Monday, 11 February 2013

Redhot times near Redlands

Redlands is an hour west of Los Angeles. We camped at Redlands Mission RV January 24-30.
The site was adequate but RVs were tightly squeezed together and road, emergency services and plane-roar was constant. We stopped here to be close to friends who were visiting from Canada. Redlands is a nice town sitting in the valley surrounded by agricultural plains leading up to gorgeous mountains. There are many hiking and biking trails covering a variety of terrain around the town.

We popped Dixie into Daycare for an overnight and drove to LA. We parked near Frank Gehry's amazing Guggenheim Museum. Our friends from Canada, Les and Darlene, met us at the amazing bar called "The Edison" Les and Chris rode together on TFD's Rescue 345 for over twelve years. Les recently became a captain and has moved to another fire hall. He had noticed the renovated power plant/now funky bar and nightclub, on one of his discover-the-coolest-places Internet journeys. LA's first private power plant has been transformed into three floors of brick and copper, subtly lit with magical Edison light bulbs suspended in unique post-modern chandeliers. Many original fixtures remain on the walls and some have been altered into shelving, bars and industrial-mod tables. Many of the walls are "alive" with the constantly flickering, loops of black and white  silent films. There are no photographs that can replicate this amazing place. Take the virtual tour to feel the essence of "The Edison"  We ate, drank, danced, listened to a great jazzy-blues band rock out. The sexy sax player and seductive dancers put on quite a show.

Dixie spent the day with her daycare dog-buddies while we explored the Paloma Car Show. The three day show features outdoor exhibits of all varieties of custom and remodelled vehicles of many eras. A lot of these are for sale and their owners stand proudly by to provide history and reveal the secret stories about their beloved automobiles. The car junkies come in different forms so the people watching is enjoyable. I've never seen so many beards, tattoos, leather and denim in one place. There were displays of everything a car lover would need or want including T-shirts and hats, every type of wax and polishing cloths ever invented, tools galore, and worlds of accessories like hood ornaments, special lights, mirrors and hub caps and many displays featured photographs and art for the dreamers to collect. Once and awhile, guests are blown off the sidewalk when a crazy engine screams on and revs to its loudest and highest octaves.

Ten huge buildings housed displays themed by vehicle era and style. Cars and memorabilia from the 50's were under one roof with gals dressed in fashion of the day while a live Bee Bop Band crooned out a loud beat. There was no shortage of red lipstick, cuffed jeans and leopard print here.

Another warehouse showed muscle cars glowing and sparkling in crazy colours, sparkly or pearl finishes. Special lighting and mirrors below the cars provide a view underneath these dazzling vehicles.



Customized and historic bikes gleam in the eyes of the easy riders and biker wannabees. Displays of everything vehicle related are manned by experts and gals dressed to catch the eye. One cutie was costumed like Rosie the Riveter.

                                                             Ya can never have enough Tommy Bahama!

An exceptional building held over fifty "Woodies" most decked out with surf boards and great retro beach decals. The wooden surfaces shone with a high gleam. The variety of shape and size of the wood-clad vehicles was amazing and spoke affectionately of the surf culture of California and Hawaii. The favourite bumper sticker was "It's difficult to walk when you have a woody!". As in all the buildings, there was live mood music, in this case, drumming and hula dancing.


We connected with Les and Darlene to compare notes and make sure that we had not missed anything, then toured on our own for a couple more hours. The Paloma Car Show is an annual pilgrimage for Les and his insight made the experience even more enjoyable.

Some of the buildings celebrated the achievements of creative purity with cars lovingly restored with full authenticity, oh that chrome!!!!  Others showed the creative spirit and variety of tastes of vehicle owners who add pin striping, sculptural
details, original painting and embossed and carved chrome .



                                                                        Enlarge this one to see details!

                                                            Everything in sight is spit-polished to the nines!
With Darlene and Les, we celebrated our day over Margaritas and Mexican food. They joined us the following evening for dinner in the RV and made a lame attempt at sleeping overnight on the blow up mattress. They continued their vacation up the coast in search of more fun and comfortable beds and we explored more of  the Redlands area.
Driving up the San Bernadino Mountains,we were reminded of Scotland. We enjoyed gorgeous views down into the valley where citrus orchards gave way to fields of deep green vegetables. The city of Redlands was splayed out at the feet of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean shone through a blue haze. beyond. At about 2000 feet, we began to see cars descending the mountains that were piled with snow. The trees and mountains were covered with splotchy snow but the pavement was only a bit damp. Signs demanded that cars without snow tires and four wheel drive MUST pull over and put chains on. We could not believe it! We just laughed and drove on, after all, we are from Canada!!! We stopped to let Dixie out to rock and roll in the deep, fluffy, one-foot-deep, white stuff. She loved it!

                                                                                Chains necessary!?

                                                                 "Plastic pine tree" communication tower   
In Redlands we wandered through historic downtown to see restored warehouses, restaurants, celebrated homes and extremely tall palm trees. A great "Memorial Shrine" holds a remarkable number of books, paintings, sculptures, artifacts and documents celebrating the memorable president Abraham Lincoln. An original Norman Rockwell "The Long Shadow of Lincoln" hangs there as well. We hiked the foothills of Redlands with Dixie and enjoyed great views. We also watched  road runners, marmots and bluebirds. A coyote roamed the fields only a few feet away from our car until he caught a whiff of us and loped away at a good clip.

At January's end, we drove south back down to San Diego where we set up for a month in Mission Bay RV Resort. We are close to the water here as well as walking paths, beaches and sightseeing galore.

The Gaslight Quarter of San Diego is a "sixteen block urban paradise of restaurants, shops, galleries and nightclubs".
After meeting up with Les and Darlene, we checked out some ultra groovy galleries, one specializing in paintings of the famous like Ronnie Wood's Rock Stars and Stephen Holland's John Lennon and Marlon Brando. Dale Mathis' sculptures and reliefs used working clock parts integrated with found objects. The family-owned gallery honouring famous Looney Tune and Warner Bros. animator Chuck Jones, was a really fun venue. Original painted cells, sketches and storyboards were on view of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Peanuts and Dr Seuss and Bob Elias' Roadrunner were all well represented. Some contemporary painters and sculptors displayed cartoon-themed works in the gallery.
We had a fine meal in the great surroundings of The Gaslamp Strip Club. Well padded black leather booths, red carpets and seductive Don Lewis Pin-up Girls decorated the restaurant creating an atmosphere "The Rat Pack" would love. The waitresses wore hot pants and fishnets and low-cut tops. Strip refers to the steaks that the guests cook themselves over super hot grills inside the restaurant. Sides and salad are delivered when the steaks are done. Very fun! (the venue was recommended in Rachel Ray's "Tasty Treats". We danced the night away at an amazing Jazz and Blues bar where an incredible Blues Band played into the wee hours. Thanks to Darlene and Les for coaxing out our social sides. They share an exuberance for life which is infectious; great times!


  1. OMG!!!!!! this is one of my favs....the shots of the cars,etc have blown me away!!...i would be in pig heaven looking at all those cars!
    ..b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!!..aaahhhh! when did chris grow the beard? :)..looks like he fits in with the 'crowd' at the show :) threw me off when you said dancing, almost swallowed my tongue:)...soo glad you went off tour and enjoyed a break with D&L..cause WE have totally enjoyed it too!! :)

  2. I have just installed iStripper, so I can have the best virtual strippers on my desktop.