"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

People People People

Our visit here in Los Angeles is so different from the comparative social isolation we've been living in for the last six months. Not only are we surrounded by people in this urban and suburban environment, but we are also having company or visiting friends almost every day. We are staying at Eastshore RV Park, part of the county park system, right next to Frank Bonelli Park, overlooking Puddingstone Reservoir and the San Gabriel Mountains (which have been snow covered for the past few days). It's a quiet natural oasis in the urban sprawl of LA.  We've seen many hawks, bald eagles, humming birds, hundreds of bunnies at night and even a road runner.

My son Mark is here with us for the holidays. It's so wonderful to spend time with him. We're managing just fine with three people in the RV. Here's a picture of Mark in the gardens of the Getty Museum in LA.

I took hundreds of photos at the Getty - it's a photographer's dream. Here's a selection of my favorites:

(Mr. & Mrs. Cactus visit the Getty)

The gardens around the Getty are hummingbird heaven.

Guess who?

Our very first night here we went to a contra dance in Santa Monica (see page link at the right for an explanation of contra dancing). Our first since we started our adventure six months ago! We hoped to be doing much more dancing, but this is the first we have found that is in the same place we are at the same time. Rick and I danced together a lot, and felt right at home.

I also had a great visit with Hal, a friend of mine from about 30 years ago. (Really hard to believe it was that long ago.) When I taught at a private school in Florida he was a student there. Now he's in LA working in the film industry. 

On Sunday we took a Melting Pot Tasting Tour of Old Pasadena, led by our friend Kendall Davis. What a wonderful way to learn about a city! We walked around for about 3.5 hours, stopping in at various restaurants, a soap shop, a tea shop, a chocolatier and an olive oil store, all the while getting historical and local interest information from our guide. The food was varied and delicious, and the frequent stops made the time fly by. It's something I'd recommend to everyone.

Last night we had dinner with old friends of Rick's from camp Elektor. The whole Davis family gathered for an delightful, aromatic and rich Moroccan meal prepared by Summer and her husband Youssef. We felt very privileged to be part of their close, loving community for an evening. 

Today Mark is going back to the Davis's to do a little computer work, and I'm driving to Malibu for lunch with my old friend Wendy, from Keene, NH, during my Antioch years.  It'll be my first time in Malibu. Mark's childhood friend, Lars, who also lives in LA, will be driving him back here and we'll have our second visit with Lars. 

Los Angeles has just been a whirlwind of visiting and driving, driving, driving, and I'm ready for a little down time. Tomorrow Ms. Subaru gets her windshield replaced and we prepare to travel again.  We'll be moving south to a park east of San Diego, called Santee Lakes, another county park. I hope the pace will be a little slower there.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving in Las Vegas

This was a very unconventional Thanksgiving. We are staying at the RV park at Lake Mead, and when the Big Holiday came along we headed for the Big City for something unusual. I used to hate Las Vegas, just on principle really, (the sickness of gambling, the excessive waste of money, the craziness of using all this water in the middle of the desert, etc, etc...) as I have had only minimal exposure.

The first time I was in Las Vegas was thirty some odd years ago, and there were just a few casinos - I remember the Flamingo, and Circus Circus had just been built. There was really nothing much more than the strip in the dessert.  Then Rick and I visited it again in 2010 in our Cruise America mini-RV. We had a lot of trouble finding parking, and we just went to see the fountain at Bellagio. Then I had the opportunity to spend a few hours there in October, waiting for a plane, and drove around, getting more familiar with it, and I began to get a different feeling.  I began to see it as a huge adult amusement park, like Disney World. If it weren't for the gambling, I think I'd be able to embrace it more easily. Gambling is just such a wasteful addictive thing.

So this time we went to see Cirque du Soliel's Ka at the MGM, and had a lovely dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Great show, no lines for dinner, and a perfect table. Got an eyeful of the shops at the Forum, which was enough.

THEN, I got my Christmas present! Rick surprised me by arranging with Mark, my son, to have him visit us right now!  He drove out to Arizona with a friend, and we just had to go pick him up. Couldn't ask for anything better. So now he's traveling with us for awhile until he moves on the the next thing.

We have visited with some old friends, and my cousin and her family here, as well as seeing some of the sights, like the Hoover Dam and Red Rock canyon. It has not really been a sight seeing visit, as we have also been dealing with some RV repairs, but here are a few shots of what we did see.

Lake Mead. The beaches we saw were dirt and rocks, rather than sand.
The water is nice and clear though. 

Another view of Lake Mead.
We've seen many Gambrel quail, a road runner, rabbits, one fox and lots of  grackles. We've heard and seen evidence of a couple of coyote packs very close by, but haven't seen any here yet.

A road runner roosting on my bike.

This is our second visit to Hoover Dam. It has lots of  beautiful aesthetic features that make it a really unique place to see.  

Intake towers and Lake Mead at Hoover Dam.

One of the grand sculptures at Hoover Dam.

The toes of this sculpture, that get rubbed for good luck, a lot.

The new bridge over the Colorado.

Sunrise from the RV.

Tomorrow we pack up and head for an overnight in Barstow. We hear it's the armpit of California. But the next day we'll be in San Dimas, just west of Los Angeles. Hope to see friends and family there during our two week stay.