When I leave Los Angeles, I will not remember seasons. I will only remember halcyon periods where it was early fall or late spring. Maybe a month of winter happened in November, but I’ve forgotten it.
I’m sitting in the backyard right now, in the middle of an old cotton comforter, eating an orange from the tree that’s just coming into season and drinking cafe au lait made with the can of Cafe du Monde coffee I brought back from New Orleans. I’ve been out here for an hour or two, reading, dozing, basking in sunlight.
Before everyone starts to resent me, I woke up from my catnap because my allergies were so bad I couldn’t breathe. The pollution in the city today is crazy. The hills are hazy, even the ones closest to Venice. I can literally see the layer of yellowish smog over the beach communities, and it’s rare the air out here is this bad. I just got back from an extended bike ride, and my throat and lungs ache like I’ve smoked an unfiltered cigarette.
I had adapted to the point where I can drink LA County tap water, if I have to – but my body stubbornly refuses to adjust to the crap in the air here. Hence, I’m snuffling and wheezing right now, my eyes are swollen and itchy, and it will not be pretty when I go to put on eyeliner & mascara for tonight.
I did, however, bike about seventeen miles today, from Torrance up to Venice, via the oceanside bike paths. There are bike paths all over Los Angeles, but they’re really not part of the urban planning. Not like in Vancouver or Seattle, cities where the bike paths all neatly connected up. Seattle especially. Seattle had great bike paths from all the abandoned railroad lines.
Oh, and I stopped for lunch at Pita Pit. Yes, THAT Pita Pit. The same Canadian based chain as we had in Vancouver and Toronto. The same chain we always went to at 2AM enroute home from the bars. They have a Hermosa Beach location, and it is DEFINITELY the same operation. I could tell the moment I sank my teeth into my gyro pita – I could have been back in Kitsilano, on a nice day in May.
How To Get From Torrance To Mar Vista
START at Saturn of Torrance, because it is the closest dealership to West L.A., where you learn that you won’t get your car back until Monday or so
TURN LEFT onto Hawthorn Ave, a busy eight-lane street with no room for bikes
TURN LEFT onto Sepulveda, because you think that’s going west
TURN RIGHT a mile and a half later onto what looks like a street going west, because Sepulveda clearly is NOT
TURN RIGHT again a mile later just to be sure onto Lomita Blvd., which has a bike lane.
REALIZE that you are in the City of Lomita, which you didn’t even know existed (it’s between Torrance & Redondo, if you want to know)
TURN LEFT when you find yourself back on Hawthorn, half a mile (and three miles by bike) from where you started
CRY because you still have fifteen miles to go and are starting to feel the first four
TURN RIGHT on Pacific Coast Highway, going NORTH
TAKE HEART at the sign that says “PACIFIC COAST BIKE ROUTE”, because you have seen signs like that in Oregon and California eight months ago
FOLLOW PCH NORTH to Redondo Beach
CUT OVER to the BIKE PATH by the ocean. Joyfully fly along for a half mile
GET HORRIBLY LOST in the open air shopping center maze they call a “pier” there. (I haven’t been to Redondo Beach since a highschool band trip thirteen years ago)
CONTINUE NORTH into HERMOSA BEACH
STOP FOR LUNCH and end up buying books at a secondhand bookstore (basic texts on Taoism)
CONTINUE along the esplanade bike path through Hermosa. Chuckle at place where friends were arrested for “punk in drublic”offenses at Labor Day
KEEP GOING NORTH through Hermosa Beach, while listening to cheerful music and generally being blissed out at the view of the ocean.
CONTINUE through Manhattan Beach, past LAX
KEEP GOING even though your legs are starting to ache a bit
TURN RIGHT to follow the bike path as it goes over the jetty into Marina del Rey
TURN LEFT on Mindinao, narrowly miss getting squashed by stupid MDR SUVs and cut over to WASHINGTON BLVD
TURN RIGHT on Washington Blvd
TURN RIGHT on VENICE AVE., which thankfully has a bike lane
TURN LEFT onto home street
DISMOUNT BIKE to realize that your inner thighs are killing you.
Total Distance: 19 miles or so (just under three hours worth of a Saturday)