11/30/05 to 12/4/05
This campground we're in is very nice.  Two pools, three hot tubs, a good
internet connection, etc.  However, it is flanked on one side by a dairy lot and
has an egg producer on the corner.   It stinks so bad.
I took the above cow picture standing in our doorway (zoomed in of course.)  
We are that close.  This shows only about 15% of the cows.  What they are
doing is shoving their heads through the fence where they are fed.  They can't
feed them inside the pen, it's too dirty in there.  Every day around 3:00 they
scrape the lot and go spread the manure on a field across from the park.  We
have to make sure the doors and windows are closed then, and we've gone
through 4 or 5 scented candles!  Also notice the big construction equipment in
the background.  They are building houses all around (how can they handle the
stink?) and so they stir dust up all day.
I don't think much
of the stink really
comes from the
chickens.  If they
did smell, the
cow stink
covered it up.  
There are rows
and rows of
chicken houses
and at first I
thought it was
just a grow-out
facility, but then
we saw the
conveyor belt full
of eggs running
between the
buildings.
We thought we could deal with the stink, and made a good effort until Wednesday.  
When we had arrived in the dark on Sunday, 11-27, we had noticed white circles
on the ground of our site, they looked like chalk circles or something.  We didn't
know what they were, and after our terrible drive down, we really didn't care.  
However, Tuesday evening when I found the first ant, we figured it out.  This park
has an ant problem, and people combat it by putting lye or Comet circles around
any part of their rig that touches the ground.  Richard sprayed all our
ground-touching parts with bug killer Tuesday night, and Wednesday,11-30, I spent
all day once again hauling my pots and pans out of my cabinets and cleaning.  It
kinda took away a lot of my frustration at the little pests, vacuuming up ants.  We
decided that was enough.  Enough stink, enough ants, we bumped up our
reservations so now we leave Monday, 12-5, for the Santa Barbara area.

Everywhere we go here in Southern California, we get in a traffic jam.  Friday we
went to "Historic Old Town Temecula" (just a bunch of overpriced antique shops.)  
We hit what seemed like rush hour traffic at 3:00 in the afternoon!  Although we had
vowed to stay off the roads with the crazy California drivers, we didn't want to miss
out on seeing my brother.  So, on Saturday, 12-3, after 95 miles of white knuckle
freeway driving, we got to my brother's apartment in Hollywood.  Now it was his turn
to drive.  He took us to the La Brea tar pits, which I had learned about in 5th grade,
and thought were extinct with the dinosaurs.  Surprisingly, they are in the heart of
the city, in a little park across from the skyscraper building where my brother works.
Poor
Mastodons!
Don't worry, they
are only statues.
Does this remind
anyone else of all the
pictures we took in
Yellowstone?  Only
difference is this yuck
puddle is tar instead of
sulphur-mud.
Not surprisingly, on the way from the tar pits to Griffith Park we got in a traffic jam
due to an accident.  Well, Richard and I weren't surprised anyway.  Ben said it's the
worst he has ever seen traffic on that street (he drives it every day to and from
work.)  Guess it's just us.  

We hiked up to an observation point in Griffith Park.  From there we got a good
view of the Hollywood sign, and got to watch the smog settle over L.A.
We left my brother's house at 11:30 PM for our 95 mile trip home.  We saw
one of those changeable light-up highway signs with a warning that there
was an "accident at Hacienda, right 3 lanes blocked, traffic jammed."  I
frantically checked the map, only to find that there was no other good route,
and that Hacienda was still 5 miles ahead of us.  We got in the far left lane
(of 5 lanes so the far left 2 should have been getting through right?) and a
fast half mile later were at a dead stop.  Where were all these people going
at 12:30 in the morning?  Of course, they were paying no attention to the
sign, weaving in and out among all 5 lanes.  If one lane would creep ahead, 5
cars would get in it.  CRAZY!!!  As we sat there, barely moving, we realized
that we have seen 5 or 6 accidents in one week.  That is more than we've
seen all year.  We finally got through and got home.  Today, Sunday 12-4,
we're getting ready for our move to Santa Barbara.  We would have just left
Southern California all together to avoid more highway headaches, and
possibly becoming one of those accidents we've seen, but we can't change
our plane tickets without spending at least $200 in fees.  We will have to go
about 200 miles to get to Santa Barbara, back through the same freeways
we took on Saturday.  Wish us luck!
Every time we drove by, the belt was running, with about a dozen eggs across
and one right after the other.  You can see above all the eggs on the ground.  
Crazy.  I was so curious.  I had always heard stories of how poor little egg-laying
chickens are so mistreated, and they sit in cages that are stacked up on top of
each other, so they poop on each other's heads.  They have their beaks chopped
off, and they are forced to lay eggs into a tube that takes them to a conveyor belt.  
I never believed it could really be that bad, but the conveyor belt full of eggs was
making the stories start to see more true.  I wanted to see for myself, but the art of
egg harvesting must be ultra top secret.  The whole place was surrounded by an 8
foot fence with a gate that was locked at all times.  Damn.

Just for those of you who don't believe me about how many eggs are on that
conveyor belt that runs the full length of at least 40 buildings, here is a zoomed in
picture.  And this thing was moving at a pretty rapid pace too, that's a lot of eggs.
Blue
Sky
smog
L.A.