Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Escape from Orange County

....or in the vernacular of the region, Escape from the OC. Everyone in Southern California is in a hurry, all the time. Radio announcers have no time for length descriptions of local regions such as the "Inland Empire", so it's now "the IE". If you aren't well schooled in the lingo of local acronyms the new cast will make sense to your head swim, as it's largely a series of numbers (for freeway designations) and letters (all the acronyms).

All that hurry and scurry is easy to forget in some areas. Leisure World in Seal Beach, where we were staying with Steve's mother, is like a giant park, a world unto itself. Calm, green, and quiet in spite of the nearby freeway. We had a busy week getting everything on Mom's To-Do list done and visiting with family.

We took an afternoon off and met longtime friends Mike and Nina for lunch. They had their RV parked at the Orange County fairgrounds, a nice place to grab a few nights for not too many bucks. They'll rent space with or without hookups. Nina introduced me to a great fabric shop - this will probably become one of my favorites! Piecemakers Country Store, just a few blocks from the fairgrounds, has an amazing array of fabrics, patterns, embellishments, and more. 'No pub next door, but they do have a coffee shop area so the guys had coffee and visited while we shopped. Perfect!

We finished up the to-do list (and started one for next time!) 'Good to have it all done, but good also to now be on the road headed for home. We learned the hard way on the trip inbound to trust Ohura, the navigator  in the dash, when it comes to re-routing around traffic jams, and she did a good job routing us around a couple of jam-ups on the way out. We had great traveling weather Monday morning. A beautiful sunny morning and clear skies accented by the snow covered San Bernardino mountains in the distance.

 The day warmed up nicely and we had an uneventful drive until we hit Arizona, when the skies darkened and we began to notice a  it of rain, then slushy snow on the windshield. By the time we arrived in Benson (just south of Tuscon) our stop for the night, the whole place looked like a winter wonderland. It was late, dark, cold, and we were hungry! So we threw our stuff in the room and took off for a restaurant the hotel clerk recommended.

We had  a pretty good meal at Magaly's Mexican Restaurant, so we'll probably look that one up again. It's always iffy, finding a decent meal on the road, and we really miss having our kitchen with us.

Tuesday was chilly but uneventful, and we made good time, arriving in Fort Stockton (TX) just about dinner time.  We unloaded the luggage and then headed for K-Bob's Steakhouse and had a nice, inexpensive steak dinner. 'Only downside was that the service was pretty slow, and according to other patrons that's typical. Looking around it was obvious they have way more business than they are used to handling. Increased activity in the surrounding oil fields has brought hundreds of temporary residents. The hotel parking lots are all full of dusty pickup trucks, and the restaurants are all busier than they can manage. As we sat eating our dinner there was a constant stream of men coming in to the restaurant. When you read about increased petroleum exploration and production in the Eagle Ford, this is it. We're right at the edge of the region, which extends east and south to the Gulf.

We've got sunny skies and warmer temperatures today. We'll be home by early afternoon.