Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Welcoming the New Year in San Diego, California!

Monday, January 7, 2013

OLA: Welcoming the New Year in San Diego, California!

Bill and Carol at the Cabrillo National Monuent, overlooking the bay and San Diego!
during the steak dinner, before the dance to midnight at Pio Pico
The voice of 2013 is not allowing us to settle in a base yet, so we cancelled our reservations at Bullhead City, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, cut our stay in Yuma and proceeded to Pio Pico Preserve in Jamul, California, just east of San Diego. And that is where we welcomed the  New Year. The campground hosted a grand New Years Eve Party with rib-eye steak, twice-baked potatoes, Caesars salad, and carrot cake.  Many bottles of wine after, with the DJ alternating country, disco, and Latin music, and an hour after Times Square broke out in cheers, we had to go back to the RV. I could not make it for two more hours, to greet 2013 at the dance floor, midnight, Pacific Time. I was so silly to have worn boots with my outfit and my feet were getting heavy for dancing.
dancing with my boots (silly)!
Cabrillo National Monument
We are now proceeding up north, along the West Coast, to a family reunion in Seattle at the end of February when April, my youngest daughter will come for a brief visit from England after an HP global project meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. For part of the time Bill is also going to Boise, Idaho to help his son with the new office building for his and his partners law office. Then we go further north to Calgary in Canada where Claudine, my second daughter, will deliver her second child, my fifth grandchild, and our (Bills and mine) tenth in July. After that, we swing down back to Arizona and then fly to the Philippines for another significant family reunion during the 2013-2014 Holiday Season! Thus we will not be able to go to Europe nor settle down for a few months in a place. Perhaps, the voice of 2014 will give us those wishes!

Old Town San Diego at night!
the first Mission in California, San Diego de Alcala
But we also surveyed San Diego as a possible winter haven. We found out that RV resorts there are family vacation places, meaning many kids running around, with sites numbering less than 300. We only found two that were bigger and offered seasonal stays. Campland on the Bay had 600 right in San Diego. But the biggest is up northeast, 1 ½ hours away from both Los Angeles and San Diego with 1,100 sites. It is also an age-qualified resort much like those we found in Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma! And I have more family and friends in the area!

National Military Salute to Bob Hope
coral tree and USS Midway as backdrop
Spreckel's Organ at Balboa Park
We also enjoyed San Diegos highlights. First we went to the Cabrillo National Monument at Point Loma with its Lighthouse overlooking the city. At night we went to Old Town San Diego with all its colorful lights and fine Mexican food (we again ordered the mocaljete. The next day we went to the Mission San Diego de Alcala, the very first Mission in California with its dramatic faรงade. Nine statues of saints memorialize the 9 missions that were established in the state. We had a hard time looking for the Military Salute to Bob Hope. Finally we found it, on a mound beside where the USS Midway was anchored. Sixteen bronze statues representing Hopes eternal audience listen to him as he stands there, forever, with his monologues continually playing. Then we had another great dinner at the Gas Lamp Quarter, famous for its lamps lighting the streets and the high-end restaurants that line both sides. We chose Italian that night! And the following day we just had to go to Balboa Park and hear the beautiful music of the Spreckels Organ of almost 6,000 pipes in a free concert every Sunday at 2 PM
dining at de Medici, at the Gas Lamp Quarter of San Diego
with Cynthia, manager of Surf and Turf RV Park in del Mar
But the best part of our stay in San Diego was the rediscovery of the Filipino camaraderie and cuisine that I have missed for a long time. One adventurous night we went to the Filipino Cuisine restaurant in Chula Vista, south of San Diego and very near our campground. We ordered grilled tilapia, pinakbet, and pork adobo. At a nearby table was a group of young Filipinas with a Caucasian-looking male whom they were challenging to eat balut! Well, they challenged Bill, too, to keep him company! Lo and behold, Chris and Bill both accepted the challenge and downed their first (and maybe last) balut of their lifetime! Too bad I somehow lost the photos I took that night!

Filipino Feast No. 1 at Marilou's
Filipino Feast No. 2 at Charade's 
Then we met Cynthia, a friend of Jingjing and the manager of the Surf and Turf RV Park, close to the beach and within the State Fairgrounds in Del Mar where a lot happens year-round!  She toured us around in her car until it got stuck in the mud where the grounds became soft and wet.  Cynthia has such a bubbly personality that soon we agreed to meet on January 1 to go see Jingjing who was in La Mirada, about 1 ½ hours away, visiting friends and family in the US. 
Charade gave me this cherimoya! Bill loved it.

Fort Rosecrans Military Cemetery
dedicated to sailors
Well, January 1 came and the day was spent first at lunch with Marilou and John where the Filipino feast consisted of excellent pork rib sinigang, pinakbet, chicken meatballs, and steamed sugpo.  After all the vibrant chit-chat, long lunch, hurried exchange of gifts, we proceeded to Charades (Cynthias dentist) house where we had another gourmet Filipino feast for dinner:  cocido, paella, pancit molo, pancit, and crab legs. She even gave me her lone chiremoya to bring home! That was indeed one long, sumptuous, fun-fiflled day. We got back to the RV in Jamul at 11:30 PM!
San Diego Tidal Pools

humongous roots of a whitish tree in Balboa Park  
Although more friends and family draw me to San Diego/LA as a winter haven, the campground that suits our needs is far from both cities (1 ½ hours).  So I guess we will try Phoenix for our first winter haven in 2014,after we get back from the Philippines. The Viewpoint RV Resort has an 18-hole golf course surrounding it and a 9-hole executive course running through it, giving the sites a lot of space and green, in the middle of the fifth largest city of the US! But, I have to wait for another year before that can happen! We hope to make our reservation by March this year so we really have to decide soon. Otherwise the choice sites will be gone! The year's language has begun!