Sunday, January 17, 2010

Life in Southern California

Ellie 019 We’ve had many comments about the lack of blog updates, so I thought I’d dig deep and come up with something to write!

I’ve mentioned that I love it here, but is it all that perfect?  Well, yes and no. The weather has been just about perfect, and I think that’s probably one of the biggest reasons for the “loving it” part.  We spent so much time over the summer being less than completely warm that not having to deal with cold temperatures now is a blessing to me.  Since we arrived just before Thanksgiving, we’ve only had a few days of rainy weather. Although, the next rain is on the way right now!

Santee Lakes Campground is a little world unto itself, and we feel safe and happy here. It’s generally pretty quiet, with weekends providing a few more families that come camping.  There are birds galore.  Of course, I only recognize a few, like the snowy egrets, great egrets, mallards, wood ducks, coots, crows, finches, sparrows, hawks, hummingbirds and so forth.  I saw a juvenile green heron a few days ago, patiently waiting at the lake shore for some tasty morsel to swim by. There is also wildlife, although we’ve only experienced the coyote, which is probably a good thing, since I’m not sure how thrilled I’d be to come across a snake or even a raccoon!  We hear the coyotes early in the morning and at night, and I saw one a few days ago, just on the outside of the campground property.  The trail around the lakes and campground is wonderful for walking the dogs, and little blue bags are provided at handy intervals.  The office staff is friendly and helpful and the neighbors seem to be pretty nice.  It appears that there are a mix of snowbirds and local workers who live here more or less permanently.  I say more or less because, technically, you can’t stay here on a permanent basis.  There is a limit of 6 months at a time, after which you must be out of the park for at least 2 weeks. The couple next door to us stays in one site for 6 months, then they go somewhere for a couple of weeks and come back to a different site for another 6 months.  I guess they’ve been doing that for several years now.

Most of the things we need are in close proximity to the campground, which is situated on the edge of the little town of Santee. There are grocery stores, restaurants, a coin laundry, parks, and other shopping venues within a few minutes’ drive.  Everything else, like the beach, major shopping, attractions, etc., are fairly easily accessible via a freeway.  And that brings us to the things we don’t like so much – the traffic and the California drivers.  If you’re from California, or have lived here any length of time, I guess you get used to driving the freeways like a maniac, because that’s how you need to drive here, or risk being run off the road!  I doubt anyone ever gets a speeding ticket in California, it’s totally expected to drive at least 10 miles an hour over the posted limit.  And the crowds, well, at first I thought the crowds might be due to the fact it was the holiday season.  But, no, here we are in mid January, and it’s crowded everywhere all the time, even during the week.  Again, I guess you get used to it, but we really do prefer small towns with a slower pace.

So, how do we spend our days?  Just about like many of our friends, a combination of staying home doing chores, reading, cooking (and eating said cooking), walking, exercising with the Wii, playing with the dogs, “computering” and visiting; or, going out shopping or sightseeing.  When the weather has been especially warm and sunny, I’ve gone over to the pool, area where I soak in the hot tub and lay in the sun.  There are 2 swimming pools, but they are not heated, so they’re very cold!  I go to my Weight Watchers meeting every Wednesday morning, and Jim has regular visits to the dentist.  We do the laundry, clean house, and take care of the routine maintenance around the motor home.  Of course, right now, there is football to consider, but we’ll have to manage without that very soon.

In short, it’s a great life, this retirement thing.

3 comments:

Margie M. said...

Bruce and I lived in Southern California from birth until we finally escaped in 1993. Some 40+ years of that lifestyle. We go back about once a year to visit some elderly relatives and find the traffic to be horrendous like you folks do. Even though So. CA has a lot to offer the traveler, we've seen it and done it so once we visit relatives, we can't wait to get the heck out of there again!

Currently we are up on the Central Coast of California for the next 40 days and are loving it here. Here is where we enjoy coming at least once a year.

Enjoy the weather while you are in Santee. That's one thing So. CA has that other spots don't....good climate (if you can handle smog in the summer months) :)

Sandra said...

I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying being in California. It seems that you picked the best spot for this winter.

I can appreciate the problems with traffic. Definitely a drawback. So what is worse - cold weather or fast drivers and traffic?

luvglass said...

we've been feeling the same way in Florida. Everywhere is SO busy and the people drive very aggressively. We're looking forward to getting inland and away from the big cities.