Even Bogart is going stare crazy while KR and I get through a mild case of COVID

Is it still too early to hope for an end to the COVID Life?  I’ve thought we were done with this at least three times before.  Are we entering a new, lingering, “Age of Despair? ” or can we hope that we’re about to emerge.

I don’t know.

Getting on with it post-COVID life is going to be different from pre-COVID days.  We’ll  be carrying masks for the foreseeable future.  Maybe forever (does it really matter?) Ditto for hand sanitizers and signs on the floor marking 6 ft separation. We’re not embarrassed to ask someone if they’ve been vaccinated and if the answer is “no,” we tend not to hang together.  Working from home is here to stay, even though home for some of us is a transitory concept.

There’s so much we don’t know about this virus and its various mutants.  For example, why is it statistically safer to be in Mexico, India, or even Brazil than it is to be in the U.S. and most of Europe?   Is it because populations from poor nations can’t afford to move around?  Is it because they live a more outdoor life style?  Is it because they know that if they get sick, their health systems won’t help them so they take extra care?  This is more than an intellectual exercise for us as we plan on going to Australia, South Africa, India and most of Europe in the next six months.  How do we mitigate the risks?  All I will say is that staying home isn’t an option.

As I write this, KR and I are in our regular RV park in Puerto Vallarta riding out mild cases of COVID (and/or the flu).  I’m starting to come out of it while KR is about midway through.  This is easy stuff compared to others, but its still painful, energy-draining, and time-consuming.  I try to think about the other 326M cases and 5.5M deaths (and counting) globally, and tell myself to shut up, smile and get on with it.

Which is what we’re trying to do.

We’ve been in PV for about two months.  It was sad leaving NoHo ( North of the Border Home) but at the same time we were anxious to get to SoHo (South of the Border Home), driving our MoHo (Mobile Home).  I went through my first winterization with the Laguna house and feel like an old hand now.  It’s now prepped for winter.  I traded my Mountain Man boots for flip flops.  I miss the boots, but there’s something to be said about flip flops: ).

We haven’t found our rhythm here yet. It’s tough to settle in because we rent often –  and therefore have to leave — as I’m loath to turn down the extra money.  We’ve spent half our SoHo stay either at friends homes or in Thor as a result.  We have another month or so and then we’re out of here again, so maybe feeling displaced is our new norm?

We’re Triple-Vac’d, masked up and ready to go!  First stop is LA followed by an NGIN trip to Australia and surrounds.  Then I need to be in West Bengal India for NGIN.  In June KR and I are off to Africa for a bike tour and in mid-July we leave for a TWO AND A HALF MONTH BIKE TRIP THROUGH EUROPE.   We’re back in New Mexico early October and then to PV in January ’23.  ISH: )

There’s been something really good about the last couple of months that I appreciate anew– hanging with friends.  Our best times have been with new and old (as in meeting them, not chronologically) friends.  We’ve met some great new friends in Sandia Park (Curtis/Laurie, Chuck/George, Arthur/Joze) and feel really lucky to have met each.  We’ve spent some really really good times in each other’s homes over a glass of wine or two.  We had a great great three day weekend with Cindy/Petey  at the El Rancho Hotel in… Gallup NM.  We haven’t seen each other for months and months so it was good to catch up.   No sooner had we put our bags down in Corona and Steve/Rita came for a visit.  Steve and Rita were our neighbors in Hollyridge and this was the first time we got a chance to spend time together in years…maybe a decade?  Anyway, we picked up like we were still next door.  Then, on a whim, we caught a plane to Florida and spent a couple of weeks with Sammy/Jill in Bradenton. Just a great great time. We even found a little time to see my sister Judi in Titusville.

If you can believe it, plane travel has gotten worse!   Additional fees for everything are the new norm;  checked bags, carry-on bags, picking one’s own seats, boarding before Group 8, electrical sockets, food beyond a bag of peanuts and we’re not even into the “Main cabin,” Economy Cabin,” “Premium Economy”, etc.  People are downright grumpy elbow to elbow, all masked up.  The only light is that someone must have gotten the memo about airports — they are on the rise.  Houston is our latest discovery.  I don’t mind hang’n in Houston’s airport for a couple of hours as there’s food, drink, wi-fi, electrical outlets and shops with everything you need, even if way over priced.

We’ll keep you abreast of how things unfold.   Here’s our world in pictures


Cindy and Petey met us for a three day weekend in Galllup NM. Great great time. Why Gallup?

The El Rancho Hotel is worth the trip.

Hanging in our room before dinner, drinking some champagne. We liked the room so much, Cindy is looking up where we can buy the bed cover:)

Art shot of Laguna’s fireplace. I think I have potential as professional photographer.

Until one gets to this shot. Neighbors Laurie and Curtis are barely visible.

PV is not waiting for the return of normalcy to start celebrating Christmas and New Years.  I don’t think I’ve seen PV this crowded before.

It was tough figuring out what to get the dozen or so neighborhood kids for Xmas as they come in all shapes and sizes. We decided money was the best option:). Here KR visits with some of the kids at Edwardo’s place

Steve and Rita visited us during December. Since Steve is such a Francophile, we went to PV’s best (only) French Bistro

We went for a day trip up to San Sebastian in the mountains. Took 3+hours to get there, about 15 minutes to see everything: ).

Many good nights eating, drinking and talking on the deck.  Bogart is listening closely: )

Pretty stylish crew. We’re in PV’s Botanical Garden, which is perhaps the best one I’ve seen

Karen is looking toward the future, in this case from the Gardens.

This is my typical outlook post when looking to the future. This one is called Baracuda and is a 20 min walk from Corona.

We visited Sam and Jill in Bradenton for almost two weeks.  Surprisingly, we were all speaking to each other at the end: ) Had a great time. Here we’re having dinner with friends on a rooftop bar

They like their boats big and fast in Florida. I was a little disappointed that Sam didn’t offer to take us out on his cigarette boat: )

This could be my all time favorite photo as I’m just crushing Sam in some kind  gin rummy game. I might frame this one: )

Karen yearns for the golden age of air travel. Personal service.  Luxury seating.  Smiling attendants. Yah right. This is at PV airport in the 50s.

This is what air travel is today — the good part. Houston airport is now a favorite. All food/drink is ordered and paid for via iPad. Plenty of electric sockets.

The new uniform for travel– masking up. I know I’m crazy, but I want to do more of this. Soon.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. On the left,  the Bullet leaves Factory Place on his way to our Sandia Park, NM house (center). For the past 16 years the Bullet has been our family sedan, taking us to Ralphs, CVS et al. On the right the Bullet makes his first visit to the local grocery store.  Soon thereafter, he went to Walmart, the Pottery Barn, the Container Store, TJMax and — of course– our local bar.

After 34 years of marriage, I’ve learned the secret to not getting a divorce during a move is one simple phrase:  “Yes, honey, let’s take that as I’m sure  we can use it!”  And so, we have made the move from the streets of downtown LA to the gravel roads of Sandia Park with no casualties.

One would think that moving from a 600 sq. ft. loft into a 2500 sq. ft. house would be no big deal, especially if you think about what the reverse could be?  Well, I’m here to tell you that you’d be wrong, very wrong.  We…

  • spent 14 solid days without-a-day-of-rest packing up Factory Place
  • 80+ boxes, three or four pieces of furniture, one motorcycle and one car
  • Around $6800 for the moving truck, movers, auto transporter, etc.
  • 1  1/2 days of cleaning said loft and two days driving to New Mexico
  • We’re now in our second week of unpacking

Late on our first night in Laguna, I was sitting on the deck with a Corona in hand, gazing out at the stars and mountain shadows.  There were no sounds. Dead quiet.  Not of traffic, of people, music, dogs or the neighbor upstairs.  I started to panic.  What the f___ am I going to do OUT HERE?  No going to Tony’s for a drink or the Redwood Room for dinner.  No emailing Cindy and Peter to get together tonight in Grand Central Market.  No Starbucks three minutes away.  No saying hello to neighbors that I don’t know.  No walking the dogs to the dog park next to LACI.  No ….. pretty much everything we’d known for the past 11 years.

“The times, they are a changing”

Living on the mountain

We quickly learned that we live on the East Mountain as opposed to the side of the mountain facing Albuquerque.  East Mountain people consider themselves different from the Other Side.  There is no city civilization near by.  The one traffic sign on the Main Highway (The Turquoise Trail) reads, “Congested Area Ahead” and I swear I’ve never seen more than three or four cars.   Equally accurate road signs include “Fallen Rocks” (not Falling?), “Twisting Road Next Five Miles” after three miles of twisty roads, “Narrow Road, Keep Right” (what, we don’t keep right on less than narrow roads?) and “Watch for Deer,” failing to mention the wild turkeys, coyotes, rabbits and squirrels we’ve come across.  We hope the “Keep Trash Locked Away Until Pickup” with a picture of a Bear is equally accurate.

The West Mountain is full of rocks and boulders, it looks arid with few trees.  Views are spectacular, but of city lights, cars and people.  The East Mountain is like Colorado or Angeles Crest, totally green with Pine and Junipers, closely packed with the occasional field of grass.  Views are spectacular as well, but of a mountain range covered in forest, with a sprinkling of other houses tucked away down dirt roads.

Not the Lizard – Paako Golf Resort

The Lizard

Sitting in the Lazy Lizard (our favorite local bar — more about the Lizard later), it’s pretty evident that we’re new to the neighborhood.  Hints include wearing a shirt with a collar, not having a beard three inches past your chin, wearing boat shoes not boots, and no baseball cap or cowboy hat.  People fall into basic two groups:  the aforementioned East Mountain people and what we call the Paako Ridge Golfers. Paako Ridge is rated as the top golf course in NM and just a couple of miles further up the Tortoise Trail, but a world apart.  We’re beginning to fit in nicely, though I suspect people think of us as Paakos despite living more remotely that 90% of the people in the Lizard.   Since there is only one bar within 10 miles, the Lizard is the mountain’s melting pot.

When we describe where we live to our fellow East Mountaineers, they say something to the tune of  “You live way up there?”   They look at us with a bit more respect. Yes, we’re remote.  A couple miles north of the Lizard on Hwy. 14, take a left on La Madera, drive five miles up this narrow, twisty road to Canon Madera, left through the gate, and up another mile of gravel road and you’ve arrived at Walti’s Southwest Chalet.  It’s a lot like Little Big Sur, on the way you’re saying to yourself “Where the f___ is it?” and then once you get there, you’re thinking “This could be good, very good.”

And it is.

Enough with the descriptions, let’s go to the video and pictures!

The Videos

  1. The Approach.  What’s it like getting there:   Driving to 87 Laguna
  2. The House.  First time as owners:  Laguna Tour
  3. Outside Tour Start:  Exploring the five acres  Outside Tour Start
  4. The North:  Lots of cacti and a bit of flat land.  North of the House
  5. Fire Roads:  There are fire roads to the north and above the house  Fire Roads
  6. Driveway South:  It’s a long walk  Driveway

The Pictures

Packing UP

Alex and the SOS crew begin loading up Factory Place at 7:57AM on July 29th.. Despite reading dozens and dozens of horror stories about moving, the SOS crew did great.

Now Voyager II gets packed away

Three hours later and the SOS truck leaves Factory Place.

Karen spent a day and a half scrubbing FP clean in order to get our deposit back. I admired her will power…

Every good husband knows when to get out of the way. I decided to get out of the way at the Girl and the Goat restaurant. Very good

The Move

First stop on the way to NM was Barstow, a sorry town indeed. Most of it is deserted or about to be deserted. We were staying in a Motel 8 and the motel across the street was tough competition:  “Motel 7”. This was the best shot I could find, and its of a laundromat.

While Gallup NM isn’t much better, it has the El Rancho Hotel, which is a gem of a place. One of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed in.

Shot from the patio of the El Rancho through the lens of a Corona

Karen and the dogs at said patio.

The lobby. The El Rancho is worth going to Gallup for.

The Arrival

The Bullet in his new home. In the 16 years we’ve owned him, he’s never been in a garage. He doesn’t realize that he’s going to have a much bigger brother in there as well.

Mr. Handy Man tackles another tough job of putting together shelving. Even Bogart is wondering how long can a guy take to put together a shelf?

Karen immediately begins the never-ending job of trimming trees and other green things

Life on the Mountain

Every morning we walk the dogs down the driveway.  Most of our 5.1 acres is yet to be explored

7300 ft. elevation makes going back up a hike.

This is where we have morning coffee every day

Karen’s newest passion is Hummingbirds. At this point, we have six Humming Bird Hotels and two “Wild” bird hotels.

New arrival — Karen’s first wheel barrow.

Big night at the Lizard — Susan Clark and her band play a couple of sets. She’s the most famous singer from the area and only occasionally does the Lizard. She lives “up the street”.

Perfect timing. After 10 months, LowBuck finally arrives on the scene. LowBuck (as in cheap) is an 87 Jeep Grand Wagoneer who has undergone some significant upgrades by the premier Wagoneer restorer — WagonMaster. I can’t wait to rumble into the Lizard in him: )

My new office. About the same size as my Office in a Closet at Factory Place, now I look at the mountain rather than an alley.

Not sure it gets much better than this — LowBuck, the Bullet and Now Voyager II are all together for the first time.



After almost three years of looking for a house, from Ventura to Prescott to Big Bear to Ojai to San Diego to Sonora to San Pedro to Durango to Santa Fe to….we have finally bought a house in Sandia Park, NM.  The house is in the mountains just outside Albuquerque.

Yes, its as remote as it looks

Where KR and I intend to spend a lot of time having a cocktail

Last Friday we drove to Durango, CO to look at a house only to have it  sold on the same day we were to see it.  That is so typical of this market.  Then we drove to see this house (Laguna Vista Trail) that we liked enough online that we had already made an offer sight unseen, but was contingent on us seeing the place.  We arrived in the Albuquerque are a  couple of days later.

We got progressively more depressed as we drove toward the house for the first time.  Take Highway 40 east to Highway 14 (also known as the Turquoise Trail), then nine miles up to a little two lane road (La Madera) and up it for five more miles and then… turn off on a dirt road, go through a gate (by a trailer with a sign saying, “I have a shotgun and backhoe,” and then another mile on this dirt road to the driveway, which is another 300 yards long and we were there!  I was thinking there was  no way this was going to work.

Around mile 3 on the way to Laguna, this sign pretty much says it all: don’t put the trash out in anything other than battle-tested trash cans because bears are around.

The mile long gravel road …

Driveway entrance with our stamp on the sign.

Just when you think you’re there, there’s another 100 yards to go.

After the first visit, we left and went in search of a drink. We were in love with the house and truly fearful of the remoteness and change of ife style it represented. We parked on a street in ABQ, had dinner, a couple of drinks and then decided to drive “out there” to see what driving that road at night would be like.

Finally, we got to see the house for the first time in person.  Well, judge for yourselves

the living room


Dining room looking into the living room

A bar that’s not a bar

Part of the top deck. This shot doesn’t really capture the view

The kitchen

Master bedroom

Master bathroom

KR doing the deal with Nancy, our real estate agent

The most important room. I’m sacrificing with “only” a two-car garage. Current owner is a Guzzi rider, so he can’t be all bad. Weird for sure: )

Next morning, KR was still worried so we asked for another visit.  After another hour, we went to another restaurant and made the decision – we would go through with the sale.

This house represents the weird circumstances that were required for us to afford a house we liked:

  • Its remote. Very remote
  • It was designed by an architect who started construction somewhere around 2000.  He had a heart attack, died and the house sat unfinished for almost 15 years.  The current couple bought it about 2 years ago and finished it themselves (he’s a contractor/engineer and she obviously has pretty good taste).  Then their family situation changed and the wife needed to go back to Wisconsin and wanted to sell the house rather quickly.
  • Its 2500 sq. ft. sitting on 5 acres in a a small development called Canon Alegre.  It’s pretty much the highest house on the mountain

This is pretty much how I feel.

So, we signed on the digital dotted line and have now entered the escrow/closing phase that is characterized by two things:  money and documents.


We left Albuquerque shortly after signing on the dotted line and headed south toward Puerto Vallarta.   Crossing the border at El Paso was a new experience that went surprisingly well considering its the highest volume crossing in the U.S.  First night was spent on a street in Hidalgo de Parral, just south of the Chihuahua state line with Durango.  Next night was another street in the El Centro part of Durango (the city), and tonight we’re on the beach at Mazatlán.  As is sooo typical of RVing, the air conditioning unit just went out during one of the nights we could really use it.

This is where we camped overnight in Hidalgo de Parral. That’s a HUGE statue of Pancho Villa in a park near El Centro. There’s even a Pancho Villa museum. Seems strange because this is the town he was murdered in, not born. Also, after he was buried someone dug up the body beheaded it.

Another view, stepping out Thor’s side door.


Squirt and I have a beer and watch the sunset. This is a beach just south of San Blas, about three hours north of PV

The real purpose of this trip was to see if KR and I could get on our m/c horse again after a couple of years away. Our unstated goal was to make it to Catavina, about 400 miles south of the border, to see the extraordinary cacti and rocks in the Baja mountains. We found this horse wandering in the desert though I didn’t try to ride him.  But we did get on our m/c horse again and found our groove.

My strategy for this trip was to recreate our first motorcycle trip to Mexico thirty years ago.  Back then, Karen had never been on a motorcycle, so we didn’t take any freeways south to avoid going over 50mph.  It’s been a while since we were both on the bike so I wanted to ease us into it.  Karen had been giving me the “I don’t really want to go, but I’m not letting you go by yourself” vibes for the prior two weeks.   She didn’t start packing for this trip until the morning we left.  As she pulled on her helmet, she wasn’t a happy camper.

It was probably a blessing that it took me three full days to figure out how to operate our helmet intercoms, hence there was no f___ you’s”coming through the speakers.  Technology hasn’t always been my friend, but in this case silence was golden.

I’ll cut to the chase:  twelve days and 1,700 miles down Baja to Loreto (about 2/3rds of the way down) and then back.  It didn’t take us long to find our groove, both good and bad.  On Day Two we took our obligatory low speed spill, this time in soft gravel as we entered a Pemex station.  Neither one of us felt anything.  NVII just got a few more scratches and we were off.

The road (Mex Hwy 1) has pretty much been transformed into a smooth, Two-Laner snaking  through the desert and mountains, with only a few car-eating pot holes.  Even a Prius could make it: )   I used an incredible amount of restraint in our pace, not going over 80 (OK 85) but once.  Most of the time, I let everyone pass us as we sauntered down the road.  Not too long down the road and I heard my all time favorite sound — Karen “chirping” in the intercom and having a great time talking while seeing the sights. We had found our Rhythm of the Road.  Perhaps it was a bit slower and the days were shorter, but everything else felt exactly the same.

One of the great things when traveling by m/c is the daily routine.  Get up early, have a cup of coffee while packing up, carry all the stuff to the bike and strap it on, and shove off for the day’s sights.  Breakfast is about two hours out and lunch is later.  We typically rolled into our last stop and revered the process.  Unpack the bike, unpack our stuff, get cleaned up, and head out to see the sights and find a Corona.  Rinse and repeat.

Both times we crossed the Border at Tijuana, which is usually the THE border crossing to avoid.  No papers or Temporary Tourist Visa necessary, but I did buy a week’s worth of m/c insurance.  Going down we went through the border and never stopped, probably not going slower than 20 mph as the border to TJ was empty.  Coming north, border traffic was pretty normal, which is to say daunting.  Various Apps were predicting 2-3 hour crossing times.  We did it in 20 minutes from start to finish by splitting lanes and dodging hawkers, cutting back into the line right before the guard stations.  The most difficult thing was not tipping over as the road was greasy and tough to get a grip with my “compact” stems.

We made it to Loreto which is 700+ish miles below the border, after a fairly grueling ride.  No chirping in the helmet on this leg as KR was Done going south:)  We stayed at a very nice hotel, Posada de Las Flores, in the center of town. We decided to spend a second night here as its so nice and I have a bunch of work to get done.  It’s very expensive at…. $103/night US.

The next day we made a U-Turn and headed back up.  We had some really great nights, a few not so great riding segments, and perfect weather for the entire twelve days.  This would be classified as a short trip for us, but I think we’ll look back on it with fondness with the realization we’re still young enough to be doing this kind of stuff: )

Here’s what things looked like so far.


There’s not a lot of love beneath the smile as KR suits up before shoving off

Believe it or not, we’d never been to downtown San Diego. It was a happening place this Saturday night and we were very happy to jump in.

Many hotels and AirBnB’s have eliminated human check-ins as a result of COVID. Here KR stands in front of a hotel in Coronado while texting to see if there’s any availability.

Typical small restaurant. This one in San Vincente, which is in Baja Norte’s wine country.

One of my favorite place ever, the Mision Santa Maria Hotel in San Quintin. We first found it 30 odd years ago, and while the name has changed, its pretty much unchanged

View from our room

The beach. See any people?

The beach stretches as far as you can in the other direction as well.


Motorcycle Dude needs a Corona at the bar.  I thought it was a look, KR not so much: )

We had a near-death experience, but it wasn’t on the bike, it was in a Mexican cab on the way to this famous old restaurant in San Quintin. The taxi driver was looking at his phone, playing with his kid, and talking with his wife on the 25 minute drive at night down a two-lane road. No one had seat belts.  I couldn’t stop thinking about  f___ing ironic if we got killed in a taxi crash on a m/c trip: )  I finally crawled over the front seat and shouted at him to shut up keep his eyes out front.

One of the coolest places on earth, mountains of Catavina with rocks and cactus

We took a walk down this dirt road/path behind our hotel. The Catavina Desert Inn is a great hotel with pretty shitty staff and an outrageous $30pesos/hr/128MB charge.

The 150miles between Catavina and Guerro Negro going south is pretty desolate with no “real” gas stations in between. Here, we stop at an abandoned Pemex station that is now manned by guys selling gas out of 1 gallon jugs.  A mechanical breakdown out here would not be a good thing.  Of course, NVII does not breakdown unlike his predecessor NVI.

On the other end of the scale, we stay at the Posada de Las Flores Hotel in Loreto for a couple of days. One of the great things about traveling by m/c is the extreme contrasts in surroundings and accommodations one can seek out.

While Loreto is small, its a pretty happening place. This is the town square on a Wednesday night. Bars, restaurants, music and dancing. Like I said, contrasts.

My Loreto office was on the pool deck of the Posada de Las Flores. And people ask me why I use a small computer: )

The next night all the beach hotels in Santa Rosalia were booked (we didn’t know it was Spring Break) so we stayed at this hotel in El Centro. Plastic table worked just fine as my office. Cost per night: $30US

The more mundane part of m/c travel: KR’s one pair of shoes broke, so we went shopping in a zapateria.

Motorcycle Stud. All systems worked well. Karen and I decided that our next m/c trip will be to South Africa this fall.


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Warning:  This is not a travel post.  Proceed at your own risk.

I was having a drink the other night thinking about lots of stuff, but mostly musing on one primary question;  “What path led to being here, now?”  The “here and now” part wasn’t just the specific here and now (sitting in a hotel bar in Seattle, late at night, after a great day of thinking up ways to bolster the state of Washington’s cleantech ecosystem), but the more general here and now:  somehow finding my life/adventure mate in KR; traveling to 27 countries and counting; doing something important and difficult at an age when most (all?) of my friends have hung up their spurs; living in downtown LA in an 800 square ft. apartment while building a wonderful house in PV (yet not seeing it much:); getting stuck in a Mexican desert for five hours when the Iron Duke broke down on our most recent trip north; and deciding that ultimately KR and I were going to live in an RV for a lot of our going forward time.

A few more screwdrivers and a theme began to emerge: I’ve been an oddball pretty much most of my life, I just didn’t know it:)  This has turned out to be a good thing.

I was out of sync from the start as both my parents were over 35 and my nearest sibling was 10 years older.  I was an accident.  Being an accidental child has its advantages.  No brothers and sisters to fight over things with. Christmas presents targeted at just you.  And parents that feel guilty for all the mistakes they made on the planned kids tend to ease up on you.

The first time being out of sync had not so good consequences was as a “professional” motorcycle racer.  I started racing at 22, competing against kids that were 16, 17, 18.  I was married and working two jobs when my competitors were still doing homework:) Despite winning more than 70 races, I was never the “it” guy because at 22 I was just too old to be viewed as an up and comer.  What the f__?


Boy racer

I went from motorcycle racer to Madison Avenue account guy.  I worked at an agency on Madison Avenue that had a company bar, company chef, a conference room for any setting (from living room to conference center), and more guys from Harvard/Yale/Princeton than you could count.  Girls were strictly limited to either copy writers or secretaries.  I read a book called How to Dress for Success and learned that corduroy suits and maroon shoes weren’t as cool as I thought.  How could that be?:)

By definition, if you spend five years racing motorcycles, you’re going to enter the “real” business world a touch late.  I was an old young account guy who had a penchant for corduroy suits:)   I quickly ditched the corduroys and shifted to a white-hot focus on catching up with everyone.  Two brief cases to work, going to graduate school at night, working seven days a week, every week, were the routine for my early years on Madison Avenue.

Being a motorcycle racer, Teamster, and old young account guy made me an odd ball in a good way.  I outworked and out-thought and out-planned everyone else.  I became a very determined, competitive SOB who wanted to win in business just as much as I liked winning on the track.  I rose up the ranks of the advertising business, eventually running the Apple account in the U.S., running an office for a big agency in San Francisco, and making more money than I had ever dreamed about.

Along the way I got fired more times than anyone else I know.  The best “your fired” line: “Fred, you’ve seen the movie Good Fella’s?  Know the scene in which Joe Pesci walks into a house thinking he was going to be a Made Man only to get shot in the back of the head?  Well, that’s you…”  Thank you Steve for the most creative axing ever:)  Somehow I never worried about being fired — either being scared of it or worrying too much about it after the fact.  I was becoming an accomplished eat-what-you-kill guy and had confidence I could make it happen, no matter where.

There is a case to be made that the “being out of sync” gene runs in our family.  My sister was a successful business woman with hundreds of people working for her at a time when women just did not work in anything other than secretarial jobs.  My brother quit his job as an aerospace engineer to start a company selling and eventually making mini computers back in the day of Radio Shack.  He was the first person I had ever known who was a successful entrepreneur.

Sometime in the early ’90s I came to an important decision:  I didn’t want to be an accomplished traditional ad guy, I wanted to somehow become part of what people were calling the New Media.  No one knew what it was, heck  I didn’t even know how to spell I_N_T_E_R_N_E_T, but I knew I wanted to be part of it.

Bye bye ad guy, hello tech guy.

I became the most out of sync guy around.  I started an Internet company out of my house, drove a 13 year old Fiero (known affectionately as the American Ferrari), began telling corporate titans they were sorry-assed losers if they didn’t get on board the coming Internet revolution, and transformed myself into a pretty accomplished technology startup guy.

I’ve liked building things my own way from the beginning.  I’ve started or tried to start 11 companies/projects/things, five of which actually went somewhere, three of which actually made money, one of which made a lot of money.

Speaking of money, I was once an Internet Titan worth $40M on paper.   That’s a feeling I recommend to everyone provided you can handle when the $40M suddenly goes away.  But there’s definitely a rush associated with being rich.

Always being out of sync slowly transformed me.  I stopped caring about what other people thought.  I developed a lot of confidence in being able to take care of KR and myself no matter what the f__ happened.  I got comfortable in being a weirdo.  I got comfortable in being me.

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Wreckage of Casa Loca on an East Texas highway. Like the Subaru commercial, “We lived.”

After my various Internet and technology forays, KR and I sold our Hollywood house of 16 years and I turned to trying to figure out how to rewire our life so I could make a living while on the road.  We had a custom 4WD RV made to roam the earth only to find ourselves spewed across an East Texas highway, giving KR a broken back and Lotus a brain tumor.  Eight years later we tried it again, this time on a motorcycle in South America.  Then LACI called while we were in Bolivia and we rushed back to Los Angeles to start a whole new chapter of being out of sync with life.

We now live in an 800 square feet loft in downtown Los Angeles.  It’s called the Arts District because all the hipsters are moving in.  Talk about being out of sync?:)  I’m trying to convince the world that a new industrial revolution is coming called cleantech and getting similar responses to the mid-90’s Internet phenom,  “What’ the business model?  Will anyone want a sustainable widget? You’re inventing a solution to a non problem!..”  Yada yada.  Heard all of it before.



“We need to remodel a little” KR says to FW…

We’ve also moved our base of operations south of the Border to Puerto Vallarta Mexico — the safest country on earth:)  Most of  you reading this think we’re crazy for doing this as well.  Drug cartels.  El Chapo is now roaming around again.  Murders left and right.  Corrupted police and government officials.  All true, except that’s not what we see.

We see a neighborhood full of playing kids, of young men and women walking to work at 6AM on a Sunday, of neighbors chasing down a truck which sideswiped the Broken Arrow and didn’t stop.  Our neighbors caught him and called the police.

Mean streets of Puerto Vallarta

Mean streets of Puerto Vallarta

On the way driving up to LA a couple of weeks ago the Iron Duke broke down in the middle of the Mexican desert.   We barely coasted into the only Pemex station in Mexico that didn’t have anything but gas pumps.  We’re talking Nowhere’s Ville.  The attendant got on his cell, called his expert “Mechanico.”  Forty-five minutes later the Mechanico Team showed up in a beat-to-an-inch-of-its-life Toyota with a tool box that would make mine look impressive.  After five hours of on-again, off-again theories of what was wrong — and giving them $500 cash to buy parts — they fixed the Iron Duke and we were on our way.  There are few things more creative than Mexican’s keeping their vehicles running long past their Use By date:)

Mary Douglas, a famous British anthropologist known for her writings on human culture and symbolism, came up with a term that kind of described my life: matter out of place.  Dirt on the ground is called earth, but when its on your sleeve its called dirt because its matter out of place.  Things that are out of place are more often scorned than celebrated.  The trick is to always think of yourself as the earth:)

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Fourteen months after construction began, La Corona is done.   6,200 square feet of Mexican cement, bricks, wood, tile and adobe.

Our first season with La Corona is coming to a close and we couldn’t be happier with what we’ve cobbled together over the last fourteen months.   Like everything else in our life, this season has brought surprises and changes that have pushed us in new directions.  La Corona has rarely been empty, beginning with Jungle Storm III in early November right through this year’s Spring Break in April.  It’s become a great party house for locals as well as out-of-town visitors — which surprisingly enough is what we had in mind in the first place!

Along the way, we’ve invented a new type of inn-keeping called “Bed and Wine” — as we’ve turned La Corona into the Corona Adobe, a B&B with a twist (OK, several twists).  Before La Corona was even done, we began receiving inquiries from friends of friends about renting either a room, floor or the entire house.  Before we could say “sure,” our first guest had stayed for two weeks in the “Adobe Suite.”   Karen and Chelli quickly became great friends and gave dinner parties together;  thus the “Bed and Wine” was born.

Like any self respecting B&W, we’ve unleashed a full marketing onslaught including website: CoronaAdobe and a listing on AirBnB, both of which couldn’t have been done without the help of Dan Weil.  Take a look and let us know what you think.

Now that construction is done and the “High Season” is ending, KR is moving back to LA for at least the summer.  This is great news, of course, as its been about a year since she was last in the US.  This will present some adjustments for both of us, primarily in that KR will be moving from a 6,200 sq ft Mexican mini-mansion to a 900 sq. ft. Los Angeles-style micro loft.  I don’t expect it to make much difference to Lilly as a bed is a bed is a bed:)

Here’s what this season has looked like:


The downstairs courtyard,  kitchen and fish pond


Second floor: the kitchen, dining room and living room as viewed from the kitchen.


The kitchen with the pizza oven in background.


The living room with the latest addition to La Corona — the 10,000lb. bookcase.


The “outdoor” living room


The entrance sala, just outside the “Adobe Suite.”


The “Adobe Suite’s” bed.

Pool deck

The pool deck


Observation deck

The “secret bedroom”


Sunset and vino


Calm before the storm


One of the season’s parties starts innocently enough


Then picks up speed when the girls hit the kitchen


KR is happy to have Her Man home. Her Man is making himself useful as always, tackling a hard to open wine bottle.


The crew eating dinner in the dining room


This could have ended badly. Gwen, feeling no pain, decides to give Jennifer a hair cut with garden clippers


What’s a party without a pool?  Here Carlos, Peter and yours truly are in deep conversation solving the problems of the world .


This is just a good shot. We’re awaiting for the boat to “Rhythms of the Night” show, about an hour boat ride south.


Unusual view of PV  for us– from a boat off shore at night.


“Rhythms of the Night” was a great show. It’s a Mexican version of Cirque du Soleil.


On the way back, Peter and Carlos waste no time in celebrating the voyage.


Waiters doubled as entertainment on the cruise back.


Night ended around 1 in the morning at Andale’s with Yvonne leading the way.


Back in the real world, Isidro, KR and Jesus try and figure out the highly sophisticated pool filter. We’re still working on it.


I do my part in household maintenance, giving Lilly a bath in the kitchen sink.  Lilly’s lov’n having Dad around.


Sayulita is a surfing town about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta.  Makes for a great day trip.


It’s always good for people watching, buying trinkets you’ll never use again, and having a couple of cervezas on the beach.


It’s never enough — time in PV — and I’m back at my favorite airport, on the way back to “civilization.”
















Who can argue with this? We came across this Mark Twain quote on a bike in Colorado. TheRestlessTraveler.com is all about "Explore, Dream, Discover."

TheRestlessTraveler.com is both a journal of off-the-beaten-path travel and off-the-beaten-path living. On our way to figuring out how to travel more, we decided to change just about everything else in our lives.  So,what started out as a journal of our off-beat style of travel has turned into a window on our adventures off the road as well.

In 1992 I mapped out an around-the-world-motorcycle trip and said "let's do it!" I got the "are you crazy?" look from Karen and quietly waited for my next shot. Eighteen years later I'm not so crazy afterall as KR has joined me in the asylum.

There are a couple of story arcs that might interest:

  • Reports from Afar: We (and you) will be reporting from the places we go.   Nepal and the Dakar Rally are the two first installments along with a motorcycle trip in which we rediscovered our inner biker selves. We chronicle  our latest trip — a three month journey on our m/c through South America.
  • Rewire Journey to a New Life: This is the ongoing story of how we’re reconfiguring our life-style.   This is a perfect case history that  no plan is ever executed as envisioned.
  • All Things Puerto Vallarta: Thinking about living in Mexico or just visiting Puerto Vallarta?  Here’s our experience with Little Big Sur and La Corona.
  • Links: I intend to grow a link farm here to help all of you who might want information about the what/how/when/who/why’s

It’s all about you. Just kidding, I wanted to get your attention. But this is more about all of us than just me.  It would be thrilling  if any of you wanted to write a guest post as ultimately TheRestlessTraveler.com will become something beyond just KR and I.   I’m literally sitting on the edge of my chair hoping that you get some enjoyment from TRT.  If you do, please let me know and send it to someone you know. If you don’t, please let me know what’s wrong with it and how to make it better.

Finally, a few notes on help.  Dan Weil designed the entire thing, so if you like its look, hire Dan.  Amy Gelfand helped Dan and I make the thing work. She’s a WordPress maven.  And to all of you who said, “do it!”  Thanks.

Fred Walti


You're invited! Come along for the ride.