Sunday, July 4, 2010

Vacation Days 12, 13, and 14: SoCal Family

These three days were devoted to family and doing a few local things. Mixed in was good food and genuine relaxing.

Day 12 (Thursday) was beach day. Most of the days here have been marked by the usual SoCal June gloom of morning and late evening low clouds that burns off in the afternoon, the ebb and flow of the marine layer. Today started bright and sunny, a good omen. The beach destination was Zuma. It was sunny but windy, with whitecaps out on the ocean, and what surf there existed was blown out and choppy. The water was chilly not yet warmed up from a summer of heating. The kids (all cousins) ventured out into the surf. I followed, I couldn't resist the temptation of sand, waves, and salt water. I was the only grownup to test the water. It felt good. My strained calf muscle didn't allow me to venture out with boogie board and fins which was a little disappointing.

On Day 13 (Friday) the whole family went kart racing at MB2 in Thousand Oaks. I had never kart raced before. The karts were electric-powered, quick and nimble on the road course. This was a blast. We did two races of 14 laps each, all family going head to head. My brother-in-law (one of three present) is an expert kart racer and cleaned our clocks. I managed a third place on the second race.

Later in the day, my brother-in-law (the racer) grilled some fantastic tri-tip steaks. Five big steaks was barely enough to feed the crowd.

Below, me pulling a pass on my younger son.

Day 14 (Saturday) we headed out to Malibu Creek State Park for a short hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, an area of coastal California frighteningly close to Los Angeles that has been preserved in a relatively wild state as the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The hike was a short one along Malibu Creek. The terrain and vegetation is very similar to that I explored growing up in Hacienda Heights conjuring fond boyhood ramblings among the Puente Hills. The area has some magnificently large and twisted live oaks. We also saw a rattlesnake who calmly allowed us to admire him from a safe distance as he slowly slithered away.

We ended the day at Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, a brew pub in Agoura. The food was great and the beer was better.

Later that evening, my nephew (jeez, he's like 28 or something) grilled pizzas, all homemade from scratch, including crust.  Super good!

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, Independence Day.

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