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Las Vegas/California Vacation -- Part Three

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Joined: 10 Oct 2003
Posts: 594
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:41 pm    Post subject: Las Vegas/California Vacation -- Part Three Reply with quote

Escondido (Lawrence Welk Resort)

July 10 – We got up early and headed about 30 minutes south of Anaheim for Saddleback Church. It’s one of the largest churches in the country and is pastured by Rick Warren (“Purpose Driven Life”). We felt like we were driving into Disney as there were several lanes of traffic and many parking lots. We got parked headed for the main worship building. Pastor Warren was away on a missions trip, but his assistant spoke and Rick Muchow the regular worship leader led the Praise Band and the worship part of the service. It was packed and it was definitely a good experience. After church we headed into El Toro for some lunch and then onto I-5 south to Escondido. It was neat to look out the window and see the Pacific Ocean just yards away as we drove!

We arrived at the Lawrence Welk Resort (doesn’t it make you feel old?) which was basically in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains. We got checked in and headed for our villa. I had requested a second story villa and we not only got that but got one at the top of the resort that had a gorgeous view of the surrounding area and the entire resort. The villa was amazing and had everything you would need to live there. The kids had their own BR with 2 queens, several walk-in closets and a huge bathroom. Tim & I had a king bed, more closets and our own huge bathroom. There was a large living room, dining area and kitchen between us. We all had sliding glass/screen doors that led out to the balcony and I spent a lot of time out on the balcony just enjoying the view. We all decided that we would definitely enjoy our week at this resort! We headed into town to get dinner and groceries and then just relaxed around the resort for the remainder of the evening.

July 11 – Today was a REAL vacation day – no plans, no place to be, nothing to do! It was actually nice and a good break since we’d spent the past week going nonstop. We lounged around the resort most of the day, swimming, reading and just relaxing. I do believe that Keri eventually emerged from her room around 2 p.m. or so only to grab a little lunch and head back in there. (She is definitely a charter member of Cru’s “Vacation Slugs Club.” Cru is very proud of her!) Drove around Escondido a little in the evening and ended up at Macaroni Grill for dinner. We spent the evening playing Texas Hold ‘Em in the villa.

July 12 -- Back to early morning wakeup calls – kids and I got up and were out of the resort by 7 a.m. heading back to Anaheim to spend the day at Disney. We arrived at the park by 8:30 and headed into Disneyland to do a few of the attractions we hadn’t done the previous Friday. We got right onto Splash Mountain, Matterhorn, and several other attractions and managed to do Buzz Lightyear again before heading out of DL and into California Adventure. We had heard so many negative things about CA that we didn’t know what to expect, but we had a great time there. We met Erik’s friend and her sister and spent the day with them doing everything except Grizzly Rapids at CA. It was our first time on Soarin’ and we all loved it! We’ll look forward to being able to do that in WDW now. Lines were pretty much non-existent and the kids all rode California Screamin’ several times while I just did it once. We felt like CA was a combination of MGM/Universal and a state fair – which was not a bad thing and we enjoyed the experience. My kids and Erik’s friends really enjoyed the mini-tours through the tortilla factory and bakery and the “freebies” that came along with that. Whenever they wanted a little something to eat they headed back to tortilla tour to get a warm tortilla just off assembly line (yes, there is something free in Disney!). Keri and I headed back to DL around dinner because I wanted chili in a bread bowl and we wanted to see if Space Mountain was open. Erik and the girls headed to Mimi’s for dinner. We met up with them after dinner in time to see the Electrical Parade did one or two more attractions, and then ended up in Downtown Disney to do some final shopping before leaving around 11 p.m. We arrived back at our resort just after midnight, tired but happy with the day.

July 13 – Slept in a little this morning, but by 11 everyone was up and we headed for the beach in Oceanside after eating some lunch. Now San Diego area weather is pretty much the same all year – around 75 (coast) to 85 (inland) for highs and in the 60’s at night. However, there was a heat wave the week we were there which was pushing the temps inland at our resort into the middle 90’s. Because of this heat wave, the marine layer (which would usually dissipate by early afternoon) was hanging very low and as a result the sun just didn’t come out. We left our resort and it was 93; we arrived at the beach which was about 20 miles west and the temp was 72. It was crazy! We spent a few hours on the beach anyway, but we really didn’t venture in. Keri and I took a long walk dipping our feet in, but never even took off our sweatshirts! Tim and Erik were braver, but they didn’t even take T-shirts off. It was a nice beach and we were amazed to see just how many people were swimming or surfing in the 63 degree ocean with air temp at 72. Of course a lot of them had wet suits on too! We were glad we hadn’t opted to get a place at the beach for the week – we decided that the resort with lots of room, lots of pools, and lots of sunshine had been the right option for us.

On the way back to resort we stopped at In ‘n Out Burger which Cru had told us so much about. We had dinner there and liked it. Back at the resort it was “Casino Night” so the four of us went to clubhouse and played various casino games for several hours. We all had a good time – there were people from 8 to about 98 playing! Erik ended up at a poker table of octogenarians and one guy about 50 and he had a great time with them. I wandered over to a craps table (after doubling my chips on roulette) and spent the next hour trying to figure out just what to do! I had no clue, but the other players at the table seemed very happy with the dice I was rolling so I just kept throwing them. At the end of the evening everyone traded in their chips for tickets and 5 or 6 ticket numbers were drawn for prizes. It was a fun evening. We headed back to our villa and just relaxed watching TV and reading the rest of the night.

July 14 – Everyone was up and moving by 10 or so and we headed into San Diego to go to the zoo. It is definitely an excellent zoo and we all agreed it made our “Top 3 Favorite Parts of the Vacation List.” We started out by taking the 35-minute bus tour throughout the entire zoo and this was definitely worth the time. We got a great overview of the entire zoo grounds and had the opportunity to see several animals close up which was not possible later in the day while we were just walking around. We spent the next 6 or 7 hours exploring the entire zoo. We loved the layout and the natural habitats for most of the animals. The polar bears are one of our favorites and we spent a little longer watching them play. There are so many paths, trails and other diversions that it took us quite a while to cover most of the zoo.

Erik left us around 6 to meet up with a friend from high school who now lives in San Diego. He planned to spent the night in the city with him and his friend would bring him up to Escondido the next day. Tim, Keri and I stayed until around 7 and then left the zoo and headed into Old Town in San Diego. This is reminiscent of an old Mexican marketplace with lots of shops, dining establishments, and historical buildings. We wandered around there for about an hour and then headed back to Escondido. Tim wanted KFC and Keri & I wanted Pizza Hut so we found both places, got takeout and headed back to our villa to eat out on the balcony.

July 15 – A day to relax at the resort. I wandered around the resort and stopped in several of the shops and did the walking trail. Tim & I spent most of the afternoon at the pool while Keri enjoyed the “slug life” back in the room with a book and TV. Erik returned with his friend late in the afternoon and we all headed out to dinner at a local Marie Callender’s restaurant. Who knew they even had a chain of restaurants – we’d only ever seen the pot pies in our grocery stores back east! We spent the evening walking around the resort a little and then just watching some TV. It was “Sci-Fi Friday” and premier night on the Sci-Fi channel so Tim was in his glory watching all of his favorites.

July 16 – Our last day to enjoy the resort and we did. Erik rented a bike and headed out for a ride, determined to go to the top of the mountain behind our villa. His efforts were thwarted by the security guards halfway up the road who informed him it was a private road and he couldn’t go any further (which was probably just as well since it was about 95 degrees that day!). I walked the hiking trail around the resort which was a nice 1.3 mile walk. Tim & I headed into Escondido to check out the Christian bookstore and get a few books. We all ended up by the pool for most of the afternoon and Keri even decided to come down to the pool and swim. Erik studied and wrote a paper for his online literature course he’s taking, while Tim and I finished up the books we’d been reading.

One of Erik’s good friends from high school who is in the Navy and stationed in San Diego stopped by for a while in the late afternoon so we had a nice visit with him. He and Erik headed out for dinner while Tim, Keri and I went to try another of the local restaurants. Then we went over to Target to pick up the new Harry Potter book so Keri would have reading material for the last few days of vacation. Erik’s friend dropped him off at Target and we headed back to the villa to begin packing up to leave in the morning. After everyone was done packing, we played some Texas Hold ‘Em before heading to bed.

One final installment to go. Stay tuned!

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