Thursday, January 30, 2020

Living the LA LA Life

I always love coming to LA!
Yes it has traffic, and sometimes smog, but there is always so many interesting things to see and do.  

The people watching alone is worth a visit. 
You have the rich and famous, the rich and shameless, 
the plastic people, the natural new agers, the hippies, the hippie wannabes, 
the surfer dudes, the body builders and the body builder watchers.
the family types, and the DINKS. 
So many life styles, all mixed into one big, uniquely LA lifestyle.
Sort of a massive Gilligans Island

We left Quartzsite on Sunday morning for our 250 mile drive.
Our destination was Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach, Ca.

Climbing out of Quartzsite into the Dome Rock Mountains.
To get to the coast we first drop into the Coachella Valley, home of Palm Springs.

I-10 looking west down into the Coachella Valley
Driving thru Palm Springs, Rob (on the right) was passed by
his Bus Doppelgänger.

The final obstacle to reaching the coast is San Gorgornio Pass.
You climb to about 2,800' and pass thru a cut between the 11,000' mountains and then drop off
the Great Basin into the Coastal Plain.

A final rest stop on the east side of the pass - I caught a quick shot of this old bus converted
into a motorhome as it left the rest area.

With a manual transmission, I enjoyed hearing the old Detroit Diesel scream as the driver
jammed his way thru the gears!

As we transited the LA basin, we heard the sad news on the radio of the passing
of Kobe Bryant.    Since he spent his whole career here, and still lived in the area,
it was probably bigger news here.

We arrived as Bolsa Chica.
Basically a parking lot with RV spaces and Elec Water Hookups,
we still loved the view and proximity to the beach.

There is miles of paved trails running right past the park so each day we took some
nice strolls up and down the beach.

Of course we got to observe the ever-present surfers practicing their sport.

This surfer had a hydroplane type board.    Very cool!

View along the trail in Huntington Beach a couple of miles south of our RV
All the critters in the front window.

More surfers using conventional boards.

Monday night friends Ken and Catherine came over to the bus for dinner and then
on Tuesday we headed over to Rancho Palo Verde with Rob and Pat to visit friends
of theirs who live in a beautiful spot overlooking the Pacific.

Enroute to their home, we drove down some of the pretty palm lined roadways 
that are so common in the area.

We passed by the Port of Long Beach.
I was amazed at the sheer size of the port loaded with thousands of containers.
The view below stretched for miles.

Eventually we were rewarded by this beautiful seaside view, and a sunset.

Plus the wonderful hospitality of our hosts, fine wine, cheese, and dinner.

On the drive home I had to get another photo of the port at night.

Weds was time for me to take a "dip"
The water was cool and I only went in up to my knees, but I always like to
get my feet wet in any ocean we visit.

Weds night we visited Ken & Catherine at their home for another
great dinner accompanied by more wine and lots of laughs.

No this is not their home...   just a house a few blocks away.

The canals in Newport Beach

Scully was our canine host for the evening.
You might remember Scully from our time on the QM2 and you will
be seeing more of her on her next crossing in April.

Thursday night we were back down in Newport Beach for a special boat tour
of Newport Harbor.

Knowing the right people in Newport Beach (Ken & Catherine) allowed us to meet
their friends who have this cool electric boat.
They are called a Duffy Boat and are a big thing around here.

We tooled around the islands in Newport Harbor, passed by houses of the rich and famous.
The man who invented Simple Green, John Wayne, and Nicholas Gage were a few
of the houses we saw.

Eventually we made it to the north end of the bay and pulled into
Woodys Wharf.   A local laid back watering hole.

Thursday night the wine is half price and was delicious as we washed down
some fish tacos and spent so time exchanging some laughs.

Our ride back was at night and the lights along the shore were magical.

If you ever wondered what John Waynes house looked like at night...
Wonder no more.

John Waynes house
The house below looks a bit like Lincoln Center in NYC.

Soon it was time to say goodbye.
New friends made, and old ones reacquainted.

We'll see Ken & Catherine soon on the Queen Mary 2 as we head towards England.

Meanwhile Gracie & Lucy spent the evening at Rob & Pats bus.
Rob texted me this picture of the Doodles looking out the window waiting for us to come home.

Gracie does most of the watching....  Lucy is content to let her do the heavy lifting.

It was a super week spent here in LA.
We all had a blast!
Now its time to move on.

Tomorrow morning it's wheels up at 0830.
We are off to the desert where we'll spend some time boondocking in the
Mojave National Preserve as we work our way up to Las Vegas.

But that's a story for another day.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Quartzsite #8

Well... we're back in the saddle and on the road again.

We've headed back into the desert for what is our 8th visit
to the Annual Quartzsite RV Show and all the associated antics
that surround this event.

First I had to clean the dust off the solar panels
Good friends and Travel Buddies Rob & Pat are down in the US from
Canada, and were staying nearby, so we traveled together the 3 1/2 hrs to Q
and picked out a spot in the desert close to the larger Montana RV group
that we meet up with.

Our parking spot at Q
On our second night, friends Jim & Kristi had a bunch of us over a burger barbecue.
They are parked in the big circle of Montana 5th wheels that was the the reason for our
first trip out here many years ago.

Burger night at J&K's
The ever-present toys buzzed overhead.
Here a pair of motorized paragliders flew around over our burger bash.

The gliders, ultralights, and sometimes hot air balloons would pass overhead
while on the ground all sorts of off road vehicles scurry about.

This year one big new addition seems to be electric bicycles.
There was at least 5 vendors selling them around the big tent, and they seem to
be buzzing around all over the place back where we are parked.

Below - one of the many great Q sunsets.

The topography here is quite intersting.
Its almost like nature made this area specifically for RVs'
Large wide areas, slightly crowned in the center like roadways, have gravel surfaces.

These long fairways - some are several miles long are ideal parking areas.

On either side the areas drop off eventually into dry washes that flood during storms.
Then - beyond the wash is another large flat area.

Down in the bottom of the wash - life blooms.

Occupying those large flat areas are RV's of all types.
Below - on one of my walks I came across this group of about 10 RVs.
There were trailers, motorhomes, and even a Greyhound Bus that had been converted into an RV.
They had circled the wagons!

Closer to home - one of our neighbors is the Alpine Coach Owners Club.
About 50 or so coaches meet here every year and they really do it up.

You can see they have a large tent professionally erected and use it for
catered dinners, and entertainment of all sorts including some big-band music and dancing.

What draws everyone here at this specific time (besides the weather) is the big
RV show that takes place in town.

A large tent that is hundreds of feet long and 3 aisles wide.

Inside the big Quartzsite tent
Outside the tent is surrounded by acres of fairways.

Miles of RV (and non RV) related stuff. 

Back at home we have nightly happy hours outside the bus.

And each night when the sun sets - the desert cools off quickly.
When night falls - its back to the coach for dinner.

Some nights guest come over for coffee.

We've been here a week already.
Time sure flies!
On Sunday we'll head over the mountains to the California coast just south of L.A.

Meanwhile - this was just a quick taste of life here at Q #8.

See you on the coast.