DAY 4 Monday and Tuesday February 3 & 4


I wake up on time and make it to the airport without incident. Security is smooth and I am able to sleep on the plane. I have a good visit with my LA colleagues and bolster my ties there. Things look bright for my new business.

Monday evening I chat with Ranger Bill and firm up plans for tomorrow. And then on Tuesday I take a cab from West Hollywood to Culver City where MikeD works. He meets me in the lobby of his enormous building and we have Loon hugs. He loads my bags into his SUV and off we go.

We travel through parts of LA I've never seen, including a marshland that Mike says has been preserved by the folk who live nearby. I see some happy looking ducks so it must be working. MikeD is clever enough to get us through the traffic all the way to the Pacific Ocean in time to see the sunset. It's a nice rosy pink with lavender edges. As we cruise south to our rendesvous I look longingly at the waves breaking on the shore.

We arrive in Manhattan Beach a bit ahead of schedule which is fine since Dan M is already here. He got here early and has been out enjoying the view from the pier. MikeD drops me with Dan and takes off to get his camera. It's great to see Dan again. I missed him this July when car trouble kept him from our Thorofare hike. We have a Loon hug and take a walk along the pier. We remember the good time we had in New York two years ago when the Towers were still standing. Dan tells me he saw dolphins! He tried to hold them for me but they must have had somewhere else to go. We take a quick stroll on the beach so I can touch the water on the other side of the continent from where I live.

Then we head uphill to The Kettle where we find Ranger Bill. Another great reunion! Mike comes back with his camera and we all go inside where we meet grizzbass (John) and Mrs. grizzbass (Joan). They are excellent additions to our Loon family, jovial and outgoing. I tell him John it's nice to meet another liberal Loon face to face! We all sit down at a big table that has somehow been arranged (I never found out who did it, but thanks!). It is a whirlwind visit and nowhere near long enough to spend among such excellent and admirable Loons. Then in strides JT (who brings me a DVD I have been seeking). We order food and drink and then Gary M shows up. Gary is a lurker-Loon who lives nearby and was smart enough to check us out while we were close! I regret I do not grab the opportunity to give Gary the traditional Loon hug but I know he felt welcome. Then The Lovely Alice comes in and teaches us the proper way to eat french fries.

We call Allison (who isn't home, natch!) and also John D (who is) and Tonya (who is not too TARD to talk this time, LOL!). We talk about the Park and I show some pictures (dot wolves, dot otters and a few landscape shots) and of course we talk about Loons. It is just too much fun and how I wish it could have gone on longer! But the time finally comes when I have to go.

We wander out to the sidewalk and yak some more and then finally we have our last hugs and move off to our cars. Ranger Bill is kind enough to take me to the airport and we squeeze in a bit more chatting time. We stop briefly at his home so I can meet Bud. I'm very glad we did since he is such a nice man. Bud was not feeling well and that's why he couldn't join us at the Kettle.

Then Bill drives me to the very strangely designed LAX. We hug farewell at the Delta terminal. I don't like having to leave at all. I know I didn't thank everybody enough for the help and kindness I was shown. The best solution is just to come back and stay longer next time. Loons are forever!

Thank you to all for joining me in celebrating our mutual Looniness!

Today I saw: ducks, songbirds, 1 squirrel and 8 Loons

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