Christmas on the beach – San Clemente / San Diego

Being born and raised in Central Oregon, near the mountains with real winters, I’m used to a, “White Christmas.”  In my brain, that’s normal and you can walk out and throw a snowball if you feel the urge.  Christmas 2017 was fairly typical, except for this short break we took south which was a total mind-bender.  We escaped to San Clemente / San Diego….

While the kids were home for Thanksgiving we all loaded up and went out in the forest to cut our Christmas tree.  That is an adventure all to itself, and is much more fun than going to a tree lot and buying an already month old, “model” tree.  I say it’s a model, because, no tree in the forest will ever be as pretty as one that has been groomed all it’s days to be the perfect tree….on a tree farm.  Farmed trees are like how our lives appear on Facebook, nothing short of perfection.  Out in the real world (forest) it’s not all glamour and like the trees, we have a few spots that are bare and others that bulge……..

When you need the top 10′ – Cut a 25′ tree

We are so incredibly blessed to have this vacation beach house that has been in Karla’s family for over 30 years. This is our basecamp for the San Clemente / San Diego trip.  As Karla so eloquently demonstrates, waking up to sit and watch for whales & dolphins is about as perfect start to the day as can be.

Since I have to work, and my boss keeps expecting me to show up at work more often than not……we don’t get to come here nearly as often as we’d like.  A quick break from the cold December at home was nicer than just wearing another layer.

Timing was off though.  I was recovering from some minor surgery and I wasn’t allowed to do any of the things we would normally do.  No zip lines, no roller coasters, no getting in the ocean….I could have thought this through much better.

 

 

We were able to go to Farmer’s Market

December and it’s Farmer’s Market

It’s only a one mile walk to town

Looking down to Califia State Beach and the train runs just below the house

The train goes by, but it doesn’t stop.  In fact there are two trains, Amtrak & Metrolink, the commuter line.  But I guess San Clemente is just not a priority for train travel.  It’s pretty easy to catch Metrolink north to Los Angeles, but we wanted to go south to San Diego.  

San Clemente Pier Train “Station”

There are two San Clemente stops.  At the far North end of town is the Metrolink platform.  At the pier is the Amtrak station.  The Amtrak station is really just a sidewalk beside the tracks, but that’s all we needed.

There is only one train per day that stops here, so your time is limited by the schedule.  It would have been nice to go early and have a longer day, but you take what you can get.

Amtrak along the beach

San Diego too much to see in one day

Old Town – Must See

Due to the train schedule, we only had about 5 hours to see San Diego.  Fortunately, the station is right in the middle of Old Town, and that’s one place you want to see. 

From there you could easily jump on a city bus and head downtown, but with limited time, we chose to wait until next time. 

 

After that grueling train ride, we must eat

Patio lunch in December will do just fine

And drink, so the engineer doesn’t need to….

Asking for no cheese at a Mexican restaurant….the second Margarita made me more tolerable

Note the hostess has a heater, for when it gets down to 60??

The Old Town courtyard

Of course there are museums

Lots of shops – Nibble All Vegan Chocolates

Nice display – What’s in your chocolate?

Those silly vegans are so simple!

So many restaurants and I’m stuffed already…Maybe one more margartia

Poinsettias run amock

All that walking, you gotta stop and rest

A, “Two Vegans” sticker finds a home

(This was outside of Old Town, I’m not that thoughtless as a vandal)

Old Town San Diego should be on your must see list.  But now we, must catch a train. 

San Clemente has waves

It has the moon over the ocean

Sunsets

But it has no snow, like our sidewalk.  That’s all I needed to know

Back to real life

And with that we returned to Bend, work & all that stuff that is, “Not Christmas on the Beach.”  

The real reason to come home

Life is Short, Start Living Now !

No matter how or where you find your happy place, just go.  No one on their deathbed ever says, “I wish I spent more time working.” 

Peace

Don & Karla