Our spot at Silver Strand State Beach is 3o miles down the coast from our last campground, but remarkably different. Here, right outside of the naval town of Coronado, CA, we are one of a small group of RVs lined up in an otherwise empty parking lot with not a single tree or plant in sight. We have a generous slice of beachfront property but it is windy and sandy and the seas are stormy this time of the year. One night was so blustery we woke to see a boat washed up on our shores.
We spent a few days in local libraries trying to get some studying done in between holiday decorating, San Diego adventures and the occasional meltdown (each of us has our moments when the tin box is too much, or rather not enough). Fortunately, we’re not at the library for more than a few hours, and usually in the off-hours, since we somehow end up spreading out and taking up a lot of space.
The Woodebago is all decked out now, complete with a tiny tree and a few choice ornaments from home. We’ve got some lights, stockings, and a nice small pile of presents building up underneath the tree.
Decorating lifts our spirits, since we are all a little down about being away from home for Christmas. This year we won’t see the lights at Brookside Gardens, marvel at the Mormon Temple all lit up, go to cookie-making parties, make latkes on Dunkirk Drive, or go house to house to see grandparents and other family and friends on Christmas day. But we did manage to find a showing of the Muppets’ Christmas Carol at the Coronado library (not like our AFI Silver tradition, but still nice), and we had a lovely day visiting and going to a Christmas Mass in Old Town San Diego.
We also visited with old friends, who we haven’t seen in far too long. We exchanged years of stories over a long afternoon lunch with one set of friends (thanks, Lauren and Eric), and then visited with another over a burrito and bottle of wine (thanks, Nicole). Their kids, like ours, are only moderately interested in our old tales, but the pups all seem amused and attentive.
Perhaps our biggest adventure of all was our day at the Safari Park, which we chose as our one big splurge here in San Diego. It is expensive, and worth it. Nothing is cuter than a two-month old tiger cub wrestling with a stalk of bamboo, and nothing is more magnificent (and touching) than an African elephant tenderly nuzzling the babies of the herd. Most impressive of all was the cheetah run, a 100-yard grassy path where a young cheetah chases its favorite stuffed toy the entire length in…six seconds. There are then no good pictures to capture this 70 mile-an-hour animal in action, who is at full speed within 3 seconds with a stride that is over 20 feet long (if you look close, you can see a brownish blur).
The Safari Park also has a tram that takes you throughout the African preserve, where rhinoceroses, giraffes, wildebeest, antelope and other herbivores roam free (there are no predators among them).
A bat house, lemur landing and a dozen other exhibits round out our visit, and we are exhausted by the time we leave and head back over the mountains to our beach site.
Now, we are counting down to Christmas, which we will gratefully spend with cousins who are making room for our roadshow at their home. Happy holidays, everyone!