A SoCal Break, Day 1, Part 1: Recreation Park


June 12, 2017, San Onofre, CA-

I am camping at this underutilized state beach, just south of a former nuclear power plant.  The plant’s presence may explain the underutilized part of the equation, but no matter.  Every time I pitch my tent, arrange comfortable bedding and have a pleasant visit, my confidence grows- something that may be hard for many to understand- but it’s been a work in progress, for several years.

My main objective, today, was a hike in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, between Long Beach and Redondo Beach, in LA County’s South Bay area.   First, though, was a visit to Long Beach, itself. I set out from Indio, where I’d spent the previous night, and where I stretched my legs, this morning, with a 2-mile walk.  It’s fairly mild, across Southern California, though that’s not expected to last.  The I-10 was fairly busy, as it always is, though once past the turn-offs to Riverside and San Diego, traffic thinned significantly.  I enjoyed a stop at one of my favourite eateries:  Gramma’s Country Kitchen, in Banning.   After lunch, and taking CA routes 57 and 22, I was in Long Beach, in less than ninety minutes.

I found myself in a pleasant, but definitely untouristed, part of town- the south side.  On Anaheim Street, there is the large, and multiple use, Recreation Park.  Several young ladies were engaged in a variety of artistic activities, on and around the band shell.  I don’t take photos of people, without their permission, as a rule, so any people seen in the next few photos are strictly incidental.  My main focus in Recreation Park was Yokkaichi Friendship Garden, a small, but heartfelt project, in concert with Yokkaichi, Japan- one of Long Beach’s sister cities.

There are three essentials of a Japanese garden that are evident here:  The open gate, arranged flowers (usually in a semi-circle) and carefully-placed rocks.  A fourth essential element, flowing water, is not present.



SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES I felt a fair amount of serenity, with most of the  “recreationists” very busy with sporting activities and practicing dance routines, elsewhere in the great city park.  Below, see the back of the band shell building.  I did not photograph the dance practice taking place in the front.


Next up, Palos Verdes’ Point Vicente.




Always Welcome


November 27, 2016, Banning- I am fortunate to find many places, to which I can return, no matter how long it’s been since I have stopped by.  One such is Gramma’s Country Kitchen, in this small, but pleasant city along I-10, east of Riverside.  The decor reminds me of both my Godmother’s kitchen, when I was a child, and various places in which I’ve stopped in the Midwest, over the years.  The owners and waitresses always seem to remember me, from previous visits and the place just feels like home.

My son’s place, in Chula Vista feels likewise, it goes without saying.  It will be strange to go to San Diego, after February, and not have him there to visit.  He will be doing other tasks, in his next duty station, though, and I will continue to feel pride in his achievements.  We had a quiet, but comfortable, visit, over Thanksgiving and will have a few days together, here and there, between now and the time he heads out.

I got back, easily, to Prescott, and it will be a busy, fruitful month ahead- with work for both the Prescott schools and my Faith occupying a great deal of time.  Needless to say, there are plenty of places here, where I likewise always feel welcome.  At the end of this week, for example, the town’s Christmas tree will be lit and all of us in attendance will feel an abundance of welcome, from one another.

As I will write tomorrow, I personally will welcome another year to my chronology:  66. Hope all are rested from a joyful Thanksgiving!


The Road to 65, Mile 100: Cowles Mountain


March 8, 2015, San Diego- This morning found me up early, as is customary during the Baha’i Fast, which falls between March 2-20.  Getting a solid breakfast at Gramma’s Country Kitchen, my favourite restaurant in Banning, and enjoying watching as the team got everything ready for what promised to be a busy Sunday after-church crowd, I rolled out of Banning relatively early.  The drive through Hemet and Menifee, then on down to San Diego, was smooth and uneventful, save for an overturned semi-trailer, near MiraMesa.

Aram and I both rested for a bit; he, because of having had watch, last night and I, because it was Noon and fasting makes a 30-minute nap especially important.  At 2 PM, we headed out to Cowles Mountain, in Mission Trails Park, on the east side of town.  It is the highest peak within the city limits.

I was my usual self, maintaining a steady pace and taking lots of photos.  It had been a while since I hiked uphill, so it was a rather decent cardio workout.

Here are a few photos, before I put the lot of them in Flickr. Aram, feeling in need of a brisk start, blazed ahead, with my blessing.



We had fine views of San Diego, to the southwest, and the Cuyamaca Range, to the east.



The scrub and sandstone were our hosts, and there were dozens of hikers out enjoying the picture-postcard afternoon.



Lake Murray, a reservoir that is part of Mission Trails Park, is visible from the south face of Cowles Mountain.  It is a popular fishing and boating venue for San Diegans.


I reached the top in about forty minutes.  It being 83 out, the sweat was not shy about making itself known.


George Cowles, a pioneer in the area in the 1870’s, lent his name to the mountain.SAM_4482

On the way down, I got a better sense of the alignment of various boulders.  They are almost like family groupings.


At the foot of Cowles Mountain, near a covered trash barrel, I spotted this canyon, in which lurked- a Sandbag Boa Constrictor! 🙂


This was a truly fine day, capped by dinner at Zorba’s, a Greek cafe between the airport and Point Loma.  San Diego never disappoints.  Neither does my son.