Saturday, August 06, 2016

A Day on Catalina

We left the breakfast place a bit appalled--the masses had descended and the experience had become wholly unpleasant, plus we couldn't get anyone's attention to bring us the bill. Then, we had the fun of trying to find a caffeinated morning beverage for me--Jack's Country Kitchen featured old-school coffee, the watery brown guck that was once the mainstay of roadside America before espresso seeped in via chain money-grabs. Not that I'm complaining. I remember the days of asking for coffee and ice in separate cups, because people had no idea what I was talking about when I'd ask if they had iced coffee.

We used my phone apps to find a little coffee godsend, Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co, and BBF tolerated sitting around for 20 minutes while I sipped my addiction. Of course, we had nowhere else to be, it being 8 on a Saturday morning. 

I had a Groupon for two hours of electric bike rental for two with Tour Catalina, so we wandered up to the e-bike place at 9. Neither of us had been on an electric bike before. 

The guy in charge of the bikes explained to us the best places to ride, we put on the supplied helmets and off we went, a bit wobbly at first, but it got easier as we rode. 

Up the hill we went to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden, zipping past pedestrians, hikers, and the campground we'd have stayed at if we'd stayed on Catalina instead of the Queen Mary. We left our bikes at the entrance gate and walked up to the memorial, looking around at the island. 

It was beautiful, in a way, but there was a morning haze over the island. This disappeared a bit later, when we zipped up a mountain one-way road and gazed out over Avalon, but it was a teensy bit disappointing at our first stop. Though the up side was the morning temperature, which wasn't a million degrees, fortunately. 

We walked through the garden, reading explanations of plants, then zipped back through town to the mountainside. I loved the electric bike! The only problem is with the battery pack, these things aren't light. I couldn't life one up or down so much as a curb. 

We gave our bikes back at 11, wandered through a museum with an exhibit on Betty Page, enjoyed lunch, headed to the Casino, which was more like a place for big bands to play than an actual casino, took a walk to the hotel on the far end of town, caught a shuttle bus back, and exhausted after taking a spin around Avalon, managed a few rounds of skee ball in an arcade before collapsing on the ferry back to the mainland. 

I'd booked us to San Pedro after noticing the Silver Line Express Bus was right outside the San Pedro port. We walking from the ferry port through the container industrial equipment, me again fighting off the nostalgia of departing here in January of 2001 on my first trip around the world. 

We found the bus stop, and a friendly local man confirmed we were waiting at the right place. The ride home went a lot faster than the ride on the pokey Blue Line had gone, but still, when we switched to the Red Line to Hollywood, BBF couldn't help but say "Please, no more buses." 

He'd had enough. 

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