Feb 1 - Feb 28 - Winter in Southern California - Part 2
February's supposed to be the worst of the Winter weather months, at least in places that have Winter weather. And while we had a few days of pseudo-winter, our February was very un-Wintry. And did it feel good!
We started the month at the 1000 Trails Wilderness Lakes Resort (6) at Menifee CA, with several "must do" items on our list from January. We managed to get them all done while at Wilderness Lakes. Of course, it wasn't all work. We spent a fair amount of time with Sara & Jerry Barton, during which we learned to play (and win) a sit-around-and-talk card game called "Racko". We rode our bikes quite a bit, and managed to enjoy opportunities to eat out at several of our favorite eating places - Texas Roadhouse, Mimi's and the BBQ Trio among them. Jerry & Sara joined us for a Valentine's Day dinner at Mimi's. Judy reactivated her Curves membership, and so will now be exercising more regularly. The last two Curves locations she was a member of both closed. Let's hope Judy's not the jinx.
We whittled away at our list of gotta-dos, the most expensive being replacing the four aging rear tires on the motorhome. After the blowout on our way south, we just didn't trust those 6yr old tires. Shopping around, we were alarmed at the prices being quoted - upwards of $500 a tire installed. Then we investigated the "Michelin Advantage" program offered by the Family Motor Coach Assn. Did some paperwork, found a tire dealer not too far away who worked in the program, and wound up saving almost $500 on the four tires. Had the work done at a place called Pete's Roadside Service in Corona CA. Took about 2 hours. While we waited, we met Pete himself - he founded this chain of 15 stores over 60 years ago. He says they now do $3 million a month and have 150 employees. He's 86 years old now, claims to be retired, but still visits all the stores every few weeks. Says he has over 300,000 miles on his current motorhome, but his girlfriend wants him to stop driving it. Says he's getting too old. We should all be as "too old" as Pete.
A few days after the tire job, we drove about 30 miles north to the FlexSteel factory in Riverside CA to have our broken recliner fixed. Other than the time and the gas, it was free to us - gotta love those lifetime warranties. Took about 2 hours for the guys to replace the inner mechanism of the chair and reinstall it in the motorhome. Only downside to the whole thing was Judy couldn't find her glasses after the chair was brought back. Fortunately, Judy always keeps her old glasses, and she quickly dug out her previous pair, which have the same prescription. As we ended February, the glasses still hadn't turned up. We suspect they're somewhere in a parking lot in Riverside CA.
Our final task was to try and resolve the "battery going dead" issue in our Honda CRV. A visit to the local Honda dealer resulted in a new battery - the old one tested "marginal". And the next time we towed the car, the battery was not dead when we arrived. But it was a short tow - under a hundred miles - and we still haven't figured out why the charge line from the motorhome to the car isn't keeping the battery charged. We suspect that saga will be continued.
As we've traveled, we've attended many different churches, and there are a handful we've come to feel a part of. One is Grace Presbyterian Church in Temecula CA. It's a troubled church - in the 6 years we've been dropping in, we've never encountered the same pastor twice. In the past year, not only did they lose their pastor, but about 75% of the church's leadership also resigned. About 125 members have left the church. Old church newsletters talk about lawsuits against the church by former members and by the church against a former pastor. We obviously don't know any details, or even have a context for what little we do know, but the church appears to be moving forward. Their new interim pastor - confirmed our last Sunday there - is a personable young-ish Rev Lynn Stone, who had been serving as temporary interim pastor for about 6 months. When it was announced she would now be on board for an extended period of time, there was an immediate cheer from the congregation. We hope it all goes well moving forward. It's a church we like a lot.
On Feb 19, we hooked up and headed south to the 1000 Trails Pio Pico resort near Jamul CA (7). We got a late start - one of our new tires was completely flat. The tire pressure monitor sensor had not been tightened down, and the tire just slowly bled out. And the tech who replaced the wheel covers tightened the nuts to the point Al couldn't get them off. So we called Good Sam, and they sent a tire truck. With the proper tools, the wheel cover came right off and the tire was quickly inflated. Off we went.
The day we traveled, there were winter storm warnings up, and we managed to complete our trip before any of the nasty weather arrived. But after we settled in at Pio Pico, it turned quite cold and that evening we had a major rain-sleet storm (the weather bureau calls that "graupel") that left small piles of snowy debris all about. But by morning, the weather was sunny and warm, and it stayed that way for the rest of the month.
Our main reason for coming to Pio Pico is to see our dentist, Dr Veronica Hernandez, across the Mexican border in Tecate. We figured a quick cleaning this trip, although Al had a broken bridge to be either repaired or replaced. It got a little more complicated when Veronica found a cavity that led to the root, necessitating a root canal for Al. And then there was the new upper partial. Judy got away with a couple of small fillings. All in all, a successful series of cross-border visits - we went 4 times. And under $850 total. For folks like us without dental insurance, it would have cost at least 4-5 times as much north of the border. Besides, nobody north of the border has such cute twin daughters as Veronica's 2 1/2 year olds.
Sara & Jerry alerted us to free organ concerts every Sunday in San Diego's Balboa Park. We had to go. The concerts are performed on one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs, by the only Civic Organist in the US. The organ was originally donated by two heirs to the Spreckel sugar fortune for the 1915 Pan American Exposition. And when the last of the donors died in the '30s leaving no provisions for the care of the organ, the city of San Diego took over, paying the salary of a "civic organist" and for instrument maintenance. The first concert was most enjoyable, and we returned again before we left town. We'll have more about the organ in our next travel diary.
On Feb 21, Al emerged from his post-surgery "no heavy lifting" ban. He is now allowed to pick up heavy things - bicycles, 12 packs of soft drinks, half-pound burgers, all the usual things. Judy is no longer obligated to haul the shopping bags from the car to the motorhome.
No slide show again this report. The pictures embedded in this report are it. Enjoy.