We arrived at LAX, picked up the rental car and were off to Long Beach as fast as we could possibly move. We held confirmed reservations at Chateau Morning Light! Yes, our friends, Jaime and Christine Tate were back in the USA. They actually have the boat up for sale, which made this an especially momentous occasion for us to be able to stay aboard with them and to see Morning Light quite possibly for the lat time. It was wonderful and odd to be on board their boat at a berth in California instead of in an exotic South Pacific seaport. We talked well into the wee hours yet again, and all fell into bed exhausted.
The next morning we took a stroll down the waterfront to a very popular breakfast spot. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the place, but the food was indeed delicious and within 15 minutes of our seating, the place was filled to capacity with a long line of hungry people waiting outside. After breakfast we took a leisurely walk along the marina area. It is a charming location and one that offers nearly every amenity one could want. This is a place I could bring my boat and probably be quite content to nest right in. Finally Frank and I got on the road to San Diego. Chris and Jaime were planning to follow us down and stay the night at the Kona Kai Marina aboard Dolce, Gisela and Erik Gosch's 2008 version of our IPY 485 – Destiny's younger sister with a dark blue hull. Our plan was to first head to our hotel to drop off luggage, get checked in and then hit Costco. Christine and Jaime joined us for our Costco adventure where Frank and I knocked items off our list and piled the basket conservatively, watching the weight and size of every purchase. At the end of our spree we returned to the hotel to drop off our bounty, agreeing that we would join them for pre-dinner drinks on Dolce where we would also meet up with Sally and Glen of The Dorothy Marie. We had last seen them in Fiji (last year). Sally had taken a leave of absence from teaching to spend a few years sailing the South Pacific and was due to return to work this school term, therefore they sailed back to San Diego via Samoa, Hawaii and so on. There is a link to their blog on my page.
Our evening was full of laughter, hugs and tears. We all kept exclaiming how strange it felt to be together here in the USA. Now those three are there with their yachts and we are the only ones still "out there". We feasted at Miguel's on Point Loma. This restaurant is famous for many dishes, so I can't really choose just one, but amazingly it is the favorite of us all and a venue we try to hit every time we are anywhere near San Diego. We parted after dinner telling everyone that we would be at Ricky's for breakfast the next morning if any of them could make it over around 9 AM. And of course, who can pass up another opportunity to EAT? We breakfasted with Glen and Sally, Jaime and Christine. We talked about things that no non-yachtie can possibly understand or care to discuss. Boat stuff; blocked toilets, watermakers, malfunctioning generators, pumps, engines and electronics, and guests on board which is generally the confounding discussion topic.
Finally we all went separate directions because Frank and I had some serious provisioning to get done. We hit our favorite places: West Marine, Home Depot, Target, Downwind Marine and several other yacht supply places. We returned to the hotel periodically to remove packaging, pack a bag and then weigh it before declaring each one full to capacity. When all four check-on bags were filled we looked at our carry-ons and scratched our heads. Oh boy, can we make this work? We always seem to and by the time we finished that night, we realized we had not eaten since breakfast. We threw on some clean clothes and took each other out for a nice dinner to celebrate our Anniversary a little early. You see our flight departs LAX on August 17th; we will cross the international dateline en route that will take us from the 17th to the 19th in a heartbeat. The 18th of August is our 9th Anniversary and it will not exist in our world this year.
We awoke on the 17th, and checked out of the hotel quite early because we had last minute items to pick up and then hit the road for LA. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 10:40 PM, we had arranged to drive back via Long Beach for a final stroll and early dinner with Christine and Jaime. It was a beautiful day and the perfect ending to our trip back home. We strolled about charming Long Beach with the Tates and ended our visit eating big, fat juicy hamburgers at a place called Hennessey's. Frank and I have tried to eat as much Mexican Food and as many really good hamburgers as possible while back home because we know that it will be a long, long time before we get these treats again!
And so we ended our whirlwind trip home with a final goodbye to our sailing friends. We tumbled and juggled luggage up onto the baggage check-in counter, holding our respective breaths and praying that we made the cut. Funny thing is our carry-ons did not! Yes, we are the people impatient passengers see at the check-in counter repacking and unpacking bags, moving items from one to another until finally the exasperated attendant says, "Fine! OK! Just go on!" And that is how we spent our summer vacation. Fiji here we come!