As an Oregonian, I grew up hearing bad things about Southern California.  From an early age,  this one sided rivalry was instilled through osmosis.   Fueled with comments like, "It's a car culture down there; we bike here," and "Go Home To California" stickers on the bumpers' of countless Volvo's, it took little more than a love of a seasonal climate to join the anti-LA bandwagon. Call it blind Nationalism, for I had never stepped foot there.

Five years in the North East, four years in Maine and one in New York, cured me of my fetish for snow and took the luster out of a charming winter day.  Opening up to the idea of Southern California, I planned to explore the area at some point when I started my trip in the beginning of August.

We missed the bulk of LA traffic Wednesday evening, heading into LA along the PCH (Pacific Coastal Highway) from the north.   With constant references to the "Beach Community" depicted in the Big Lebowski, we stopped in Malibu at sunset to check waves and gaze south towards the skyline of LA.  It looked exactly as I expected; clocked in haze and surrounded by suburbs. Pulling back onto the highway, countless Porsches sped by towards an apparent mass family emergency.  "Just as the hippies in Portland had described it," I thought to myself.

A few days of plans turned into nearly two weeks exploring Southern California from Ventura to San Diego.   Using LA as a base, I experienced a place far different from my visual perceptions influenced by but not limited to Terminator 2, Encino Man, China Town, Entourage, Beverly Hills Cop, Pulp Fiction, Boyz in the Hood, Curb Your Enthusiasm and most importantly, the Big Lewbowski.  I avoided the areas with likeness to the Upper East Side of Manhattan,  instead spending my time in grittier places.

Navigating through Silver Lake, Encinatas, Lincoln Heights, and Ventura, I learned to avoid driving at certain times.  Relatively cheap rent, (when compared to NYC), allows people to live life's they couldn't in other large hubs. The food is cheap, the beaches are idyllic and the people nice.  The energy of talented folks in relatively proximity is contagious.  There is a reason that things happen in cities as opposed to on Route 50.

Camp Pendleton.

One if the coolest type 1 VW buses I have seen. San Deigo.

A stones throw from LAX.

Morning light in Ventura.

Preconceived notions are rarely accurate. I'm certainly not ready to park my Syncro here fultime, but consider this acknowledgment of word eating.  It's a place worth experiencing.

All of these photos were shot with film from the Impossible Project, courtesy of Urban Outfitters.

Here are some more links,

Impossible (Picasa).