Los Angeles and Cat Sitting

What a marvelous opportunity for us to stay in James’ 19th floor loft apartment in the middle of Down Town LA with their two cats, Foo and Herschel. We enjoy cats, having lived with some over a period of more than 25 years, but we haven’t lived with any for the past 20 years and had gotten out of the ritual. These guys are 18 and 14, elderly gents in cat years, and mostly have their own territories and don’t require much from the human residents but fresh food and clean litter.

We immediately headed out for a walk finding that there was no way we were going to get into the Broad Gallery that day so we went into the Museum Of Contemporary Art (MOCA) where we got lost in the exhibit for a couple of hours. The first piece to capture me was

 I have been enamored of Miro’s work since I wrote a paper on him for a course at Brown. We walked back to the apartment through the Grand Central Market and enjoyed exploring the shops and restaurants as we walked. After feeding the cats and refreshing ourselves we set out for dinner having been told by James about a vegetarian restaurant nearby. It took some more wandering to find PTY where we sat outside under a heater and had a wonderful meal.

On Friday we started out with a walk to the Geffin at MOCA in Little Tokyo. The exhibit there is entirely Doug Aitken’s work. These are mostly large installations

The picture just does not do justice to the size, the person is on the screen, not standing in front of it and “100 yrs” is another piece altogether. After more than two hours we dragged ourselves out to get some lunch. This confluence of images caught my attention:
In a market in Little Tokyo I picked up some very nice Sashimi and Carol had her apple and we sat at a small table and enjoyed the Christmas shopping rush that surrounded us before heading to the apartment and getting ready for Shabbat with our family.
We have coasted through to today spending time with Yechiel, Miriam, Azriel and Avi. In a bit we will get together with niece Minda and her husband Will and Leo and Will’s family. 

At our West Coast Home

Left you all in Las Cruces and haven’t gotten back to writing since Monday. We took two days to go from Las Cruces to Jojoba Hills SKP Resort just east of Temecula California. The drive was uneventful with a stop in Date Land Arizona which is nothing more than a truck stop, a shop with several varieties of dates and many other products and a campground. We topped up the fuel just before entering California. We may manage to avoid fueling in California altogether.

As we pulled up to the Jojoba gate we were both very happy to be arriving in our West Coast Home. With the engine still idling as we prepared to disconnect the car to back into the site, our neighbors appeared to greet us with hugs and smiles. Other friends driving by stopped to welcome us home. It really is wonderful to feel so welcome here.

On Our Site

We have already volunteered to serve the New Years Eve dinner.

During the cross country run we discovered the washing machine was broken and leaking. ­čś× After calling the service number posted on a sticker inside the door we were connected with West Wind Mobile RV Service and made an appointment for the day after we were due back. Mike showed up and verified my expectation that the washer was not repairable. That was Thursday. He said the soonest they could get to it would be Monday. Better than a couple of weeks, but. . . On Friday as the rains were soaking the region we had a call from the office, “Would if be okay if they came later in the morning as all of their other jobs were postponed because of the rain?” We couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. By 12:30 Friday the new washer was churning through its first load. I watched them maneuver the washer through the various narrow passages noting that the clearance ranged from friction fit to 1/2 inch going out the front door, over the passenger seat.  There was no damage to the coach in the process. They left the old washer on our concrete slab for me do deal with. The next morning I called Jim who handles recycling for the park as a volunteer and he stopped by five minutes later with his golf cart to haul away the carcass for recycling. Love this park!

We have been staying away from news as much as possible. We read some of the NYTimes in the morning while listening to NPR. The combination results in enough distraction that we don’t really focus on any of it. I keep sending responses to our congressman, Babin to let him know that he has at least two constituents who are way to his left – that would be centrist given his position to the right of  PEOTUS. He is not likely to change anything in response to our messages, but it feels better to do something. Since I am not going to join the millions surrounding the White House to prevent Obama from leaving (see Borowitz) there is not a lot I can do other than to voice my position on issues when they come up and try to figure out where my political contributions will have the greatest impact.

Stop in Las Cruces

Seven days after leaving Colton’s in Niagara Falls we pulled into Siesta RV Park booked for 3 three nights. I cannot remember traveling every day for that long without taking at least a night break. It felt good to be able to stop. Even better we had an invitation for Shabbat dinner with Leora and Stuart. This is always a highlight for us. Singing, eating and fine conversation until late in the evening.

One topic was books we had recently read. Carol and I reported that as we pulled into Monahans Sandhills State Park we had just finished listening to “A Man Called Ove” and I was driving with tears streaming down my face as the book concluded. It so happened that the movie was playing at the local art house Fountain Theater just down the street from the campground. We agreed to meet there before the movie and have coffee together after the movie. The movie lives up to the book with a couple of subplots omitted (necessary to fit it into 2 hours. By the end everyone was in tears. This is NOT a sad film, the tears are more of joy for a wonderful end. I think that having “read” the book first made the subtitles easier for me then usual, I knew what they were saying since it was so true to the book.

We have been puttering about the coach trying to reorganize our storage since we were in such a hurry to get out of the Buffalo area last week. It is amazing how much space we have. Of course I left behind at least a dozen T shirts which opened up an entire drawer. I fear I will be replacing some of them soon as I shorted myself in the process. That remains to be seen. I finally got the solar charger outputs modified to meet the needs of the new AGM batteries. I called tech support only to find I had not read the fine manual and I just need to depress a button for a 4 count to enter the next menu level. And so goes my process of refamiliarizing myself with all the quirks of this motorhome.

It seems we have been getting to a fair number of films recently, even two in theaters. Carol really loves films and I enjoy many myself, but not with Carol’s avidity. I suspect we will be rather limited in movie theater outings with the nearest theater 14 miles away over twisty route 79. Driving back late at night is not our favorite thing.

Monday, tomorrow as I write, we will roll out on I 10 West until we reach Gila Bend then on to Jojoba Hills.

Repositioning Run

Okay, I took the title from another RVers concept. Usually when we travel it is for the travel and we stop a lot to take in what there is to see. This trip is more about getting from Rochester to Jojoba Hills SKP Resort most efficiently. As I write we have just completed three back to back days of about six hours on the road. We are in Walnut Ridge Arkansas in the local Walmart parking lot for the night. By Friday night we hope to be in Las Cruces which will take three more days  with at least one of them well over 6 hours. We look forward to Shabbat dinner with friends there.

We did manage to have one more visit along the way. We stopped in Alton Ohio which is just southwest of Columbus and called my college roommate Leon who happened to be free and he came over with his wife Tinya and we spent a couple of hours just catching up with each other. I fear much of it was an “organ recital.” Other than some phone calls and words exchanged while filling the tank, a daily happening, it holds 100 gallons, we have had little contact with the outside world. NPR and a brief read of the NYTimes provides sufficient heartburn for any day.

Carol and I are both writing at the same time, I suspect there will be some relation between the two posts, check hers out at http://messageinaminute.blogspot.com/.

The coach is running beautifully. We are getting a lot of use out of the restored generator since the connection from the main engine alternator to our house batteries is in failure mode, er, it doesn’t work. Had a lot of sun one day and the solar panels did their job and kept the batteries topped up.

Looking back I realize I missed out on our trip into Washington DC between Covesville and Rochester. We drove in to Alexandria Virginia and left the car at the rail station and took the Metro into The National Art Gallery, East Wing. After an amazing 3 hours we dragged ourselves back to the train and picked up the car and drove to Steven and Daisy’s house to finally meet Oliver. He is a definite cutey at 10 1/2 months. They made a lovely dinner for us and we talked way too late and got up early to take bus and train back to the National Mall and the Museum of the American Indian where we met Anna Lee and Jerry our RVing friends from Sacramento who were in DC to spend time with their grandson Bennet. We had lunch at the Museum’s dining area which features menu items from all the Americas. Each of us was able to secure items of our own preference. Following the movie and a very good tour with a native from Columbia we walked the mall to pick up the Metro back to Alexandria to meet cousin Judy and her partner Ralph at Taverna Cretekos in Alexandria. This was the occasion for us to take our very first Uber. It works well, for us on that trip.

There is much more to report but I will save it for another time.

Day One – ROLLING!

Well sort’a.

Friday morning we finished stuffing Ruby (the Jeep) with the rest of everything we had taken off the coach last July. She groaned as I put the last load in. We set off for Colton RV to reload and prepare for departure on Saturday/Sunday depending on which of us you asked. The first delay was waiting for one more part, a solenoid for the hydraulic system, don’t ask. It arrived and was installed by noon. The coach was parked in their closed for the season campground (Electric, no water or sewer) so we could begin reconstruction our interior. As I schlepped each bin/carton/package from Jeep to coach we unloaded and stored. It was easier than it sounds as we had memories of where most things went and had endlessly discussed possible new arrangements. We collapsed over a late dinner on board. We continued to store and arrange until we collapsed into bed.

This morning, Saturday, we seemed to be about done. I pulled in the living room driver side slide out so I could crawl under and rearrange the basement storage and put to use the new storage bins we had bought to move stuff off and back on the coach. With that task completed it seemed only natural to make sure we were ready to tow the car, especially since there were Techs around, just in case. Well it was a good thing as the connection between the coach and Jeep was fluky (very technical term, for it wasn’t working). It took a tech 10 minutes to diagnose and fix the problem, a blown tail light bulb – DOH! Now with the car connected and everything working it seemed expedient to drive the entire ensemble 4 miles to Wegman’s and stock up the food stuff. That only took 1 1/2 hours plus fifteen minutes to checkout and another 30 minutes to store it all away and have lunch.

There seemed to be plenty of time to make it to the Cleveland area so off we went. We had put out of our minds the shift to Standard Time. We don’t like driving in the dark, even less (more?) we don’t like driving in the dark and rain. Add 10 miles of very narrow back roads and I am on my second straight Strange Monkey Gin (I may get stranger myself). We are settled into the very spot we camped in in 2002 on our first winter trip in Goliath. Our water pump failed that night, I am not looking forward to a repeat.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we are meeting Carole and Jake for breakfast in the Cleveland area. We have made such stops to see them in the past as we pass by. After breakfast, well you will have to read the next post.

I must offer Kudos to the crew at Colton Auto in N Tonawanda, NY. Especially to Jesse to did most of the work and John, the body shop manager who made it all happen. The coach is beautiful and there is no sign we ever had a problem. We both highly recommend them for caring and concern and good work.

Pictures when we get some sun!