Daily Archives: April 26, 2017

This Date In History . . .

This morning we were once again out the door and on the road by10:15 heading down to LA for another day of eating and shopping, this time heading down the 405.

So what else is new?

Jan has always been a big fan of the reality show ‘Sweetie Pie’s. Robbie Montgomery had a long career as a backup singer with groups from Ike and Tina Turner to the Beatles. But after a long illness and asthma forced her to quit as a singer, she open a restaurant in St. Louis in 1998 called Sweetie Pies.

Rated the #1 Soul Food Restaurant in St. Louis for years, Sweetie Pie’s became a reality TV show on OWN TV in 2011, and quickly became a hit.  And recently Sweetie Pie’s started spreading out with other locations, including two in LA, and one in Houston.

We didn’t find out about the one in Houston until we were leaving last month, so Jan was determined to eat at the one down in Inglewood, so today was the day.

We got to the restaurant about 11:30 and found a corner location with plenty of on-street parking.

Sweetie Pie's 1

Inside it was high ceilings, a bright, open interior

Sweetie Pie's 2

and a delicious-looking cafeteria line.

Sweetie Pie's 3

Sweetie Pie's 4

Jan and I both went with the Fried Chicken and three sides.

Sweetie Pie's 5

We both doubled up with the Green Beans and Miss Robbie’s fabled Mac N Cheese, while we differed with Jan getting the Cornbread Dressing and Gravy, while I got the Collard Greens.

Everything was delicious, the service was great, and everyone was friendly, patiently answering Jan’s many questions about the show and Miss Robbie and her extended family.

This was great Soul Food, and Miss Robbie’s Mac N Cheese is fabled for a good reason.

Leaving Sweetie Pie’s we headed north on La Brea for about 10 miles to Larchmont Village, a shopping area near Beverly Hills where Landis General Store supposedly stocked Beekman Boys soaps and lotions.

Well, they used to, but that was before the store was flooded and closed by a plumbing problem and hasn’t yet reopened. But she did find several other things she liked, and we got Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Lattes so it wasn’t all bad.

Heading back to the rig, we got on the 101N this time, and had a smooth trip back up to Acton with no real slowdowns. And being back by 3pm we had time for a nap.

Getting back, Jan took this shot of the view from near our site.

Soledad Canyon Mtn

Until you’re actually out here, most people don’t realize how hilly the LA area actually is.

This day in history, April 26th, 2008, is the day we arrived in Fairbanks, AK during our 1st year on the road.

Leaving Tok that morning this is the view out the windshield.

Fairbanks Arrival 1

Jan said, “OMG we don’t have to drive OVER those, do we?”

Thankfully, No.

Two days after we got to Chena Marian RV Park in Fairbanks we had this.

Fairbanks Arrival 2

Fairbanks Arrival 3

And it was starting to snow again when we left on September 20th, five months later, chasing us all the way back to the US where we entered on Oct. 8th at Sweet Grass, MT. Jan said she wanted to get out and kiss the ground.

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And then two days, in Billings, MT, the snow again caught up with us.

2008 Billings Snow

2008 Billings Snow 2

Tomorrow we’re once again heading back to the Hollywood area to take the TMZ Celebrity Tour that originates from the Hard Rock Café located next to the TCL, nee Grauman, Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.

Thought for the Day:

“I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back.” ― Zsa Zsa Gabor


By The Skin Of Our Teeth . . .

We were out the door at 10am and on our way down to Placentia to have lunch at Esther’s Taco House, where we first ate in 2008 on our first RV trip to the LA area.

We took the scenic route leaving  the park, making the 17 drive down Soledad Canyon Rd. before finally hooking up with the Antelope Valley Fwy and then I-5 south.

In the past, coming down from Lancaster, about 25 miles further north, it only took us about an hour and 45 minutes to make it down there. But today, due to traffic and construction, it took us over 2 – 1/2 hours. But in hindsight we may have been lucky to have made it at all.

This happen on I-5 just minutes after we passed by, blocking both sides of the Interstate for hours.

I-5 Wreck 1

I-5 Wreck 2

I-5 Crash

We just missed it by the skin of our teeth, and really lucked out.

We finally got to Esther’s a little after 12:30, just missing the lunch rush. Esther’s is located in a nondescript strip canter, that hides really delicious food.


I started out with a cup (yes, that’s a cup) of their Chicken Tortilla Soup. Jan tried a spoonful of mine and when she found out I wasn’t planning to share anymore, she then ordered a bowl for herself.

Esther's Tortilla Soup

Next up was our usual, the Two Chili Relleno Platter, the same thing we’ve always ordered.

Esther's Chili Rellenos

Esther’s Chili Rellenos are legendary and the recipe is a secret. Our late good friend George Ellis is the one who told us about Esther’s. We met in 1981 when we both worked at NASA-JSC.. He was Rockwell Aerospace’s Crew Systems Manager on both the Apollo Program and the Space Shuttle, and back in the 60’s he was working out here at Dryden Flight Research Center when he discovered Esther’s.

In fact he was so enamored with Esther’s Chili Rellenos that he once offered her $1000 for the recipe.

She turned him down.

It’s hard to describe how good these are, enough so that we were willing to make a 170 mile round trip to eat there.

Jan looks just as happy now,

Esther's Jan

as she was in 2010.

Esthers Meal

Just as delicious as always.

We were back on the road from Esther’s a little before 2pm, and listening to talk radio is when we discovered that I-5 was blocked in both directions and had been since 11am, right after we passed along there. And there was no estimate on when it would be open again. So at this point, technogeek that I am, I had to do something that goes completely against my nature.

I had to actually use a map, you know, those things printed on real paper with squiggles all over it, to route us home. That’s one problem with a GPS. There’s no way to route a major detour.

In this case, looking at the map, I could see that if I took the 605 north and then picked up the 210 north, it would join back with the I-5 well past the accident, just what we wanted.

It added about 25 miles to our trip but then we didn’t spend 8 hours sitting in stalled traffic like some poor souls did who were caught up in that mess.

Getting back to on the Antelope Valley Fwy we passed the famous Vasquez Rocks,

Vasquez Rocks

Originally a hideout for 1870’s outlaws, it is now a much-used set for numerous movies and TV shows, starting with Werewolf in London in 1935, through Rin Tin Tin in the 50’s to Star Trek in the 60’s, and a lot more along the way.

Star Trek - Kirk and Gorn

Most recently it was the set of a Big Bang Theory episode, again with a Star Trek theme.

Big Bang Vasquez Rocks.

Before returning to the park we headed up into Palmdale to pick up some things at the Wal-Mart. I was happy to find that my new phone would again scan the Wal-Mart receipts with their Savings Catcher app. Somewhere along the line, my S5 quit scanning so I had to enter the barcode by hand.

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Glad it’s working again.

Thought for the Day:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ― Theodore Roosevelt


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