We left at 8:30 AM for our grand bike tour of Balboa Island and the Newport Nature Preserve. The nature preserve is an estuary. An estuary is a place where salt and fresh water meet and mix. It is one of only a few remaining estuaries in southern California. It is the home to nearly 200 species of birds as well as numerous species of mammals, fish, and other critters. There is also an incredible variety of plant life. Street drains, streams and other runoffs carry pollutants as well as sand and silt into the fragile ecosystem. Currently dredging operations are ongoing to preserve this valuable wet land. The estuary is an important stopover point for the migrating birds of the Pacific Flyway. Up to 30,000 birds can be seen on any one day in the winter months. Many people come here to hike, bike, and enjoy nature. We circled the periphery on the paved bike trail. The beauty and lack of development is so refreshing. It gives one time to search his inner self or just relax and enjoy the peace of nature. The only disturbance is the constant parade of jets overhead from Los Angeles Airport.

From there we continued our ride through some gorgeous residential neighborhoods on our way to Balboa Island. The homes all have magnificent gardens of flowers and are staggered at different levels on the surrounding hillsides. Many people walking dogs and babies nod to us as we ride by. The terrain gave us quite a workout. We then peddled the narrow streets and alleys of Balboa Island and took the car and pedestrian ferry to the center Island where we disembarked to corn dogs and lemonade. The Ferris wheel spun frolicking children skyward while a merry go round twisted slowly. It was if we were at a beach town at the turn of the century. We then bicycled to the Pacific and walked out on the municipal pier. Fisherman lined the sides dreaming of the next big catch while the sunbathers decorated the grand sandy beach below. Kids and adults braved the rolling surf and cold water. An old 50’s diner graced the end of the pier. It was a sunny and beautiful sight.

We rode the beach front sidewalk past a myriad of two story beach villas each competing for a more colorful back yard. We checked a sign and found the rent to be $2000. a week in the summer. Not a lot of vacancies and only a moderate number of for sales-economy still resistant here in the wealthy pocket of the west coast where a Mercedes is just ordinary while a red Ferrari still garners some attention. We lunched at Wilma’s Patio where we had a wonderful salmon salad. Bill had mahi mahi. We then treated ourselves to chocolate covered frozen bananas at the shop that originated them. Nancy and Barbara had a great time wandering the little shops.

We had to climb the big hill to get back to the car-not an easy task on a stuffed stomach! A very grand time was had by all—thanks to Bill our master tour guide and problem solver.

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |