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Going Mobile

L.A. adventure wraps up West Coast travel leg

The RV life is incredible. Since we started last fall, we’ve logged nearly 10,000 miles and enjoyed a long list of memorable experiences, from visiting beautiful national parks, to discovering the joy of feeling like a kid again by camping on the beach.

Yet, when we were offered the opportunity to house-sit in Pasadena, we promptly said: “Yes, please!”

It was nice to take a break from bumping into each other in tight quarters, trading our tiny home on wheels for a gorgeous space -- complete with lemon and orange trees in the backyard -- belonging to my sister and brother-in-law. This extended stay allowed us to do a whole lot of exploring around Los Angeles.

Here are a few highlights:


Mastering the Metro

Traffic is a nightmare in this sprawling metro area, but riding public transit was a fantastic way to get around. One excellent outing involved taking the Gold Line from Pasadena to Chinatown, then walking downtown and eating too much at Grand Central Market. Later, Leslie met our daughter for dinner at Beelman’s, a popular bar that just happens to be vegan. That’s so LA! You can also take the Expo Line out to the beach in Santa Monica. There’s no better people watching possible than strolling from Santa Monica to Venice.


Urban hiking/biking

Most visitors cruise up to the iconic observatory, snap some photos and then dash to the next destination, but we wandered the Griffith Park trails that start in the Los Feliz neighborhood. It was such a lovely surprise to find this wild, natural area in the middle of the city. We even spotted a coyote. We also got up into the San Gabriel Mountains, and considered ourselves lucky to find parking near the popular Eaton Canyon Natural Area on a busy Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday Monday. John cycled far and wide, though the dedicated paths were sporadic in a culture dedicated to cars. There is a 51-mile path along the Los Angeles River that’s worth trying.


Shopping like a local

A friend took Leslie to the exceptional Hollywood Farmers Market, where she purchased citrus, salad greens, eggs, Northwest oysters and then made a plate of pupusa disappear. I had a blast wandering the aisles at Vallarta, a Mexican superstore in Pasadena, loading my cart with the best in-house tortillas, ceviche, pork carnitas, and tamales. Made the pilgrimage to the very first Trader Joe’s, still going strong on Arroyo Parkway. All this shopping provided inspiration for some fun meals. And Leslie even mastered her sister’s beloved Instant Pot. Having lots of space for prepping and plating felt luxurious after being in our tiny kitchen. 


Fitting right in

Just in time for January, we were able to chip away at those resolutions to spend more time in the gym. John got a temporary pass to the YMCA in South Pasadena, and Leslie swam laps outdoors in the sunshine at the outstanding Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. While we managed to squeeze in a few tourist-y adventures -- like spending a day at Disneyland -- we really appreciated the chill pace of hanging out at our comfy temporary home.


Going Mobile, 2.0

Time’s up on that amazing stay, and we’re now on the next leg of our grand tour. The latest chapter involves skiing in Colorado and New Mexico before heading south to savor some early spring weather in Texas. Big Bend National Park, here we come!


This week’s Going Mobile Question

We plan to hug the Gulf Coast, with stops in New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla., before heading up the Eastern Coast. Any recommendations for essential stops along the way? We’d love to hear your suggestions -- email us at

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.