Palos Verdes Peninsula

One of the places we hadn’t seen in LA was the Palos Verdes Peninsula. We had a bunch of places to visit in that area so one day we loaded up Jack and off we went.

It turned out to be a day of better than expected sights (which is always cool) and our first was the oldest McDonald’s in the world. The very first McDonalds burned down, but the second is still operating and has a small greenhouse-like seating area with a small museum inside. The sign was super cool and the museum items were great although I will say it wasn’t the cleanest McDonald’s (by a long shot) I have ever been to. Gotta love some history though.

VERY cool sign

After lunch, our next stop was Torrance high school. I absolutely love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and watched it with all of my daughters. Unfortunately the high school didn’t really look like the show although it was still cool to be there. Better was visiting the house they used for the exteriors of her home, and again although it no longer looked much like the show (in all fairness that was the 90’s) there was a house a couple doors down that looked exactly like her house. That was cool.

As excited as I was about Buffy’s house, Lee was equally excited about Ferris Bueller’s house. That looks very similar to the movie. As a side note every single time we stop and take a picture of a famous home, someone else is there doing the same thing. As discreet as we try to be I imagine that gets old for the home owners, but hey you knew it when you bought it.

Next we drove along the peninsula to a spot Lee had read about. We parked the car and walked down the trail and saw multiple people either going to surf or coming back. This is by far the most beautiful piece of coast in the LA area I have seen and I am pretty convinced it was featured in the final scene of Point Break. Love that movie and the walk was great. Definitely want to go back though with better shoes because the path is on the rough side and we didn’t go all the way down.

After we saw the beach we went to Point Vincente Lighthouse. The Lighthouse itself was gated up but there was a lovely park and visitors center as well as a wonderful place to walk Jack. There are several lighthouses along the California coast and we would like to see them all.

Next we stopped at a nearby church Lee had read about called the Wayfarers Chapel. Even though the fog had rolled in and we couldn’t see the ocean views it was still an absolutely gorgeous church and had a very holy feel the minute you stepped in. This would be a wonderful place to have a wedding.

Finally we stopped at Cabrillo Beach (City of LA) so we could see the place where a major scene in Face Off (Travolta/Cage movie) was filmed. As with many of these it looked different than the movie but you could definitely see it was filmed there. Of all the places we went all day this was the place I felt the least comfortable. Despite the parking fees the area was a little rough and I’ll just say I wouldn’t want to be there after dark. The beach house was beautiful though. (This location was also used in 50 First Dates)

It was a lovely day and nice that we were able to bring Jack with us which isn’t something we can do much here. Next up I’ll update you with what’s going on with us and thanks for your patience. I’ve been pretty busy and getting a little behind in the blog.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

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It’s a Small World

So if you were thinking It’s a Small World is my all time favorite ride from any park, anywhere you would be absolutely right. The Disneyland version was incredibly well done and brought back all my nostalgic feelings from childhood. I don’t just love this ride because of its place in my child’s heart, but still love it because of the message it represents. I truly believe that every child should have a chance to ride this ride and if it were possible it would have an incredibly impact on world peace. What it says is despite our differences we are all Earth’s children and our similarities are much greater than our differences.

Sappy yes, but who cares. The message is worth remembering. I love it so much I asked Lee to take all the pictures and he did a decent job despite the lighting. for all you fellow lovers of It’s a Small World, here are the pics.

I like how they have added some Disney characters in the different lands, but my absolute favorite part is when everyone is mixed together and wearing white at the end. That’s the best.

So great and for those who have never seen it I wish the pictures were better. It truly is magical in person. Just look at this reaction.

Brings out the little kid in everyone!! I don’t know what else to say except I truly love this ride and what it represents.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes

First Time in Disneyland

I have been very lucky in my life to have had the opportunity to visit Disney World but have always wanted to visit Disneyland. So when we arrived in LA that was at the absolute top of my list and finally we were able to go. It was important to us that we tried to go on a day with fewer crowds so ultimately I picked a Monday and we went on a day where the weather was sunny but kind of chilly. Turns out that was a really good call because the footprint is so much smaller than Disney World it fills up very quickly and even on a Monday by the evening it was packed. That was one of many differences between the two parks, so as I share my experience I am going to share my thoughts from that lens.

Right off the bat, we noticed some major differences between the two. When we arrived to where we had paid for parking we waited in line for over 30 minutes to get into the parking garage. Unfortunately we were in our dually truck and at the very end we were told we couldn’t park there and given a map with cursory instructions to a different lot. It took us another 20 minutes to find the lot but eventually we managed to park. From there we had to take a bus to the entrance and I was interested that the plaza had the entrance to Disney California Adventure (a separate park) to the left and Disneyland to the right.

The first thing we saw was Main Street and it was great. They had tons of shops we visited later in the evening and in my mind it was a better version of the one in Disney World. We had downloaded an app to use to navigate the park and ordered a Lightning Lane pass so that on some rides we could get in a priority line. Altogether I found the app a little buggy and frustrating but the extra cost for the pass was well worth it. One major difference as we walked in the door was the castle was different. I was surprised by this for some reason, but even though Sleeping Beauty’s castle is MUCH smaller than the one at Disney World it was still beautiful.

Right away we noticed that the areas were smaller but they had all the standard areas in Disney World PLUS the Star Wars area which was new to us and I was super excited about. As you can see in the maps below the layouts are somewhat similar. What’s hard to see is that Disneyland is 85 acres but Disneyland is 107 acres. And you can really feel the difference. The good news is its much easier in Disneyland to get quickly from one area to another which helped as we jumped around to get on the rides with the smallest wait time.

I always like to go left when I go into a park for the first time and the very first thing we ran across was the Tiki Room. That is one of my absolute all time favorite “rides” and since it was early in the day we made its first show. It was exactly the same as what I remembered from my Magic Kingdom childhood and the magic was definitely back during and after the show.

Next we jumped over to Tomorrowland which had several different rides. They did have space mountain which seemed different than I remembered plus they had a super cool Buzz Lightyear ride which was a blast. The whole area was pretty compressed so it was easy getting from one ride to another but it was pretty packed by the time we stopped to eat a quick lunch. The food was fine, nothing to write home about, but it was much needed fuel for the pace we were setting.

The Buzz Lightyear ride had lazer pistols you shot shot at targets that made things move and as you can see from Lee’s score on the left he crushed it. I would love to blame my dismal score on the fact I was taking picture but honestly I just wasn’t that good at it. Still super fun though and I kept thinking about how much my grandsons would love it when they got older.

We rode a variety of rides into the afternoon including Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride which I vaguely remember from my childhood. I don’t think they have this at Disneyworld anymore. They also had some characters walking around and a play with characters at an outdoor theater. All in all I saw less characters than I have seen at Disneyland but I saw enough and of course in the evening parade we saw a ton.

My one big wish was to do the Jungle Ride and right after it opened at noon we headed over. I remember this ride so fondly as a child and although the ride itself was almost identical our boat captain was definitely not!! The young man we had did a terrible job talking in a weird voice and barely making any sense. At one point I seriously though he might be high but when I went and talked to him at the end he seemed clear. I told him I waited 45 minutes to ride the boat and he really should just follow the script because he had ruined it for me. I was really unhappy about the whole thing and I wasn’t the only one, but at least it looked really pretty when we were on the boat.

Honestly it was one of the few sour spots of the day and its just a shame that it had to happen on a ride I was so looking forward to. Next up we did Pirates of the Caribbean which seemed much bigger to me than the one at Magic Kingdom. We also rode on a huge ship called the Columbia which is a super cool replica and takes you around the lagoon. That was actually pretty neat and nothing I have ever done before.

That was all really exciting but nothing beat the new Star Wars area. It was incredibly well done and you really felt like you were in the world. They also have a newer ride called Rise of the Resistance which was part ride, part interactive with people, and involved several stages. It was absolutely incredible and I wont ruin anything but I will say if you go don’t miss this ride. I have truly never been on anything like it.

Next we went into the French Quarter which was really cool and needed to get something to eat and sit down for a bit. I will say the number of nice sit down restaurants was a disappointment and they definitely need advance reservations. We ate instead at the Horseshoe Salon which was reasonably priced and the food was super good. Especially the mozzarella sticks. I sat for a while and just chilled because the pace was starting to get to me. Even with a smaller footprint we walked over 20,000 steps that day.

Next up was Critters Corner which is a small section with a Winnie the Pooh ride. We called our youngest daughter Pooh when she was a baby so we knew we needed to ride that one.

Then we headed up to the parade which I am really glad we did because even 1/2 hour early it was hard to get a good seat. My pictures aren’t that great but I really enjoyed it and I am glad we took time out to see it.

After the parade we went over the Fantasyland thinking that since it was later in the evening the lines would be smaller. Lots of other people had that idea also and we waited 45 minutes for the Peter Pan ride. I remember riding this as a child and it looked the same but unfortunately I would have to say it isn’t worth the wait. Nostalgic though and Lee had never ridden it.

It was a really cool day and we did everything I wanted to but overall I would have to say I personally prefer Magic Kingdom to Disneyland. That being said I was left with the desire to see all of the Disney’s now and hopefully one day I may get to do so. I did skip one ride though which is my very favorite ride of all time in any park. I was thrilled by my experience with that ride, but decided it deserves its own post so stay tuned for next time.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
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Replacing closet doors… sort of

There are many things I like about our RV, but our closet doors are not two of them. First of all they are mirrored and heavy and they are constantly coming off the track. And as cool as I thought the mirrors were initially, they just add to the weight and at some point in the last few years they developed a serious crack (in each one!) from too much flexing.

So when Lee asked me if I wanted to replace them my answer was only if you can find a solid wood alternative. So Lee being the guy he is spent hours on different occasions trying to track some down. It looked online like there was a wooden version but ultimately Lee discovered they would not fit our specific model. At that point I decided to look for other solutions and went on Pinterest (a great resource for RV mods) to see what folks with similar issues are doing.

After a lot of research (not as much as Lee) I decided to try one of the cheaper solutions and go with a cloth shower curtain. Since its a narrow hallway it seemed like a cool and inexpensive idea so Lee and I started our search for the perfect one. Eventually we ordered two different ones (one he liked and one I liked) and together the cost was less than $50. We tried them both but mine eventually won and this was what it looked like spread out on the bed.

Initially Lee thought he would try a shower rod but after putting it in he discovered the rings showed and it didn’t move freely.

Since he is always in pursuit of perfection he decided to take the rod out and put in a track, similar to what separates beds in a hospital, which works great!

After the curtain hung for a little while the creases all came out and I really like it. It’s like having a big picture in that part of the room and most importantly it is super easy to open!

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
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Valley Museum

While I was looking for things to do closer to us I discovered a Pop Culture museum (open Saturdays and Sundays) near the Van Nuys airport. Located in two small hangars, the Valley Relics Museum is dedicated to the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas. A funky group of “one-off” collections, this small museum stands up to any other small museums we have seen across the country. I absolutely loved it and totally recommend if you find yourself in the area.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside but once you walk in there is an explosion of color from all the neon signs.

It also has these great little collections, many donated by people and it takes awhile to see all of that. Many of the film industry personalities have connections to the valley.

There was a very large section with monster costumes and another section with from a local stuntman. All of the exhibits had little signs saying where the item came from and in many cases it was donated by a family member or the person themselves.

There was also a large collection of motor cross stuff from a local legend. I don’t care that much about motor cross but if your a fan you will probably like this area. Much more than what I am showing.

I liked that about the museum that it not only had things from famous people but lots of things from the towns. Signs of businesses, ashtrays, and menus were really cool and a couple of things brought back waves of nostalgia.

One of Lee’s favorite things was a wall of TVs from a police station AND the Adam-12 sirens. He loved Adam-12 as a kid and I think he got goosebumps.

I loved the section that had a bunch of old lunchboxes. I remember most of these from my childhood, but there were a few I had never seen. Lee went crazy for the 007 lunchbox. He’s a big James Bond fan.

The absolute best area though was back in the back which had tons of neon and some old pinball machines and video games you could play for free. That was super fun and we enjoyed it immensely.

Like I said, super fun and a bargain for $15. Just remember they are only open for limited hours on the weekends so you need to plan ahead. Also don’t forget to see the killer Bonneville that is parked outside the museum. I almost missed it but it was owned by a tailor who worked on Western clothes and it was super fancy.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes

“Settling” in L.A.

Many of you are probably wondering how long we are going to stay in L.A. and to be honest I was wondering the same thing. To share some back story Lee has wanted to live and work in LA/Hollywood/Burbank since he was 10 years old. He even joined the military hoping he could work in media there but unfortunately they thought he would make a better air traffic controller so sent him to school for that. He hated that and asked to be put in the military version of the post office instead. (He hated that too) When he got out of the service we reconnected and within a week we were living together and within a year we were married pregnant with our fist child. If I was a different kind of person I would have had the courage to move to LA with him, but as a small town girl the thought of a big city like that was terrifying.

Lee loved me, and followed along with my dreams to have a family but his own dreams never died. Over the years he always managed to work in some form of media and although he found much to love about the work, it never was the fulfillment of the dream. Fast forward and we have been on the road for 8 years and the only major city we have never visited was LA. That first month we stayed in Burbank was a whirlwind, and it turns out that some things do live up to people’s dreams. He loved every part of it, except the unusual cold and rain, but even that was made tolerable.

I, on the other hand, was frankly not a fan, and found myself as intimidated as I regularly thought I could be. But as Lee started to seriously explore what it would take to “break into” the industry, I realized that it was finally his turn to pursue the dream. Turns out that his age (54) isn’t really a factor at all, and his real life practical experience (versus a college degree) is a benefit. The more he reached out to his friends who have ended up here over the years, (he knows people in Glendale, Silver Lake, Manhattan Beach, Korea Town and Redondo Beach!) and got the lay of the land the more he felt this was possible, and although breaking in can take up to a year, for once we are in the perfect financial situation to try something like this.

I don’t make “L.A. money” but I make enough to live here in an RV park as long as we don’t go crazy with our spending. Plus whatever Lee makes will be on top of that, so we can definitely afford to live frugally. And I am just going to have to find a way to get used to L.A. Getting really sick when we first arrived here certainly didn’t help, and I made the mistake of going all around the city instead of starting small and working my way outwards. LA is really a group of cities (neighborhoods, really) more than one large city and they all have VERY different characters. If you don’t believe me, think about the fact that Beverly Hills and Compton are only 14 miles apart.

Currently we are in Northridge

Finding a place to stay that was both affordable and near enough to Hollywood/Burbank that Lee could reasonably drive back and forth was not easy but we managed to find a very nice RV park in the small town of Northridge. $1400 a month plus metered electric may seem like a lot but for this area it is a steal. It was very difficult to get into the park though (both physically and from a paperwork perspective) because they have VERY strict rules. The RV park itself is really nice (it’s absolutely spotless and very quiet and not at all like most RV parks) but on the small side, and the original spot they gave us in the middle we just couldn’t get into. It was exactly 40 feet for one thing and the person behind us was hanging over into our spot so I had to ask him to move. Then Lee had a hell of a time making the turn and when he was trying to straighten out he crunched the power pedestal. In 8 years of RVing he has never hit the box (or ANYTHING) and I was super upset. It was worse because the office was closed and no one was onsite so ultimately we ended up moving to another spot which they let us stay in. It was incredibly stressful.

Thankfully they let us stay in the spot we selected although this is only for 6 months. You have to leave for at least 2 days every six months and they put you in a new spot but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Turns out I really like Northridge and the surrounding neighbrhoods. The traffic is still pretty crazy but much better than other parts of the city. I am also taking advantage of being in one space for awhile by looking for things like a gym, ceramic classes, and other community events that we can’t always take advantage of. This is still not the place I would choose to be but by learning the immediate area first and slowly venturing out I am doing better.

This is also the first place in a long time I am hesitant to drive. We learned the traffic on the 405 is the worst in the nation and I get particularly nervous driving next to all the Rolls, Mercedes and BMWs. I am trying to force myself to drive more locally but this really isn’t a big truck friendly town. If we stayed though we would definitely invest in a smaller second vehicle which would help with tooling around town. Lee has his first real TV gig booked in March for an initial ten days so I will see how only having one vehicle is. I can always Uber of course (they are plentiful here) and I am reluctant to take on any debt (or buy a car for cash, or change our domicile state) until we see how all this pans out.

That’s the thing. Financially it makes sense to stay in the RV park and keep only one vehicle until we discover if Lee can make enough to cover other expenses. Decent two bedroom apartments for example run $2500 -$3500 here and of course we would need to buy all new (to us) furniture. This is another step I would take lightly, but if we are going to stay long term we will need to start thinking about those sort of things. Thankfully we have a place to stay indefinitely so none of those decisions need to be made in a rush.

Emotionally I am not ready to give up this lifestyle (even temporarily) unless Lee finds a job that will provide him with what he wants and can make enough for us to live roughly as we have been living. Then of course we would need to either store or give up the RV and lots of those decisions don’t make much sense if this is all short-term. I am a planner by nature and although I have loosened up on the planning somewhat with this lifestyle I don’t want to put myself into a situation where I am unhappy. No way would I buy a house here (the smallest boxes are $1M+) so I need to find just the right type of apartment community. Unfortunately there is very little in the way of senior living here either so its important to find a place where I feel safe and can find activities to keep me busy. I also want it to be Jack friendly and again that is not as easy as it might be in other places. We haven’t lived in an apartment for over 30 years, so there would definitely be some adjustment there.

It might seem like the decision has been made and I am pretty far down the path, but that is really not the case. I am just thinking ahead so if things take off for Lee professionally I am prepared. We would be giving a lot of things up for sure to stay here, but there are also some things I think I would like. We signed up for cable internet for one thing and its nice having a stable signal. I can get my nails done again if I want to (I gave that up because I didn’t want to go to different salons all the time) and I can join a gym or take ceramic or pottery classes. Yes those are things that I occasionally have been able to do in the last 8 years but it has been a challenge or next to impossible when we move so frequently.

Most of the people we started out with back in 2014 have found a home base, and many of those have stopped RVing altogether. At 55 we could take a break from the lifestyle and then start again when we retire if our health allows. Honestly I can’t see myself retiring here, cost if nothing else would be a prohibitive factor, but I can see staying here so Lee can fulfill his dream and we can simultaneously rack up some cash. We haven’t taken a traditional vacation in many years, and there is lots of the world we would like to explore. Our jobs might open up the possibility of some international travel which would be really great as well.

Honestly I just don’t know how it will all play out, but I do believe God put us here at this time in our lives for a reason. At minimum Lee deserves to see if he can make it in the industry, and if so whether or not he wants to devote the rest of his working years to it. I need to figure out how to build a life around that, just like he did for me when we moved to New Hampshire in 2001. I promise to keep writing this blog as long as we still live in our RV, even though it might look a little different, and share with you along the way what we decide as we decide it.

Oh, and one more thing. Even in the middle of a big city RV park stuff can happen. We have had lots of rain and wind and one morning we woke up to a tree that fell over and took out an RV in the park. Thankfully no one was hurt and the people have a relative they can stay with but it just goes to show that stuff happens everywhere.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes

The Oakridge Estate

When I was a kid I loved the show Big Valley and for me Barbara’s Stanwyck’s character was the epitome of grace and strength. She reminded me very much of my grandmother Pat and I can remember thinking clearly that I wanted to be a woman like her when I grew up. Fast forward to a few days ago and Lee mentioned that he had learned the RV park we are staying at was once part of the original Stanwyck ranch. Her house was less than a mile away and since it was bought by the city (during the recession in 2001) the grounds were now a public park. That was exciting enough but the very next day I learned that were going to have docent led tours of the house on Saturday for $15 admission. I immediately signed us up and thankfully on Saturday the rain held off during our visit.

The house has quite the history because it was originally built by Barbara in 1937 when she was 29 and the housing/ranch development it was a part of was a joint venture between Barbara and Zeppo Marx (her manager). The story goes that Barbara was orphaned at the age of 4 and grew up in multiple foster homes. When she became a teenager she went to live with her older sister but her early life was one of poverty. So she built her dream house, an English Tudor style home that was 6,500 sq feet and had five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, four fireplaces, and a swimming pool. Because it was so far (at the time) from the studios she even had her own gas pump in the garage.

One of the reasons the house was so remote was Barbara was getting a divorce from an abusive husband. They both traveled from New York where they met when she was working in the theater. Her career took off in Hollywood but his did not which seriously strained the marriage. After divorcing him she lived in the house with her adopted son until 1941 when she remarried and moved back to Hollywood. The house’s second owner was Jack Oakie who was a famous comedic actor and whose wife raised afghan dogs. Eventually they sold off the ranch portion but his second wife lived in the house for many years. I mention this because the tour was a mix of what the house looked like in Barbara’s day and then in Jack’s so it was a bit confusing from that standpoint. Still it was cool to see the house although since it sat empty for 8 years until the city bought it (and was broken into several times) it is not in the greatest of shape.

The downstairs had a guest suite, large living room with built in bar, and a huge kitchen. It also had a guest house that previously served as Barbara’s work out area. The bathroom in the guest house was done in this very cool can-can girl wallpaper (with matching toilet seat) but unfortunately no one knew who put it up. They have tried to compile information through old records and talking to people who are still alive but its been a rough go finding information.

The grounds also had a swimming pool and later Barbara’s second husband built her a tennis court for a birthday present. Jack used to roller skate on the court and they had a cool picture of that.

My favorite though was the upstairs. The master bedroom was absolutely huge (perhaps the largest I have ever seen) and there was a second bedroom for her son. My favorite though was the huge (for it’s time) marble bathtub which is original to the house was the one thing Barbara always dreamed of having when she was in foster care. I also really liked the dressing room which had beautiful built in shelves and a circus theme. The circus theme was redone by Jack’s wife but I imagine the shelving is all original. Super cool.

One sad thing we learned was that Barbara was estranged from her adopted son. By all accounts she was incredibly strict which I have no doubt was due to her upbringing. One biographer even stated that she couldn’t naturally have children because of a botched divorce when she was 15 which considering her childhood wouldn’t surprise me.

The fact that she had a complicated history though contributed to the woman she became. I am really glad we got to tour the house and was equally glad to learn that funds had been set aside to ultimately restore it. One of the cool things about staying here is that almost everywhere we turn there is a piece of Hollywood history which Lee and I both really appreciate.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes

Farmer’s Markets and Santa Monica Pier

Before I start this post I wanted to mention that when I was traveling for work I got to see our friends Dan and Sharon. They worked with us at Timothy Lake one season and we have stayed friends and even seen each other a couple of times in our travels. Currently they are taking a break from the road so Sharon can help with her three young grandkids and she is managing the ROC non-profit thrift store run by a church in Oklahoma City. So when I had a work trip schedule for OKC I was thrilled to see her. Not only did she pick me up from the airport but I got an off hours tour of the thrift shop. It was incredibly clean and since it supports a food bank and a community center I hope you will drop by if you are in the area.

My dear friend Sharon who is camera shy but let me take this pic

When I got back from my two trips I didn’t have a ton of energy but we decided to explore some of the local farmers markets. Turns out LA has tons of these and even though we are in a big city they are supplied by lots of local farms. The Hollywood farmers market was the first one we visited and it was HUGE. I mean big, one of the largest non permanent markets I’ve ever been to. We wandered up and down the aisles and even though it was a bit crowded for me there was a lot of variety and some great live music.

Another weekend we headed towards Santa Monica which Lee has been wanting to see since we got here. We got lucky and saw their smaller, but just as nice, farmers market as well before heading over to the beach.

Lee has been talking about walking the Santa Monica pier since we go here. Not only has it been in countless movies but its also the end point of Route 66. It was a bit tough finding a place our truck could fit into but once we did we walked along the huge beach to the pier.

One of the cool thing about the beaches here is they have permanent exercise equipment. We saw rings (large and small), swing sets, and the coolest was poles where people brought their own straps and tried tightrope walking. The sand is very thick and there is a great combination bike/walking path all along the beach. Our destination was the pier though so we continued to head that way.

The pier itself was surprisingly small with several rides and some carnival games. It was crowded, even for a chilly day, and I can’t imagine what it would be like if the weather was nicer. Since I have spent some time as a kid on the Atlantic City boardwalk I was underwhelmed but the views from the pier of the ocean and coastline were outstanding.

I can’t believe people were in the water it must have been freezing

As we got past the carnival area there was a place where people could fish and there were several musicians and street artists which was nice. We saw two enterprising young women dressed as LA police but I was more impressed by the young woman who was dressed as Sherlock Holmes. Both groups were busy taking pictures with tourists.

I was getting hungry so we decided to eat at the restaurant at the end of the pier. The food was so-so but our table was great and we were in the corner with a fantastic view.

Like many things in life it didn’t live up to its press, but we got to check another item off our list and it was worth the drive just to be at the end of Route 66. I really appreciated the history of that.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes

2022 Budget Summary – Year 8

Normally I go through and compare this years costs to our budget and previous years but that doesn’t make a lot of sense this year. Our budget at this point is to not spend more than we make and between Lee’s jobs and mine that was definitely the case. I will say that we were hit by rising food and fuel costs just like everyone else, but to be perfectly clear our $88K spend could absolutely be cut back. I’m not even sure at this point how helpful our budgets will be for the average person, but I’ll keep posting them just please realize your mileage will absolutely vary. Here’s this year’s annual:

I am not going into details on every line this year but I will make two comments. We were in areas where food was VERY expensive most of the year. Also we trying to eat more fresh food and that costs more. My second comment is the Lectric bike and all of their accessories/mounts are included in home New Equipment Optional. All in we spent around 6K. If you remove that home repairs are inline with previous years, although the expense is definitely trending up as the RV gets older and needs more work done. Same with the truck by the way , older truck equals more repairs.

Next we show broken down by month. The interesting thing about this view is you can see spikes based on where we were staying at the time and what Lee was doing for work. This year he had a work kamping job from May – September and worked a few freelance jobs as we traveled. The freelance jobs only impact our costs because I prefer to be on full hookups while he is gone and the food costs go down a little. Workamping has a bigger impact because we have no campground fees but also generally have higher fuel and grocery costs.

The most interesting graph I think is the one showing 8 year trends. As you can see costs have gone up in almost every category which I am sure is the same for most people. We also spent most of the year in high priced West Yellowstone and California, but even when we were in Nevada we didn’t see huge savings in food and fuel. I think looking at the trending and monthly averages can help give a better view than one year and I am happy to have eight years to share.

That is it for this year’s budget post. Sorry it was late and you can draw your own conclusions from the data. This year we are planning on staying in one area for a chunk of the year so I am not sure how much value the budget will provide next year either. I will no longer be providing monthly accounts but if it makes sense I will continue to provide an annual summary.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes

J. Paul Getty Art Museum

When people find out that you are in LA almost everyone recommends the J. Paul Getty Art Museum. They follow this with the fact that it is free so I was pretty disappointed when we finally went and parking was $20. It’s not so much that I didn’t think it was worth the $20 but that is not free and should be included in the sales pitch 🙂 Still we were excited to go but we were surprised by how crowded it was. Everything in LA is crowded though so I am not sure why I keep getting surprised by it.

Once you leave the parking garage you can either walk up a very steep hill or take the tram. We took the tram and it didn’t take long to get to the top. The museum is actually multiple buildings with large grounds and many people say the grounds are the best part. We were more interested in the museum though and headed into one of the main buildings.

The buildings were very beautiful and they were interconnected with walkways. They also had large porches on the second floor where you could look out over the grounds and the city.

My problem with the museum was the type of art they had. It was mostly 13th -17th century European with lots of furniture and portraits. Lee and I both really like landscape paintings and they were few and far between. That being said if this is the type of art you like by all means just wasn’t our cup of tea.

My favorite section has the Iris Van Gogh painting and I even bought a glasses case with the picture on it.

It was also very crowded which in spots really took away from the fun but in all fairness it was a Sunday.

The Louis XIV furniture in particular was really neat…especially the clocks were beautiful.

One of their claims to fame is the work they are doing restoring old manuscripts. This area was pretty interesting because of how old the documents were.

We only spent a couple of hours there but I am glad I went at least once. If you have a limited time in LA though I wouldn’t put this at the top of your list unless you really like this type of art.

We very much appreciate your support of our blog

  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes