Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Destination: Cats!

Sometimes I'm too overwhelmed with trepidation to brave the streets of Southern California on my bike. As Bobby has pointed out to me again and again, the drivers here aren't really that much worse than in any other U.S. city, and I did get honked at just as much in Portland as I do here, but the subtle push, push, push forward of large SUVs here does have a psychological effect. Well, yesterday, Veterans Day, I pushed back and went on a long ride.
We rode the Red Line to the Blue Line to the Green Line, bikes in tow, and got off at Aviation station. Imperial Avenue skirts LAX to the ocean, and has either a bike lane or off-street bikeway all the way to the coast. There were still plenty of SUVs zipping past us, as there are lots of people who don't take holidays from their cars.
At Dockweiler State Beach we merged with the beach bike path that took us all the way to Redondo Beach. It was crowded with cruiser types and little children on tricycles, and there were many sand splashes across the path that made it near impassable at times. So we didn't travel with any great speed. Our destination was Royal Palm beach in San Pedro, where I hoped to film footage of the sea cats that live there, and it was a race against time to get there by sunset. We'd spent the morning finishing Chris Marker's Sans soleil and were in danger of being sans soleil ourselves.
When the beach path ended in Redondo we worked our way up the hills of Palos Verdes and rode, rode, rode our butts to San Pedro. Finally, after much pedaling, we turned right at Western Avenue, blew down that steep hill, and got to Royal Palm as the golden sunset waned.
There's a feline phenomenon at Royal Palm, with dozens of cats living in the seawall along the parking lot there. Who knows how many people show up everyday to feed these beasts? We saw three people feeding cats yesterday, and there were many tins of food tucked into rocks. Unfortunately none of the cats I saw had the clipped ear that marks a stray that's been trapped, fixed, and released. I saw one cat whose jaw was shattered and whose face was an open wound, and later heard the yowls of two dueling cats in some bushes. Most of the cats are plump and fluffy.
After the hour of the cat we headed up to San Pedro proper, where we caught bus 446 back to downtown LA. That ride takes about an hour, and we got off right near 7th and Metro.