Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wrapping Up Our Month at Santee Lakes

We've returned to San Diego every holiday season since we started fulltiming in 2012, spending one month at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve and another month at Mission Bay RV Resort. This year marks our fourth month-long stay at Santee Lakes and I find I enjoy this park more each year.

Santee Lakes is not perfect, in fact it has a couple of big issues, but it does have one of my most sought after features of any private RV park or public campground: easy access to walking in nature. At Santee Lakes you can walk several miles around the seven man made lakes in a park setting, or you can hike or mountain bike many miles up Sycamore Canyon directly from the RV park.

This year we stayed in site #173. This site backs up to the "creek", with good separation and privacy plantings between us and our neighbors. In this site our booster managed to give us 4 bars of Verizon during our entire stay...better than we've ever had in this park. Unfortunately the only way to make or receive phone calls was to have the phone in the booster and on speaker.

Here's a link to one of my previous reviews of this RV park. And here's my take on the problems with this RV park:

1) The decomposed granite that covers most of the RV sites is a pain the butt when it rains. The stuff is easily tracked into the RV and many sites have large puddles during heavy rain storms. Gravel would have been a better choice for the RV sites. Patio mats are necessary here.

2) The biggest issue with Santee Lakes: poor Verizon signal. In fact, we are so fed up with not having decent Verizon signal while staying in the middle of a big city that Hans brought it up with the office staff and they connected him with the parks director. Ms. Evans was extremely responsive to his concerns and his suggestion that Santee Lakes work with the local service providers to install more towers.

Amazingly a meeting with Verizon was already in place on that very day to talk about that exact topic! And Ms. Evans even got back to Hans after the meeting with an update! Verizon is planning on placing 2 or 3 towers in or near the park...though it is unknown how long this will take it was reassuring to know something is being done. Especially since the park's Tengo internet is not a good alternative for heavier use. Hans intends to keep in touch with the park regarding the status of the project.

Pretty and private site #173.

The "creek" running behind our site.

As we prepare to move to Hans' brothers driveway in Poway for a couple of weeks I'll sign off with some photos taken since my last post...

The Creepy Creeps at SoNo Fest.
SoNo Fest is a growing holiday festival in our former neighborhood (North Park).
This year their chili cook off featured 42 local restaurants and a craft beer garden that must have had 20 local brewers - YUM!

Black Crowned Night Heron awaiting lunch service at Santee Lakes.

Rusty remnants seen along the trail in Sycamore Canyon.

On one hike in Sycamore Canyon I saw five coyotes!

Making sure that woman wielding a camera is not a threat.

Annual chili dinner at Annie's!

A Star Wars escapee over Santee Lakes!

Red Tailed Hawk about six feet overhead at Santee Lakes.

Happy hour with Janet and Tom at Santee Lakes.

One of the best things we've done in the past month was to play lots of pickleball
with the wonderful people playing at Big Rock Park in Santee.
We just might make the drive to Santee occasionally to continue playing with this fun group!

Hans enjoying his new bike in Sycamore Canyon.
It's a Fuji SLM 2.4 carbon fiber 29er hard tail.

Riding through Sycamore Canyon.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Two Weeks in San Diego

Our annual 2.5 month stay in San Diego is well under way and full of visits with family and old friends and various chores and purchases we have put off till now. We're also meeting up with many folks we've met on the road in the past three plus years as they too pass through San Diego...this really is an ideal place to spend a portion of the winter, the climate simply does not get any better than San Diego's.

As much as I enjoy blogging about our travels to share with friends and family and to create a history for us to look back on over the years, while in our former home town I also really enjoy stepping back a bit and not thinking about everything we do as blog fodder. So this post is mostly photos of various things that made me happy over the past couple of weeks, heavily influenced by the fact we are staying at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve where there are lots of birds!

A skate gliding over sea grass at San Dieguito Lagoon.

Osprey at Santee Lakes.

Martin showing us his pretzel making skills.

Best buds with the most delicious pretzels ever!

White pelicans at Santee Lakes.

Hans carved the turkey at Thanksgiving at his brothers house...
while Bentley waited for any tidbits to fall his way!

A cold, rainy day spent in the kitchen makes me very happy!
Turkey broth made from the turkey carcass plus beer cheddar biscuits...yum!

The Coronado Bridge as seen from Embarcadero Park in black and white

Stately Great Blue Heron at Santee Lakes.

Snowy Egret at Santee Lakes.

A military vessel model club gathering at Santee Lakes.

The turtles at Santee Lakes are extremely skittish, it's really hard to sneak up on them and actually snap a photo!

This rattler was still squirming while trapped under the hawks foot.

We've had several meet ups with RVing friends, including dinner at yummy Domo Sushi in Santee with Dan and Lise whom we've seen at Santee Lakes every year. We also had a fun evening, with live music, at the delicious BNS Brewing in Santee with Janet and Tom who we met in Red Lodge, MT this past summer and it turns out they camp host at Santee Lakes every year. Alas, photography was not on my mind.

Last night though, Hans remembered to snap a photo of the delicious meal we had with Mike and Donna at their site at Mission Bay RV Resort. Having very briefly met these two before, it was fun to really get to know them over dinner. We'll overlap with them at Mission Bay in January for a few days, another opportunity perhaps for pickleball, beer and good food and company!

Mike, Donna and Lisa,