A bookended week at three beaches in Southern California

February 12th ~ Back at our shop in Canoga Park, CA

Doheny State Beach

Doheny State Beach

Just came back from lunch at California Pizza Kitchen where I overheard a young boy and his mother having a serious conversation:

Mom: “Do you still have your crayons in the box”

Little Boy: “Yes”

Mom: “All of then”

Little Boy: “Well, not the white one. I threw it out. It does not work”

Bless this child for his pure innocent clarity, and the smile he gave me…

We just completed another week of trial and error with Ellie Mae. Thankfully, the error part is becoming less and less often.

With an engagement planned in Orange County for both of the past two weekends, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to take our RV out for another spin and set up camp at several local beach sites.

Here is a bit of a synopsis of our past week:


Our hosts, Lynn and Ernie

Our hosts, Lynn and Ernie

Our long-time friends, Lynn and Ernie hosted a lively group at their spacious home in Mission Viejo. I must admit that although I enjoy watching a good game, and still understand at least most of the rules, about the only time we actually sit and watch a game is the Super Bowl.

Joanne and Tim ~ Super Bowl Sunday

Joanne and Tim ~ Super Bowl Sunday

What a game! For a change, Tim and I were rooting for opposite teams. I would have love to have seen the Falcon’s finally win, and it looked through the first three-quarters that they would pull the rabbit out of the hat, but the New England Patriots had a remarkable come from behind surge and won in the first ever Super Bowl overtime moments.


Tim pre-reserved our camp sites for the week, starting out with three nights at Doheny State Beach. Although the weather was not idea, in fact if POURED most of the time we were there, it was still refreshing to literally be parked right on the edge of the beach.

From our front window looking out at Doheny State Beach

From our front window looking out at Doheny State Beach (the morning we were leaving)

Warning that the water may be contaminated due to the storm

Warning that the water may be contaminated due to the storm

The silver lining is that I sleep like a baby when the rain is pounding down on the roof of the RV.

After our third night, we decided to stop in town for a quick lunch before moving up the road toward our next stop. Tim had checked out Trip Advisor for a recommendation and we found a little jewel, Lucy’s El Patio Cafe.

Lucy's El Patio Cafe, Capistrano Beach

Lucy’s El Patio Cafe, Capistrano Beach

It is really a “hole-in-the-wall” type of restaurant, but full of local lore, and some of the best authentic Mexican food this side of the border. The original owner’s son, Jack, was overseeing things and warmly shared some of the history while we sat at the counter enjoying a delicious carnitas taco (Tim) and gooey, not too spicy, chili rellenos for me. The flan was some of the best I have ever had, creamy with a slight coconut crust under an abundant layer of fresh whipped cream.

Interior of Lucy's El Patio Cafe

Interior of Lucy’s El Patio Cafe

Evidently this is one of the original surfers hangouts, and some of the legendary boarders still come in every third Wednesday. There was also a long list of old-timer movie and TV celebrities who, back in the day, often popped in, including Rock Hudson and Ozzie and Harriot.

It you happen this way, please stop in and ask Jack to share his family’s story. I’ve encouraged him to write a book, as it would be great reading.


Huntington Beach with the Pier in the background

Huntington Beach with the Pier in the background

Moving north, up the coast, our next two nights were booked at Huntington Beach at Sunset Vista RV Park. We would have loved to stay longer, but even during the off-season, weekends are booked, with the park being full, long in advance.

This was such a great location! Right on the beach where we could overlook pristine sand and fire pits, across the street from the new shopping and eating complex, Pacific City, and just a stones throw from the pier, volley ball nets, surfers catching breaking waves, and Main Street.

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We met up with our long-time travel buddies, Dick and Karen for dinner Wednesday evening, and then spent quality time with them on Thursday ~ out to lunch, watched a fabulous documentary called “In the footsteps of Marco Polo“, and then much laughter sharing happy hour in Ellie Mae.

Our long-time readers may remember that we joined Dick and Karen last year in Spain after Karen completed walking the 500 mile Camino.


San Clemente State Beach

San Clemente State Beach

Our last beach campsite was for just one night. Once again we got a bit hindered by rain, but we did manage to get a short walk-about in. This location sits high about the water on a bluff, where you can view sandstone crags and listen to the waves crash upon the shore far below.

There is a good trail down to the beach from the campground.

Sandstone Crags at San Clemente Beach

Sandstone Crags and trail to the beach from campsites

Our week was almost wrapped up, but as I mentioned above, we had social engagements that were bookends for our beach camping.


Tim and Joanne, at "Spread the Love" party

Tim and Joanne, at “Spread the Love” party

Laura and Michael hosted another colorful and fun get-together in their home with the early Valentine’s Day theme, “Spread the Love”.

The gals with big lips

The gals with big lips

The guys with roses

The guys with roses

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am especially grateful for long-time friendships. We got to spend special moments with people we love dearly, several we have known for almost 30 years. Lynn (Super Bowl hostess) and Laura (Valentine’s party hostess) and I met back in 1988, when we all worked in a Hematology/Oncology office together. We were all single at the time, and nicknamed ourselves the “Mountain Mamma’s” after an eventful hiking experience in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Both the nickname and friendships stuck…

Fast forward a couple of years and we had all three met super guys. All six of us will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversaries in the very near future.

And through these friendships, new people have been introduced, and the circle continues to widen.

COMING NEXT: A rundown of our tentative travel plans for this year

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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24 Responses to A bookended week at three beaches in Southern California

  1. We loved Huntington beach even if it was a little too populated for our taste.


  2. Kim Gorman says:

    Looks like a wonderful week! I love all the photos of the ocean. Thanks for sharing!


  3. randyjw says:

    Wow; what a full and fun-filled trip. Thanks for the nice postings! Beautiful pix!


  4. Moira Murray says:

    Hi Tim and Joanne, Looks like you had a great time! We happen to also be in Southern California right now (for a wedding in Del Mar) and love the ocean and its waves. We will miss this beautiful area when we go back to Chicago tomorrow.


  5. Terry says:

    Man you were right close to me in HB. Wish I would have known. If you had time I would have enjoyed stopping by for 5 minutes and saying HI. Sounds like a fun trip.


  6. The last two pics are so wonderful… A childlike pleasure in life doesn’t need an age.


  7. tippysmom2 says:

    Looks like a wonderful week. The bookend “engagements” were the perfect beginning and end to such a great trip. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “The silver lining is that I sleep like a baby when the rain is pounding down on the roof of the RV.” Me too! 🙂 Peggy and I are packing up Quivera (our RV), and heading for the Oregon Coast to celebrate Valentines Day. Enjoyed the shot of the surf boards. What diversity. –Curt


  9. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Wonderful big beaches!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. mommermom says:

    Doheny is one of our favorite campgrounds. Although not the best swimming beach it’s great to be right up on the shore and lots to do. Getting in for summer camping takes some serious planning.


  11. reocochran says:

    Lots of happy go lucky couples with fine and special ties, makes these event holidays meaningful! Your photos look like magazine quality, you mature models, Tim and Joanne!
    Believe me, I am 61 and call myself mature but still have lots of fun! 😉


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