Huntington Beach was essentially our Los Angeles time. We wanted to spend awhile in Los Angeles, but we didn’t want to sleep there every night and then wake up in the smog. So Huntington Beach was the our best bet. We stayed at Bolsa Chica State Beach and were a mere 30 feet from the beach. It was great. There was a huge bike path that we rode every day and it made for the best walks with Willow.
We ventured into Los Angeles quite a few times to spend time with friends. We went to our friend Selena’s house one night for a late night diner adventure and some necessary catch up. A few nights later she stick n poked us and our friends Matt and Sarah. Can we just say “OUCH?!” I don’t know why we weren’t warned that they hurt more than regular tattoos! Either way, it was awesome to let one of our best friends tattoo us. We also didn’t feel so bad about yelling curse words! We explored Silverlake a few times, which is one of our favorite neighborhoods in LA. It’s trendy and always busy. It’s got incredible coffee, lots of vintage shops, yummy food, and great people watching.
Our friend Katie invited us to the set of the MTV tv show “Faking It,” that she stars in. It was so interesting to see behind the scenes of a show, we got there and immediately wished we had seen it before! Katie was great. I don’t think either of us would be able to hold our cool and act in front of our friends. We’d giggle too much. The taping was followed by a double dinner date at SugarFish, supposedly one of the best sushi spots in LA. Makes sense!
For Valentine’s Day, Dan surprised Toni with tickets to the The Avett Brothers concert in Long Beach. Let’s just say she totally freaked when she found out. The Avett Brothers are always our go to band and we had never seen them live before. We didn’t think it was possible, but they sounded even better up there on that stage. They were all perfectly in sync with each other, never faltering once, and they all looked like it was the best day of their lives. That’s really all you want out a concert…to know that the band is having just as much fun as you are.
Don’t fret, our Los Angeles time isn’t over yet! We’ll be in Malibu soon!
Joshua Tree! Finally! We had been talking about Joshua Tree National Park forever. We boondocked (camping without any hookups) in the Jumbo Rocks Campground and adored it. May be our favorite campsite yet. Dan’s best friend Martin and his dog Chunk came to stay with us for a few nights. We went on a few hikes even though it was unbelievably hot out every day. The longest hike we did was about 5 miles. It led us to an old mining site and beautiful views of the desert. The shortest we did was no longer than a mile and led us to a gigantic rock, appropriately called Skull Rock. It felt good to get our bodies moving. It had been awhile after lounging on the beach in San Diego! We spent a day exploring the quirky town of Joshua Tree. We popped in and out of vintage shops and stores filled with handmade goods. We ate delicious pizza at Pie For The People (a must if you ever visit Joshua Tree), and enjoyed the diverse group of people at the Joshua Tree Saloon, from 50 year old bikers, to avid hikers, to LA kids there for the weekend, to 3 year old babes, all getting along in perfect harmony.
We spent one of our evenings poking around Pioneertown, which is an old film set from the 40’s and has since been converted to small stores and music related buildings. Whenever we mentioned Joshua Tree to someone, they told us to go to Pappy and Harriet’s. So of course we had to visit! It’s an old saloon with music and lots of beer, it fits Pioneertown perfectly. We spent some time there listening to bluegrass and sipping some sweet tea.
After Martin left, we spent a full day doing nothing. We kept saying we were “desert drunk.” The sun was too hot, we hadn’t showered in a week, we weren’t drinking enough water, and our bodies were so sore from hiking. We were totally out of it and so silly. Completely delirious. Completely “desert drunk.”
Our new friend Greg (@OrangeSeedCo), who we met in Joshua Tree and often came around to hang at our nightly bonfires convinced us to come over to his site and meet his neighbors who were also from Massachusetts. Matt and Sarah (@BettyInTheUSA) are newly weds who quit their jobs, bought a motorhome from the 80s, named her Betty, and hit the road with no plan. We clicked immediately. We ended up going on a off trail sunset hike that same day and hitting it off perfectly. We were meant to be friends! Too bad we met them on our last day in Joshua Tree.
-Sunset Cliffs area was beautiful!
-The San Diego Zoo was huge!
After being in the snow back home, San Diego was a dream. 75 and sunny every single dang day. Why do people live in places other than Southern California? We parked the Airstream at a County Park in Bonita, just twenty minutes or so from San Diego. It was open, quiet, and just what we needed. We lounged on the beach, took Willow to lots of dog parks, and tried to catch the sunset as much as possible.
One day we rented kayaks at La Jolla and rowed all the way out into the Pacific. It was Toni’s first time taking a kayak into the ocean. After getting over the fear of Great White Sharks ripping the kayak to shreds and swallowing us whole, she eventually enjoyed herself. We were all fine and dandy, dry and sun kissed until we were three feet from shore. Crash! A huge wave came and toppled us. Backpack, phones, sweaters…all in the ocean. Oops.
We dedicated a day to the San Diego Zoo. We’re not typically huge fans of zoos, they make us sad, but this is the best zoo in the country, we had to go. Toni’s eyes were as wide as they could be the whole day. A mama Gorilla with her baby, peacocks walking around aimlessly, and a petting zoo?! Toni’s heaven. We were there the entire day and we didn’t want it to end. We ate cotton candy and frozen lemonade, took silly photos in cutouts, and gushed over every animal that looked our way.
Encinitas stole our heart. It’s a small surf town thirty minutes from San Diego filled with coffee shops, vintage stores, yummy food, and lovely beaches. We went to a beautiful garden there called the Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage and Meditation Gardens. What a mouthful. We caught the sunset from the cliffside before getting dinner with our friends Lex and Loren. We all met up for East coast style pizza and chowed down while giggling over how adorable their one year old son Arrow is.
If you’re visiting San Diego and you’ve got a pup, you have to find the secret dog beach by Sunset Cliffs. We don’t know the name of it, we just followed the lead of others, but it’s great! We followed some surfers down the sketchy cliffside and made our way across the bed of rocks until we reached the sand. Toni wasn’t prepared, in her dress and sandals, but she survived! Willow freaked. It was her dream come true. A huge beach with ten other dogs and no way to escape, so mum and dad weren’t yelling at her to stay close all the time!
Superbowl!! The Super Bowl was perfectly timed with a visit from our friends Paul and Katie. We met up at a sports bar in downtown San Diego and all yelled at the screen together while rooting for our hometown team and snacking on appetizers. We were definitely the only Pats fans in the bar… which only made it more fun. Paul and Katie came back to the Toaster after for a celebratory dinner and bonfire. It was so nice to have friends around. Especially friends who hadn’t seen the Toaster yet! We made plans to see each other again in Los Angeles and said our sad goodbyes.
We gave ourselves a lot of time in San Diego. You have to, there’s so much to do! We also washed the Toaster, explored Sunset Cliffs, ate lots of Acaí bowls, got banana lattes with Toni’s old friend Mary, popped in and out of antique stores in Ocean Beach, ate Phó at OB Noodle House, went on a tour of the haunted Whaley House, and reveled in the fact that it was February and we got to wear shorts and a t-shirt every day. San Diego was the ideal introduction to Southern Cali.