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California: my first visit (part two)

(Part 1 is here.)

After being turned away from our favored approach to Laguna Beach, we approached the town the next morning after breakfast, and I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. That morning, we saw no evidence of the rock festival or the police action from the night before, just gently rolling waves.

The rest of the time in California is a visual collage in my mind. Elements of the visit included:

  • – a visit to Lake Elsinore, in which my roommate Dave and I won the tosses and got to sleep in the truck. The others froze in the tent at the higher elevation (this was December, after all.)
  • – Disneyland
  • –  camping on the beach bluffs at San Elijo State Beach and a quick side trip to San Diego proper
  • –  sleeping in the gutter on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena (to reserve our spot), after watching the alternative parade the night before the Rose Parade, then watching the Rose Parade itself
  • – watching the Rose Bowl Game itself. Ohio State lost to StanfordJim Plunkett had a good day. We heard the crack of OSU’s Jack Tatum hitting a Stanford player from half a field away and 42 rows up in the end zone. An ambulance took the player away. I hoped he was all right. After the game, I plucked a few blades of grass from the rose on the 50-yard line for a souvenir.
  • – hearing of an approaching blizzard while we traveled home. We had no chains for the truck. Chains and studded snow tires were forbidden in Ohio because they destroy the roads. We had to get through California’s mountains before the blizzard closed the roads. We did.

Although we had escaped California before the blizzard hit the mountains, we were not home yet! The blowing snow of the blizzard was so strong at the edge of the Grand Canyon that we could not see the Canyon! Near the Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona, the land was so flat that we had Ron kick snow off the road in front of the truck to make sure that we were still on the road. In Texas, we were pulled over by the Texas Rangers because two men in a matching pickup truck had killed a law enforcement officer in Las Vegas the night before. Once the rangers saw the other three members of our party, in the back of the truck, they easily believed our story. The blizzard had turned to rain as it moved east, and much of the rest of the way home was very wet, but we arrived safely.

The trip to California obviously made a lasting impression. The details of the trip are true. I have learned to use “Credo quia absurdum” when evaluating such stories. When I think about the dangers of such a blizzard now, I also realize that we were very lucky, as well.

I used to tell people that I live in the Bay Area because I could not afford to vacation here. :-) In any case, I am fortunate to have one of the most geographically diverse states as my photographic subject.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo

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