Reflections

image What am I?

I am 4 letters long. I can be seen in the sky. I am the ocean and the sea. ?????

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BLUE!

(riddlesandanswers.com)               


It’s a sunny, cloudless, 65 degree morning after 2 days of sputtering rain and whipping winds. We venture across the Santa Ana Mountains via the Ortega Highway through San Juan Capistrano, driving as far west as possible until we reach Doheny State Beach in Dana Point and…

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arrive at the Pacific Ocean.

It’s quiet at the beach. The bamboo mat is rolled out like a red carpet beckoning us to make our grand entrance.

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We reach the sandy pebble-packed “walk of fame”, emblazoned with the footprints large and small, of those who visited before us.

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Surfers wait patiently to catch some waves to ride.

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And I wait excitedly to capture the waves exploding on the rocks feeling their aftermath bathing my feet and pulling the sand beneath me…

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…rendering me and the shore birds off balance as they retreat into the sea again.

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The sea shore always looks, sounds, and smells different while still tasting salty and feeling the same between the toes. The sand here, however, is not soft on this rocky beach

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and the only shells that wash up are the bits and pieces leftover from the shore birds’ crustacean dinners. Today lobster shells are left behind.

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It’s a smelly beach today too with deposits of red and green seaweed and kelp washed ashore by the waves and wind.

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Within an hour the waves die down and the tide goes out, revealing the rocky surface that was under the water when we first arrived.

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The ocean inspires me to be present and fully alive in each moment. I walk quietly and wait for the waves to embrace me and then let me go. The waves erase my footprints reminding me that I can always start over and admonishing me to not take myself too seriously.

Dressed in sunlight, the water sparkles and the washed up pebbles shine like jewels. I am mesmerized by the brilliance around me and grateful for this gift from the sea.

But the ocean has a dark and angry side as well, which I fear and respect. It’s yin and yang personality tells us a story about nature, life, and earth… lessons we can take to heart.

And finally…

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You Can Always Go… Downtown Part 3

imageAs we head back to the Marina and our RV, 2 more venues deserve our attention on Graham Avenue.

A cash-only dive bar, Wreck, commemorates the November 2014 Grand Prix racing on its colorful outside mural. Inside, local color and hospitality greet customers.

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The Motorsports Park on Cereal Street hosts annual races each November.

image moto-media.net

Jack’s BBQ Shack serves monstrous proportions of beef ribs and sides. Its motto is real wood, real fire, real smoke… real good! And, I might add, real spicy! First time customers are invited to try a sample from the pot. Delicious!

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You Can Always Go… Downtown Part 2

image  By April of 1888 Elsinore became a thriving city. Brick buildings began to line Main Street downtown. A post office delivered mail daily. The soil, water, and climate contributed to successful harvests of fruits and nuts. Coal, clay, and gold mines prospered.

By the 1920s, Lake Elsinore was a favorite playground for the rich and famous. High speed boat racing was popular. The mural below is on the corner of a building at the intersection of Main Street and Graham Avenue.

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The writing on the bottom reads: Scenic Lake Elsinore circa 1924, The Clevlin Pier on Lakeshore Drive. Yacht racing and the “Princess” can be seen in the background. 

Celebrities seeking an escape from the glamour of Hollywood built vacation homes on the hills overlooking Lakeshore Drive. Apparently the house built by actor Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula, still stands today on these hills in the district called Country Club Heights. A famous house that can be seen from Lakeshore Drive is a unique Moorish-style temple called “Aimee’s Castle.”

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In 1928 Aimee Semple McPherson, a famous evangelist based in Los Angeles, built quite a palace which she lived in part-time until 1939. A Canadian-American, Sister Aimee founded the Foursquare Church and became a media sensation known for her radio broadcasts. Rumor has it that Johnny Depp once owned this spacious house.

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en.m.wikipedia.com

 

 


More Lake History…

Ah, the lake! It has survived a pattern of droughts and floods, floods and droughts. After going completely dry in the 1950s, something had to be done. In 1964 the lake was filled artificially with water brought in from the Colorado River. And in 1972 the city was officially named Lake Elsinore. With lake in its title the city had to do something to end the cycle of flooding and drying. So it lobbied the federal government in 1984 and received a loan and grant to implement the Lake Elsinore Management Project which was completed in 1995. By 1997 the Recycled Water Task Force successfully supplements the lake level with recycled water that is safe for full body contact.  The recycled water also irrigates the land in the area. There are plaques along the River Walk that explain this process.

(lake-elsinore.org, en.m.wikipedia.org)

Hudson, Tom. Lake Elsinore Valley, It’s Story, 1776-1977. Lake Elsinore, CA: Published for Lake Elsinore Valley Bicentennial Commission by Laguna House, 1978.


Today Lake Elsinore has a population of 51,821. (suburbanstats.org) Main Street is home to antique stores, thrift shops, restaurants, specialty stores, and city hall.

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City Hall

City Hall

You Can Always Go… Downtown Part 1

imageFrom the Marina turn right onto Riverside Drive, heading east. Turn right at Lakeshore Drive and head south. At the fork in the road bear left and continue on Graham Avenue until it intersects with Main Street.

Lake Elsinore’s downtown dates back to 1888 when the city became incorporated as Elsinore with a population of 1,000.

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But let’s step back in time to discover a little bit about its history and how it became known as Lake Elsinore.


The earliest inhabitants were the Luiseno tribe of Native Americans and they called the area “Entengvo Wumoma” which meant Hot Springs by the Little Sea. Later the Spaniards named the lake Laguna Grande and when the future city became part of a Mexican land grant, the area was known as Rancho La Laguna.

Fast forward now to 1858. Don Agustin Machado acquires the entire 12,832 acres of the Rancho and builds a house on what is now Grand Avenue as part of the Butterfield stage coach route relay station for passengers and mail.

The house is now vacant but it remains in an open field near the intersection of Riverside Drive and Grand Avenue facing west toward the Ortega Highway.

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In 1883 Franklin Heald purchases the Rancho for $24,000. A wife of one of the group of founders names the city Elsinore after the Danish city mentioned in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet.


Heading back downtown, The Crescent Bath House, known as “The Chimes”, opened in 1887. Visitors came seeking the healing power of the hot springs rich in minerals and sulphur. Today this building still stands on the corner of Graham Avenue and Spring Street but is no longer open to the public.

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Diagonally across the street from “The Chimes” is the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Train Depot. The building is now home to the Lake Elsinore Chamber of Commerce.

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The caption on the mural reads: Elsinore Santa Fe Train Station depicted here, circa late 1890s with a few of our founders. From left Donald Graham, Margaret Collier Graham, William Collier, and Capt. Leonard Buckingham Peck. (Yes, I know the order of names is incorrect. So, who is William and who is Leonard?)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

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I know it’s been awhile since my last post. I’ve been knocked down with a bad cold playing havoc with my congested sinuses and ears. I flew to Columbus, OH to visit family and came back with a souvenir of Day Care germs from my grandson, Oliver. It doesn’t take long for the immune system to lose its mojo! So, I will resume where I left off…

It’s 70 degrees outside on January 12th. The sun shines through clear blue skies… a perfect day to take you to my favorite places in Lake Elsinore!

First of all, here is where we live.

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Our site is awesome. We live on the end of the road beside and under pecan trees.

I also have an indoor and outdoor nature collection. The centerpiece on our picnic table is nature made with my glue gun.

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Debi and Dennis from New Mexico are parked behind us. So far we are the minority of non-Californian residents. The Flannigans from Mississippi left the first of the year. New neighbors from Arizona just moved in across the street. The lake is at the end of our street. Jeff takes the dogs for a morning and evening walk along its shores. Sometimes I accompany them.

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Once a week, give or take a few days, we wash our clothes at one of the local lavanderias, Suds-R-Us.

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I enjoy my laundry outing. It takes a little over an hour to wash, dry, and fold all our clothes. Sometimes I get the 2 washing machines going and drive over to Java Hut and order a hot chai tea latte with espresso and no whipped cream. Yum!

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Java (the) Hut is a drive thru or walk up coffee shop. Customers get a card and after 10 orders the 11th drink is on the house. Tuesday is double punch day, so one carry-out equals 2 orders on your card. They even have toasted “everything” bagels served with cream cheese! Now, that makes laundry day absolutely delicious!

Sometimes I vacuum out the car and wipe down the inside while the clothes wash. Then, when the clothes are in the dryer, I return to take the car through the automated wash.

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For 6-8 dollars most of the bird poop is removed! Oh, did I not mention that we live under a pecan tree? And pecan trees mean birds, in our case crows, and birds mean poop all over the car!

The end of our street is lined with pecan trees too.

The end of our street is lined with pecan trees too.

Of course, right now, the trees no longer have leaves.

Our noisy neighbors, the crows

Our noisy neighbors, the crows

But for all of us who buy shelled pecans in the grocery store, this is the real nut, unshelled from the tree…

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Everyday local folks bring sacks to scavenge for pecans along Riverside Drive, just across the fence from us.

Speaking of grocery stores, Albertson’s is where we shop. The prices are higher than in Cincinnati, unfortunately. The nearest Krogers affiliated store is in Murietta, about a 35 minute drive away.

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Liquor stores are also prevalent out West. My fav wine-run store has no name. But since this store has been broken into twice now, I am a loyal wine customer of this Russian lady’s business. (We don’t know if her accent is Russian or not, but we like her!)

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Another icon business here is Vista Donuts.

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They’ve been around for over 20 years. The store opens at 3 AM everyday and the homemade donuts are delicious! They also prepare a hearty ham and cheese croissant which I have yet to try. Another “must try” is their Milk Green Tea Boba.

My favorite local walk starts outside of our RV along Riverside Drive and up Lincoln Street past Machado Street and Grand Avenue. I take this route till it dead ends and then I turn around and walk back. Lincoln Street is all uphill north of Machado and provides a good walking workout!

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A hidden treasure of a walking workout with incredible views of Lake Elsinore is the steps connecting Lincoln Street to McVicker Canyon Park Road. This up and down calf and hamstring screaming hike runs parallel to Sunswept Drive.

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So… this is where we are hunkering down for the winter months! When Spring rounds the corner we plan to head East to visit family and friends.

First RV Christmas

imageThe fire is lit. The stockings are hung. The tree shines brightly in RV Land.

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Visions of Jernigan Land and Ollie Land make us smile.

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It started snowing in Jernigan Land

It started snowing in Jernigan Land

Oliver started his Star Wars collection

Oliver started his Star Wars collection

Meanwhile, in Andy Land…

Dewey didn't make the reindeer cut

Dewey didn’t make the reindeer cut

Dewey will guide Andy’s sleigh from Minneapolis to Columbus and Cincinnati to celebrate the last days of 2015.  And… Jeff and I will share Christmas dinner in Kelly-O’Connell Land in Temecula.

To You and Yours…

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Walking It Off

imageNo, I don’t mean the pounds but that would be nice. What I’m referring to is the opportunity here to bask in the sunshine of a cloudless blue sky and just take off walking. Walking clears away the cobwebs in my head that keep me stuck from enjoying the now. Back in Cincinnati I walked 5 miles at Veterans’ Park by circling the track 10 times. In Lake Elsinore I set my phone for 45 minutes and after the alarm sounds I turn around and head back home.

One of my favorite walks is the Riverwalk along the spillway of the Temescal Wash. It is 2.75 miles one way starting from the end of the lake’s downtown shoreline to its dead- end on Riverside Drive near the intersection with Collier Avenue. What goes out must come back, so it’s a nice 5.5 mile walk along the overflow channel where the water is recycled for irrigating land. Today I invite you to come along with me on one of my morning walks, so, let’s get moving!

I begin at the boat launch parking lot at the end of Lakeshore Drive. You can hear water rushing as it ripples and flows here into the lake.

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After crossing the street it gets even prettier. There are benches and trees and lamp posts that light up the night.

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City banners celebrating 125 years of the community proudly display the city’s motto, Dream Extreme.

To the right is the spillway covered with rushes resting in water.

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Egrets skim the water’s surface and usually fly off before I can grab my phone to take a picture. Today I am lucky!

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Soon I-15 appears in the distance. The first picture gives you the full perspective from my iPhone. The second zooms in for a more accurate view.

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Whiffs of strong funky smells start to invade my nostrils. (Sometimes I smell this at our RV site too. At first I thought it was the sewer hose connection, but we don’t connect until we dump. Sometimes I am greeted by this same aroma on my other walks on city streets.) It’s the monster gas released by the swamp nutrients! Ah, stop and smell the foul odor!

Here’s the pink barrel, my half-wayish marker toward the first 2.75 miles. That was easy now, wasn’t it?

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The first time I walked here, a giant weed wacker machine blocked the paved trail hacking off the reeds in the spillway. I waved to the public works’ operator and he waved back. Since then, we wave like old friends every time our paths cross!

I cross the last road onto the final segment of the 2.75 Riverwalk. First, there is a warning sign advising walkers to be aware of wildlife spotted in the area. So far, so good!

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The following spot is the place where I usually encounter twosomes and threesomes walking toward me. Since they are wearing lanyards with ID badges, I surmise that they work in the building next door to the path, are walking on their break, and are now heading back to work. I wonder how far out they go. Sometimes I see a couple walking ahead of me only to turn back before I catch up.

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Today the giant weed whacker machine appears near the end of the Riverwalk. He pauses his equipment, we exchange waves and I trot by.

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Finally, I reach the end of the trail at Riverside Drive… A chain link fence and a dead-end. Cars speed by and ducks waddle in the mucky green waters of the Temescal Wash.

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And now it’s time to turn around!

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On the way back I notice and feel things I missed before. There are so many different shades of blue and green and brown. The sunshine catches the colors of the freeway cars and trucks and makes them sparkle. The shadows provide relief and a soft contrast. The mountains encircle me providing protection and inspiration. Stand tall. Be strong. Be awesome for just being.

A great blue heron that was hiding in the rushes, lifts its wings and lands on the dug-out slope.

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Male mallards always seem to be paired with a female. Even the smell from the organic nutrients becomes less offensive.

The sun lends its warmth and brilliance and I feel rejuvenated. Believe it or not, for those of you who know how much I sweat, the dry heat just makes my eyes and the back of my neck perspire. I don’t look like I just fell into a swimming pool!

Once again the pink barrel reminds me that I am only 20 – 25 minutes away from the beginning of the trail. Going back always seems faster.

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I notice how many “No Swimming” and “No Fishing” signs are posted, some even in Spanish, and I wonder who would even consider doing either of these in these brackish shallow waters.

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However, to my surprise, one day I saw a man fishing and another man playing with his young daughter near the edge of the water on the steep slope! This picture shows where.

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Soon the gentrified part of the walk returns with its benches, lamp posts, and planted trees. The tarred gravel path is replaced with symmetrical blocks of concrete.

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And here I am  once again, approaching the boat launch parking lot where I parked my car.

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The cobwebs in my head have been swept away.  I feel refreshed, renewed, and grateful for each moment. And I hope you do too!

Lake Elsinore… The Lake and Town

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image google maps

image lake-elsinore.org

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More About Lake Elsinore

The earliest inhabitants of the Elsinore Valley were the Luiseno peoples, also known as the Payomkawichum or the “People of the West.” Among their survival skills, they figured out a way to extract the toxins from the nut of the California Buckeye bush to stun and capture fish to eat. They also ate acorns turning them into soups, cakes and breads.

In 1797 a Franciscan priest from the mission at San Juan Capistrano ventured eastward through the mountains and saw what is now Lake Elsinore but what looked like a very large swamp. By the early 19th century the lake levels grew providing Mexican farmers and American trappers a place to camp and provide water for their animals. During the gold rush Lake Elsinore was a major route linking the eastern United States to California via the Santa Fe Trail through New Mexico. Later it became an important stagecoach and mail route.

Much of the city’s history revolves around the water levels of the lake. The Great Flood of 1862 allowed the Union Army to create a post here during the Civil War to graze and water its horses. By 1866 the extreme drought killed off most of the cattle in southern California. By 1872 the lake was full again only to evaporate quickly. The great rains of the winter of 1883-1884 caused the lake to overflow in just 3 weeks. Until 1893 the lake’s water level remained high and the Temescal Water Company purchased lake water to irrigate the city of Corona, California. Unfortunately the lake levels receded and the high concentration of evaporated salt made the water unfit for irrigation. Heavier precipitation in 1903 and a flood in January of 1916 caused Lake Elsinore to overflow. In the 1920s the lake offered high speed boat racing and hosted Olympic training, but by the mid 1930s the lake was dry again. By 1938 the lake refilled and during World War II it was used to test sea planes. During the 1950s the lake ran dry but refilled again in the 1960s. A week of heavy rains in the 1980s destroyed surrounding homes and businesses. Now a multi-million dollar project maintains consistent lake levels and an aeration system supports the lake’s eco-system.

Mineral springs near Lake Elsinore attracted visitors seeking the waters’ therapeutic magic. In 1887 the Crescent Bath House was built as a resort spa. The building still stands today as a registered national historic site. It is now known as The Chimes. (from en.m.wikipedia.org)

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Our Big Backyard

Less than 2 miles away the Ortega Highway winds itself through the mountains, dividing Riverside and Orange Counties, from Lake Elsinore to San Juan Capistrano and finally to the Pacific Ocean.

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The Cleveland National Forest intersects the Ortega Highway offering moderate to strenuous day hiking opportunities.

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Getting Our “Bearings”

image statesymbolsusa.org

image lake-elsinore.org

Call us snowbirds, call us crazy, but here we are at our new address for the winter: 32700 Riverside Drive Site 150, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530

Welcome to our community!

Welcome to our community!

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Let me take you for a little tour of the campground

Can you find our RV? Hint: We're on the end.

Can you find our RV?
Hint: We’re on the end.

All roads lead to the lake!

All roads lead to the lake!

The top of our street.

The top of our street.

Jeff and Laurel Jernigan Site 150

Jeff and Laurel Jernigan
Site 150

Why we have no next door neighbors

Why we have no next door neighbors

A big old pecan tree takes up too much space.

A big old pecan tree takes up too much space.

The end of our street is lined with pecan trees too.

The end of our street is lined with pecan trees too.

Our noisy neighbors, the crows

Our noisy neighbors, the crows