Seeing this kind of thing is a real conversation starter with kids of all ages.

Heading North along the Pacific Coast Highway is beautiful, and interesting. While following behind the bus in the van in sunny Los Angeles County- just North of our visit to Venice Beach, Kelly and Lauren spotted a lady next to the curb on the busy street, across the street from a police officer writing a ticket- relieving herself while squatting seated on a park bench (I stand corrected). Apparently she was prepared, because she pulled a roll of TP from her purse to clean up. I missed that one, but I did see all the interesting people at Venice Beach.

On the steps of the World Famous Venice Beach Freak Show. They could have exhibited our family as the naive family from the Colorado Mountains showcasing our faces of awe.

This guy didn't say anything. He just held the FREAK sign, and waved his arms in tune with the barker calling out to the crowds to witness the show inside.

Wow. Not satisfied with the locals along the boardwalk, we paid a few bucks to go into one of the last surviving Side Shows. The barker (and show owner) was taunting the passing crowd with promises of an unbreakable woman, electric girl, human blockhead, over 10 live two-headed animals, a 5 legged dog etc etc etc. It was true.

Glowing, as if illuminated, Kelly and Lauren watch the Electric Girl on stage as she passed "A Lot" of electricity through her body and illuminated a lamp with her fingertip, then lit a torch with the spark from her tongue. We saw it happen!

There were several actual artisans in the crowd of vendors that were taking donations for their work (not selling). This man crafted bracelets for the girls with their names out of silver wire. Since we don't see many Anya or Meila items, we thought it would be special.

You have to see it to believe it. There were lots of artisans, and some junk dealers- and some folks that woke up on the beach every day. There were also RV’s that were in the lots that obviously were permanent residents that moved in and out each day, their rigs probably drove 10 miles a month in ¼ mile increments. The interesting current local discussion has to do with the RV’s dumping their sewage in the streets.

This camper was a true representation of the style of camper in Venice Beach. Decorated with love, and well lived in. When the lady returned as we were walking by, she entered to the excitement of her 5 dogs. She had a lot to say, too- to herself. Another opportunity to talk about 'all the different people of the world' with the family.

Since there is no RV dump in the city, and the closest one is $10/dump, some locals are speculating none of them use a real dump facility, which translates to some stinky business for that city. As proof, while walking along the boardwalk, where there are thousands of people walking, a very smelly pile of sand appeared that was partially covering someone’s ‘accident’- this would be the perfect solution to being distracted while walking and gawking. It was very interesting to watch the kids watch the people. The five youngest were quite interested in holding hands, tightly. Although interesting, it was a little scary for young eyes. There were several new discussion topics as we made our way along the highway later: weed, homelessness, smoking, smelly people, etc. One of the kids said it was just like Boulder. Kind of like Boulder on Steroids I thought- but Boulder is cleaner (and a freak show would never be allowed in Boulder).

One of the cool finds at Venice Beach was another Henry name. We have seen Henry mountains, stores, merchantiles and gift shops. Lots of Henrys settled California we figure.

It was hard to stand by as this crime against sign makers was occurring before my own eyes. His lettering was straight and crisp, but I thought that he was also running a brew pub after reading his misleading sign. He said he's been at this for a year or so.

Today we struggled with several things. Reading back over a few blog entries, it would appear that all is always well in Bussie. It’s very good, but there have been bumps. Where do you go if you aren’t talking to your spouse after a misunderstanding when you live on a bus? Right. You immerse yourself in a project that demands focus. Yesterday it was making a plan for the day, water/sewer/camping plan that is for me- and for my wife? Cleaning like a madwoman. We did get that out of our system and things were good in the afternoon and evening… But you can’t run far in the bus! Kelly said yesterday that the trip is changing all of us…. I think that means we’re all super close physically, and we’re going to have to work some things out, instead of retreating to our personal spaces at home. I think it will be good for all of us, I think we’ll get to the point of becoming better friends. I wish I could look ahead a year and see what happened in the next couple of months. After Venice Beach we steamed North, traveling as it became dusk and the clouds rolled in thick from the ocean, and obscured our view of the water any farther than the crashing waves along the shore- which was everything from wide gradual sandy beaches to sharp edged rocks dropping suddenly from the edge of the roadway. We passed the opportunity to stay at a Wal Mart in Oxnard and continued on to Santa Barbara, where we did a few lap through tight residential streets (at 10pm) and finally ended the day at a little park off the beaten path. During the evening I had stopped and opened the coolant valves in the engine compartment that would allow the hot coolant to flow into the lines in the front of the coach and warm the defroster air for the steamy windshield (at was 64 degrees along the coast). Apparently a small leak had developed in the connection by the Webasto heater pump and that coolant dribbled out as we were underway. I spotted the trail of a leak behind us while cruising the SB streets, so we stopped to take a look and fortunately were across the street from the park where we ended up staying. Stopping the leak temporarily required turning the valves off, although the residual coolant kept dripping for a bit. So after  a call to ABC Tech Support and their emotional support, and adding 2 gallons of coolant back into the reservoir so the engine would start (recall the time the engine shut down due to low coolant before we left on the trip), we could move across the street. I had visions of waking up to the police and fire department and haz mat team surrounding a leaking bus, and the subsequent local newspaper article, but it didn’t happen. The small drip tray I fashioned out of aluminum foil caught a trace of coolant that leaked after parking, so hopefully that will be the end of the drip, and allow me to take the pump off and replace the gasket before the demand for heat arises again- and when I’m not working on the street side of the bus on a dark night with freeway traffic exiting into SB a couple of feet behind my back. It is weird to pull into a place and have no idea what it will look like in the morning… This ended up being a nice park, but will probably fill up today being a holiday, so I’ll start getting today’s plan together and get underway. I think we’ll head North toward San Francisco. We’ll see. Sometimes the kids ask “What are we doing today?” and I have to honestly say- ‘I don’t know.’