Oceanside, California: Population = 167,086, elevation = 66 feet, Average January low temp = 45º, Average July high temp = 73.9º, Average precipitation = 11.3
From Penngrove, our plans lead us South along the coast. After just a few miles of scenic grassy hills, Highway 101 plummets down to the sea. Tourists that we are, we MUST see the Golden Gate Bridge. Up close, the bridge is staggeringly huge, long, and tall. My photos do not do it justice. I was looking down the center of it. The best view would be from the side, showing the whole length. Unfortunately, to get that angle, one has to be somewhere in San Francisco. In the midst of this gigantic, frantic, anthill of people and cars, our main impulse was to get the hell out town of and back to sanity.
After many slow miles of stoplights and city traffic, the political entity that is Highway 101 turns back into a freeway and, relieved, we speed happily along our way, following the Bay. Until everything slows down again and traffic slows to a crawl for miles and miles. The 60th annual Monterey Jazz Festival starts today, so we are alongside the many, many fans headed toward Monterey. Much later than expected, we arrived at our dingy little hotel in dingy little Soledad.
The next day we set off through California’s “Salad Bowl of the Country” region. We see fruits, vegetables, and nuts of every kind, growing in precise rows, stretching out to the horizons. Eventually we turn East toward Highway 5, California’s “backbone” highway. Along the way we spot another big product California produces: oil. Our stop for the night is a hotel in Lebec. This is, apparently a popular stop for truckers on the way to LA. and our hotel has several acres of asphalt to park the big rigs on.
The next day we climb to the top of the coastal mountains then plunge down into the human swarm that is Los Angeles. We timed our journey to cross through LA on a Sunday, when traffic would be light. After slogging along with 6 lanes of slow moving vehicles, we shudder to think of what it must be like during a weekday rush hour.
At long last, we come to our destination, Oceanside. This city is a contender for our new home town. It is about the right size, even if it does sprawl a bit. It has the Great Climate All Year thing going for it. The town is full of interesting shops, restaurants, and breweries. And right there, mighty Mother Pacific Ocean!
Family calls. We are on the way to attend the Navy retirement ceremony for Marylu’s brother Bill, in San Diego. We will be back in Oceanside for a better look later.
Next up: San Diego