Our experience in Los Angeles could be summed up with: “It really wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.” The four days of biking through urban sprawl was enhanced by being graciously housed by friends – new and old.
Our first destination was Chatsworth to see our old Juneau friend Sunshine (aka Justin Kennedy). 5 flat tires lengthened the ride to Sunshine’s house that evening, but seeing Sunshine and a lasagna dinner made it all worth it. The next morning we found two more flat tires on bikes bringing the count to 7 flats on one ride – a new ‘ATripSouth’ record. We stayed with Sunshine the next day and made a foray into Hollywood via public transportation. It was nice to get off the bikes and travel more quickly but as any commuter in LA knows the public transportation is quite inefficient and we got to spend much time on buses and train.
Being in LA we knew we had to make a trip to Snoop Dogg’s favorite eatery – Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. We got two dishes there: chicken with a side of waffles and waffles with a side of chicken – both delicious.
The next day we said goodbye to Sunshine and headed towards our friend Lucy Squibb’s Aunt and Uncle’s Ann and David, who had offered to house us. Waiting for us they had a platter of snacks, warm showers, soft beds, and more pizza than we could finish. It was great recounting stories of the kayak trip and listening to them telling tales of the Squibb family.
Leaving their house we shot through Santa Monica to the beach and the Pacific Ocean once again. There is a great bike path right on the beach that winds through all the attractions and was an excellent ride. We enjoyed checking out the characters of Venice beach. There were gymnasts swinging from rings, body builders pumping iron, and entertainers of all sorts.
That night we made it into Long Beach. One of the first people to e-mail us about our trip and to offer a place to stay along the way was Josh Church in Long Beach. All of us recognized his name, but none of us could place his face. Upon showing up to his home we were treated with unbelievable hospitality and it was great to share stories about Juneau. We ended up figuring out that Kanaan and Chris were freshman on the junior varsity football team, while Josh was a senior on the varsity. Andrew realized that he had grown up only four houses down from Josh! We ended up having a great night and we were spoiled by the huge feast that Josh prepared for us.
South from Long Beach we ran into the coastal towns of Orange County. We were impressed by the amount of great bike paths to follow, and grateful to avoid the traffic. We even were able to meet up with our good friend Carlo Ebron from Juneau for a quick lunch.
In the next days we stacked the miles to make it down to La Jolla at Kanaan’s Aunt Kristi and Uncle James’ home for Thanksgiving. We have had no shortage of things to be thankful for, and this was no exception. James slow cooked two beautiful turkeys under a bed of coals. There were mashed yams, brussel sprouts, three types of stuffing, and an endless table of pies. With 29 people in attendance, it was certainly a spectacle.
After waking up from a food coma, we were taken out to explore the surf. Kristi and James have been the best guides and teachers and we have all gotten a lot better on the surf boards. We arrived back home to receive a tragic message from Josh Church. He informed us that our good friends Casey and Kelly Newman had passed away in a boating accident near home. We could not believe it. We all had the privilege to grow up with the Newman’s. There is no doubt that these great people will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to cross paths with them.
Josh was good enough to come down to La Jolla to share memories. We spent the night crying, laughing, and saying good-bye to our friends. We love you guys, and you will forever be missed!
We are waiting in La Jolla for our final vaccinations, and we will be entering Mexico by the end of the week. Many adventures lie ahead of us, we could not be more excited to continue South.