Southern California
April, 1999

 The wind blows up a lot of dust in the desert during the spring months.  It also starts to get hot -- between 90 - 100 degrees everyday; so we headed for the coast.

This is Jeff Bartlett.  I worked with Jeff at Boeing. 

Jeff, you just completed implementing a major four year project to re-engineer Boeing's production systems. What are you going to do next???
Well, you probably guessed the answer.

 So, we met up with Jeff and his family after three days at Disneyland.  I picked them up at their hotel and brought them to our current campground at Bolsa Chica, a California State Park near Huntington Beach.  It's a a great spot, right on the beach.

Jeff and I sampled some tequilas that I picked up in Mexico with the Carlsons.  The $32 a quart stuff is as smooth as water, hence it's also dangerous.

 We went to a great restaurant on Venice Beach for lunch.  It seems there is always activity here; artists, performers, tourists and locals.  (Our kids and their two kids, Lauren and Matt, are sitting at the table right behind us).
I was talking to Jeff on the phone after he was back at work.  I told him I thought that the Carlsons had a hard time returning to office life after spending a week traveling around with us.  He said, "a week heck;  just four hours was bad enough."
 They had just bought a new camcorder and Jeff enjoyed testing it out to see how well the zoom worked.
 It worked well!
Here's a shot of our trailer on the beach at Bolsa Chica State Park with the moon rising in the background.

We calculated that if we bought one of the 3 bedroom condos that are for sale across the street for $799,000; and paid 75% down; we would spend enough money to pay the State Park overnight camping fees for 109 years.  Plus, we would have to pay another $550,000 for property taxes and utilities.  (Not to mention that the condos are on the other side of a major highway from the beach). 

 Next we traveled south to San Diego.  The kids like to stay at Campland on Mission Bay.

There was a large hotrod rally there one weekend.  There were about 400 classic cars ranging from rebuilt originals to tricked up racing cars. 

Mitch and Max have become interested in building model rockets, but they don't like using the kits.  We visited a large San Diego hobby store and loaded up on parts and pieces.  The boys built several custom designs.  We bought some medium powered rocket engines and went out with their grandparents to shoot off their rockets.

Their homemade designs flew just great; (except Mitch's larger rocket that carried three para-troopers had too much payload and only went up thirty feet).

May 25, 1999

Our latest tour was of NBC Studios in Burbank, Ca.  It was a pretty simple tour, but gave us some perspective of the shows on TV.

For each show there were many carts and racks with the furniture, flooring, walls, knick-knacks, equipment, etc. for different sets.  Each cart was labeled with the set's name so that the sets could be changed quickly from say, Frasier's radio studio to his home or the local coffee shop.

Jay Leno's set was closed so we didn't see it.  Hooty and the Blowfish insisted that the studio be a completely closed set.  The tour goes into the parking lot to see one of Jay's 25 cars.  This day he was driving his new blue Corvette.  The guide said that most of us get up in the morning and pick through are clothes to decide what we want to wear, then we drive the same car to work.  Jay always wears the same denim shirt and jeans, then he picks out which car he wants to drive to work; rarely driving the same one twice in a month.

After our NBC tour, we drove to Hollywood to see the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the foot and handprints at Mann's Chinese Theater.  (I guess everyone needs to do this once).  The kids were mostly impressed by seeing the very large and impressive Disney Channel office building in Burbank and Mitch liked seeing the Nickelodeon office building in Hollywood.  (Max had dozed off  just before we passed it and was really mad at us for not waking him -- we might have to drive by it again).
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