Bill and Kit’s 2015 Excellent Adventure, Journal # 7

Bill and Kit's Woody and Airstream-201550th Logo 

Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.

Wendell Berry

 

Monday, January 5 through Thursday, January 22, 2015-Santee, California- Part Two:  Well, still in Santee and spending a considerable amount of time getting the new camper outfitted to our liking.

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Kit and I made many trips to Lowes, Home Depot and Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Which got my mind to wandering…..beyond what?  What could possibly be beyond bed and bath?  Maybe stuff for the garage…..Bed, Bath and Garage!  Yea, that’s the ticket!!  Anyway, all these trips resulted in lots of camper improvement jobs for poor old Bill.

In addition to upgrading the towel racks in the bathroom to residential quality, we added a couple of towel rings as well.  We then installed shoe caddies in the bedroom, hung some magnetic boards for displaying family photos, installed various shelving in the various closets, cabinets and the kitchen pantry.  Then purchased a tiny Dyson cordless vacuum to handle all the carpet we now have and various other items to personalize the camper to our liking…..and like it we do!

This year’s stop in the San Diego area is turning out to be one of reconnecting.  In addition to the great time we had with JoAnne and Ron; we were able to join most of Kit’s remaining family at brother Sam David’s place in Rancho Bernardo for a backyard barbeque.

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Sam David is a brother, not a “Brother”…..although his barbequing prowess is certainly a religious experience!  Kit, John, Char and Sam David haven’t visited in years.  As with many families, location, life and interests have gotten in the way of their staying in touch.  So this was indeed a grand and joyous reunion!  Do I hear a halleluiah?  The only one still missing is Kit’s brother Tom, he’s not a “Brother” either…..hopefully at some point he will return to the family fold as well.

Kit’s family was able to get together a few times during our stay…..one of the premier occasions was the fifteenth birthday party for Kit’s delightful niece, Chelsea.

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Sam David and Anne’s daughter is a special-needs teen.  Beautiful and full of life, Chelsea is a very happy and content young lady.  Kit and Char adore their niece and spent a considerable amount of time fussing over her.

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Sam David and Anne have done a wonderful job with Chelsea’s development and keeping her grounded…..what a great family!

At the party, Kit and I also enjoyed visiting with folks from Anne’s large family…..especially her father and stepmother.  We also enjoyed reconnecting with Sam David’s 25 year old son Matthew.

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A great kid and talented musician, Matthew’s day job is in real estate…..if you’re looking for property in San Diego he’s your guy!

Sam David and Anne have a beautiful backyard where they enjoy entertaining family and friends.

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The relatively small space has been transformed into a lush and inviting outdoor room.  It features a number of terraced decks for private dining, a nice custom swimming pool with a waterfall and a custom built Jacuzzi.  Next to the main dining terrace is a beautiful Koi pond.

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The soothing sounds of burbling water coupled with the rustling of the palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze made for a very comfortable and relaxing environment.

The backyard also features a fully equipped outdoor kitchen where Sam David held court.

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The consummate host, he barbequed the food to perfection and kept the cold beer and drinks coming.

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And let’s not leave out Katie, the newest member of the household…..seen below being held by Anne.

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A great time was had by all, and Kit was delighted to spend time with her West coast family.

Before we had to move on to our next stop, Kit and I hosted a small gathering at Santee Lakes for JoAnne to reconnect with Kit’s sister Char.

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Using my Weber grill, I was able to turn some raw meat into edible food while Kit made some very tasty side dishes.  It was a nice day with nice folks and everyone appeared to enjoy themselves.

 

Friday, January 23, 2015:  Our stay has come to an end at Santee Lakes Regional Park and Campground.  Kit and I are glad we learned of this campground and will list it as one of our favorite campgrounds in San Diego County!  However, since we were able to secure a spot at the Navy’s Admiral Baker Field in Mission Valley, we decided to relocate.

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We have stayed here many times in the past and even though it lacks many of the amenities of Santee Lakes, the site fee is about half the price…..an important factor to a pensioner!  Besides, if one is a golfer, or a kite flyer, there are vast fields to enjoy your sport.

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Golfers don’t see the need for me to fly high performance kites over their heads and I don’t understand their sport either.  So, for now, it’s a draw…..unless someone invents kite-golfing!

 

Saturday, January 24 through Sunday, February 1, 2015-San Diego, California:  While here we attended to some business for my mother’s scheduled Military Honors ceremony at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.  First order of business was a visit to the regional VA facility to acquire an American Flag.

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Regardless of all the negative press the VA has been getting, this particular office was modern, clean, and accommodating.  The staff we dealt with was very professional and seemed to enjoy helping the veteran with whatever they needed.

The next stop was to visit mom at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on Point Loma.

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Mom is interned in the Columbarium Wall with a nice view of San Diego Bay and North Island Naval Air Station…..she would be so pleased.

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After paying our respects Kit and I visited the administration building to coordinate the ceremony scheduled for next month.  We then stopped by Liberty Station and arranged the reception for family and guests who may attend the ceremony.  Liberty Station is a commercial, residential and recreational facility built from the remains of the former San Diego Naval Training Center where many of us received Recruit Training.  Below is a photo I grabbed off their website that captures the essence of the place.

Liberty Station

If you served in the Navy and rotated though San Diego, then you likely attended classes onboard the USS Recruit.  This historic landlocked symbol of the naval Training Center was built in 1949 as a training g ship and is currently being preserved and developed into a naval museum.  Liberty Station is without a doubt, one of the best repurposing of abandoned military property we have ever seen!

While at Admiral Baker Field, we arranged to meet JoAnne, Ron and Sherry at their favorite Mexican food place, La Palapa over in Lakeside.

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As we have come to expect, the Mexican cuisine in the American Southwest is second only to what one finds in Mexico itself…..in other words, this place had great food and plentiful portions!

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Two other places that JoAnne and Ron introduced us to were Marechiaro’s Italian and one of the best barbeque places around…..Phil’s BBQ.

Phill's BBQ

Yep, we did eat out a lot but thoroughly enjoyed being guided to the best food places in Santee by great folks that know the area and great food!

Many people think of San Diego as dead flat since it is along the Pacific coastline.  However like many coastal areas, including Maine, this area is anything but flat.

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The hills and canyons provide a variety of terrain and help break up the various population centers.  However even with these impediments the hillsides get developed.

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It’s amazing how the local homebuilders eke out a tiny lot on a hillside and build a huge home.

While we were basking in the sunshine and 70 degree weather of San Diego, a huge Nor’easter was bearing down on our hometown.  Superstorm Juno hit Maine with a vengeance.  Days later, our Maine family and friends were still dealing with the massive snowfall.

Superstorm Juno #1

The photo above is a screenshot off the internet and shows the piles of snow remaining on Maine Street.  Yep, that’s how our hometown’s main street is spelled…..clever, huh?

And our sticks and bricks home was buried as well.

Maine Winter-2015, Photo #1

Oh, for you folks that live in the Sunbelt, that orange contraption seen on the left is a snow-blower…..powerful enough to fling snow clear to Florida!  Grandson Joe has been busy keeping the driveway clear for his mom and Abby.

With the winds, the snow drifts were even bigger in our backyard!

Maine Winter-2015, Photo #3

Also our son Joe had the presence of mind to snowshoe into the family camp and snap a few photos before clearing snow off the roof.

Maine Winter-2015, Photo #5

The camp now sits in front of Maine’s second largest skating pond!

Maine Winter-2015, Photo #4

Thanks guys, for taking care of things while we goof off in the sunshine of Southern California!

Kit and Char spent a few days together enjoying sights they wanted to see…..one of these was the Bernardo Winery, a stones through from Char’s home.

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They both reported having a grand time…..at least what they could remember of it!

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Having a free day, I took the opportunity to visit Safari Park in the San Pasqual Valley which is just a few miles to the north.  I had not explored this park since 1972; shortly after it had opened…..back then it was known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

SD Zoo Safari Park Map

The park is an adjunct of the world famous San Diego Zoo and specializes in the rehabilitation and breeding of the worlds endangered species.  In addition to the attraction itself, the park features the largest veterinary hospital in the world.  Safari Park is made up of a number of environmental regions, each landscaped to resemble the natural habitat of the animals that inhabit them.

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Each region is interconnected by a nice walking path bordered by native plants and trees.

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This place is huge!  There are 1,800 acres and lots of additional land surrounding the park which is held in a perpetual conservation easement.

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Another feature of the Safari Park is the ability for guests to remain on the grounds after the park is closed for the day and enjoy special behind the scenes tours and nature walks.  Those folks then are allowed to remain overnight in one of the cabins on the grounds.

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Much of the park is actually a “reverse zoo”, as the animals are relatively free to roam within their native habitats and the public is kept inside barriers.

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One anthropological fact that I learned is that the bizarre looking biped pictured below is known as an Americas Homo Sapiens.

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I believe that to be incorrect.  I have it on good authority that he prefers women…..in fact, even though he is allowed to remain among his free ranging species, the male Americas Homo Sapiens is strongly influenced by the enchanting female of the species.

The zoo staff periodically will bring one of their charges to meet the visitor…..up close and personal.

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This beautiful Golden Eagle was found injured and brought to the park for rehabilitation.  However after being nursed back to health, it was discovered that he could not fly so was kept at the park as an ambassador.

There are a number of places to eat scattered about…..I enjoyed lunch at the Thorntree Terrace which shared space with a colony of acrobatic Lemurs.

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Very energetic and highly entertaining, the little critters were a blast to watch scampering about.

As you might guess, the larger animals had the largest tract of land…..these elephants were a part of a much larger herd that inhabited the cleverly named Elephant Valley.

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There are a number of birds in the park as well.  Those that can’t fly are kept in and around the many ponds in the park.

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And those that can are in a large Aviary that the public can walk through via double doors.

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Back in the early 1970’s, while serving on a Destroyer in San Diego, the call went out from what was then called the San Pasqual Wild Animal Park for surplus mooring lines.  My division was responsible for three of the six lines normally used to secure our sized warship to the pier and we donated several worn lines…..wonder if these are the same ones?

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By early evening, we all reconvened at Don and Char’s place for pizza and beer…..the perfect ending to a perfect day!

In order to partially repay the kindness of Kit’s brother Sam David and his family for their inviting us to backyard barbeques on successive weekends, we hosted them at our camper for a barbeque at Admiral Baker Field.

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By all accounts, everyone had a nice time.  It was great to spend more time with them!

Each year, while in San Diego, we take a drive down memory lane and revisit areas that Kit and I grew up in…..well, those that we still recognize that is.  Below is a photo of the home that I was raised in.

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OK, OK…..I know it’s technically not on “Memory Lane”.  However there were many memorable things that occurred in that place!  Since my single mom worked long hours, there were lots of entertaining times in that garage and behind those walls!

Well, time to leave San Diego and head for our vacation camping spot on the ocean……hey, the life of a retiree is hard work……we deserve vacations too!

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Stay tuned for fun in the sun in the Sunbelt!

Kit’s Bit’s: Bill has been so good about letting me “personalize” our new rig.  Since he’s kind of a “fixit” guy, he installed a nice big magnetic white board for me to display our family pics on.  Turns out, it was NOT magnetic!!!  So, we found some museum putty, which they market out here as earthquake putty to use.  It’s working OK, as long as the weather doesn’t get too warm.  At that point, the pics slide down the board!  So, we are now experimenting with double sided tape.  Re-outfitting a new rig is much like moving to a new house.  It takes a while to get everything in working order and conveniently stored.  On a lighter note, it has been wonderful reconnecting with my brother Sam David, Anne and Chelsea!  It is also great to see John and Lu, his girlfriend of many years…and, of course, spending time with Charlotte and Donald.  We have spent quite a bit of time in SD this year, maybe we should think about a standing reservation at one of the RV parks…  just sayin….

Bill and Kit’s 2015 Excellent Adventure-Special Edition #2

cropped-the-big-rig.jpg

50th Logo

Bill and Kit’s 2015 Excellent Adventure and The Legend of the Expanding RV

 (Or, how I sank back into debt after many years of carefree living)

Chapter #2

 I want a recliner, or you’ll be traveling to the moon!

Kit Tucker

 

When we last left our befuddled duo, it was a dark and stormy night outside their small cape on the rugged but beautiful coast of Maine.

Old weather-beaten Bill and the vivacious Kit had fallen prey to a wily peddler and were on the hook for a brand new single wide and a half.  This lapse in judgment forced an acquisition of a brand new towing steed chronicled in the chapter one:

https://bilnkit.com/2014/12/26/bill-and-kits-2015-excellent-adventure-special-edition-1/

A time warp to the present finds our clueless couple cohabitating in their cute little rolling plastic box as they prepare for a disorienting detour on the rocky road of life while the gentle Pacific Ocean breeze rustles the rusting remains of their retired souls and visions of camper nirvana dance about their aging brain cells to the tune of the Neil Young song, “Old Man”.

But alas, the new Silverado stallion requires tack fit for the finery it’s about to be flitting about.  So off to the farrier to craft the aforementioned finely fit firmament our clueless couple trots where they select the finest tack known to man, woman, or beast which is kinda redundant doesn’t one think?  Don’t answer……it’s a rhetorical (trick) question.

Enough of that foolishness…..for now.

The new tow vehicle does indeed require a special hitch in order to haul the new camper we are due to fetch very shortly.  I decided to go with a model from the PullRite Corporation.

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Yep…..it’s as big as it looks!  It’s an auto-sliding hitch which should handle the new rig just fine.  Since our truck has a standard (6 ½ foot) bed this style hitch is desirable as it automatically slides the attachment point aft in order to keep the nose-cap of the camper and the cab of the truck from making contact during extreme turning maneuvers.

Soon the big day arrived.  While traveling to the dealer with our old camper in tow, we noticed a fellow RV’r on the road directly in front of us.

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Even though his rig is considerably smaller than ours it does feature a washer and dryer strategically located on the roof.

As we pulled into Norm’s RV in Poway, California it marked the final time we would be towing our trusty old friend…..a bittersweet moment for sure.

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However, excitement was swelling as we viewed the brand new replacement rig for the very first time.

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For those that care about such things here are the details, interior photos and specifications taken from the Northwood Manufacturing website:

Arctic Fox 27-5L

Arctic Fox 27-5L (1)


Arctic Fox 27-5L (1)

 

Arctic-27-5L__EA_02_Z99

 

Arctic-27-5L__EA_11_AS8

 

Features:

Northwood Built Off-Road Chassis

Aluminum Frame Construction

Four Seasons Insulation

Heated Holding Tanks

10 Gal Gas/Elect Water Heater

Free-Standing Dining Table

10 Cubic Foot Refrigerator

15,000 BTU Air Conditioner

Two Swivel Rocker-Recliner’s

MorRyde Pin Box

Thermal Pane Tinted Windows

4 Point Power Leveling System

Specifications:

Dry Weight:  7,782 pounds

Net Carrying Capacity:  3,750 pounds

Length:  29 feet, 5 inches

Height:  12 feet, 6 inches

Width:  8 feet, 6 inches

Fresh Water Capacity:  82 gallons

Gray Water Capacity:  Tank #1-67 gallons

Gray Water Capacity:  Tank #2-35 gallons

Black Water Tank Capacity:  65 gallons

LPG Capacity:  80 gallons

 

So, why did we pick this particular brand and model?  Well, after more than 40 years of RV ownership Kit and I had a pretty good idea of what we liked.  Of course, our needs had morphed over the years…..we picked up our first camper, ironically here in San Diego, back in the year 1975.

1967 Excel-Edited

It was a 1967 Excel travel trailer and at fifteen feet a major upgrade from out tenting days.

Tent Camping in the early 1970's

However touring about the country with three kids and no refrigerator or bathroom onboard is vastly different than what two retirees traveling today desire.  This is our fifth camper in forty years of RV’ing and likely our last.  At some point I intend to chronical our earlier touring adventures and the camping trailers that made it all possible.  Yep, even back then, Kit kept meticulous records of those many trips and Kimber, Joe and Suzie have vivid memories as well.  Recreating the adventures with accompanying historic photos is very doable!

We stayed with the Arctic Fox brand because our previous one had delivered such great service and the company makes a fantastic product…..they’re not fancy but they are very well built!  Kit and I decided to go the fifth wheel route due to the legendary ease of towing and the desire for more room with little additional overall size.  Our previous truck and 22 foot trailer had a combined length of 44 feet, 6 inches while the new truck and trailer’s length is 45 feet, 2 inches.  This eight inches of additional bumper-to-bumper length enlarged the living area by 53 square feet!  The increase in volume was primarily due to the fifth wheel configuration and the two slide-outs.

So with the relatively compact size, the ease of hitching and towing, and the extra storage inherent in the design, our choice is near perfect for us and our style of travel.

Of course, with most decisions there are a few compromises.  The major one going from a traditional travel trailer to one pulled from a fifth wheel hitch is the inability to affix a shell over the truck bed.  This corresponds to the loss of roof racks to carry a kayak…..an issue that I’m attempting to resolve.  Also the hitch system reduces what can be carried in the truck bed.  Life is certainly about choice, and choices have consequences.

After a walkthrough and the servicing of a few minor discrepancies, the dealer demonstrated the hitching and unhitching procedure followed by a road test.  Upon returning to the sales lot I pulled some extreme steering maneuvers to verify turning clearances were adequate.

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You can see in the photo above that without the sliding hitch moving the attachment point back fourteen inches, there would have been major damage to the truck and/or trailer!

Comfortable that everything checked out, the dealership then positioned old and new trailer side by side in order to facilitate transferring all our junk.

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What a lot of room we have in the new unit…..however we will surely find a way to fill it up!

After a long and tiring day, Kit and I were ready to move the new camper back to our spot at Santee Lakes.

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This final photo about sums it all up.

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Happy Anniversary sweetheart!

Bill

And now a word from Kit:  A milestone moment, for sure, when we took possession of this Fifth Wheel!  This is most certainly, our last trailer purchase.  After 2.5 years of “research” (many of you folks know how Bill just LOVES to research things), we finally settled on this unit.  Certainly, it’s not the most luxurious or largest; however, it suits us to a “T”!  The one thing I missed in our last trailer was a comfortable chair to sit in and now I have one!  Actually, we both have recliners, which is nice since we can sit side by side and actually watch the news on TV!  Indeed, we are coming perilously close to the mainstream RV’rs!  Have no fear though; we will still be staying in National and State parks along with the occasional truck stop.  The new unit is so much more comfortable, with a much larger living area.  We are still in the process of arranging things to suit our needs.  With all this extra space, we need to be methodical about filling it up; correctly!

Thanks Bill for all your GREAT research (even though it drove me NUTS)!   Love, Kit

PS Now, you can find some new toy to start researching!

Bill and Kit’s 2015 Excellent Adventure, Journal # 6

Bill and Kit's Woody and Airstream-2015

50th Logo

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.

Anaïs Nin

 

Monday, January 5 through Thursday, January 22, 2015-Santee, California- Part One:  Yep, so much was going on during our stay in Santee that I needed to divide the journal into two parts.  Otherwise, I fear it would have exceeded the tolerance level of even the most ardent follower of our misadventures.

Kit and I originally planned to be at Santee Lakes Regional Park and Campground for two weeks.  However the facilities were so nice and so convenient, we extended our stay an additional 5 days.  The park is a 194 acre facility owned and operated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District.

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The lakes are basically impoundment’s sustained daily by one million gallons of treated water shunted to the area from the local water reclamation facility.  The resultant wetland attracts a bunch of snowbirds from the US Northwest and other migratory species such as the Duckus Greenheadeus.

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And its cousin the…..Ducki Sillyheadous.

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Amongst many other freshwater aquatic birds of a feather that, well….flock together.

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Such as the Otis Redding Cormorant’s shown above sitting on the dock of the bay.

Santee Lakes Regional Park was well thought out featuring plenty of open space, expansive lawns, and mature trees.

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The water that keeps this riparian area vibrant flows through the campground by way of a man-made stream.  The park also features a playground, fishing piers, paddle craft rentals, swimming pools and a large hot tub.

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The site fees are tiered to allow for folks that desire more space to pay a bit more.  Kit and I opted for one of the deluxe sites which allows for more privacy and distance to your neighbor…..it was only a few dollars more a day.

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Speaking of money, this campground is a bit pricey…..the weekend rate for a deluxe lakeside site exceeded fifty dollars a day!  However, for Southern California the park is competitively priced and the campground was full to capacity over the weekends.

The park also features a large covered RV storage area with enough solar panels affixed to its roof to provide half the power used by the Santee Lakes facility.

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In addition to the campground, there are numerous cabins for rent including ones that float on the lake!

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As alluded to in the previous journal, Kit and I reconnected with an old friend from high school whom we had not seen in over 50 years.

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JoAnne, and her husband Ron, live in the town of Santee…..only three miles from Santee lakes!

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Kit and JoAnne where best friends back in their junior high school days, and lost touch after we married and moved to Key West, Florida.  They were inseparable; walking to and from school, hanging out and listening to the transistor radio…..they even gave each other nicknames.

Kit and JoAnne-1963, Photo #5

JoAnne was a big part of my teenage years as well.  One night in early 1963, my buddy and I were out causing mischief in the neighborhood.  We soon stumbled upon two very attractive chicks and using our worldly courting skills we started tossing pebbles in their general direction.  Apparently it worked as for the rest of that summer Rodney “dated” Kit and I “went steady” with JoAnne.  In those days, no one had a camera imbedded in their phone so unfortunately there are no pictures of the four of us during that memorable summer.

Kit, JoAnne and I had a great time reconnecting and catching up on each other’s history.  JoAnne has led a very interesting life, first as a US Coast Guard spouse living in Alaska, Virginia and San Diego.  Then, following a divorce and single motherhood, she started her own landscaping company which was how she met her truck driver husband, Ron.

Ron and JoAnne love to dine out, as do we…..and having lived in the area for the past 30 years they know the great places to eat.  In the short time Kit and I were in town we met with them on eight occasions at some of their preferred restaurants.  Of all the great places JoAnne and Ron introduced us to…..my personal favorite is The Omelette Factory.

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If it can conceivably be mixed into an omelet, then this place will make it for you!

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It’s a small mom and pop operation and everything is made in house.  Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day and the Omelette Factory is my new favorite breakfast place…..we dined there on three different occasions!

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As a happy coincidence, JoAnne had invited an old school chum to sunny San Diego. A California girl, Sherry now lives in the mountains of West Virginia.

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What a great time we had reminiscing about growing up in San Diego during the early sixties.  Even though we didn’t know Sherry well back then we connected immediately and plan on more visiting this summer on the east coast.

JoAnne has been battling some serious medical issues…..last summer she contracted a very rare and life threatening blood disease.  To make matters worse, she was dealing with the death of her father at the time.  JoAnne is the most resilient and motivated person we know.  Her challenges would have turned many folks into a basket case.  Her positive mental attitude allows her to excitedly look forward to the day when she can be fitted with prosthesis’s and walk once again.  I knew those many years ago JoAnne was a remarkable young woman…..she has only improved with age.  We love you, JoAnne!

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The scarf that JoAnne is sporting in the photo above was made with love by Kit over the past few months…..yep, the same one Kit was working on in many previous journal photos.

Santee is a neat little (by Southern California standards) town with a population of 53,000 folks.  Part of what is known as the East County…..the city of Santee lays about eighteen miles from the coast and many more miles from the hustle and bustle of San Diego proper.  Ironically, back in 1971 as a young military family stationed in the area, Kit and I considered purchasing a home in a new Santee development.  At that time the town of 27,000 was a bedroom community of San Diego and considered to be out in the sticks.  We reconsidered and decided the vagaries of military life precluded putting down roots.  As it turned out, a few years later we did get transferred back east and purchased our first home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

San Diego has a vibrant public transportation system anchored by the San Diego Trolley and the City of Santee is the eastern terminus.

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The light rail trains run on three main lines that connect downtown San Diego to outlying communities and neighboring towns.

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A real success in public transportation, the San Diego Trolley boosts a weekday ridership of over 122,000 folks.

As noted, there are many great restaurants in San Diego County; however our favorite regional fast-food joint is Rubio’s Baja Grill.

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They are famously known for their beer battered fish tacos…..but my personal favorite is the Salsa Verde Shrimp Taco shown below.

Rubio's Coastal Trio

We need a Rubio’s Baja Grill in Maine!!!

Well, this concludes part one of our stay in the San Diego region…..stay tuned for part two when we connect with Kit’s family for a very nice reunion.

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Also for the second and final chapter of:

The Legend of the Expanding RV

Currently in editorial review and soon to be featured in Amazon.  Well, actually the region in South America, not the equally large online retailer!  I bet you just can’t wait so here’s a teaser.

2015-01-15, Photo #16

 

Kit’s Bit’s: As expected, seeing our friend JoAnne and meeting her husband Ron has been the highlight of our stay in San Diego this time!  We had lost contact with one another before we were married and I’ve been searching for her for the last few years on Classmates.com and Face Book.  Imagine my surprise last May when I received an email from her out of the blue!  We have had numerous emails and text messages over the last several months.  As we neared San Diego on Jan. 4th, I was texting our ETA along the way.  She was waiting for us to turn into her driveway!  Many tears were shed at our first meeting!   It was a very emotional time for all of us.  One thing for sure, after renewing our friendship after 50+ years, we will never lose touch with each other again!  Love you, JoAnne & Ron!!