Happy New Year from California!

Trip Start May 14, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Lake Park Resort Lake Elsinore
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Joshua Tree National Park
Tournament of Roses Parade

Flag of United States  , California
Friday, January 11, 2013

We eased our way from Utah to Southern California to spend Christmas with our daughter and son-in-law.  It has been so nice to spend the special holidays with our family.  It's been nearly three years!  We were also able to visit some of the nearby parks, which we will highlight for you:

Joshua Tree National Park is the area where the Mojave Desert meets the Colorado Desert. Although there is a transitional zone between the two deserts, what makes it so remarkable is each of the deserts is completely different in landscape, elevation, wildlife and climate.  The temperatures can range from 85-50 degrees in the Spring and Autumn, 60-32 degrees in the Winter (it occasionally snows in the Winter), and 100-75 degrees in the Summer. There are several hiking paths, driving tours, campgrounds and opportunities for serious rock climbers.  And though it is a desert area, we were caught by a cold wind during our visit

Mission San Juan Capistrano is Orange County's only Mission--also referred to as the "Jewel of the Missions"--was founded in 1776.  Remember the song "When The Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" (OK, if you're under the age of 50, you are forgiven for not recognizing the title!)?  Well, the song was inspired by the unexplainable, and regular migration of the swallows from Argentina to the Mission's mud nests each year between March and April.  Naturally, visitors come from everywhere to witness this migration.

Tournament of Roses Parade.  For those of you who may have viewed the Rose Bowl Parade: we had the rare and wonderful opportunity,along with thousands of others, to volunteer our efforts--with our daughter and son-in-law--to contribute to the construction and decoration of some of the floats,which included the City of Los Angeles float and the Lutheran Hour Ministries float. It was fun, but could have been dangerous, if one decided to climb and work from a scaffold. I made the effort but,once up there, couldn't work at that level with no support.  Congratulations to those brave volunteers who can build these floats! We have a greater appreciation for the floats, now that we have seen them firsthand, from the ground up.

Cabrillo National Monument. While much is unknown about the expedition, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to set foot on the West Coast of what is now the United States in the year of 1542. As a result, there is a monument and park dedicated to his expedition and arrival. It is a beautiful location, located at Point Loma, San Diego.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is an easy side-trip from Cabrillo National Monument.  Not only is it free, but it is fun and wonderful. We were able to take part in a contra dance lesson, as well as visit shops and museums displaying life and times of the era.

Our country has so much to offer...and the national and state parks contribute to the pleasure and education of our history.

We will slowly work our way towards AZ, NM and TX.  We plan to be involved in some Habitat for Humanity building projects in NM. We are provided with a free parking space, which is a most welcomed aspect of the endeavor. 

May your 2013 be fulfilled and blessed!

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