Oceanside, California

Our first full day in La Jolla was a heartbreakingly beautiful Sunday.  Having no firm plans and all the time in the world, we slept late into the morning until hunger finally forced us from our very comfortable bed.  I can’t remember how we finally settled on a visit to Oceanside  followed by a leisurely cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) back to La Jolla.  It might have had something to do with wanting a good breakfast/brunch, but I can’t be sure.  Because we were starving by the time we finally hit the road, we opted to take Route 5 for the speediest drive up to Oceanside.  In less than a half hour, we were pulling into a very tidy and almost deserted Oceanside and an equally empty Breakfast Club Diner.

Deciding on the Breakfast Club had been a random thing, the result of a brief Internet search and a “what the heck” attitude.  The choice was a satisfying gamble.  The food was fresh and delicious and the diner was a veritable treasure trove of 1980’s pop culture.  With stained glass windows featuring Madonna, Billy Idol, and Slash, and a wall mural filled with references to popular TV shows and movies like The A Team, The Dukes of Hazard, Back to the Future, and Top Gun, it was a fun jaunt down memory lane for us, children of the ’80’s that we are.  The heavy-duty flirting going on between the off-duty servicemen in the booth behind us and our adorable waitress was entertaining, too.

The Breakfast Club only serves breakfast and lunch which means they pretty much had to kick us out so they could close up shop.  From the front of the restaurant we could see the ocean a few blocks away, sparkling in the sun.  Naive people that we are, we headed toward the beach, expecting it to be just as deserted as the town.  Stupid, I know, considering it was a beautiful summer day in a California beach resort town.  The reason Oceanside was empty was because everyone was at the beach.  And not just everyone in Oceanside, either.  There was quite the international representation.  People were swimming, surfing, enjoying picnics, jogging, skateboarding, biking, digging in the sand, climbing on rocks, and fishing off the pier.

We walked the pier, which offered a great view of the coastline, and talked for a while with a man who was fishing with his son.  After the pier, we meandered along the promenade that parallels the beach.  Even though the beach was almost wall-to-wall people, it was about this time I began to regret that we hadn’t planned for any time on the sand, soaking up that glorious sun and splashing in the surf.  For me, to be at the beach but not on the beach is almost pointless.

{ Walkway to the Strand }

{ Clever and decorative skateboard deterrents (hint: the starfish) }

{ The Strand }

{ People, people everywhere, as far as the eye can see }

Eventually the sun grew too hot and the crowds grew too crowded.  Time to hit the PCH, also known as S. Coastal Highway 101, and head back to La Jolla.  In my dreams, I’d be cruising around in this beauty (preferrably in black or red):

In my reality, we climbed into our standard white Chevy Malibu rental car, looking a lot less cool but still enjoying the views.  We drove through Carlsbad with its state beach that offers camping at the cusp of the cliffs, Leucadia, Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea where we stopped for delicious fruit in a tiny, health-focused grocery store, and swanky Del Mar, where we ran into some heavy traffic.  The beaches we drove past were always packed with people.  In my opinion, each town deserves some undivided attention given to exploring its beaches, restaurants and shops.  This time, we just enjoyed the brief overview of the different flavors of beach towns that dot the southern coast of California.  I can’t remember how long it actually took us to complete the drive from Oceanside to La Jolla.  I only remember that it was a very pleasant way to spend a late Sunday afternoon.  (Even if  we did have to spend it in a vanilla rental car instead of a Lamborghini.)

{ Somewhere along the Pacific Coast Highway }

{ Torrey Pines State Park and beach with La Jolla in the distance }

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