California Scheming Part 3
Part 3 - Next Stop Billionaire’s Beach
Blaine’s next idea was a good one. Let’s go find some rich people. In this case the homes of Hollywood’s Famous and Infamous, many who can afford to live in homes that overlook the Pacific from on high, homes that range from $25 - $50 Million. Now you would reasonably assume that anyone who can afford a fifty million dollar home, would take umbrance to homeless persons camping out on their front lawns or touristy types oogling with their cell phones and telephoto lenses. The road to Broad Beach (the real name) in Malibu is a public road, but the homes’ rear entrances are sealed up tight. No way through to the beach between them except…for a little known law that requires public access at several precise locations. If you know where to look, you will find a small gate, with a brown sign with white lettering announcing this location as a beach access. Park along the road, and walk down down down the many steps and there before you is Broad Beach. Blaine told me to keep my voice down, be discreet, and don’t attract any attention to ourselves. Maybe bringing that Boombox tuned to Ice Cubes’ “Fuk tha Rich Fuks” was a bit in poor taste, but I am a liberal Democrat. I agreed to leave the box in the Beamer, and keep my New York Trained vocal chords to a Southern Californian volume.
We walked along the beach, Blaine pointing out that every beach in California has its own unique personality, and this one was not different. No, it was not paved in gold, and no there were no piles of silver coins on the beach, just rocks and waves and these massive homes overlooking it all. Blaine pointed out a home he thought might belong to Mel Gibson, and I snapped a photo, then we went down to find some rich starlets’ homes looking for some men with experience. No such luck, even when we dared to walk the private road in front of the homes. When you make $20 million a picture, and you make a lot of movies, the dough piles up fast. Why not spend a little on an Oceanside villa in Malibu. I would.
In addition to the majestic homes and Broad Beach without any “Broads” to speak of, we stopped off at the Pier at Malibu. There were shops and restaurants out there so we walked about checking out the sites. At the end you could watch the surfers who enjoyed the long runs from the wave fronts all the way to the beach and as a special bonus; no rocks. There were sea gulls and pelicans and just a nice view overall.
We had looked for a place to park across from the pier and found an old restaurant that had closed. At the end of the restaurant was a smaller establishment that stood out due to two factors, the bright rainbow painted Van parked out front, and the large Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet front. It drew us on like a magnet. And as “Cool” as the exterior of the shop was, inside was even more “Hip” even “Outa sight man.” Inside the walls were resplendent with old album covers and murals of beach scenes with this absolutely gorgeous rendition of a “hippie chick” complete with blonde hair, blue eyes, head band, tight hip hugging jeans, perfect body and to add sweet sweet sugar to that dish, she was topless. Now in the interest of small children, spinsters and the uptight squad, her blond hair carefully caressed the business end of those lovely breastiss’s as Blaine so stutteringly described them.
But wait, there’s more, inside intently focused on a sign to be set outside the shop was this vision of lovlieness. She greeted us both with a broad smile and what I thought was a British accent. Very sexy in a young woman I thought. “Australian,” she corrected me. So here two authentic men from the era the shop so wonderfully celebrated walk in, me with my Jim Morrison t-shirt, and Blaine with his certified SEG (Shit eating grin), only to find on the glass topped table in front of us, not one but two (2) magazines with Jim Morrison on the cover. It was a sign for sure. We chatted for quite a while providing stirring proof of our authenticity, including the fact that Blaine introduced me to my first trip on LSD. Blue microdot I believe it was called, and though much of the experience is stored away in the annals of my brain, one scene lives on. The one in which Blaine is standing by the sliding glass door in our apartment, 46 Stonegate, aptly named I should add, and first he is standing looking out the door, then he moved ever so swiftly from left to right. Trouble was, now, instead of only one Blaine, there was four of him. Which one was the “real” Blaine? Turns out they all were, just that they were Blaine across the parameters of time. Blaine 11:01:02 Blaine 11:01:03 Blaine 11:01:04. It was my first introduction to the realities of time as it relates to form and substance and how it is not exactly fixed. It varies. Not time travel per se, but a loosening from it’s strictures. The phenomenon is called “Trails,” and I found I could play time traveler simply by waving my hand in front of my face, a blur of hands across time. I had one word that described it perfectly, “Wow.”
I shared this experience with the young lass who told us her name was “Jadee”. She was married , came here, divorced the jerk and was now dating a much nicer young man. “Good for you!” we assured her. “You guys were lucky,” she told us both, “those were the days when the LSD was pure and powerful.” No arguments there as my extensive research at the time would bear out. Consider the joy that springs from talking with someone from the younger generation (she couldn’t have been more than 25) who is enthralled by two time travelers from the 60’s sharing tales of mystery and imagination. It was a great moment. Blaine asked Jadee about the insulated drink holders, and she said they were called “Snuggies” (Blaine insists she said “Stubbies” but I’ll stick with my version). “Pick out one as my gift to you both,” she said, and we did. Blaine still has my SNUGGY in his trunk.
What was especially nice about the whole experience was the simple fact, that despite our age, and ragged remnants of our formerly handsome looks, we were not invisible to this fine looking young woman. Our energy, our personalities, our “Schtick” as it were (AND NOW FROM THE EAST COAST, HERE’S THAT COMEDY DUO LOUIS AND PATTON, FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS AND HOLD ON TIGHT!). We had stories, my God we had stories, and she was intrigued by them and by us as well. It was just a nice social exchange.
There’s a movie by this name, and by the looks of it, I think the movie should have been called Hollywood Boulevard. All lights and the grandeur of Hollywood. This road, named after the man who saved and almost killed LA, was more of a winding road through the mountains of LA and beyond. I say “saved and killed” because he built dams and brought water to the dry desert wasteland turning in into the oasis it is today. “Killed” because one of those dams high up in the canyons above Thousand Oaks in Fransansquito was built in an ancient landslide unbeknownst to the designers. The dam gave way unleashing a 100 foot wave that ran down the valley wiping out everything in its path until it reached the sea. 450 people were killed , a lot, but not nearly as many were the dam to have failed today with many more people living in and around those canyons.
If Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard are all about the glitz and glamour, the giant billboards, and the famous names, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood and Vine, Graumann’s Chinese Theater, Dolby Theater, Mulholland Drive was on the other side of the spectrum. Just two lanes winding through the treacherous canyons of LA. Blaine was driving, and good thing, not that I could not handle the curves, no, I surely would have run through radar well in excess of the posted 25 mph speed limit. CHP love to frequent the area when it gets boring on the freeways.
We came around one turn and there was an overlook, and parked in that overlook were more Z cars in one place than anywhere outside a dealership back in the 70’s. Even the car shows don’t feature the Z’s much. But here were a half dozen of them, all early 70’s, and all “Z’s” no ZX’s or 300+ Z’s just the Spartan, rear-wheeled drive 240, 260 and 280’s. Hard to tell which because there were no markings, just that unmistakeable body style. Paint jobs were, well rough. Lots of primer gray, and beat up paint, stripped out interiors, with lots of gauges and little tiny (12-13 inch) tires (14’s are standard), and in one, a HUGE engine putting out probably twice the horsepower my little Z puts out at 180 HP.
We stopped for a photo opportunity , it was apparently a sports car club, with a Lexus and some unidentifiable kit car, stopping for a bit to chat before roaring up the canyon again. In a beauty contest, original equipment, stock style, my 40 year old girl would win hands down, but racing up the mountain, I would be eating their dust I’ll admit. Still it was nice to see the original Datsuns from over 40 years ago, still living and breathing somewhere in LA. Back in 1975, 76 and 77, my Z also graced the highways and byways of California as it does today in Maryland and driving back and forth to West Virginia.
This “piece” is starting to look more like War and Piece. Let me try to wrap it up with some Food Network Features. When in California or anywhere other than my usual haunts back East, I always like to explore new foods. Some of the highlights included Fish and Chips at Neptunes, a little roadside stand off PCH. Fish was light and tasty with a light breading, and the frozen yoghurt great to flush the palate.
Brophy Brothers on the Pier at Santa Barabara was also quite good, Blaine had the Shrimp I had Tuna which was also quite good. Better still the Japanese restaurant with the BEST Sushi I have every eaten. California Roll with Scallops and Crabmeat was out of this world. Also, the stop at this little Mexican Grocery where you order up front and pick up Carne Sada and Refried Beans and Salsa and Rice and HOT!! Peppers all for $6.44 was the best bargain of all. Yet another reason to live on the Left Coast. The food.
And so we take leave of Sunny Southern California to return to the East Coast secure in the knowledge that life goes on in distant places even when you’re not there to observe it. The sun rises and sets at Camp Patton, and Blaine returns to his routine on the Poker Circuit as Frank returns to his family on the Eastern Shore. It’s good to get away, and it’s good to come home, and as time rushes on it makes you wonder how all those other long time friends are doing scattered across this great country of ours. Linked together by a few years when we young and impressionable and bound together by a common purpose living on floor of a university dormitory that served as a coming together and a rebirth for we were all Born Again on that floor, away from our homes and our parents. Left to our own devices we found ourselves and found each other as well as how we wanted to live for the rest of our lives.
I’m sure I left stuff out, like stopping off at Kenny’s and staying up late playing CD’s and doing air guitar and coming up with silly stuff like we did back in the day. One thing about old friendships, is that though the friends are old…er. The friendships remain as bright and shiny as they were when we were still kids. The world has not hardened us, or made us bitter old men, we still know how to laugh, and to enjoy life, and to not only recall, but relive those crazy days when we were wild and young and free. Now that we are free again, freed from the shackles of a paycheck and the need to show up for work EVERY DAY. I did it for 38 years, and am enjoying the fruits of my labor. Nicer still to have friends strategically located for visits and grand tours of all the sights on the other side of this grand country we live in.
They say that you don’t pick your friends, they pick you. Lot of truth in that. The best thing about old friends is that they not only enjoy each other’s company, but they can be brutally honest with each other without hurting their feelings. There is no hidden agenda, no drama with old friends, just honest feedback and not a lot of judging. And you find yourself cracking each other up. As in, “Wonder where Kenny stole the Cardinal’s vestments? “ Leading to “Bless you son for your confession…”
Here’s the piece I wrote to record the event and to show my appreciation for the hospitality shown me at Camp Patton’s Bureau of Tourism, Thousand Oaks, California. Hope I cleaned it up to make it Judy* Cool, though I had to leave in a few “colorful” words to maintain the integrity of the piece. Until next time! Signing off from the Right Coast.
*Blaine’s gal pal who I got to meet. Judy is a recently retired longshoreman or longshorewoman as it were. She told me her favorite job was operating the crane onboard the container ships and lifting the containers off the ships and setting them on the tractor trailers on the shore. When she went on the interview after her training program, she outperformed all the longshoremen because she had a lighter touch and was more meticulous in her movements. I really liked Judy, she was quiet, and seemed to be evaluating me. I was happily to discover later that I passed the test.