A heavenly vacation in Phoenix and San Diego.
I yearned to stay at the beach somewhere. The last time was at Cairns in the state of Queensland, Australia. My brother Neil and his wife Lynn flew up from Adelaide and we spent a glorious week exploring the fabulous reef and beaches and waterfalls in tropical Australia. This was 2019, three years ago.
I scrolled through Air-BNB and found a little house close to Mission Beach in San Diego. Mary Ann and Kim, from Kansas, and I drove from Albuquerque to Phoenix, about 7 hours. We spent a day rock-hounding for fire agates in the desert at Saddle Mountain, just west of Phoenix.
Then on to Yuma and San Diego. Lots of solar collectors and windmills in California, west of Yuma where the Colorado River enters Mexico (the river starts in the mountains of Colorado).
The sign was a lie – gasoline in California was not cheap – it was about $5/gallon, compared with $3.50 or less in Albuquerque.
We arrived in time for sunset, and I was very excited to see the green flash. It’s a fickle flash of green light that is sometimes seen just as the sun dips below the horizon (it’s not shown in this photo). It only lasts for about 1 second.
To illustrate how mysterious the green flash is, an Australian friend called David Smythe first told me about this when I was 25 years old. That’s about 50 years ago. Three years ago, in 2019, I reminded him about this, but he couldn’t remember. David, I hope you get to read this article.
I was convinced the green flash was real because I visited a seaside fair in California about 10 years ago, and talked with a guy who had seen the green flash and had even taken a photo that he showed me.
I’d looked for the green flash many times, but had never seen it in 50 years, until I landed in San Diego. I was ecstatic, as happens when you’ve been looking for a lost object for such a long time.
Our rental house was less than 100 yards from the boardwalk (promenade) along Mission Beach. Lots of roller skaters, joggers and many walkers. Kim and Mary Ann are chasing a sugar kick of shaved ice and an apple-caramel sucker.
And lots of surfing waves to look at while walking. Every day was about 70 degrees F maximum in bright sunshine. With fewer travelers before Thanksgiving, it was an ideal time to be in San Diego.
A short drive took us to La Jolla where we strolled along the cliffs. All except the first pic above are at La Jolla. The first pic is from the pier at Mission Beach.
The houses on the beachfront are worth millions of dollars. The small house we stayed in was worth $1.5 million. Everything is expensive near the waterfront. Burgers cost $18. A smoothie was $11. A coconut margarita was $14. A coke was over $3. Rent in a one-bedroom flat was $1800/month.
I’ve always thought that Californians were happy for three reasons: (1) the sun always shines and average temperatures are 70-80F, (2) people everywhere plant flowers, all year round, (3) lots of people bought a house 30 or 40 or 50 years ago, and now they are millionaires, some many times over, due to inflation in home prices.
If you live in the hinterland (New Mexico or Kansas) you can’t help but appreciate the sound of waves rolling in, the salt smell of the ocean, and tilting your face up to the sun’s warmth. We felt peace deep in our souls when we strolled along the boardwalk. We came away refreshed.
The Gray Nomad ….. I felt peace and joy in the warmth and beauty of the beach and plan to keep these memories close during the winter.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
[Book of Philippians, chapter 3.]