After 10 days of blissful solitude at my Nevada boondocking site, it was time to head down to L.A. for a Thanksgiving weekend with family. It had now been nearly 2 months since I’d been near a major metro area, and the transition was nothing short of extreme culture shock!
First, I had to navigate myself around the outskirts of “the capital of the absurd & bizarre,” (a.k.a Las Vegas). Thankfully, I was able to avoid the most touristy parts of town and just admire the big casinos from a safe distance. But not wanting to overload my already overloaded senses with 2 major metro areas in one day, I decided I would stop for the night out in Barstow, CA before attempting to navigate L.A. freeways.
As nightfall descended across the Mohave desert, I stopped at the Nevada state line for some dinner, one more tank of cheap gas, and one last glance at the larger-than-life lighted casino signs. So long, Nevada!
The evening drive along Highway I-15 was uneventful until about 30 miles outside of Barstow when traffic came to a dead stop. Nothing to do but sit and watch the moonset! In situations like these, it sure is nice to have your home with you! Within an hour, we were finally on our way again, and had a pleasant, uneventful overnight at the Flying J Truck Stop.
My task for the next day (the day before Thanksgiving and “the busiest travel day of the year”) was to get Millie, me, our home & car transported across the massive, sprawling Los Angeles metro area to my brother’s house in the valley north of Burbank. You’d think being a Chicago-native, I’d be totally at ease driving these snarled up 12-lane freeways, but after living in the boonies for 2 months, it felt like I had arrived to a totally different planet. Where did ALL these people and cars come from? Where on earth are they all so desperate to get too? What INSANITY!!!!
Truthfully though, my route (and timing) spared me from the very worst of LA’s traffic jams. I made it to my brother’s house with plenty of daylight to spare and found that my View and Tracker fit just perfectly along the curb in front of his house. I had a really nice holiday weekend with the LA-side of the family and sister Holley flew in from Chicago to cook us one of her fabulous Thanksgiving dinners. Saturday was warm and sunny, so while the boys went out to the movies, us girls headed to Santa Monica beach for some sunshine and ocean breezes.
After LA, my next destination was the Oceanside/Vista/San Marcos area (midway between LA and San Diego). I wanted to visit a long-time friend, and spend a couple weeks preparing for my winter in Baja. This meant finding a good RV park to stay at long enough for Amazon packages to be delivered, and having ready access to a good variety of big box stores nearby to stock up.
I found a great, friendly, newer RV park in Vista called Olive Ave. RV Resort that offered a Passport America rate of only $20/night for 4 weeknights per week. That’s a nice price for the San Diego area, but what’s even better is they have no limit on the number of repeat PA-rate weeks you can stay. Now THAT’S a deal!
Speaking of Passport America, I became a PA affiliate website a few months ago. If you’re interested in joining (a great program where you get 1/2-price camping at thousands of campgrounds for just $44/year), and navigate to their site via this link (or by clicking the banner ad on the bottom of my home page), you’ll pay the same price as if you had navigated to their site on your own, but PA will send WinnieViews a small referral commission. Nice, easy way to support this blog if you’re ever wishing to join Passport America!
Olive Ave. RV Resort has a nice hot tub, heated pool, dog area, new clubhouse, nice laundry, and pretty California wildflowers growing between each site. The only downside is that city planners required ridiculously-sloped grading of each site (well beyond the limits of most RV leveling systems!). Fortunately, the park loans out super-big pyramid block ramps to each camper—that, and 2 of my own boards finally leveled my motorhome, but what a comedy to see the View jacked up so high! All and all, though, I really enjoyed this little park and the very friendly manager. The area is perfect for when you need to do more mundane daily living chores than hitting all the tourist attractions of downtown San Diego (but there’s a great light rail train in Vista that can easily get you downtown if and whenever you’d like).
In between my 2 weeks at Olive Ave., I returned to camp at Guajome Regional Park for the weekend and had a few nice visits with my dear old friend from junior high and high school, Sheri.
It’s incredible to fathom that we’ve now been friends for nearly 40 years, but after discovering an old picture of the two of us with our high school prom dates from the ‘70s, oh LORDY! I guess it really has been a long, LONG, time!
Sheri was just as lovely as ever, and I enjoyed also getting to meet the wonderful man in her life, Chris, along with her two adorable fur baby pups! At times we’ve gone months or years without communicating, but somehow always seem to just pick right up where we last left off (fortunately, Facebook now keeps us in touch more often). Until next time, my friend!