sunny california!

The Shroyers finally get warm.

Our drive from Phoenix to San Diego was fascinating. Who knew we’d drive through mountains, deserts, green farmland, a whole town based on dates (aptly named Dateland), almost-Mexico–complete with border patrol checkpoints–and more mountains? We experienced an hour delay in the mountains caused by a wreck (an RV jacknifed and caught on fire, but we believe and hope that everyone escaped safely), and we finally arrived unscathed at our cousins’ house in San Diego. True to form, cousins Karyl and Matt had margaritas ready! We enjoyed a catch-up visit and poolside dinner before heading to our new home for the next month.

Desert! Sand dunes!

And a lovely home it turned out to be! A small family farm-in-progress in Vista, this AirBnb is the upstairs apartment in the former barn. With two bedrooms, a spacious bathroom, well-equipped kitchen, and cozy living room, we quickly expanded into the space, relieved after a month in our tiny Santa Fe home. Our hosts are gracious and helpful, and the resident chickens supplied beautiful eggs.

Love makes the eggs taste better.

The next day was Monday, so we didn’t get a chance to do much exploring until the weekend, but we did manage lunch at the Yellow Deli in downtown Vista, followed by a stroll. Vista turned out to be much larger than we’d imagined, with cool art, nice parks, and plenty of restaurants to sample. In California there are lots of outdoor dining options, so we’re taking advantage of that (and exceeding our restaurant dining budget!).

Alley Art Woman in Vista

Our first weekend in California was wonderful! We met Karyl and Matt for a picnic by the water, where Phil and Matt enjoyed a quick game of bocce ball and I got to ride Karyl’s pride and joy–her electric bike! The picnic was beautiful (have I mentioned that Karyl is the incarnation of Pearl Mesta?), a gorgeous and delicious spread into which we dug with such gusto that I forgot to photograph it.

Bocce ball and bikes

We also spent a day simply exploring our surroundings. We walked the beach at Carlsbad, sampled a couple of restaurants, drove around the hills, bought flowers and fruit at nearby farms, and visited a winery. We enjoyed an outdoor, socially distanced tasting  with live music, where we met the most stylish dog I’ve ever seen.

I felt underdressed next to her!

The next week Karyl sent us her CSA farm share. What a bounty! Gorgeous, locally-raised fruits and vegetables became a lovely dinner that evening: steamed veggies with aioli, zucchini in a homemade chunky tomato sauce, and Phil’s specialty, cheesy toast. Did I mention that the oven in our AirBnb is broken? Our lifestyle includes a lot of “figure-it-out, make-do, find-a-creative-solution” challenges. I’ve cooked most of our meals for two weeks without an oven. It’s supposed to be repaired soon, and that will be great–but making things work is a valuable learning process and part of the fun of being Roamers.

Dinner from our CSA box, courtesy of Kuzin Karyl

So far in our second weekend here we’ve explored the  Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, had lunch with dear friend Jeanne in her gorgeous backyard, and watched the sun set on the Del Mar Civic Center Plaza patio. There we enjoyed a whimsical charcuterie platter courtesy of Karyl, who knows how to make everything special. She is my role model for how to live graciously, with gratitude, generosity, and charm.

“Culinary art” at Alta Vista Botanical Gardens

“Boat-cuterie” a la Karyl

We are so very grateful to be here in this beautiful setting, with perfect weather, lemons and oranges growing outside our window, and the ability to spend time with wonderful cousins and friends. After five months of Roaming, we have no regrets.



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