Winter in the Desert - 2013 travel blog

the beach

another view

beach panorama

bright flowers

Mission San Luis Rey

mission interior

drive in flea market

crooked pavement

pelican star

drab brethern

Although we have been focusing on the desert in the southwestern US, when we looked at the map and saw we were only thirty miles from the coast, we couldn't resist. We headed to the aptly, but uncreatively named, Oceanside. The first stop was the Mission of San Luis Rey. (Note to self: Don't go to a church facility on a Sunday morning if you want a place to park.) This national historic site is the largest of the 21 California missions. The exterior looked great, but inside large restoration efforts are taking place.

As we headed west we had to detour at a large flea market taking place in what used to be an outdoor movie theater. For those of you too young to ever have attend a drive-in, the pavement was sculpted in waves, so that you parked your car on the upslope and had a great view of the screen. The undulating asphalt presented great challenges to the vendors; most gave up on display tables and mounted their products on the asphalt peaks. Few Anglos were there and we enjoyed watching the large and loving Mexican families shop and snack. Ken bought eight pairs of socks for $5. Such a deal!

Lunch was at a surfer motif diner whose menu said the owner felt nostalgic about the 1980's. How can that be? The 1980's were practically yesterday!

And then the beach! Oceanside boasts one of the longest piers in the area. Unlike Florida, parking and the pier were free. A few fishermen pretended to fish and pelicans hung around just in case they got lucky. One with an especially beautiful face posed for photographers and flew off a few feet when he'd had enough. Hopeful surfers bobbed in the waves, but they were low and we didn't see anyone vertical. Oceanside has a surfer's museum which was on our agenda, but it was just too nice to go inside. Maybe next time.

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