Thursday, April 7, 2005

We are parked on a bluff overlooking the ocean in Carlsbad, at South Carlsbad Beach State Park (map). This park is pricey for a state park, considering there are no hookups (not that we need any). $35 for a site on the ocean side, and $25 across the little street. Our guidebook lists this park at $12, but that's before the Governator doubled all the fees. Way less than Newport Dunes, mind you, but they had full hookups, a pool, and a hot tub.

Speaking of which, boy are we ever glad to be out of there. This being spring break, the park was chock full of kids running around, screaming, and, of course, making the pool area entirely unsuitable for adults. And I am not, here, talking about college kids from a Girls Gone Wild video (which might have made it OK).

On top of all that, the site next to us was occupied by a family of six in a class-C, who insisted on playing their annoying outdoor stereo at all hours on a volume setting unsuitable for 20'-wide camp sites. This stereo was built into their rig behind a little door, and I'm sure they felt obligated to use it since they paid for it, even though it consisted of a $40 car stereo mounted between a pair of $10 car speakers. We finally told them to turn it off when the 10pm "quiet hour" rolled around, though they continued to chat at approximately the same volume until 11:30. They also had a yippie little dog they kept on the end of a 15" leash (though the rules called for 6' maximum) tied to a stake.

Overall, our stay at Newport Dunes served to remind us why it is we never stay at such places. It was, of course, convenient to where we needed to be, but two nights was more than enough. If ever again we return to Newport Beach, we'll stay at the Wal-Mart, or maybe down the road a few dozen miles at a state park or an Elks lodge.

We did have a nice reunion and dinner with our friends last night.

Our current digs are much more in keeping with our usual practice. We rolled in around 2:00, and inquired at the kiosk if they had any spaces. Putatively, this campground requires reservations. We never make reservations, though, for a few reasons. One compelling reason is that this campground also putatively has a length limit of 34', so we are never comfortable making reservations (which must be prepaid, no refunds) until we have physically examined the grounds and know unequivocally that we can fit. As it turns out, they had spaces available (for tonight only -- tomorrow the weekend crowds arrive), and they assigned us one that was 52' x 53', which would easily accommodate three Odysseys, with room to spare. It's an ocean-side site, and we nosed in to provide the best view. We are on a bluff about 50' or so above the beach, with an unobstructed view of the Pacific. I am hoping that my lovely wife, who is way more clever than I, and also has the only-for-clever-people photo posting software on her computer, will post a photo later.

Tonight we will have dinner with our friends here in Carlsbad.

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