And…we party on a bridge that’s about to fall down, we finally open the La Kretz Innovation Campus, we successfully hold our third annual Global Showcase (GloSho’15), Karen goes south for the Winter, and I’m stuck at 29 countries. Where to start?
Well, let’s start four months ago when KR and I were driving the Iron Duke and Squirt back up to Los Angeles. We had a long time on the road and found my new mobile hot spot to be a very useful time waster. To pass the time, we started looking for RV’s. We’d search the web, find something interesting, do some research and then call the dealer. We did this through much of northern Mexico, Arizona and California. Long story somewhat short, we decided to actually buy a Travel Leisire Libero. Here’s its key features:
- Big enough to have a bed that doesn’t need to be made every night and a full bathroom (admittedly for small people) was a major step up from Casa Loca
- Small enough that it can be taken just about anywhere
- Inside finishes are great looking
- There’s a kitchen that’s “workable”
- It’s got a gas engine so we can take it to Mexico and other developing countries
- Has solar and generator power
- Satellite TV
- Three-way refrigerator works on shore, battery and propane
Only problem is there aren’t any dealers in Los Angeles (go figure?) and we were also about to go to Asia for ten days, making it was logistically challenging to complete a transaction.
But, where there’s a will (wife’s) there’s a way (husband’s) and we completed the transaction while standing in a Buddha temple in Kuala Lumpur communicating via text message with a dealer in Vegas. I’m not making this up:)
As soon as we got back we flew to Vegas to pick The Vehicle up (unnamed as of this writing) and drive him/her back to LA. Nothing is simple in our world, so we couldn’t even make it to Vegas without KR getting sick and having to go to the ER in a local hospital. That’s a way longer story to sort through, but she’s OK now.
Let’s stay on the subject of vehicles for a moment. You might remember that we had a tough time getting the Iron Duke to LA the last trip north. Five-hours-stuck-in-the-Mexican-desert tough would be accurate description. The only way we got him us home was to disconnect the muffler and go full blast down the highway.
Once in LA, I found the “Medico de Jeep” in South Central Los Angeles. After replacing the catalytic converter, the engine management system, something called a “crank sensor” (KR would like one of those for use around the house), the turn signal thing-a-ma-gig, and all bodily fluids, the Iron Duke has been reborn! Well, we had to also take all the light bulbs out of the interior lights as we couldn’t find the short, which kept draining the battery.
As I write this from my bedroom in PV, I can report that The Duke ran like a top for the 1500 miles from Los Angeles. Welcome back into the fold Duke!
It’s been pretty busy on the LACI front as well. In the same week, we moved into our five-years-in-the-making-new 60,000-square-foot-state-of-the-art cleantech-innovation-facility AND put on our third Global Showcase (GloSho’15) which attracted close to 600 people from 15 countries. Both came off pretty damn well and we’re now settling into our new digs, though I think we’re all a little shell shocked by how nice a facility we now have after years in a converted bus repair shop.
The downtown Los Angeles neighborhood that both LACI and we reside in, called the Arts & Innovation District, is undergoing rapid change too. For those of you who’ve been to New York’s Meat Packing District, the Arts District is a west coast version. Lots of new apartments, restaurants, bars (thank god), and retail stores are pushing up against the area’s historical industrial base of warehouses, cold food storage, transportation, and garment manufacturing encampments. Not all are happy about this change, of course. My street is an example of what’s happening: there are two world class Italian restaurants, a gun club, the largest indoor climbing wall west of the Mississippi, a coffee and bicycle bar, a cross fit gym, a vegi restaurant and my apartment complex called “Factory Place.”
We’re about a block away from the LA River, which runs north and south splitting the Arts District from Boyle Heights. Boyle Heights started as a Jewish neighborhood decades ago, but now is a great Hispanic community that borders the western edge of East LA. Boyle Heights is feeling the crush of yuppified development as well as we Hipsters try and find more affordable, cool digs close to the action of the Arts District. So on one side of the river we have a burgeoning Hispanic neighborhood with kids, cars and grass yards and two blocks away we have the artists, photographers, ad guys, and cleantech folks.
The 6h Street Bridge both literally and figuratively spans these two communities. Built in the 30’s, its an architectural treasure that you’ve seen in dozens and dozens of movies (To Live and Die in LA is my favorite). It seems that not all’s well with this bridge as there is a 70% chance it will fall down in the next 50 years, which is apparently a very risky situation for a bridge, as its being eaten from within by cement munching critters. I’m not making this up.
So, the wonderful, iconic, historic 6th Street Bridge is being torn down this January and is being replaced not by a bridge, no that would be too simple for us Los Angeleos. No, we’re going to build a neighborhood experience surrounding a new bridge. God only knows how much and how long that will take.
The one thing we do know is its a good time to have a “Farewell to the 6th Street Bridge Festival” one recent Saturday night. It was a great event where literally the Chicano’s and Hiptster’s met halfway across the bridge and partied pretty hard. The entire bridge was full of people when KR and I slipped out early (10PM).
Finally, this has been another year of continuously traveling. Between KR and myself, we’ve taken 28 trips to 32 different places the first 10 months of 2015 as I’ve reported in past blog posts. It seems that I will fail to meet one of my personal goals which is to visit 30 countries by the end of this year. Sadly, I’m stuck on 29. Here’s the current list:
Lots of holes in this list and we intend to continue filling them:)