I picked Ashwin up from the San Diego airport Friday evening. The first thing I noticed was how many bags he was carrying. How was this all going to fit in the car? Unfortunately we are back to only having one dog crate set up in the car, while one dog sits on my lap. The hotel room felt like a resort after all my cheap rooms, and the dogs really enjoyed walking around the grounds and sniffing the koi pond.

We spent the weekend driving along historic Route 1 (sometimes called 101, or Pacific Coast Highway), leaving our San Diego hotel after a quick lunch with a friend of my Grandparents.  I would not recommend starting this drive from San Diego. It really was not a fun or beautiful drive until after we passed through Los Angeles. We drove through several towns, not really seeing much of the coast. Ashwin stopped at a fruit stand and bought a box of mangos– the car is so stuffed at this point that we cannot see out the back window. We debated stopping at a beach, but decided that we should focus on getting to our stop for the night before it got too late.

Ashwin had a friend from college who lived right on the Venice Beach boardwalk, so we spent the night in an empty room (the new roommates were moving in the next day). Venice Beach reminded me a lot of the vampire movie Lost Boys, with high school kids skateboarding and hanging out on benches. There was even an outdoor muscle gym. Meeko liked the tennis courts the best, though I don’t think the players appreciated her barking every time they hit the ball. And of course, no boardwalk beach town is complete without a variety of homeless men. One of them had his own table set up as “The Wine-o,” where he would sing songs to you on request, tell jokes, or whatever you wanted him to do for his booze money. I had to applaud his entrepreneurial spirit.

The dogs had a lot of fun walking through the boardwalk in the evening, and in the morning when they woke me up. We all slept on one of our sleeping bags, including Meeko! In the morning, we walked out to the ocean, but not 5 minutes of standing by the water we were cornered by a lifeguard in an orange SUV telling us “no dogs.” The only signs I saw said no vehicles on the beach!

We drove through Laguna Beach, Malibu, and many other beach towns. It was neat to see all of these notorious places, but I was surprised how generally dirty Southern California was, especially LA!

Location: Venice Beach, California

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