From Deserts to Beaches (October 12th - October 27th, 2019)
Welcome back! I left off the last blog post shortly after our arrival in Ft. Irwin, California. We arrived from Moapa, NV and immediately went to the gas station, Ted went with Azlan to get groceries after the Glamper was hooked up (remember the Full Hook Up...I love my water, sewer, power!), and I cleaned and wrote the last blog post. While Ted was at the grocery store, he ran into one of our friends and coordinated a morning hike for the next day. Our first night was quiet....with the exception of all the guns going off through the night. Ahhhhhh, the good old sound of an Army Base!
The morning of October 13th (Happy Birthday Vovo!!!) we hiked Mount Blackie for the first time. It’s a moderate and rocky trek up 377 feet yielding views to multiple mountain ranges around the area. Considering we were on a hiking high from the previous weeks, it wasn’t too bad but took longer than we anticipated. We had to rush to get ready for our party…and then the poop hit the fan - Azlan decided he would not wear a button shirt and was ready and very able to scream bloody murder right before our guests arrived. I sent him to time out 3 times while he wailed at the top of his lungs, sitting (or shall I say sprawling and crawling) while facing the corner. We had never seen him throw such a fit before. I was mortified when our friends arrived, I was not ready and my kid was flipping out. My patience slipped away like the blue diamond slipped into the sea from Rose’s hand after the Titanic…poof – gone. Azlan stood no chance at this point because I’m pretty sure I looked like the exorcist to him. I jammed the button shirt on him half way around his head, gave him a loud, harsh, 'Unacceptable Behavior' speech and slammed the door shut behind me to welcome our guests and get a party started. Despite the Button Shirt Meltdown, he came out eventually (wearing the button shirt) and we ended up having a ton of fun at the party. Ft. Irwin is in the middle of the desert. The closest ‘large’ town is Barstow, aka ‘Meth Capital of California’. The base seems self-sufficient with most of what you need all contained within. I was super impressed and delighted to see our friends making the best of living out there. We drank, told stories and jokes, ate and laughed profusely. The Button Shirt Meltdown left me so dazed that I bit into my cheeseburger and realized I had everything but the meat and cheese in there. So, we laughed some more - luckily I didn't pee in my pants...this time anyway. When all had gone for the night, one more friend showed up with baggie daiquiris in a bag and Ted went into the wee hours…partying like he was in his 20’s (or like when we lived in Korea and would just barely make curfew at 1am).
As you can imagine, he paid for it dearly the next morning – he’s not in his 20’s anymore and we don't have a next-morning babysitter so we can sleep in. Azlan and I spent the morning making Halloween decorations while Ted stayed in bed… until well after noon. I cleaned up the party remnants and played some Racquet Ball with a friend to sweat off my previous day’s excesses. Super proud I ended up working out when I intended to stay in recovery mode all day. Dinner was a quiet meal of chicken and pasta followed by an early night in (and some more machine gun music). On Tuesday we took the Glamper into Barstow for a general checkup and an oil change…baby’s got 17,000 miles under her belt! While we waited, we went to Home Depot to pick out all our bathroom accessories for our future home remodel, played in a park, ate at Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner, visited the Desert Discovery Center and swung by Walmart for some more TP. When we rolled back into Irwin we basically went straight to a friend’s house for dinner. She had a beautiful table set and we savored the Tortellini Alfredo with bacon, chicken, salad, and asparagus with gusto! YUM! The Oreo cake for dessert paled in comparison (although the kids might disagree). We had a lovely time and hope they will forgive us for the broken glasses...so sorry!
October 16th started off with a bike ride…followed by a flat tire…followed by some jogging and bike- walking back. That afternoon my friend introduced me to ABC's How to Get Away with Murder on Netflix. Thanks to this friend, I was also able to get my hair colored before going to another friend’s house for dinner. We managed to stay pretty busy! Taco Tuesday was delicious, as was the Sopapia desert! We watched the kids play hide and seek (which was super cute) before calling it a night.
Cross Fit jump-started my Thursday morning. My friend is a regular and being that I’m trying to stay active, I challenged myself to join her. It was exactly what I needed to kick my butt into gear after the Racquet Ball…even though I might have cussed her name a few days later! After class we indulged in some Starbucks and conversation before saying our ‘see -you-laters’. Azlan got a hair cut next and I practiced my minimal Korean with his barber. Following we had lunch with one of Ted’s friends and his beautiful family. His wife is from Germany and I got to practice the little German I learned while we lived there. It was turning into quite the international day and I love languages so I was pretty happy to practice what I knew! Azlan and Ted took a brief nap and then we went to the Middle School Concert to see our friend’s daughter perform in the choir. She did great and Azlan was just in awe. I believe he has a crush! Dinner was at our friend’s house, white chicken chili, skirt steak, corn, tortillas, rice – amazeballs. We partook in a few games of Spades…needless to say I was out of practice. It was also my turn to drink too much apparently. I even ended up smoking cigarettes, which Ted hates (rightfully so). We got into a fight about it, as we usually do when I end up caving to my old addiction. I have no intention of picking up smoking again. As a matter of fact, it smells so bad that it makes me nauseous when I get whiffs of it sometimes. Yet, somehow, when I drink or am extremely stressed and lost within my thoughts, I crave a smoke. Rarely do I satisfy that craving, but when I do, I reek havoc on my marriage. I should know better by now. Friday rolls around and I go to the gym with my friend. I worked out her way…ouch! I was already sore from Cross Fit…now I’m definitely going to be walking like a duck when we get to Disneyland! I kept up for most of the work out, and I had fun doing it! I’m going to miss this lady!!! Laundry, cleaning, napping and grocery shopping all happened in sequece followed by dinner with Ted’s old 1SG. It was really great to catch up with him!
Saturday morning we zoomed up Mount Blackie in 21 minutes with my super fit friend and her kiddos. Man I felt powerful! At the top, we stopped long enough for a sketch of Mt. Tiefort and some fun photos. We polished off the white chicken chili for lunch and then took a nap before going to dinner at another friend’s house. This friend I knew from back in my college days at UF. We also lived in Hawaii at the same time for a few years. Now we are all grown up, both married with kids. It was so good to catch up with him, practice some Spanish and meet his wonderful family…even if he is from Argentina (j/k)! I can’t even joke because we ended up breaking a glass at his house too!!! The next morning, we had an early 8:45am roll out towards Los Angeles. I ended up getting nauseous on the road (what else is new?) and slept a good portion of the drive. When I woke up, we were at the Anaheim RV Park and the Glamper was all hooked up! #poundwinning I was awake just enough to eat lunch and then take another nap…I know, how awesome is that?!?!? I woke up feeling refreshed and was able to convince Azlan and Ted to walk a half mile to Walmart with me so we could buy some pumpkins. I carried 30lbs of pumpkin back to the Glamper and am proud for it! That evening we carved out designs on the pumpkins, ate dinner alla candlelight, played family Parcheesi and watched a spectacular display of fireworks! Certainly a phenomenal way to prelude a day at Disneyland. Monday, October 21st, we ventured off to ride 2 buses, an early 1900’s car-trolley used by Walt Disney himself, a Merry-Go-Round, Dumbo, 2 roller coasters, a boat, a submarine, 3 trains, and an old track car. Between the transportation variation, we watched Mickey’s Magical Map which delighted the three of us and inspired me to get dancing again! Oh Boy (in Mickey’s voice)! By the end of the day we were wiped out. Ted and I stayed up thinking we would get fireworks again but to no avail. We’ve been watching a lot of the How to Get Away with Murder after we put Azlan to bed. We probably shouldn’t be staying up so late since no matter what, our 5 year old will make sure we are awake every morning. October 22nd was our exploring day. Initially I had intended to stay home and write the blog to re-cap the last 10 days. But I sure do hate to miss out on an adventure, so we decided to postpone the blog writing until the 27th while we would be Boondocking and doing Laundry in Yuma, AZ. We drive across the city and visited L.A.’s Venice first. We had seen an issue of the Hemisphere magazine on our United flight from Miami to Salt Lake that features Los Angeles. I took the copy of the magazine and we found the location shown on the cover. We took a selfie and tagged them so if you find yourself on a United flight, check out the magazine and see if you can find us in the first few pages. Santa Monica Pier was our second stop. A really expensive Ferris Wheel, Roller Coaster Ride and about 100 pictures later, we ate lunch at Bruno's Italian Restaurant before braving traffic back to the Glamper. We had taken the doors off the Jeep not expecting me to sit frying in the sun with barely any wind for 2 hours. I should have worn my bikini and some baby oil haha! When we got back I cleaned the Glamper and we hosted two of Ted’s buddies from the 173rd for dinner. That closed out our time in Los Angeles, CA.
On October 23rd we headed a short drive away to Lake Elsinore. The drive was only an hour so I drove the Jeep behind the Glamper. We Boondocked at Lowe’s and ate Maui BBQ for lunch with our friend and her 2 beautiful children. Unfortunately we missed her hubby, who was a Drill with Ted, but we will see them again for sure. The afternoon was spent at a park and we closed out the night with cocktails, leftover Hawaiian BBQ and loads of laughs! It seems I poured a bit heavy because the next morning when I went with her to a body works class at the gym, I was feeling very crappy. In fact, after we hugged and parted ways, I proceeded to upchuck all 40oz of water I had just drank. This lesson is one I learned back in October of last year when we rolled through Pennsylvania and I spent a day hung over and vomiting in the Glamper – hours on end – it was horrible. Well, shame on me because I just revisited that lesson! The curvy drive through Cleveland National Forest was not a fun one for me! Luckily it wasn’t too long and we arrived at the Fiddler’s Cove Marina and RV Campground on Coronado safe and sound. After a much needed nap, we spent the evening making a plan for our days in San Diego while admiring the sparkling bay as dusk swept in. Azlan conceded to removing his training wheels but we didn’t get very far. He tends to quit things when they get just a little difficult. It’s frustrating to watch him give up so easily. We tell him every time that things will be difficult but that we can’t just give up. We have to keep trying until we get it right. It’s ok to fall, cry, bleed, sweat, get mad, but it’s not ok to quit. If you have any ideas, suggestions, recommendations on how to teach a 5 year old some determination, please share it with us!
In the end, we decided that our Friday would be spent riding the Old Town Trolley Tours' Hop On Hop Off option and a ride on the Amphibious Seal Tour before having dinner with my friend from college. Our first stop on the trolley was Balboa Park. Holy Cow this park is huge! It boasts over 140,000 acres dedicated to a variety of different educational and informational functions. After a quick game of tag, we go into a little café for a snack and to use the facilities. The place didn’t even have coffee but we ate a killer quesadilla while Azlan had a PB&J which turned out to be on stale bread (not that he knew the difference – he didn’t even complain). Next we stop in a world travel gift shop and then check out the San Diego Air and Space Museum. For the price we paid, it’s well worth it. It has great interactive displays that are easy to understand. Only wish we had more time! The next stop was Old Town where we ate lunch at Café Coyote. It was ok, but I bet there are some pretty good mom and pop hole-in-the-walls if you have time to look. We made it on time for the cool amphibious tour – this was Ted’s favorite part. We drove the coast and into the water for a closer look at Loma Point and the Sea Lions. Azlan sketched, I ended up taking a quick snooze since the boat was rocking so nice and we enjoyed the breeze and sunshine before heading back on the trolley. By that point we had to get back to the Glamper for showers as we had dinner plans. We had a lovely evening at my friend’s house, Azlan did great with her two fur babies. The next morning we headed to the world famous San Diego Zoo. Previously we had visited the Omaha Zoo, which we understood competed with the San Diego Zoo for first in the country. After having visited both, Ted and I are in agreement, hands down, the San Diego Zoo is the most spectacular Zoo we have ever been to! There was no way we were going to get through the whole zoo in one day so we looked at some birds, monkeys, donkeys, tapirs, giraffes, elephants, and finally – the elusive Tiger. Ted has been looking for a Tiger since Hawaii, and now he finally got to see one – munching on a big hunk of meat no less! My friend joined us for a few hours and we got to catch up on some girl talk. The girls parted ways to run some errands while Azlan and Ted ran home for a nap. We zoomed through San Diego in style and when we got back to the Glamper, we all went on a mission to watch the Sunset on the beach. We were told there was an underpass to cross the highway but about 1.5 miles later, we ended up just walking across at a break point in the median. It was totally worth it to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, Coast to Coast Baby!!! Eventually we made it back to the Glamper, ate dinner, did dishes and said “until next time”. As we rolled out of one of the best RV sites and best cities we have stayed in over the last 14 months, we agree that we did not spend enough time in San Diego. It’s a beautiful city with so much to offer and despite how we feel about some of the CA laws, we find ourselves adding it to our list of potential future homes. The last 2 weeks have been overall fantastic. Yes, of course there were shitty moments, but having the opportunity to spend so much time with old friends, reconnect with people, and witness the different landscapes our magnificent country has to offer make all the little hardships totally worth it. As always, we strive to not sweat the small stuff (and sometimes we succeed)! We do, however sweat the big stuff like family and the value of a life. On October 23rd, Ted's mom, Mema, passed away. She had been sick for a long time and despite our sadness, we are thankful that she suffers no more. Mema's memory will go on through our future generations and we pray that she rests in peace.
Daisa, Ted and Azlan