Car Trippin’… Laguna Beach

image A one way ticket!


This is my last loose end from almost a year ago to post. So, once again it is back-dated for my organizational purposes. Don’t ask and I won’t tell. Just humor me or nod all is good.


On March 15th, 2 days before Jeff and I leave California to head east for Ollie’s first birthday, we meet Amanda and John at Nea in Laguna Beach for dinner. This will be the last time we see each other before they move to Dublin, Ireland.

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About Laguna Beach:

Laguna Beach is a small coastal city in southern Orange County, California.

Before John and Amanda were married they moved here from Minneapolis, courtesy of Amanda’s job promotion with General Mills.  (She grew up in Orange County and her parents live in Temecula in Riverside County, 73 miles south and east.) They leased a quaint cottage apartment on Terry Street, off the Pacific Coast Highway. John worked for College Living Experience where he assisted autistic students with transitioning into higher education at Orange County Community College.

The land in this seaside resort rises quickly from shoreline to the mounds and canyons of the low mountain range of the San Joaquin Hills. It’s isolated beaches, rocky bluffs, and craggy canyons have attracted tourists and artists since the late 1800s and early 1900s. Laguna Beach is also known for its environmental and historical preservation. (en.m.wikipedia.org)


So, before we meet Amanda and John for a farewell dinner of delicious pizzas and brewskis, I hope you enjoy with me the photos I captured of Laguna Beach before sunset.

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(What’s up with the mysterious green dot in the above pics? Apparently when I cropped my originals on my iPad, I inadvertently added a markup. For now I have to live with it cuz I can’t figure out how to crop it out on WordPress. And yes, I already deleted the original photos.)

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It’s a bittersweet experience as I say goodbye to one son and travel to share time with another, knowing that as I leave my second son I will head out to see my third bubba boy.

Sometimes I question my decision to live on the road. But I know my boys are happy for me. Besides, nothing is forever, except the love of family and friends. I know I am loved and I hope my family and friends feel the love from me.

Car Trippin’… Temecula

 image Half the way there!

My daughter-in-law’s parents live in Temecula, California, which is another reason we chose Lake Elsinore for winter RV parking. Lake Elsinore is about half way between here and there and everywhere between Irvine and Temecula.


TEMUCULA

Incorporated as a city in 1989, Temecula is bordered by Murrieta to the north and the Pechanga Reservation of the Luiseno band to the south. Interpretations of the name include: the place of the sun, the sun that shines through the mist, and where the sun breaks through the mist. In 1798  and 1820, Spanish missionaries established missions in this area which were dispersed into ranchos in the 1840s when the Mexicans acquired the land. As American settlers moved in, the indigenous tribes were evicted from their land until the United States government granted 4,000 acres to the Pechanga tribe. Meanwhile, wealthy families bought land from the existing ranchos and created ranchos of their own. In the 1890s the Temecula area operated granite stone quarries. By the turn of the century, Temecula was a major shipping point for cattle and grain due to the extension of the Santa Fe Railroad through the San Bernardino Valley.  Common to the history of southern CA, white settlers began buying tracts of land and creating ranches to raise cattle and grow crops. In 1904 Walter L. Vail established the Vail Ranch. By 1947 the Ranch contained over 87,500 acres and supported the economy of the Temecula Valley through the mid-1960s. The Kaiser Aetna partnership eventually purchased the Vail Ranch and after adding 10,000 more acres the area became known as Rancho California. The I-15 corridor, passing through Rancho, was completed in the early 1980s and with the subdivision land boom, Temecula became the official name of the newly incorporated city in December of 1989. (en.m.wikipedia.org)


Temecula is wine country! Did you know that Southern California was the major wine producer of the state during the 1800s? Well, now you do! In the late 1960s grape growing and winemaking began a revival in the Temecula Valley. The first wines were produced by the Brookside Winery in Cucamonga, but in 1974, with the opening of the Calloway Winery, winemaking crushed the Valley. (temeculawines.org)

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Today, more than 30-some family owned wineries dot the rolling hills.

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I was introduced to Temecula Wine Country in December 2013 by Amanda’s parents. Tim and Sue O’Connell are the most gracious hosts and tour guides!

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Amanda and John were married at Lorimar Winery in May of 2014. The following photos are not from their wedding, but you get the picture, groan…

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We spent Christmas evening in Temecula, eating, drinking, singing, laughing, and playing games with Tim, Sue, Brittany, Amanda, and John.


A few months later, Jeff and I spent a Saturday afternoon in Old Town Temecula. Old Town is a bustling collection of historic buildings from the 1890s featuring restaurants, boutiques, antique stores, hotels, and street re-enactments of the Old West. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

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It originally dates back to 1882 when the railroad ran through the Valley. (oldtowntemecula.com)

Saturday mornings are extra special because the Promenade becomes an open-air farmers’ market filled with organic produce, fresh seafood, local honey, food, samples, baked goods, flowers, and crafts!

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The highlight of our trip to Temecula’s Farmers’ Market was the food we ate that day. The Salvadoran pupusas were delicious! A pupusa is a thick corn tortilla typically filled with a blend of cheese, cooked and seasoned ground pork, and refried beans, or any combination of such goodness. It is served with a side of curdito, a lightly fermented cabbage slaw with red chiles and vinegar. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

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Car Trippin’… Irvine

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Tomorrow we leave Lake Elsinore and head back east to Ollie Land to celebrate Oliver’s first birthday. So, I just want to share and record the special places we visited during our winter in Southern California.


IRVINE

My son, John, and his wife, Amanda, live here with my grand-dog, Hugo. They are the main reason we chose to spend winter in Southern California, besides the warm climate, of course.  About an hour away across the Ortega Highway, to I-5 North and the 405, they live off of Jamboree Road. If you were ever involved with the Boy Scouts or are ever on the show, Jeopardy, you may be interested to learn that the Irvine Ranch hosted the National Boy Scouts’ Jamboree in 1953 and that is how the street received its name. A further factoid is this: David Sills from Illinois attended this event as a young scout and later returned to Irvine to serve 4 terms as mayor!

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Irvine’s 66 square miles in Orange County is a planned city developed mainly by the Irvine Company. The city evolved around the building of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 1959 and was incorporated in 1971.

From 1864 – 1868 James Irvine and his partners acquired the lands of 3 Spanish/Mexican ranches and formed the Irvine Ranch to graze sheep. In 1870 tenant farming was permitted. James Irvine eventually bought out his partners and upon his death in 1886, James Jr. inherited the land and incorporated it into the Irvine Company. The ranch was devoted to growing field crops, citrus, and olives. Upon James Jr.’s death in 1947, his son, Myford, began opening up parcels of the ranch for urban development. (en.m.wikipedia.org)


We spent Thanksgiving in Irvine. Jeff prepared the traditional dinner which we shared with John, Amanda, her parents, and her cousin. Jeff dropped me off the night before so John and I could clean and put the turkey in the oven by 7:30 Thanksgiving morning. Amanda and her mother were in Texas visiting her grandmother so John and I drank wine and had a jammie party.

Irvine was our “meet-up” place with John and Amanda as they showed us around California.

We ordered in Korean fusion food and Vietnamese pho. John and Jeff went out to the Persian market and brought back a delicious assortment of delicacies and the most wonderful flatbread.

John picked me up at LAX when I returned in February from Columbus, Ohio. I had a crud of a cold and he sent me back to Lake Elsinore with vitamin C and Mucinex. In return I passed the crud onto him!

And now Irvine will no longer be home to John and Amanda as they are moving to Dublin, Ireland in April. Amanda has accepted a new position with her company fulfilling a life-long dream to live across the ocean!

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Good night, moon…

Good bye, Irvine…

Home is Where You Park Your RV

image Lake Elsinore, CA

Located in western Riverside County and founded in 1888 as a resort town, the city sits on the shores of southern California’s largest freshwater lake once named Laguna Grande. To the west are the Elsinore Mountains, part of the Santa Ana Mountain Range. East of the lake lie the eroded slopes of the Temescal Mountains and to the north are the steep Clevelin Hills of Country Club Heights. (from en.m.wikipedia.org)

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We decide to park here for the winter because of its location in Kelly-O’Connell Land. My son, John, and his wife, Amanda, live in Irvine. Amanda’s parents live in Temecula. Lake Elsinore is a midway location, affordable, and on the cusp of potential restraunt employment for Jeff.

We arrive October 31st. John and Amanda join us the next day for John’s birthday after driving Paul to the San Diego airport. (Amanda’s b-day present to John was flying his good friend in for a surprise visit!) Our arrival also marks our 2 month anniversary of full-time RV living. Since August 31st we have crossed the nation from Maine to California!

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