Travels with Tucker

Travels with Tucker

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sunset after the storm

We had torrential rain today (California desperately needs the rain!) and it is clearing just in time for a spectacular sunset.  (The spaceship is a reflection of an inside light.  This is a view out our back window.)  Can you make out Santa Catalina Island?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Balboa Island (part of Newport Beach)

We spent an afternoon bumming around Newport Beach and visited Balboa Island.  This tiny speck of land lies within Newport Bay and is a mostly artificial island created in 1906 when the Red Line trolleys began running from downtown Los Angeles to Newport Beach.  Subdivided into tiny lots which sold for $250 at the time, the island today is as densely populated as Manhattan--3,000 people live on 128 acres of land, 10,000 in the summer!  You can take a short bridge to the island, but the cool way to get there is by the ferry that runs back and forth and can carry three cars and a bunch of people and bikes.  Apparently, frozen bananas are the thing here (the banana stand on Arrested Development was located on Balboa).  It is a great place to walk around and gawk at the cute homes and tropical landscaping.  Tear-down lots of 25 X 60 here go for $2 million.

Balboa Island Ferry
After a 5 minute ride, we approach the dock

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Laguna Beach, CA

What a great place this is!  Quaint downtown with an eclectic/surf casual atmosphere mixed with more Mercedes, Ferrari's and Bentley's than you'll see this side of Monaco.  We, of course, are renting our space for $55 a night here in the state park which has views as good as many of the multi-million-dollar homes in Laguna Beach.  Homes on the edge of the bluff overlooking the Pacific or on the beach start at about $5 million and several are listed on Zillow for $25 million to $35 million and more.  Who can afford to own these places?!  Anyway, we get to have the same view and drive the same roads and eat at the same fish taco stands as the rich people.  Ain't America great!
Aliso Beach County Park, we ate lunch here
Crystal Cove State Park.  We are camped for the week a short walk from this beach.

A Venetian palace overlooking the beach.  I was counting the windows with an ocean view and gave up at 50.
Thousand steps beach (there are actually only 220 steep steps to climb down here)
Yahoo's Fish Tacos. MMMM....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Oceanside, CA

Nice beaches and a pretty cool town.  Oceanside and Carlsbad are in San Diego county about 40 miles north of the city of SD.  A little bit funky like all the Southern California beach towns.  Real estate prices to the moon!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Pacific Ocean

After 4+ months on the road, we finally reached the Pacific! And what a spot to enjoy it high on the bluff at South Carlsbad state beach, just north of San Diego. We watch the surfers and the pelicans all day and saw some dolphins swimming just off shore on our first morning here. Delightful.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Joshua Tree National Park

I didn't know anything about Joshua Tree NP before our trip here, but since it was close to Palm Springs and we had a week to kill, we figured we would explore it.  What a great idea that turned out to be!

Joshua Tree became a National Monument under Franklin Roosevelt and then a National Park under Clinton (gotta love those Democrats).  Over 700,000 acres, three quarters of it wilderness, including both Mojave and Sonoran desert ecosystems, Joshua Tree is an amazing place--especially if you like rocks and climbing them.  This park is a very special place with unique rock formations and thousands of joshua trees making it a very unique and fun national park.

We camped in two campgrounds, one of which was especially scenic.  We were camped in the shadow of 60-foot rocks with views of desert all around us.  You could hike in any direction and find piles of rocks to climb and explore.  With only 18 camp sites scattered over the area, we felt almost alone in this beautiful place.  We spent many days hiking, rock scrambling and just sitting in the quiet beauty of the desert.  What a great place!
Joshua Tree

Our campsite at Belle campground

A few Joshua trees are just starting to bloom

Monday, February 10, 2014

Goodbye to Palm Springs

We have had a great time in Palm Springs and we leave with some reluctance, but we are also excited to be getting back on the road again!  Some random images from our stay here:

Our claustraphobic little space at the Happy Traveler

Relaxing by the pool at the Happy Traveler

The dessert case at Sherman's, the best Jewish deli we've ever found outside of NYC

Downtown Palm Springs

Great band we saw at Pioneertown, about 45 minutes outside of PS

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Palm Springs art museum

Palm Springs has a great little art museum, specializing in modern art, Cahuilla Indian art (mostly baskets) and Western art.  They offer free admission on Thursday afternoon, so we spent a few hours here and then went to the village fest street fair held every Thursday for some gyros and tamales.

Driftwood horse

Figure made from steel blocks