Fall 2019 – Finally, On the Road Again

We leave our 2014 adventure in the past and zip forward to September 2019. That’s right, we’re back on the trail. After a false start in the spring, followed by doctor appointments, an MRI, physical therapy, spinal injections, and medication, Jon is pain free as of three weeks ago from the date of this post.

Packed up, hooked up, and buckled in the truck, we drove into the sunrise on September 21. With smiles on our faces and adventure in our hearts, we headed for San Diego for a week not daring to venture too far from home in case the sciatic nerve monster attacked again.

Often, we only make one stop when driving to San Diego. Breaking up the 9-hour 467-mile drive with two one-night stays seemed a good idea. We pulled into the Mountain Valley RV Park, in Tehachapi for the first night.

Campsite at Mountain Valley RV Park

This park offers water and electricity at the sites and a dump station. The lack of train and freeway noise and the glider port next door are benefits we find hard to pass up. Of course, the hurricane-force winds at certain times of the year would see our rig driving by.


That was not the case this time. During this visit we caught the glider port in action. I looked on with longing as we watched the small plane pull its glider into the sky, circle around the mountains, release the tether, and fly back to port. A bit later the glider silently made its way to the runway.

Sailplane preparing for take-off

Since I was a kid, I have dreamed of taking a ride in a glider. The low risk of injury or death associated with gliders has not yet convinced me to climb into the cockpit. I did grab a rate chart for future reference, though, to keep the dream alive.

Towplane pulls a sailplane

A free night is always welcome, and when combined with visiting relatives, it is even better. Jon’s brother ensured we could stretch our rig in front of his house for the night in Fontana, California. A stop in Fontana also meant a trip to Ontario for a half-order dinner at Vince’s Spaghetti. Vince’s has been a Todd family favorite since Jon was born. Sadly, there are no pictures to share. I really need to remember to take photos of people.

No matter how many times we pass under the West Lilac Road Bridge on Interstate 15, I’m always overcome with amazement at the engineering that supports its 3.79 football field length across the span.

West Lilac Road Bridge

It stirs something inside of me that I cannot explain with words. I imagine Fred G. Michaels and John Suwada, the designers, sitting in a café drawing several designs on napkins. When they selected the image that would become the bridge, did they experience the same emotional reaction I do when I see it in person?

We arrived at San Diego RV Resort on September 23, 2019, for one week. Although it has its drawbacks (freeway noise and ants), we like this RV resort for its friendly staff, cleanliness of the park, convenient location, and price. Rates for RV sites close to the beach start at $70.00 for a parking spot with no hookups and can go over $300.00 per night for a supersite. And good luck securing a reservation during certain times of the year.

Visions of a relaxing week in San Diego with time to write, work out, and hike turned into a let’s-go-here-and-there adventure. A walk around Lake Murray gave Jon an opportunity to test his walking distance.

We knew he could get through the grocery store without stopping and having to rest. How far could he make it along the 5.9-mile out-and-back path, was the question.

Lake Murray Padre Bay view

Waking up the next day with shin splints and sore ankle muscles revealed the two-mile roundtrip as a starting point was sufficient.

Saluda, or Lake Murray Dam

Now the hard work began to strengthen the muscles that had gone dormant during the sciatica flareup and increase his stamina.

Lake Murray views

A friend from high school and I arranged to meet in Ocean Beach for lunch. We met Suzie and her husband Dan at The Old Townhouse Restaurant for a good meal and conversation with great people. Of course, a walk on the pier for a photo opportunity was in order after our meal and before we parted ways.

Susie and me on the pier. Unlike me, Susie is always on the hunt for photo ops.

Balboa Park is one of our favorite haunts while in San Diego. Creatures of habit that we are, we ate at The Prado and watched Turtle Odyssey at the Imax theater in the Fleet Science Center.

Did I forget to mention Jon woke up with Bells Palsy the day after his back stopped hurting? Poor guy walked around with a crooked smile for three weeks.
Okay, I guess a little spout of water on top of my head is better than the large one.
Botanical building and lily pond at Balboa Park
Spreckels Organ and Pavilion at Balboa Park

We couldn’t pass up a chance to see the Blue Angles in action. We didn’t have time to view the entire airshow, so at Doyle Community Park we managed to catch a glimpse and take a few shots and movie clips. I never tire of watching their performances and hearing the screaming jets. For some reason, my eyes turn blurry every time. I blamed my tears on the heavy mist that appeared as soon as the planes came overhead.

Blue Angels

En Fuego Cantina & Grill satisfied our craving for Margaritas and Mexican food. Sitting on the patio and catching a glimpse of the ocean now and then was a treat.

En Fuego Cantina & Grill Patio
Son Kevin with what looks like a scowling Jon…seriously he was trying to smile

Kevin has lived in San Diego for 20 years and never once stepped foot on the Star of India, so we staged an intervention. First, we took advantage of a snack at the Lane Field Park Market. All types of food are offered as samples and to purchase. Bring a blanket to spread out on the grass under the umbrella shades and munch away.

Kevin and Bailey hiding from the sun

Across the street is the Maritime Museum of San Diego where the Star of India calls home. She is listed as both a California Historical Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.

Star of India at Maritime Museum of San Diego

According to the museum, she is considered the oldest active sailing ship. The iron-hulled ship was launched in 1863 carrying the name Euterpe. The ship’s history includes damage from a collision and cyclone in India.

Ropes and winch

Besides her voyages to India, the ship was used as a cargo ship and later as transport for emigrants to New Zealand, Australia, California, and she also sailed to Chile.

Galley of the Star of India
Captain Kevin at the wheel
The bunks would have been too short for me
Star of India mast

Several other ships are docked at the Maritime Museum. They include the steam ferry Berkeley, steam yacht Medea, HMS Surprise, and many others.

Bailey took time out to take care of business
Detail of stain glass
Inside the Berkeley steam-powered ferry

A visit to Costa Brava in Pacific Beach for tapas for lunch topped off our days in San Diego as we said goodbye to Kevin and Bailey. Thanks, guys for a wonderful week. We enjoyed spending time with you.

Bailey is the master selfie taker

Next stop, Gila Bend and Payson, Arizona.

Safe Travels



15 thoughts on “Fall 2019 – Finally, On the Road Again

  1. Ray De Wit

    Linda:  Great to hear you and Jon can once again enjoy traveling.  So sorry about Jon’s BP; I do hope it goes away soon.  My brother had it crop up and it lasted for a couple of weeks as I recollect.  I’m in Georgia until Oct. 31st; enjoying the time here and Menlia passes along her best. Have a wonderful time,Ray


  2. Gary Lea

    Looks like you had a good time. Jon looks like he’s been hanging out at the dentist. Glad he’s back to normal and can walk and smile again.


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