The Pacific Northwest beach, that is.
Where endless heaps of gigantic beach logs and acres of flat stones are the norm, and smooth expanses of dry sand are a rare commodity indeed.
Where year-round attire features polar fleece. Even over your swim suit.
Where the pale sun and brisk winds combine to put sunbathers at risk of not so much sunburn as hypothermia.
Where I have often huddled in my hoodie, wrapped up in a beach towel, and dreamed of lying out on a warm, golden-toned Socal beach where people can actually go into the water without freezing, and the sun shines down in beneficent splendor.
At last, my day has finally come.
^ Tricked out with my Mexican blankets* - the ultimate in sunbathing comfort - and my nifty beach shade**, I head off with my daughters to spend the day lollygagging in the sun at Mission Beach.
^ I am beyond excited as we stake our claim on a few square feet of California sand; I'm also bit surprised to find that the sand isn't more yellowy gold. Hmm, the color isn't all that different from our PNW grey stuff.
^ I revel in the bright blue sky, although honestly, the clouds keep rolling in and the sun is almost as elusive as up north.
^ The waves that tickle my toes are surprisingly chilly. Granted, I am expecting bath water and even though I'm no sissy, the classic gasp of a polar bear swim club team member escapes my lips when the first wave laps against my ankles.
The water is almost as cold as at home.
^ But no matter. My sun shelter cheerily offers its shady sanctuary as we spread ourselves across the blankets, nibble on a carefully cultivated selection our favorite beach snacks***, and flip through a few chapters of a good book****.
The hours slide by, and we revel in the bliss.
Soon enough, the time comes to pack up and head out. Happily, with all my San Diego beach day expectations boxes ticked, I'm walking back to the car when an interesting thought comes unbidden into my brain.
Mission Beach is a delight, and I'm so glad I successfully completed my mission to visit a proper Southern California beach. But maybe it's not so different from my beloved Washington beaches after all.
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* I buy my Mexican blankets from Gunn & Swain; they're expensive, to be sure, but oh, so luxuriously thick and soft to the touch.
** We first used our beach shade (similar) back in 2017 when we ventured off to the middle of Wyoming to view the solar eclipse. Ever since then, I swear it glows with magical properties.
*** Dried apricots, strawberry licorice, and baked cheese crunchies, all from Trader Joe's, washed down with tap water from a Nalgene bottle.
**** Rocket Men by Robert Kurson tells the story of Apollo 8, the first flight to break the bonds of earth and successfully orbit the moon. Those men successfully completed their mission too.
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Come celebrate San Diego with me and my daughters as
we break out into our first post-Covid road trip!
Southbound To San Diego
Coffee, Tea, Or Perhaps A Blooming Bougainvillea?
La Jolla Los Dos
Take Me Out To The Padres
On (A) Mission Beach