Planning next adventure!!

Last year MIA in May was declared, it was almost 3 weeks of driving back from New Mexico through Northern Arizona, hitting the places I’d never been to.  My route from Las Cruces was Santa Fe, Farmington (don’t recommend), Four Corners, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Mammoth, then home.  We had an engagement party where we had to shuffle (adult) kids and dogs around.  I drove my truck to Las Cruces, then flew back to watch the other dog.  When I went back to Las Cruces to pick up my truck I planned to be gone the whole month.

This year is MIA in March to be timed around the birth of my friends first baby.  I’m on-call as self declared adoptive grandma.  My friend is going it alone, she’s an only child and both of her parents have passed.  She’s been talking about it for years, she’s now in her late 30’s.  Having had 2 C-sections, I know I couldn’t change a diaper for over a week.  I left all of March open for her, including the timing of my trip.

It’s a pretty quick flight to Seattle, that shouldn’t be a problem.  Another friend lives on Lopez Island and sent a pic of herself on the ferry with her car going over.  I thought, “I’m driving!”  That way I can take my time going up and see Eugene and Portland, places I’ve never been.  If I time it right, I’d actually be close by when the baby is born and won’t have to book a quick flight or an ungodly drive during the day.

My May trip I paced myself about 6 hour driving days staying around 2 nights at each place (except Farmington, that was just a stop to see Four Corners).  The only thing with that pace is that the first night would be recovering from the drive, one full day to see everything, then pack up for the next drive.  3 nights would have been better at a few places just to get myself together a little.  2 of those nights in Monument Valley were in the back of my truck, with a few naps in the truck bed too.  My next destination should have been the 3 nighter, just to get the red dirt out of my teeth.

I’m spending at least a week helping with the baby in Seattle before I head out to Lopez Island to see my other friend.  There’s a train in Vancouver, Rocky Mountain, that are week long trips.  What I might do is go for that too?  Despite my way to frigg’in long train trip a few weeks ago, I still love trains.  The problem is, I can’t plan it or make reservations – everything’s going to have to be on the fly.

I’ll admit, I can be cheap with hotels getting the best offer not thinking about safety or the sleep I’m not going to get thinking about my safety.  My poor choice of Farmington led me to call my husband to arrange my stay at Lake Powell.  As I scroll through Priceline, that’s something I’m going to have to remember.

Just so any of you decide to do my May route, the choice should have been Durango.  I linked all my blogs to the locations from that trip.

This will be quite a trip, not even sure how long I’ll be gone?  I have my new camera ready, I’ll bring the drone too.  There won’t be any truck sleeping (except naps), it’ll be too cold.  Getting my body ready for the trip, fighting an ear infection and still the bruised tailbone.  Gives me something to look forward to and a reason to get better ASAP!!  It’s been raining here, caught one great pic on my iPhone from a parking garage of the snow on Mt. Diablo yesterday.  Lots of pics if you press the links from my May trip. For not getting a lot of hits on my blog, I’ve sure been writing away when I start adding the links.

 

 

 

Stuck on a Train

It’s been pouring in LA all week, with no plans to get back to NorCal on my journey I figured the best thing to do is have an adventure and take the train back.  I love trains, a friend of mine took 13 hours getting back over the Grapevine on I-5 – normally a 5 to 6 hour drive.

I scheduled an  Uber driver last night to pick me up, giving me plenty of time for rain and traffic to Union Station in downtown LA.  All went well, got to the station dry despite the rain.

My business class tix got me into the 1st class lounge where there were drinks and snacks before we got on…then the delay.  NBD, an hour for a new engine.  Now I’m sitting in Burbank while the new engine conked out, I would say for almost an hour now?  Well, I wanted adventure!!  We’ll see if that’s going to include a night in Burbank at a Motel 6 or something?

This is just a shame, I was really hoping it would be a rainy day train ride up the coast.  Now I have no idea what’s going to happen?

While I was in Manhattan Beach, I went to the new marine lab at the end of the pier for donor day.  My mom was involved with the original lab, it was nice they had a special day for the previous volunteers.  Got a few good shots when I was down there at least before the rain.

An update, we’re back at Union Station in LA awaiting????  Ugh.  Made a quick field trip to grab lunch & possibly a latte, the bathrooms at the station were full of homeless.  I went back to the 1st class lounge at the train station to use those bathrooms, then tried to hit Starbucks but the line was too long.  Grabbed a Wetzel Pretzel hot dog to come hang out on the train some more.  It’s actually more comfortable on the train than in the station.

At least I grabbed some food, I had made a 2p dining car appointment that of course didn’t happen.  If we ever get moving, I’ll keep writing.  Right now I’m just a tad worried I’ll be on this train for 2 days before I get back.  When the train took off the 1st time, I was like a little kid taking pictures.  Now I’m just kinda blah and over it.

2 Days later:  That turned out to be a 7 hour delay, we left at 5p instead of 10a – getting in at 5am to Martinez.  The coastline was totally dark, pitch black actually, didn’t get to see a thing past Van Nuys when it got dark.  I didn’t write the rest of the ride because I was like a zombie.  The good news is, when I finally got home and re-woke up to call Amtrak gave me a trip voucher.  When the train started rolling I grabbed dinner from the dining car then just vegged out the rest of the ride.  I didn’t even read or watch a movie, just tried to enjoy the ride.  I must have slept a little?  I kept waking myself up snoring 🙂  Sorry to the rest of my car-mates.

Planes, trains & automobiles January.  Drove to New Mexico, flew to LA then the train back – reverse order – also lengthy.

While in Manhattan Beach I got to spend the week with my mom for her birthday.   Got a few pics I’ll post from that and some others of my LA time.  It rained most of the time, I did get to have some much needed GF time.

I also had an interesting FB exchange (I gotta get off FB!!).  While it rained I was checking out Zillow in Carlsbad and noticed what I thought were vacation trailers close to the water.  I have a few FB friends in Carlsbad, did a shout out to see what those were?  When I looked into it more I saw it was a over 55 retirement community (which I qualify for but not ready to go there just yet).  The dirt rental was about $1,500 when I looked it up a little more.

In the meantime, a friend’s wife who just became a real estate agent started posting pictures of trailer homes on my FB page.  When I said I wasn’t ready for a retirement community, she started posting pics of a trailer park in Hermosa Beach.  So now my “friends” think I’m looking into trailer homes??  Haha, I’m sorry but I don’t see a $500k trailer in Hermosa Beach as a smart investment.  I don’t see anything down there as a smart investment right now, it’s crazy expensive.  She most likely thought I was trying to get my foot in the door down there, I can’t imagine inviting my childhood friends over to my trailer for dinner?

I’m leaving the post up though, for some reason I think it’s hysterical!!  We played golf with some guy about 20 years ago who lived in the tree section and I said, “I grew up in the tree section!”  He said, “It must be hard to not be able to afford to live where you grew up?”  My husband & I laughed on the way home, we don’t live there because we’d have A-holes like him for neighbors.  People spend so much time thinking others are jealous of them they don’t realize they’re coming off as pricks.

I had a good time down there with my mom and a few GF’s though, it was really nice.  I can always go “home” and spend the time with my mom.  I’m so glad Amtrak gave me a voucher, I really want to take that train trip during the day to see that coast route!!  Thought I’d spend a rainy day, clinking glasses in the dining car watching the sunset in someplace other than Van Nuys.

These are finally leaving Union Station, where the train was on the coast and my view from there 😦

& yeah, I’m still a little grouchy from my trip – I actually did have a great time despite the FB trailer park incident.

From El Paso to LA

Or from real life to fictional reality, where $$ rules the day here instead of being on government shutdown furlough.  Got out of there before Trump came to town to say, “Thanks for taking one for the team for my wall guys, you’re doing the right thing!”  In the meantime, the Christmas Visa bill is about to roll in.

It’s heartbreaking for me to travel through there sometimes, that’s my family down there at the border towns.  Both sets of my mom’s grandparents lived in Bisbee, AZ, she grew up with all her first cousins.  The difference was my grandma’s parents had some money.  My mom was able to go to University of Arizona, become a stewardess for American Airlines and get out of Bisbee at 18.  I was always jealous when I went there for the summer that my cousins got to grow up there and be “loved.”  While I grew up in Manhattan Beach with no family close by and a brutal social caste system of where you ranked in terms of what street you lived on and how much you weighed.

Honestly, those are “Problems of abundance” one of my super wealthy friends told me once.  My cousins didn’t end up in Bisbee, the copper mines shut down and they had to move too.  The job that provided a really good income for my grandpa with a decent retirement was gone soon after he passed away.  My mom’s generation had to scatter to the available jobs, which were at smelters, prisons and border patrol.

The cousins of my generation I’m still in touch with, one just picked me up in Las Cruces yesterday for breakfast and dropped me off at the hotel airport shuttle.  I love seeing them, they bring me back down to earth and always have.  One of her sisters told me once when we were kids she was jealous of my etch-a-sketch, the technology at the time.  When she told me that, I had the new  IPad in my purse.  We were laughing about how it never changes, but I really didn’t know how poor they were growing up.  One clue could have been a 2 bedroom house with 5 kids??

Another cousin is not doing well at all, she’s joined the ranks of the meth zombies.  I saw her last 4th of July, she was sober after one of her boys had OD’d.  She’s a few years younger than me and must look 20 years older.  She was so pretty, athletic, never had a chance.  She grew up in my great grandparents house (grandfather’s parents).  Her mom eventually sold the house for her own drug addictions.  She just lost another son who has 6 kids and was in prison.  The meth mom of the grandkids dropped them all off with her family and took off.  I don’t have one grandkid, she’s got maybe 10 already and is younger than me.

Maybe that’s an extreme case, it’s still pretty common in towns where there are no jobs.  The jobs that are there now, especially those border towns, are government jobs where they’re now on furlough too.

But I’m in Manhattan Beach now, where the Tesla’s & Range Rovers head West off of  Sepulveda and everyone is tan, rich and beautiful.

Don’t mean to sound bitter, it’s just an abrupt culture shock!!  I actually love it here, I’m a beach girl through & through – or at least a water girl.  I’m very lucky my mom left Bisbee when she did, or I would be the one on furlough or meth.  Problems of abundance, I mean that in an eye opening, grateful way.

One last (hopefully) Trump comment:  He’s known for not paying or thinking people should be paid at all, he could really give a shit about that part of it…who BTW is most of his base desperate for jobs.  That jacket he made Melania wear (or maybe she picked her own $30 statement jacket?) is how they are.  Although I have no opinion really about the wall, except $7mil is a tad overboard when the walls in place now are surrounded by mountains on either side, I do think screwing his base to get it makes a real statement.

That’s enough thinking for today, I gotta get outside!!

Stranger Danger

Usually I don’t talk to many people when I travel.  I wouldn’t call this traveling right now, I’ve been here a bunch to see my son with a little bit of a routine going when I’m here…  Walk the dog, grab whatever my son needs while I’m here, lunch, piano, then latte.  The dog will keep anyone at bay, she looks like a huntress ready to pounce.  I don’t worry about my son living alone with this dog around.  He’s getting a roommate, which will help him not be so lonely out here.

I found this music store that has a practice room I can rent by the hour for the price of a parking spot in Walnut Creek.  Last time I was here for an extended period I was able to go there every day.  When I finished practicing, I found a coffee shop a few blocks away on my phone map.  I kind of remembered the neighborhood wasn’t great, the coffee shop was cute though so I went there again yesterday.

After I got my latte I cracked open my Kindle to read the New Yorker and some guy asked me what book I was reading?  I looked up and told him the New Yorker, then he started a conversation with me about where else besides Amazon can you download books?  I told him Amazon owns Kindle and I just download from the store.  I wasn’t being rude, I was being friendly too.

He was probably mid-20’s?  I had noticed someone sitting outside with his dog when I walked in making sure to avoid him.  After I got my drink and started reading I forgot about the guy I avoided outside.  Inside he was friendly, thought he was a student.  He was blonde, very skinny, from Wisconson originally.  He wasn’t high, I didn’t feel threatened at all.  Just seemed like a lonely traveler to me so I engaged.  A few years ago my husband traveled through Europe alone and said the hardest part of the trip was he had no one to talk to.  I thought about that when I was talking to this guy.

He wasn’t a student, he was kind of a nomad.  We started talking about the meth problem in these states here when I told him about Ms. meth’s wild ride I had in Bisbee over the summer where I was REALLY scared because she was a wild card.  We were on a night hike when we ran into this girl who had been dumped by her boyfriend to walk home.  She used my cell (so they had my phone number), then proceeded to hold this hiking group hostage.  We gave her a ride “home” after walking her back to the car, first I wanted us to be dropped off at the restaurant and she said, “No!”  I said, “I’ve had enough of you, they’re dropping us off first.”  My reasoning was more that I didn’t want us four good samaritans to drive into a meth house, the whole experience made me feel like we were being set up.  I didn’t feel safe until she was gone, instead of sounding scared though, I came off as a bitch.

Then the guy at the coffee shop started telling me his experiences, how most people are good, how to talk down a meth head, when it clicked he was the guy outside I had slithered by because he had creeped me out.  He was telling me about how when he hitch hikes people seem nice until they pull up into a gas station a few miles later then want him to pay for gas.  He couch surfs a lot, told me there’s an actual website or app for it, when people get too high he’s able to talk them down without too much trouble.

As he was talking about his nomadic life, my mind started in on an exit plan wondering if I had given him any info on me?  My name is unusual, easy to find.  Nope, hadn’t exchanged names.  I wasn’t too scared though, he really did seem like a friendly guy who was just passing through.  Still, I don’t know how I look to others (like a target?).  I had my camera backpack with a nice purse sporting my Nordstrom Trunk clothes.  I dress just enough to have a cab driver in Bali charge $60 instead of $6.  Plus, I was in a really bad part of town.

As I was wondering how I was going to get out of there without being followed the few blocks to my son’s car, I got a txt from my cousins that saved the day.  He backed off when I said I was meeting cousins, then said goodbye and wandered off with his dog.  I waited a little while before I took off myself.

He wasn’t who I had to worry about, I still had to walk through this neighborhood to get to my car.  There were one room apartments, just a door with a room like a closet with bars on every window.  Boy did I feel like an idiot for walking through there, no one was on the streets the first few times I did it.  This time, people were out and looking at me.  I chose my route wisely, not physically walking by anyone that saw me.  A car slowed down when I quickly turned that corner to duck around, making him have to back up if he was slowing down for me.  What goes on in my mind when I’m totally freaked??  I just thought of how stupid I was for carrying around this camera, looking totally out of place and that I’d be lucky if someone didn’t just mug me right there because I was screaming for it.  I took the stuff out of the car with me so that the car wouldn’t be broken into.  In the Bay Area, anything you leave in a car is going to have a broken window when you get back.  Where I was walking, it would be much easier to just give me a good shove and take it then go through the trouble of breaking a window.

I made it back to the car in front of the music store.  When I told my son about it, he confirmed I was in the worst part of town.  Won’t be going to that coffee shop again!!

For the most part, I feel pretty safe everywhere I go…mostly because I don’t usually put myself in those types of situations.  There have only been a few, “Oh shit!!” moments.  I don’t think I was in danger at all talking to that guy – we had a guy follow us in Taipai my uncle was being friendly with, who I’m convinced was a nomad cannibal.  Actually, most of those moments have been traveling with my friendly uncle where I have to be the bitch.  This was the first time I was solo and scared, no one to blame but myself.

One more day here, then off to lala land.

Surfing

My absolute favorite thing to do when I was a kid growing up in Manhattan Beach was dive under those waves, I could spend all day in the water.  The best feeling for me was still having that salt and sand all over me when I got out, I never even rinsed off.  There was rarely a time I even brought a brush to the beach with me.  Having salt mixed with sand either walking or riding my bike home felt so good!  My grade school was right up the hill from the water, we had a pact to go in the water every single day one year.  That’s my memory of it, not sure if we did it or not?  I’d wait for my hair to dry at my friend’s house (my parents didn’t know), then run down Sand Dune park hill to get home.

I had a few water toys growing up, a styrofoam wave rider thingy and an itchy surf mat.   When I was really little, my mom would put us on the surf mat to get us across the hot sand and pull the rope.  Boogie boards came out when I was in middle school, they were actually kits you had to buy duct tape to put them together.  Then the boys starting surfing, girls not allowed.  This could be due to the fact that the boys weren’t very good yet and didn’t want the girls to actually know that.  Right before we made that puberty transition, I was still one of the boys with my boogie board.  We were all at the pier, two of my guy friends dared me to go in when the waves were big, so I went for it.  Of course I was pummeled, when I came in though they both said they never would have gone out!!  They both became pro surfers at some point in their lives.

What was unfortunate timing for me was short board popularity, long boards were not cool in the ’70’s, no one wants to be labeled a “kook.”  I was asked by the local surf shop to join the boogie board team…ummmm, no thanks.  That just sounded so wimpy compared to surfing.  I wanted to stand up!  I just couldn’t on a short board.

In my attempts to surf, I was lucky to hang out with a group of kids for a time with dads who were longboard surfers.  I did a lot of pearling, the timing of Manhattan Beach waves with a longboard is not the greatest either.  They’re quick waves, with a boogie board I could take off while the wave was curling.  On a longboard, you take off at the swell and paddle hard.  If there’s already a curl, it’s just going to push the nose straight down.  Since there was no formal instruction, besides a beginning book in the library (I’d put guys names in as if they checked it out as a joke), I did a whole lot of pearling.  I did have some success when my friend took the helm.  He’d be at the back of the board to take it so I could crawl up tandem.  It was a fun summer, before my BF dumped me and I had to switch steets.

I gave up until after I graduated from college, when I was working at a swimwear store in Santa Monica Canyon.  The local guys there adopted me as their own and came by with a board for me after work.  They put me on a 9′ board, I hopped up right away.  One thing I always knew how to do was paddle and wave motion.  The waves at State Beach were a lot easier than Manhattan Beach, plus I had the support of a bunch of Malibu surfers who were impressed I could even paddle.  I was hooked!!  I bought a board and tried to surf every day.  I made a mistake though, I went from a 9′ board with the intention of getting better to go back to a short board at some point.  Same fatal mistake I made from when I was younger.  I bought a shorter board and couldn’t even get up…because by that time I was 5’9″ with a really slow hop up.  I switched jobs too, I started working at Nordstrom getting me off the beach.

That Christmas, I went surfing with my brother and his friends.  I was able to get past the break, then they would take off and I heard our friend screaming down the wave.  I thought, “I have no business out here if he’s scared.”  I waited for the lull and went in.

That summer I met my husband, moved to NorCal and quit surfing.  I became a suburban mom and took up golf, a sport that doesn’t require speed or a quick hop up.

When our boys were grown, for my 50th my husband asked what have I always wanted to do?  I said, “I’ve always really wanted to learn how to surf.”  He found a women’s surf retreat for me, Kristy Murphy’s surf retreats.  The first one I went to was in Mexico, I’ve also been to the Costa Rica and Hawaii retreats.  She gave me this soft board that was about 11′??  I affectionally called it the “Beastie board,” I couldn’t carry it alone.  I could barely paddle it once it got a little water logged.  What I could do was get up on it right away, my first ride in 20 plus years was an audience of legendary women surfers paddling out hooting at me.  What a welcome!!  I didn’t know who they were at the time, I found out at a party afterward.  Before the party, I PM’d one of my surfer friends with the names to see who they were.

At the party, I talked mainly to this woman Zuef.  Zuef was married to Frosty of “Mavericks” fame.  She talked about what it was like to be a step-mom to girls who had lost their mom while they were young.  This was before the movie came out, I didn’t know much about Frosty or that his first wife had died.  Zuef was battling bone cancer herself, their girls trip to Mexico was in her honor while she was still alive.  A few years later, she lost her battle too.  One of the take aways from that was how she had told me she could tell I had a great heart, I’ll always remember that observation by her of me when I’m down.  Other attendee’s were Linda Benson and Heather Hudson of “Women and the Waves” movies.

I continued going to these retreats for a few years, posting shamelessly on FB.  A friend from MB finally asked to join me on a Costa Rica trip.  One thing about growing up in MB that was hard is that everyone’s super model thin plus a killer athlete.  I’m a half ass athlete, no comparison to the girls I grew up with.  She had surfed with her dad as a kid, played Div 1 volleyball in college, I knew I’d be a little jealous.  Sure enough, she out surfed me after 2 shaky waves.  I felt like chopped liver, that I sucked.

Since that first trip, we went on quite a few others.  Some of my best waves were at a ranch in Mexico we took a boat to, that was a fun day!  I surfed really well for me.  Another was a right I caught in Hawaii, it seemed so effortless and went on forever.  I out paddled my friend for a wave and Kristy told me about it later.  I can’t see without my glasses, I didn’t even know she was going for it?  I’m a wimp, I’ll let the “better surfer” get the wave.  Her attitude towards the whole thing was that she didn’t think I’d get it, so she went for it.  She said that to me a few times, “I knew you wouldn’t get it”  as her apology for cutting me off… What a friend.

The last 3 times I’ve gone have been mini-disasters for one reason or another.  Hawaii was a huge storm and WAY too big for me.  I won’t go out if it’s too big, I have a healthy fear of mother nature.  I surfed 2 days of that trip.

The next time was in Mexico where the biggest bitch on the face of the earth happened to be.  She was an emergency room Dr. who deemed me irrelevant.  She was also “off duty,” I got tourista and broke my ribs.  I don’t mean “off duty” as a Dr., I mean as a human being.  When I came down in the morning to say that I couldn’t surf, I crawled back to bed for a day of pain from my ribs and passing out.  The morning was the only time I was even able to make it downstairs, we were the only ones staying at the Casita.  She never knocked on my door to see if I needed water, or was alive.  Kristy finally saved me with some gatorade and crackers that night or I wouldn’t have woken up the next morning.  Less people in the line up for the Dr. I guess?  God I hated that woman!  If we went to HS together I would have put her name in that library book as a kook.  I don’t care if you went to med school, if you talk down to people as non-existant then brag about hook ups on Tinder, I’m not going to like you more than you don’t like me.

My last attempt was almost 2 years ago now.  I went to Costa Rica with my friend and her now wife.  It was a few months after the Mexico fiasco, I guess my ribs hadn’t healed?  All went well until I had a minor fall forward, like a belly flop.  That’s what happened the first time, I figured I must have hit the board to do that kind of damage?  I never went to the Dr. though for x-rays, wasn’t even sure if I broke them?  I was out for the rest of the trip, it was such a bummer.  Then, of all things, I lost my drone 😦  I brought it down to film Kristy when she caught a mile long wave.  I designated my friends W as a spotter, but she was spotting my friend and not the drone.  Not to blame her, just that it was super annoying when I saw the palm leaf come up when I backed it up to see where it went.  I would have just pressed the home button, but I didn’t have enough battery to pop it back up and she wanted some footage of A.  I was looking through the FPV, not paying attention to the drone at all.  Never found it, everyone was pissed at me and suddenly drone experts.  The rest of the trip was painful ribs and me being the 5th wheel who was useless because I lost my drone.

So my surfing life might end?  When I did get back, I got the X-rays and a bone density test.  I have Osteopenia, which wouldn’t matter much if I didn’t do an extreme sport.  I’ve always been so strong, that’s been the hardest part of aging for me.  Never fast, always strong.  It took me forever to realize my weak points as an athlete.

I might try again, I just can’t be a wimp about what board I should be riding or have others who think they’re better than me intimidate me.  A few waves and a smoothie, that’s what I love about surfing.  Kristy & Cat were great!!  For that reason alone I might give it another go.  Or I can just leave it to my friend and her now wife?

The thing about surfing, piano, sailing, whatever people want to try is that it doesn’t matter who is the best.  My favorite surfing quote is the best surfer out there is the one who is having the most fun.  That would always be me 🙂

This is from Costa Rica, the best wave for me with no crowds:

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Seattle

Got to be a tourist this past week while my husband had an engineering conference up there.  I’ve been there a few times for work related things, have never really checked it out.  It’s booming!  That’s either good or bad, depending on the companies that are creating that boom with rising housing prices.  Here in San Francisco, low income has been literally kicked to the curb.  We have all the top tech with Monopoly money, no sense of reality of what anything actually costs.  It looks like all that tech has gone to Seattle, after destroying San Francisco.

We stayed downtown at a very small condo AirB&B.  It was a super modern place, really convenient and close to everything including the convention center.  The first night of the conference they had a dinner at the Space Needle.  I’d been in it before for dinner almost 20 years ago, it’s nothing like that now.  The surrounding buildings are so tall, it almost dwarfs the Space Needle, including the roof of the place we were staying.  It’s still cool to go on the rotating floor, plus construction started on my husband’s birthday and finished in my year, I’m the same age as the Space Needle – probably in need of renovation too??

The roof of our AirB&B

Other than that, I walked A TON!!  Going on little tours, the Duck Boat was a fun one.  I did one in Boston and loved it, this was a good way to see parts of the city I would never see otherwise and get a few laughs in.  We spent a few lunches at Pike’s Market, if I could cook I would have bought some fish to fry up in the condo.  We’re on the go so much this week that I couldn’t even send it home.

LRG_DSC03808LRG_DSC03822

I brought my keyboard, the forecast was for rain the whole time so I thought I’d be stuck indoors.  It didn’t rain at all, one of the things I got to do was go sailing for a little over an hour.  That was really nice, always like to see a town from the water.  The keyboard limited what I could bring home, another reason I didn’t pack a cooler from Pike’s.

 

From the “Let’s Go Sailing” boat pier 55

 

Just a heads up about our AirB&B, this seems to be a booming industry as well everywhere.  On the upside, it really was an amazing location and a cool place WAY too small to live.  Not to hip on the hospitality, it sucked.  We paid high rates, got a 10 page instruction sheet on how we have to tip-toe through the concierge so as not to let anyone know it’s an AirB&B, no noise, no nothing.  Our first morning we woke up to find the coffee left for us was decaf, poor form but not a major infraction.  I have headphones for my keyboard, we didn’t make a peep.

All went well, until we asked for either a late check out or baggage storage.  We weren’t supposed to be there, the concierge scowled at us every time we walked by, we knew from our instruction booklet not to bother them for anything.  The answer from our “hosts” was “We cannot accommodate your request.”  They suggested we leave our bags at Nordstrom??  Really??  You buy a place right next to a convention center and no clue on where we can leave our bags until the conference is over?  I panicked, thinking I might have to lug my keyboard around all day.

It turns out there are Bag B&B’s, a separate entity start up requiring it’s own app…genius.   My husband ended up putting our luggage behind the check in curtain at the conference, all but my 50 lb backpack.  Off I went to the water to get on it.

I loved it there, it was clean and safe.  If the Winter weather wasn’t miserable, it would be a place I could see myself.  The times I’ve been there I’ve hit some decent weather.  Seems the time to go is during the summer before that kicks in.  Lots of building going on, lots of tech is already there.

I have to bring up an incident in the airport as just an aside.  After carrying 50lbs around with hours before our flight, I splurged for a 15min neck and shoulders massage.  This woman sat down in the area, very disoriented.  At first I thought she was cutting in front of me in line waiting.  The guy asked if she was waiting for a massage and she said “no.”  He said it was the waiting area, that’s when I noticed she was completely out of it.

I sat next to her and then noticed a smell, she lost her bowels as well as looked totally lost.  She started trying to pick up her backpack and I said, “Do you need some help?  Are you here with someone?”  She said “yes” she was there with someone (she wasn’t) and that she didn’t need help.  She stood up, then collapsed hitting her head right out of my reach.  People rushed over, a Dr. & nurse traveling (separately) were first on the scene.  I saw a motorcycle in Santa Fe, thank God these professionals are first to pull over.  I know CPR, that’s about it.  The only input from me, besides saying what happened before the fall, was that she needs to go to the hospital.

The medics came, they figured out who she was by getting her cell & ID.  An Alaska airlines rep was there for info on where she was traveling from…Palm Springs to San Jose??  How did she get re-routed through Seattle for a 9pm flight making an hour flight into an all day nightmare??  Even I might be disoriented and shit my pants after that!!

My mom is 81, I haven’t let her travel alone for years.  I suck it up, get on her flight through L.A. and make sure she gets home OK.  Sometimes I just stay at her house on either end of the flights so I’m with her the whole time.  We were stuck in a 3 hour TSA line in Newark once, I’ve slept in airports and zig-zagged across the US to get home due to weather.  Anything can happen when you travel, apparently winding up in a hospital in Seattle is on that list.  I hope she’s OK 😦

I just write this as a warning to myself that there will be a time when I’m too old to travel, coming in at midnight with a keyboard and 50 lb backpack at 55 years old is no cake walk either.  Speaking of, if I ever did move to Seattle you will find me at Royal Cupcake with my latte and fig/honey cupcake every afternoon.

LA Tourist

With a few days free because my son is working in Napa, his wife and I headed to my Mom’s house so I could show her LA and my home town.  Usually during the summer it’s pretty cold and foggy by the beach, we’ve hit a heat wave like no other (since there’s no global warming).  It’s fine if it’s just to hop in the water, it’s another thing if you’re a tourist in your own ‘hood.

Of course I had to go in the water first off, might do that today before we head back up an incredibly smokey I-5 back to my real home.  Most of the time when I come down here, that’s the extent of my visit…a day at the beach.  Really, just a few hours to swim then dry off, don’t lay out anymore.

From there, we decided on dinner in Marina Del Rey – a place my DIL from Turkey has never heard of so we wandered up to Venice instead.  Venice is not my favorite, it was crowded, hot, smelled like pot and to me is like a poorly run carnival.  As soon as my DIL figured it out, we were free to leave.

Instead of MDR for dinner, we then headed up to Gladstones on Sunset & PCH in Malibu, which was surprisingly not very crowded.  I’m used to “back in the day” where it was tough to get seated it was so popular.  It was a Tuesday night though, not like a weekend.

To be total tourists, we had to go to Hollywood and Universal Studios on the hottest day of the year with what looked like 58% humidity.  I brought a water bottle or I would have never made it through the 2+ hour line (90 minutes on the board, which must have meant 90 minutes to get to the indoor line).  It was for the Harry Potter ride, which was actually a lot of fun once we got on it without heat stroke.

The other ride was the tram tour I remember as a kid.  I’ve only been there once, it was after Jaws came out.  My fading memory is the fake shark coming at us, then going from set to set and seeing the “I Love Lucy” & “Bewitched” sets.  They weren’t still shows, the Bewitched set was showing us the magic of Hollywood and how they made her disappear to show up somewhere else though the editing.  WAY before cell phones!!  Now you can do everything on you phone, that’s pretty much magic.

One thing Universal did that was amazing on the rides was the 3D and that Harry Potter ride.  Even going to sit down in that Kung Fu Panda theater (not something I’d ever planned to see, I needed a short line and to sit down) puts you right in there.  Those rides were amazing, didn’t anticipate that at all.

We stayed until around 9p, I time everything around LA traffic.  My usual route here is the 405 S. through West LA and LAX airport.  The downtown LA route through the 101 to 105 at night was spectacular, don’t think I’ve done that since my friends were at USC?  Even then, I didn’t pay any attention or those buildings weren’t lit up like that.  Downtown LA is someplace I never go, thought it was just office buildings with some hospitals and a whole lot of traffic.

Going to be a tough drive back through all the smoke in the central valley.  Take my dive in the ocean and head back for the long drive.  Thinking about asking the NBA players a few doors down from my mom to help me put my bike back in the car 🙂