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Fourth of July in Orange County

We decided at the last minute to go to my family’s Fourth of July party in Orange County, California. The party was inland in the Mission Viejo area. In a normal year, it’s hot there, and most of us who travel in prefer to stay on the coast and drive into the party. This summer has been pretty cool, so far, on the west coast.

The trip did not start off well, as I had to have major filling work done on a couple teeth prior to our departure. We hit a bad patch of traffic going south on the 5 freeway in Los Angeles (surprise).  Terry was driving and the conversation went like this…

We went to a pizza place in South Gate that I found on Yelp! It did not look promising in a ratty little strip mall. You can see from the Yelp! pic, the decor is minimal. I wasn’t up to chewing pizza, but they had pasta, so I got the lasagna. The red sauce was incredible, some of the best I’ve ever had, the color was a rich red, and it had a very tomato-y taste (all suggesting that the sauce was extremely fresh). The reviews raved about the subs, and other customers were chowing down on them (another no go with my teeth).   

I found a spot at Laguna Beach at a funky place called the Art Hotel (Laguna has a large artists community). We arrived late at night and the sun had already gone down, but we needed to stretch our legs so we took a walk down the cliff to the beach. Even in the dark, it was clear that I was not visiting Ocean Beach. The houses were all obviously quite expensive. The beach was a surprise. I had picked a spot near a small beach called Crescent Bay.

We went out the next morning, and even though there was a thick marine layer (high fog/low clouds) that included a drizzle, folks were staking out places with chairs and towels. The water and air temp weren’t bad (I’d guess at around 68F), so Leroy took the plunge and was having a great time body surfing.


Daylight revealed the crescent in its full glory…

And the (multi) million dollars homes around it…


We had to find gas when we left to go to the family party, and went up the road. The gas station was across from the main beach at Laguna, and it looked like we hadn’t missed a thing as it was packed and they had crowd barriers up to keep folks from jay-walking.

The family party inland, was quite temperate…


but we still took a dip in the pool.

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