Our first days into California were bitter sweet. We first camped outside of Mountain Center and were in awe struck by California’s beauty. The spot we found to camp had mountains, big boulders, pines and other various trees. Jeff and I walked around a bit with Manko and Leonard before the sun had gone down. We then started hearing a strange call in the dark, with flashlights in hand we headed to find the sound. We only caught glimmers of the small birds eye in the reflection of the flashlight but were able to later identify it as a Common Poor-will. The next morning we were awakened with the sounds of shot guns outside of the van! I grabbed Jeff’s arm in a panic as if maybe we had trespassed but we soon realized we had slept over night in an area where people frequent to shoot guns. After we calmed down (and Jeff shot his gun too) we headed towards my nieces.
On our way to my nieces we stopped in Oceanside. We walked along the Pier, watching the many fisherman awaiting for their poles to tip forward and gazed out into the crashing Pacific Ocean. Afterwards, we felt like it was a day we needed to splurge on a sweet treat, so we started searching for an ice-cream shop but ended up sharing half a pint of ice-cream for lunch. It was soon time to see my niece Brooklynn, so we headed to San Clemente.
Brooklynn and her husband Chris live on base in San Clemente, where he is stationed. We were greeted at Brooklynn’s place with big hugs and wagging tails from their two pups. Our first evening visiting, we had a blast bowling on base and were given a small tour. The next morning, after waking up to our sweet Leonard gone, my niece wanted to help mend our broken hearts by taking us to one of her favorite places; the beach!! We first briefly explored the little beach they have on base then she drove us to Laguna Beach. Jeff and I spent what seemed like hours digging in the sand, watching tiny crabs waddle over rocks and running past the rushing waves of the incoming tide. We ended our visit with a BBQ and chatted over a movie. It’s so nice to see her grown up, married and in her own place but then again it makes me feel so old. We both feel old, she was just over 10 when Jeff and I started dating and will soon be 20! Oh where does the time go?
As we were so close to Los Angeles, I convinced Jeff we needed to be tourist for a bit and we headed to Venice Beach. Walking from one end to the other we watched street performers, peered into shops, glanced onto the many tables of vendors and the only thing people come to do on Venice Beach- people watch! Watching the array of people that venture out there is worth every footstep in the beating sun. We then drove clear over to Hollywood to walk along the ‘Walk of Fame’ and to see the ‘Hollywood’ sign. We walked among the many tourist, shuffling through the crowds with our heads faced down to read the stars only stopping here and there or even if we could. Our drive to view the sign was worth it just to see all the houses on the hills. The day was drawing to an end, so we ended our tourist adventures for the night.