California Lovin’

Just two weeks ago I was basking in the California sun and enjoying the company of my grandparents whom I only get to see every few years. I wanted to write about my vacation sooner, but I received lots of homework and had to take lots of tests when I got back. On Thursday, February 12th, My dad and I arrived at the Orange County Airport, where my Uncle Gary picked us up. We first stopped at In-N-Out Burger and devoured our hamburgers and milkshakes, which were much better than the tasteless airplane food. Then we were off on the 2 and a half hour drive to Borrego Springs- a small town near Palm Springs where my Grandparents live. I tried to read To Kill a Mockingbird in the car, but apparently mountainous roads make it very hard to concentrate. We also stopped at Ranchita,  a small town in Southern California. There, we witnessed a giant big foot statue and were inclined to take pictures by it (image002.gif).  After stopping a few more times to observe beautiful views of the valleys and canyons in the area, we finally arrived at my grandparent’s house. I was so excited to see them! After catching up with them, my uncle, dad and I decided to play golf. As I live in Minnesota, I hadn’t golfed on real grass for at least four months. My grandparents live on the seventh hole of a course called De Anza Country Club. We played six holes, as it was already 4 pm, and then decided to go on a quick 3.5-mile run.

In Borrego, an artist named Ricardo Breceda created more than 100 huge sculptures of animals in the middle of the desert. On our 3.5-mile run, we decided to go see the Serpent Sculpture (anzaborrego_20121215__MG_8325_HDR-Edit-2-Edit_lg.jpg). Near the serpent, we participated in an activity, known as geocaching. It is basically a world-wide scavenger hunt where people hide “geocaches” (containers/objects) for others to find. You use can use a GPS or the Geocaching app to locate the “cache.” When you find one, you log it online at My dad, uncle, and I were able to find the geocache near the serpent. When we found it, we signed the log, replaced the cache, and were on our way back to the house.

That night, we at delicious beef stew for dinner. After dinner, we played Spanish bingo while eating cheesecake. As my dad and I were tired from all of the traveling, we went to bed somewhat early to get a good night’s rest for our busy day ahead.

We woke up at 7:30am on Friday morning.  After eating a light breakfast, my dad, uncle, and I ran about 3.25 miles to Christmas Circle (christmas-circle-panorama-6-26-12.jpg). The farmer’s market was already set up when we arrived. My uncle (Gary) and I split a chocolate donut, and I also ate the most delectable strawberries. Just thinking about the donut and strawberries make me hungry. We then drove home with my grandma (thankfully we didn’t run after eating that donut) and got ready for golf. Our tee time was at 10:00am sharp. Surprisingly, as I had not played golf for four months, I played pretty well! I managed to get two birdies, but was accused of “stealing” all of the birdies because no one else in my group got any. I loved riding in the golf cart with my grandma because I got to spend more time with her. Golf was so fun that day; just doing what I love with the people I love on a sunny, California day.

A 3.25 mile run around the golf course followed golf. We had a fun time throwing oranges and lemons while running, though I could hardly run because I was laughing so hard. Don’t worry, the oranges and lemons we threw around were found on the ground, not from the trees. After running, we played golf again. This time, we made up a game called “sorry,” where we switched shots. For example, my dad would hit my shot, my uncle would hit my dad’s shot, and I would hit my uncle’s shot. The was called “sorry” because if you hit a poor shot, you would say “sorry” to the person that had to hit your shot.

That night, we went to the fancy restaurant at the country club. I tried many new foods, including scallops, raw tuna, and even seaweed! (I was somewhat grossed out when I went to the beach a few days later and saw the green seaweed that had washed ashore. “I ate that?!”) When we got home, we watched family feud-some very interesting, but funny episodes-and then went to bed.

The next day was also very busy. Although my dad and uncle Gary went on a run that morning, I decided to stay home to make cinnamon muffins with my Grandma. After borrowing sour cream from one of the neighbors, (who would have thought, sour cream in muffins?!) we mixed, baked, and tasted the scrumptious muffins.

For lunch, we went to Jillberto’s, a small Mexican restaurant in town. I tried carne asada (chopped up, marinated beef steak) for the first time and it was delicious. Of course, I had to buy ice cream for dessert after, and then we were on our way to Palm Canyon. This is a very popular hiking trail in Borrego. All three of us hiked to the first palm oasis (about 1.5 miles) and then my dad turned back. Here is what the palm oasis looks like: 070127-132..jpg Uncle Gary and I kept going further up the canyon. The rocks get bigger, and there is no specified trial. It was an adventure! During this hike, we also saw about 5 big horn sheep, it was awesome! Since darkness was falling quick, we had to turn back eventually, though I wanted to continue. Overall, the hike was filled with laughs, nature, adventures, and beautiful sights.

When we arrived home, grandma had already prepared tacos and a salad. It was wonderful, especially after a long hike! For dessert, we ate chocolates because it was Valentine’s day. A walk on the golf course to see the stars with Uncle Gary was a great way to end an amazing day.

I couldn’t believe it was our last day in California when I woke up the next day. After breakfast, we said goodbye (it was hard!) and then left for the drive to Uncle Gary’s house. After driving on the mountainous roads again, I was very happy to be on the straight, flat highway again! When we finally arrived in Santa Ana and to Uncle Gary’s house, I got to see my Aunt Lisa. I hadn’t seen her in years. Gary and Lisa have been (and still are) renovating their house. Their house is so unique and I love it! Soon, we left to get lunch and go to the beach. I was so excited because Uncle Gary was going to teach me to surf! We stopped at Del Taco and then drove to Huntington Beach. (Sunset_at_Huntington_Beach.jpg)

When we arrived, we put on our wet suits, took the surf board, and waded into the water. The Ocean was awesome, but daunting. Some of the waves were huge! After MANY tries, I finally was able to stand up. It was great being able to ride the wave in to shore. However, the waves were a little too big for me after that because I was only a beginner. Even though I only stood up once, it was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again!

After we surfed, something very funny happened to us. We were all down by the water so no one was  watching our spot on the beach. All of the sudden, the seagulls swooped down, tore open the food bag, and rose up with my Uncle Gary’s burrito! Luckily my aunt ran back in time to save my taco. We were all laughing so hard. “There goes my burrito!” will be a statement I never forget.

When we FINALLY peeled off the wet suits, we went back to the house and got ready for dinner. We went to a small Italian place near their house. It was very tasty. I never wanted this vacation to end, however, so I was sad when we drove to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) later that night.

Even though it ended too soon, it was such an awesome experience. I got to see the people I love doing amazing things. I will truly never forget this trip.


3 thoughts on “California Lovin’

  1. Thanks Sydney – this is a great “post”. We loved the update on the Regalados and your pictures are great and add so much to your story! Love, A Ginia and U. Joe

    Sent from my iPad



  2. I am so happy for you, Sydney! What memorable experiences you had, especially those with your grandparents. Thank you for sharing–Love, A. Kath


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