Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break: Getting Tubed at San Onofre

In my "youth" we used to make an annual pilgrimage to San Onofre State Park. We would drag my friend Pete's tent trailer down for a massive camping trip. For a whole week we would spend a microscopic amount of money, live on questionably small amounts of food (ramen, mac and cheese, that weird hot dog and mac combo) and consume large quantities of bad beer. The campground is just off of I-5, perched on a cliff above the Pacific. San Onofre is an unholy crossroads that features the following odd attractions:
  1. San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) which provides nearly 20 percent of the power to more than 15 million people in Southern California. Excuse the pre-pubescent humor, but it is also known as, "the big rack", "maternal power", and several other nastier metaphors. Nice design!

  2. Camp Pendleton Marine Core Base (and bombing range) - Just across I-5 is a huge tract of land used for military training and bombing runs. You can hear jets doing low flyovers and the distant sound of percussive bombing throughout the day.
  3. Killer Waves - I grew up in Oregon, and went to college in the Puget Sound area of Washington. Culturally we lived in the shadow of the iconic California surfer lifestyle. Although we had access to lots of beaches, the weather didn't support surfing. Spring break was a chance for 3 pasty white guys from rain-soaked Seattle to try their hand at riding the waves. Yea, we sucked at it and our boogie boards were cheap styrofoam department store junk, but there was nothing better than paddling like a mad man, feeling the lift of a wave, and riding it all the way to the shore!

    This slow motion video from the BBC reminded me of the awesome power and beauty of waves (I'm stunned by the little tornadoes that show up just behind the break). Pete and Matt, I will always cherish our annual pilgrimage to San Onofre... just remember to wait for the 7th wave, and never ever expect anything great to happen at the "Big Lute Shindig"!


peteo said...

1) Always omit sunscreen on the first day. Bullfrog and aloe vera can always compensate.

2) Don't lose your favorite hat on the Matterhorn.

3) If there is a problem with the propane stove, and water doesn't boil, mac & cheese will be pasty and nasty. But it still counts as a meal.

4) When given a chance to frill on Ugg boots, do it!

5) Always capture key memories in the Book o Doom.

6) The best time to develop cho handshake is at night on the beach, after careful mental preparation.

7) We had the same luck with women as we did with the McDonalds Monopoly game.

8) Never let Matt drive the 2am-6am shift.

9) Always acknowledge the supremacy of road trippin to Uplift Mofo Party Plan in the highway porpoise.

10) Stay stone cold sober.

Matt said...

"Hang on to your hats and glasses, cuz this here's the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!"
-Intro Recording to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Those trips will go down in my memory as the best ever. Not because of the surf at San Onofre, the awesome rides at the 'Land, or the fact that we were in a tropical land after leaving Tacoma/Parkland ('nuff said), but because spending a week with your friends on break - the right friends - can never be duplicated. Except for when we come close to duplicating it once or twice a year ever since. A lesson learned that can't be taught except by doing it - it's the people, not the places. Sniff sniff.

Pete's skin is still healing from his failure to apply sunscreen timely, heavily, and evenly. You'd think he'd learn his lesson.

No mention of sneaking granola out of the sub at PLU?