3-31-09 Tuesday (Rants & Raves)

Today was relocation day. This morning we said goodbye to LA/Long Beach and hello to San Luis Obispo. On the way here, I came up with some rants. Imagine that!

Rant1: Motorcycles. I am amazed at how motorcyclists whiz between lanes. Especially in LA when cars are stuck in traffic, the motorcycles will create their own lanes. Hello, this is illegal. Not just illegal, but dangerous. Not just dangerous but scares the shit outta me when we're stuck in traffic, nothings moving and then a motorcycle passes within inches of me. Yes, inches. Crazy mothers....

Rant2: Merging. I have a new respect for truckers than before we started RVing. They have huge amounts of weight to haul and to STOP. It takes longer to stop a truck or an RV than a car. It also takes longer to accelerate. Why oh why, do people coming onto a freeway refuse to make the attempt to get to speed quickly and get out of a RV's way? We're doing 60, and these people are wusses about merging. Get to speed quickly people! We can't just pop over to another lane to let them in. We're tired of stomping on our RV's brakes because they wait to see if we'll be nice and usher them into a comfy merge spot.

Rant3: Rest stops: California must hate them. They must hate truckers too. There are hardly any around. It's not that bad for us anymore because we don't need to stop for a smoke break. Truckers are a necessity. You may hate trucks, but they transport crap. The crap we need. The crap we buy.

Rave1: The views, the scenic route, the water, the hills....... awesome. We took the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH to us Californians) as much as we could to get here and even drove through Malibu. Even 101 ran along the coastline. Just awesome.

Rave2: We're staying at the El Chorro Regional Park. I love county, city, state or national parks. Few of them have full hookups (water, electric, sewer) for RVers. I love that the sites aren't on top of one another and I love the typical foliage. Trails, climbs, etc. Beautiful.

Above: A few blocks away from the Long Beach RV park we were staying at. It appears to be just the top of a building.

Above: Driving scenery.

Above: Lunch stop scenery!

Above: Lunch stop / Dasher pee stop scenery.

Above: Dasher is tired after the 4 hour drive.

Above: Directly behind our campsite.

Above: Directly behind our campsite.

Above: Video of the Malibu scenery.

3-30-09 Monday (I'm a Pig - Cannibalism)

Today is our last full day here. I worked on yesterday's blog entry this morning. Jim has laid down for a nap. What's to do.... what's to do.

I just made an amazing salad. Lettuce, grilled chicken, southwestern corn, broccoli, tomato, fat free Mediterranean spiced feta cheese and topped with an Asian sesame dressing. All so very yummy. I ate Mexican like a pig the other night and then Spago last night. It's like I have make-up work to do.

Tonight I'm grilling porkchops, fresh steamed broccoli and brown rice. That should be healthy, right? Brown rice is so bland so I make it with beef bouillon. I season the pork with my favorite.... Adobo.

3-29-09 Sunday (Pigeons and Other Delights)

I dub thee Spago Day. Yes folks, tonight we dine at the famous Spago of Beverly Hills. First we drive to Encino to visit another reacquainted classmate through Facebook, Dawn. We chit-chatted with Dawn, husband Scott and toddler Riley. Well, Riley kinda mumbled here and there. Our Spago reservations were for 6:15 so off we went.

Despite LA traffic, somehow we arrive at Spago a little bit before 6, so we stroll up and down the street. Here's my
overkill Spago review:

We got into the restaurant, gave our reservation info and was told they'd begin seating shortly. We decide to have a drink. Amaretto Sours for both of us. $10 each. A Michael Jackson tune is playing. How odd. The MaƮtre d' picked up our drinks, brought them to the table and seated us.

A french guy comes by to offer us beverages. It was difficult to understand him. The server, Christian, comes over but never introduces herself. I later asked for her name.

The prices are outrageous and the descriptions are what I'd call cryptic-fanciful. I spot "five course tasting menu available" at the bottom of the menu. $95.00 each. I ask about that, she says it changes daily. She had to find out what it was. Shouldn't she have known that at the beginning of her shift? Sheesh. Another Michael Jackson tune is playing. Maybe he's there? She named several items, one being "squab". What's squab? Pigeon ...... uh no thanks. OK so we ask for a definition of some of the menu items. Another item was "skate". Skate is stingray fin. Hmmmm, maybe I'll try that. There were some other strange dishes as well. Bread service was yummy even though the french guy served that and again we had a hard time understanding him.

Jim and I picked 3 appetizers, told her we'd like 2 out of the 3 and to surprise us. One of which was Veal Sweetbread. It was tasty but I later found out from our DEAR friend Mike that sweetbread is the pancreas or thymus gland. Ugh. For dinner, we gave our server a few items and she recommended Prime "Cote De Boeuf" grilled over charcoal for two with Swiss Chard, Armagnac-Green Peppercorn Sauce and Pommes Aligo, whatever all that meant. We'll just call that steak for ease. Another Michael Jackson tune..... The steak was cooked up and then brought to our table unsliced by a chef. We nodded in approval of this hunk o' meat with a large bone protruding. 2 chefs returned to the table with the steak sliced. Tableside they served it onto the plates, mixed up some cheese and mashed potato concoction and some healthy spinach. We eat, it's tasty. Jim isn't impressed. I saw that one coming.

Off to the bathroom I go.... a Prince tune plays..... Back to the table.....

In the dining room are quite some characters. Old Hollywood women who appear 994 but with plastic surgery appear youthful and fake at 991. Some other lady wore this horrific moo-moo dress with gigantic-enormous balls around her neck. Like giant pearls but more the size of gold balls. Hysterical. I share the humor with our down-to-earth server. She said we oughta see the scariness that is Hollywood on other nights. Another Prince tune plays overhead......

Time for desert. Basically we had decided on some one billion layer chocolate cake and a cookie tray. At our "first course" (appetizer) we ordered 2 items to share. Apparently this ain't no TGI
Fridays so there's no extra plates to share. I didn't want to go through that eating off each other's plate crap for desert. I told Christian, I want the cake and the cookie thingy. We want to share it. I want half on Jim's plate and half on mine. She says, oh usually it's just brought out on separate plates but she'd see what she can do. She said the chef would have a lot of questions. Jim politely said, "they're an executive chef, tell them to figure it out." I loved that moment. AND they did it perfectly.

In summary, I thought Prince and Michael Jackson music was inappropriate for a restaurant of this caliber. You'll have to refer to our casino steak night (Black & Blue) to appreciate some of my comparison comments. No warm, wet towels to start with. No fancy butter. No relish tray. No ice made of iced tea. $200.00 + tip + the drinks from the bar. I really didn't feel it was worth it. I feel gypped. Jim and I agree that at least we can say we ate at Spago in Beverly Hills.

I won't classify it as a misadventure and it really wasn't bad. It just wasn't as good as we thought it should be.

Here's some other photos from our night out:

Above: The Jeep parked in front of Spago.

Above: A horrified looking horse statue.

Above/Below: Up the block from Spago, a ready made family awaited us.

Above: Rodeo Drive: The less the store has, the more it's gonna cost ya.

Above: Rodeo Drive Chanel had a commercial being filmed.

Above: Only $430 for these sunglasses. What a bargain.

Above: Jim was able to hold the pole up until the police arrived.

Above: This Rodeo Drive mannequin has huge pointy nipples.

Above: People, STOP with the huge sunglasses. Ewwww.

3-28-09 Saturday (Long Walk on a Short Pier)

Today was pretty laid back. I took the sheets and comforter to the laundry center here at the campground. I can fit the sheets into our washer but not the comforter. I got that stuff all washed, and then made the bed.

We did some grocery shopping at Walmart (non-super center) and at Ralph's. I picked up a lot of tasty low fat things to liven up salads for me. We also picked up quite a bit of fruits and vegetables.

A couple of months back, Jim reacquainted himself with a high school classmate through Facebook. Dona Scholes and Jim got to see one another when I made my trip back to Florida. It's a small world. Dona moved to Los Angeles about 8 months ago. Dona's boyfriend, Darrell was also a classmate of Jim's and moved here this month. The 4 of us went out last night.

Dona and Darrell met us here at the RV. After the grand tour, we piled into the Jeep and headed to the Santa Monica. Dona had been there once while on a sightseeing tour with a friend but hadn't seen all of it. Well, we found out that she hadn't missed much. I guess I was expecting a long pier full of vendors and freaks. Sure, there was some of that, but it was scaled down. I think this is where "take a long walk on a short pier" may have come into meaning.

The four of us had dinner at a Mexican restaurant (Mariasol) at the end of the pier and then a ride on the Ferris Wheel. We finished off the evening by driving up into the Hollywood Hills to a scenic view point. It was the small park Jim and I went to during a tour. The view of LA was nice at night. Peaceful. The Hollywood sign was barely visible. Oddly, since the sign was replaced many years ago, it's only been lit up twice.

3-27-09 Friday (Chew the Fat)

As you know by my many self-slams that I've put on the weight I've worked so hard to get rid of. Both Jim and I are distraught. I more so than Jim since I've gained the most back. I'm upset. Oh, never enough to do something about it....... apparently. Enough to say that we should do this or do that. Wish this, wish that. We make excuses - The RV lifestyle. We went to a nice restaurant and couldn't just have a salad. We can't go here without having that.

My fellow blogger, Alix, had been struggling with her weight for quite some time. She snapped and decided to take action and has been doing very well. I asked for some of her secrets, mostly to motivate me. Her first sentence about dieting did that. "Success on any diet is 95% mental. Once you decide you are serious, once you decide you are capable, once you decide you have the power to meet your goals, you are most of the way there." Again, that was just the first sentence. What she says is true. Click here, and read her entry, but hurry up, my blog is more important and doesn't auto play stupid music like hers.

Ya back? Great. Alix did an awesome job at explaining a bunch of basics. I don't think I'll run out for the pills just yet, or join Weight Watchers but I do plan to eat much healthier and muster up the willpower to do better. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to post a before picture for the world to see, or get nauseated by it, for that matter. If anyone has weight loss advice, hit me.

Now back to our regularly scheduled travel blog:

Thanks to Michelle, a reader who says she's a lurker (never comments). She emailed me that being a lifetime Santa Barbara gal, she can point us in the right direction when visiting the area! Thanks again Michelle!

Oh, on with the traveling.... We did our usual 40 - 60 minute drive into L.A. We went across the street from Beverly Hills City Hall to the Beverly Gardens Park. We ate our lunch in the park. It was another nice day and fun to watch traffic as well as people come and go.

Another tour from our CityPass deal was with Red Line Tours. This was a walking tour of Hollywood. They gave us a device with headphones that enabled us to hear the tour guide as we walked up and down the noisy streets of Hollywood Boulevard. This was awesome. We heard everything he said no matter how noisy it was.

It was time for a snack/beverage. We stopped at some cafe and Jim got a toffee cookie and I got an apple! By the way, at lunch I had a salad! As I type this, I just finished my dinner of a burger I grilled minus the bun and a salad. I did real good today! I'm so proud of myself for having the willpower to resist all the sweets in this chocolate store/cafe.

Now that my hand hurts from patting myself on the back, ummmmm, yeah, next up was the Hollywood Museum which is located in the Max Factor building. No cameras were allowed but I did manage to smuggle mine in. I didn't bother taking photos though. The museum was interesting. The Max Factor building itself was interesting. I never knew that Max Factor started women using makeup outside of theater/movies. The Max Factor studio had separate makeup rooms, each painted in a different color and each geared toward redheads or blondes, etc. I guess the colors of the rooms best complimented the woman's hair color.

Later this week we'll be going to Spago for dinner. Jim is very excited. Me? I asked, "What's that?" He didn't believe me that I never heard of it. "Everyone knows that place... it's pricey and famous. We just have to go." Me? I'd be happy with KFC. Well, maybe not. I just stepped on the scale and am at 192! That's heavier than before we worked out. I can't believe I've gotten so big. Serious dieting!

Well folks, I baked some chicken to add into the weeks salads. Now we're off to the hot tub for our nightly soak. See ya!

3-26-09 Thursday (Creepy Candle People)

Los Angeles traffic sucks! It just does, OK?! The drive to and from Los Angeles is supposed to take 40 minutes but with bumper to bumper traffic, it takes longer. Into Los Angeles we went for a tarific {snort, snort} visit to the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits. As the website says.... in the heart of Los Angeles. So strange to be in the middle of a concrete jungle and go into a park, let a lone tar pits!

The first order of business was to sit in the park and eat our brown bagged (well, actually a cooler) lunch. It was relaxing and definitely a beautiful day. The disadvantage is that you are surrounded by tar pits. Think fresh paved roads..... The unpleasant smell of tar was all around, but not as strong as one would think. Perhaps it's because the tar is not hot.

After the tar pits we used our CityPass to get into the Hollywood Wax Museum. Now, back in San Francisco we regretted the lame wax museum there. I guess we figured that this was Hollywood, it's gotta be good. Wrong! It sucked. I guess Madame Tussauds in Vegas truly spoiled us.

Braving the traffic again to get home was the typical nonpleasureable experience. Once home, I took Dasher for a walk and snapped some photos of the RV park and surrounding area.

By the way, I was asked about the guacamole recipe. It's a basic recipe and I followed it exactly. Click here to watch it made.

Another by the way, someone on a previous post commented that they were unaware that an RV is hooked up to water directly. I wanted to explain further. This applies to most RV's, especially Class A so I will speak about how ours operates. Power: We can run a generator which shares it's fuel tank with that of the RV engine or we connect into a 30amp outlet (aka shore power). This is a special 30amp and not anything your house would have. Newer RV's these days use 50amp. We can plug into a 50amp using an adapter but still can only draw 30amps of power. We can run typical 110 outlet stuff but our lighting is 12V. Water: We can fill our fresh water holding tank which uses a 12volt pump to dispurse it. Sewer: At an RV park, we connect a hose from the RV to a sewer line in the ground. This stays attached while we're at the park. When disconnected, we have waste holding tanks. So: While driving down the road, I can run a microwave (if we start the generator), wash my hands, pee and flush, etc. One of my previous posts talks about dual power for refrigerator, water heater, etc.

3-25-09 Wednesday (Bride of Caulkenstein)

A few days ago I mentioned repairing the tub crack. Then Jim reshimmed it and the crack reappeared. He recaulked and decided to caulk the drain (just in case). The drain caulk was previously Caulkenstein. On day 4, we'll finally get to use our own shower. I called it Caulkenstein Jr. but Jim called it Caulkenstein's Bride. We'll go with the bride name.

Before sightseeing we decided to have lunch at a TGI Fridays. We got an awesome deal. Sit a the bar, get a beverage at regular price and get an appetizer for only a penny! THEN you can go sit at a table and get another deal. I've enclosed both deals below. We only did the first. We ordered sodas, had an appetizer each, all for $5.00 plus a tip. As my fabulous friend and Friday's worker Joanie might say, "Don't forget to tip on the amount prior to the discount."

Jim and I decided to buy a CityPass this time instead of a GO card. The CityPass card has just the things we want to do. Here's what we did today:

Let Starline Tours take you to where the
Stars live, shop and play in Famous Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills and Hollywood Hills. See over 40 celebrity homes from an air conditioned minibus. You’ll see mansions of today’s superstars, the estates of Hollywood legends, the watering holes of Sunset Strip, and the elegance of Rodeo Drive. Tours depart from Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the only place where you can see the famous hand and footprints of the Stars.

All was correct except for the air conditioned minibus. We didn't need air conditioning as the weather was perfect. Below is a picture of our topless tour van.

We saw so many houses. Our tour guide pointed them out and said what star lived there or what movie/show the house had appeared in. I enjoyed the tour but I don't idolize stars. Our guide showed us famous restaurants or bars that were frequented by stars or used in a movie.

Above: Hollywood Boulevard

Above: 360 from "Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Parkland" at the top of Hollywood Hills.

Yesterday on the way to LA we stopped at a supermarket in Palm Springs and picked up some lettuce and guacamole. We left it all in the car. Oops. I looked up a recipe online, wrote the ingredients down and stuck it in my wallet. On the way home from today's sightseeing, we were so hungry so we stopped at the store to pick up my supplies. We ate all of my delicious homemade guacamole and never even made dinner.

The video above is long. I hope it came out alright, I was very tired.

3-24-09 Tuesday (Pot Smoking)

Greetings from Long Beach, California! We're just 30-40 minutes south of Los Angeles. I was bummed to leave Palm Springs but we'll be back some day. Our departure from Palm Springs went smoothly!

We're settled in at the Golden Shore RV Resort. I like it. The sites are average sized. The grounds are well maintained. The pool is heated and is accompanied by a large hot tub. When the tide is in, we're on the water. Yeah, I'll have some photos tomorrow. On one side of us is the water (Long Beach Harbor) and the other is the skyline of Downtown Long Beach City.

Jim was anxious to explore today. We braved some traffic to go to Venice Beach. What a fun place. I found a link with it's history here if you'd like more information. Vendors line a long strip of an area called Muscle Beach, selling their wares, but not in a pushy way. Freaks are bountiful here as well as street performers. I've never seen so many drug paraphernalia stores in one spot. Some of the stores should just be called Bong-Mart. Other popular stores housed sunglasses. Oh, I can't forget the henna tattoo stands. I'd say all the rest were an assortment. Vendors mostly line one side. The other side of the road seemed to have entertainers, performers, and hand made crafts.

Above: Dasher gets ready for the day's trip.

Above: Dasher is bored.

Above: A final goodbye to Palm Springs.

Above: On Venice Beach.

Above: At Venice Beach.

Above: Muscle Beach - Venice Beach

Above: Muscle Beach - Venice Beach

Above: Muscle Beach - Venice Beach

Above: Muscle Beach - Venice Beach

Above: 360 view at a pier on Venice Beach

If time permits, we may try to get over to Venice Beach again. We spotted a street side restaurant that would be fun to sit at. We can eat and watch freaks walk by.