Update from the Road: the scenic route

By September 28, 2017 Adventure/Travel
San Onofre State Beach surfers

Yesterday we finished up our biggest project to date (a 350,000 sq. ft. shopping center) and decided to take the afternoon off and go exploring via the scenic route (to get off the concrete for awhile).

Bob the Chevy Tracker (our Toad)We jumped into Bob, our fancy yellow ZR2 Chevy Tracker, with the Southern California coast as our goal. There was a winding mountain road we spotted on the road atlas that would take us to a state park with a beach. We were IN.

Nelson plugged the name of the state park into his phone’s GPS. He selected the route through the winding mountain road and pressed GO.

As we merged onto the freeway, our GPS piped up, “We’ve found a faster route that will save you 21 minutes of driving.”

Nelson pressed NO on the GPS. “We want the scenic route,” he explained to the nice British lady who lives in the phone.

Two minutes later, she pipes up again, “”We’ve found a faster route that will save you 19 minutes of driving.”

Again, Nelson pressed NO on the GPS. “I want the scenic route,” he patiently explains.

This went on for the next 15 minutes until we turned onto the scenic winding mountain road. The darn thing finally believed us and shut up.

We kind of laughed at the irony. We wanted to slow down go the scenic route. Our GPS was SURE  – SURE – we would want to save time driving and thus kept INSISTING her route was better.

Lake ElsinoreBut, we would have missed seeing the view of the town from way, way up. We’d have missed seeing a few awesome remote camping spots in the San Juan Canyon area, and we would have missed driving through the completely uninhabited mountain pass. We saw two red-tailed hawks and nothing else except scrub brush, rocks, and mountains. It was BLISS to be back in nature for awhile.

After all, what are men compared to rocks and mountains?

San Onofre State Beach surfers

Coming through the pass, we entered the rather busy town of Rancho Mission Viejo, switched freeways to head south, and HOORAY – there was the ocean, a calm and dazzling blue expanse in the distance.

San Onofre State BeachTurning onto El Camino Real, we entered San Onofre State Beach and paid our $15. Spend at least an hour sitting in the sand, watching surfers catch the small waves, stand up paddle boarders attempting to do the same, and even one dude on a hydrofoil-type board working really hard to go fast (it looked kind of ridiculous to us). Dogs were ecstatically leaping into the ocean after tennis balls, barking at their owners after retrieving the balls from the surf. “Throw it again,” they demanded. One old yellow lab looked like our dog Marley who passed earlier this year. It kind of squeezed Nelson’s heart to see her.

And then there were the vans – a whole slew of them! From Ford Econolines, to luxury Mercedes Sprinters, to duded-up Ram Promasters like we used to have. Our favorite van was the turquoise VW. It had been immaculately restored and I wished we’d snapped a photo of it.

[A side note: we drove along the fence that separates the State Beach from the RV park at Camp Pendleton Marine Base. The base’s campground is AWESOME. It has two-tiered parking for trailers and RVs. Both levels have killer views of the Pacific Ocean. Semper Fi!]

ocean waves washing over the rocksPart of the beauty of sitting at the beach, too, was just watching the waves and listening to the sound of the waves tumble over the rocks. This particular beach was quite rocky and as the water washed over the rocks, it created the most beautiful sound as it was retreating and pulling the rocks back down over other rocks. It magical and meditative.

Leaving the beach, we drove south a bit. I spotted something in the sky and asked, “Is that a big drone? What is that?”  Turns out, it was an Osprey…not the bird, but the military plane. We watched a Bell Boeing V-22 land on a pad right near the ocean.

All in all, a pretty cool ending to an afternoon of scenic exploration away from the parking lot!Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

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