Oceanside, California 10/7 – 10/29 (Part 2)
After San Diego, it is a relief to get back to Oceanside. Here we have all that perfect Southern California climate without the massive traffic and crowds that infest the big cities. True, Oceanside is still part of the supercity that extends from Tijuana to Los Angeles, but over here there is still some open space.
Oceanside is a multi-layer cake of a city. The first layer is the beach and the downtown area between Interstate 5 (AKA “The 5”) and the ocean. This is where California Dreaming takes place. The beach is sprinkled with deeply tanned young (and a few old) surfers and beach denizens. Close to the beach is a nice variety of food and drink, hotels and motels, beach gear shops, and lots of little “Quickie Mart” stores for overpriced liquor and beer. Pretty much any day of the week there is live music someplace. On Thursday and Saturdays, they have a Farmer’s Market. On Thursday night they have a “Sunset Market” with an amazing variety of food tents, arts, crafts, produce, and music. On weekends, the long-haired locals and the buzz-cut Marines mix together (mostly) without incident.
The next layer of the city starts North of The 5. This area is a little more spread out, a little warmer and drier. The hills get bigger and housing developments, all sporting red brick roofed faux haciendas, spread like melted ice cream. Industries, big box stores, breweries, and strip malls start out here in the “inland”. Freeways run like rivers to the ocean.
The last layer of the city lies even deeper inland. Tendrils of suburbs wend through valleys, following veins of freeway. The hills have turned into low mountains, fringed with garlands of large homes, gloating over what must be a great view. The open spaces become agriculture or golf courses. The dense multiverse of greenery that thrives on the coast gives way to the high chaparral.
This is also the area where the Missions were built, three centuries ago. The Spanish clergy came to convert the local people, the Conquistadores came with them to make sure it stuck. Or something like that. Check your history books for a long and twisted history with the lands and people changing hands frequently. We visited the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia and found a beautiful old building that has been lovingly restored.
As you may recall, we have been looking for a place to settle down. Using our lavish beachside rental as a home base, we scoured the area for a new home. The more we saw, the more we knew what we wanted. Finally, we found a bargain with everything on our list. After two years of traveling around the country, we are going to be rooted again. At least for the seven months of the lease. After that…?
Next up: Some thoughts from Marylu