Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two days to go!

Well, we leave Oceanside on Thursday morning. We have to get to LAX by 11:00 am, so what we are doing is going tomorrow morning to pick up a car at the airport and driving it back here. We will then take Virginia's car to the Chateau and on Thursday morning we drive back to LAX, return the car and then get the shuttle from Budget Car Rental and take the shuttle to the airport. Hopefully the traffic won't be too bad. We will be able to use the high occupancy lanes and that will help a lot!

Thoughts on Southern California:
Wonderfully warm and sunny most of the time. We did have a few rainy, cool days but there was no snow except for when we up Mt Jacinto!

EXPENSIVE! I don't have an awful lot of areas to compare with, but it does seem quite an expensive place to live. Gas has been creeping up slowly and now sits at $4.05 a gallon. I suppose this is still cheaper than Ontario, but it seemed expensive. Food is about the same as Ontario, but there some things which are cheaper, e.g. Milk.

Luckily we did not need the services of the medical community as we stayed healthy, but I can imagine it can be quite pricey, going on what Virginia pays for medicines and doctor's visits, even though she has insurance.

Housing is very pricey, with almost nothing available under $400,000 to $500,000. Most houses cost a lot more than that. Of course there are some places that are under that price, but you they are very few and far between.

The ocean....loved it, even though we only went down to the beach a few times. I am sure if we were closer, we would be there more frequently. We did not come down here to spend a lot of time on the beach, but to help Virginia and that we did do.

We did a few day trips and one long weekend trip. Loved seeing the different areas, from ocean and beach, to desert, to mountains and snow. You really do have it all! And it is not a huge long drive to get there. Our trips to LA showed us how much money there is in this part of the US. No wonder it is so expensive to live here.

All in all, I think the trip here was hugely successful. Virginia is now pretty much settled in her new home at the Chateau at San Marcos. Michael did a huge amount of work on her new place and on the house in Oceanside. We have made plans for when we return at the end of the year, either staying in the house and storing the RV at a local storage area, or we will be staying in the RV, hopefully at a nearby California State Park. We love it here and will be back.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Almost time to go.

Snow on the mountains on the way to Palm Desert.

The pool area at the hotel in Indian Wells
We have been here for over 2 1/2 months now and on Friday March 31st we start the journey home. We will be flying from LAX to Dulles, where my sister will be meeting us. We will spend 2 days in Keedysville, MD,  probably trying to do some shopping for stuff for the motorhome and for the kids and grandkids. Then by April 2nd we have to be back in Ontario. Our travel insurance expires on the 2nd. From there we have to be in Canada for 6 months plus 1 day to keep our health insurance. The plan will be to get the Seneca parked up at Cedar Beach Park. We have reserved a seasonal site for around $300 a month. Electricity is extra. From here we hope to do a few trips around Ontario, probably from Sunday to Friday as we do not have any reservations. We are also going to try and get some hosting positions (free site) but as yet have not pursued that avenue, so the chances are slim. We do have a Coast to Coast membership so we will try and get some bookings at their resorts.

Our stay in California has been wonderful. Most of the time we have spent helping Virginia, my "American" mom. We helped her settle into her condo at The Chateau in San Marcos and also cleaning and painting and fixing the house in Oceanside.

We also did a few very nice day trips in Southern California, such as a day in Sea World, a trip to San Diego to go on the USS Midway and a visit to the Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma.  We also took a 4 day trip up to Indian Wells and Desert Palms. All very enjoyable and successful.

Filling in the applications for a volunteer position as camp hosts in San Elijo, California

The view from the campground. San Elijo State Park
We have applied for a position as Camp Hosts in California State Parks for next winter. We hope that something will come up. This will all depend on how Virginia is doing and if we bring the Seneca with us. At the moment she is doing well but is getting very frail.