Rocognize this girl? Posing at Torrey Pines in San Diego

Recognize this girl? Posing at Torrey Pines in San Diego

It’s hard to believe we’re already 1 week into 2013. The time just seems to fly by (a sign of age, perhaps?) and we’ve been busy as a swarm of S.CA bees in an RV honey hive. You see at the end of Dec we received a rather impulsive visit from my Danish cousin, Christina. If you’ve been following the blog for a while you’ll remember this young lady from adventures on the OR coast this summer, and a memorable tale of sore buttocks in the Rockies of CO from 2010. She’s a travellin’ lover and jumped at the chance to see us in CA this winter. A ticket and 20 hours later she was here and ready to take S.CA by storm.

So what do you get up to in San Diego with two Danish gals on the loose? Well, we had a couple of cool adventures that I can now bring you up to date on:

1/ Day-Trip To Los Angeles

Sunset at Venice Beach

Sunset at Venice Beach

I fully admit I have a love-hate relationship with LA. I love the diversity there, but man-oh-man do I hate that traffic. It almost killed us last time we drove through the city, so it was with some trepidation that I agreed to take a day-trip w/ the toad to see the sights. I mean seeing LA is something every tourist has gotta do, at least once right? So I braced myself for the ride and planned a manageable itinerary with some cool sights.

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On the not-exactly-legal trail to the sign

We started with a trip to the famous Hollywood sign where we promptly got lost on our hike (well, because I’m me), ended up on a road with warnings that there was “absolutely no access to the Hollywood sign” (a natural invitation to walk there, of course) followed by other warnings that it was completely illegal to hike this path (an obvious encouragement) followed by various other decisively discouraging signs that naturally led us to a perfect path right to the base of the sign….AWESOME!

C-20121230 Los Angeles (23) (JPG)

Posing with the star-prints on Hollywood Road

After our rebellious trek we dropped back to Hollywood Blvd to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We managed to squeeze the CRV into a ridiculously small, but free parking spot (the equivalent of hitting the LA jackpot) and massed our way through the throng of crowds to put our hands in the cement imprints of the stars and gawk at all the various performers dressed in outrageous costumes posing for money. COOL!

Having satisfied our star-lust we decided on a slower pace and made our way over to Venice Beach to end the day with a glass and some people-watching on the promenade. Exactly the kind of eclectic mix of color and roller-skating beach-goers that originally bought me to California. Just before sunset an impromptu drum-jam started up on the sand swelling to a mass of 50 people jiving and grooving with the beats (and a bit of ganga thrown in, by the smells of it). GROOVY!

A pretty neat day, despite 5 hours of frustrating driving…like I said…totally love-hate relationship!

Late PM glow at Venice Beach

Late PM glow at Venice Beach

2/ Adventures On The Water

And she's up!!!

And she’s up!!!

San Diego is one of the best places to play in the water. With miles of beach, tons of killer surf breaks and protected bays you can splash just about any way you wish. Our first day on the water we took Christina for a surf lesson on the beautiful long-board break by San Elijo State Beach. She finished with jello arms, but managed some good stands on the board and was totally captivated by the sport (I see surfing in Denmark in her future). Our next day out we switched pace and went kayaking in gorgeous La Jolla Bay. We learned our lesson from our last visit and rented from Bike & Kayak insted of taking a tour this time, opting for a liesurely 2-hour paddle around the sea caves and giant kelp at our own pace. While we were floating in the bay we were visited by a family of seals who curiously popped their heads around the kayaks, sniffed the boats and swam underneath to check us out…just fabulous!

3/ Adventures On Land

With near-perfect weather the entire week we opted for a few extra adventures on land including a 14-mile bike-ride around Mission Bay, a gorgeous hike in Torrey Pines State Reserve (totally worth it for the wacky sandstone cliffs and the rare pines) and trips to the various beach towns. It’s hard to beat the coastal winter views in San Diego!

4/ Adventures In Urban Parks

I gushed poetic about the urban parks in San Diego last year (here and here), so I had to take Christina to see a few of them during her time here. We managed a gorgeous day (with doggie in tow) to Balboa Park followed by another day at the San Diego Zoo. The latter was actually a first time visit for me. I’ve always been partial to the bigger San Diego Safari Park up north (and I still think the Safari Park is an overall cooler experience), but I enjoyed our time at the Zoo in town. Our Zoo experience was also rather enlightening in other ways as we caught a couple of giant turtles “getting jiggy with it” (always wondered how they managed) and sampled Kalhua & Bailey coffee’s (yes, I recommend).

In the artists colony at Balboa Park

In the artists colony at Balboa Park

Christina catches a shot of the giant turtles right before “the action” starts

5/ Adventures In RV Socializing

Drinking with "the crew" in Mission Bay RV Resort

Drinking with “the crew” in Mission Bay RV Resort

No visit to “the beast” would be complete without a bit of RV socializing thrown in. We’ve got several RV buddies in the park (Hans&Lisa, Alex&Ellen, Wendy&James, Sue&Dave) and I decided to bring them all together with the invitation to a special Danish spiced-wine concoction…Glögg. It’s typically a Christmas-season drink so I was a bit late in the making, but figured I could pass it off with the non-initiated locals. Also I happen to have my mother’s super-secret, extra-potent (even by Danish standards) but deceiving smooth recipe which is guaranteed to get any party in a good mood. And indeed no-one noticed the lapse in protocol. In fact after several glasses of the fine fusion, the festive spirit was firmly re-ignited and a jolly good time declared by all.

And that….phew!…is what two Danes get up to in a week in S.CA. We’re winding down our last few days here in San Diego before we pick up and rock back to boondocking in the desert. We’ve got an adventure in Mexico lined up for you (with tips on how to get inexpensive quality dentistry work) and a trip to the largest RV gathering on earth. See you soon….

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Kayaking La Jolla Bay

By Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach

By Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach

Stilt-walkers on Venice Beach

Stilt-walkers on Venice Beach

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Drum-jam on Venice Beach

Glass of white sangria on Venice Beach

Enjoying a glass on Venice Beach

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It’s Shrek!!

My tootsies enjoy some sun in La Jolla Bay

Toes in the sun in La Jolla Bay

Colorful Balboa Park

Colorful Balboa Park

An alert Mircat at the zoo

An alert Mircat at the zoo

Pink Flamingo reflections

Pink Flamingo reflections

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37 Responses to Two Danes & A Week in S.CA

  1. Christina Fussing says:

    Thanks for everything, it was awesome 10 days :o) Hope to see you again soon – maybe in Denmark ;-)

  2. jil mohr says:

    lucky cousin…..

  3. Wow! What a fun-filled visit! Your relatives are so lucky to have you as such an awesome tour guide. I especially love the photo with Shrek :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, we had a blast. It was fun to go sightseeing for a week, but we’re ready to slow down and get back out to the desert. Only a few more days left and then we’ll be boondocking again!
      Nina

  4. Donna K says:

    At least if you got caught on the trail to the Hollywood sign, you could pretend you didn’t understand the English signs and just talk to them in Danish. What are they going to do to two beautiful Danes LOL?? Looks like a great time. I enjoyed reading about your adventures. You know for sure I will be looking for those Mexican dentist posts!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Indeed, playing the Danish card was our cunning plan in case we got caught. We did see some helicopters swooping down during our hike and started getting a little nervous, but we managed to get out before any kind of red lights appeared. Definitely will give you all a FULL update on the Mexico dentist trip. This will be our 1st time and we’re very interested in the outcome.
      Nina

  5. Janet says:

    Great ideas of thing to do in in Southern California! Thanks

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s a very diverse place. We lived in San Diego for a while before RVing so we have a good feel of the city here. It remains one of my fav cities in CA (San Francisco is my other fav).
      Nina

  6. Gunta says:

    I’ve had friends rave about the great, cheap dental work to be had south of the border. I’ll be very interested in your take!
    I treated myself to a trip to the San Diego Zoo for my 30th birthday (far too many years ago to even consider). I don’t think they even had the Safari back in that day. I loved it. My thoughts of LA driving tilt far more to hate, especially since I’ve been living in the boonies for so long where folks stop in the middle of the road to chat…. ;)

    • libertatemamo says:

      You know I believe my patience for traffic is getting lower and lower. We communted in heavy traffic for 7 years (from San Francisco to San Jose and back), and that pretty much killed any kind of patience I had with it. I think Christina noticed my irritation w/ the LA traffic haha….hard to keep it in check. This one visit will probably satisfy me for at least the next 10 years until some kind of folly persuades me to visit LA again :)
      Nina

      • Gunta says:

        I learned to drive in Boston (!!!) and commuted from Berkeley to San Francisco for roughly five years. After that I started moving out into the boonies, beginning with Placerville. I drove back East about a year ago and the traffic really spooked me. I’ll be heading down through the Bay Area to Big Sur in a few weeks. Not looking forward to dodging the crazies on the way down.

        • libertatemamo says:

          Boston!!! Oh yeah, that’s some crazy traffic for you! Hope you’re trip to the Bay Area goes OK. The traffic definitely tends to freak me out a bit after spending weeks in the boonies. I’m guessing I can look forward to some cool beach shots from Big Sur on your blog?
          Nina

  7. ToRn says:

    psst! It’s “ganja”! Maybe you was inhaling too deeply? ;)

  8. Bob Nuttmann says:

    I think I like the Downtown Zoo a slight bit better than the Safari Park. It is only 20 minutes drive for me. It is such a wonderful oasis of jungle to get lost in, in the middle of a huge city. I volunteer there frequently and I get such a tremendous “boost” meeting and talking to hundreds of smiling people from all over the World and I help them get un-lost in the “Lost Forest”.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I really did enjoy my day there and it IS amazing that you can find so much green in the middle of the city.
      Nina

  9. Now you are indeed a great hostess. And if im getting your hint right, it looks like QZ is on the horizon this month. If it is then will try to catch up with you at Dome Rock or somewhere in the area. Also would like to hear about quality dental work. We are heading closer to the border in a week.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Indeed Q is on the list!! Looks 90% likely we’ll be there by the end of the month. Haven’t exactly decided on a spot, but Dome Rock will probably be high on the list. Would love to see you there!
      Nina

  10. heyduke50 says:

    it always amazes me how empty that RV park is considering what a great location it is for a few winter months

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, I love the fact that there are so many open spaces here in winter. Really one of my fav spots in the city, despite the “parking lot” atmosphere.
      Nina

  11. So how much time did you spend on this vacation stuck in traffic? I can understand why you brought along the Glögg

    • libertatemamo says:

      It wasn’t too bad. The only real traffic was on our one day-trip to LA. That was a 5-hour day with at least 1 hour spent in bumper-to-bumper. Other than that nothing too bad. San Diego traffic is fine as long as you stay out of rush hour.
      Nina

  12. Peggy says:

    You didn’t go to Solvang??

  13. Kathy says:

    Hi Nina and Paul, OMG it has been 39 years since we first tried Glogg, haven’t touched a drop since! LOL Grant’s boss was from Sweden and brought a big jar of Glogg to the company Christmas party! It must be an acquired taste! :) Enjoy So. CA! Kathy, Grant & Molly

    • libertatemamo says:

      Ahhhh…but you see Swedish Gloegg is not at all the same as Danish Gloegg. Well maybe there are similarities but my recipe most certainly beats them all :) You’ll have to try our version sometime.
      Nina

  14. Lee Hazell says:

    Hey – my name is Lee … I follow your post and love it. I started full-timing in May, just me and my goldendoodle, Rafiki. We began in NJ. Question for you – I’m in Santa Clarita and will head to San Diego for 2 wks on Feb. 1 as I move my way back east. I see you stayed at Mission Bay and wondered if you liked it. It looks like a big parking lot to me… I am currently reserved at Chula Hills. Do you know anything about that? Any feedback would be a big help, thanks so much. Keep Wheeling!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hi Lee,
      Congrats on the fulltiming!! Wonderful to “meet” you on the blog. With regards to San Diego there are really only 2 places we like to stay here, and it kinda depends on what you’re looking for.
      Santee Lakes lies ~30 mins out of town, but has lots of green & space. Great nature spot.
      Mission Bay RV Resort is pretty much a big old parking lot, but in a GREAT city location. Also it’s RIGHT next to several awesome dog beaches (PB & Fiesta Island).
      We tend to stay at one or the other depending on our mood. I’ve got reviews & pics of both spots HERE and HERE.
      Nina

    • libertatemamo says:

      By the way regarding your question about Chula Vista RV Park. It’s a very nice (well-rated) park and is nearby a good bike path and open space, but dogs are not allowed on the beach there (as far as I remember) so that’s one of the reasons we don’t stay there. For dog beach access we much prefer Mission Bay, even though the RV park is not as manicured.
      Nina

  15. Early Retirement Journey says:

    Your post made me fall in love with my native state all over again! :-)

    Is there somewhere here on your blog where you detail your photography background? Your photos are so lovely I’m wondering if you are actually a professional.

    -Tamara

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hi Tamara,
      Thanks so much for the lovely comment! I admit that I haven’t written much about my photography background. I did actually own a little biz where I did professional photography for a few years in Asia, but it was mostly food photography (with some event photography thrown in). My real passion is nature photos, but there’s not much money in it haha :) Still I LOVE doing it and this RVing journey gives me the chance to express that side of me. Glad you enjoy the shots!
      Nina

  16. Ray Burr says:

    Looks like a nice bike ride at Mission Bay, thanks for posting the link to the map. One question. How are the grades, is it a fairly flat area. We have cruiser type bikes so not so good if its hilly. Thanks Ray

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s pretty much ALL flat. Maybe just a bit of a curve as you go over the bridge, but totally do-able in a cruiser. Lovely bike-ride and I highly recommend it.
      Nina

  17. Cynthia Huff says:

    We have been at Mission Bay RV camping for two weeks, It is parking lot-like but great location for biking and walking and being near the bay. We needed some quiet, relaxing time, so have not been too social with those around us. I Love reading wheeling it.us, there is so much great information for those of us who are beginning. We are just starting a year or two exploration of the USA. The CA. coastline seems to be costly per night–even state parks—any solutions to this? Thank YOU!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Sadly the CA coast is expensive, especially the State Parks. We have not personally driven the coast, so I can’t give specific recommendations, but I do have some general ideas on where to look for cost savings:

      1/Casinos will often let you boondock for free. I know there some along the coastal route.

      2/ County Parks are often fairly priced ($20-25/night). Look for them in every county you pass.

      3/ County Fairgrounds are often inexpensive. Some offer even cheaper rates for dry camping.

      Hope that helps, let me know if you find any good deals!

      Nina

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