Took Hwy. 8 from Yuma, AZ to San Diego, CA. It started out sunny and beautiful. Then about half way through our trip we encountered thick fog and heavy rain (what else is new) while traveling over mountains with some steep downhill grades. The best thing you can do in bad weather like that is slow down, get behind 18 wheelers in the slow lane, and don’t follow too close. Big trucks create their own “drafts” that you don’t want to get sucked into because they can cause your trailer to sway. We stopped half way through at a rest area to take a break and peel Bonnie’s fingernails out of the dashboard. Check out these photos which show us initially driving thru nice sunny weather and then suddenly surrounded by thick fog and rain…
Bonnie had reserved an RV site for us at Santee Lakes Recreation Area which was located about 20 minutes away from downtown San Diego. This 190‐acre park with 7 recycled water lakes started out as green space around overflow waterways from Padre Dam Municipal Water District and grew into a popular recreational park. The park itself wasn’t anything special but it was OK for being located in a densely populated area. We had planned to focus our time on the coastal areas outside of San Diego anyway and will plan another trip to explore the city itself.
One afternoon, we did travel into the city to meet Kelly Ho and her husband Johnny for lunch at Bencotto Italian Kitchen restaurant in the Little Italy section of San Diego. Bonnie had worked with Kelly at Kimco Realty where they had become fast friends and kept in touch after Bonnie’s departure from the company. Lunch at the restaurant was excellent and we received some great tourist destination advice from Kelly and Johnny. The modern city of San Diego was a bustling hub of activity and seemed like a great urban place to explore but we decided to focus on the beautiful coast there. Here are some photos from our day trip into San Diego…
During the next couple of days, we followed an itinerary suggested by Kelly and Johnny and we were not disappointed. We hiked trails at beautiful Torrey Pines and watched seals sunning themselves on the beach at La Jolla. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a 2,000 acre coastal state park located within San Diego city limits. It is considered one of the wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast. Here are some nice pics from our hike in Torry Pines….
La Jolla is a coastal community where hundreds of mother seals and their pups enjoy sunning themselves on the beaches and rocks. There are nice boardwalks along the beach where people can watch the seals and see how they interact with each other. We were amazed at the large number of seals at La Jolla and learned the difference between a seal and a sea lion. Sea lions are brown, bark loudly, “walk” on land using large flippers and have visible ear flaps while Seals have small flippers, wriggle on their bellies across land, and lack visible ear flaps. Here are some photos of lots of seals at La Jolla…
We spent considerable time watching one particular mother seal and her pup swimming in the water. Bonnie captured a brief video where the mother seal is trying to teach her young pup certain things such as climbing a rock. The pup tries to climb the rock but soon gives up when it seems to take too much effort. Bonnie posted both videos on our Instagram account if you follow along there under Danbosbigadventure.
Our next destination was Rancho Jurupa Park located right outside of Riverside, CA. We had planned a family reunion there with my brother Brian, sister Valerie, and sister-in-law Dawn. This county park provided very nice RV sites and fully equipped guest cabins which we had reserved for our traveling family members. Brian drove in from nearby Downey, CA where he lives and brought firewood, folding chairs, and lots of ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. Valerie and Dawn flew cross-country from Lake Worth, FL into nearby Ontario Airport where we picked them up on arrival. This was a very special event because it was the first time my brother, Brian, had met our new sister, Valerie, and her spouse, Dawn, in person !!! This was the first time we were all gathering together as a new family. Previously, I had shared the amazing story of how Valerie and I found each other through DNA testing using Ancestry.com memberships. (You can look at the latter half of prior blog post titled “Habitat in Fort Myers and Thanksgiving in Boca Raton “ for the full story).
The RV park we stayed at had a nice miniature golf course so we talked smack with each other while competing for the best score. We spent an afternoon taking a tour of the historic Mission Inn in downtown Riverside which is considered the largest Mission Style Revival building in the country. We learned about the citrus industry’s role in the history and development of California and sampled delicious oranges at the California Citrus State Historic Park. We also took a Sunday afternoon trip to nearby Riverside National Cemetery where we placed fresh flowers at our father’s grave and introduced Valerie to him posthumously. We enjoyed morning and evening meals together at the cabins and roasted tasty Smores around the campfire at night. It was truly a wonderful family gathering and I believe everyone enjoyed our time together. Here are some photos of our stop in Riverside…
The only exception to our family fun was that both Bonnie and I had come down with bad head colds which included a hacking cough and laryngitis. Basically, we took lots of cold medicine and tried to sleep whenever we could but still felt like crap during our stay in Riverside. We left Riverside, bypassed the congestion of Los Angeles, and continued traveling towards the city of Ventura along the coast.
Note – we continue having challenges with reliable internet service since reaching the west coast (Verizon sucks). I am hoping it will improve soon so we can get caught up on more blog posts. Had to travel 18 miles from our current campsite in Oregon to a diner just to post this one!
Sounds like you had a great time in Southern California with family and friends. Continued safe travels. Waiting to see your next adventures as we “plain Canadians” are back in Canada.
We miss our “plain Canadian” friends and hope you are well.
Dan and Bonnie,
Slightly jealous but deliriously happy for the wonderful adventure you are having. I think all your friends and family are glad you are doing this glorious trip. The photos and descriptions are both excellent and I will continue to enjoy each stop. I am off to NJ for a high school reunion next week followed by Sue’s 60th b-day party. We will miss you but know you are too far to just pop in! Continue to drive carefully and have fun….love Janet
I love San Diego! For 2 years, I made the trip to Mexicali to sell steel. Fly into SAN rent a car and take I-8 to Calexico where I’d spend the night. Talk about moonscape at what, 25’ below sea level! And yes, Torrey Pines park and the trails. Ellen and I Spent an entire day there not too long ago.
I’m jealous! Have a safe one!!! Joe
Sent from my iPhone Joe Hickey
But is it as fun as your time in Dixon? I’m about to publish my inspirational self help guide. Be sure to look for it at Barns and not so noble
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Can’t wait for the book! Should be a best seller
Love love hearing about these adventures! The pics are just beautiful!! Hope the rest of the journey sees good health!!
great photos. you can’t win with the weather. keep enjoying and stay safe.
I never stop being amazed, great with family and friends. Love , Dad
On Sat, May 4, 2019 at 4:10 PM Danbo’s Big Adventure wrote:
> Daniel Collins posted: ” Took Hwy. 8 from Yuma, AZ to San Diego, CA. It > started out sunny and beautiful. Then about half way through our trip we > encountered thick fog and heavy rain (what else is new) while traveling > over mountains with some steep downhill grades. The best thing” >