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Actually, I Love the Beach. Who Knew?

Call me crazy, but I've never been a big fan of going to the beach. I don't surf, I hate being sandy, and it's always blazingly hot or infuriatingly windy. There are jellyfish to sting you and crabs that want nothing more than to pinch your toes. I've also had a few too many near-death experiences involving water, including a scary childhood incident involving a riptide trying to pull me out to sea. Oh, and birds will poop on you!

But in California last week, driving all the way from LAX to Livermore and back, I dare say the highlight of our trip was stopping at different beaches along the way.

Also, I greatly underestimated how big California is. That drive took forever!

A perfectly reasonable expression when you don't trust your husband to say if a wave is coming too close. 

Taken in Santa Cruz, steps from a neighborhood of lovely homes. I need to make more money and get myself a beach house in California. A fixer upper will be fine.

Who knew seaweed was so photogenic?

 We stopped at Spooner's Cove at Montana de Oro State Park, which has free parking and is perfect for shell combing. It was a damp, February weekday, so we had the beach almost entirely to ourselves.

Of all the beaches we visited, this was our favorite. Instead of sand, the shore consists of smooth, colorful pebbles. 

See the shell on the right? There's still a little critter in there! Feeling heroic, I moved the shell from the seagull-packed shore into the water. 

I was splashed in the process, but wet socks were a small price to pay to save whatever was in that shell...which, according to Sexy Nerd, was a dead crab. 

Smiling because I got splashed, which pretty much sums up married life perfectly.


They do sort of look like the Vlasic pickle fellow.

 If you're unsure you're a beach person, bring some McDonalds with you. McDonalds makes everything better.

Watch out for those seagulls, though!

Point Mugu State Park had a nice little hiking path. 

After a drizzly week, we were thrilled to soak up the sunshine.

One of these birds had a frog dangling from its beak. It kept circling the crowd of happy beachgoers below. 

Birds are jerks.

 I think these are Willet Sandpipers.

They're fun to watch, but they're no Snowy Plovers

I grew up in California but had never been to the Santa Monica Pier. Imagine my surprise when Sexy Nerd, who is usually no fun, suggested we stop.

I'd read parking is expensive and difficult to come across, but we found an affordable spot right away. Even better, within our first few minutes at the pier, we were each given two free bags of Kettle potato chips! I love California.


Santa Monica 

He swapped his tie for a baseball hat back at the car, thank goodness.

The last thing we did before heading to LAX was stroll along the Santa Monica shore. We were a bit out of place among the sunbathers and shirtless joggers, with Sexy Nerd dressed in his work clothes ("It is a business trip, remember?" Yes, Sexy Nerd, I remember.) and me in my jeans and sneakers. A group of teens was trying to film a video of themselves catching Cheetos in their mouth mid-air and we didn't realize we'd walked right through their shot until it was too late. As we meandered away, it occurred to us how ridiculous we must have looked, fully-dressed, professional, and hoarding 4 bags of potato chips. 

Ready for another beach post? Here's one from the Seychelles, written before Sexy Nerd and I got married.

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