We really needed a couple days to sit around the RV park with our friends and just veg. JJ can sleep anytime, anyplace, but I have a very delicate sleeping constitution and I had to take a few days to reset. (I was still coming wide awake at 4am, aka Amazon time!) We had a very low key Christmas, and we were ready for adventure!
On Friday, we headed towards the coast. There’s about a million different things to do around here, but we will be moving inland from this point forward, so we wanted to see the ocean now. We went to 1000 Step Beach, just south of Laguna Beach. The main draw is the fact that the only way to get to it is to hoof it down allllll those stairs. It was no problem for us, but it really cut down on the regular sort of beach traffic. We loved the clean sand, gorgeous water, and the free entertainment of surfers and boogie boarders.
Next we went to San Juan Capistrano, to visit the famous mission where thousands of swallows make their homes in mud nests. (The swallows, however, are snowbirds, like us. They migrate to Argentina for the winter, so they weren’t home!) The mission was founded in 1776 for the purpose of Christianizing the native people of the area. Things started getting bad in 1812, with a huge earthquake that destroyed the original church, disease that ravaged the parish, and the newly formed Mexican government’s decision to end the mission system. Thanks to preservation efforts that began in the 1910s, the grounds and building were preserved and restored.
We enjoyed the museums, landscaped grounds, and Rome-esque character of the ruins.
On Friday, we took a trip to San Diego with Dave and Max, and started at the first California mission, San Diego de Alcala. Things went even worse for this parish, with a huge uprising from the local population, that ended with the first church burning to the ground. Today, it’s an active parish, and officially, a “minor basilica”.
We spent the afternoon at the Old Town San Diego State Historical Park. It commemorates the founding years of the city (1820-1870), and showcases many period buildings. It is also the premier place in the area to let your children tear around like banshees and annoy the bejeesus out of other people. My favorite things were the museums that were too dull to interest the little vermin.
We also made a trek to the bay and ocean. The beach was full of people, and it was like watching a variety show as they went past. JJ and I investigated the water as Dave and Max stayed back on the overlook. We saw them in the cutest pose as we came back.
We had dinner with a couple that Dave and Max met last year while camphosting in the Big Bear Lake, CA area. Robin and Jeff are considering retiring and living as full-time RVers, and they wanted to get some advice on their ideas. Dave and Max have been at it almost 5 years, and they had lots of suggestions. (Of course, our suggestion was…just do it, and now. Who knows what will happen if you put off your dreams!?)
We ended the night at Mariposa Ice Cream, 10-time winner of the best ice cream of San Diego.
Today was filled with shopping, and cooking, and generally getting ready to go off on real adventures. We will be boondocking in the desert with Dave and Max for the next month, and just enjoying some solitude and wide open spaces. Our first stop is Anza-Borrego State Park, the largest state park in California, and second largest in the nation after the Adirondacks. We hope to find some warmer weather, but it looks like things are going to get worse before they get better. Although we were able to go swimming when we got here earlier in the week, it’s been downright cold recently. About one more week of cold is predicted, and then we should be back to the famous balmy temperatures of the desert Southwest.