No, it’s not my intention to turn BEAGLE MAN into a travelogue; it just happens that we found ourselves in Southern California a few days after our Costa Rica vacation. Seems our youngest son may be L.A.-bound for college next year, and we were out on campus for a meet-and-greet. Imagine if we have to be visiting him in sunny la-la land over the next four years. Boo-hoo.
We stayed in Santa Monica, right on the beach. I managed to spend quite a bit of time on Ocean Front Walk, or the Promenade, or whatever you want to call it; if you’ve been there, you know the place I mean: that ultra-cool boardwalk, equal parts roller derby and catwalk, stretching north beyond the Santa Monica Pier and south beyond Venice Beach. There are separate lanes for pedestrians and for cyclists (bikes, trikes, roller blades, skate boards, scooters) — and there should definitely be a third lane for out-of-town gawkers.
It’s been a good 20 years since I’d last been on that stretch . . . and nothing’s changed!! It’s like time travel in an episode of Lost back to the days when hippies ruled. Still the same great sunshiny, outdoors, anything-goes vibe. I saw a lot of wild get-ups, a lot of beautiful people, a lot of toned and well-oiled bodies — but what opened my eyes even more than the people-watching was the endless parade of dogs! I saw more dogs on one 40-minute run than I see in three weeks in Westport — and God knows we love our dogs here.
I saw boxers and border collies and bichons. I saw black labs and brown labs and yellow labs. I saw goldens and shepherds and pit bulls and shih-tzus. I saw dogs being walked and dogs being run and dogs being biked and dogs being roller-bladed. (I saw one dog being carried because his poor little paws had nerve damage; notes booties in photo, top left) I saw dogs tethered to volleyball nets and dogs lazing on brightly striped towels and dogs drinking from upside-down panama hats and dogs catching rays on padded benches outside chi-chi cafes. (Btw, Milo is the little guy, left-center; Haley is the golden, top right.)
This massive dog presence, of course, got me to missing my own puppy — big-time. I started thinking about logistics for potential future visits. Even checked things out at our hotel: Yes, they happily accept dogs.
Ricky, you’re gonna love it there.