Tuesday, January 6, 2015

San Diego Beach Scenes

We're all settled in at Mission Bay RV Resort until the beginning of February and are enjoying copious quantities of beach time and idyllic weather. Here's a little taste of the beauty to be had along the San Diego coast line...

Our first evening parked at the Bay we enjoyed the sunset from John and Pam's Bay front site and
had the pleasure of meeting John and Sharon as well.

A Sunday morning walk along Pacific Beach.

Crystal Pier from another angle.

Water so clear you just wanted to jump right in...but the 62 degree temperature made us think twice!

Afternoon low tides have been wonderful for bird watching along the Bay.


Sunset reflections from John and Pam's awesome site.

The sunset above was one that just kept on giving...

There's miles of paved bike and walking paths right from our RV park.

A glorious day for biking...that's our RV park right behind Hans.

One very low tide day we drove over to Sunset Cliffs with John and Pam for some walking and tidepooling, followed by dinner at OB Noodle House.

Plenty of tasty little fishies for the Egrets.

From the bluff we could look down into crystal clear shoreline, as the receding tide exposed colorful grasses.
Notice the woman at bottom right, she was about 10 feet above the water and we were at least 20 feet above her.

At the South end of Sunset Cliffs Blvd. there are stairs leading down to the tidepools and an excellent surf break.
On this day the tide was headed for a low of -.7, giving us plenty of rocky coast to explore.

Hans, Pam and John stroll along, pausing at pools to search for tide stranded critters.

Though we didn't see many critters, we did enjoy colorful pools and the search itself.

Pam admires colorful layers of sandstone.

Afternoon glow lights up the cliffs as we head back to the stairs and the bluff.

Good drink specials and pho at OB Noodle House with good friends!

Another day we walked the cliffs and noticed this guy spearfishing in camoflage!

This person caught our attention as s/he flew right over the RV park.

San Diego is a wonderful place to spend the winter months, we're feeling pretty spoiled with the perfect weather (and no bugs). The only drawback is how congested a big city feels after months on the road with only short bursts of big cities. But after decades of living here, we know what we're getting in to! Soon enough we'll mosey on down the road destined for new sights and adventures...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

10 Days of Driveway Docking in Poway

This year we added a house/pet sitting gig to our San Diego layover. After a month at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve we headed for Hans' brothers driveway in Poway. While their family spent a week in Utah we enjoyed the perks of a big kitchen, good water pressure and large shower, free laundry and got to spend quality time with Bentley the sweet pit bull and Tabby the kitty who loves to be brushed more than any animal I've ever met.

Our home tucked away in a deep, peaceful cul de sac in Poway.

Loads of room for the truck and trailer!

Our morning view includes a flock of Nutmeg Mannikins and Mourning Doves by the dozens.

Bentley is a happy boy and and so good on a leash!

Tabby is a sucker for brushing and massages!

Martin and Estella joined us for dinner and pool one evening.

Our driveway docking coincided with Christmas and New Years so lots of partying was on the agenda...

Dinner at Annie's with good friends.
Back to front: David, Hans, Lisa, Annie, Martin, Estella, Mary.

Christmas Eve dinner with Hans' parents

Christmas day at Lisa's parents.
Kylie tries on her new dress up clothes while Brother Travis, Grandma Rebecca and Mom Crystal look on.

Hans demonstrates how the tutu should be worn...

Lisa's dad and Hans start the Christmas buffet line!

And a belated Christmas dinner with Hans' family when they returned from their vacation.

It wasn't all partying during our Poway stay. One day we did a short hike with Bentley at Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve. This trail system is at the North end of the canyon we hiked from Santee Lakes.

Like most San Diego County canyons, Sycamore Canyon consists of rolling chaparral covered hills.

Recent rains have brought out a lovely green palette to the landscape.

We also enjoyed a walk and lunch at Del Mar with Hans' parents.

Hans, Turid and Fritz enjoy a perfect Southern California December day.

Another day we dropped by our old neighborhood and thoroughly enjoyed the ramen and craft beer at Underbelly in North Park.

Tasty vittles at Underbelly in a stylish, mostly outdoor, venue.

2014 was a wonderful year on the road, and once again we spent it entirely in the West. We traveled just under 5,000 miles and landed in only six states, with a few one month stays and plenty of one week stays, allowing us to explore many places in depth.

Some of our favorite stops were our month near gorgeous Sedona, AZ in March, slot canyons and other natural wonders in Escalante, UT in April, bubbling pits in Lassen Volcanic National Park, an amazing bear sighting and incredible beauty in NE Oregon, and visiting Mt St Helens up close,

We'll be in San Diego for another month; tomorrow we give up our posh driveway docking site and move on to Mission Bay RV Resort. Beyond San Diego, 2015 promises lots of adventure and new-to-us sights...we hope you'll follow along with our travels!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our readers and friends we've made on the road!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

RV Blogger Meetups On and Off the Trail in San Diego

We've had a fun and busy two weeks since I last posted, and some much needed rainy days here in San Diego. The good kind of rain: slow and steady and spaced days apart...this just needs to continue for months and months in order for California to get back to "normal"!

In between those rainy days we've managed several meetups with fellow RVing bloggers that are staying at Santee Lakes. In fact the day we arrived Rick and Lenore of Dancing 'Cross the Country also arrived and after a brief meeting with the two of them, one day Lenore joined Hans and I on a hike up the back side of Cowles Mountain.

Unlike the very busy main Cowles Mountain Trail (accessed from Golfcrest Drive), the Big Rock Park trailhead offers fewer fellow hikers and some very steep sections that will give you a serious workout. At 1,593 feet Cowles Mountain is the highest point in the city of San Diego.

Lenore and Lisa atop Cowles Mountain.

Though we didn't manage to hit the trail with Kate and Iain of The Scenic Route before they jetted off to Hawaii, we did get together for a couple of happy hours. Coincidentally, while enjoying their hospitality one evening, Mike and Kelly of Follow the Tumbleweed rolled in to the RV park and joined us after quickly setting up camp.

Hans, Lisa, Kate, Iain, Mike and Kelly in Kate and Iain's beautiful Airstream.
Photo courtesy of Kelly!

We've also reunited with our good buddies John and Pam of Oh, the Places They Go!. We've hiked with these two several times before, but hadn't seen each other since Durango, CO in June 2013.

Our first hike together was a 6 mile loop at Iron Mountain: the Ellie Lane Loop. Much less crowded than the main Iron Mountain Trail, the Ellie Lane trail took us up through giant granite boulders to a saddle offering views to the ocean in the West and Mount Cuyamaca to the East

Walking among the boulders!

Happy hikers on the saddle/high point of the Ellie Lane Trail.

Our next hike with John and Pam is one of my favorite hikes in San Diego County: Morena Butte. This lollipop loop hike goes through a gently rolling section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) with great views of the chaparral covered hills, then steeply up the hillside on a sometimes difficult to follow trail on to the top of the butte covered in giant orange tinted granite boulders. The views in every direction are fabulous and the boulder scrambling is terrific fun!

Once we had our fill of boulder exploration, we made our way back to the PCT for a short distance then onto a small trail that took us through a pretty oak and pine studded meadow before dropping us onto a dirt road back to the Lake Morena campground and our trail head.

Boulder covered Morena Butte looms over Pam as she channels her inner Cheryl Strayed on the PCT.

Hans and John pause to admire the amazing granite landscape surrounding them.

Hauser Canyon cuts North from the Butte below us.

Pam poses in front of Lake Morena, which is currently at 3% of its capacity...
the barren area beyond the water used to be filled with water too!

Hans happened upon a Geoache atop a boulder...we were actually looking for a plaque somewhere atop the butte.

Happy Hikers!

Hans and John walking through the meadow with Morena Butte towering above.

We've only a few more days at Santee Lakes before we do some driveway docking in Poway over Christmas and New Years, where we'll do some dog and cat sitting for family. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We Begin the Annual San Diego Layover

This is the third consecutive year we've returned to San Diego, our former home town, for an extended stay. Once again we begin our stay with a month at our favorite San Diego RV park: Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. You can read my previous two reviews of this park here and here.

In our opinion the only drawback to this park is the poor Verizon signal, and that has not changed in the past year. Today is the first day we are completely off of Millenicom and are using our Verizon cell phones as our hot spot. So far, putting the cell phone in the Wilson Sleek 4G booster is working for us...a booster is essential at Santee Lakes.

Coots are the most prolific birds at Santee Lakes and those near the office get fed a lot...
this flock is hoping for a handout!
We watched these two battling each other for several minutes; notice the clown feet pushing the opponent!

Our time in San Diego is busy with visits with family and friends and we always end up making new friends in the RV park as well. We've met a couple of other RV bloggers that are in the park already (Dancing 'Cross the Country and The Scenic Route) and a couple more are arriving soon. I hope to get us all together in the next week or so...

As always, no matter where we go, getting out in nature is a high priority. We hiked the Airplane Monument/Arroyo Seco Loop in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park with San Diego friends Martin and Estella and their sweet pooch, Chelsea. This is an excellent 7.2 mile loop with some elevation gain and great views. Wildlife sightings are always possible here and on this day we saw a small flock of turkeys, a bobcat and a couple of coyotes. The bobcat was a big surprise and happened way too quick for a photo! We learned after the hike that dogs are not allowed on the State Park trails...oops!

Site of a 1922 plane crash, the Airplane Monument is a great place to stop for lunch.

You can't miss pointy Stonewall Peak from the Airplane Monument.

Expansive views to the West from Airplane Ridge.

Gobble, gobble...

Chelsea had done great for the first six miles but after she spotted the turkeys
it was time to hitch a ride on mama Estella!

Posting will be light around here for a while, as always happens in San Diego...hopefully we'll have more blog worthy escapades during our stay. If any readers will be joining us at Santee Lakes please contact us via one of the options on the right panel...we'd love to meet up!