November 21, 2013

Rancho Jurupa

We had an easy over-nighter at Rancho Jurupa with Wendy and the girls. We had a camp fire and night hike, and then breakfast of scrambled eggs with asparagus and french toast, followed by some pecan harvesting in the orchard.

October 19, 2013

Every time!

September 7, 2013

Labor Day Trip

We mixed up our usual schedule for camping to take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend. We took Wendy and the girls with us for a trip across the local mountains. We started with an exploration of the Forest Falls neighborhood, then up to Heart Bar for a picnic on the South Fork of the Santa Ana River. We went over Onyx Pass and down to Big Bear Lake where we camped the first night at Serrano. The morning started with a hike to the Discovery Center and then on the road to Keller Peak Fire Lookout. After a view from the tower we were on our way to lunch in Blue Jay. The ladies went shopping in Arrowhead Village while I got us registered at Dogwood for the night. After another fun campfire it was bedtime for our second night in the forest. Monday morning was slow and easy and then Lake Gregory for lunch before heading down the mountain. What a great weekend.

August 30, 2013

Birthday Beach Trip

As has become custom, my Mom and I spent her birthday on a camping trip. This year it was at the beach. We spent the day at Doheny in the day use area. When I was a kid, this was called Hole in the Fence beach because you would park on PCH, brave the train tracks, and crawl through the chain link to avoid paying the State Beach admission. Now there is a pedestrian bridge that makes it a great place to spend the day with the RV on the sand and not get run over by a train.

We spent several hours on the beach hanging with our friend Mike and his girls. They went surfing while Mom and I caught up. For dinner, I walked across the bridge to Olamendi's Mexican Food to get take out. This is a great neighborhood joint with lots of Mexican folk art and photos of Richard and Pat Nixon eating there (the Western White House is just down the street).

After the sunset we moved the RV to our camping space at San Mateo and in the morning I moved it to the bluffs at San Clemente State Beach for breakfast. My Mom and I both needed the break and we both look forward to these trips.

July 21, 2013

Summer Fire and Rain

At first, we had just a single night planned, but Sherry suggested we add Friday night to our weekend at Rancho Jurupa. I got the RV into camp Friday afternoon and Sherry went from work. My lookout was evacuated on Wednesday due to the huge Mountain Fire in the San Jacinto wilderness. I was a little distracted through the weekend monitoring the fire status.

We were surprised on Saturday by some incredible thunderstorms, but in between the squalls we were able to get a walk into the woods around the Santa Ana river and the Rubidoux Nature center. We headed into downtown for the Farmer's Market and a cold beer before heading back to camp.

Andy, Rozlynn and her little sister Bam joined us for the evening, and then Wendy and her girls joined us to camp Saturday night. All eight of us went to watch our 66ers baseball team blow a six-run lead and lose (again). Andy's girls had to go home, but we had six of us crammed into La Rana for the night with lots of giggles.

As I unpacked on Sunday, I realized we're running a little behind on stickers for the back of La Rana. I still need Afton Canyon and Casper's, and soon I'll be needing Pineknot (Big Bear).

July 4, 2013

Riding the Rails

This has nothing to do with camping, but it was a great trip and I want to save the details. Last Sunday, we took the Metrolink to Oceanside and then the Coaster to Solana Beach. It is a $10 round-trip for Metrolink and $8 on the Coaster. Next time, we might stop at Carlsbad Village or Encinitas instead of Solana Beach.
8:10am Metrolink to O'Side
10:20am 45mins in O'Side
11:07am Coaster to Solana Beach
11:30am 90 minutes in Solana Beach
1:02pm Coaster back to O'Side
1:28pm 3hrs in O'Side
4:30pm Metrolink for home
6:14pm Back Home

June 22, 2013

Father's Day Trip

Once again, we spent Father's Day weekend with the 4th annual, Gonzales family camping trip. This year we left the pines and stayed at the beach. We had two sites at Moro Canyon at Crystal Cove State Beach. While we had a blast, it was agreed that next year, we will head back to the mountains, with our preference being the hookup sites at Dogwood. This is a fun photo. Make sure you click for the full size version.

May 19, 2013

Mother's Day Trip

Mom and I had a great weekend up at Table Mountain. This was one of our annual Mother's Day trips, but it is always nice to just get away and have a challenging game of Scrabble with Mom.

It got too windy for a campfire, so we spent the evening inside La Rana. Scooby was with us for this trip. and while her arthritis caused her some pain, she enjoyed hanging out with my Mom.

May 4, 2013

Ready for Fire Season

With snow packs only 17% of normal, fire season is going to be a rough one. The Forest Service asked us to open the lookout early, so Scooby and I headed up after work to spend the night on Black Mountain and open the tower with some help on Saturday morning. The tower weathered the winter just fine and it only took a couple hours to get ready for business. Our trip home was disrupted by a fire along the highway. Yup. This is going to be a busy fire season.

April 20, 2013

Looking Ahead

I forgot to make plans for Labor Day weekend on the first when the sites become available, so I was a little worried, but I got a great itinerary for the long weekend. On Saturday, we'll drive to Big Bear Lake and stay at the edge of the forest at Pineknot campground for the first night. Serrano was sold out, but this is a good compromise as we still get to spend the day in town. On Sunday, we head over to Arrowhead and Dogwood campground for a full hookup site and showers. Monday is the holiday, so when we're ready, we head down the mountain and back home. This plan means two nights of camping without going on the same road twice. We do a big loop across the San Bernardino mountains, staying near two quaint towns. I like it.

March 24, 2013

Casper's Wilderness Park

My buddy Tim came out to California with his son Christian this weekend, and it was a great opportunity to catch up and share some of our local wilderness. They spent Saturday in San Diego and I took La Rana down to Casper's Wilderness Park (a great local park but no dogs and no flush toilets, so it won't be big in our rotation).

Andy followed with Rozlynn and her little brother and sister. Since Tim and Christian were still in San Diego, we headed to Dana Point where we explored the tidepools and tried not to get swept away by big surf. Soon it was time to get back to Casper's and start getting dinner ready. Before the sun went down, the San Diego patrol had joined us for the campfire and dinner. It is always a great time having a steak dinner under the stars.

Andy's crew had to be back home before his car turned into a pumpkin, which meant it was just me and the mountain lions overnight. At sunup, I broke camp and scooted over to the harbor to meet Tim and Christian for a whale watch. Unfortunately, it turned into more of a dolphin watch as we only saw a couple grey whales. It was, however, a great morning out on the water and we had a great time.

March 17, 2013

Grown Up Time

For the first time in at least 18 years, we went camping without anyone else. Not even the dogs.

We headed down to San Juan Capistrano and the Los Rios District. It is such a cool place. We wish our home town had such a great place to hang around.

Then we headed over to Bubba Kahuna's for a pulled pork pizza and a couple of cold ones with our buddy Mike who had finished up his morning surfing. After checking in at the campground, we skipped the campsite and spent the afternoon in the day use area of the beach because you can park right at the sand.

Low tide was at six, and sunset was at seven so we scooted over to the tide pools before heading to the wharf for fish and chips. Instead of a campfire, we walked over to the rooftop lounge at the hotel next to the campground and had drinks under the stars.

We were in the campsite just to sleep, because in the morning, it was back on the sand before heading to Bull Taco for brunch. Back to beach combing and knitting before heading home for an early dinner and Guinness for St. Patty's day. What an awesome weekend!

February 18, 2013

President's Camping Trips

I get two long weekends in February thanks to Presidents Washington and Lincoln. Sherry only gets one, so I got to spend the first holiday weekend in February camping at Doheny State Beach with my Mom. We had space 40 which has a great view of the sunset and the estuary where San Juan Creek meets the Pacific Ocean. This incredible view was snapped with my cell phone from our campffire ring. Great spot and a great trip with just me and my Mom.

For the second holiday weekend, we spent two nights at San Elijo State Beach. It is a bit of a drive (about 100 miles each way), but there is so much to love about the place. We always enjoy at least one awesome meal at Bull Taco. This time it was tater tots and carne asada. Think of it like nachos with tater tots instead of chips. We always make a point of shopping in the Solana Beach Cedros District and the Farmer's Market on Sunday afternoon. Sherry has a couple favorite yarn shops in nearby Encinitas and the beach is a great spot for her knitting.

January 6, 2013

The Kitchen

I was sitting in the RV for a half hour idling the engine to compensate for not taking La Rana out for a while. Out of boredom, I started photographing the interior to document the cupboards, etc. Last night I stitched together a couple dozen photos to make this one composite of the kitchen side of the RV. Yeah, the bed wasn't made.