New Years in Los Angeles

The Pacific at last!

The Pacific at last!

Greetings from Culver City, CA, where Julie and I have been driveway surfing since December 27.

After leaving Pinnacles National Park the day after Christmas, we hopped onto onto Interstate 5 and traversed the grape vine without incident. That night was spent at a Pilot Travel Center in Castaic, it dipped into the 30’s, but did not hit freezing, yay!

We’re been staying with Julie’s aunt ever since, she has a private RV pad in her backyard within reach of a wall outlet, a pretty sweet deal in the Los Angeles area where RV parks cost an arm and a leg.

It’s been unusually chilly since we arrived, which is not what I was expecting from So-Cal winters – I’d like my money back! 😉 We even had rain on the 30th, which has made everyone who isn’t a tourist happy.

LA Skyline behind the Getty

LA Skyline behind the Getty

But despite the colder weather, there has been stuff to do.

On the 29th, Julie and I drove to the Getty, which even as a only casual appreciator of art was pretty amazing and worth a trip.

It's a real Monet, cracks and all.

It’s a real Monet, cracks and all.

Amazing garden at the Getty

Amazing garden at the Getty

In theory, it’s an art museum. But calling the Getty an art museum is like calling Lake Michigan a pond, it’s so much bigger than that.

It’s free admittance, but parking is $15. Once you get out of the parking ramp, a trolly takes you up the side of a hill, offering views of the fancy houses on the edge of LA. The complex sits on top of the hill with jaw dropping views of the city and the ocean. It was hazy on the day we went, but on a clear day it’s amazing.

There are several buildings that make up the complex. Some have permanent exhibits, but there are also temporary ones, so you can go multiple times and not see the same things twice. When Julie and I went, there was an exhibit of large tapestries from John Paul Rubens’ Eucharist series on special display, borrowed from somewhere. It was the first thing we saw, and in the middle of it I finally realized: wait, these aren’t copies, these are the originals, made in the 1600’s. You don’t have to be an art critic to appreciate something this old and big.

After that, we walked through an exhibit on illuminations, including an explanation on how they were made that was very informative. Julie also insisted we go see the Impressionists gallery, which had three Monet paintings in it. Monet was Julie’s favorite artist as a kid, she had a children’s book about him. Getting to see the real work in person was pretty awesome for her.

The pond maze

The pond maze

For me, I think the best part was the outdoor garden. I mean, wow, what a garden. Even in winter it was green with all sorts of different flowers. The center was a maze built into a pool, so pretty, and around it was a walkway with many different kinds of plants and trees. I loved the metal trellises shaped like trees that vines were growing up. The Getty is definitely worth a visit if you’re going to be in the area, it’s an inexpensive trip and there’s a lot to see.

So many pretty plants in the garden

So many pretty plants in the garden

We celebrated New Year’s Eve on the beach, at a club house that Julie’s Aunt’s family has a membership at. It was too cold to swim, or really to do anything more than dip our toes in the water, but dip we did. For those that have been following along the whole year, I rung in 2014 on the shores of the Atlantic, so this act had great symmetry for me. I’d actually been hoping I’d be able to dip my toes in opposing oceans at the start and end of the same year, another check on the Dream list!

Made it coast to coast in 2014, wow!

Made it coast to coast in 2014, wow!

And what a year it’s been. You’ll now notice that The Adventure tab at the top of IO is now completed for 2014, total mileage with the RV: 4,039. That’s actually a fair bit less than last year, but I think the map looks more impressive since it goes from coast to coast. I’m not big into new years resolutions the way most folks do them, but I’ve already got a start on the things I want to accomplish in 2015, first among them is finishing up my RVing eguide now that Amazon is over and I’ll have much more free time at the next gig.

The last sunset of the year, have a great 2015 all!

The last sunset of the year, have a great 2015 all!

Stay tuned for the reveal of our next gig, coming up next post! Our time is winding down in LA, and while we have two more fun outings planned, there’s no chance I’ll get to see everything southern California has to offer.

Luckily though, there’s always the next trip! Have a great 2015 all!

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Rene Kipp on January 4, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Both east coast and west coast ocean toe-dipping in the same year… I love it 🙂
    Hopefully your 2015 is just as great as your 2014 was!
    Rene Kipp recently posted..Bulletin Boards And Brown SignsMy Profile

    • Becky on January 4, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      I bet it will be Rene!

  2. Gayle on January 4, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    That you visited the Getty, tells me that you have great road trip instincts! Next time, go up Pacific Coast Highway to the Getty Villa (museum) to see an Italian villa built by Getty, gardens, and Greek & Roman antiquities, all with an ocean view! (Call first to make a parking reservation.) Culver City RV pad, doesn’t get any better than this! Culver City is the true Hollywood — Sony Studios, MGM, the Culver Hotel where the munchkins stayed while filming Wizard of Oz. Did you spend any time in St. Monica, where I live? The pier with world’s 1st solar ferris wheel, Venice boardwalk? Started reading your blog off & on when you came online and spent 1st night in a forest-like campsite. Then went on to Amazon work. Who is Julie? What is date of your blog entry introducing us? With an RV blog, never know, could be a dog, cat, bird, or person!

    • Becky on January 4, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      Hey Gayle, long time no see!

      I passed by the turnoff for the Getty Villa on our latest trip and yeah there was a long line to get in!

      Nope, I haven’t visited St. Monica other than driving through, I did see a ferris wheel on a pier in the ocean, is that the one you’re talking about?

      Julie is my best friend, the person I lived with before I hit the road. She’s on sabbatical from her career and traveling with me for a while.

  3. Furry Gnome on January 3, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    This is a big suggestion, but if Monet is Julie’s favourite artist, tell her she should eventually see Monet’s garden in Giverny, along with Monet’s water lily paintings in the Orangerie, Paris. Absolutely amazing impressionist art! Something to put on her longer term bucket list.

    And thanks for the original inspiration I got from your blog when you were writing about goal-setting (and setting your own RVing goals). They’re a big part of why I expanded my own blog with some new pages today.

    • Becky on January 4, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Julie’s already done a little searching on the topic and discovered that there’s a pretty big Monet lily painting in New York, too bad we’re on the opposite coast. 😉

      And you’re welcome! It’s always nice to hear that my writing is making a difference. Congrats on getting the new pages up.

  4. dawn from camano island on January 3, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Wow! A very auspicious start to the new year! Dipping toes in both oceans is an event that seems quite uncommon so ^5 on that! The Getty looks amazing–it’s now on my list. Looking forward to your next post–you & Julie find the coolest places to land!

    • Becky on January 4, 2015 at 12:00 am

      You won’t regret going Dawn, it’s a very impressive place!

      Next post: El Matador State Park! And more about plans for early 2015. 🙂

  5. Jodee Gravel on January 3, 2015 at 7:57 am

    After following you across the country, it’s funny to think of you at the Pilot station just up the road from us. Sorry about the wet reception, but yes we really do need all we can get 🙂 I’m especially glad you got to the Getty, and that you enjoyed it as much as I did. With it so close it’s sad that I only just went this summer! Seeing the real Monets like that, up close, is pretty awesome, and I too loved the rebar trees in the garden.

    The bi-coastal new year’s toe dip is a pretty sweet goal to achieve – congrats!!

    Hope you get to stay in L.A. a bit longer, we’re amping up the temps the next couple days.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..New Year BlessingsMy Profile

    • Becky on January 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm

      Hehe, yeah it kind of is Jodee isn’t it? I saw on the news there were two quakes in Castaic this evening, how crazy is that? We didn’t feel them here in Culver City, did you?

      Yes, I see that the weather gets better after the weekend. We’re here until Wednesday, so at least we’ll get 2 days. 🙂

      • Jodee Gravel on January 4, 2015 at 6:36 am

        Unfortunately I had just stood up to go in the kitchen when the quake hit and I didn’t feel it 🙁 Bill was sitting and said “We just had an earthquake.” That was how “big” it was, but you can bet they interrupted the football game with “breaking news”! Sorry you missed it too, especially if you haven’t felt one yet. Enjoy L.A. – there are a million things to do!
        Jodee Gravel recently posted..THIS Year!My Profile

        • Becky on January 4, 2015 at 9:06 pm

          I felt the one off the coast of San Pedro a few days earlier. Sadly since I was in the RV, I thought it was just a gust of wind!

  6. Terri on January 3, 2015 at 7:26 am

    I was only in LA about 10 years ago, and I stupidly didn’t go to the Getty! Congrats on being able to see both oceans within twelve months of each other! Your stories continue to inspire me.

    BTW, I think my plan is to now move to Lexington, KY, so that after I finish the vet tech degree, I can specialize in working with horses/equines. 🙂 Weather is better than Boston, much cheaper to live, and the area is beautiful. Check, check and check. No ocean, but lots of lakes.
    Terri recently posted..Location, location, locationMy Profile

    • Becky on January 3, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      And thank you for following along Terri. 🙂

      I did like KY when I drove through. A friend who went through VT school with me works with the University of Wisconsin at an equine clinic, she loves her job. She goes down to KY for a horse show in the summer, Julie’s gone with her once but I haven’t had the chance to yet, some day!

      And yes, it would be cheaper and less cold, a good idea if you’re interested in getting into equine medicine.

  7. Mike on January 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Nice post. Great pics.


    • Becky on January 3, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Mike.

  8. Donald N Wright on January 2, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Are you planning on dipping your toes into the Gulf of Mexico in 2016?

    • Becky on January 3, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      It would be fun wouldn’t it? Actually I should do that the same year I go see Alaska, dip my toes off the shores of Alaska and in the gulf of Mexico in the same year. 🙂

  9. Cherie @Technomadia on January 2, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Happy New Year… sounds like you had another great year on the road, and geared up for another!

    We’re currently over in Anza-Borrego State Park.. and quite the little convergence of ‘younger’ Rvers happening.. ya know, should you be so inclined 🙂

    Hope our paths cross again soon.. and wishing you all the best in whatever you do!
    Cherie @Technomadia recently posted..A Bright New Year Starts in Borrego SpringsMy Profile

    • Becky on January 3, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Yep, I had a good year Cherie, I hope you and Chris did as well!

      It looks like you’re about 4 hours from where I’m staying right now, a bit long for a day trip. Wednesday and Thursday night Julie and I will be staying at Joshua Tree, but there won’t be a whole lot of free time, we want to get some hiking in.

      After that we continuing heading east, we’re due in at our volunteer gig in Texas on the 15th of the month. Hopefully there will be overlap somewhere!

  10. Rob on January 2, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    “The Getty”,I just put it on my list. Thanks, enjoy the vacation & a Happy New Year to you!

    • Becky on January 3, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      Yes Rob, you won’t be disappointed!

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