BUS FOR SALE

We are selling the bus. It is currently at California Coach Company and here is the complete listing. For further information please contact Steve or Tony at California Coach Company. If you know someone who may be interested in a great bus please send them this link.

This was originally Bob Lee's (founder of Country Coach) personal bus.

We have made extensive upgrades. The black walnut cabinetry gives the bus a yacht feel.

The custom desk / entertainment center includes a HDTV on a pivoting mount that can be used a a monitor for computer also.

Corian counter tops and textured tile flooring.

The bath area is spacious.

Queen sized bed with another HDTV.

An extensive list of upgrades is available for review, along with all maintenance and service records.

Outstanding 15 KW Wrico/Kubota Generator is very quiet.

Joey bed allows roller access form both sides of the bus.

For more information click here. Please forward this link to anyone you think may be interested in a bus.

Home to Nova Scotia

We are packing boxes of books and belongs today. It is sad to think that our home for the last three years will be left in LA where we bought it three years. The bus will make a great home for some other family.

We leave LA Wednesday to head quickly across the country to cross the boarder and return to Nova Scotia.

We have met many wonderful people and seen the best of North America. On to other adventures. -L

Lloyd wins SCWC Keyword-Themed Story Contest

For the past three days we attended the Southern California Writers' Conference in San Diego. Over two hundred and fifty writers from around the world attended. A group from Australia flew in early to attend, a woman from Columbia, several from England and Europe also attended. The rest came from Canada and the States.

The speakers included best-selling writers, award winning screenwriters, agents, and editors. We enjoyed the talks by Warren Fahy (Fragment), Mike Sirota (Fire Dance), Derek Haas (3:10 to Yuma and Wanted, Eric DeLabarre (Saltwater Taffy, a great new YA novel), Eric Bork (From Earth to the Moon and Band of Brothers), Lisa Fugard (Skinner's Drift), Michelle Scott (several mystery series), and Alexandra Sokoloff (The Harrowing, The Price, The Unseen, The Hidden).

Mark Clements (6:02, Children of the End, and Lorelei) led three outstanding Read & Critique sessions each evening that continued late into the morning.

Overall we were disappointed that the level of the conference was very basic, though we can always learn from someone and we both left with a few gems. We met many wonderful people excited about writing and passionate about the future of digital publishing. Conferences always inspire and we look forward to spending the next several weeks holed up and working on our respective projects.

The conference hosted a Keyword-Themed Story Contest. I entered and was surprised when they started reading my story from the lectern. Pamela was wonderful as always and edited all my grammatical and spelling errors late the night before the deadline. I always incorporate her suggestions, so I share the win with her. -L

Bringing You Up To Speed

Jan 13-Feb 12, 2011 Hi all,

Just a quick post to share our recent news.

We apologize for slacking off on the blog, but we've been preoccupied with family, personal and work matters.

Lloyd's mother passed away on January 21st. Fortunately, we caught the last two seats on two different flights that same day to make it to Valdosta, Georgia in time to say goodbye and to share the last few hours she had. We will dearly miss her yet we are heartened to know that she is no longer suffering and that she was surrounded by all of her immediate family when she passed. We spent a week in the comfort and love of our Georgia family and friends before returning to Malibu, California.

We brought back a few germs and have dueled with them since, but we are still up and at it so can't complain.

Since arriving in California in October we have kept busy attending screenwriting and related events, catching up with local friends, writing and generally enjoying our surroundings despite the occasional wind or rain storm and landslides farther north in Oxnard.

Otherwise, we celebrate 3 years on the road March 1st. And then? We're putting the bus up for sale in March and returning to Nova Scotia after one more trip across Canada with a U-haul. That will bring our full-time travel adventure to an end. On to the next adventure! We have arranged a rental house in the town of Lunenburg with a May 1st start. We look forward to coming home, back to the place, people and lifestyle we have missed.

I'll try to catch up, again, on blog posts. In the meantime here are a few pics, views from our campsite in Malibu Beach RV Park:

My walk on the beach during yesterday's sunrise:

We spent our first month in Malibu (Oct 24-Nov 23) here:

Now we're here:

Our view out the windshield:

The beach is beyond the green, a hop skip and jump (before the traffic gets ya!) across the Pacific Coast Highway.

My office (on a hazy day):

Nice, hm? :)

We have just four more days in Malibu then it's off to Playa del Rey (2 miles south of Venice Beach) for a few days, San Diego for a writers conference and back to Malibu.

We hope you are all well, healthy and happy.

Peace

-P

Dockweiler State Beach

October 3-24, 2010 Dockweiler State Beach has a wide stretch of sand and a section of The Strand, a 22-mile-long bicycle path that runs from Redondo Beach up to the Pacific Palisades. It's just 2 miles south of Venice Beach.

We had a front row site and our front driver's tire rested on the sand. In fact, after strong winds we often had to shovel sand off our site to keep a flat base for our chairs.

We had gorgeous weather (80F+) for the first few days then cold, wet and blustery days for two weeks. However, the sun managed to make an appearance for sunset every evening.

We jogged the path almost every morning, drizzle or shine, and otherwise enjoyed the seascape.

One rainy day a seal galumphed up the beach to the path to sip fresh water from the puddles.

Dockweiler proved a good homebase for all that we wanted to do and see in the area. We head back there for another 3-week stay starting February 12th.

-P

WGF Notes on Craft

October 14, 2010 We're attending a 6-week Noes on Craft series hosted by the Writers Guild Foundation. Each Wednesday a panel of working screemwriters discusses the preset topic. Tonight's topic: Premise and Concept, "concerned strictly with developing the initial idea behind a script - from generating compelling concepts to molding those concepts into complete scripts."

The panelists (L to R): moderator and Academy Award-nominated writer Dan Petrie Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop, The Big Easy, Turner & Hooch); Allan Loeb (The Switch, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, 21); Ann Peacock (The First Grader, Nights in Rodanthe, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe screenplay); and Dan Pyne (Fracture, The Manchurian Candidate, The Sum of All Fears, Any Given Sunday, Doc Hollywood.

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Ann Peacock is inspiring. Wish she'd work on more original ideas. Allan Loeb "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is candid, approachable, prolific. Dan Pyne is super friendly, courteous and generous with his thoughts. Dan Petrie Jr. requires most of my patience to get through all of his uh, um, um, uh , and if he could speak in complete sentences, that would be nice. However,

Creative Screenwriting Expo

Ocober 7-10, 2010 Our fourth year at CS Expo. It's a whirlwind every year, but I'll summarize a few highlights.

Shane Black makes his way through the room, escorted by two police officers and ... Lloyd!

Our dear friend, Den, asked Lloyd to be Shane's handler while Den juggled his keynote speaker agenda.

If you don't know Shane by name, you already know his work: "Lethal Weapon", "The Last Boy Scout", "The Long Kiss Goodnight", "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", among others. In the mid-90s Shane gained the distinction of being the highest paid screenwriter; he earned $4,000,000 for his "The Long Kiss Goodnight" spec script. He's also known for his potty mouth.

Regardless, Shane is a given on our agenda. Not only is he a Hollywood success, he's a funny, sincere, passionate, and likable guy. Shane and Den the moderator:

John August wrote "Go", "Charlie's Angels" (2000 & 2003), "Big Fish", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Corpse Bride", "The Nines" and more. John also created and runs one of the best ever blogs for screenwriters. John and Den:

Gary Whitta and Den:

Gary is best known for writing the script for "The Book of Eli", "A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind".

We attended educational sessions hosted by screenwriting "experts" including producers, managers, story/script consultants, and screenwriters with produced credits. Our favourites: Erik Bork ("Band of Brothers"), Linda Heys, Bill Lundy, Michael Hauge, and Bill Marsilii (another record breaker: co-wrote "Deja Vu" with "Pirates of the Caribbean" scribe Terry Rossio, which sold for $5,000,000).

As always, we spend just as much time socializing and catching up with fellow writers from L.A. and from around the globe.

Best screenwriting event of the year, anywhere.

-P

Back on Schedule

September 29, 2010 Morgan Hill, CA

We are back on schedule.

We are here:

And we are warm. It's 95F, real feel 99F, in Morgan Hill, California. And there was smoke between us and the hills. But now it is gone. :)

We are well and we are happy at Coyote Valley RV Resort, despite the smoke coming from the trees between us and the blonde hills.

Hot. Dry. Two lilac trees in front of us, also olive trees and something like a chestnut tree. Hey, and a yellow fire hydrant! That might come in handy...

I'm out here with the vultures and the whir and pulsing of every air conditioner. No sweat on me though. Shade from the neighbouring RV and a soft, warm breeze.

Nice place to just hang, or rally. Pristine grounds and clubhouse.

Will be in L.A. October 3rd.

-P

San Francisco Seascape

September 26-28, 2010 Though we love San Francisco, we needed to recharge. We settled into San Franciso RV Resort and stayed put until our departure for Morgan Hill. And why not with a water view like this?

We stayed on the widest site (site 16, I think, 18' wide) in the "resort" a few feet from the edge of the 60' bluff, where the remnants of the last walking path clings to the ledge. It's only a matter of time...

Just a minute's walk to the beach:

An almost unobstructed view of the seascape is wonderful to wake up to:

My favourite part of the campground was the walk/jog path. Great views.

Chilly enough for a hoodie as the sun drops:

-P

Mount Shasta, CA

September 23-26, 2010 We're in catch up mode again so posts for September and October will be photo heavy and word light.

Gold grassy folds sweep over the landscape on approach to the California border:

The California Poppy, the state flower, perks up the welcome sign:

Snow-capped Mount Shasta has the second highest peak in the Cascade Mountains:

Theodore Roosevelt said, "I consider the evening twilight on Mt. Shasta one of the grandest sights I have ever witnessed."

At a peak of 14,162 feet, Mount Shasta is the second largest volcano in the continental United States.

We stayed at Lake Siskiyou Camp-Resort, a wooded state park on the edge of Lake Siskiyou. That's Mount Shasta in the background.

Plenty of deer, raccoons, birds and other wildlife to explore ...

The park has a nice sand swimming beach and also a marina where we watched a weasel bound down the dock.

Every morning promised another one of Nature's masterpieces:

-P

Creative Screenwriting Expo

October 10-22, 2009 FADE IN:

INT.  WILSHIRE GRAND LOS ANGELES - POINT MOOREA BAR - NIGHT

SCREENWRITERS converge, quaff and gab the night away.

Lloyd and I attend the Creative Screenwriting Expo each year in L.A. It's the biggest screenwriting event of the year anywhere. About 2,000+/- screenwriters, studio execs, A-list speakers and teachers convened at the Wilshire Grand Los Angeles for three and a half days of education, networking, pitching and merry making.

The nightly meet up with scribe-friends old and new:

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We love you too, Rich (a.k.a. #4). Peek a boo. We see you Lloyd.

Henry (the Lionhearted), me, Den and Rich (a.k.a. #4).

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INT.  BALLROOM - DAY

William Goldman of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "Marathon Man," and "The Princess Bride" fame honours us with his attendance each year, along with a sidekick of sorts. John Cleese occupied this year's second chair.

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Shane Black, writer of the "Lethal Weapon" series, "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", graced the stage as well and contended with the worst interviewer ever--cringe worthy! Mr. Black's personality precedes him so he steamrolled that obstacle with just enough class and commentary (amply peppered with four letter words) to entertain us all.

INT.  ROOM 1524 - NIGHT

Lamps glaze sleep-deprived Screenwriters in an alien-green glow.

Clearly, I didn't check my camera setting.

Scribes imbibe:

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After all-day sessions and nightly networking parties it's a given (well, it is to us) that the networking shifts into a mode devoid of structure in some lounge or hotel room. Our room, our comrades:

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Our ... orbs. Never so many in a pic...

On that...

FADE OUT

-P

Creative Screenwriting Expo

October 10-22, 2009 FADE IN:

INT.  WILSHIRE GRAND LOS ANGELES - POINT MOOREA BAR - NIGHT

SCREENWRITERS converge, quaff and gab the night away.

Lloyd and I attend the Creative Screenwriting Expo each year in L.A. It's the biggest screenwriting event of the year anywhere. About 2,000+/- screenwriters, studio execs, A-list speakers and teachers convened at the Wilshire Grand Los Angeles for three and a half days of education, networking, pitching and merry making.

The nightly meet up with scribe-friends old and new:

L1020879

We love you too, Rich (a.k.a. #4). Peek a boo. We see you Lloyd.

Henry (the Lionhearted), me, Den and Rich (a.k.a. #4).

L1020875

INT.  BALLROOM - DAY

William Goldman of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "Marathon Man," and "The Princess Bride" fame honours us with his attendance each year, along with a sidekick of sorts. John Cleese occupied this year's second chair.

L1020886

Shane Black, writer of the "Lethal Weapon" series, "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", graced the stage as well and contended with the worst interviewer ever--cringe worthy! Mr. Black's personality precedes him so he steamrolled that obstacle with just enough class and commentary (amply peppered with four letter words) to entertain us all.

INT.  ROOM 1524 - NIGHT

Lamps glaze sleep-deprived Screenwriters in an alien-green glow.

Clearly, I didn't check my camera setting.

Scribes imbibe:

L1020892

After all-day sessions and nightly networking parties it's a given (well, it is to us) that the networking shifts into a mode devoid of structure in some lounge or hotel room. Our room, our comrades:

L1020895

Our ... orbs. Never so many in a pic...

On that...

FADE OUT

-P

Indio: To the Oasis We Go

Desert Shores Motor Coach Resort, Indio, CaliforniaDecember 5-8, 2008

Desert Shores Motor Coach Resort is "an exclusive gate-guarded community of 141 premium waterfront sites ... (each approximately 60' x 120') are surrounded by 60-acres of elaborate landscaping, serene waterfalls, small lakes, streams and islands".

" Each lot features a waterfront motor coach pad, a custom built "casita" with an optional private pool and spa." I think the photos of Bob and Terry Lee's Desert Shores Motor Coach Resort will explain:

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The other side of the site (the tissue box was an unfortunate, but necessary prop):

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A verdant view:

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The portion of the bus and patio I could fit into a photo at once, just to give you a sense of the space:

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-P

Universally Entertained

Times have changed. imgp6411

The amusement park is just one feature of what is now a village complete with mall and copious restaurants and the tram is more like a train. Only the first car gets a live guide and timely sights. Remember: sit on the left side, especially when you have the usual six to a bench (we were lucky with only four) and if you don't want to get wet be prepared.

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So. You can relax in perfect comfort as you get a taste of treacherous adventure, whether that's escaping a flash flood ...

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... crossing a collapsing bridge, or heading straight for ... dah da, dah da ...

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... escaping scarab beetles in a twisting tunnel or  the Grinch at Winter Wonderland ...

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... rolling over the debris of a plane crash ...

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... sweating through a backdraft experience ...

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... or trying to stay dry at a Water World battle ...

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After all the excitement we lunched, but even then adventure found us in the form of icky 'ol Beetlejuice who freaked out at our appearance and, I think, really just wanted our lunch. He's just one of many characters - the others are much more inviting. They're more likely to offer a hug instead of retch at your face.

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-P

The Sterling Side of Napa Valley

One of those days: thick and heavy with rain all day long. "A frog choker kind of day," Lloyd said.

"What?"

That's kinda funny 'til you think it might be possible and all those cute little frogs... :( I'd never heard the expression until today, but it suited the unrelenting torrent. Ah, well. We slosh on.

First stop: Sterling Vineyards.

An aerial tram swept us off the ground and we headed for the clouds, well, 300 feet to the hilltop.

From there it's a self-paced, entirely self-guided tour save for the pourers manning the three tasting stations. Five samples in all, by the way.

Televisions told us about harvesting, fermenting, and blending techniques. Did you know that egg whites might be beaten into (red) wine? The whites settle to the bottom and the sediments glom onto the cytoplasm so it's easier to separate the juice from the gunk. Yeah, it sounded better when the television said it.

The winery buys their oak barrels from France for the most part, otherwise America.

Chardonnay fills the barrels above. The cabernet sauvignon is stored in the "caves" which maintain a 58F temp all year round.

Me and empty glass #2 on the Sterling observation deck, praying my umbrella remains convex in the blustery weather.

One of several views from the perch. It's spectacular on clear days, promise. I think I see vineyards out there and maybe some mustard fields and definitely some green things.

FYI: free tasting is no more, for about four years now actually. The last time either of us was here, we didn't pay for tastings nor tours and we had real live people guides. Nowadays you pay from $5 to $50, maybe even more, for a winery tasting experience. Mondavi is $25 per person, even if one doesn't drink, and nary a perk for the non-drinking designated driver (Lloyd) I point out. Sterling was $20 per person. Far Niente, another of our favourites, is $50 per person. And, no, you don't get a bottle with that. :)

Now, to the galleries we go.

Cheers!

-P

Napa Wine Train

Oct 30 - Napa, CA This morning we boarded the Napa Wine Train for lunch and a tour of Napa Valley. The train meanders along the valley at 18 miles per hour. This leisurely pace gives you ample time to appreciate the lovely vineyards along both sides of the tracks. We booked a reservation in the Vista Dome Coach and had wonderful views of the valley and vineyards. -L

On the Napa Wine Train

Vineyard along the route

Enjoying a glass of wine

Grgich Hills Vineyard

Vista Dome Coach

Hanging around outside

View out the door

Mendocino, CA

October 26-28 , 2008 We weaved through the giants again, sometimes at 10mph.

We arrived safely in Mendocino and beelined to the key highlights - keyhole formations. They're common along the Mendocino Coast, the following three within a quarter mile stretch and just a five minute walk from town:

Lighting that rugged and unforgiving coastline:

-P