A whale of a ride

June Gloom makes me sick.

I mean that literally.

For reasons I’ve never really understood, the heavy, oppressive cloud cover that lingers over the coast this time of year causes major problems with my sinuses.

So I spend most of the month popping enough aspirin and decongestant fuel a minor meth lab. As well as struggling to cope with blurred vision that makes it difficult, if not impossible at times, to focus enough to read or work on a computer.

So if I haven’t been posting as much as usual, that’s probably the reason. Or at least a damn good excuse, anyway.

That’s also the reason why I can’t tell you whether the older SUV that nearly hit me after running a red light today was a Bronco or a Blazer. Though I could see well enough to observe that the woman driving couldn’t have cared less.

For some reason, though, riding usually makes me feel better. Besides, there was something unusual down in Marina del Rey that I really wanted to see.

Santa-Monica-450

Looking back from the Marina towards Venice and Santa Monica.

One good thing about the gloomy weather is that the beachfront bike path is virtually empty on days like this. As a result, this turned out to be one of the most pleasant rides I’ve had in ages, despite my aching head. And the fact that the clouds finally parted by mid-afternoon didn’t hurt matters, either.

Once I got to the Marina, I started walking, since bike riding is forbidden along the north side of inlet. With no idea where to go, I just followed everyone else, scanning the water as I went.

Nothing.

Pelicans-450Well, not exactly nothing. The views were beautiful, and while not exactly sunny, the weather was pleasant enough.

I was making plans to come back another time, when the reaction of the people around me made it clear that maybe I hadn’t missed out, after all. And sure enough, within a few minutes, the water rippled and a young gray whale just barely broke the surface before dipping back underneath.

Unfortunately, he seemed to be shy today.

That ripple in the water is actually a few inches of a 20-foot whale. No, really.

That ripple is actually the top few inches of a 20-foot whale. No, really.

While I was there, he never did more than emit a brief water spout or raise a few feet of barnacled back out of the water. Between his brief appearances and the slow shutter speed of my camera, I wasn’t able to get a decent shot.

But considering that I’ve never seen a free-range whale — let alone one this close to shore — that was enough.

And who knows. If I can make it back again before he packs his bags for Alaska, maybe he won’t be so camera shy next time.

Update: Courtesy of LAist, video of the shy gray whale.

 

Pedicabs may be making a comeback in L.A., if they can get around the ridiculous restrictions. Will samples REI’s new Bike Your Drive iPhone app, and documents a new bicycle land speed record. Brayj shares his response to the new Bike Master Plan. Flying Pigeon discovers imitation really is flattery. The Militant Angeleno notes that Metro could do a better job of indicating bike space on the subway. Rather than banning bikes, New York just resurfaces a popular biking route, making it impossible to ride. Texas’ new safe passing law is just waiting for the Governor’s signature. Two Tulsa cyclists are killed by an apparent drunk hit-and-run driver. A New York cyclist is dragged through Central Park on the hood of an SUV driven by a reporter for the New York Post — and you can guess what that Fox News outlet thinks about bikes. Finally, Marie Claire offers tips for picking up hot bike riders.

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