, and would have been successful at getting our money if we hadn't just bought doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut.
A mere 45 minutes later, we were walking back past the giant metal Earth, uh, Universal Studios Globe, ...
... back down the hill, ...
... to our hotel room in time to see the sunset over the Hollywood Hills.
We inspected our loot from Voodoo Doughnut, ...
... and chose two for immediate consumption.
The nearby Hilton Hotel stood there all shiny in the failing evening light.
We got into our pajamas, worked on our laptops, and prepared for the next day's adventure to see the sights of Los Angeles.

Day 11 >


California 2021: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Route 66: IL] [Day 3 - Route 66: MO] [Day 4 - Route 66: OK] [Day 5 - Route 66: TX] [Day 6 - Route 66: NM] [Day 7 - Route 66: AZ] [Day 8 - Route 66: CA] [Day 9 - Route 66: CA] [Day 10 - Los Angeles] [Day 11 - Los Angeles] [Day 12 - Palm Springs] [Day 13 - Joshua Tree NP] [Day 14 - Death Valley NP] [Day 15 - Las Vegas] [Day 16 - Zion NP] [Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim] [Day 18 - Toroweap, Grand Canyon] [Day 19 - Page, AZ] [Day 20 - Durango, CO] [Day 21 - Great Bend, KS] [Day 22 - St. Louis, MO] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

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