Beryl Staves’ California Journey

Beryl Staves is off again for three weeks exploring parts of California.  We will keep track of our CWRT friend on these pages.

Beryl Staves' Journey to California

Format: As in the past, the top story is the latest post.  Make your way down the page to see the day before.

Day 13

Clocks in most of the world sprang ahead earlier today – exceept in AZ, which is now on CA time !!

I stayed , at my cousins until mid-afternoon, and hated to go, but I can come back again next winter !! I have to get back to Mesa to close up the castle there, and move on to Tucson. The Tucson Tango Festival begins on Wednesday, and I can hardly wait to be there !!! So – after this email, I will be silent for a couple of days before I hit the road again, and expect I will also take a break while I am in Tucson.  Once I leave Tucson, I’ll be working my way back north.  I expect to hit as many Civil War sites as possible, and also some Civil Rights sites, and Elvis’ Graceland.

That sounds a bit ambitious, particularly since Gert decided not to co-operate today, and made me find my own way from Lakeside to Mesa !!  What a brat !!!  But she can be replaced !!!

California – so wonderful – as white and cold as it is above the 49th parallel, it is green and warm, and lots of flowers are blooming down here !! All shades of purple, lilac, mauve, fuschia, yellow, pink, etc…… And the winds that were blowing finally stopped – which was a good thing, because all the tumble weeds were getting caught up against the concrete highway median barricades – so I would see literally piles of tumbleweeds !!  They’re like burrs on steroids !!

Not much to write about today, as I concentrated on making time down the interstate, and should be home by 11pm. Tomorrow I’ll begin closing up the Mesa castle…’s been a lovely season so far !!

Day 12

Yesterday’s trip to my cousin’s house turned out to be a story in itself. I drove from San Diego to their town without incident. Last year I had set my GPS with their home address so all I had to do was look in my favourites, hit the appropriate button, and I was on my way.
When I arrived mid-afternoon, no one answered the doorbell, so I thought I would run out to pick up a bottle of wine I had promised to bring with me. I didn’t pay close enough attention to the streets, and missed my turn, but I had the GPS on, so Gert recalculated (as she does). Unfortunately she had a senior’s moment, and instead of directing me to Serena Lane, she sent me to Serena Vista. The two roads are on the same mountain, and that is where the similarity ends !! One thing I should explain is that a lot of the mountain roads leading to these houses are private, so the quality of paving changes frequently. I was on a paved road, and then it became a dirt road. I was not concerned, as I knew I was on a private road, and figured I just happened upon an unpaved section. Unfortunately, there was no guardrail, and I was most definitely on the side of a mountain. I got nervous because I’m not good with heights, but went a bit further along until I could see that the dirt road got narrower, and I was seriously concerned that my minivan would not be able to travel any further along. Taking immediate defensive action, I stopped the van, turned the front wheels towards the mountain side, applied the emergency brake, and got on my cell phone to my cousins. I had 3 numbers to reach them, and it was the third call that put me through to D. I gave him my location and asked him to come and rescue me. Then I very gingerly opened the driver’s door to get out – there wasn’t a whole lot of earth underneath me, so I had to climb down a bit !! I gently shut the door, and walked several yards downhill to see if the vehicle might be able to make it downhill. NOPE – parts of the dirt path were caved in !! ( I don’t think I had begun breathing yet !!) I started back uphill and connected with D.   MY HERO !!! He parked his car, went down to mine, and backed it up to the paved roadway.   MY HERO !!! Then I followed him to my cousin’s house, where not too many minutes later I was drinking a large glass of wine.
I am telling you this, because with all the planning and care I take to ensure I’ll be safe – this time I managed to get into a bit of a jackpot !!! If the story had not ended well, then I wouldn’t be able to tell you how later on, we went out for dinner to a lovely Italian restaurant, with all kinds of wonderful food  !! Still at my cousin’s – on the side of a mountain !!!

  Day 11

What a day I have had !!! I have to describe the mountains as I travel along Interstate 15 through southern California. The ones to my left look like giant piles of sand /dirt, while the ones to my right are green, covered with green trees and vegetation.  Further along the road, the mountains have huge boulders that are popping out through the vegetation so they look like over-sized polka dots. A few more miles and I’m sure I’m looking at grape vines lined along the side of the mountain side.  And every now and again, there is a mountain top with a clump of communication towers on top like a giant birthday candle ( but only when you squint as you look at it).  Travelling down I-15 is VERY picturesque  – unlike 1-95 in Florida that has absolutely no scenery !!

This morning before I left the hotel, I checked out the Food Network web site to find an interesting local place to have lunch.  Normally I get into conversations with local residents and ask for their recommendations, but as I was going to be on the highway and covering a few miles, I knew I would not have the same opportunity to chat, so would have to change my tactics.  I settled on the Studio Diner in San Diego.  It was seen on Diners Drive-ins and Dives, one of my favourite shows, and one of their specialties was the Monte Cristo sandwich – another favourite !!  When I arrived just after 11:30 am, the crowds waiting to get in for lunch were spilled out into the parking lot – but once again, being a party of one and being able to sit at the counter got me a 10 minute wait instead of a 35 minute wait !!  I ordered the Monte Cristo sandwich, and didn’t recognize it immediately, because it is deep fried !!  The plate looked like it had 4 small golden pyramids on it with cole slaw and a raspberry compote as a relish for the sandwich.  The pyramids were so hot, I couldn’t hold them so used the knife and fork to cut them apart.  WOW !!!  Amazing !!!  I’m not sure how to describe it any further – you’ll just have to come down and try one for yourself. I’ve been eating Monte Cristo’s for years, and this one was the best one yet.

Earlier this morning as I was travelling down I-15, I let my mind wander a bit – it’s either early onset dementia or genius, and I prefer to think it is the latter.  Anyway, I’m thinking how happy I am, and it’s because there haven’t been any folks on cell phones poking along in front of me !!  Just then I realize I need to pass the car ahead of me.  And guess what ? – it’s a woman on her cell phone – best part – she is gesturing with her right hand while talking !! which has me wondering who is driving the car ??  She must have had a great front end wheel alignment, which as everyone knows, is what you need when executing hands free driving !!

My destination after lunch was the Hotel Coronado.  It is also on the National Registry of Historic Places, having been a hotel since the late 1800’s.  And it has distinctive architecture, and built right on the Pacific Ocean, and has a really cute little community of retired admirals and other navy people built around it.  About 5 minutes after I got back on the highway after lunch, I happened to glance to my right and saw a causeway, way up in the air.  As Gert the GPS appeared to be taking me further south, I began to breath again. BUt she fooled me, and had me turn, and wouldn’t you know it, my routing was taking me right over that bridge – only about a 100 miles in the air to accommodate ocean going vessels to be able to go underneath !!!!  I hate these things, but there was no way I could turn back !!! Anyway – my reason for going to the Coronado had to do with Rudolph Valentino.  Last summer, when I was looking at Youtube videos of him, I came across a scene from one of his films.  He and a female actress come out of a bath house, and run into the Pacific Ocean.  They come out of the water, he suggests a race down the beach and points in the direction they are to race. The camera turns around and now I am looking at the Hotel Coronado and its pier (which no longer exists).  I wanted to see what the area looked like now – how much has it changed? I knew the pier was gone. So I found the same street as in the film clip, and the sand and ocean looked the same, but the buildings had changed. The bath house is now a parking lot, and a 7-storey condo has arisen so the same viewpoint of the Hotel Coronado is lost.  But the idea of walking in Valentino’s footsteps was fun.

Tonight I am at my cousins east of San Diego, and there is another whole story there !!!!!

California Day 10.5

Tonight I am in Riverside California, southeast of downtown LA. That it took all day to get here is a story in itself !!

I didn’t pull out of Laughlin until mid-morning, but figured a 38 mile drive to Kingman was going to be a piece of cake. The mountains around me were so ugly they were beautiful. Whoever named the “Badlands” in North Dakota never saw these !!  And of course, they wouldn’t have been complete without a bit of humour by Mother Nature thrown in – one of the mtn peaks looked like a clenched fist with the middle finger extended skyward !!  Really !!!

As I crossed through Union Pass @ 3500 feet elev. I could see the valley below. There were a whole lot of “houses” there, and I was wondering what the attraction could be for someone to live there. Eventually I did find someone with the answer – apparently it is a “bedroom community” for Laughlin and Bullhead – but apparently there are no building codes or rules, so once you buy your acreage, you can put whatever you want on it.  That certainly explained the variety of “houses”.  So different from suburban Ottawa !!

In Kingman, I discovered I had another 3 1/2 hr drive to get to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and further east to boot, so I decided to check out Kingman, and glad I did. The entire downtown area is on the National Registry of Historic Places. For me, one of the most important sights was the 200+ year old mesquite tree. It used to be part of the mesquite forest that existed in the late 1880’s. I honour the mesquite tree, I revere the mesquite tree – because it helps to make some great barbeque !! Kingman is also at the center of the longest remaining stretch of Historic Route 66 – and I actually considered taking the original road into California, but it’s on the bucket list to take the whole route from Illinois to the west coast…… Kingman is also the hometown of Andy Devine – a movie actor of about 50 years ago?

Kingman, in October 1857, hosted Lt Edward Beale with a survey team and 33 camels…the same camels that were at Drum Barracks in California.

Next down the Interstate was Needles – home to Spike, Snoopy’s brother.  Further down the  highway, was Proving Ground Road, and I was hoping it led to a car testing facility – and it did.  Those ads on TV that always say “vehicle tested on a closed course, professional driver” and there was the real thing !! Made me excited !! I always thought ripping a hot car around a closed course would have to be one of the best jobs in the whole world !!  Then I grew up ?

Then there was the sign declaring the “California Desert Conservation Area” – I think there’s an oxymoron in there.  Really?? What is there to conserve??  – no real plants, no animals, no people, no water, no towns, no rest areas, no nothing !!! Even thinking back to the Grasslands Park in southern Saskatchewan, and the natural grasses area saved in Manitoba, and trying to think from a Mother Earth point of view – I still couldn’t see much reason for saving the desert. Now, if it had been dessert – count me in !!

As night was falling, once again I was passing through Victorville ( I just came north through here a week ago). Coming closer into LA, I caught sight of the largest full moon I’ve seen in a while. I figured it must have something to do with all those poor Californian cars – none of them have turn signals, and very few have brakes.   Very disconcerting to drive behind !!

By tomorrow night I should be at my cousins, east of San Diego. I have some sight seeing to do before I get there, which will surely take up another day!!  I have not yet danced in the Pacific… Still looking to get my feet wet……..Beryl

Day 6-10

Laughlin Nevada – WOW !!!  When I arrived after dark, I got to experience the impact of the lights and glitz of the casinos out in the middle of nowhere !!  In the daylight, I felt like an insect travelling around the bottom of a gravel pit/quarry/ above ground mine ?

Nevada, Day 6-10

The mountains and high desert are all a sand colour and gravel-ly with very little green vegetation for contrast. My friends from Mesa met up with me, and we have been non-stop for the last 4 days…….we’ve tried the slot machines in all the casinos, and managed to come out ahead.  Always a nice way to end up !!

Laughlin, Nevada

Last night  I found the only tango class for truly miles around !!  What a hoot!!  I never have a bad time dancing – but the Ginger Rogers award is still miles off !!!  This part of the world is having serious high winds, and flights out of Las Vegas have been cancelled. Travel warnings are issued for tall vehicles….and it almost makes snow look tame in comparison. Boy – never thought I would say that !!!

Today I am going to head east to see the south rim of the Grand Canyon. In other centuries, I have not stopped to see this most amazing wonder of the world (so I’ve been told) It’s time to check it out. The photos in magazines and those travel shows always make it look so great. Will it be as impressive in person?

From the Grand Canyon I am heading down to the San Diego area and my cousins (this is your warning of my impending arrival, although I will call and let you know when I’ll actually get there) The roads will actually have me back track a bit, and it looks like I am going to be crossing the high desert most of the afternoon.   I am going to miss my coffee breaks at the Brown Bear Coffee Den – a wonderful haven (no slot machines jangling) with great coffee and muffins, and a strong wifi connection. Book mark this on your GPS for future reference…..the next time you want to know what it feels like to be an insect in a gravel pit !!!     HA HA HA

Day 5

Hi folks – I am safely in Laughlin NV.  This is not where I had expected to be when I started out today, but it works !! Had some successful retail therapy at Neiman Marcus this morning.  Then climbed into the van and headed off for adventures in Vegas!!   Part of the adventure was getting there, as I had picked out a hotel to stay at off the Strip, then found out they had jacked up their room rates significantly – there is some basketball thing going on in town this weekend. Went back to the vehicle to phone to hotel #2, and discovered my phone was out of time – so now I had to try and find a grocery store that would have the right card. Three stops and an hour later, and I still was out of phone time, except that now I was feeling a bit out of patience with myself. Although, on the positive side of things, I did find a casino way way off the Strip that has 24 hour bingo !!  I can’t even imagine such a thing.  The other thing I noticed off the Strip were the businesses that are closed – you don’t see that side of things when you are looking at the casinos and stuff on the Strip !!

I was given directions to an electronics store that should have had a phone card I could buy, but this meant a second trip down the Strip – and of course the traffic was horrific, although the slow pace also had a plus side to it, as I could look at all the new casinos. I haven’t been in Vegas since May 2005, and didn’t recognize the place !!  There has been so much new construction, and almost all those horrible tee shirt shops are gone – replaced by the biggest casinos I have ever seen. One of the new ones is called Mandalay Palace – and it stretched so far – it’s size rivalled that of several small European countries.  Maybe I’m exaggerating, and maybe I’m not !! Anyway, when I finally got close to the electronics store, I missed the entrance to it, and there was road construction everywhere, so it wasn’t going to be easy getting back to it. At that point, I gave up ( insert choice blue words here) and set Gert (my GPS) for Laughlin.   Earlier in the day I had a plan to wander through the Paris Casino – they have living statues like on Montmartre in Paris, and I thought I would see if I could hunt down some macarons. Then I was going to go over to the Luxor to see the early show with Criss Angel and Cirque de Soleil called Believe.

However, my life doesn’t often go according to plan – so I have once again crossed the high desert, and gotten myself organized in Laughlin. I am meeting some other folks from Mesa here on Sunday, and we will be here until Thursday. I am going to go exploring tomorrow – as this is one of those “tri-state areas” that Americans have but Canadians don’t. Laughlin Nevada sits on the north shore of the Colorado River, Bullhead Arizona sits on the south shore of the river, and forty miles to the west is Needles California. Needles is home to Snoopy’s brother Spike !!   Must go now and collect my $5.00 gambling promotion for signing up for one of those player cards. Woo hoo…..

Day 4 & 5

I have to share my experience at the Huntington Library.  It was quite the place. Bonus – admission was free !!  Something not advertised !!

I did indeed see the “Blue Boy” and “Pinkie”. Amazing !!!  They are so closely linked, that I had always thought they were painted by the same guy – but not so.  The room they are displayed in has quite a few other paintings by Gainsborough, and the moment was not unlike going through the Louvre !!  One of the other things I loved looking at were the French tapestries.  Queen Elizabeth has quite a collection ( I got to see them at the V&A a few years ago). The intricacy of the work is mind-blowing considering the century they were made in !!! But my most favourite things of all were the books on display – Bibles handwritten in the 1400’s, Audobon’s book of bird drawings, documents relating to the formation of the United States as a country, and the American Civil War. One book was written by Sherman, and pages shown were his description of taking Atlanta, and movine his army east. (I think I got that right – quite frankly I was so taken with seeing it, my jaw was on the floor !!)

After the Huntington, I had to make a choice, stay in the area, and try to visit more spectacular museums, or move on !! The Sierra Madre mountains had grey clouds hiding their peaks, and the wind is gusting, so I felt it prudent to drive on. Next scheduled stop is Las Vegas.  Actually, I stopped in Victorville to have dinner at a local diner, and get gas for the vehicle.  I think the diner has been there for forever – the turquoise upholstery looked like it had been there forever !!  Stopping at Victorville was a bit sad.  This is where my heroes Roy Rogers and Dale Evans lived back in the day. I got to see their museum when it was still open there.  Of course, the museum was moved to Branson Missouri, failed miserably, and the entire contents sold at auction a few years back.

Crossing I-15 was spooky – up there in the high desert, there are no towns, and the only lights are the two ribbons of cars moving north and south.  When I eventually arrived in Primm Nevada, I thought I would stop for the night, and go to their outlet mall Friday. I think I need retail therapy – I probably don’t really “need ” it – but I’m going to take some time to wander. On Sunday, I am meeting up with folks from Mesa in Laughlin NV.

In the meantime, I’m going to explore Vegas – haven’t been here in years, and I always think of it as a circus for adults – the place is so over the top !! Wish you were all here with me…

Day 4

I’m good.  Had a long day then ran into a hiccup getting wifi connection. I’m in Primm Nevada on the California Nevada border, and shall be here tomorrow for some retail therapy at Neiman Marcus.!!! iT’S ALL GOOD

Day 3

It was a lovely day in Los Angeles today – blue sky, warm temps. Today was musem day !!!   American Civil War news – Since I began studying the American Civil War, I have learned so much. (Thanks you guys!!)

Today I was at a great museum called the Drum Barracks, and learned about California’s involvement. It is so terrific to be able to travel and just happen across wonderful sites like this one. I spent a couple of hours there, and have all sorts of material to share once I get back north.   Next, I chose the Paley Centre for Media – but the exhibit I hoped to see had not been fully installed yet, so I moved on to the Petersen Automotive Museum. I’m a bit of a car girl….well, I’m a bit of everything girl…. but the cars were so excellent. And not all the vehicles were inside the building, some were parked in the parking garage !!  What a hoot.

As I was driving to the car museum, I realized I was passing Spago, (famous LA restaurant) and parked on the street across from it was a brand new black Rolls Royce. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to park and check it out, or I would have. ( the Rolls that is ). And I passed the Jim Henson Studios, where an over-size Kermit the Frog channeling Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp, stands on the roof above the main entrance. Only in Hollywood !!!

Since 1990, I have been tracking down buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright. This is a huge item on my bucket list. Today I went looking for the Ennis House. It is one of his more spectacular projects, and I am here to tell you it was a jaw-dropping moment for me. Photos do not do it justice. It is built halfway up a mountain, and the views from the patios were breath taking !!!  After I saw Ennis House, I felt there was nothing left to see in LA (except maybe Johnny Depp) so hopped on the freeway going north. As I’m motoring along enjoying the scenery, I spotted an exit sign for the Huntington Library, and exited. I thought I was heading towards a large art gallery but apparently the complex has over 200 acres, several buildings housing books and art, and several gardens.  H and D of Winnipeg have been there, and always said I should see it – so tomorrow I shall. I think I’m mostly looking forward to Audubon’s Birds of America. I’m hoping he drew the turkey vulture !!  Love them !!!

Anyway, after I left the Huntington, I found myself driving down Colorado Blvd, and it suddenly hit me – this is the street the Rose Bowl parade goes down every January 1 – how freaking cool is that !!!  So I went end to end in both directions, before stopping for supper at a British pub. They had the best bangers and mash ever, with green peas that tasted like they just came out of a garden – and on the TV was a soccer game between England and the Netherlands.  What a great way to end the day !! I am so lucky !!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What a crazy day!!!  I spent most of the morning travelling south to the Long Beach area. The drive was interesting enough, as the sky is blue this morning, and the sun is shining. However, news reports say you have to have chains on your car when travelling in the mountains. Yesterday’s snow stuck around !!

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Web Page

As I approached my morning destination, I realized that among the businesses and houses there were active oil wells pumping, surrounded by tidy little fences  – very odd – especially since the first one I spotted was in the parking lot of a bar/restaurant. At first I thought it must be some sort of gimmick, until I realized there were about a dozen more wells in the area.

On to Hollywood – and the Hollywood Forever cemetery. The descriptions in the tourist books do not do it justice. It is quite a large property and filled with all sorts of tombstomes belonging to ordinary folks. There is a gift/flower shop near the entrance that sells maps for $5. identifying where the celebrities are buried. Mel Blanc is buried in the Jewish section. Don Adams (Get Smart) is buried in the Russian Orthodox section. Douglas Fairbanks is reported to have the most elaborate tomb there, and it may have been in the day, but I saw several others that were over the top ostentatious !! There is a fairly large flock of peacocks, who wander the grounds, with pens for nighttime? The cemetery grounds used to be part of the Paramount Studios backlot, so along the one end of the cemetery you can see the backs of ugly soundstages. Rudolph Valentino is indeed buried there near a large stained glass window that looked like it should have been created by Tifffany.

After the cemetery, I drove up into Beverly Hills to see Valentino’s last home – well at least what remains. The site is on the side of a mountain, and looks out over everything – so amazing!!  The main house was pulled down a few years ago when the current owner’s renovations weren’t going too well. The main gates and servants quarters still exist. Someone lives there, and the road ends there so it’s difficult to be discreet and be nosy at the same time. It is apparently a true story that Rudolph and Douglas Fairbanks used to ride their horses down to Hollywood Blvd and go for drinks at Frank and Musso’s restaurant. I drove the route, and that would have been a really good ride (about 10 miles) – one that would certainly have created a thirst !!

The other thing I noticed about Beverly Hills, besides the huge homes with tall fences and shrubs shielding them for the most part, was the fire hydrants painted silver….sparkly silver !!

I went into Frank & Musso’s to have one of their martinis (a house specialty) The place has been in business since 1919, so you have to know they are doing something right.

When I was heading back to my vehicle, I got some directions from a couple of LAPD’s finest. They warned me that the park I was looking for tended to be a haven for homeless persons, a point I duly noted, but no one was in the park when I got there. I made a quick trip into the park to see the statue called Aspiration, and a bust of Valentino, I hadn’t known was there. The oddest thing about this statue, was that when I was in Disney World in Florida in November, I was in one of the tee shirt shops at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, ( and you have to know that the theme of the buildings is art deco/old California) and this particulat tee shirt shop had a couple of statues behind the cashier, which were small reproductions of the Aspiration statue. I recognized them right away, and I was probably the only person there who knew what they were or cared !!  My brain collects too much trivia !!

Hollywood was nifty – the old architecture was breath taking. Seeing the Kodak theatre where the Oscars were given out Sunday night was exciting. I also went down to the Farmer’s Market, and found real French Macarons !!!  I love kitchen gadgets, even though I don’t cook, and picked up a new kind of potato masher. I located the silent movie theatre, but the timing was wrong to stop. I called about getting tickets to Iris, a Cirque de Soleil production but they are on a break until the end of March. I’m disappointed.

And then I came back to Anaheim to be closer to Disney for tomorrow. However, that plan has now changed. First of all, everyone in Anaheim has gone crazy – I passed a long line of cars with their 4-way flashers on. Turns out those folks are waiting to get into the free parking lot for 6am tomorrow morning. And – other folks will be allowed to camp out beginning at 10pm tonight, to get into the park at 6am. And – the first 200 in the gates will get a free hat. On a slow day, Disney gets thousands in the park, so tomorrow should be a mob scene.

Like I said, it was a crazy day, but it sure was fun !!!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Well, they say everything happens for a reason. I had pictured myself getting an early start from Mesa, and spending tonight on a beach at Pismo Beach looking out at the stars and dancing in the Pacific Ocean.    Reality  !!!  I left Mesa five hours later than planned. The drive west across the desert was taken up with high winds and blowing dust storms.  Because I got the late start, I cancelled the Pismo Beach idea, and headed right into Los Angeles.  When I got to Palm Springs, it began to rain, first a fine mist, then a torrential downpour.  I don’t mind driving in bad weather, but then the rain turned to snow.  Really? I’m in “sunny” California !!!

Eventually, as I headed south towards Anaheim, the rain tapered off but did not entirely stop. Fortunately, Gert (my trusty GPS) had my destination in Anaheim in her memory, and I arrived safely.

I am going to stay in the Los Angeles area for at least the next three days, to sightsee at a few museums, and see Hollywood.

Rudoph Valentino A Sainted Devil (1924), Paramount Pictures

Did everyone watch the Oscars last night? In 1895 (117 yrs ago) the movie industry was invented. In 1927 when the first Oscars were awarded, the best picture was a silent film “Wings”. Now eight-four years later, the best picture was once again a silent film “The Artist”. For all the technological changes that have occurred over the decades, what captured the prize was the strength of a great story !!

Last Spring, when I began studying film making, I became a fan of Rudolph Valentino (and Charlie Chaplin and Clara Bow and a few others) but it was Valentino who led me to dancing. He was the first movie idol to die early – only 31 yrs old. There has been a fan base that has never disappeared. His grave site is the scene of an annual memorial ceremony. There is a statue in De Longpre Park dedicated to him. Frank & Musso’s Restaurant where he and Douglas Fairbanks would drink is still in business. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So – I am going to do all the fan stuff, and see what there is to see.

On Leap Year Day, February 29th, Disneyland is going to be open from 6am until 6am on March 01st. I can’t pass up an opportunity like that. Alice in Wonderland and the teacups here I come !! Keep your fingers crossed that the rain won’t continue !!

Cheers, penned as Beryl.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hello ……   I’m back on the road tomorrrow.  The past few months in Mesa Arizona have been lots of fun, but I am anxious to get back on the road to explore !! My idea (at the moment) is to head over to Pismo Beach, located a couple of hours north of Los Angeles up the Pacific coast. I am planning on camping on the beach and dancing in the Pacific ocean under the stars!!

There are so many things I want to see and do in Los Angeles that I have had to edit my original to-do list – but one thing is unchanged – I am going to be having a whole lot of fun !!!

Thanks for joining me on my travels. I might be driving on my own, but I know you’re all in the back seat via the emails. Don’t forget,  the series of stories that began at the end of October 2011 chronicling the trip from Ottawa Ontario to Mesa is found at That three week journey was just over 6600 miles long !!  Some of you have been with me since day one, and some of you have joined along the way !!

Penned as Beryl  (took the name from my favourite female aviatrix Beryl Markham)