Freedancing in Ventura (and River becoming more car-confident)

It was a warm morning in San Diego as I packed up the car once more. River decided that he didn’t want to make all of the trips between our room and the car to load all the luggage and stuff, so when he refused to get back out of the car, I just let him stay there. It was the first time he was in the car by himself, and I love that it was his idea. I had to make about three more trips, and he sat watching me as I came and went.

Finally the car was loaded and we hit the road. It took a while for me to adjust to finding the northbound freeway entrances. So far I’d always been coming south.

We weren’t going to cover a lot of miles as the crow flies, today, but because I wanted to make a point of passing through the beach cities, that added some time. Driving through Los Angeles was a huge buzz kill. The traffic was thick and the air was hot and sticky.

As soon as I could, I transfered over to the Pacific Coast Highway and then I was able to enjoy such cities as Laguna Beach, Seal Beach, Newport Beach and Venice Beach.

By the time we hit Venice, I was hungry for lunch and I had to make a bathroom break (and I’m certain River did, too). Unfortunately, the city of Venice Beach wasn’t too accommodating to car drivers just passing through. It’s a city of tight streets and inadequate parking. The only lot I saw was asking for $30 to park, so I didn’t stop. I do love the city, though. It’s such a funky place and everyone is so unique and putting themselves on display. I wish I could have stopped and showed River off. He would have loved Muscle Beach. 

After coming up empty as far as beach parking, I saw a dog park on the way out of town.  But, again, the parking was non-existent, so I didn’t stop.

We kept going until finally, driving through Santa Monica, I found an open spot next to a parking meter with a park right across the street!  Perfect. The only drawback was that the limit on the meter was 20 minutes. So, I grabbed a blanket and my cooler, dropped 50 cents into the meter and crossed the street for the fastest picnic in the world. We returned to the car with four minutes still left on the meter. I got to eat, and River got to pee, so we took care of the majority of our issues. My bathroom break could wait a bit longer.

Right about Malibu we hit some pretty serious fog and the weather completely changed. The temperature dropped and the sun was blocked by a grey haze. It remained that way all the way into Ventura, which was foggy on the coast (near where our motel room was) but sunny as you went inland.

For dinner, I had no microwave in this room, so I combined a bunch of raw vegetables from the San Diego farmers markets with some Thai spare ribs I picked up at a local restaurant in Ventura. I called ahead and went to go pick it up. Since River had already shown that he was OK waiting in the car, it was no issue.

In the morning, we took a walk to the beach together. I’m still resting his leg, so all we did was walk to the edge of the water, stand there for a while contemplating the vastness and infinite beauty of life and sniffing some rocks, and then walk back to the room.

I had breakfast at Starbucks, utilizing River’s newfound coolness with waiting in the car. His new level of comfort with the car has really opened up a lot of possibilities for me. I’m glad he finally made that leap of faith.

I arrived at Kate Nash’s beautiful studio called Cosmotion: A Nia Studio about half an hour before noon. River immediately made his first impression by taking a leak on her gorgeous floor. I quickly rushed him out the front door and amazingly, he stood there as I grabbed some towels and mopped up his accident. Kate then took over the cleaning duties with her rubber gloves and a spray bottle of bleach, while I took River out to a nearby tree to finish the job. I love that he was just standing outside the door waiting for me.

During the FreeDance Playshop, River slept quietly in his crate. Most of the ladies loved him, but there was one woman who, upon seeing River, changed her mind about attending and left rather ceremoniously. Kate told me later that she does everything ceremoniously. I figured it was for the better that she wasn’t there. 

As it was, the playshop was awesome. Kate’s got a really eager and talented group of Nia dancers, and as it always is, it was such a thrill and a joy to see the transformation of this group as the FreeDance Playshop unfolds.

By the end, they were asking if I could move to Ventura. LOL. But we settled on my promising to come back and teach another playshop as soon as I can. Since my 2013 is pretty full, I’m thinking probably another west coast tour in 2014 is in order.

I ordered a cheese pizza with jalapenos and had it delivered to the room. I chopped up a bunch of raw cauliflower and spread some ripe avocados over each slice. Yum, it was good. I couldn’t finish the whole medium pizza. Usually I can, but I think the avocados were filling me up. So I put the remaining three slices in some tupperware, restocked the cooler with ice and was all set up for lunch tomorrow.

That night I slept like a rock. A good day of Nia dancing will do that. Tomorrow is a big driving day.


I just love these blog posts! I used to live in Santa Monica...roller skated in Venice, and evidently parking is still a problem! I lived there in 1979 and parking was an issue.

I also love that River is adjusting to staying in Thumper. Must be a real relief for you...and him!

Funny that he peed on the studio floor! It has been blessed now! How strange of a response by that particular woman to River being in the studio! Glad everyone had a great time!!

Looking forward to your visit to the Midwest!!!

Jill Campana

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