Out and About

You can almost get confused out here as to which season it is – is it Thanksgiving?   or Christmas?   (Photos taken on the same day, same store).

The roadside pumpkin selling patch has now restocked with Fresh standing in water Christmas trees… and on Black Friday there was a cheer at the first sighting of a large Christmas tree lashed to the roof of a saloon car…

At the Carlsbad Outlet Mall last week (November 13th) the central Christmas tree was being constructed, a crane about to position the topmost section on the frame.


One of the many highlights of the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from New York was the singing Christmas tree.  In America Thanksgiving heralds the start of “the holiday season”, so from now on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales dominate retail activity.

A trawl through some leaflets picked up at the San Marcos City Center provided a new location to visit. Remember the Mission visit last year  and the year before?  Well, about 50 miles further north up the coast, in Orange County, is the San Juan Capistrano Mission, the seventh of the 21 missions created by the Spanish in the late 1700s / early 1800s. This beautiful and carefully preserved place is fondly regarded as “the Jewel of the Missions”.

The approach to the Mission is dominated by a view of the large white Basilica,     a Roman Catholic church built in the same shape but to a larger scale than the Great Stone Church,     which was ruined by an earthquake in 1812, only six years after completion.  The building’s collapse took the lives of 40 worshippers, an event commemorated every year.

The Mission welcomes visitors from all nations and backgrounds. Three yellow buses parked outside had transported fourth graders on a school visit.     The Great Stone Church (the oldest standing stone building in the state of California) is an atmospheric place. Some fine detail at the tops of the pillars is still visible. 

An impressive sight is the Campanario or bell wall.     The two largest bells are replicas, while the two smaller ones and the two hanging at a lower level at the bell tower end are originals.   The bells are rung on nine special days each year, the most noted being on March 19th when the return of the migratory cliff swallows from Argentina is celebrated. (Bird lovers, see the cliff swallow facts and the legend surrounding their return here.)

There are extensive buildings      containing exhibits from the Mission’s past – religious artefacts and celebrated art work, and displays which detail the period of secular ownership and the harsh lives of the frontier soldiers sent to guard the Mission.


(Oh, George Vancouver, his statue was seen just 6 months ago in King’s Lynn ).

Inside the 1782 Serra Chapel

Inside the Basilica (completed 1986)

California gained fame in the Gold Rush era, from 1848 onwards and there’s a gold pan on display in the Mission.    90 miles further south east is Julian, a small mountain town perched 4,000 feet above sea level. Here a stone crushing machine on the sidewalk is a visible reminder of the town’s mining history.   Many individual properties are recorded and celebrated by the Julian Historical Society. 

Julian now is famed for its apples – and especially for the Julian Apple Pie Company.     A Julian Dutch Apple Crumb and a Julian Cherry Apple Pie were mandatory Thanksgiving Day desserts in this household…

Julian is now a tourist hotspot  – and on a Friday morning sporty Porsches occupied much of the street parking.     Did their owners too derive similar pleasure from spying business signs such as these: Hog Heaven  Buffalo Bill’s    and Pistols and Petticoats.   There’s a particular directness about some window signs. 

although this sign (in Carlsbad) was far more polite: 

Exactly how recent this notice in Julian is wasn’t clear,     but in areas prone to wildfire a campaign for more firefighting resources is understandable. “I lost my home, everything, in the 2003 fire,” the steward at a small art gallery explained. The previous evening electricity was restored to the town after a 3½ day power cut made by the energy company as a precaution against stray sparks during the very high winds.

Out and about elsewhere these forms of transport have been spotted: a beach buggy at traffic lights near Highway 101    and at Oceanside on the Strand a three-wheeled Slingshot Rover vehicle,   a four person pedal cycle    and a prettily painted police car   …

Some six or seven years ago there was a child orientated trip to Downtown San Diego to visit the New Children’s Museum. Cal Guy Jnr had no memory of it and although it caters for tots and upwards he found it hugely enjoyable    in a bouncing,     exploring,    brick-balancing sort of way.




The Museum building is stunning, the internal art designs even more so…



Some other sightings out and about: unfamiliar food on the meat counter, 

drone flying at Walnut Grove Park,       

walking trail courtesy sign at Double Peak   and the solitary Double Peak tree: 

There was a customary bucket and spade visit west to Oceanside on Monday.  Students from Cal State San Marcos University and Palomar College were having a beach outing too.      Cal Guy Snr has taken to carrying a camera    – and he’s kindly granted permission to use some of his shots… 


As to whether there’ll be chance for any more ocean views before departure next week, who knows…



In news from the UK  a dear boating friend Jaq Biggs has decided to return to the US. Many boating friends have very fond memories of Jaq, of Les and of their boat nb Valerie which is now up for sale. See here  http://boatlife.blogspot.com/ on her blog for details and here for her Facebook account. https://www.facebook.com/groups/215385865269701/permalink/1415264338615175/

NB Valerie 58 feet long, semi-trad. Built in 2006

Please, serious enquiries only. All reasonable offers considered:  asking price £44,500.00 ONO

To see pictures with more details please visit Canal & River Boats 4 Sale FB  page.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/215385865269701/permalink/1415264338615175/










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