By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 12/4/2020
Occurred: 5/21/2006
Topics/Keywords: #California #McGrathStateBeach #Places #Zachary Page Views: 1416
The pictures from the Newport Beach segment of Zach's 7th birthday beach bash.

I'd hoped to sleep in the next morning, but no such luck. It had rained most of the night—I love sleeping in a tent or motor home while it's raining, but the sound had roused me and now John was up and ready to move. He parked the unit by the bathrooms with the intention of our taking showers there. However, the shower stalls wanted quarters. So he pulled to the camp's dump station and drove back and forth between the sewer and the fresh water while each of us bathed.

(One "regular" shower, that is, running the water for the entire procedure, fills the "grey water" tank. One "Navy" shower, where you wet yourself, turn the water off, soap yourself, then turn the water back on to rinse, fills about a third of the tank—but isn't as satisfying.)

The rain slowed and it looked like the weather might clear. John, Karen and Mary wanted to go to Newport Beach. They had once lived in Huntington Beach, one town up the coast from there, and thought Newport Beach was just the nicest beach there is. That was another ninety miles. When we got there, the rain had stopped but it was still cool and the sky was overcast. Parking was a challenge; none of the parking lots we could find there could accommodate a thirty-foot motor home. I finally found two adjacent parking spaces I could fit into, on the street. We pooled all our quarters for the meters and found we could stay there for one hour and fifteen minutes.

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Still, Newport beach was nice. John explained they had machines that combed it each night, picking up the trash and leaving only clean sand. Zachary took his boogey board into the water and tried to ride a wave in, then waded out with Michael and me, running back and forth into the waves. Although the air was cool (in the seventies, I'd guess) the water wasn't any cooler. By the time Zach started shivering it was time to leave, anyway.

On the way back home, we passed Huntington beach. It was not crowded, and there were beach parking areas that had RV spaces—and for free! Oh, well, we'll know for next time.

We stopped at a Pizza Hut Express for individual pan pizzas for everyone, and then started home.

By now I was quite sleepy, not having gotten much rest so far. John and Karen and I had taken turns driving, but now I let them have at it and went into the back bedroom to take a nap.

On the thirty-footers, the back bedroom hangs over the rear axle and consequently bounces more than any other place in the motor home. My stomach jiggled; I swayed from side-to-side; and once when I got up to go to the bathroom, we hit a bump at an inopportune time and I smashed my hand against a cabinet, jamming my left pinky—which still hurts.

I cooked a meatloaf on the bank of the Colorado river, just over the border into Arizona, after (again) filling up with gas. Whoever thought I'd be grateful for "only" $2.93 a gallon?

We finally got home about 1:30 am. I quickly stumbled into bed, as previously arranged, since of all of us I was the only one who had to be at work in the morning.

I could be mad at George Bush for the gas issues. John could be upset over the muck in the tidal pool, and Karen could be upset over the dead seal…but the fact is, we actually had a very nice time. We enjoyed each other's company; no one got too stressed, even when we couldn't do what we planned to do; and Zachary had a wonderful time doing what he enjoyed most—being seven.

And that was the point of the trip.