A Week with Sierra and Haven, Part I

Location and Moorage: Marina Del Rey (33 98 028N, 118 45 174W); three nights dockside

This stop on the Shakedown was planned so we could pick up our niece, Sierra, and her bestie, Haven, for a week on da boat. We were so flattered that they would choose to spend the second part of their graduation trip (the first half was spent on the Big Island of Hawaii!) with us. So lucky are we.

We arrived on the afternoon of July 5, after a spectacular sail from Catalina, by the way, but there was a bit of a delay in securing a guest slip so all of the chores to prepare da boat (and ourselves) for visitors were also delayed. By the time we got settled in at Burton Chace Park, we were hangry, so we buttoned up da boat and made our way to a wonderful little local joint called Mendocino Farms. It reminded us of McConnell’s Ice Cream of Santa Barbara, in that the focus was on using natural, fresh ingredients sourced through local farmers, and making people happy. It was quite lovely.

With our bellies full, we started in on the chores (changed valves in the head (Rand), changed the water pump belt on the starboard engine (Rand), and started moving crap around to clear out the cabins for the girls (Jody)). The next day was full on — we scrubbed all the Catalina dust off Free Luff, vacuumed, made beds, cleaned heads, and did a ton of laundry. The worst part about cruising is laundry – finding a laundromat, lugging mega-loads to the laundromat (on foot or via Uber), and lugging it all back to the marina. Later we did three major provisioning runs. Did we mention that Sierra and Haven are 18 and 5’10” and 6’2” respectively, and are athletes? They eat like 18-year-old athletes. Wow, but we were just so happy to have them.

The first part of the first day together was spent wandering around Venice Beach. Since the girls are from small-ish town Michigan, we thought Venice was an appropriate southern CA spectacle to share with them. Unfortunately, they got the full experience, complete with getting a GoPro stolen — right out of the side pocket of an occupied backpack. Total drag. But we rebounded and enjoyed a yummy fish taco lunch followed up by even more yummy coconut cream-based ice cream. Oh my.

Then we were off to the Museum of Tolerance, for which we’d purchased tickets before the girls arrived — or so we thought (more on that in a bit). To get there, we planned on taking Uber, but thought we’d cruise back down the Venice boardwalk to see if any street performers were in action. They were, and Rand was selected to participate as one of the six or so “rich white guys” — they also selected three “pretty girls”, an Asian, and three young kids representing “the future,” all of whom would be jumped over as part of the grand finale. Yeah right. While these guys were entertaining and extremely physically talented, demonstrating awesome gymnastics and dance moves and offering some poignant messages about race and humanity, it was all a ploy to solicit donations from the crowd. In fact, they were so aggressive that when they were asking for donations (in $20 increments) from the rich white guys, they suggested the guys go to the ATM if they had no cash. Well, Rand had no cash, so one of the dudes actually followed him to the ATM and expected no less than $40. I gave him $20 and we bailed. Felt like extortion. Kind of a drag.

At this point, we were running short on time to make it to the museum, so Rand grabbed an Uber and off we went. Because of the traffic it took 45 minutes to go 14 miles, which was weird that we had to go 14 miles because when I checked the map, it said it was only 8 miles from where we were. Oh well. We get to the museum and were greeted by the security guard, who gave us a great orientation and was ready to send us on our way. That’s when we asked about these tickets we had purchased…well, it turns out we were at the Museum of the Holocaust, which was free. Darn it. Apparently, this mistake happens quite frequently, so we will still attempt to use our tickets before the girls go home, but we can’t seem to reach anyone on the phone. Hmmm. Regardless, we spent a couple of hours taking the audio tour of the museum, which was well worth it, if not totally depressing — especially in light of all of the gun violence going on in our country. Just as we were nearing the end of the exhibits, a man came running through the main hallway screaming at the top of his lungs and being chased by our security guard. We’re not sure what was going on, but assume he was a homeless and/or mentally disabled man. We don’t know the outcome, but it was a bit of a jolt to our nerves during our visit. Again, we rebounded from this excitement and made our way over to The Grove shopping mall (in an effort to kill time and let traffic die down before grabbing an Uber back to the marina) where we found a fabulous candy shop and nommed on banana-Nutella crepes. Oh my.

Then came the Uber experience of the day — every Uber driver we’ve had thus far mostly keeps to himself, unless bombarded with questions by Jody. This guy was Chatty Kathy right out of the gate — he talked the whole way back to the marina, explaining that he used to be a screenwriter, but the industry had changed so much that there was no way for him to stay in the game. Luckily, his wife is an extremely successful insurance attorney in Century City; this allows him to tool around the city, talking people’s ears off. Haha! Honestly, his stories were great and it made the ride “home” go by pretty quickly (because 14 miles in LA traffic can take hours). Last story of the day: we got back to Burton Chace Park and it was Summer Concert Series night — opera. Amazing. Big, happy crowd. And we’re just going about our business, enjoying the music. After the show, we’re treated to a different kind of show — some people arguing right outside da boat, using every four-letter word in the book. Who knows what the argument was about, but that’s how our night ended. All in all, a bit of a strange first day with the girls. Welcome to southern CA, Sierra and Haven.

Marina Del Rey — what did we learn about ourselves and/or observations: Again, we learned to go with your gut. Rand had thought about warning Sierra and Haven about keeping valuables secure, but he didn’t say anything. Then the GoPro got lifted. No one’s fault necessarily, but if you think it, say it. Also, when things don’t go as planned, roll with it — it can still be a great learning experience and/or lots of fun.


  1. Mo

    Great updates! Sounds like some crazy adventures for the girls. OY!

    1. Randy

      Thanks for checking in, Mo! Yes, it was quite the adventure for the two TC girls. Loved having them here. We need to get you back to the boat sometime, you know. Mexico?

  2. Stacy

    OY is right! Nothing but crazy awesome adventures with you two!! Can’t wait to see you both soon and have some crazy with ya!!??

    1. Randy

      Coming up soon! Can’t wait!

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