|Atul and Robyn --- soon to be married. Happy days now. Happy days ahead.|
Roger here... The last couple of days have been a whirlwind. Since I have a concrete-sequential personality, let's start at the beginning.
The Last Drive West (on this trip)... Before leaving El Centro I wanted to share a few things about this interesting town on the Mexican border.
1. It is an agricultural area. We neglected to photograph the bright green fields on both sides of I-8. None of this would be possible without the irrigation canals.
2. It is the winter home of the Blue Angels.
3. This is the home of a Cinderella story. The movie, McFarland,USA, starring Kevin Costner portrays the real-life events of an unlikely, small school, cross country team from El Centro that won the California State Cross Country championship. I love inspirational stories, especially if they involve small schools.
4. Last, but not least, it is Cher's hometown. Dianne swears that she stared at me during a concert at Purdue (we were on the front row) during a time that my mustache resembled Sonny's.
Ok, goodbye El Centro. The drive to San Diego proved to be another scenic one, although the motor home did not appreciate the continual gear changes. We drove from below sea level into the mountains up to an elevation of 4000+ feet, and then back down. The mountains were interesting --- covered with huge boulders.
The driver was ever-vigilant.
When we descended into the San Diego area, the traffic became more of a concern than the mountain drive. After a few stressful moments, we arrived at our campground, the Santee Lakes Recreational Preserve --- 20 minutes from downtown (but another world). We will talk more about this confusing, but wonderful campground in another post.
Old Town San Diego with Robyn and Atul... We set up camp quickly so that we could meet our daughter, Robyn, and her fiancé, Atul in Old Town.
They had taken an Amtrak train from LA to meet us for a few hours in this interesting and historical place. After connecting, we walked among the historical buildings at the Old Town San Diego Historical State Park. This area was the oldest settlement in California.
There was more to see than we could possibly take in, so we wandered through this unique area, stopping as we found something of interest to us.
This beautiful cathedral was certainly of interest. We went inside to see the sanctuary.
Robyn was especially interested in experiencing the Whalen House. It is the oldest red-brick building in the state of California.
We went inside. The structure served many purposes. It was a family home, a store, and a court house.
The second floor of the house was also a theater, designed with multiple dropping background flats. Kinda cool!
However, the main reason for Robyn's interest was the claim that it was the most haunted house in California. Robyn took countless pictures hoping to capture an otherworldly image, like those documented by photographs in the archives of the house.
|Do you see the image of a child in one of these windows?|
After the haunted house tour, we found a creole restaurant next door. We had an outdoor New Orleans-style dinner on the other side of the picket fence . Notice the flowers on the small tree half-way up on the right side the picture. Dianne was fascinated by them --- for good reason.
|The waiter at the restaurant said that these flowers are called Japanese lanterns.|
The night sky dimmed after dinner, but not the atmosphere.
What a magical and festive place --- especially at night.
If Dianne and I come back later this week, and we might, this looked like a good place to eat.
All good things must come to an end. As the evening ended, we walked Robyn and Atul back to the train station for their three-hour ride back to LA. The good news is that we will see the very happy couple again in LA in a week.
Dog Heaven at the Campground...
The next day.... The cupboard was bare and we had not done laundry for 11 days. It was a "maintenance" day. I dropped Dianne off at the laundromat and then went to the grocery before picking her back up. However, prior to that our campground provided Bandido and Tequila with a wonderful place to walk. No more traipsing through the barren desert for them.
We were following a loop around one end of this very large campground when we spotted these un-manicured palm trees. This is what our palm trees at Retama Village would look like if they were not kept trimmed.
Just beyond the trees we passed through a gate that opened up to a trail. A fellow camper told us that the trail was u-shaped and would lead us back to the campground. Nice.
As we neared the conclusion of the trail, we spotted what appeared to be a groomed dog park ahead. It was a dog park, and a great one.
This bright green dog park was huge --- an ideal place for Tequila and Bandido to play.
Tomorrow we will be taking a trolley tour of San Diego, a city we have never visited before.
Pet Movie of the Day... Enjoy the fun that Tequila and Bandido (and I) had in this brisk 60 degree climate. Time to play.