Traveling across this great country is absolutely amazing 99% of the time. That other 1% is reserved for rainstorms, hail, breakdowns and apparently, now pandemics.
My husband and I and our three kids have been traveling part-time for six years. We’ve covered much of the United States during that time as we have traveled to work destinations, roadschool destinations and just places we’ve been dying to visit. So, when we left from Atlanta to drive across the country we thought it would be similar to the other 16 times we had done it. Boy were we wrong!
I had heard the talk on the news of a sickness spreading in China here and there. And then suddenly it was on a constant 24 hour news cycle loop. Not only on the T.V., but also in my head. Is this something to worry about here in America? Just like MERS and SARS, I decided not to worry so much. So we soldiered on and arrived in our home away from home, Oceanside, CA. Here it seems nothing can ever go wrong.
We arrived in late February and by the beginning of March, it was clear that this was no ordinary secluded foreign sickness, but a global pandemic.
The memory is solidified in my head similar to how the 9-11 attacks are set like concrete. I remember the last normal day. Ironically enough, it was Friday the 13th. As if images of Freddy Kruger weren’t enough, now we have a global pandemic to add to this eery day on the calendar. My husband had taken the day off work and we decided to drive down to La Jolla to take in the sweet little sea lion calves that had just been born on the shores. On the way down, we stopped at the Torrey Pines Gliderport. We had planned on watching the gliders for a few minutes and then soldiering on, but when my youngest bookend got a look at dangling over the cliffs of the Pacific, she had to try.
Nothing can prepare you for watching your sweet little flesh and blood hover 1,000 feet up and over the Pacific whitecaps. I watched as hawks played in the air with their nylon winged friends. It was terrifyingly incredible and I was beaming with pride at her courage and determination to try all things FUN!!
After we all basked in her glory for a while, we realized our cup of adventure for the day had not been filled to the brim yet. We sought out another experience and Annie’s Canyon was just the place.
Just off “the 5” in a little neighborhood a few blocks from Solana Beach lies Annie’s Canyon. If you drive through the neighborhood, you can park in a cul-de-sac that is located right next to the trailhead sign. From here you can hike, or rather stroll to the canyon, which is 1.5 miles through the San Elijo Lagoon. A beautiful walk by any stretch of the imagination, it is amazing to think that you are in a very urban area one mile from one of the busiest freeways in the world. Nature abounds and the scenery of the Pacific past the lagoon is spectacular. But this isn’t even the best part. What awaits you is something you have to travel into the deep unknown of forests or desert terrain to experience. Suddenly to the right, the canyon walls reach to the sky and they beckon you to explore them.
This part is not for the ones that dread tight spaces or have nightmares about being locked in closets. The slots are tight and it takes a fair amount of strength to get through some of the short but more difficult parts. The highlight of the experience is the ladder system that you have to climb up to pull yourself out of the canyon. Such a cool little thrill!
Our stomachs began to rumble as we made it back to the car. Cardiff-by-the- Sea has an incredible grocery store just steps from the beach where you can get just about anything your heart desires. We chose “Cardiff Crack”(marinated flank steak) with loaded baked potatoes and chocolate eclairs. Riveted Rosie was awaiting us to partake in our last meal. The calm before the storm was before us and we were lapping up every last drop.
We made the best of what we now know was the last day for everyone that seemed ordinary and normal. Enter the rush to find toilet paper and masks that would consume us all in the next few months. I’m just glad we have this memory to hold onto of life before Covid-19.