When the wind blows on Venice Beach it cuts right through: the sand and the salt bite like little gritty bugs swirling onto the land. They fill every crevice and corner for blocks inland, coloring the scenery like filthy snow, nestled against high=pressure, low-profile tires of flex-fueled SUVs that line the thoroughfares, glistening in the moonlight like dusty diamonds that twinkle away when you approach.
I didn't want to squint in the wind, and I'd been dreading the Venice Meetup all day. Yeah, Venice Beach is lovely alright, but after you've spent a few cold, foggy summers dodging tank-topped midwestern pot-bellies you get to know it isn't always fit for milling about. So I was relieved when we caught a tailwind going west, it meant the beach would be still, and we were going to have a nice relaxed skate.
We gathered up quickly for a remote skate, avoided the traditional late start and headed out by a quarter after. The group mellow, and we had a few folks we hadn't seen in a while, as well as a whole new skater too. See? This is what remote skates are about.
Ok, Neal's not a new skater, but it was his first turn out with The Night Skate, and he prolly did make a few new acquaintances as well.
We started out with a tour of the canals, crossing 4 bridges and posing for a group grin. We righted on Ocean and lit into the Marina proper. After a bone-rattling poke around the docks on Marquesas Way, we kicked it back out to via Marina and turned north. A slice past the Cheesecake Factory tok us to the only "natural" water feature in the Marina, Mother's Beach. If you check the old maps in this article you can see that it was fed from the straightened "Grand Canal" Abbot Kinney used to feed his Venice Canals before even Abbot hisself was in knee-kinckers and bows.
Duly unimpressed, we made a break for the extra-smooth garage beneath the Palawan Apartments, but it seems they've upped their security a bit lately, so we blew it off and doubled back. We skated past the slips behind the Marina Towers and over to Admiralty for a bit before hopping on the bike path and following it out to the jetty. The waxing moon lit the path nicely and the nearly still wind made for a wonderful skate out to Playa del Rey.
In Playa, Jenni gave a brief docent lecture on the lagoon before we doubled back again, heading back across the bridge, up the path and over to the Marina Shopping center on Fuji. We invaded Starbucks briefly for snacks and restrooms, then we cut through some offices on the way back to the bike path. Just past Machada we jumped over to Thatcher St, crossed Washington to VanBuren and ran up to Lincoln, cruising across to The Chevron @ Venice for another salt and hydration stop. before cutting back across Venice on Martel Ave., one of the East Venice Walk Streets.
After that we did Abbott Kinney Blvd. to Main St., took in a good piece of the brand new Main St. bike lane / road diet and then crossed Pacific to the Venice Boardwalk. Another brief docent lecture about the canals painted on Venice's sidewalks led back to the final bit back to the parking lot.