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September 18, 2023

Birthdays and Idyllwild

With Fran returning on Monday evening, Marty and I had a couple days to hangout.  A couple of the adventures we did include Queen Califia's Magical Circle.  It is only open when docents are available on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month.

Located within Kit Carson Park in Escondido.  It is fun to see the artist interpretation of the legendary queen that California is named after.  This is Queen Califia on her eagle.

The underside of the eagle represents the universe.

I did a more complete blog on Queen Califia’s Magical Circle HERE.

We turned our outing into a long loop with a stop to visit the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory  Once inside there are another 70 steps to the viewing area.

We continued over Mt Palomar and past Lake Henshaw.

With a brief stop at Dudley’s, we made our way to Edwards Vineyards, my favorite local fermenter.  We'll test the 'Original 2017 Syrah' (old vine) against the '2017 New Syrah' (new vine), and a 2017 Cab ... just because.

Victor Edwards died of cancer last December and his widow Beth Edwards is now making a go of it on her own.  I’ll certainly visit again and check out her releases. 

We celebrated both Marty’s and Fran’s birthdays in Idyllwild near Mt San Jacinto. 

The Manzanita Cantina easily has the best Margarita on the hill. 

And they offer FREE birthday shots!

Fran skipped the tequila shot, but enjoyed Happy Birthday sung in Spanish.


Tahquitz Peak is the signature photo of the area.  There certainly is no shortage of granite boulders in the area.

Strolling the shops at The Fort is an easy way to see some of the tourist traps.

There are over 50 whimsical deer sculptures around the town, but I only saw this one unicorn.

The small Farmer’s Market had a nice selection of veggies and citrus, but little else.  These are brought up from the farm in Riverside, providing fresh to the locals.

Marty and Juanita taking a break in town

At 11 weeks post-surgery ... finally my FIRST hike.

OK it was just the 1 mile Nature Trail, but with my boots on and a hiking stick it indeed counts!  Our favorite hike up here is the Earnie Maxwell Scenic Trail.

But the reason for this trip, was not just the birthdays … We wanted to do the Idyllwild Home Tour supporting their Historical Society.

The Southern California AAA Westways magazine did an article on the tour that most of SoCal must have seen.  It was a huge turnout.

My favorite was a 1928 cabin that retains the charm and period furnishing of that era.

The 500 sq ft cabin was used in the 1962 filming of Kid Galahad staring Elvis Presley.  The cabin has been in the same family since its construction, thus home to nearly a century of memories.

The most unique home was the Donaldson Futuro House.

The link details the restoration and moving of the house from San Diego to its present location on a granite outcropping.  It is on the California Register of Historic Places.

Relaxing by a campfire is often the best part of camping.

The blog of a previous visit to Idyllwild offers more information on the town and the Ernie Maxwell Trail can be found HERE.  As mentioned in that link we hike the trail up to Heber Park and return.  There is also a link to John and Sharon's hike 'backwards'.

And of course fish tacos:


September 05, 2023

a Week of Me Time …

A nephew was trusted to a key to Marty’s home in Mazatl├ín.  He knew in advance that the house needed attention and I closed my last post with his departure via CBX.

It turns out the nephew rented out the house!  The damage included the missing copper plumbing and an empty water tank!  It’s all been repaired and the locks have been changed.

He’s back keeping me company while Fran remains in Ohio and Juanita in Mexico.

I have the PRONTO app on my phone, which I can use for the San Diego trolley, or any of the county bus services.  Fran has the PRONTO card, but never used it.  Marty and Juanita will need either the card or tickets when we attend an up coming Padre game.

Since I also had a free ticket to the Home Show at the Convention Center, I decided it would be a good day to ride the trolley downtown and check out some of the methods of payment.

At my station at the bottom of Clairemont Drive I bought a S/D/M ( Senior or Disabled or Medicare) ticket - Marty and Fran will need this, Juanita is still an Adult ticket.

Max fare $3 per-day

At a $1.25 each way, or $3 max on any single day, it’s far less expensive than driving.

Clairemont Drive is on the Blue Line, to reach the Convention Center I’ll need to switch to the Green Line in Old Town, just 2 stops away.


The home show was quite lame.  As a home owner my ticket was free.  But the pressure to replace all my windows or go solar was nearly all that was there.

From there I took the walking path on the north side of the Center to the Rady Shell for a FREE concert.  Marty and I have tickets here the day he returns.

The Shell sits in Jacob’s Park along the San Diego Bay.

I’m trying to increase my step count a few times a week.  After enjoying the FREE performance I walked (slowly) to Seaport Village to board the trolley there.  Thus reversing the route, back to old Town.

A post surgery high !!!

Bara Bara is the probably the closest restaurant to the Old Town trolley stop.   They have a nice house Margarita.  That was just right with my tamale, and the stop is included with my 2-hr north-bound trolley pass.

On Sunday the junior OTL was taking place at Fiesta Island.

A nice turnout of mostly friends and family to watch the kids.

OTL can be taken as an elective in the local schools.  It’s quite popular!  The kids can start young!

I found a packet of Macadamia nuts in the freezer!  I decided to chop some and make turtles for the upcoming birthdays.

Alas, only 2 caramels were in the package I bought!  Somebody with a sweet tooth raided it!  So I mixed the 2 caramels with the chocolate to form a combined caramel body and chocolate shell.

That SOOO did not work!  Gooey and sticky.  The turtle shell needs to be hard.

Also while in the freezer I found a serving of salmon!  Whoot! I grilled it to make my own version of the fabulous sandwich at Point Loma Seafoods.  They have a great tarter sauce there but I had to make my own, using jalapenos and cilantro in place of pickles and parsley.

For my last lunch of My Time, I whipped up a BLAT.  Typically Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato, but I kicked it up with cheddar cheese and fresh jalapeno.


Altho no pictures I also had the clutch replaced in Fran’s Jeep.  We managed well over 2 decades on the original clutch, but is was starting to slip.

That was my Me Time!!!

I picked up Marty at CBX Saturday afternoon.  Once he was settled we headed to the trolley for a return to the Rady Shell.  I've been with Fran to several Selena tributes, but this time it would be a full pheromonic orchestra backing her, not the family band.  Selena remains "The Queen of Tejano Music", altho there are many great Texans of Latino decent musicians. 

The songs were selected to accommodate the backup orchestra, but dang she was good!

Most tributes skip Como la Flor as the notes are difficult and hard to hold … She nailed it!

And a chance to re-celebrate Aj’s 18th birthday!

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Meals at Buca di Beppo are ordered family style.  We ordered SMALL antipasto salad, chicken parmesan and stuffed shells (cheese and sausage).  Each SMALL serves 3.  So much food left over!

Aj did some research to find birthday free-bees.  Buca offers $20 off the meal tab and a FREE desert.


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We all helped a bit ...

Plus a fun attention grabbing birthday salute.

That was a great Me Week!  Juanita and Fran both return this week.