So Tuesday rolls around…my last day in So-Cal. We both sleep in. At first I had grand plans to drag Chuck off to do some sightseeing; but he could sense I could do with some rest before hitting Aus again. I was going back home to a pretty hectic schedule of work and home commitments – with 3 kids all doing different stuff it is always hectic in our household!

So, whilst Chuck cleaned the car after our day at SoW, I lazed around in beautiful sunshine…and did absolutely nothing for hours. God was that bliss…

By mid-afternoon I was suitably refreshed and we decided on a little drive… headed to Mulholand Highway to catch the views. Last time I had visited, Chuck took me up there in the dark – great drive but I couldn’t see a bloody thing!

Anyway, (if my memory serves me right and if my sense of direction is correct – edit; it doesn’t and isn’t – thanks Chuck for correcting me) we took a drive up Stunt Road (woohoo!) from Mulholand Hwy and then stopped at the lookout where Stunt meets Saddle Peak Road. The day was crystal clear and we could see for miles – so much for the smog-filled atmosphere; our view was crisp and sharp in every direction. This time Chuck could point out a myriad of landmarks etc for me and we got some great pics of the view…

On Mulholland, with Los Angeles in the background

We wound down Saddle Peak Rd to Old Topanga Canyon Road and I got to see “where the hippies lived”. Topanga Canyon is gorgeous; the roads are very narrow and there is a lot of vegetation. I could compare it loosely to our Dandenong Ranges and therefore drew the conclusion that this may not be the best place to be come bushfire season…

I hit the panic button as I had not done any gift shopping for the kids and Mike. Chuck took me to a really sweet little shop on Old Topanga Canyon Road (the gift shop at the Inn of the Seventh Ray restaurant) where I managed to get something for everyone – at 5.30pm (talk about cutting it fine). Here I was worrying about what to buy the teenager (Tom)…I figured I would come unstuck on that one, but no. In fact I found his gift in about 2 minutes – a great book on teenagers and money. Seeing as he has just started his apprenticeship as a chef this was perfect. And yes; he is reading it!

We get home, I get all my stuff together and we head off to Frankie’s for dinner in the Malibu. Man I love that car – nothing like the purr of a V8….

We get a great run to the airport and have some time to wander around. Finally my flight is called and I give Chuck and big kiss and huge hug and thank him again and again for another great adventure!

A long flight home, made longer by a security breach at LAX resulting in a total lock down of the airport and then delays with baggage in Melbourne. A somewhat sedate drive home with Mike to Warragul (speed limit tops of 110kph and it is definitely enforced here). I nearly took out the left side of my Bertha-the-VW-Wonder-Van on the first corner though. Funny how quickly you adapt to driving on the other side of the road.

I arrive home to a myriad of school notices, a stack of mail and heaps of emails for work…back to reality. Mike had done an amazing job of keeping on top of everything – he had the kids cooking and cleaning up; and in bed at a reasonable hour with homework completed every night! He had said he would run the house like “boot camp” if necessary – it worked. I need to go away more often…

 I forgot the best bit! Mike had a list of little things to do on the Multivan for me whilst I was away and in between other jobs in the shop – this car never stops working and I ask a lot of her; hauling 2 ton trailers, stacks of kids, big loads of all sorts of stuff, animals etc etc. She is indeed my daily Wonder Van. Not only did he get through the list, he HAND CUT AND POLISHED her! Having done this myself I know what a huge job it is. She looks all pretty again…I REALLY need to go away more often!

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