Bill and Kit’s 2020 Excellent Adventure, Journal #7

Coddiwomple:

To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination

 

Saturday, January 25, 2020: well this morning Kit and I departed from Desert Eagle RV Park in Las Vegas, Nevada…yep, we really did it this time! And, on the road at 0928 under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 60’s.

During our extended stay in Vegas, we discussed where to travel next and finally settled on continuing west to the left coast. So, on I-15 West we motored and crossed the California border an hour after our departure where we encountered the State Agricultural Inspection Station.

After confirming we didn’t have any hitchhiking vermin or elicit produce, we were waved through the gauntlet and continued our trek while passing the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generation Station on our right.

This Concentrated Solar Thermal system generates 392 Megawatts of power by reflecting the sun off of 347,000 individually controlled mirrors each 75 square feet in size. The mirrors then focus and direct the sunlight toward boilers sitting atop towers.

Located on 3,500 acres of public land in the Mojave Desert…

…this joint government private facility cost 2.18 Billion dollars and is only capable of producing electricity at 45% of predicted efficiency due to technical deficiencies. In addition, it has been criticized for significant environmental impact because of the effect the powerful sunbeams have on migratory birds.

Nearing the Coastal Mountains…

…we soon entered Los Angeles County, and made our way to March Air Reserve base for the evening.

This relatively small campground was full, but we were allowed to dry-camp overnight next to the RV storage facility which suited us just fine…goodnight!

Sunday, January 26, 2020: Up, breakfast, and on the road at 1015 hours under partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 59 degrees.

Before leaving town, we made a quick stop at Riverside National Cemetery…

…to pay our respects to Kit’s mom and dad…

… who are laid to rest there.

Back on the road, we spent the next few hours battling Los Angeles traffic as we circled southwest toward Seal Beach…

… our destination for the next week. Pulling into the Naval Weapons Stations campground, we…

…set up camp on a nice spacious site and settled in for the evening.

Monday, January 27 through Saturday, February 1, 2020-Seal Beach, California: Seal Beach, a coastal community of 24,000 folks in Orange County is a pleasant little town…

…which hosts the second longest wooden pier in California…

…and makes a prime spot to watch the local surfers…

…carve the shore break…

…during a low tide swell with ideal offshore winds.

In California, one never knows who or what…

… might be trying their saltwater fishing luck!

The pier, and its fisherfolks edible castoffs, are very attractive to pigeons…

…who strut, and preen…

…then pose for photographs, in anticipation of a handout.

California is the most car centric state in the union. Plenty of high-end automobiles are about and a good number of classics as well, such as this beauty…

…a 1931 Ford Victoria restored to concourse condition and parked on the street in downtown Seal Beach. I looked around for the owner in order to chat about Model A ownership, but we never connected.

Speaking of automobiles, life in California is unique…even car buying is different than the rest of the US. There are a number of these car elevator dealerships about that have transformed the car buying model.

Basically, a car vending machine, Carvana holds up to 32 automobiles which can be accessed after logging in online and receiving the code. The selected car can then be test driven for up to seven days before the transaction is put through at which time you own the car. If within that seven-day period, you don’t want the car, just return to any Carvana tower and select another one to test out!?!?

An added treat while in the area, was seeing my brother Dewey and sister-in-law Bea, who were camping just a few miles north of us.

Dewey spent a great deal of his adult life living and working in nearby Culver City and he still has relatives in the area which they were visiting. However, they were kind enough to eke out an afternoon for us and we assembled at The Boathouse, a very nice waterfront restaurant…

…alongside picturesque Long Beach harbor…

…where from our window seat…

…we enjoyed a very pleasant view of the waterfront activity.

After exchanging pleasantries, we got down to business…

…with some ice-cold Barley Pops, and…

…delicious tavern fare!

Kit and I enjoyed a great time with a great couple…see you in Tucson in a few weeks’ folks!

Back in 1957, Kit and her family lived in the nearby city of San Pedro, so we spent one day touring that area.

First stop was Point Fermin Park…

…where an historic lighthouse, built in 1874, stands guard…

…high above the crashing surf.

The park was a favorite place for Kit and her family to picnic while enjoying the fresh ocean breezes. It has a large variety of unique vegetation such as this Coastal Fig Tree.

Point Fermin also features views south toward the Long Beach Shipping Terminal…

… and north onto…

the upscale community of Palos Verdes.

A relatively unknown portion of Point Fermin is The Sunken City. This community of luxury cliffside homes, was constructed in the early 1920’s by a group of Hollywood’s elites.

Unfortunately, is was built on very unstable land and almost immediately started to slump toward the Pacific Ocean. As the slump accelerated, at times up to 11 inches a day, electrical utilities and water pipes began failing causing some residents to abandon their cliffside estates. In a catastrophic event, most of the neighborhood sunk when the underlying land slumped into the ocean.

It has never been cleaned up or stabilized and has become an unauthorized tourist attraction seldom found on San Pedro brochures or maps. Kit and I just stumbled across it but stopped at the security gate surrounding the entire area where we took the photo of the blue house pictured above, likely one of the few remaining homes in the original development.

Just up the hill from Point Fermin Park lies Angel’s Gate Park, home of the Korean Friendship Bell.

Which was presented to the People of the United States by the South Korean Government during our country’s bicentennial year. Housed in a Pagoda style pavilion, the bell is ceremonially struck by use of a swinging log clapper.

Decorated in the traditional Dancheong style using five basic colors…

… blue (east), white (west), red (south), black (north), and yellow (center), it is a truly beautiful and spiritual place to visit and reflect.

Another childhood memory that Kit shared was the elementary school she attended in San Pedro. Being that it was during her 4th and 5th year, and being that this is California where buildings just a few years old are torn down only to be replaced by bigger buildings, I had little faith the school still existed…but we went on a search anyway.

Well, imagine our surprise when the GPS brought us to a school…and it was an obviously older building!

Walking into the office we encountered a very pleasant and helpful member of the staff. When learning of our quest, she proudly exclaimed that the school was currently celebrating its 75th anniversary!

Kit was very pleased as a rush of childhood memories came over her and she recounted stories of that era to the office staff.

What a pleasant and memorable experience!

Heading back to the campground, we took a trip through the neighboring town of Long Beach…

…and headed for the waterfront…

…where we stopped to browse around…

…in trendy little shops. In one we tried on a few stylish California hats…

…and some that were even more stylish…

… than others! I don’t know what it is with me and goofy hats? I seldom wear a cap of any style, but when I spot a particularly outrageous chapeau, something comes over me and I’ve got to try it on…much to Kit’s chagrin!

Since we were on the waterfront, and since it was nearing the blue-hair dinner hour, Kit and I stepped into the Parkers’ Lighthouse Restaurant for a meal.

Sitting outside on the patio, we enjoyed some excellent local seafood, while enjoying the activity in the harbor

…as the local wildlife…

…photobombed the historic Queen Mary!

This area of coastal California has been a prime oil producing region for many years, so…

… It isn’t unusual to see oil wells in neighborhoods…some even churning alongside multi-million-dollar homes.

Also, at the other end of the spectrum, it isn’t unusual to see lush greenery and colorful flowers such as the…

… Bird of Paradise, even during these cooler winter months.

On yet another day in town, we took a ride into Los Angeles, to visit Griffith Park. Yea, I know…what were we thinking?

At 4,310 acres, it is the largest urban park in North America

In addition to picnic areas, hiking trails, horse stables, and a miniature railroad, the park is home to the famed Griffith observatory.

The access road to the summit was closed due to the parking lot being full. We were directed to an auxiliary lot a few miles away that featured a walking path to the observatory but decided to pass on the climb up due to time constraints.

Also, in Griffith Park is the Los Angeles Zoo, and across the road, the Autry Museum of the American West…

…which was established in 1988 by actor Gene Autry. As a patriot, he stipulated that all US Military Veterans would be honored with free admission to his museum, which was a nice gesture. The Autry merges the culture of the American Cowboy and the Native American Indians with the various Hollywood cowboys and cowgirls that helped make Los Angeles famous.

We learned that, contrary to what ones sees in old western films…

… a number of western settlers were African Americans.

No museum dedicated to the American West would be complete without the various firearms that helped keep law and order, such as these gold-plated pistol’s owned by sharpshooter, Annie Oakley…

…or this classic revolver used by Teddy Roosevelt.

Another unique weapon on display was this Gatling Gun designed by Richard J. Gatling and manufactured by the Colt Manufacturing Company in the late 1800’s.

Then there was a collection of Revolver Rifles…

…also manufactured by Colt in the 1800’s and issued to soldiers of the US Army. Up until this point, rifles were only able to shoot one bullet before having to reload. So, a patient advisory would just wait until he saw the muzzle blast then simple walk over to the soldier and engage him at close range while the hapless single-shot rifle bearer was frantically reloading. The revolving Rifle surprised many on the battlefield when multiple volleys came from the same rifle. However, a persistent design flaw would frequently cause the rifle to discharge all six of its chambers simultaneously causing significant damage to the rifleman and the weapon.

There was also a nice display of western toys in the museum…

…many of which I remember from my childhood.

The visit to Griffith Park was enjoyable, however the 25-mile drive from the campground took close to 90 minutes…that’s the price one pays to visit an attraction within a city of 12,874,797 souls, many of whom simultaneously drive multiple automobiles, well that’s the way is seemed anyway!

Tomorrow we pull chocks and head south, but not before enjoying a spectacular California sunset from the campground…

…goodnight!

Kit’s Bit’s: It was a real treat for me to finally see some of the Los Angeles area where my family lived when I was 9 and 10 years old. Bill doesn’t like driving in big cities, especially with such a large vehicle. Best thing I was able to see was the school I attended for 4th & 5th grade! I was surprised it was still standing. It’s now designated as a Gifted Magnet school. We never found the place where we lived. The lady at the school said the adjacent housing area had been leveled a few years ago and new apartments were built. The housing area was within walking distance to school. The entire area has been built up as most are in California. Hard to believe there are so many people there and somehow, everyday life is as smooth as it is. So many cars, stores, highways, houses, apartments… I suppose due to the mild climate year-round, life is smoother in many ways. Still, way too congested for us. Nice to visit but, we’d rather live in Maine!

5 thoughts on “Bill and Kit’s 2020 Excellent Adventure, Journal #7

  1. Bill: I can envision you eyeing the 1931 Ford Victoria. Too bad you didn’t get to make the owner an offer. Kit: I can imagine you eyeing the hybrids in the automobile vending machine. So many cars, so little time.

  2. I mistakenly thought those Carvana commercials weren’t for real! Very George Jetson-ish! ..I can see the appeal of living on the CA coast…except maybe near “The Sunken City” area. Beautiful coast..Griffith Park sounds like an incredible place to visit and explore…. I’m so glad Kit got to revisit her old school and at least see the area where one of her childhood homes once stood. Sounds like a nice area to grow up! … “Spectacular sunset” indeed! ..

  3. We love to see those pictures and read your blog, we feel like we are traveling with you. Great that Kathy could visit her old elementary school.

  4. That guy peeing off the Seal beach pier, looks like my long lost uncle Eric The Red!
    The booted pigeon on the left looks to be flirting with a commoner. My dad and I raised quite a few pigeons, Booted tumblers, Rollers, Homers and flew them from here in Maine to their coop in Mass.
    Kinda sad about the sunken city of Fermin, did the developer give them their money back??
    No mention of what the Korean Friendship Bell is made of??
    Amazing that Kit’s elementary school is still standing and being used. We need a few of those San Pedro town fathers here in Maine.
    No comments on your latest helmets!! Enough already!!
    Iz the Queen Mary being used as a hotel?
    The Autry Museum brings back memories when Gene was the star attraction at a Boston Garden Rodeo about 75 years ago. I think I just read where the Roy Rogers museum was auctioned off!
    Some fine shootin irons!
    Be safe!!

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