Updated: Jan 16, 2022
We rolled into Pio Pico RV Resort & Campground in Jamul, CA on December 19th for 2 weeks. The campground is situated in the Otay mountain range, about 26 miles northeast of San Diego. The campground, with its natural setting and picturesque mountains in the background, was a nice change from the previous campgrounds with more urban surroundings.
My dream was to bring my 3 kids and grandson together with us for Christmas. Thanks to COVID, I hadn't seen my eldest son and grandson in 2 years, so we were well overdue for a visit. Months ago I reserved a cabin at Pio Pico for December 24-31. Because of the membership level we have, we are allowed 1 week for "free" each year in what we were told was a premium "Getaway" cabin. Luckily, we found a RV site close to the cabins which made it more convenient to go back and forth.
On the 24th, Alyssa made the 2.5 hour drive from Los Angeles to the campground. My 11-year old grandson, Ethan, wasn't aware he was coming to California for Christmas until the day he and my son, Eric, were on their way to the airport. He was shocked when our car pulled up beside them to pick them up! It was a well-overdo reunion to say the least.
Ethan's surprised look when he saw who was picking him up. Dinner at a restaurant near the airport. Ryan finally arrives a day later.
My other son, Ryan, was scheduled to arrive that same evening. He was traveling from Sarasota but missed his connection due to a delay and spent the night in a hotel in Houston. Luckily, he arrived the following morning and was able to extend his stay by an additional day. We were finally all together; I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present! ❤️
I cooked Christmas dinner in the cabin. It was a little challenging with the limited space, but we made it work. Later, we opened presents and simply enjoyed being together.
The day after Christmas we headed to Cabrillo National Monument. The park was named after the European explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who first stepped foot on to what is now the West Coast in 1542. It's a beautiful location on the rocky shores of the Pacific Ocean and a wonderful setting for a family photo shoot.
We were about to take picture on some rocks, but when I stepped down onto the rock, my knee "cracked", and I collapsed to the ground. Unfortunately, I couldn't walk after the fall, so Pat had to take me back to the RV. I had torn my ACL and meniscus in this same knee several years ago, and I'm hoping it's nothing too serious. I won't know for sure until I get an MRI which could take weeks to schedule. I bought some crutches and was able to get around for the next few days.
The weather in Southern California is normally sunny and fairly warm during this time of year; however, this was not the case during the week my family was here. It was rainy most of the time and the temps were in the mid to upper 50s. We were able to see some of the sights around the San Diego area, though, in spite of the bad weather and my injured knee.
Eric, Ryan, Alyssa and Ethan did some sightseeing on their own while I rested my knee. They explored Balboa Park and the Spanish Village Art Center.
Photo credit: Ryan Webb
After enjoying lunch at the public market one day, we found a small ice-skating rink in the park at Liberty Station. Alyssa and Ethan decided to give it a try even though neither one of them had skated in quite awhile, but they had fun. It looked a little strange to be ice-skating with palm trees in the background!
Waiting for the skaters.
On December 28th, we visited the USS Midway Museum, a historical naval aircraft carrier museum located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego. The aircraft carrier, named after the Battle of Midway, was in service from 1945-1992 and was the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century. It was the largest ship in the world until 1955. More than 200,000 Sailors served aboard the Midway during her service. She saw service off Vietnam, in the Persian Gulf, as well as serving in many humanitarian missions. We spent several hours touring the multiple decks of this massive ship.
After the Midway, we drove to Little Italy and enjoyed a meal at one of the restaurants.
During our time at Pio Pico, Pat spent many days hiking and running with Myah on the Otay Mountain trails and dirt roads next to the campground. He even hiked with Alyssa and Ethan and covered over 30 miles in the area (including rainy days). Due to its close proximity to the Mexican border, there is a lot of Border Patrol activity and people illegally crossing the mountain range into the U.S. On his final day, he had good weather and completed the 12-mile round trip with Myah to the summit. During the hike, he actually witnessed 4 men scamper up the last few feet of the mountain to the dirt road and get into 2 separate vehicles to be taken down the mountain and into the U.S. He even waved as he passed 2 of the men clinging to the side of the mountain waiting for their vehicle to pick them up. They didn't wave back but gave him the "shhh" sign as Pat continued down the mountain.
On December 30th, the kids visited Ocean Beach while I went to the orthopedic doctor.
Photo credit: Ryan Webb
Later that evening, we met in downtown San Diego and had dinner at a Greek restaurant.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and December 31st came upon us too quickly. It was sad to say our goodbyes to our kids. Luckily, our next stop will only be 1 hour away from Alyssa, in Los Angeles, so we will be able to see her while we are there. I'm just grateful for the time we had in San Diego and look forward to when we can be together again.