We made it across Arizona and NM. It rained off and on throughout this desert. Then we spent some time with friends in San Diego. Our friends, Stefania and Jim, arranged a street parking permit for our RV and we were able to find a spot about 200 yds from their apartment. It was great to catch up, and to be formally accepted into California culture. By that I mean, after breakfast we spent some time in the hot tub!
After San Diego, we left for Huntington Beach, CA where we connected with old friends Fran and Mike McDowell. They also travel and camp — in their case in a cool Airstream Trailer. We try to organize our orbits to intersect occasionally, and Huntington Beach and the next stop, Palm Desert coincide nicely. Fran found the campgrounds, and deserves the credit in this case!
Anyway, in HB we were offered a whole series of significant Pacific Storms. Lots of rain and wind. Huntington Beach was not a total washout, though. A GREAT RV parking facility hard against the beach and right next to the Huntington beach Pier. The beach had excellent bicycle paths for miles. The pier had a restaurant that served EXCELLENT hand-dipped malts. The mainstreet of HB had a nice breakfast place. And there was an excellent Mexican restaurant with a bar/balcony overlooking the sunset.
After a couple of days in HB, we saddled up and headed for Palm Desert. This was NOT a pleasant drive. The Pacific Storms kept rolling in. Massive rains. 60mph winds. Fog. Keeping the bus on the road was far more challenging than it should have been. Rain predicted 2 of the three days we plan to be in PD. Snow in the mountains surrounding. An old friend who lives in PD part of the year had this to say:
The California legislature is considering an ordinance to create new border checkpoints for the purpose of turning away Chicagoans and their weather. All I can say is: “Chicagoans are NOT paying for it.”
While in HB, we visited the Nixon Library in nearby Yorba Linda. As has happened to me before, at other Presidential Libraries, the complexity and breadth of the man conflicts with my simple memories. I was particularly surprised by Nixon’s efforts for universal healthcare, creation of the EPA, Title IX and many, many other progressive initiatives. The first “nixed” by the democrats at the time. Reminds me how astray our politicians and politics are…”NO” to what the other side wants to do seems to be the only policy. Sorry. Politics again.
Arriving at Palm Desert, another first: The lady checking us in to the “resort” asked us how old our bus is. A common question. Usually followed by, “COOL, can we have a tour?!” This time a little different. “We don’t allow RVs older than 10 years… ” Hmmm. Keeping the rabble (or the Chicagoans-bringing-bad-weather) out! There was the realization that the website where we registered (and which gladly charged our credit card) had no such restriction, so how could we know? Ultimately, she invented a new category “Vintage” and finished checking us in. We said we hoped she wouldn’t get in trouble — would anyone complain? She said she was absolutely POSITIVE someone would complain, but she then said, “They don’t run our lives.”
Saturday is apparently “RV Detailing Day” as there are many service vehicles polishing various of our neighbors. As if to punish us (and the office lady who was able to see “Vintage” not OLD) for degrading the resort, I immediately broke off a key in the door lock. Fortunately, was able to get the remnant turned enuf to open the door and then out so I wouldn’t have to climb in a window. What would the neighbors have said about that, I wonder? Anyway, no one was the wiser.
We spent some time at the Palm Desert “Street Fair” which is just an upscale flea market–right down to the booth titled “Cool things you didn’t know you needed.” We are space-limited even for uncool things we definitely need, so wallet stayed in pocket.
After the fair we visited the Annenberg Estate and Center on the recommendation of a friend who lives here. In a trip full of surprises, the latter is certainly one of the most. Here is a family who, after making millions (actually billions), used their money (and committed their legacy) to create a center for presidents and leaders of the world’s nations to meet and discuss solutions. With fabulous architecture, world-class art and sustainable landscaping, the idyllic surroundings and distance from partisan norms cannot help but put them in a constructive mood. It affirms for me that the very wealthy can choose (have an obligation to?) to create an unselfish, lasting POSITIVE legacy for the world.
After dinner with our old friend in PD, we are off again tomorrow. Our goal is to head north, for the Bay area. But the weather may be a SIGNIFICANT obstacle. We are planning to head west to Santa Monica then North on HWY 1 (Pacific Coast Highway). We are going to have to be very aware of the weather, landslides, flash floods, etc. The good news is, we are not in a hurry. The better news is we have a fully-configured hotel suite and fully stocked fridge on the road with us. If we get “stranded” we shall not be uncomfortable!