Posted by: sunnyharvy | January 21, 2014

From the Desert to the Sea

First we must thank our dear friend MaryEllen for allowing us to use her house in Indio, CA as our home base for nearly a month. Her generosity allowed us to slow down and regroup after our cross country trek. We now feel refreshed and ready to move on again.

Al braved Interstate Route #10 across the heartland of Southern California dodging heavy traffic that included lots of double tractor trailers and large RVs towing automobiles. He seemed more relaxed about it all than I felt and did a great job of getting us to our next stop at the home of Joe and Jackie, our Boondocker’s Welcome hosts, in Manhattan Beach.


Shortly after our arrival our hosts took us on a beachfront walk at sunset. We enjoyed beautiful natural views as well as some excellent people watching. Unfortunately, some of the beauty of this sunset was caused by smoke from inland fires sparked by the Santa Ana wind conditions that also brought the gloriously warm weather.


We enjoyed the ocean view from their driveway high on the hill where we secured haRVy for the night. Joe even had custom boards to level our rig for comfortable sleeping.

The next day we drove up the coast a bit. In Playa del Rey we road our bikes along the beach bike path (right on the sand) and around the marina in Marina del Rey. Because we couldn’t find a place to park haRVy in Venice Beach, we just did a drive-through before reaching our final destination for the day in Santa Monica. Once haRVy was securely parked, we took another sunset walk along the beautiful park on the bluffs overlooking the beach. Later that evening my high-school chum Jeanne and her husband Peter hosted us and a few other guests for a delicious home-cooked meal with convivial conversation in their charming Art Deco apartment.

Since we found ourselves just 10 miles from one of the best automotive museums in North America – the Petersen – Al insisted we spend a day there. One of the things that makes this museum unique is the first floor, which is dedicated to the Streetscape, a realistic walk-through diorama chronicling the evolution of Los Angeles and the automobile from the turn of the 20th Century through today. Automobiles are placed in the context of their incredibly detailed environments to create an educational and entertaining experience for enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. I appreciated the work and creativity that went into the displays as much as the cars.






One of the current exhibits features all sorts of pick-up trucks from a Studebaker “convertible” with a removal bed to this beauty.


Another features “Fantastic Fins” of the 50’s and 60’s including this extreme example as well as one of Jane Mansfield’s pink cars.

What we couldn’t take photos of were the 100+ cars in the “Vault.” For an additional fee we took a fascinating guided tour of the basement where some of their most exceptional cars are stored, including a $30 million Bugatti that was owned by the Shah of Iran and the one-of-a-kind 1925/34 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Aerodynamic Coupe known as “The Round Door Rolls“. There are photos of most of the other cars here, if I have whetted your appetite for more.

At the end of our day at the museum, we headed north up the Pacific Coast Highway to Pt. Mugu Naval Base where we spent the next two nights enjoying their beach campground. You can’t beat ocean front property at $30 a night. This price included direct access to the private beach and the usual hookups, plus cable TV, free coffee and daily newspaper. What a deal! Never expected that Al’s working for the federal government would eventually provide perks like this!





The photo above shows just a portion of our panoramic view from haRVy. This headland reminded us of Hawaii, just a bit. In any case, being there felt a little like paradise, especially after dealing with LA traffic, which we were happy to leave behind.


I will sign off with another sunset shot from Manhattan Beach for my readers in New England. Summer will come around to you again…eventually!


  1. Nice to see you ‘on the road again’ (not including LA traffic) !

  2. I love the sunset photos. California dreamin’

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