Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Desert to Mountains in under a week

Driving out to Rancho Las Palmas last Tuesday was beautiful. Especially since I didn't have to drive. Just so you know, I never drive, unless I'm alone. So as I am being driven out to the desert between snow-capped mountains, I realize (again) just how lucky we are to live in the amazing region of Southern California. The Palm Springs Energy people have added larger windmills to generate more renewable power since the last time I was out to Palm Springs in the early '90s (yeah!). Arriving at the resort of Rancho Las Palmas really blew me away. It's La Costa but drier. There are poppies planted all over the property (pictured right). Which is nice, because they are the state flower and I rarely see them. It inspired me to plant some at home. My friend Shannon has a few planted. We'll see. I'll post pictures of mine if they ever bloom. Anyhow, it was 72 degrees and lovely for four days. Lots of reading time and sunshine.

Friday we packed our things and took the 247 to the 18, also known to San Diegans as the "back way up the mountain" to Big Bear Lake. When we arrived at Happinest Manor there was much frolicking in the snow. As the rest of our friends arrived we had a full-blown Friday night shindig. The hot tub was roaring (thanks to Bobby, the repairman) and the drinks were flowing. We broke out Loaded Questions, best game ever.

Saturday, everyone but us got up and went to the mountain to fly down it on their chosen form of transport. Hubby and I walked around the village and visited what seemed like 10 candy shops amongst other tourist traps. Then we drove around the mountain area for a bit and found the quaintest place for lunch: Grizzly's Big Belly Deli. Yeah, we just HAD to stop there. I had the most marvelous tuna melt on rye ever grilled and the TAB was darn wonderful as well. I noticed a picture of the owner on the wall. He was wearing a baseball cap from Ray Kroc's birthday Padres game back in the '80s. He was clearly from San Diego. Sure enough, Jaime owns the deli as well as another restaurant he's been running on the mountain for 16 years. It's obvious too. We chatted with Jaime while he wiped down some recently emptied tables and before you knew it he was back behind the counter making sure folks got their sandwiches with just the right toppings. We didn't have a chance to say goodbye since he was taking good care of a large group that had just wandered in. But we think we'll see Jaime again someday soon. You should visit too. If you're heading to Bear for the day, stop by before you get to the resort and grab lunch to go. It's on the left a bit up Moonridge Road. Much better than resort food, and it's less expensive.

Sunday we said goodbye to Happinest Manor and all its rooms. We sent the snow bunnies on their way and headed out of town. The front side. Man, now I know why people take the "long way down the backside" home. Six hours later, we were back in San Diego. I am not allowed to complain about the drive, all I had to do was be car sick. No worries. The sunset was beautiful. But it's all about the 247 from the desert. Totally worth it.

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