Monday, 8 November 2010

“Alligator lizards in the air, in the air”

I have had great weather on this tour. Blues skies and bright sunshine have become the norm. I have hardly been rained upon at all. There is no doubt I have been very lucky weather-wise.

All that looked to change on the day I left Santa Barbara. I peered out at first light to see... what is this??... clouds!!!

I had almost forgotten what clouds were.

It looked as if I might get wet today.

When I arrived in Santa Barbara late on the previous afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice the palm trees along the back of the beach. What sight speaks more about California than these I thought. I had decided to try to get a better picture in the morning, when the sun might be better placed.

It was now the next morning, but no sun. Hmmmn. I was annoyed with myself for not taking pictures the previous day and I was thinking there was little point in taking pictures now as it was so grey, when this happened.....


























The clouds had suddenly parted and there was the sun, for a very short time. I only just had seconds to grab my point and shoot camera and I fired off about 5 shots, with the one above being the best.

Just about a minute later I turned and looked in the other direction down the beach.... this looked very ominous.... but at least the sky was brightening in the distance....




















I was just 15 when a particular song was released that had quite an impact on me. “Ventura Highway” by a band called America created many visions in my mind back then about what California must be like. All those years ago I had seen in an atlas that Ventura was near Los Angeles and I dreamed of hot weather, surfing and thanks to the Beach Boys, California Girls. I longed to go see California and especially the Ventura Highway, in the sunshine.

There is one line in that song that intrigued me.

“Alligator lizards in the air, in the air”.

I often wondered what it meant and as I rode on day 137 of my tour down the California coast on the Ventura Highway, I kept singing those words, along with all of the others from the song I could remember. I have been here before, but this time, it seemed my dream of seeing the Ventura Highway had more meaning, probably because I was on my own and I kept thinking back to when I was 15. I stopped and watched the surfers and smiled as a flock of pelicans flew gracefully by.

I read today that the guy that wrote Ventura Highway, Dewey Bunnell, referring to alligator lizards in the air meant the shape of clouds in the sky he saw when he was on the road when he was a small boy.

This is the song.... my hair was longer than theirs back then....



I rode through the town of Ventura. It was everything I hoped it was. Laid back, surf shops, cool-looking people.

I knew there was a Naval Air Station nearby, so went to check out Point Mugu. As with many military establishments, it seems putting old hardware on display is the thing to do.... note the weather had changed for the better....














































There was a display of missiles as well....




















This plane had been located right next to two trees which just looked odd, so I set myself a challenge of trying to find an interesting way to photograph it....




















In this picture, it looks like the plane is eating the tree....


























LOOK OUT – YOUR GONNA HIT THAT TREE!.......




















Notice how thin the wings are. How did this thing fly?

I returned to the ocean as I got nearer to LA....




















Another flock of pelicans went by, seemingly effortlessly....




















I wanted to get a beach scene and by shooting towards the sun, managed to make what could have been a dull scene, more interesting.... I have discovered I like shooting into the sun.....













































Finally for today, I went to see Venice Beach. I wasn’t too sure what I would find there, but I watched a group of guys entertain the crowd. They were very funny, could dance very well and the finale to their show was to get people from the audience to line up and one guy flipped over all of them....

Here he is running towards the people....




















And up and over he goes.....


























I wondered why Venice was so called, so I went to find out. Ah, canals!....




















I had planned to see more of LA today, but the traffic on a Friday afternoon got the better of me, so I went and found a hotel for the night....

7 comments:

motoroz said...

Glad the weather turned out OK for you. The street performers can be pretty good. Glad you got to see some beaches you wanted to visit. Good photos of the planes.

cpa3485 said...

Gary,

I know that song very well. I used to play the guitar back in my younger days and learned to play every song on that album. I played mostly electric, but had a roommate with a nice acoustic guitar and that whole album was a blast to play on a good acoustic guitar.

30 years later you have finally answered a question that has bugged me for most of my adult life, that being what the heck does alligator lizards have to do with Ventura Calif. LOL . I always suspected it might have something to do with some sort of drug induced hallucination.

I would personally love to see a picture of you with very long hair. If time permits I'll scan an old one of me and post it as well.

Jimbo

BeemerGirl said...

Beautiful pictures. Great scenery. Lucky duck on the weather. :)

Mike said...

Excellent photos again Gary! Good to see the Santa Barbara waterfront again. We use to go often to the swap meet at the Ventura Fairgrounds - fun times there. After Point Mugu as you went down the coast, Zuma Beach was a favorite place to go body surfing while in high school and college. Thanks for the great post!

Gary France said...

Oz – I have been and continue to be very lucky with the weather! The street performers were very entertaining and funny. It was good to see them doing something creative.

Jim – I am glad I was able to sort that one out for you! I had no idea the lead singer was British! When I get home I will scan a picture of a long-haired Gary and post it.

Beemer Girl / Lori – Thanks!

Mike – You are very welcome. I have to say the coastline from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara is wonderful.

Eve said...

Yeah I like that first shot Gary...glad that worked out for you! Ok the airplane eating the tree...now that was a little silly!!! hahaha but ok I'm laughing so it worked.
I better hurry up and catch up before you end your trip....how come there's a green patch in the red line on your map...don't answer that...you probably said something about it, if I would just catch up!!

Gary France said...

Eve – Okay I agree, it was a bit silly! I hope you didn’t try for too long to work out the green patch on the red line on my map, as it was, err, a mistake!