We left off in our catch-up posts in Phoenix, where Dad flew out to Pittsburgh for his FIRST business trip since Retty2Roam launched. A bit of history for you; Dad used to go on business trips all. the. time. He was rarely home, especially earlier in his career. Well, after transitioning jobs and going full-time he never needed to leave home on business because we came with him, home and all. So, the situation with him leaving for PA was: we had NO idea what to do with ourselves. School (obviously), but what do you do when your schedule is missing a whole person?? Not to worry, we figured it out, and soon enough he was back home safe and sound.
Once we got moving after Dad’s return and almost two weeks in Phoenix, we booked it to California. Us kids were excited to see the Pacific coastline, mostly because we were raised on the Atlantic and couldn’t wait to see the other side! We had to make it through eastern CA, and Joshua Tree NP was on the radar.
Joshua Tree was a park that we had heard a lot about. Many other fulltime families were raving about how cool the hikes were and the “grippy rocks”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that great for us:( Maybe it was the time of year we chose to go, or the location that it’s in, or perhaps we were OVER being in the desert, but we felt that the park was just a little over-hyped. First, it was in the middle of nowhere (literally)–which usually isn’t a problem; almost every NP we’ve been to is in the middle of nowhere, but this “middle of nowhere” was a dust bowl. We decided that the one thing we couldn’t stand about the desert was the lack of green, and this took the cake. We had seen enough desert by now. The trees themselves were cool (if not a little funky-looking) and California is apparently the only place they grow! The best part of that whole excursion was the “grippy rocks”. More like boulders, the surface of those boulders was much like asphalt; your sneakers stuck to it like Velcro! There was a huge pit of them, so we spent the entire afternoon climbing in, around, and under rocks. Best part of the day.
We didn’t want to stick around the town of Joshua Tree too long (it was sketchy), so we spent maybe two nights there and that was plenty. We decided to boondock for a few days afterward because Mom had researched a little place in the desert called Saw Tooth Canyon where there was supposed to be more climbing rocks and we felt like exploring it.
Saw Tooth Canyon was a super cool boondocking spot. It was lined with really jagged rocks, which made it a hub for rock climbers. For those who were a bit less experienced (like us) it offered huge, very climbable rocks that allowed us to see for miles! We were on top of the world; and it felt great. What we weren’t anticipating was the level of excitement we would experience later on….
After a full day of climbing and eating popsicles, we were all getting ready for bed. It was around 10:00, and the Retty’s were winding down. All of the sudden, everyone looked up to see bright lights coming through the skylights. What in the world? We looked out the windows and saw a helicopter circling our rig with its searchlights. Cars and trucks went zooming past our campsite through the canyon. Dad called the CHP (California Highway Patrol) and multiple Sherriff’s offices to see what was going on, all of which informed us that they knew nothing and had no choppers flying. We were also informed that nobody knew who’s jurisdiction we were in. As a result, we never found out if it was truly a manhunt, but we are confident that it was federal of some sort. The next morning Mom and Dad got us up bright and early and we booked it out of there and ran to the beach!
Oceanside is a little town outside of San Diego in Southern California. So far, we weren’t really loving CA so much (as you could probably imagine), and pulling into our site at Paradise by the Sea was a breath of fresh air. It was the nicest campground we had be to in a while, and we all loved it. The nearby town of Carlsbad was awesome too, especially since we found an incredible pizza place (Best Pizza and Brew). It was also the very first place we saw the Pacific Ocean, and may I just say, it was COLD!
From there, we moved closer into San Diego for Dad to be able to go to his office. It was a very nice campground called Santee Lakes, and beacuse we were so close to the city, we could do some exploring. We even discovered the BEST pizza we’ve ever tasted and it was HUGE! This 28″ giant couldn’t fit on any surface in our rig; we could barely even fit it through the door!
We were all so excited to see So Cal, so we decided to check out the city and the Carbrillo National Monument. The monument itself was a little underwhelming, but the museum was very informative. If it hadn’t been so cloudy I would have said that my favorite part was the view. We dressed up in Spanish armor and the boys were sworn in as Cabrillo Ntnl. Monument Junior Rangers.
The next day we went to LaJolla, the town Dr. Seuss called home. We went to a museum that featured many of his original works of art and some of his cartoons before they were published. He had some funky sketches and some surprisingly dark paintings in his collection. We even caught a glimpse of some truffula trees…
We also had the privilege of watching a couple of sea lions play near the shoreline! They were adorable, splashing everywhere, and totally oblivious to the many cameras snapping away. You can’t really see them in the pictures, but we did our best!
Even though our CA adventures didn’t start out on a great note, we still had fun. SoCal had AMAZING produce, and the best pizza. We’ll be posting yet another “catch-y’all-up post” soon about the most epic hike we’ve ever taken, sponsored by the lovely Yosemite National Park. Thanks for reading!