Thursday, July 27, 2017

Some Disjointed Thoughts About A Short Vacation in California


I've been a bit depressed since we returned from California where we spent a few days on the beaches around San Diego. I think the realization that this is the closest ocean beach to where we live in New Mexico and that it is a two day drive that includes overnight stays and tedious boring hours driving through desert and endless vistas, all contributed to my depression. We have a good life here in New Mexico and a quiet peaceful lake to sit beside and swim in, but I cannot drive an hour from here to Long Island Sound or two hours to Rhode Island ocean beaches, spend a nice day, stop for fried clams on the way home and sleep in my own bed that same night.

The beach always draws me. And by beach I mean the OCEAN, SALT WATER, SURF and SAND. It must be in my blood or psyche. 

So when Leon was finally able to get a week off, we figured we could make it to the West Coast for a little R&R, even though it would take two days to get there and two days to get back. We left on a Monday afternoon after Leon got out of work early. We stopped to see friends in Tucson for a day then drove the second leg of the trip to Encinitas, a town I'd never been to before.

I picked Encinitas on a whim and a hunch. 

A neighbor who used to live in California mentioned that Moonlight Beach was very nice. As I wanted to be near a beach and I didn't want to stay in San Diego - too much city - I looked at the map and Encinitas/Moonlight Beach was close enough to San Diego so that if we wanted to do any sight-seeing there we could. And it was close enough to Black's Beach which was on the top of our list.

Besides, Encinitas has a nice ring to it.

Our hotel was a Days Inn. Now, one would think a Days Inn would be a lower priced accommodation. And I guess it was. But all things being relative, the price of EVERYTHING on the coast is inflated. The very small room with a queen bed, a small table with two chairs, a TV, a fridge, and the typical Days Inn bath facilities would go for $75 a night elsewhere, but not here. Quite a bit more. But what the hell, it is within walking distance to Moonlight Beach and as they say: "You only live once," and "You can't take it with you." 

Not sure where they got "Moonlight" from as we didn't get back there after dark to see the moon.

But here are a few photos of Moonlight Beach. (click to enlarge).







Moonlight Beach is a State Beach among the multi-million dollar homes of Encinitas. Owned by people who would probably never stay at a Days Inn and would think nothing of paying five times what we paid for a night in their lovely, not so quaint, little town. 



I was fascinated by the chiaroscuro pattern of the sand as it washed around the stones on the beach. I love beach stones, the sand, the waves, the water and the way it washes endlessly upon the shore. A cheap thrill.





We were also within walking distance of Pizza. Which was handy. And tasty.

Coastal California: Multi-million dollar homes are everywhere. A quick check on realtor.com shows "affordable" 600 sq. ft. manufactured homes in Encinitas, some with $1,500 per month land lease fees. Driving around the coastal neighborhoods will most often show homes around $900,000 and more properties in the 1.4 to 4.7 million and up. Yes millions. 

We, Leon and I, wondered out loud, "where do people get their money?" What do they do to own 3 million dollar homes and pay the taxes, and buy Mercedes and BMWs and Lexus' and Teslas, and Range Rovers? And eat in very expensive restaurants and have perfectly manicured lawns and gardens and travel to exotic destinations and own designer pets?



Some live in clusters like this...probably California's version of "low income housing."


Cute, tiny beach "cottages"


Is the trade-off for living by the beach worth the inordinate amount of time one spends driving...or should I say, crawling along in traffic. All day, Every day. No one seems to be where they want to be. Everyone seems to be going somewhere other than where they were. At 6 to 16 miles per hour...on 12-lane highways they don't there very fast.

Just the sheer volume of gasoline needed to keep these cars moving is mind-boggling...and this is just a small corner of our country, and just a dot on our planet. What happens when we all run out of gas?

Seeing the endless traffic one has to ask: Doesn't anyone work? Do they all just drive around all day?There were a few people employed at the Botanical Gardens. But I don't have photos of them. Just some very stationary plants and flowers:







Of course my/our one objective in going to California was to go to the beach. We finally got to Black's Beach near La Jolla. The very remote, very beautiful, mostly gay, nude beach. We went twice and spent most of our last day there.
Getting to the beach requires a steep descent down a somewhat precarious path of loose dirt, rocks and makeshift stairs.








Once down at the beach, I sat on my towel.
I looked out at the ocean and waves, and breathing deeply, took in the salt air; 

I felt the sun on my shoulders and the soft, fine sand under my feet and toes;

I felt the ocean breeze caressing my naked body;

I listened to the sound of the waves crashing in regular but slightly uneven time;

I went into the water and felt the cool splash of waves baptizing me completely;

I tasted the wonderful saltiness of the Pacific and felt content.

I was a kid again all day.

Funny that I began thinking about death...my own death. 

And that if I could die naked on a summer day at the beach in the sun while listening to my beach music, I would die happy.

Some Black's Beach eye candy was a bonus.
 



Some miscellany:



We were told that Coronado Island was a must see. I was expecting something like Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Cape Cod, not a suburb of San Diego. It was wall-to-wall (or shore-to-shore) traffic and people and residences and businesses and no where to park, even if we had wanted to. We were told we should kick back and have a cocktail at "the Del" but that was the last thing I wanted to do. I hate crowds.


I had to pee. Luckily we found the public beach, Leon dropped me off while I found the restroom. He drove around and made a u-turn and picked me up. 

At which point all I could say was "Get me off this island!"

I like sea gulls. These guys were near the fish market restaurant where we had dinner. A glorified Lenny and Joe's.



Some reflections on being home:
The harbor lights were shining
The moon was in its high
The captain said, thank God we're home!
We've drunk the barrels dry
The mizzen mast was shaken
And the lanterns all burned low
I'd never thought we'd make it
But we've twenty leagues to go
So blow you southern trades
And guide me safely to the shore
I'm never ever gonna sail
The seven seas no more

I know I'm gonna miss the sand in my hair
The roll of the tide and the salt in the air
Deep inside it's true
I'm a home lovin' man
Comin' on home to you
I know I'm gonna miss the wind in my eyes
The shimmer of light when the seagull flies
Although I've traveled far
I'm a home lovin' man
And home is where you are
The crowd upon the quayside
Their faces long and drawn
Are suddenly awakened
As we sail in on the dawn
The wives, the sons, the lovers
Who never gave up hope
All breathe a sigh together
As they reach to catch the rope
God bless you, southern trades
You got me safely back this time
Oh, you'll never have the need again
To save this soul of mine
I know I'm gonna miss the sand in my hair
The roll of the tide and the salt in the air
Deep inside it's true
I'm a home lovin' man
Comin' on home to you
I know I'm gonna miss the wind in my eyes
The shimmer of light when the seagull flies
Although I've traveled far
I'm a home lovin' man
And home is where you are
Yes, I know I'm gonna miss the sand in my hair
The roll of the tides and the salt in the air
Deep inside it's true
I'm a home lovin' man
Comin' on home to you
Written by Roger Frederick Cook, Roger John Reginald Greenaway, Tony Macaulay • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

So we're home at the Lake. 

Leon and I are home at the lake. 

The lake in the dessert. 

Cochiti Lake. 

Where the dog can frolic and where I can sit by the water and feel the sun on my shoulders and listen to my beach music and go for a swim. 

I am learning to appreciate what is in our backyard (2 miles down the road) and to be thankful we have this little lake on the Rio Grande in the middle of the dessert. 

And being by the water in the summer sun, with a warm breeze I can feel like a kid all day. 

I may not die completely ocean-side happy, but happy well enough.






3 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Hey, looks like it was a fun time! You know, I bet you were a merman in a former life. That's why the ocean calls you.

Bob Slatten said...

I have always lived within 90 minutes or less from the ocean. Years back, I was offered a job in Santa Fe; I had been before and loved it there, I went for an interview and it went beautifully. I returned home and got the call that the job was mine, but then I started thinking of that loooooong trip to the sea and I couldn't do it.

Mitchell is Moving said...

I'm glad you at least got to the beach, but I understand your frustration. I loved living in the dessert but always missed the sea. San Diego was the best of everything and I just about LIVED at Black's Beach. The other trail was further from the gayest stretch of beach, but it was a lot less scary/treacherous. I hope you can find peace and satisfaction on your home patch of water!

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