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Mar 1 - 31 - Winter in Southern California - Part 4

The first few days of March, we were nestled in at the 1000 Trails Wilderness Lakes Park (3) at Menifee CA, but on March 5, we hooked up and headed south about 90 miles to the 1000 Trails Pio Pico Park (4) at Jamul CA, just outside Chula Vista. We'd booked a three-week stay so we could visit our dentist, Dr Veronica Hernandez , in Tecate MX. We both had dental work to be done, and it wound up taking us five cross-border visits to get it completed. But as a bonus we were introduced to Veronica's new twin girls - Anastasia and Natasha - two little 18-month old beauties who are absorbing all the attention in their immediate vicinity. Veronica had returned with them from Russia at the end of February, and is adjusting to her new life as a mom. She's also very proud that her daughters are now US citizens, as is she.

Border security going in and out of Mexico was somewhat more attentive than we'd seen before - our car was actually searched going IN to Mexico once. That's never happened. And the inspections coming back to the US were also a tad more complete. Took us most of our three weeks to get all of our tooth work completed, before we turned our thoughts and driving northward.

Sometimes we think we're the last people to find out about some things. Take Borrego Springs CA. It's a very popular place with snowbirds. We'd never heard of it. But when we did, we drove about 100 miles to the other end of San Diego County to view their dinosaurs. Borrego Springs is in what they call "The Secret Desert", and it appears to be a rather wealthy resort community taking pains to look laid back. But for us the big attractions were the 100+ life-size sculptures scattered about the desert. A local benefactor bought several parcels of land to keep them from being developed into residential communities, and then commissioned a sculptor to create life-size representations of the animals that paleontologists had found in the area. The life-size sculptures are scattered about on those protected pieces of land. The pre-historic animals have now been joined by some more fanciful creations, but they're all fun. This is one of the few times we wished we had an off-road vehicle of some kind, as we bounced over the desert to get closer to some remarkable creations. Our favorite was probably the 300ft long "sea monster" swimming through the sand. Another couple of weeks, and the desert wildflowers will erupt, providing a whole 'nother reason to visit.

Sometimes our amusements come to us. The Pio Pico park had given up one of the tennis court complexes to San Diego Gas and Electric, who were in the process of building a power line over the hills south of the park. And for two days, they used helicopters to fly things in and out. Noisy and fun to watch. So we did.

A few miles west of the RV park is the San Diego Sky Dive Center, and more often than not we'll see skydivers descending as we pass the airport. Usually, we'll stop and watch. Sometimes just one or two, sometimes as many as two dozen. Mostly they hit the airport as they should, but occasionally one of them will wind up in the scrub and have a long walk back. They fly as many as three jump planes, and we've often seen all three in the air at once. Great fun to watch, and presumably a lot more fun to do, if you're younger than we.

And sometimes, the amusements are kind of ethereal. There's a coyote den not too far from where we parked the RV. And they have pups, we're told. We never did actually see the coyotes, but several times we heard them howling and yipping. Sounded like they were just outside our door. But when we'd open the door, they'd quiet down. So we learned to just mute the TV and enjoy the sounds. We suspect the whole gang was out of the den and celebrating the capture of a squirrel or rabbit or the like. Or maybe they were just being exuberant. Sometimes canines do that.

On March 26 we hooked up and headed back to Wilderness Lakes (3 again), where we settled into the same space we'd vacated three weeks before. One of the mutant (maybe we should say "hybrid") geese set up a nest behind our RV, and Judy counted 22 humongous eggs. The typical goose lays 12-15 eggs, but can generally brood only 6 or 7 - those are big eggs. But this goose seems to be sitting on around a dozen, and keeps trying to get more under her. Even more interesting is she seems to have established a relationship with another mutant goose - one with vulture-like skin on his/her head and talons on his/her webbed feet. We're not sure if this other goose is a midwife type or perhaps the papa goose. Anyway, it's evident that a significant number of that mountain of eggs will have to be abandoned, and as the incubation takes 4-5 weeks, we may never know the results. Such is life on the road - many stories, few conclusions.

As most of you know, on March 28 we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. It was pretty low key - dinner out, and then we watched the videos of the wedding. And we've spent about 25% of our married life living in our RV, traveling the country, something we never would have anticipated 20 years ago. Al's sister Sue wondered if anybody had copyrighted the phrase "Life is Good". Don't know about copyright, but it is a registered trademark of http://www.lifeisgood.com/.  In any event, our life is good. Hard to imagine it being better, unless we find the fountain of youth someplace besides TV infomercials.

We like to read our daily comics (we do it on-line) and one of our favorites is the strip Cul de Sac. The artist who does Cul de Sac - Richard Thompson - was diagnosed a couple of years ago with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease. He's a very popular cartoonist, and the cartooning community has come together to create Team Cul de Sac, which is publishing this summer a volume of cartoons by almost every comic artist you've ever heard of, and many you haven't. Proceeds will benefit Parkinson's Research. The samples we've seen show Cul de Sac characters interacting in some way with the characters associated with the contributing artist. There are over 130 contributing artists listed, including a couple who've come out of retirement for just one more drawing. There'll reportedly be a new Calvin & Hobbes in there, as well as a new Cathy. Read up on it if you like at http://teamculdesac.blogspot.com/.

We'd expected closing on our house sale in Reedsport by the end of March, but it didn't happen. We're hoping the delay won't be fatal.

Our stay at Wilderness Lakes extends until Easter Monday, and then we'll start our northward trek. We'll chat about that in our next report.

Only about 40 pictures in our slide show this time. Check them out here.

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