Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home Is Where The Heart Is

As many of you know, we just returned from a whirlwind trip to southern California. It was very nice and also very strange at the same time. I guess maybe it's always that way when you go away from home.

First off, I would like to say that we love the San Diego area very much. It is the part of CA I have spent the most amount of time in. John has spent more time in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area as he lived in Ojai when he first got out of the Air Force. He is a bigger fan of the SD area though. :) We also liked San Francisco very much the one time we were there. The weather is wonderful at this time of year. So nice and cool. We actually brought our jackets with for the evening but we decided not to wear them because we were enjoying being a little chilly for a change. Sean was actually complaining that he was cold the whole time but then the first words out of his mouth at the rest area by El Centro were, "I wish we could go back to the cool in San Diego." LOL

I personally find the Sulphur Springs Valley to be the most beautiful place on the face of the earth. It is where I grew up. It is where my parents' ashes are scattered. In short, it is home and is beautiful to me. After that I believe I would have to say the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego is pretty hard to beat. The ocean in general is beautiful to me. My father loved the ocean and I was raised to hold its beauty in my heart and also to respect its strength. Sorry, Sean, for scolding you about not having proper reverence for it but it does NOT look like a giant bath in any way, shape or form and it is NOT only interesting when you can see ships. There is something about staring out into the ocean that makes one realize just how minute we are in the grand scheme of things. It boggles my mind to think that the same Creator who came up with the beauty of the Pacific Ocean also came up with the beauty of the Arizona deserts. So completely different and yet both so spectacularly beautiful, particularly at sunset.

I do have a couple of questions about California driving though, the first being: Who is the yutz who settled on 70 MPH for the speed limit? It is virtually impossible to hold a car at that speed. Cars, at least every car I have ever owned, prefer speeds that end in a 5. Of course, once you get further into California this becomes a moot point as it's not often that you get to bring the car up to full speed and the traffic between San Diego and Los Angeles comes to periodic standstills, which brings me to my next question.

What is the reason for the traffic coming to a standstill? Here in Arizona traffic comes to a standstill for three things: 1. An accident involving serious injury or death, 2. A severe dust storm which brings visibility to zero, or 3. A truck whose load has shifted and dumped into the road rendering passage impossible. Outside of these three occurrences we keep it moving. EVERY time the traffic slowed to a stop when we were out there we watched when it started moving again and it was either somebody with a flat tire, a small--and I mean SMALL--fender-bender, CHP had somebody pulled over on the side of the road or NOTHING. With all due respect, folks, glance sideways, say, "Well, they're having a bad day today. Thank you, God it isn't us," say a small prayer for those involved and KEEP MOVING.

We also noticed that if one gets hungry on the freeway in CA it is quite possible to die of starvation when there are plenty of places to eat. Here in AZ if you are hungry you can watch the blue signs on the side of the road as you get close to the exits and they will announce not only that there is food, fuel and lodging at the exit but what restaurants, gas stations and hotels/motels are there. In CA it's best guess. There is no indicator and then as you're passing the exit you say, "Oh, gee, look! There was McD's, BK, and Jack." They're losing a lot of revenue. Your state is losing revenue as well. The companies pay the state to have their name/logo on the blue signs, folks. Great source of revenue for the state.

We also noticed that CA doesn't seem to have the infamous photo enforcement cameras. That is very nice. However, they would be a GREAT source of revenue for your financially-strapped state considering the lack of regard for traffic laws we witnessed during our short stay. Where we're from the lines in the road indicate the divisions where the cars are supposed to remain. When making a left turn at an intersection it is generally accepted world-wide that one goes in FRONT of the cars stopped at the light in the other direction. I have never in my life in AZ seen anyone go BEHIND a car waiting at the light and then go into their lane. I saw this on more than one occasion and on one occasion we were the car they were going behind. A little nerve-wracking to say the least. Also, as a general rule our motorcyclists don't lane-split. At one point on the interstate there were about 15 motorcycles in a line driving between our lane and the next lane. That's pretty dangerous, folks. I realize it's handy to be able to do it, however living is nice too.

It was nice to have our little sojourn in California, even though the reason for going was not a happy one. On the other hand, it is wonderful to be home even though it means back to dryness and triple-digit heat. No matter how wonderful the place you go on vacation is, you just can't beat HOME. After all, home is where the heart is.

I hope all is going well in everybody else's corner of the world.


MsCaroline said...

I'm with you on the ocean, Wilma. I could just sit and watch all day. However, in all fairness, we are not 11-year-old boys. He'll get it when he's older!
I also agree with all your CA driver observations - I hated driving in CA and always made Chan do it if possible. I have never lived anywhere where people made such frighteningly abrupt lane changes, either. Even in Boston it wasn't that bad. We finally figured out that, with as much traffic as they have out there, if you do not instantly move into a space the second it comes available, you lose it, so no time for such niceties as turn indicators and safe car distance and such.
Must confess I never noticed the 70mph thing and it didn't bother me. 70 is pretty common hwy speed limit in TX, though, so maybe I'm just used to it.
I have only been to LA and points south in CA, so I can't say anything about the northern half of the state, but our position on CA has always been that it is an absolutely lovely place to visit for a vacation, but we would never want to live there.
Glad you made it home safely and so happy that you had the opportunity to go.

Karen said...

Really enjoyed your blog, Wilma and am glad that you were able to enjoy a bit of your time away, despite the very sad circumstances. So glad that John got to see his brother, you never get those chances back! I'm with you and Carolyne on the ocean, although I'm an East Coast, Atlantic Ocean kind of girl as you know. I know nothing of the my dismay, but just love the ocean and feel at my best when I am around it. I also love my New England, which has so much of everything...mountains, ocean, lakes, rivers, woods, farmland, cities. In fact, the only thing missing is the desert! Someday, I will get out your way and get my fill of the beautiful desert!
As for drivers...Massachusetts has some God Awful drivers and so does Rhode Island so we were pretty unfazed by the California drivers. The mountains are tough for me, too, though, since I also fear heights. I still remember being lost in Utah once, on a mountain all by myself with dusk approaching. Found my way by sighting on a town way down below and heading there...doing my darndest to keep it in sight. Finally found a recognizable road with a number attached and used my map to get back to Salt Lake City.
Being on vacation with a lot of people I can definitely understand your happiness to get home. I hate to see vaca end but am longing for my private home!! Am currently hiding in bedroom just for a little alone time. Of course, hubby decided he needed alone time too and is here with me. Enjoying just his company for a change. And a drink!


Wilma said...

We did notice that about the directional signals as well. Lane changes always seem to be made without them. Also, like you said, forget about leaving any sort of safe distance between you and the car in front of you 'cuz it ain't gonna happen. If there is possibly room to shoehorn a vehicle into it they will do it. LOL

Our speed limit here is 75MPH outside of town and 65 within a certain distance of the city. I forget exactly how far. 70 never enters the picture.

We love San Diego and I wouldn't mind living there EXCEPT for the driving and since that is such a large part of wherever one lives, I guess we'll be staying put. :)

Wilma said...

I hear you on New England, Karen. It is beautiful. After awhile though I start to feel closed in because of all the trees. My father felt that way in his native PA as well. When we would hit the TX border he would start singing, "Give me land, lots of land under starry skies above. Don't fence me in!" and he would sing that on and off all the way home. LOL As far as Boston, when I was about 9 or 10 we went there and we were going to the USS Constitution. We could see the bloody thing but we couldn't get to it. We must have circled and not found the exit about half a dozen times. We finally did make it though. LOL

As far as deserts, my uncle told me there is one in Maine (I think that's where he said). He said it looks a lot like here but no cactus. You should come out and see ours though. Arizona is much prettier than Utah, IMHO.

Karen said...

I have heard of that desert, Wilma, and some family members have been there. I refuse to think of it as a real desert, though, and imagine it as a huge sand pit..LOL. I'm probably wrong so I should at least go there some day! It's a lot closer than Arizona. Gotta go...last night of vacation and we are going out to eat after eating in all week. Tomorrow we head home!

Mel R said...

I lived in Orange County for 12 years and it's where I primarily learned to drive. Lol It is different there than other places I've been or lived although I think Boston wins hands down for worst place to drive. Yeesh. As for 70 many gets here in WA are that.

Wilma said...

I had forgotten that Orange County was your adopted home, Mel. You must like living in places with crazy drivers. :) I remember being in CO Springs years ago and they were pretty crazy there. I haven't driven in Boston but from a passenger's point of view I would have to agree with you on the driving there.