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We needed this day to regroup before we started our trek back up to Seattle.

Top on list for Jeff.  Resurface the roof of the motor home because he was going to stop the leak we had one way or another.

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Top on the kids list. Swimming and a fashion show with all of the clothes that were given to us by a couple in Wyoming.  You may ask why we were given clothes?  I am still asking the same questions and have been pondering how to write about our experience with this couple without sounding too negative.  But here you will get see the wool clothing that was given to us in case a sudden ice age hits.

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Top on my list.  Check out this place called Runyon Canyon.  I made it there…well just outside the gate.  There are no pictures to show of Runyon Canyon.  The only picture I have of this day is the insurance car of the truck I backed into while trying to turn around.  Always remember to shift the car to drive when moving forward.  Reverse takes you to places you never need to be, especially when most of LA is watching you.  I never did make through those gates of Runyon Canyon, next time.  And the drive home… that’s a whole other story.  People talk about the traffic in LA but for me I had a hard time keeping up with the insanely fast pace.  Pure and simple… driving in LA sucked for me!


We are headed back north, with the sights and smells of Interstate 5 right by our sides.

This smell… like no other I have experienced thus far on this cross country adventure.  It silenced my family of 6 as we all pinched our noses and held our breath.

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A few more sights…

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We are anxious to get back north where the water is fresh and lands are green and lush.  But we leave here with a new attitude about clean water.  As we saw dying farms and dusty dry lands it prompted much conversation around this natural resource called water.   We take it for granted that when we turn our faucets on and water our lawns that water will always be there.  California is hurting, farms are dwindling, farmers have no work.  I don’t have a solution to this problem but what I do know is that this entire country relies on California for much of their produce.  Praying for a miracle! 



Our Thanksgiving plans were… well we didn’t really have any.  We thought maybe we would be in Redwoods National Park or maybe the Oregon coast.  We weren’t really sure how or if we were going to be cooking a turkey.  After we decided to head south to LA to visit friends we knew Thanksgiving would now be celebrated there.  But what we didn’t know was that we were going to be invited to my friend’s brother’s house for the big meal.

Thank you to John and Renu for opening up your beautiful home(of 2 weeks) to us for a Thanksgiving feast.  And to my dear friend and Jersey girl Sherry for cooking. What a day?

Can you tell these kids had some fun?

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We got to hold a one hundred trillion dollar bill… yes please!

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And take a picture with an Emmy Award.



And be reminded how thankful we are for good friendships!





We figured since we were in the Santa Monica area that we would reach out to our friend Alex who lives there.  He was excited to hear from us and just as excited to offer to take us out to lunch in Malibu…. he didn’t have to twist our arms, we were excited to see him and be treated to lunch.


It was great to see our friend and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with you Alex.  Thank you!

Hanging outside the restaurant.  Note Makenzie, she is reading.



Walking on the beach. Note Makenzie in the background, reading.



A little bit of cliff jumping.  I love these pictures.  Note Makenzie, you guessed it, she is still reading.

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Dipping our toes in the Pacific and Makenzie is still reading.



In every picture I have from this day Makenzie is reading but there were moments she took in the view and felt the frigid pacific ocean waters splash on her toes.  This kid… I’m so in love with her.


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So when you get a message on your phone that your friend is flying from NJ to LA for Thanksgiving and you happen to also be in Cali but 7 hours away, what do you do?  You remind yourself that you are currently living in an RV and that traveling is your way of life.  Then you call that friend back and tell her that you will see her in 2 days.

So look who I found in Santa Monica 2 days later:






We were also loving the blue skies and the warm weather here in LA.

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At some point some guy on the pier threw a snake around Koah’s neck and all the kids necks for that matter.  It was a pretty sneaky way to then ask for a donation to help a cause that I don’t seem to remember the name of.



We also got our first taste at a trampoline park with our friends.

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This was a really great start to our time with friends here in Southern California.



Much of this tour was focused on how hard Jelly Belly works to perfect the flavor of their jelly beans.  We were told that there are scientists on site that extract flavors from, say an orange and work diligently to give an accurate, as most exact possible flavor of an orange in a jelly bean.  So when I saw these flavors, I questioned how this was entirely possible.



We also learned that these jelly beans go through a long process and only make the cut if they are perfect.  If they are not perfect they are considered a belly flop and get rerouted and then bagged to only be sold at a Jelly Belly factory.



They also have artists that take pictures and recreate the picture with jelly beans.



We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and left with jelly belly ache from all the free jelly beans we ate.

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And yes, we were required to wear these hats.




The original idea was that we would spend two days here, those 2 days were scaled back to one when a friend called to tell us she and her family were in L.A. (but that is a post for another day).  And since we sat in traffic a long while trying to cross the Bay Bridge, our time here was short but sweet. 

First stop: Lafayette Park- I had shown Koah a picture I had taken of this park a year prior.  This was one of the spots that he requested we stop at.


Second stop: Mosaic Steps


Third Stop: Lunch and Dessert on Fillmore Ave.


Fourth and Final Stop: Randall Museum.  This museum had the perfect mix of activities for our family.

For the animal lover: An area of the museum dedicated to the animals.



For the hiker: A short trail just outside the museum doors.  The top offered some killer views of the city.



For the engineer:  Build a skyscraper and see if it can withstand the shaking of the board it is built on, like an earthquake.  This was tons of fun for all.

Construction Fail



More lessons on plate tectonics.



For the my model:



I loved this little place.  For a majority of the time we were the only people there.  I don’t know San Francisco very well but this place seemed to be tucked away in a little place that not many people knew existed.  I highly recommend this place especially on a clear day.




We ventured back into old town mainly because we were told by a local to not miss the old hardware store.  The kids were told that they had “old fashioned” toys that were out in the open to play with and also available for purchase. 

I must say it was a cool looking hardware store, far different than your local Home Depot.


As for the toys, I liked the fact that most were made out of wood.  Many were the standard puzzle type games/toys that can be found just about anywhere.  They were super expensive and the kids did not want to use their money here.  It is funny how they think twice about their purchasing when it is their money involved, not mine. Smile 

Freya spent more time playing on this box (pictures behind her) than she did in the hardware store.



We had some fun taking photos in a little park we found at the bottom of these stairs.  This was the street level at some point in time, although the sign at the park didn’t explain when or why… or at least I can’t remember if it did.

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How could we leave the heart of the 1848 California Gold Rush without sifting for a little gold ourselves… well, fools gold.  And if anybody was going to find it, it was going to be this guy.




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I was very surprised how quiet this old town was.  We stopped in the visitors center and the woman working explained that this was not at all unusual hence much of the vacant store fronts.  But there were two store fronts that did grab our attention while we were walking and talking, learning a bit about the California Gold Rush.



Need I say more… but I will.  Upon entering we were told that we each could sample 3 pieces of candy.  Sweet… no pun intended!!  It was a long process to decide on just what 3 pieces made the cut. 


While still deciding we were all offered a chocolate covered cricket.  The general consensus…it tasted just like a Kit Kat.



Store Front #2


Danny shared his struggles with owning a small donut business, especially at this time of year when there are days that the cost to open the shop exceeds the profit he makes in selling donuts.  Do stop here if you are in town, Danny makes a great mini donut!

Can you tell?

Licking the bag.
Licking fingers.