We arrived at Venice Beach pretty early (areound 9am). Parking was only three bucks and we found it easily...unlike the parking at Manhattan Beach which was difficult to find.
At first glance it looks like Venice Beach is a very narrow beach. You have to walk up it a little way to see that it's really an extremely wide beach. There's a neat spot where the water crashes into the rocks and makes gigantic splashes. Here's some pictures from that.
We walked up and down Venice and Santa Monica Beach looking for Muscle Beach. It turns out that we had passed it very early on. The reason we had missed it was because we had walked along the coast, and muscle beach is right between the boardwalk and the beach.
As I said we walked all the way up to Santa Clara Beach. We saw a sign which showed us the original location for Muscle Beach, but not where the current Muscle Beach was located. The walk was an experience. We went down the far North part of the Venice Boardwalk and then on in to Santa Clara. Compared to Manhattan and Hermosa Beach there were quite a few more bums. Not beach bums but plain old bums. In fact, I don't recall seeing bums when we were at Manhattan. We even had a guy tell us he was from Hutchinson, Kansas and that he needed a buck to fix his truck. Needless to say he didn't get that dollar from us.
On the walk back to Venice we stopped to eat at a pizzeria and we sat next to the beach. Art decided it would be a great idea to feed the birds. This next picture doesn't do the scene justice. There must have been twenty birds by the time Art ran out of croutons.
After feeding the birds we hit the entire Venice Boardwalk. A strange mix of freaks, weirdos, and corporate businesses. We didn't see too many street performers, but I imagine there'd be more of those either later in the day or on the weekends.
At about 1:30 we decided we needed to take off and head up to highway 5. We needed to take Venice Boulevard to Hwy. 405. We finally hit some really bad traffic. The 405 was packed, and it was pretty slow for a good way. Once we hit 5 it was pretty smooth sailing. You can't take 5 all the way to San Jose though. To get to San Jose you need to take CA 152 to Hwy. 101 and then you will be in San Jose. Scott actually lives in Sunnyvale which is between San Francisco and San Jose.
We took off for Capitola around 9pm. It's a 42 mile trek, but it's worth it. A little beach community near Santa Cruz with a good nightlife. We went to a couple of places, but mostly a place called Zelda's. It's a little bar right on the beach. If you go out on the patio you can see and hear the ocean. This part of California gets a bit colder at night, and the water is supposedly quite a bit colder than the ocean water in LA. It was a great place to go though. Tomorrow we'll probably be in San Francisco all day so look for an update from that!