August 29, 2009

End of Summer

Andy starts high school on Monday, plus it is my Mom's birthday -- two perfect reasons for a quick camping trip to the beach. We went to San Mateo for the night and got a site for $37 instead of the post-California economic-melt-down $67 they now charge for a hook-up site (no kidding).

The campground is very nice, but because it is on Camp Pendleton Marine Base, you can't leave the campground except for the mile-and-a-half hike to San Onofre State Beach. That means there is not much to do in camp except check out the other campers.

My Mom and I enjoyed catching up with a couple hours of campfire conversation. Andy forgot we were there and wore out his battery texting everyone else in his contact list.

Our camping receipt allowed us day access to Doheney and San Clemente State Beaches, so we tried to get into the surf, but the conditions were brutal with horrible rip tides. I got a cool souvenir from the trip; someone threw away this classic White Gas Lantern. It looks great hanging on my back shed.

August 22, 2009

Zion - The Promised Land

Zion National Park is truly one of the most magnificent places on Earth. As anyone who has seen this blog knows, we’re no stranger to camping and the outdoors, so when we say it is one of the most magnificent places on Earth, it must be.

We spent a week with a base camp at Zion Canyon, in the hottest month of the year, and it was perfect.

Each morning, we would complete an adventure before the heat sent us back to camp for a siesta. In the evening, we would venture out for another adventure before settling in for the night.

The towering Navajo Sandstone cliffs are like sandcastles in the expanse of the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts. The trails along the canyon walls were incredible, and every day we saw dozens of wild turkeys, deer, bats and once, a grey fox.

Traveling with a 14 year-old son is usually easier with a distraction, so we brought along Andy’s buddy Travis. He had his own adventures, as he had never eaten Spam and eggs, or even tamales.

One of our favorite adventures was taking our bikes on the park shuttle and then riding the Pa’rus Trail back down to camp. This two-mile trip was so much fun as we let gravity do most of the work during the cool evening air.

These few photos and short video fail to do this place any real justice. It truly is our favorite place, and one we will surely revisit time and again.

August 15, 2009

The Caboose is Loose

After two years, the Caboose is loose. We sold it off and now we're making new memories with an RV. She was good to us, and she went to a good family.

We decided the new RV is named La Rana, Spanish for The Frog.

August 8, 2009

(Rail) Road Trip

This morning I took Andy plus his buddy Travis on a beach trip. We took the Metrolink to San Clemente Pier. All summer long, they have weekend beach trains, and you can take up to four people, anywhere on the line, round trip for $29. I can't pay for gas and parking for less.

We left at 9:30 and were on the sand at 11:00. Well, almost on the sand. I knew I'd have a hard time getting them out of the water for lunch, so we ate pizza before going into the water. The track is literally ten yards from the beach, so it is a popular destination.

We caught the 3:09 train home, pulling into our home station at 4:30. It was a great trip, one that we will certainly do again.