to get South outta the cold and snow…
Mission Bay RV Resort, San Diego, CA Clear, High 79F Low 61F
It doesn’t matter a bit that we have to drive several hundred miles, almost the full length of the state of California. Doesn’t matter a bit that for much of that drive we are traveling through the hazy warmed up fog/smog that blankets the Central Valley for much of the winter. Doesn’t matter a bit that we must drive over the Grapevine with bumper to bumper semi’s jockeying for position. Doesn’t matter one whit that we decided to drive straight through LA on I-5 to get south to San Diego. Whatever it takes, it is worth it to get south to the sunshine and blue skies that were waiting.
We left Lodi after a leisurely breakfast, knowing we had only 250 miles or so to reach our destination at the Orange Grove RV Park just east of Bakersfield. We were really happy to see that much of the surface of I-5 has been redone since our last trip south and even with the smog, oops, I mean haze, it was wonderful to soak up the sunshine pouring in through the windshield. Before 2:30 in the afternoon we pulled into the park and settled into space 177 at the far end of the row near the back. We were also delighted to discover that there was a free RV washing area. With a huge bag of oranges that would cost as least five bucks and a free RV/car wash that would cost another ten bucks in quarters, our “real” cost of spending the night at this non Passport America park came to about 18.00.
With the orchard fruit picker provided at the camp office, I managed to fill a giant cloth grocery bag in just a few minutes. Yum. The smaller oranges on the outside perimeters of the trees were sweeter, and for the last couple of days I have made some delicious fresh orange juice for breakfast. With the MoHo and Tracker all shiny and a simple spaghetti supper we were ready to settle in for a great night.
Of course, fate just had to mess with us a little bit to keep us from taking too much for granted. After supper I popped in the 3rd disc for the first season of Homeland and was greeted by a strange message on the fancy dvd player/home theater system installed in the MoHo. It has worked fine now for five years, but tonight it decided to jam with the dvd in the drive. We went online to check for a solution, and discovered in the process that the unit is permanently wired into the rig with no sign of a place to unplug it. Mo turned off the breaker and we spent close to a couple of hours taking the whole thing apart while it was still hanging from the cubby hole in the MoHo. We finally gave up and broke the dang thing completely apart to get out the Netflix dvd. That wasn’t much fun at all, and we still have no clue how we are going to replace the unit, or what to replace it with. Thank goodness the TV still works.
After a good night’s sleep, we both decided to not talk about the ruined player and went on to have a great day driving south once more. Bakersfield was a smoggy oops hazy, as ever but as we drove up over the Grapevine the haze receded and even going into LA the smog wasn’t bad at all. Even the traffic was bearable going right through downtown. (Mo is listening to me as I proof this, and she just said “That is because you weren’t driving!) There were a few sections of the 5 between the San Fernando Valley and downtown where the lanes were so narrow it seemed impossible for two big rigs to pass, but we managed with only a couple of rather scary moments as big rigs took up 1/4 of our lane and someone was right next to us on honking because we had to drift to avoid the truck. Whew! It looked as though the engineers had made six lanes out of five to make room for more traffic without widening anything to fit .
Once we passed Disneyland and Buena Park the traffic thinned out, the lanes widened, and the pavement was again smooth as silk as we rolled on south. A rest stop near Oceanside was interesting, with huge buildings that looked just like beautiful California missions, but were only big bathrooms made to look like missions.
We used the iPad maps (I refuse to download the iOS 6 so I still have google maps on my iPad) to go directly to the RV park without a hitch. We knew that using our Passport America card for a discount meant that we would only be able to stay through Friday morning for the half price cost of $25 per day. We also knew that we couldn’t make a reservation using the card, but Nina’s assertation that this was the low season here proved true and the park was only about half full. In no time at all, we were settled in.
Although the park itself is basically a big asphalt parking lot, the sites are big, there are shade trees all around, and there is great security. The best part of this park, however, is the location. Right on a peninsula that juts out into Mission Bay, there are miles of beautiful parks and trails all round the bay for walking, and the incredible dog park at Fiesta Island just a few minutes away by car.
It’s a Dog’s Life here in this part of San Diego, and today was all about Abby. We took her around the Bay Walk here by the park, and then drove over the Fiesta Island to find the dog park. The island is mostly brown and scrubby, with a somewhat muddy beach, but the dog park is huge, really huge, and is all green and grassy, and the beach that is within the dog park was much cleaner.
After some time on Fiesta Island, we drove around the Bay and crossed one of the more than 300 bridges in San Diego to discover the Dog Beach at the funky old hippie town of Ocean Beach. Even though dogs are restricted to the evening hours on the main beach, the Dog Beach is open and leash free all the time. What an amazing place, with soft white sand and lots of space and waves. I spread out a big towel and sat in the sunshine while Mo and Abby played ball for a long time before I took a turn. I had as much fun watching all the other dogs as I did playing with Abby.
Later in the afternoon we explored Ocean Beach in the car, but didn’t see much that made us want to get out and wander. Driving north to Mission Beach had much the same result, but finally farther north at Pacific Beach we found a parking spot and got out and walked the Beach Walk.
So far, San Diego has been a winner, at least this part has been. We are reading about the various neighborhoods throughout the city and are planning a day at Balboa Park tomorrow. Rumor says it is a great dog friendly place, and should be fun even without a visit to the famous San Diego Zoo. The goal is to stay loose, enjoy our sunny stay here in this new to us city, and not try to fit in so much that we end up feeling rushed and overloaded instead of relaxed.