Sunday, January 1, 2012

Road Trip to California

On Christmas Eve, my husband was feeling pretty good (he'd just enjoyed a Southern Comfort Manhattan that is his traditional winter drink) so he suggested we should drive to California the day after Christmas to see our friends Page and Laurie who live in Poway just north of San Diego.  After getting my approval (and Page and Laurie), we headed for California a little after 9 o'clock in the morning on December 26th.  We now have a "new" car,  having surrendered our Toyota 4Runner to a salvage company as a result of an insurance settlement that gave us a check for damages from the truck that hit us December 1st on our road trip back from Las Vegas.  This was a chance to see how our newly acquired 2010 GMC Terrain AWD would perform (albeit in perfectly good weather this time on I-40).

We passed through a New Mexico totally covered in white to Gallup.  Northern Arizona Navajo Country was chilly but generally without the white stuff.  We decided to use our timeshare owner's "bonus time" and scored a nice one bedroom condo on Oak Creek in Sedona, Arizona for the night ($69 - cheaper than a motel).  Having not eaten lunch, we were starved, so a good meal at Ken's Creekside Restaurant was very welcome.

Next morning found me photographing the red cliffs at sunrise in chilly 22 degree weather.  The heated leather seats in the GMC Terrain were a pleasure. There were hundreds of tourists (mostly Asian) doing the same thing.  I couldn't catch the full effect of the sun on all the cliffs as Ron wanted to get on the road, but here are a few photos of a beautiful Sedona morning on December 27, 2011:

We took I-17 south to Phoenix and then connected with I-8 to San Diego via Yuma, a route Ron had never seen.  He found it rather boring because it is largely desolate and arid desert. We arrived at Page and Laurie's Poway home at 3PM on December 27th.  We were married at their lovely home in their backyard in January, 2006 and held our reception outside next to their pool.  Here are some pictures of that wonderful day:

They've lost a few trees due to the 2007 fire in San Diego County , but the grounds and home are as beautiful as we remembered them.  For those who read my blog, you know I am a native Californian who lived in San Diego County from 1961-2005 so it's a sentimental journey for me to return to my old haunts.

After a wonderful lasagna dinner Tuesday night and lox and bagels the next morning, Page and Laurie took us on a pleasant tour of San Diego County.  We stopped at Orfila Vineyard and Winery in Escondido, where we enjoyed wine tasting and great weather in the temperate 70's. 

Laurie and Page at Orfila Vineyard

Ron and I having a lot of fun

Laurie and Page enjoying the "vine"

Most of the wines were a bit too tannic for me but I did buy a small bottle of sweet non-vintage California Tawny Port.  Next, Page drove us to Hernandez Hideaway just west of Lake Hodges in Escondido.  I'd not been here for many years, but I must admit I love this old roadhouse with its delicious Mexican foods and margaritas.  We enjoyed a shared platter of nachos and a round or two of margaritas.

Next, Page drove us to the USS Midway, an historic aircraft carrier now sitting in San Diego Harbor as a museum of WW II and Vietnam War era aircraft and memorabilia.

Ron is a Vietnam Veteran and so he remembered many of the aircraft and helicopters on display.

The deck under the main flight deck is like a huge factory.

The view of downtown San Diego is great from the Midway's flight deck.
There's a sculpture in the Embarcadero Park below the Midway depicting that lovely iconic photo of "The Kiss" from VJ-Day in NYC's Times Square.

The Midway's bridge
After our tour of the Midway, we headed for Cardiff-by-the-Sea to catch the sunset and dinner at the Beach House Restaurant (Laurie and Page's favorite).

Our two days in San Diego were perfect and we really enjoyed Page and Laurie's hospitality.  Laurie cooked a wonderful Swedish Pancake with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice for our breakfast the next morning.  We were on the road about 9:15AM.  We decided to take a different route home through Temecula and Palm Springs via the scenic and tortuous Pine-to-Palms Highway.  Stopping in Palm Springs for a Sushi lunch, we enjoyed the warm desert winter temperatures.  We decided to spend the night in Laughlin, NV where we did a little gambling and went to bed early.  We left by 6AM and traveled about 9 hours to our home in Sandia Park, New Mexico safe and sound, arriving December 30 at about 3PM.  The huge volume of snow has begun to melt around our home and the sun is beautiful.  We enjoyed a quiet evening at home New Year's Eve. 
Happy New Year, 2012!  

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a whirlwind of a trip, but wonderful, too.

    Happy New Year!