Not only did I have a peaceful week. But was able to finally redo jinxed LA trip. Third time was the charm. Had planned this trip originally in 2019. Was initially supposed to be Hearst Castle, Solvang, LA. (We skipped Solvang this time, but we made it at some point.)
If money were no object, the central CA coast is where I would live. It has always been my favorite place. It's more complicated than that. Living close to family is more important, among other things. I don't foresee ever moving to the central coast. But maybe some extended (weeks long) vacations during early retirement, is probably how it would realistically translate.
Writing down before I forget: Ventura was beautiful. Never noticed it before, but it was stunning when we drove though last week.
This was the view from our hotel room. It's our 'forever hotel' near the college. The price was has quintupled on the weekends, in recent years. But weeknights can still be reasonable.
This part of the trip was particularly magical. The sky was so clear and the moonlight was so pretty. As we were wrapping up packing the next morning, I looked outside and just happened to spot 2 dolphins swimming by!
My niece is working at the college this summer. She's pre-vet, and stayed there to take care of the animals. After Hearst castle, we met up with her. We got to meet the kittens she was fostering (OMG) and the baby goats she is taking care of.
Not much to say about the rest of the trip. I holed up in the LA hotel for 3 days while MH attended the film festival. It was over in a blink. I guess that's how time is any more. But I did relax and enjoyed the peace.
We were not able to charge at the hotel and I thought that would be more challenging. But we ended up in so much LA traffic that it added a lot of range to the car. (Braking generates electricity.) Because of that, we drove about 60 miles (from last charger) and ended up with 20 more miles (range) than we started with. Got the battery up to 85%?
I still thought we'd do a quick stop on the way out (once the battery drained enough; charging is much faster on an emptier battery). But once we guaged the traffic (hit more on the way out of LA) and re-assessed once we got out of the madness, it was an easy 2-stop drive home. I think last time our second stop had been much shorter. That was probably the difference with being able to start out with a full charge.
I think the trip will end up being about $1,750. Most of that is hotels. About $400 for food and $70 at chargers. 1,000 miles driven. I am not used to paying for hotels. So, ugh. The trip feels quite extravagant in that regard. But we better get used to it. MIL has been flip flopping about her timeshare (that we just want to get rid of). So it initially sounded like maybe we could use the rest of the year. But last MH brought it up, he said they had gone back to getting rid of it ASAP. Which is really all good and for the best. I want to go back to LA for New Year's (rose parade) and so it's just going to be one of those years. I think we spent our vacation budget on the last LA trip.
I am earmarking future gift/bonus money to offset the whole 'loss of free timeshare' thing. I am also not interested in traveling with my kids in the future. (Those timeshares were the best for bigger family trips.) Just winging it for now. Will be able to plan better with the heads up in future years. & I just expect a completely revamped budget at some point in the future. But with two kids in college, it's not in our plans to actually increase our vacation budget. It's all been far more extravagant than anything I envisioned during these college years. I really thought we'd just be more homebodies, but there's just been so many opportunities and we have the cash to take advantage. This is the only year I can realistically get to the rose parade (re: work schedule). While MM(20) is building rose floats. So it's at least a 3x LA year.
Thankfully, MH went back to work Tuesday. & he was actually busy. (It usually starts out pretty slow, after summer break). & the LA hotel was slow to show up on the credit card. So I am probably going to kick that can down the road a month and let MH's income cover that. It's all the same in the end (as MH would roll his eyes and tell me) but I personally like slowing the money drain. I am looking at August and I've just got the new tires and $1,000 of vacation expenses to pay off in September. Was able to kick off medical bills and the LA hotel to be paid for in October (charged in September). & MH's October income might cover those extras.
Spending will slow, as everyone settles back to school and work.