“There’s a place called Balloona Wetlands which is supposed to be good for birding,” Ric tells me the first morning I’m ready to go again. “It’s in LA, though.”
Innocently, I shrug and say: “Sure”.
We are staying in a motel in Ontario, California while our RV is having some work done. Los Angeles is about 80 miles from here. So just over an hour travel time, I think. I know nothing about this part of the world.
The route takes us right through downtown LA, and turns the highway into a parking lot, and when we do finally arrive at our destination it is a stretch of land at the intersection of Lincoln and Jefferson with no designated visitor’s centre or parking lot. I frantically google Balloona wetlands and see that the site recommends taking Uber to the location.
We decide to turn towards Marina del Ray and look for a restaurant. The Warehouse is the winner, and we are delighted to find that there is a patio overlooking a marina – a perfect spot to linger over lunch and enjoy the pristine climate. A group of grebes swim in the water below past rows of sailboats, and a pair of sparrows are building a nest in a boat hoist nearby.
I suspect the meal is going to be outrageously priced but the bill comes back at under $50 for what turns out to be above average fair. Ric has the clam chowder and a half turkey club. I have a chicken and brie sandwich (without the bread).
Ric googles Balloona Wetlands again and finds out there are three areas, one of them being a discovery centre. We decide to check it out. It is a strip of land with walkways, parking on the road, when available. The sun is now at its peak and it is hot with little shade provided, so we don’t linger long, although the birds are plentiful. Two golden eagles honour us with their presence which ends up being the highlight of our day.
From here, we drive along the Pacific Coast highway for a bit, up past Santa Monica. The traffic is relentless, so we decide not to stop. Ric turns onto Sunset Drive and we head back to LA through the suburbs, admiring the opulence and speculating about the cost of houses. At one point we find ourselves in Brentwood, made infamous by O.J.
It takes four hours to get to back to our hotel, where gratefully we have leftovers from yesterday’s dinner to reheat tonight.
“That’s enough of L.A.,” Ric announces, and I have to agree.
(Today’s poem “Snapshot of Los Angeles” was inspired by our visit.)