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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Tiny Ferry and Bigfoot

March 23, 2024 (Sat)

10:30 am Huntington Beach, CA

Well, we wanted a change from the 80° weather in the desert and boy howdy, did we get it! This morning, it is pouring down rain and 59°. This motivates us to stay inside Harvey and read. And eat.

All morning it rained. And rained.


3:30 pm Huntington Beach, CA

After an exciting day of reading and watching it rain and doing dishes, the rain has stopped and the sun has come out.

This is what the RV park across the highway from the beach looks like. At least it’s level.


We need to restock some supplies in Harvey, and this is the first time in weeks that we’ve been near a supermarket (“Vons,” which appears to be “Safeway” only in California). Honestly, it’s a bit overwhelming to have choices (“Five brands of pistachios! Seven types of sprouts!”).


It is, however, nice to have both fresh strawberries and blueberries.


6:30 pm Huntington Beach, CA

Now that the rain is finished, the wind has moved in, with steady winds of 20 mph and gusts of 30 mph. Harvey regularly rocks back and forth from the wind, and we are pretty sure that our weight will help keep him from falling over. To be safe, we eat some more tortilla chips.


Day 39 Travel

Our travel on Day 39 (Sat)




March 24, 2024 (Sun)

9:00 am Huntington Beach, CA

We’ve developed a routine for shower day: first a dip in the pool, then a pre-soak in the hot tub, followed by showering and then drying out in the sunshine. Happily, every RV park we’ve stayed at in California and Arizona has had a pool (and hot tub!). The only one that didn’t was the hotel in Calipatria, and we’re still trying to blot that out of our memory.

Robert has to dodge the occasional harpoon as he dries by the pool…


11:20 am Newport Beach Pier

As mentioned in the last blog, Gini grew up in Newport Beach and has fond memories of fishing off the pier (and losing her rod and reel, only to have it reeled in by her Dad).


It’s all different now, but most of the buildings are the same. We head down an alleyway to visit an oceanfront building that used to be owned by her Mom and then inherited by her and her siblings.


Today, among its tenants is a Donut Shop, and Robert tries to convince her that we should buy a dozen donuts to support the family business. Turns out, though, that they sold it years ago, so the donut dollars wouldn’t end up in our pockets (although the donuts would certainly end up in our stomachs and on our hips!).

The family Donut Shop—although it hasn’t always been a donut shop and hasn’t been in the family for maybe 10  years


We thought it was windy on the shore, where there are buildings to help calm it down. As we go walking on Newport Bear Pier, though, we get the full effect of 20 to 30 mph winds (it feels like we’re about to be blown off the pier into the water).


There’s only one surfer person, and they are surfing parallel to the shore, being pushed by the wind so it looks like they are gliding over the waves.


Gini on Newport Beach Pier


Gini on the pier—her hat is normally flat, but is being pushed around by the gusty wind


12:50 pm Balboa Island

The Newport Beach Pier is on a peninsula and between the peninsula and the mainland is an island called Balboa Island. This was another one of Gini’s haunts as a kid. She would bicycle with a friend down the ocean front walk, catch the ferry over to Balboa Island and ride their bikes across the island. Then they would ride off the other side and go to Little Beach and its tide pools in Corona del Mar. At that time, no one thought much about 11 year old kids being out and about for much of the day.


The ferry is still there, still carrying walk-on passengers and three cars at a time over to Balboa Island which is jam-packed with houses. Harvey is too tall to fit on the ferry, even if we let the air out of his tires. So Robert parallel parks it on a nearby street (seriously, there ought to be some kind of Award of Excellence given for parallel parking an RV) and we walk a half-mile down to and onto the ferry.


It costs $1.50 (cash only) per person to take the five minute ride and it’s very scenic and way more fun than the Ferris wheel and cheaper, too!

The Balboa Ferry, carrying its load of three cars


We walk along the path circling the island—more walking than we’ve done in three weeks—until we get to the bustling heart of the island. Once there, we do the touristy thing of having lunch!

Gini is delighted by her potato skins at Wilma’s Patio


We don’t find any trinkets we can’t live without, so we call a Lyft to take us back to the ferry (hey, we’d already walked half a mile to get to the ferry (and at least half a mile around the island after getting off it!) and go back to the mainland.

Gini enjoys riding the ferry back to the mainland


Back on the peninsula, we pass by the old Fun Zone (where Gini remembers riding bumper cars with her family) and go the Fun Center, which is now a mashup of souvenir shops and fair food shops (deep fried twinkies, ice cream sundaes, frozen chocolate-covered bananas).


Robert meets his old pal Bigfoot at the Fun Center in Balboa


While looking for sunglasses (Robert keeps breaking or losing his) we stumble across a place with a great selection of Aloha shirts—cotton! 2X! $20 each!


Robert is delighted. “Now I can delay doing laundry by two more days!” Gini is sad to see that the Bay Department store is gone and that the space is now souvenir shops. She fondly remembers the yearly sale there and the pandemonium that ensued.


4:00 pm Newport Beach

Finally Gini has spent enough time on memory lane and is ready to reenter the current era. We jump on the Pacific Coast Highway (the one that ran in front of our RV park) and head north!


5:00 pm Long Beach

We get gas at a dinosaur gas station (Sinclair Gas, which has a big Apatosaurus as its logo) and while Robert is filling up, Gini finds us a place to stay overnight that’s five minutes away.


Since it’s Sunday night, we were resigned to boon docking on some side street, so the rabbit that Gini pulled out of her hat is pretty amazing! Five minutes away. Apparently, we’ve been living right.

Anyway, we arrive and get connected just before it starts sprinkling on us. We are warm and dry for the evening.  

Our second rainbow this trip (although Gini points out that the last rainbow was a double rainbow, so this technically, our third rainbow this trip)


Day 40 Travel

Our travel on Day 40 (Sun)


Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff

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