16th Aug, 2011

Los Angeles (includes Malibu, Hollywood, Santa Monica, etc.) – Part One – July 16 – August 12, 2011

Total distance driven (includes in-city driving): 23,367.5 kms (14,519.9miles)
Average gas consumption: 16 L per 100 KM

Heading to California we ran into a lot of people (from Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona) that recommended staying away from the state. They not only seemed to dislike the state but Californians as well. As we headed to Los Angeles we were surprised to find that country Californians seemed to dislike Los Angeles and warned us – “so many people, so much traffic, just a big city, you’ll hate it there” they said. On our last North America tour in 2002 we took these warnings to heart and didn’t bother visiting Los Angeles. This time we decided we had to check out the big stinky city of Los Angeles for ourselves before we could slam it intelligently.

The Los Angeles experience started out a bit negative when the only available camp site in and around the city was at private RV resort named Malibu RV. It cost twice as much as we were paying in San Diego. We reserved 4 nights, however as we drove up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and saw the beaches and mountains we decided extended to a 7 day stay to get a weekly discount. Who knows maybe there would be something we liked about the Los Angeles area?

We usually don’t like RV camping that is side by side but from our camp site in Malibu RV we could see the ocean and hear the waves crashing. Soon after arriving we stopped noticing the proximity of the other campers. The daily site charges were $59 per night but would go up to $70 and $80 during the weekend. With weekly discounts our average came out to be $60.34 per night. Sure that’s over budget but the beach, the waves and mountains made the price seem like a deal.

The whole Malibu area was beautiful – even Ralph’s, the local grocery store 5 minutes down the road looked like a Malibu estate. The clerks at this Ralph’s location could redefine good customer service.

And modern too! Usually recycling depots in California are a disgusting experience but Ralph’s had clean automated machines. Put in a recyclable item and get money!

There are tons of easily accessible beaches in the area. Right across the street from our campsite was Don Blocker Beach. Jason loved to tackle the waves. These waves look big but believe it or not this is a calm day! Come to think of it almost every day in Malibu is calm day…sunny days, 27C, slight sea breeze, medium surf and cool nights for perfect sleeping…no kidding every single day…never rains, never cloudy, rarely overcast…it’s like that every single day!

Jason starts his surfing career with some body surfing.

At first we thought we were fortunate to have access to a beach across from Malibu RV but as we explored the Los Angeles area we found beach after beach. There was also lots of free or cheap parking along PCH so we could easily pop onto many of the beaches in the area. In the picture above Marianna stands on a beach that was by the side of the road down a slight cliff. That means no listening to traffic! And, there wasn’t a soul around…it’s like having you own private beach… and just half hour from down town Los Angeles.

Zuma Beach was a nice big beach that goes for miles, has plenty of space, and is great for jogging or a nice stroll along the water. Ok, ok, this is not overcast it’s morning sea mist and it burns off as the sun comes up. Weird thing is as you drive down the coast in the morning one section has this morning mist and 2 miles down the road is sun. By noon all sections of the coast are sunny.

Another beach just up from Zuma is Point Dume beach….beautiful.

And there is wildlife everywhere…in the distance we see something resting on the rocks…

Seals! Cool!

Dockweiler State Beach…nice and deserted, just the way we like them…such a surprise considering people kept telling us that Los Angeles was jammed full of people and crowded all the time.

Manhattan Beach….pretty…and the communities along these beaches are very nice. Wonder how much houses are here?

Hermosa Beach….looks like the Mediterranean with the houses up the cliffs (Rancho Palos Verdes) in the background.

One of our favourite beaches was a privately owned beach called Paradise Cove.

It was like a little mini beach resort with bar, restaurant, padded sun beds, rental equipment…and a fair share of manufactured bodies as well….we’re sure we saw at least $1 million worth of plastic surgery while visiting the place.

However the long sandy beaches with the beautiful cliffs were the real reason to go to Paradise Cove. Parking was a whopping $3 if you ate at the restaurant – which was not expensive and had great food.

Paradise Cove also waves long enough to attract surfers.

There were lots of plants hanging off the cliff face…they must love the mist…

El Matadore State Beach was definitely our favourite. Free parking right on PCH or $8 in the parking lot.

It was a bit of a hike to get down so that meant the beach had less people.

That’s Marianna near the second staircase to access the beach. Like so many beaches in the area, those are multi-million dollar homes nearby.

It’s such a beautiful beach. A great backdrop for photo shoots, music videos etc. We saw 4 different shoots while visiting.

We spied lots of wildlife as well…like this dolphin…

…and these pelicans diving for dinner…

One day the tide was so low we could actually make our way through some caves which led to other beautiful deserted beaches…

…some crawling was required as well (at the bottom left see Marianna coming out of a cave).

We ended up at a gorgeous deserted beach where tidal wildlife could be seen.

Check out the anemones and sea snails.

At Rancho Palos Verdes we spied a large tidal pool at the bottom of a cliff – so we had to hike down.

We found a lot of life down there – like this little crab hiding under a rock…

…and this big crab in the water.

The star fish and spiky sea urchins (near the bottom of the photo) were also nice to see.

This one has to count as the grossest…a big sea slug…

After watching the tides rise behind us we decided it was time to head out and started our climb up the canyon wall. More to come with Part Two of Los Angeles, Malibu, Hollywood, Santa Monica and more…


Hello travellers, Well, at least you’re out of the 40C+ weather. Looks fab in Malibu, good for you guys to check it out yourself. Still lookin’ good and tanned…great body surfing Jay! Lindsay and I are good. She just rented her own place in a brand new building and is moving in this weekend. Loads of Ikea trips and we’re out together today getting the last of her shopping done. Great place but small, similar to your condo with NO storage at all but a smaller kitchen. Great view on the 19th floor though. Miss you & love you both, Weenie xxxxx

Keep it coming, wrtiers, this is good stuff.

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