I have returned from an era of travels: three weeks, three trips, three states. First to Colorado for Erica and Jason Heddings wedding, which was absolutely beautiful! It was quite a treasure to see all my Cedarville friends again and staying up late talking like we did back in the dorms.
The second was to Kentucky, to the family reunion, which I have partially recounted already. My last trip, from which I returned yesterday, was a week in San Diego with three girlfriends: Shauna, Lexi and Melissa.
I was a little leary of spending a full week with three girlfriends, but besides a few tense moments (and getting chewed out for carelessly running alone on a beach late at night with a Marine soldier :) we had a blast. San Diego is a beautiful place on the planet. There are high hills with massive boulders scattered ab
out the landscape, palm trees and bougainvillea
splashed about spanish-tiled roofs, vineyards and orchards rolling like waves over plantation hills, and cliffs overhanding pebbled beaches. I love it. They call the entire stretch of land beyond the coast the IE for Inland Empire (i.e. the desert). The clouds along the coastline did surprise me. Appar
ently when the cool Pacific air meets the warm desert air it forms a heavy cloud cover over the first mile or two of land and then suddenly you disappears and you find yourself in a bright, sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. We stayed with Shauna's Aunt and Uncle in Temecula, about an hour north of San Diego, inland near the vineyards and a beautiful backdrop of mountains.
SUNDAY: The family, Uncle Arlin Gregg, Aunt Kathy, Travis (14), Tyler (11), and Shelby (6
1/2) accompanied us to La Jolla Beach (pronounced hoya for non-Spanish speakers). The beaches were encased in cliffs. Sea Lions and Dolphins swam near the rocky crags. A couple of Sierra Club groupies decided that the chance of a Sea Lion seeing humans was a perilous
crime against their ability to survive this precarious life and sat on the beaches near them with signs asking us to stay off the beach area. Shauna, in character thought a small insurgence should be in order. She and Meliss walked past the green warriors inviting demands to stand back. "We can go anywhere on this beach we please" Miss Shauna reminded them. They found a great cave where the water rushed through during higher tides and returned to take all of us back to explore it. We walked past the protestors again lying there on the ground. The cave was cool.. little Shelby was a bit scared and fussy, but we got her back out again ok. The sea-lion lovers looked at us with pitiful eyes.. "Did you do this on purpose?" I looked out into the waves where the Sea Lions were merrily bobbing their little heads and wondered what crime she thought we had committed.
I also found a vent for creativity.. sand castles! Travis, Tyler, Shelby and I created a whole city, complete with crisp walls, cliffs and pools, a moat with levers for lowering and raising the bridge, tunnelways, kelp flags, sea-moss trees and gold dust-paved streets.
MONDAY: We went to the desert to Lake Paris on Monday because there was so little sun at
the ocean beach. The water was so clear and blue, as was the sky. Rocky mountains surrounded the resevoir and palm trees shaded the picnic areas. The temp was said to be upwards of 100 degrees. As the sun beat down on us I wisely respected it more than I have on any other trip, applying 8 SPF every day and managed to get by with almost no sunburn after four days of laying out .. much less than I can say for my three friends. (I officially proclaimed Melissa to no longer be of a caucasion ethnic background she was so black, but she's Italian anyways.) We teased the excitable lifeguard by nonchalantly "floating" far past the swimming boundaries toward open water. We
would stop every now and then and turn in the opposite direction we were heading (so as not to appear premeditated) and then turn around and sublty kick our feet. The life guard kept eyeing us and eventually climbed off his throne. He would step near the water and draw back aggitatedly... and then.. he started running. We took first conspicuous notice of him and acted surprised of our surroundings and swam toward shore. He stood there for a while and then chided us when we came safely into harbor. "Oh I'm so sorry!" I said. "We won't do it again" and smiled. Hee, hee.
TUESDAY: We toured San Diego finally. Mrs. Gregg had given us tickets to Sea World so we headed there first. The tickets were for ages 4-18, but we figured since everyone thought our mommies had just given us the car for the week, that we would easily pass unnoticed. However, complications developed. As we approached the gate, Melissa began reading the tickets more carefully. "Umm.. guys, these say we get a discount, but we still pay $31". We each read them thoroughly and coming to the same conclusion halted our progression and turned back to the car. The next adventure was a crash-course on San Diego's transportation system of trollies and buses. No less than a consultation of eight people.. police officers, etc. and we finally bought a
day pass for $5 and boarded a trolley for Fashion Valley. We got off, saw JC Penny and Macy's below the tracks and boarded another trolley. But not before consulting a kind older man about three different routes and finally making up our minds to go to Balboa Park. He accompanied us to the bus stop and hesitantly let us go, a bit disinclined to let us navigate the city ourselves. Everywhere we went that day, before we could inquire of anyone where to go, someone saw our clueless chatting clique and offered their guidance. This began to grate on me a bit, as I am accustomed to traveling solo and at least presuming an air of confidence so as not to br
ing attention to myself, or become vulnerable to sly persons of any foul motive. We had plenty of maps and I preferred to consult them and develop our own gameplan, but whether I wished it or not, San Diegoans are very friendly people and wished to help us.
Balboa was beautiful. A maze of museums, rose gardens and spanish-tiled edifices. We saw kids splashing about in a fountain near near San Diego Zoo and cooled our feet for a moment. Two police officers strolled up to us: "Would you still be doing that if you knew homeless people bathed and pee'
d in there?" they laughed and half snarled. Clearly it wasn't a violation of any law, as they took no note of the kids, and they didn't seem to be hitting on us, unless being rude and obnoxious was their strategy, who knows. I was in search of a mosaic-tiled area that my sisters had told me about from their travels there a
few years ago. I finally found it, a little resort behind the main scene, with little shops and tables interspersed throughout a quiet pavilion.
WEDNESDAY: We decided we had had enough of navigating cities and skipped the trip to LA. We slept in and chilled out. Uncle Arlin gave us a tour of the U.S. Marine Base where he is stationed ... at least his little area of the 125,000 square mile base. No kidding. They have their own shopping and entertainment centers, McDonalds, training grounds in the mountains, a beach, you name it. It also boasts an endless supply of hot Marines! I must say that I don't often see many guys that I think are so good looking, but everywhere we looked.. well, we didn't look, I must admit that we gawked and honked and waived and laughed. Yes, we were ridiculous. I didn't care. That night, still on a high from all the guys at the base, we decided to drive back to Oceanside Beach where all the Marines supposively go (and where the Top Gun house was
located). Probably a bad idea. We didn't get there until aft
er 9pm and promptly decided to take a walk along the beach. I, being the one who loves flying solo, had to take off ahead of the girls and go running. Presently I ran past a group of three and one guy casually asked if he could run with me. I thought he was kidding and shouted a "Sure!" as I ran past .. a few seconds later I heard him panting as he sprinted to catch up with me: "Wait up!" Oh. We ran for a bit and chatted for a bit, him pressing the questions and me not really asking much. He finally gave up, bid me good night and fell away into the night. I turned around and the girls caught up to me. Lexi laid into me. She was quite peeved at my lack of responsibility and common sense. Running, alone, at night, on the beach, lots of guys around, the girls couldn't see me.. yhadda yadda yadda. She was right, but I was mad at getting chewed out for it. I would have done it if they weren't there, I felt like it, so why did she have to get mad at me? Well.. her point was proved soon enough. As we strolled back we saw a guy dressed all in black, leaning on a bike with headphones on. As we passed, he growled: "You're all in hell!" Chills went up my spine. I seriously think he was demon-possessed. He began following us and mumbling more threats or something. I told the girls to be calm, walk slow and square their shoulders. I think he sensed that we weren't acting freaked out presently and passed us scowling and saying something about taking our parents to hell. There was not another soul in sight. It took us a bit to get over that one. Lexi's point was definitely proven.
THURSDAY & FRIDAY: We discovered Mission Beach and camped out there Thursday and Friday. My dentist had told me of an amazing place in Mission Beach to get fish tacos and I was on a mission (no pun intended :-) to find them. While eating gyros and massive pizza slices, I
asked a hot model where I could find the famous tacos as he was preparing for a swimwear shoot. World Famous was the place to head. While the girls tanned on the beach, I strolled a mile or two down the boardwalk (and a fine NavyOfficer offered a ride on his little bike down the boardwalk, so after laughing him off and chatting for a bit, I stood on the wheel pegs and got dropped off at World Famous. Silly boy.)
Here's the restaurant website, awesome views.http://www.worldfamous.signonsandiego.com/1.html
. It was worth the trip. The Baja Fish Tacos were absolutely amazing! I found the recipie..you have to try them!
One night we discovered the Reaganomics playing their hearts out at The Wa
ve.. for a private party. That didn't stop us.. or a funny old man from jammin' outside the gate.. and the guitarist kept running out to give us private performances! Hee, hee.
We also found time to go to the vineyards and beautiful winerys to taste test
wine. Quite fun.
All in all the trip was a blast.