I’m not saying that the 15 million people who live in the greater L.A. area are straight-up crazy, but can we all concede that you might be a little touched in the head to live somewhere so busy and crowded?! JJ and I knew that our visit to the truly huge city would be a little trying, but I really underestimated the beast that is “The Greater Los Angeles Area”. Nevertheless, we did some sightseeing, the RV is fixed, and we’re headed back to my version of civilization, the mountains!
We left the resort Sunday morning, quickly dropping down into the real world of summer. Our drive was awfully hot, because we had to cross the Mojave Desert before we reached the mountains north of L.A. It was in the low 100s, and to protect our engine, we turned on the heat in the cab. We successfully summited Cajon Pass, thoroughly cooked, and descended into the city. In order to be super close for our early Monday morning appointment, we stayed at a regional park, on the shores of (I am not making this up) Lake Puddingstone.
After we dropped off the RV, it was time for some fun! Or, at least it was time to *try* to have some fun…if we could get through traffic. We headed west, towards the seemingly close Highway 1 and the Pacific Coast. About a year later, we finally dropped into Topanga Canyon, last bastion of California hippies, and could see the ocean! Leo Carillo State Park was bustling, but mostly busy just near the parking lot. We walked far down the beach, enjoying the tide pools and rocky coastline, and yes, solitude!
We headed inland to the land of cheaper hotel rooms, and found an awesome Restaurant and Creamery in Thousand Oaks, CA. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out Little Calf, and get the No. 25 sundae. We got two.
Tuesday, we got on the road early to head into downtown L.A. to meet our friend, Melissa. The whole trip was about 45 miles, and I budgeted 2 hours of driving time, which was barely enough. I had a giant, stalling meltdown after an hour and a half of stop and go traffic, a cacophony of honking and engine revving. (The traffic was so thick that I think I got more shifting practice in that one session than I did in the whole trip back from Ohio with the new car!) We finally got into the city, a half hour later that I planned.
But then we had a fabulous visit with Melissa, and her baby, June. We met at Grand Central Market, full of vendors with delicious foods and funky things to buy. Melissa got a handmade bagel from a traditional deli, and we got the world’s largest tacos. Then we walked to Little Tokyo, to enjoy some mochi ice cream. The best part was when June did her killer whale impression, and came leaping up from Melissa’s lap to gnaw on the mochi balls.
And the absolute highlight of the trip: the RV verdict! I was so worried about the final bill, because if the shop found underlying damage, our cost could have been astronomical. But, in the end, we were actually a couple hundred dollars under the lowest cost I was expecting! Our body repair looks amazing, and we got a plethora of little things fixed as well. The technician even noticed a broken latch on our closet, something that has been awry since the very beginning. He saw the bungee cord and figured out the problem, without even being asked! Such a relief to have that all done!
We thought we’d try to start for home last night, but decided that 4:30pm was not the time to engage in the traffic again. We returned to the regional park for one more night of camping and relaxing before we make the journey back. Today will be another scorcher, but at least we have the mountains to look forward to!