Here's a site you don't see very often -- palm trees in the foreground and snow-covered peaks in the distance! Normally, the peaks around Riverside are all but obscured under a thick coat of smog, but a cold front moved through the other day and sucked out the smog, leaving instead a coating of snow on the mountains:
Today we took a drive to the Pacific Coast, passing through Santa Monica and then heading north to Malibu. Beach access was tolerable through Santa Monica, but once we got to Malibu it was virtually non-existent -- all that was visible to the west was an infrequent, quick glimpse of blue, and the backs of the wall-to-wall buildings that filled all the available real estate from the edge of the beach to the edge of the street. We didn't get very far into Malibu -- it covers 27 miles of shore -- so maybe it got better further north, but I doubt it.
We then drove to Simi Valley to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I had never been to a Presidential Library, but envisioned it as a huge ("voluminous" if you like) libraresque collection of every scrap of paper, writing, or doodle to come out of the White House, complete with rows and stacks of alphabetized tomes, and a faint "old-book-smell" to the air.
In other words, boring.
Instead, we found a wonderful, interesting collection of All Things Reagan, a replica of his Oval Office, and the actual Air Force One in use during Reagan's administration (this plane was also used by Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Bush Sr. before it was retired). Plus, Reagan's grave, and the magnificent view from there of the Simi Valley.
About a week ago, just after we got back from Baja California, we decided to spend a few days in Riverside, CA. Literally while on the road to Riverside, I got a phone call from my friend, Val, in Maryland. She, and Mary Pat from New Jersey were leaving the next day for an ice skating competition in Los Angeles, about 60 miles from Riverside! So we met for dinner tonight in an Italian restaurant near the skating venue. From left to right, Val, Mary Pat, John, and me:
It was great seeing you!