(Don't miss the photos added late to yesterdays blog post)

We’re parked along a street in Huntington Beach, CA. Out the door it’s a huge athletic field and playground, on our left side is a busy 2 lane street, then a dirt berm that encloses a utility lot, then the Pacific Coast Highway, then the Pacific ocean. Today the moon is full, and the surf was wild!

We started out the day with a bus move at 7am, because the street was ‘No Parking’ between 8-10am on Tuesdays (am I good at picking these streets the day before a once-a-week closure or what?!) From our new position at the Home Depot we had free wireless internet (Home Depot, Staples, McDonalds, Office Depot are all good for free wifi in their lot); we also made no less than 3 trips into the store for supplies. It seems that we’re still outfitting the bus to make it perfect. Today, I upgraded the links for the safety cables to a heavier duty one ($8), added a HDTV antenna ($40), and purchased webbing to create a safety strap for the pantry shelves ($3)- since they are a bit short and allow cans and boxes to slide off the shelf on some sharp turns. Note to fellow bus converters: build your shelves so they almost touch the door when the door is closed.  We decided on a plan of action for the window saga: install a replacement glue in (fixed) window for the passenger side, and an escape style window for the drivers side. As you may recall, the front (currently fixed) windows- measuring 75” wide- both have damaged thermo seals, which has allowed water between the two panes of glass, and they fog up or even fill with water on occasion. Those have been on our ‘to do’ list since day 1. The escape style window will allow us to prop it open and provide great ventilation- which is so far the #1 problem we need to solve. We’ll also replace the drivers side windshield (cracks) and then do some miscellaneous repairs. We may have to sell one of the kids to pay for the work, but we’re going to try and avoid it. Maybe they have an employee kitchen that 9 of us can wash dishes in for a few hours?

We may have to formally admit that we’re street campers, since most nights we’re taking advantage of the space on fine city streets as a free location to park the bus for a few hours. Advantages to StreetCamping: 1) free, 2) active background, 3) variety of scenery, 4) suspenseful (to see if we get hassled), 5) free.  Disadvantages  1) All of the above except 1 and 5. It’s a different type of sleep when we’re in a spot that we know is OK to be in all night. Despite the heat in Las Vegas at the RV park, we knew we’d still be in the same spot in the morning without any knocks on the door, which allowed me to sleep in my underwear. When sleeping on the street, I have to stay fully dressed, propped up in the drivers seat with a stick in my hand in case any ruffians come along. Just kidding, but it is a different kind of sleep. It is undeniably exciting to wake up and have NO IDEA where you’re sleeping that night- but wherever it is, it must be 50’ long and not be plastered with NO PARKING signs. Even in the coastal tourist towns it seems that the side streets adjacent to commercial have space for a truck. Final consideration when choosing a parking spot- facing the generator away from any houses (it’s on the drivers side). The 4 cyl Kubota tractor motor makes a rattle-y noise that is hard to hear from the curb side, but notable from the drivers side. One of the objectives when parking is to minimize the amount of attention we draw to ourselves in case there are parking restrictions-  the police might not notice unless the neighbors get fussy.

The beach has been a big, fat hit. From the time we got there, to the time we left there were no normal voices- it was all screams. Loud outbursts like: TOR! NA! DO! When waves crashed into the Igel reservoir, located a few feet from the edge of the ocean and decimated the walls of the reservoir. Also like Henry’s SAN DIEGO every time a wave came rolling up. I don’t know where that came from. San Diego? Well, it was very funny. A friend that we met at the theater at home met up with us today at the beach! She brought along her boogie board and proceeded to spend an hour with Ethan et al teaching them the finer points of ‘surfing’. Ethan took right to it despite the rough waves and Julie assured us that he would master surfing when the seas calmed down and he could really get out into the water more. He looked good too. We’ll see Julie again later this week, she’s our link to the stars of LA, and very nice on top of it all. The day ended with a shake your booty dance party after pizza and a family conversation.

Our short term plan is dropping the bus off at the shop Thursday morning, and picking it up Friday afternoon. Hopefully they will be done with it, but we may have to check it back in on Monday to finish up. Either way, we’re in this area for a few days. There’s so much to see. We have also lined up several friends along the West Coast to visit with before landing at my Mothers in Oregon.

Today, was a good day as evidenced by the children falling asleep in less than 5 minutes after laying down (usually there’s some up and down and calling out for this and that- not tonight!)