The Iron Duke is revived, a new vehicle is added to the family, and…

No, this isn’t our new vehicle, though I wish it were. There are a lot of Low Riders in our hood and each one is a work of art. This 70’s Chevy was unusually clean

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:

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 1.54.28 PM

Lots of holes in this list and we intend to continue filling them:)

Take care,



FW opens up the third GloSho conference


There are a lot of events in and around GloSho. This was a dinner we threw for the international members of NGIN


Neal and I sit out front of our new home. Somehow we dragged this $45M project across the finish line after four years of trying


The parking lot as 175KW of solar connected to a micro grid. Building also has the first gray water treatment system for a commercial building in Los Angeles


The court yard event room can hold 100 people in and around the bleachers.


Looking down one of the hallways prior to moving in


Kelly Bernard, Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, was part of the original crew who made La Kretz happen. Here she sits in the lobby in front of our “living wall.” And no, they’re not fake plants:)

I don’t know who’s more nervous — me having to figure out all the systems on The Vehicle — or the guy taking the picture. Notice KR isn’t in this frame as she’s in the Emergency Room of a hospital in LA. I know what you’re thinking, “Why the hell aren’t you at your wife’s hospital bedside?” which is similar to what KR was thinking. My answer; well, someone has to take care of business and pick up The Vehicle.  When the going gets tough, the tough play hurt:))


First night in The Vehicle is suppose to be spent checking out all systems. This is a lot tougher than it looks, made all the tougher by a case of Coronas. Notice I got the satellite TV working. Let’s see, the solar system is connected to the house batteries which are connected to the invertor which is connected to the wall sockets which are connected to the refrigerator.  Well, maybe not but this RV stuff is complicated.  The days of pulling over and popping the top are over.  Did I tell you we have to be perfectly level to work the refrigerator?


First official trip (with KR) was to a beach in Los Angeles. We were probably the smallest “coach” in the place. Notice that I’ve figured out how to hook all systems up.


The kitchen with not one, but TWO globes already in display. KR says its big enough to do business in:)


There’s nothing that makes me happier than the Little Woman making lists of stuff to do. Squirt has adapted well to The Vehicle and appears comfortable.


It’s probably true that KR and I are most happy when we’re on the road. Here KR is thinking about all the trips we’re going to be able to take on Four Wheels.


Model of the new 6th Street Bridge experience.  Notice amphitheater underneath it?


Crowd listening to politico’s speak and bands play. Look closely for a familiar face


And the party gets going


Another Chevy all lit up


This is the trunk of the Chevy, with the chromed air jacks and sound system. Interesting choice of character as the car’s owner is a lawyer:)



The Iron Duke sits proudly in a Pemex parking lot stuffed to the gills with precious things that KR just has to have.   Just a few spaces down is this pack horse.  And people say that KR packs a lot of stuff into the Duke?



Another normal night on the Malecon in PV. it’s good to be home.

6 replies
  1. Lynn Walti Phipps says:

    Thanks for the review…guess I have to read it to find out why you went to Vegas and almost Seattle? Love you – hope you are relaxing a bit in PV.

  2. Debbie says:

    Congratulations on the move into your company headquarters!
    Love your new coach 😉 thanks for sharing !

  3. Ron Kuhl says:

    Wow! Your new $45M company digs are a far cry from the converted bus repair shop. Congratulations for seeing it through all the steps to completion.
    And how great that your new coach (seems strange for him/her not to have a name) will make your and KR’s travels so much more pleasant.
    Hope LBS wasn’t affected by the recent hurricane.

  4. Peter and Aneth says:


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *