A little over three months after leaving Los Angeles and striking out on what we consider to be the adventure of a lifetime, we’ve returned to the city. No, the epic #vanlife adventure isn’t over, but we’ve made our way back to the bustle of the big city for a few days. Leaving the quiet of the National Forest and the glory of Glacier National Park, we pointed Louie (our van) back to the southwest and pressed the gas pedal all the way to Spokane, WA. Why Spokane? The GEG airport was chosen (without a lot of scientific process) because it was the closest airport serviced by SWA airlines and I had A LOT of points built up to cover the trip.
We arrived back in the heart of LA around 10:30pm after picking up our rental car at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. The AirBnB we rented for the extended weekend turned out to be a total train wreck, so we found ourselves scrambling at nearly midnight Thursday to find a hotel in the vicinity of Eagle Rock that had rooms immediately available. We settled in nearby Pasadena and self-medicated our #citylife stress with a couple of perfect Manhattans at a local establishment. Return to Los Angeles, Day 1: Fail.
Although we’re returning for a friend’s wedding (one who also happens to be a business partner), I flew all the way to Los Angeles with my fly rod in tow in hopes of chasing “Tijuana Trout” (more commonly known as carp) in the LA River. I met a fishing buddy of mine and we drove into the heart of the city to walk the edges of the river through Atwater Village. We found some carp, had some time to catch up, and overall had a great morning. Wedding festivities occupied much of my time for the next couple of days, and we definitely enjoyed a few more of those barrel-aged Manhattan.
Returning to LA definitely made us remember some of the good things we left behind when we drove away in our Sprinter a little over three months ago: the weather, our friends, great food, and all of the activities LA has to offer. We were also reminded of all of the things we were excited to leave behind: traffic, LA prices, bad drivers, and traffic (yes, it’s bad enough to mention twice). But we did have to get a little SoCal beach time in before we headed back to the mountains, so we made the trek to Marina del Rey, took a couple of SUP’s out for a paddle around the marina, and enjoyed a few final minutes of pure Southern California sun.
Before jumping on the plane back to the Northern Rockies, we wrapped up the weekend with friends and some BBQ. Since we’ve been driving through Washington, Idaho, and Montana, the drought in the West has put a bit of a damper on our campfire game. Lots of fire regulations have prevented us from cooking over an open flame, so when our friends offered us the chance to grill some meat over real wood, we jumped (it’s also become a luxury to cook in a real full-size kitchen).
We had fun coming back to the city, with its big, comfy hotel beds and our good friends, but we’re excited to get back to Louie the Van and the mountains. Overall, LA was pretty good to us, but we’ve been in one place long enough for now, and as the John Muir quote goes, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”
So what is 10 and 2? Meet Ryan and learn about why he’s on the road with Crown & Caliber.