Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Week 3 : Point Mugu To Rincon Beach

It is week three and Amy and I have already established a routine. We must be averaging about four miles a day which, I suppose, means that we should reach our first sub-destination - San Francisco - towards the end of the decade. Still we are enjoying ourselves and learning a lot about the land over the oceans. The first couple of days this week were dominated by the massive Point Mugu Air Station : indeed it took us the best part of a couple of days to walk around it. This was where the US Navy developed its guided missile programme and a comforting reminder is provided by the fact that many of the roads on the base are named after some of their creations. Thus Amy and I ambled down Oriole Drive, picked daisies on Gorgon Avenue, and skipped merrily passed Regulus Way. Any faith I might have in the fact that all this hardware could effectively defend freedom, democracy and apple pie was shaken slightly when I checked out the airfield on some database of US airports (I toyed with the idea of Amy and I taking a helicopter flight) only to discover it wrongly located in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico!

Now if there is one thing that Amy is fond of it is chicken. The wonders of the information society means that we can access the menu of the Navy Station's own restaurant "The Point" and delight of delights the Wednesday menu is Chicken in a Basket, fries and a drink - all for the very reasonable sum of just $4.95. Much refreshed we headed north for Oxnard. For whatever reason I didn't manage to get an overall impression of Oxnard. Whilst there is plenty of information available - it was all a bit flat and lacking in highlights. Within 24 hours I had forgotten I had travelled through the place : even though I hadn't (if you take my convoluted meaning). I did note however, that preparations are already taking place to celebrate "Older Americans Month" later this year by organising the 1st Annual Senior Legends Games. I make a mental note to try and return so I can participate. Perhaps I could fly back down to Point Mugu Air Base. As long as they change the airport location database first.

Later we hit the seafront again at Hollywood Beach, just west of Oxnard. Getting to the beach involves crossing over a series a small canals and waterways that make up Channel Islands Harbor. At a bit of a loss what to do of an evening (Amy can be less than good company at times) I discover from a wonderful site called "Things To Do In Hollywood Beach" that the main excitement around here is going for a ride on an "electric gondola" along these quaint little waterways. For the ticket price I get not only the ride but also a bottle of wine, some flowers and a box of chocolates. Amy likes chocolates.
Spend a night amongst the sand-dunes of McGrath State Beach which, according to the Guide Book, is one of the best sites for bird watching along the southern California coast. Amy likes birds. Then it was a matter of pressing on north-west and through the southern suburbs of Ventura. I had been looking forward to getting to Ventura : the name is evocative of 1940s gumshoe detectives. There I would find Sam Spade or maybe Philip Marlowe. No such luck. I met Mayor Carl E Morehouse AICP.

Well, when I say "met" I mean it virtually of course and via the City of Ventura website. There I found the Mayor's 2007 "State of the City" message. I was delighted to note that I could download this as an MP3 file and play it back on my MP3 player. This was taking virtual reality to a new level : I could walk Amy along the wet and grey lanes of West Yorkshire and pretend to be walking through Southern California whilst listening to the Mayor of Ventura explain about the My Ventura Access Scheme and the expansion in the Program Enrichment for After School Kids (PEAK) initiative. Unfortunately it would not download so I listened to The Archers instead.
I left the Mayor and his City "growing from good to great". Nice phrase that. Perhaps I should have used that when Amy saw the vet. "She's putting a bit too much weight on" said he. "No she's simply growing from good to great", I reply. That would have stopped him in his tracks and I would be sitting at home in front of the telly instead of walking from Los Angeles to New York. Ah well, day dreaming will get me nowhere. Onwards and upwards. By the end of Week 3 we have reached Ricon Beach. If I look out towards the blue Pacific Ocean I can see a massive oil terminal. Bliss.

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