Hello people, we have just three weeks left, before returning home from this three month road trip. I am currently writing this story at the desk of our son Raymond’s home office in Aliso Viejo.

Our son Raymond took this photo of his doggy Rogelio who is helping me write this story. You can see Raymo’s reflection in the window.

We have left Marion behind at O’Neill Regional Park while we stay at Raymo and his partner Gino’s light-filled town home. We have slept in a bed in a house the past three nights, the first time away from Marion in 10 weeks. No star-filled night sky walks to visit the bathroom here. Here we celebrated Thanksgiving and Bill’s birthday, 69 times around the sun. Southern Orange County–amazing light, plentiful choices of great food and shopping, the Pacific Ocean, and a luxurious lifestyle for those who can afford to live here. This blog will travel back in time to our last day in Tucson Nov. 15. All photos by Kate Poss, unless otherwise noted.

Last day in Tucson

In the last blog I mentioned meeting a woman who subscribes to This is Whidbey. Her name is Lisa Harris and she runs the Harris Environmental Group, based in Tucson. We met at Exo Coffee nearby her work. She brought her aging dog Lola, who rested comfortably in her lap. We had an enjoyable visit and learned that Lisa lives on Whidbey part-time. Look forward to catching up with her next year on the island. We also visited with Bob Effertz, a friend we know on Whidbey, who spends time in Tucson. He invited us for tea at his winter home. Great to see him! We finished the day with dinner at La Indita, one of the best authentic Mexican restaurants in Tucson.

Lisa Harris walked from work at the Harris Environmental Group in Tucson to meet us for coffee. She subscribes to This is Whidbey and noticed we were in town. Here she is with her aging dog Lola
Bob Effertz, right, a friend on Whidbey Island, invited Bill and I to his winter home in Tucson for tea.
 La Indita, a family-run restaurant in Tucson with our favorite Mexican food. We ate here twice during our 11 days in Tucson
La Indita, a family-run restaurant in Tucson with our favorite Mexican food. We ate here twice during our 11 days in Tucson
 La Indita, a family-run restaurant in Tucson with our favorite Mexican food. We ate here twice during our 11 days in Tucson
Delicious homemade food at La Indita

Julian, CA

We left our Gilbert Ray campground in Tucson at 6:30 AM Nov. 16, and drove for more than 10 hours before arriving in Julian, CA, an apple-growing region famous for its many pies in Northern San Diego County. What we like about Julian is its library and friendly librarian Liana, who remembered us from last year. Bill was in ecstacy with the smell of pies seductively scenting the air. Don’t miss the popular Julian Beer Company. We ordered their brisket and pulled pork. Excellent! They also have great pizzas. Camping for two nights at the William Heise County Park was only about 10 minutes away. We rehydrated among the oaks, pine and cedar after more than a month in the desert.

Liana greeted us as welcome friends on our return visit to the Julian Library, part of the San Diego County Library system
Julian Pie Company and Mom’s Pies are Mr. Bill’s two choices for favorite pies in Julian
Bill took a selfie of him with a white sage sprig standing among toyon berries at sunset at the William Heise County Park near Julian CA. He reflects the joy he feels being back in California, his home state
Bill took a selfie with a white sage sprig tucked in his ear while standing among toyon berries at sunset at the William Heise County Park near Julian CA. He reflects the joy he feels being back in California, his birth home state
Black oak acorns are among the largest of their kind and were ground into flour by the indigenous people
Black oak acorns are among the largest of their kind and were ground into flour by the indigenous people
Acorn Woodpeckers filled a dead oak snag near our campsite with hundreds of extra large black oak acorns to get them through the winter. If a squirrel dared snagging one, the woodpeckers were quick to chase it away from their cache.
Acorn Woodpeckers filled a dead oak snag near our campsite with hundreds of extra large black oak acorns to get them through the winter. If a squirrel dared snagging one, the woodpeckers were quick to chase it away from their cache.

Hemet CA

After two nights camping in Julian, we drove along Hwy 79 toward Hemet. Stopping in Santa Ysabel, Bill was sidetracked once again by the smell of pies wafting through the vents at Julian Pie Company, part of the same chain we visited in Julian. Folks stood in long lines to pick up their holiday desserts at this popular place. We ate delicious lunch at the Farmhouse Country Eatery in Santa Ysabel. Their pulled pork and fries are remarkable.

Delicious fries and pulled pork at the Farmhouse Cafe in Santa Ysabel. Photo by Bill Poss

We stayed the following two nights at my niece Janelle, her husband Kevin, and their daughter Lauren’s ranch home in the high desert of Hemet. Nellie, as we call her, raises more than 2 dozen hens, several roosters, and overnights a goat to protect her from marauding coyotes. The family have two dogs, two cats, and their daughter has a chameleon named Jewels and a lonely gecko who pines for his lady love who lives at Kevin’s cousin’s home. The family are so compassionate toward their animals, who reflect that love back. We attended church with this wonderful and loving family, and they treated us to lunch at Rosa’s Cafe & Tortilla Factory in nearby Temecula. The following day we swam in Temecula and we treated the girls to lunch at E.A.T. Marketplace, a farm to table eatery and store. We said our goodbyes and drove toward Carlsbad.

Jewels, a chameleon checks me out while my great niece Lauren takes the photo
Our server took this photo of Kate, Lauren, Kevin and Janelle at Rosa’s Cafe & Tortilla Factory Temecula
My great niece Lauren shared this photo of her and her cousins Reid and Quinn, who we celebrated Halloween with in Mesa AZ. These are all great teens I love dearly
Great niece Lauren catching the moon. Photo by Bill Poss
Adios to some of my favorite people–great niece Lauren and her mom, my niece, Janelle. Bill took this photo

A night in Carlsbad

Ah, if I’d known how fun it was to camp at Carlsbad State Beach, we would have stayed longer. As it was, we stayed just a night. We want to come here next year for Thanksgiving. Crowded, right below Pacific Coast Highway, this fun, long campground sits above a great surfing beach.  There are loads of flush toilets and showers. The atmosphere is fun and the highlight was a half-mile walk to The Camp Store, where a cool rocker played great tunes under the holiday lights. This beach is one of the best for walking and surfing and pelican watching.

Across from our campsite #76 were stairs that led to a great surfing beach. The speckles on the waves are sunset surfers at Carlsbad State Beach
Bill walked across from our campsite at site 76 to the steps above the ocean and sunset
Graffiti on Carlsbad tunnel
Carlsbad gulls at shoreline

Aliso Viejo

And our trip concludes this week with four days’ stay at our son Raymond and his partner Gino’s comfortable townhome. Light-filled with landscaped walking paths nearby, we were pampered by Raymo’s great cooking, Gino’s good humor, and licks by their faithful doggy family member Rogelio. We took many visits to nearby Gelson’s Market for delicious deli foods, Bill got a posh new haircut, Raymo made a delicious pulled pork for Thanksgiving dinner. Bill’s birthday Nov. 24 was celebrated in the City of Orange, which has ancient fig trees and interesting Craftsman-style homes that give the city its genius loci. That evening we drove to Dana Point for sunset and to admire an old ficus macrophylla, planted by the area’s founders, the Moulton family at Monarch Summit. The tree is wrapped in lights and its presence and beauty are the photos that conclude this week’s blog.

Our son Raymo took this photo of Bill and Rogelio at home in Aliso Viejo
Rogelio, Bill and Kate in son Raymo and his partner Gino's holiday-decorated living room. Photo by Raymond Poss
Rogelio, Bill and Kate in son Raymo and his partner Gino’s holiday-decorated living room. Photo by Raymond Poss
Bill, Gino, Rogelio, and an ancient fig tree in old town Orange. Photo by Raymond Poss
Bill was surprised with a birthday treat Nov. 24 at Alvita’s El Ranchito in Orange, where our son treated us to lunch.
Raymo and his dad are illuminated by a 100+ year old fig tree at Monarch Summit on the Pacific Coast Hwy. in Dana Point.
We are lit by the many lights on an ancient fig tree, placed on the corner of Pacific Coast Hwy. and Crown Point Parkway in Dana Point. Photo by Raymond Poss

 

 

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