The last week of LA life was a blur! Our final Friday in town we attended a formal garden party with a few close friends. The next night, Saturday, Fortune Gym on Sunset where I have trained people and taught classes for the last few years, threw us a going away party. The party was a great success! I had no idea that so many people would show up, but they came and packed the place. There was a full bar, music, grilled burgers and sausages, and Tamara had planned some fun games for us including a “heavy bag” pinata filled with plastic farm animals and gas money for the road trip. It made me feel good and sad at the same time. I have developed a bond with a lot of the people who came, and leaving made me really think about my life. Sunday we attended a courtyard concert at our church with family. It was a great weekend of activities to close out our time in Los Angeles.
Monday I went to the gym and trained a couple of the regular people. Tuesday was my last day teaching classes and training people. It was strange opening up the gym, knowing I may never be back. We all took pictures and had a great time.
I was invited to visit the set of the TV show “Kingdom.” Kingdom is a show set in the world of an MMA Gym. The set reminded me of the many places I’ve trained around the world. I hung out and watch a scene. I saw a couple of friends and then it was home to pack! We started packing weeks ago, but there was still so much to go. Friends gave us boxes, but we ended up needing even more! Where did all the stuff come from? We gave away so much!
Once we decided to get out of Los Angeles it was our single goal. We had to sell our cars and find a new one. Mini Coopers don’t fare so well on gravel roads in Midwest Winters. They would barely make it out of the driveway without getting stuck. We needed our two cars to work both our jobs until the last weekend, and we managed to list and sell them and find a new (heavier) car all on the same day we sold them. We’re now proud owners of an electric vehicle – the Chevy Volt.
We woke up everyday last week at 4am and packed. Wednesday afternoon the Pod came and we started filling it. Thursday the big stuff went in – fridge, washer, dryer, bed. We finished loading it Friday before noon, but we were not done! We still had so much to pack for our road trip and then clean the empty house.
I couldn’t sleep last night and I was awake at my normal 4am. I walked my four legged pal and we went by some places that we might not ever see again. I took a long look up at Mount Wilson where we have hiked up the summit so many weekends. I could see lights at the top and a couple fires on the flats. Then dawn came and I knew it was time to load the car.
We hit the road at about 8am, and as we headed out of town there was no traffic. There was plenty of traffic going into town.
We hit the 15 and headed toward las Vegas. We hit Barstow and I thought of the time when I was a kid we went with my mother to meet my Grandmother and Aunts who were on a sightseeing tour.
Passing Calico Ghost town I thought of the ghostly night my wife and the dog camped there a couple of years ago.
As we sped along in the Mojave, Zzyzx Road exit came into view and I thought of the hundreds of times I had passed it and wondered the story behind it. We read about it last year on a road trip. Its a great story involving a fraudulent radio evangelist who took out a “mining claim” on public land and instead of mining, he built a resort and touted it “the last name in health.” The “healing hot springs” were heated by a hidden boiler, and he recruited skid row bums to build his resort, which included a landing strip and castle. It was popular destination for senior citizens in the 60s. He ended up getting arrested years later and put in jail for his FDA violations and false medical claims. The ruins of the resort are now overrun by scorpions and remain only as a ghost town.
Las Vegas is a one trick pony built on sand. A major downturn in the economy and its over.
We left Nevada, made our way through a corner of Arizona and then were on to Utah!