|Entering Palm Canyon in Borrego Springs State Park|
|Finally...and better late than never!|
|Crossing over running water in the desert|
|I didn't know he existed 15 years ago...|
|The trail that led me to Tucson|
|Flamingos at the San Diego Zoo|
|The lath house in Balboa Park|
|Cafe 222's famous peanut butter &|
banana french toast
|The view from our San Elijo State Beach campsite|
|I like our tent...|
|...but am lusting for this!|
We had a short driving day leaving San Diego, heading only about 20 miles north to San Elijo State Beach near Encinitas, to our campsite on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Seagulls and patrols of pelicans, salt air, surfers, long walks on broad sand beaches, and some of the best fish tacos of our trip from the taco shack in the park, eaten outdoors overlooking the blue Pacific from our wonderful perch. We spent two wonderful nights sleeping to the sound of the surf, being woken up -- pleasantly -- once in a while by the train going by a quarter mile away on the coastal route. We fit in a trip to the San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Gardens) and loved wandering through the eclectic mix of vegetation, proving that coastal San Diego is one of the best growing areas in the world.
|Shades of home in the San Diego Botanic Garden|
|Chard and red romaine|
in the herb gardens
Our next stop was Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, which meant, unfortunately, braving the LA traffic, unpleasant even in off-peak times. But it was worth it, just, to visit that amazing place. My favorite spots were the Herb Garden and the Desert Garden (go figure). For my husband, Bob, an avid desert gardener and volunteer with the botany department at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum here in Tucson (where I am a docent), it was a pilgrimage. Watching the other guests, we found their faces had the greatest sense of wonder in the Desert Garden -- "It's like something out of Alice in Wonderland!" -- and we were not surprised...just pleased. We spent that night at the home of long time friends of Bob's in the hills of LA.
|Bob next to the world's biggest Joshua Tree|
|Carmel River Inn|
|On the mission grounds in Carmel|
|One of our favorite exhibits...the jellies|
at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
|My daughter Summer|
|Husband Bob and son-in-law Chris|
The next two days were spent cramming in as much together time as my daughter and I could manage. Our trip, planned long in advance and dictated a bit by when our friend could visit from the Cleveland area and dog-sit for us, wasn't perfect timing for them. My son-in-law who is working AND going to grad school was cramming for finals and they had just MOVED the weekend before from a nice but tiny apartment in San Carlos to an adorable two bedroom duplex in Mountain View. My daughter and I explored their new town, took in a movie, shopped for food and prepared meals while one guy studied and the other enjoyed a traveling break for some March Madness hoops watching and a solo (except for Dusty, the dog) sic-fi DVD extravaganza. The three days went much too fast, and after an Asian food feast in downtown Mountain View (Asian food lovers -- move there!), we had to say our goodbyes. I WILL be visiting again, and for a bit longer, this summer.
|Home sweet home|
The final day, happy to be back in the desert on open highways and looking forward to getting home, we celebrated crossing the Colorado River and returning to our own state, Arizona. Tucson welcomed us with its lush vegetation, bolstered by a recent rain. I slept well in my own bed, french doors open to the Sonoran night, the quiet punctuated by coyote calls, and woke to my favorite place on the planet. It was a great trip, but it was great to get home.
|Home again and not bad for the first view of the day!|