January 10, 2020 Day 9 …..291 to go!!

Today was a great day. We didn’t end up in jail! Hooray!! Well, it wasn’t for a lack of trying, that’s for sure. Two attempts at trying to penetrate a naval weapons station was probably two times too many. In our quest to visit a National Wildlife Refuge, we followed our technology. Dave took quite the ribbing from Kathy and our daughter, Jill, and her husband, Shea (who we met up with at LAX) when he ignored Kathy’s smartphone directions and instead followed his GPS directions which advised him to turn right. When he made the turn and was faced with armed security at a military checkpoint, he quickly made a U-turn. After Kathy’s, “Ha! Ha!”, Dave dutifully followed her phone…to another armed entrance to the naval weapons station. Learning on the fly, Dave bypassed this checkpoint without having to make a second uhey. When a third attempt at finding the “public land” had them aiming again at the checkpoint, Dave noticed a sign at the checkpoint for the wildlife refuge. Never letting naval weapons stand in his way, Dave cheerfully approached the checkpoint and informed them that he intended to visit the refuge. “Not without an appointment and an escort you won’t!” informed the equally cheerful armed officer. So, since “U-turn” was the word of the day, Dave cranked the steering wheel around once again. Dave was disappointed that neither “badging his way in” nor a $5 bribe worked on this public servant. (Who puts a National Wildlife Refuge behind a military base???)
Deterred from visiting the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, but not from visiting public lands, the group decided to head to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Following his trusty GPS, he arrived at another security checkpoint, but this one was not attended by armed police backed up by F-15’s. Once again Dave pointed out to the security guard that his trusty GPS, using official US Government satellites, was directing him to public lands through this community. The guard was amused but advised us this was not the way. I showed her the GPS unit showing a shortcut through her neighborhood. The slightly less amused guard gave us different directions. U-TURN!
After making yet another U-turn at Malibu City Hall (which the GPS was sure was sure was along a shortcut!), Dave used a map and we eventually made our way to some public lands for a hike up Backbone Ridge Trail.
The 1.5-hour drive to our hotel after the hike offered us some bonus driving time as the 405 doubled as a parking lot most of the way. So, 2.5 hours later we arrived. After settling in, we walked down the road a mile or so to a restaurant the concierge at the hotel recommended. Since we couldn’t find a table to sit down at, we U-turned on foot to a Chinese restaurant and had our fill.
Lively discussions on how to solve the world’s problems rounded out our day. At least it was a sunny, bright day with temps well above zero for a change!

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