My brother wanted to go to a wedding in Temecula, California, of a sister missionary he had served with in Lithuania. I wanted a day or too off, with only myself to worry about. (Selfish? Yes! But I'll deal with the guilt of that later.) The two of us decided to make a mini vacation of it and spend the weekend in Southern California. We invited our sister, but she couldn't make it.
The plan was simple. Fly to California, drive the PCH from Long Beach to Oceanside stopping at every single beach along the way, and then drive back to Long Beach and fly home.
Our Saturday morning flight had us on the ground in California at 7:30 am. Yes, you can do the math on that one, but it meant I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning. I don't have hungry babies anymore, so that early of a morning, something I haven't done willingly for years was a bit of a killer. But, it meant we could maximize our time in the sunshine.
We arrived, had breakfast at our favorite place, The Sugar Shack Cafe, in Huntington Beach and then we hit the coast. We were at Huntington all alone, minus a few surfers. We played in the tide pools at Laguna Beach and ate a delicious, yet greasy and stomach unsettling burger in Oceanside.
The drive to the wedding was dark and winding. We spent a total of 5 minutes at the reception - typical Mormon thing if you get my drift - and then drove back to Oceanside to sleep harder and deeper on a hotel bed than I've ever slept maybe in my life. And, I'm a professional sleeper.
The next morning, Sunday, we toured Oceanside. There wasn't much to see if you get rid of the grime and the homeless folks on every corner. But, the pier was cool - pelican unafraid of humans and wooden planks, and the California Surfer museum, though small, was packed full of useful and interesting surfing information. A topic I know nothing about.
The Oceanside beach is small. At Dana Point, we watched a surf competition in the rain, and got drenched ourselves. Walking up a steep hill, in a minor downpour, on a cold and blustery morning with sandy feet isn't my favorite way to travel.
Once we got back to Laguna Beach for lunch, the rain was making way for a perfectly beachy California afternoon. We decided to spend a good part of our Sunday at the church of Crystal Cove beach, tucked away from most tourists, noise, and worldly chaos. The beach is such a fantastic and magical and marvelous place sometimes. I lost my brother, but I was perfectly content sitting in the silence, soaking up the waves and the sunshine. A perfect revival for a tired soul.
We drove past the Newport Temple and scared a trespasser, watching him take a flying leap into some shrubbery. Instead of heading up the coast for one more beach, Seal Beach, we decided to watch the sun set behind the waves at our beloved Huntington Beach. The Sunday drum circle was pounding away, the crowd was happy, the surf appeared to be good, and the sky was a bright orange as we walked out to Ruby's Diner, got a malt to split and walked back down the pier.
One of the faster weekends of my life, but a memorable one.
Thanks Willie for the invitation.