We’ve made it to California and we’ve made it to the town where my cousin Alan and his wife Judy live. I have not seen him since we were both kids. His folks moved their family out to San Diego area back in the 50’s. Our grandparents followed soon after that. When my grandfather had a stroke, my father packed up my brother, younger sister and me and drove out in a 55 Chevy station wagon pulling a homemade camping trailer. I was about 12 or 13. Now, Alan invited us to join them for dinner at their home on Tuesday. Before we were to arrive, H and I did some shopping and also found several historic places and parks to explore, including the Yucaipa Regional Park. Too bad everything was so very dry and what was left of the 3 lakes was a slimy green like the Algae Bloom in Lake Erie. Prospect Park was the home of a historic mansion but we enjoyed the park’s shady grove and fixed lunch instead. Alan is a retired teacher, now turned artist, fisherman and excellent cook. Judy is still teaching and when not working, she serves tea parties or sweet-talks her 3 kitties! Together, they travel and run marathons in ALL 50 states! It was well after dark when we said our last goodbyes and trusted our GPS to get us thru the narrow, up and down roads back to the interstate and our motel. Only one miss-turn but we made it!
Now it was time to head for the beach! We’d been on the road for over a week and still have not see the Pacific Ocean. You’ve heard all the horror stories about the smog and the crazy traffic and the confusing expressway signs in and near Los Angeles - They are ALL true! White knuckled, H maneuvered our grand old van thru traffic and we safely exited Rt 5 in San Juan Capistrano and found the beaches and then headed south, keeping as close to the them as we could and stopped at the various fishing piers or sandy shores. Every stopping area had its share of surfers, patiently waiting on their boards for a good ride, however, most of their rides ended in topsy-turvy crashes in the roaring white waves! In Oceanside we walked out on the longest wooden pier on the coast. What a grand view of the endless coastline! In the morning we realized we were traveling on “Historic Rt 101” and learned that this eclectic road was just like our Beloved Historic Rt 66! The original road was a 1777 Spanish trail built to go from one mission to the next all the way from Mexico to the Canadian Border. In 1925 it was designated the Pacific Highway. She led us all the way down the coast, thru Encinitas, Solana Beach, in and out of several mile long state park beaches. Sometimes the road wound along high cliffs and sometimes thru towns that celebrated the California life, complete with OLD VW buses, Mustangs and antique Winnebago motorhomes. In LaJolla we pulled into another parking spot. This one clung to the side of a high windy cliff. The foul odor that smacked us in the face as we opened the van doors was unmistakable – below us on the wet rocks were sea lions! LOUD squawking sea lions! Pelicans, sea gulls and cormorants, too! We had unknowingly found the Seal Beach and Ecological Underwater Preserve. Huge white waves crashed on the cliffs and rocks all along the rugged, curved shoreline.
San Diego is not the quiet peaceful town anymore. It was by accident that we found Old Town Historic Park, most of which is now restored to its 1872 era. From there we sifted carefully thru the rows and rows of traffic and found the Harbor and the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. Luckily we got a great parking spot and were surprised to see the same Naval Sailor Kissing the Girl – Just like the one in Sarasota Florida! San Diego is also famous for the Coronado Bridge and the Strand Boulevard. After all that, H was done – and it was time to get out of town. Did I mention the traffic? We know the van does not make “U turns” as good as the bike does but she did her best and we did get out of town. The beaches and the surfers are gone – we are heading east.