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We had sort of made plans for the last full day in Los Angeles.  We were going to go to one more bookstore for me, and Walmart for my wife and dinner at Hugo’s.  And have some relaxing time.  Our landlord invited us to celebrate her guests birthday by going to Griffith park and the carousel for a picnic.   We agreed.

So the next morning we got up, had a slow morning, went to Ralphs to get some food for the picnic and some clothes in Ross.  We got to Griffith park on time and found the people we were meeting.  In the end the kids had two rides on the carousel, one with our host and the other with the boys of the group.  My wonderful wife and our host had a chat while the boys were away.

We then went to Lighthouse Christian Store in Pasadena which is now actually open on a Sunday.  If I think how far Christian retailing has changed in the years since I started travelling to the US I am shocked.  This store which I found on my first trip to have a huge range of merchandise is now much smaller and much more limited in what it keeps though I must admit it still had a relatively great selection.

From there we drove to a Walmart in an interesting part of Los Angeles and found ourselves in a mall.  We purchased what we wanted as much as we could and had to purchase another Transformers toy for my super son as he had fallen in love with these while we were travelling.

For dinner we stopped at Hugo’s which was a great experience for Gluten-free yummy food which we all enjoyed.

And then it was our last night in Los Angeles before Disneyland and Anaheim.

Next post: Its a Small World

I like some of the 1990s movies of Alicia Silverstone, Blast from the Past has at least a few scenes filmed around the corner and up a block from where I lived in Canoga Park and Clueless is just fun.

I must admit when I chose to live in the Valley years ago I was clueless.  I had to work out a place that was between work and Fuller Seminary and safe as this was post earthquake and I had been there done that in Santa Barbara.

For us on holidays we were returning to the Valley after a brief morning in the original part of Los Angeles El Pueblo De Los Angeles.  This was not the most successful trip to the heart of LA but still my super son was bought a pair of maraca’s.

We caught up with friends for lunch and spent time with them in the afternoon though we suddenly had to go to a Mall in the Valley to purchase new sandals for my super son as his finally gave up.

Afterwards we drove for a bit tried to get to some places on time before they closed and failed eventually heading home and getting dinner at In n Out.  The secret menu gives my wonderful wife a gluten-free option.

Tomorrow: All I Wanna Do

Abba’s famous song is about the need for money.  We were in Ventura and now had the computer working again but did not have a wireless connection so we did not know what to do about checking our credit card and bank balances.  It turns out the hotel we were in had a computer in the lobby and we could use it to check all our balances.  We did this and made sure we had enough money around for the rest of the trip.

Before this all happened I woke up early and with wonderful wifely wisdom went to Wal-Mart to purchase more luggage.  In the process of checking in Melbourne we had found a seam coming away on our only bag.  We had thought we needed more luggage this just confirmed it.  After much umming and ahhing and figuring out the differences between each brand and each size of luggage I purchased two sets.

I returned back to the hotel, we started organising our luggage into the new bags and started rationalising what we had purchased back into bags.  This was no small feat but it was achieved. While I packed the car my wonderful wife and super son walked across to the beach, which was not real inviting due to June Gloom.

We headed to the outlets in Camarillo to spend up big and find what we wanted.  No Reeboks this trip for the first time in ages as they did not fit myself or my wonderful wife.  The joy of having lost weight.  In the midst of spending the money we met with my old boss and his wife for lunch.  I enjoyed mine, my super son loved his but we had all sorts of problems with my wonderful wife’s.  At one point having asked for a meal gluten-free “no wheat” the server made sure she was given a white bread roll as it was “not wheat”.  Well eventually a fairly poor looking meal arrived.

We then went back to the outlets picked up more clothes, perfumey stuff for my wife and started heading to the desert.  I mean Los Angeles.  Unfortunately we finally read the fine print as so to speak on our contract and realised we should have had two codes to get in the place.  No such codes had been sent and we had no internet access for days  to check.  We tried to call.  I found every phone at the outlet was out of order or removed.  Even if the management office said the phones were there.  When I did find a phone it turned out the phone number was no longer up to date.

In the end we stopped in a Starbucks, I paid a few dollars to get some access.  I found a new number and had my wonderful wife call except there was no answer but she left a message saying we would be there at 7pm.  We headed to our accommodation and could find no one.  In the end I did find the owner for our VRBO rental and we checked in.  We then walked to our favourite Indian place for dinner Paru’s as it was 2 blocks away and then came home for a good nights sleep.

So while the day organised money, spent money and cost money and was a bit fraught it was great too.

Tomorrow: American Pie

We were heading to Ventura, to meet with friends who had been people my wonderful wife knew when we started dating.

San Simeon we were able to leave reasonably early as there was not much we wanted to do there or in Cambria.  Instead we headed to Atascadero where there was a bakery that produced gluten-free and lactose-free goodies.  Upon arrval my super son was asleep – he had woken too early – and he and I stayed in the car while my wonderful wife found the bakery.  Except there were no goods as they had been closed the day before and nothing was left from Saturday.

Next stop San Luis Obispo where there is a Pizza Fusion which produce gluten-free pizzas with soy cheese.  We looked at the Trader Joes while waiting for the food shops to open.  The pizza looked great for my wonderul wife.  I had subs for my super son and I and then my son decided he was really hungry, ate his lunch, ate half of my lunch and half of my next round of lunch again.  Well we are called to love one another aren’t we.

From there we went in search of appropriate power cables but had no success.  We continued to head to Ventura taking a slow drive through Santa Barbara where I used to live.  The hotel we were going to which is right on the freeway and across from the beach is also right next to a freeway entry.  So guess what – first time I am trying to get there I ended up on the Freeway again and not the hotel.  From then on I am ok.

We headed over to our friends place got a lot lost but found it in the end and they gave us a great dinner and a chat and we all rolled home.

Tomorrow – Swordfish

In Sudden Impact is the delightful and now well known phrase – “Go ahead. Make my day.”  This is offered by Clint Eastwood in his Dirty Harry mode.  We’ll come back to Clint.

Monterey has a number of delightful areas – there is Cannery Row, the Del Monte Centre where we went to Whole Foods and the beach.  We woke up at a more reasonable time and our super son decided he wanted to go in the pool.  Which opened at 9:00AM.  We did as much as we could to be prepared, went downstairs and waited, and waited and waited.  With little clothes on – we were going into water – and towels by the pool we just had to wait until the gates were opened.  The spa was great for everybody finally getting rid of all the knots from the plane trip.

This was the day that the power on the laptop ran out  – remember I mentioned that power adaptor I left in San Francisco and we were supposed to have internet access.  I at least had got the list of lunch & dinner places before the laptop shutdown.

From the hotel we drove to Cannery Row and saw some otters but not real close.  My super son and I shared a Cinnamon roll – a family tradition from other trips to Monterey I just had to change who I was sharing the food with.  We then left for Carmel.

Carmel is a lovely town – it’s mayor used to be Clint Eastwood – it was for a long period the home base of Thomas Kinkade “painter of light” but he seems to have moved some of his operations.  We had a great lunch/brunch at Katy’s place where my super son played a game and chatted to all the hispanic bus boys.  Now remember he was still not used to American accents and has a kids voice while the bus boys were not used to much English or an accent.  It was a fun scene to see my super son be so inclusive but have no idea why people did not understand him 🙂

We then walked to one of the Kinkade Galleries.  It was best descibed as the scratch and dent section as everything was 30% off.  It seems my wonderful wife and I both got it into our heads it would be nice to purchase something of Thomas’ again.  My mother had given us a Kinkade print as an engagement gift and I got to look at all the others in the series.  We eventually settled on a picture that we both liked and I had to move the car before the sale was finalised.  All went well and the picture, framed and everything is now happily sitting on our wall at home.

From there we drove South along Pacific Coast Highway to San Simeon where we would stay again in the San Simeon Motel 6.  This time unlike when my wonderful and I were dating we did not need 2 rooms.

Dinner was a challenge – in the end the local pizza place with a salad bar for my wonderful wife and pizza for my super son and I.

And then sleep.

Tomorrow – “Ventura Highway”

I admit it has been a while since I have been writing for this blog regularly.  Since I have been busy I put it at a lower priority.  Funnily enough in the work of the urgent someone has asked for me to write more and so having intended to start I have now posted this.

I have just returned from two weeks holiday in the US.  That is a story in itself but lets just say our frequent flyer balance is now much closer to zero than it has been for a long time.  Our bank balance is very much in the other direction but more of that story in about 2 weeks.

It is my intention to write the posts about the trips as a series of reflections entitled by movies or songs invoked by the places we visited.  You can let me know how corny these are. The reflections are as much for the extended family to hear about the trip as well as for me to write down what was happening.

A couple of important facts need to be mentioned before we start so that later comments make senes. We left on Friday June 19.  On Wednesday June 17 my wonderful wife was told she was lactose intolerant.  Considering the test had made her bed ridden this was not a surprise but threw out some planning as we now needed not only gluten free but lactose free food for her.

We also travelled with our now five year old super son.

Return tomorrow for “I left my heart in San Francisco”