Checking Out of Hotel California

What a great week it has been, and the sunset above was the perfect way to end it.

I arrived in San Diego last Saturday with my son Pat and my Aunt Eileen and we headed to my Aunt Mary’s house north of San Diego. As I mentioned in a previous post, it has been 10 years since the two sisters had seen each other, and they have had a wonderful time catching up on what’s new as well as sharing old memories.

My Aunt Mary has been the perfect host, and it has been wonderful spending time with her and listening to her stories. I also had the chance to see her two daughters, my California cousins who I have not seen in 49 years. The two of them were kind enough to spend a good deal of time with us during the week as we tried to make up for lost time.

I’ve already posted updates about what I’ve done earlier in the week (here, here, here, here, and here), so I thought I would bring this blog up to date with what we’ve been up to the past couple of days.

Yesterday we went to the Valley View Casino and Hotel, where I played the penny slot machines. Despite the small wagers, it didn’t take long for me to lose the full $20 I had placed in the machine. That will satisfy my gambling desires for the next 25 years. The buffet was quite good, however, and seemed to be one of the major reasons people came to the casino.

Today my son and I went to the classic beach town of Oceanside and did a quick dip in the ocean. There was no way I was leaving California without diving into the waves of the Pacific. I had always heard that the Pacific was much colder than the Atlantic, but the temperature seemed about the same as what I remember from trips to the Jersey shore.


We had lunch at a beachside Mexican cantina, and while eating our tacos I remarked to my son that life doesn’t get much better than this.


We then went for a walk around town, and stopped in at a couple of the many surf shops that can be found in Oceanside. It was in one of them, Woody Resin Surf Products, that we had a chance to chat for a while with the owner, John Gundersen. John currently makes how own line of surfboards, Woody Resin. John was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame a couple of years ago. He started and owned Atlantic Surfing Magazine from 1964-1969 and opened the First Surf Shop in NYC in 1965. John was also responsible for getting Surfing legalized in NYC in 1967.

Somehow I snuck Bruce Springsteen’s name into the conversation, and John knew Bruce when he was a teenager struggling to make ends meet, and working in a surfboard factory.

John has also met every surfing legend of the past 40 years, including Laird Hamilton, except for Kelly Slater. But he thinks that will be changing within a year or so.

It’s always fun and energizing to meet people who love what they are doing, and John is one of those people. If you ever happen to be in the Oceanside area, I’d recommend you stop by John’s shop at 111 S. Coast Hwy.

After leaving Oceanside, we went looking for a good pizza shop so that we could continue our Friday night pizza tradition. We found a few, but unfortunately the one I picked did not live up to expectations. We look forward to good old Conestoga Pizza next week.

So we will be flying back home tomorrow, but the words from Hotel California by The Eagles resonate with me.

You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave.

So while we will be checking out of my Aunt’s house, the memories will never leave us.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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