“Things are tough all over, cupcake, an’ it rains on the just an’ the unjust alike…except in California.”
― Alan Moore, Watchmen
I get why people fall in love with California now that I have stood on its shores and heard the rumbling bass of the ocean.
Having been born, raised and lived all my life in the Midwest, I’m used to hearing about California being a dreamland of movie stars, surfers and bikinis. California is considered to be the promised land of the US for many reasons. I understand why after being in Malibu.
I don’t want to admit how much weather has an affect on me, but it just does. My wife is the same way. In the Midwest, you learn to cherish the days of sunshine and blue skies because you don’t know when you will see them again. I do love snow and the colors of the changing seasons of Michigan and Wisconsin, but there is something deeply satisfying about it always being sunny and warm. The weather in California was beautiful the entire time we were there, with the exception of one day of much needed rain.
My mother and sister flew out from Chicago to Burbank to visit with my aunt, and met us just outside of Los Angeles. We visited for a few days and shared some good laughs that included yet another trip to the In-and-Out burger joint. Man those things are addicting. We have driven by at every hour of the day and the place is always packed.
My aunt has lived in California all her life near the production studios of several entertainment companies. She had great stories to tell about her career in the entertainment business as a executive secretary. She too was born in the Midwest and migrated to California in her 20′s. She admits that its been the weather that has kept her here all these years. We filled 2 grocery bags with fresh oranges and lemons from the trees she had in her backyard. Austin and mom used the lemons to make lemonade one afternoon. I don’t think it lasted 2 hours before it was gone.
From the outskirts of LA we drove to our primary destination – an RV park overlooking the ocean in Malibu, otherwise known as ‘the Bu’. It took some maneuvering of our 30′ fifth wheel up the side of a small mountainside and backing into a campsite that was clearly designed for camper sizes that existed 40 years ago.
Whats even better is the audience you have when you are trying to navigate in. You’re tired and onry from the drive and you just want to get the beast parked and the sewer hose connected so you can relax. Some veteran RVers are always there to ‘coach’ you whether you want help or not. Regardless, its always in good humor and we parked our mobile home with the tail end hanging off a small cliff and a picturesque view of the ocean out our window.
The highlight of the week was being able to spend a week with long time friends for Thanksgiving. 3 couples and 8 kids thrown together for a week was nothing but a chaotic great time. The girls spent days in the kitchen preparing a variety of delicious foods. Several bottles of wine mysteriously went missing. I was on call to make my homemade margaritas. The food and laughs were plentiful and memories were made.
As much as possible, our days were spent surfing and nights were spent in good conversation. Backgammon battles, pool, ping-pong, and darts (with an occasional cigar thrown in for good measure) was also included in the festivities. On our last day in the park, we were visited by dolphins just a couple hundred yards offshore. In another life, I would have been a marine biologist because of my love for creatures of the water.
It was hard to leave Malibu and California in general. Harder than I thought it would be, probably because its been a while since we’ve been with close friends and with kids our boy’s age. Something about it makes you take life a little lighter. For the most part, the people are friendly and most take pride in their state. You understand why some people will live in their cars just to be near the endless beaches and surf.
Malibu marked the halfway point in our journey with the next leg heading toward Arizona, Texas and then Louisiana. We have found our groove for the most part. We are always in process of managing our own expectations of just how much can be done and seen with each destination we arrive at.
Conversations sometimes drift to plans after the trip ends next fall, but we do our best to quickly steer things back to living in the present moment – something I admit I am very much a novice at still. I am convinced that this lifestyle of travel, living light, and collecting experiences is important and necessary for me personally to feel really alive. Contentment, in my opinion, is WAY overrated.
Next on the docket: Christmas in Arizona! Until then, stay unruly.