We arrived in the beautiful town called Oceanside. Oceanside is on the southern California coast next to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, it’s a beach community. Bags still in the car, we went straight to the beach. WOW! Talk about breathtaking!
I saw the ocean once as a child but never remembered it the way I saw it as an adult. It was powerful. It was beautiful. And it was seductive. I could have sat there for hours just gazing at the ocean’s beauty.
Lisa and I had just earned our train legs. Now we had to earn our sea legs. The waves were strong. We walked up to the edge. When the wave came in, it almost knocked us over. Then when we thought we were out of danger the wave exhaled and almost sucked us back into the water.
My cousin Carla instructed us to position our legs slightly apart and dig our feet into the sand—sand shoes—which we did. I don’t know how long we were there, but I didn’t want to leave.
Eventually we left the ocean for lunch. We ended up at a sports bar named PCH to have burgers and beer while we watched the Chiefs playing against the San Diego Chargers. We were the only Chiefs fans in the bar. Lucky for us, the other patrons in bar were more interested in the San Francisco 49ers game than the Chargers. Only one TV had our game on.
I didn’t realize that California has three professional football teams—San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers and the team every Chiefs fan hates the most, the Oakland Raiders.
We drank dark beer, watched our team lose by three points, then went on a tour of Oceanside. I got to see sea lions warming themselves on boat docks and a bedazzled car before we proceeded to Linda and Carla’s home.
As I stated in an earlier post, Californians eat smart and are environmentally responsible. My cousins are no exceptions. Carla and Linda recycle everything. They have a Nissan Leaf electric car and Fiat 500 convertible; both are energy efficient, as is every appliance in their home.
We stayed up late talking and catching up outside in their beautiful back yard. They have an avocado tree as well as a milkweed plant for caterpillars to munch on. Butterflies were hanging in cocoons everywhere. They are called “the butterfly whispers” by friends.
California days were in the high 80s and at night the ocean breeze cooled down Carla and Linda’s house to the 60s. PERFECT weather!
Bright and early the next morning we were on the road and off to Disneyland. California’s highways are very different than what we have where I live. They have a car pool lane that only car poolers can use. The landscapes that encircled the California highways were like looking at paintings. Absolutely stunning!
As soon as we entered Disneyland, my grandma guilt kicked in for being there without my grandkids. But I looked at my sister’s face glowing with excitement because she had never been to “the happiest place in the world” before. I shucked the guilt and had fun watching her grin from ear to ear especially when we rode the teacups. Her dream since she was seven was realized.
Life was GREAT!
We rode the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, went into the Haunted Mansion, took a ride through Storybook Land, ate homemade toffee, chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick, pretzels shaped like Mickey Mouse, and Carla and I had her favorite, corn dogs.
We watched the parade before going home. Carla thought since we spent the day walking, the next day should be a spa day—a day of relaxation, rejuvenation and, as a social worker would say, a day of self-care.
The next morning, we got up early and headed to Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa, in Corona, CA. http://www.glenivy.com
I live on a farm. My nails are always in bad shape because I always have them in the warm earth. I’d never been to a spa before, and I have to say, this was one of the most enjoyable things I did while in California.
I had my nails, feet and face done. Their nail polish had no harsh chemicals to damage my nails. The facial—I didn’t want it to ever end. The term “magic fingers” was an understatement!
Afterward I was slathered with a paint brush with a deeply hydrating masque of aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter and hints of eucalyptus and lavender oil. This mixture was applied from the neck down and allowed to soak into my skin as I relaxed in a heated grotto area.
The grotto was a cave-like sauna. I came out feeling ten years younger. I could do this again and again!
They have nineteen pools that I didn’t get to experience but my sister did. She enjoyed a massage, the hot spring water pool, saline pool for her aching muscles and the mud pool. It’s red clay mud only found in California.
The setting at Glen Ivy was magnificent. It was like walking into a tropical paradise.
When it was time to go, we headed to Callaway Vineyards to do some wine tasting. But because I took advantage of so many of Glen Ivy’s treatments, we arrived at Callaway Vineyards five minutes before they closed so we didn’t get to experience any wine tasting.
We did, however, get to see all their vineyards with the grapevines. They were massive and gorgeous to gaze upon. I promised my friend I’d bring her back some wine. Lucky for me I have the best cousin in the world, because Carla and Linda belonged to Callaway’s wine club. Carla picked up their monthly offering and gave it to me so I could give it to my friend. Isn’t that wonderful?
We spent the next day at Buccaneer Beach in Oceanside. Carla packed a picnic basket with sandwiches, baked wheat potato chips, grapes and vitamin water. We were hypnotized by the waves moving in and out while we sun bathed, people watched, bird watched and collected shells. Finally I got up the courage to attempt to swim in the ocean.
As I walked out, the sand turned rocky. I had to walk out a little farther to find sand again. The powerful waves grabbed me and I felt like a rag doll being shaken by a dog. I tasted salt water in my mouth and smelled it in my nose. Carla advised me to jump into the waves as they came so I wouldn’t be tossed about. I did, and I survived! I’ll admit I was scared to death. But I can die now knowing I swam in the ocean.
That night we went to Carlsbad Farmers Market in Carlsbad, California. I bought Asian Pears (they tasted much sweeter than any Asian pear I ever bought in Kansas) and Pluots (a plum/apricot hybrid).
They sold big avocados called Reed avocados which I had never heard of before. Who knew there was more than one kind of avocado? There was strawberry guava too, another fruit I’d never heard of.
They had different honeys from different beekeepers. You could buy honey made by bees that pollinated plants from the region. Examples included: orange honey, avocado honey, wildflower honey, etc. I bought honey from wildflower because that’s what I knew and because it tasted the sweetest to me. Yes, we got to sample everything sold there.
Linda doesn’t eat meat but, bless her heart, she grilled us New York strips on the grill, and Carla made us a delicious kelp salad. For dessert, Linda made my sister and me our favorite pie, peach, from scratch. She revealed after I wolfed down half of it that the flour she used was whole wheat flour. I would have never guessed the crust was made from whole wheat. It was delicious!
The next day we were off to San Diego to do some whale watching. Carla’s sister, Nellie, and our other cousin, wanted to take us on a chartered boat tour to watch whales.
It was great! My sister’s phobias started to kick in again so I bought all of us a Mimosa (champagne and orange juice), hoping it would calm her down or at least take the edge off. She wouldn’t bite (or should I say, drink). She stayed terrified all the way there.
The captain kept us out an hour longer than he was supposed to. He wanted to make sure we saw a whale. And we did. I got to see an Orca. I’d love to say I got a picture of this beauty but by the time I got my camera out, she was gone.
I also saw a flying fish and, yes, this fish has wings. It flies and swims. Its scientific name is Exocoetidae, an Asian fish with wings.
. I’d love to say I captured a picture of this elusive fish, but although I snapped many shots, none of the fish were visible in my pictures. I found pictures of them on the Internet. They kind of look like dragonflies to me. It was AWESOME!
Afterward we drove to a restaurant called C Level right on the ocean and ate dinner. Carla had coupons she saved just for our trip so our meal was free. My cousins shared salmon with Wasabi mashed potatoes and ahi tuna stack topped with caviar. Linda had lobster macaroni and cheese. I ate a feta chicken salad, and my sister had a burger. We shared each other’s food, talked, laughed and had a wonderful time. The food was delicious, the company superb and the views were beyond words.
The last night, Thursday night, we went to the Oceanside Sunset Market and shopped for souvenirs. I found an alpaca sweater for my daughter and a stone cross necklace for my husband. Carla bought us a cup full of homemade caramels. We hurried so we could watch the sun set on the ocean.
OMG! What a sight! I watched the ball of fire slowly descend into the ocean as if it was taking a dip in the water. My sister and I waved goodbye to the ocean and I felt a sadness seep inside. I knew it was the last time we would see each on that trip.
After seeing all these beautiful landscapes, it’s hard not to believe in God or a higher power. Someone or something far greater than you or me painted these pictures. I feel so incredibly lucky to have seen them.
I am a very lucky woman. I’m so thankful to have a family who loves me.
Thank you, Carla and Linda! You made our days in California unforgettable.
Thank you, Nellie, for showing me what lived in the ocean. I love you girls with all my heart!
Until next time, enjoy the beauty that surrounds you!
Blog edited by Sally Berneathy