- Monday, April 15, 2002

After leaving LV twice (forgot the skis the first time), we took several hours driving to the oasis of Rancho Cucamonga, CA (better know as Rancho Relaxo by it's chief resident Greg Larratt). We stayed through the weekend at the plush Chez Larratt and watched DVD's on his sweet home entertainment system and ate for 3 straight days. The smog was so thick (like fog, couldn't see the mountains 5-10 miles away) that we didn't feel motivated get outside and exercise. Thanks Greg!

Our next adventure was navigating the perpetually crappy LA traffic on route to visit our friends Margot & David and their baby Isabella (cute and the best behaved baby on the planet) Ocanas who live in Hollywood. The journey took us down Hollywood Blvd past the camera-toting tourists visiting the Walk of Fame & Mann's Chinese Theater. It's not as exciting or big as it appears on E!, but I can see why our friends moved there. We felt like we were in NYC as people were walking around late and stores and shops were open until all hours. They have a great apartment right on Hollywood Blvd that felt like a bed & breakfast -- lots of space and beautiful garden patio & hammock. Our visit lasted three relaxing days complete with good company, yummy food and a walk/hike in two local parks (still very smoggy).

We took a side trip to Manhattan Beach to see the Pacific and grab some lunch. Luck was with us as the smog and clouds cleared off and we enjoyed sunny warm temps and a nice breeze off the ocean. Our next trip back to LA will be longer as we would like to do more exploring of the beach towns and the city.

Up till now, this trip has seemed more like an extended vacation visiting family & friends. It's starting to hit home that we aren't going back to work for quite a while. That is, if we are able to stick to our budget plan and continue to enjoy Ramen noodles and cans of soup in our van instead of going out to Mexican 4x's a week. You'd think that we'd have ample time to plan extensively our next journey (Europe), but with constantly being on the road there isn't much time to be productive planners and take advantage of the internet. We are heading to Seattle to see Dave's family & friends and hope to have enough down time to plan a significant portion of the next 9 months. This next part of our adventure will see us heading to Europe in late May until September/October followed by a return to the US for a short road trip. We will then be heading to Australia/New Zealand or South America from November/December until mid-Spring of 2003.

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