Things We Love About Summer

NIXON'S GRAVE

This is a must-see. Who would want to miss the final resting place of the most infamous disgraced dead ex-president in U.S. history? There's not much to the Yorba Linda digs, really—just a couple big black tombstones for Richard Milhous Nixon and his wife Pat. There's a bench nearby to sit and contemplate—what, I have no idea. Oh wait, be sure to get a Pepsi out of the machine right behind the grave—they're really cold.

TBN HQ

Can't miss it if you go at night—the lights on this Costa Mesa monstrosity make it brighter than John Wayne Airport. I guess Jan and Paul Crouch at the Trinity Broadcast Network wanted their world headquarters so bright God could see it from heaven, which I hear is pretty high up there. Inside you'll find lots of flowers, a virtual reality theater, a massive golden staircase—just like the one Jesus had!—and a kick-ass gift shop that makes the one at the Nixon Library look like a Fotomat.

TOP OF THE WORLD

Go to the high grounds in Laguna Beach to partake in some gorgeous quiet time. Once you've parked the car, start walking up the paved trail toward the hilltop. In no time at all, you'll be at a small bench that overlooks Laguna Beach and the Pacific Ocean on one side and the deep crevasses of Aliso and Woods Canyons. Oh, and on your way back to the car be sure to check out the small crater just a few steps off the trail to your left—it's all that's left of a World War II Marine Corps Corsair that plunged into the ridge after taking off from El Toro.

ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND

One of the worst things we do to visiting kids is take them around to places and have them look at things. "Look at that tree!" "Look at that wino." "Look at that wino pissing on the tree." Look, what every kid wants to do is play. And when it comes to dirty, messy, filthy play, the Adventure Playground, located in Irvine and Huntington Beach, is the park our kids would design if they weren't busy being tested every week by the state. In these litigious days when park officials are nervous about every splinter, Adventure Playgrounds are remarkably rustic and free-ranging. In HB, there's a slide that ends in a mud pool, a rope bridge, and a wooden city always in the process of being built. Kids can add to the city with the hammers, nails and saw provided, and if they get tired of that, they can always act out their dark, deep-seated feelings of resentment toward their siblings—kidding! In Irvine, there's more mud, an obstacle course, a few holes of miniature golf, skate ramps and classes (for a small fee) offered in mechanical gadgetry, pioneer cooking, and basic and advanced carpentry. Oh, shut up! Kids love this junk.

THIS GUY'S ARGUMENT AGAINST THE BEACH

Costa Mesa is a scant six miles from the sand, but Costa Mesan Mitch Townsend won't be making the drive. Why bother? "If you aren't close to the water, you may as well be in Kentucky," said Townsend, who played in The Killingtons and Red Five. He only went down to the sand once in a great while "when school was in session and the nine-kid-families from Utah were gone." Who really needs the distraction and sun exposure when there are places like Diedrich's on 17th Street, where, Townsend says, he swilled gallons of coffee when he wasn't at Goat Hill Records on Harbor Boulevard, digging through records several times a week. What about the beach urchins? "It is tough," he says, "to cope down there in the dead of summer when you're surrounded by club chicks who think everyone on the beach wants to hear their killer Good Charlotte CD, with 500 dudes wearing sideways baseball caps, who just had their first beer. You may as well be at a fucking tractor-pull in Modesto."

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