We have had an eventful time since we left Tucson!
The drive over to the Pacific was merciless as we did not make reservations (BIG NO-NO when you are driving something 35 feet long and weighing 20,000 pounds), so poor Pete was stuck behind Jude’s wheel for 400 miles until we found a place to stop for the night. That wound up being Live Oak Springs, a lovely hideaway that has been owned by the same family for 25 years east of San Diego off I-8. We collapsed, ordered in for pizza, and zoned out in front of the TV for the night.
But the following morning as we shook the trauma of the long previous day off, we had an utterly easy drive and got totally high on the Pacific air. We cruised through San Diego with minimal stress, and headed north on I-5, the road that we think will be the back bone of our west coast trip. We will deviate here and there, but will come back to I-5 like homing pigeons as we journey.
We ended on Monday, October 27 at San Clemente, a lovely little beach town. We stayed at the San Clemente State Beach, which is a gorgeous park right on the cliffs with trails down to the beach. It was a completely perfect orientation for our being on the Pacific coast….I found myself to be in a little shock, still getting used to the changes in elevation since we departed Colorado at over 8000 feet, but what was more intense for me was the change in density, the energy of so many people in a concentrated area. While the drone of I-5 is constant and loud, the San Clemente area is a great place to get accustomed to the Southern California (So Cal) vibe because of the prolific buffer zone of Nature.
We came here as a destination because Peter made contact with an old high school friend from Flint School, a sailing school that cruised Europe in over the 1978-79 school year. We won’t get into what a bizarre and unhealthy experience it was here, but suffice it to say that Peter has had some healing to do about it; part of his process was to reach out to others recently to hear what their experiences were. A true gift for him has been to hear his own experience echoed and confirmed. As our guidance supported us coming here, one of the absolute gems that he found in his search for friends from his past is Janet Harder, who now resides in the San Clemente area. She welcomed us with open arms into her home despite not having seen Pete for 30 years, was the most excellent tour guide with suggestions about places to go, made us wonderful food, and even hooked us up with the gorgeous state park we stayed in. She is a delight, and I am happy to say, a new friend for me as well!
While there, we visited the San Juan Capistrano Mission as part of home schooling to learn about California history. The oldest building in California, this lovely mission did a great job of linking its long and many-chaptered history together and presenting it to visitors. I recommend the audio tour that comes with your entrance ticket (thanks for the tip, Janet!). Of interest to us was how the local Indians, the Acjachemen, assisted the Spanish in building the mission, being close friends and allies for many generations. To this day, the mission has a special ceremony when a descendant of those Indians passes away.
Pete and I even got a date night….we haven’t had one in ages, so it was extra special. The boys are old enough now that leaving them by themselves for a couple of hours is not a problem…in fact, they are both babysitting age. We went for a romantic, fog filled night to the Fisherman’s Restaurant on the pier. We had a delicious dinner, but the view of the foggy evening over the water was unparalleled.
We made a reluctant departure from San Clemente on Halloween, and headed north to Los Angeles (L.A. on Halloween, you say? That IS scary!) Obviously, I had to overcome some fear when we were guided to come through here. But it brought another level of understanding and comfort level about southern California. Here I have had to confront my judgments about southern California and the people who live here….as usual, what I have found is that judgments are such generalizations, and that they should be challenged and violently broken…..they just aren’t true, and don’t hold up when you come with an open mind and open heart.
Our adventures in Los Angeles tomorrow……