Knowing we had been through challenges in 2019, some family in the Los Angeles area invited us to house sit for three weeks in March while they went on a trip overseas. After considering for about one minute, we said YES. That was arranged before we knew about the RV/Golf Resort reservation in Arizona for February, and way before the Coronavirus was a concern. Our host family is returning earlier than planned due to the current world health crisis, and our time here will also be shorter than planned. We will have been gone for almost two months by the time we get back home to Minnesota. The most severe months of winter will be over, although there can still be nasty weather through April. Any snow that happens after we get home will melt quickly.
The weather in Los Angeles in March has been similar to the weather in Phoenix in February, maybe even cooler, with highs in the 60’s and cooling down at night. We went from dessert landscapes in Arizona to ocean views in California. The house we are staying in is large and open, which is quite a contrast from the 400 square foot rental in Arizona.
We drove through some amazing scenery to get from Arizona to southern California, including mountains with canyons and crazy switchback roads, red rocks, boulders, forests and deserts. We had planned on doing some hiking in Joshua Tree National Park on the way through, but it was snowing there! We drove around in the park instead of hiking.
In southern California while on a cliff walk, we saw whales spouting, sometimes two together indicating a mother and baby, on their spring migration from Baja to Alaska. We also saw small crabs, anemones and other signs of sea life in a tide pool area. There are beautiful flowers, and lush green trees and bushes everywhere.
Last week we took a one hour ferry boat ride over to Catalina Island. We brought our ten pound Yorkie-poo dog along because it was allowed and we could not leave her alone all day. Rules for bringing her on the ferry included either wearing a muzzle or having an airline approved pet carrying bag. We bought a muzzle that she hated and looked ridiculous on her, but we also had the idea of carrying her in my backpack. That worked great and she tolerated it for the most part. Catalina Island was charming and scenic. There are two small towns, but most of the island is undeveloped. Residents and visitors get around mostly with golf carts or bicycles. We rented a golf cart for one hour, allowing us to cover more territory than on foot.
Another day, before everything started to close down due to the Coronavirus crisis, we went to Universal Studios. This time our dog stayed at a pet day care / spa. She did not seem too traumatized when we came back to pick her up after 10 hours. I have mixed feelings about going to these touristy places with their exorbitant entrance fees and overpriced food, but the attractions are pretty amazing. You can be sitting in a seat that is wiggling around a bit or going along on a track, but with the virtual reality technology it seems like you are careening around in the air or being attacked by giant creatures. Maybe it is worth it.
Bike riding along the “The Strand” beach path and stopping at a Farmer’s Market were other fun activities we partook of before self imposed sheltering at home.
Throughout the entire trip we have been able to find a balance of doing things and taking it easy. A planned day trip down to San Diego to see relatives and friends was cancelled due to social distancing recommendations currently in place. Very disappointing but we expect to be back next year.
We have loved our time in both Arizona and California. I am able to adapt and find positive aspects about many different kinds of places and situations. I am lucky to have traveled to many states and cities, rural and urban areas, State and National Parks, east and west, north and south. There are so many cool and beautiful places in our country, no way can anyone say that one place is the best.
The last part of our trip has been weird and disconcerting with the Coronavirus concerns and restrictions. Suddenly we are not able to be out and about partaking of attractions and sights, so we have been chilling at the house, which has beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. We also have been able to take daily cliff side walks along the ocean, just a few minutes from the house.
The couple we are house sitting for are returning in a few days, and soon we head for home. Who knows what challenges and delays we might encounter on the three day journey. I am ready to be at my own house.