Irvine, California – day 2

On day 2 in the Irvine area, we drove down to Laguna Beach and walked around the town. Beautiful, as always.

Then we drove down the coast to Dana Point and drove around there. It’s changed so much that I had a problem finding a place I’ve loved down by the breakwater. In fact, I never did find it. Later, I mentioned it to Dan and he said it is still there so I guess I just missed it.

After Dana Point, we drove up Del Obispo into San Juan Capistrno and I showed Colette where the condo was that I owned from 1980 to 1990. Then we walked over and took the mission tour which I’ve loved and done over and over again through the years. THe mission has the oldest standing building in California and there’s a lot of great history and pretty places there.

We’d agreed to meet Dan at Mugs Away, a bar off Crown Valley where Ann, his wife works sometimes and she was there today. It was fun. A funky little bar mostly patronized by regulars, I think. Lots of memorabilia tacked onto the walls. Dan arrived and Ann made us all Chicken Sandwiches (yum) and we sat and talked and enjoyed the place.

When Colette and I left, we still had some time and I suggested that we drive over the Ortega Highway and take in the view down over Lake Elsinore. She thought it was a good idea so we were off. It’s a drive I’ve done many times over the years and I always enjoyed it.

Of course, I had to retell the story of why I had an involvement with San Juan Capistrano and this area in the first place.

And, the reason was because of the Nichols Institute for Endocrinology which I’d been working at in the San Pedro area at the end of the 1970’s. They’d decided to shift everything down to San Juan Capistrano (SJC) and wanted all of the employees to come along. Orange County was then, and still is today, a much nicer place to live than the Long Bearch / San Pedro area and so they were doing those of us who came along a big favor in terms of the environment we would be living in and the world our kids would experience growing up.

I was one of the ones who thought it was a great idea (most did) and I ended up buying my first property in SJC. We moved and our lives were forever changed for the better.

Nichols Institute located itself then (and still) about ten miles outside of SJC along the Ortega Highway. So, as Colette and I were driving over the Ortega, I was teling her this story.

Working at Nichols Institute forever changed my life in many positive ways. SJC was one. Another was that they gave me my start in computers there. I’d been a research chemist helping to develop new laboratory assays but my interests had been strongly towards computers and when I asked to take over running their data reduction system, they agreed which was a major turning point for me.

At the end of the drive over the mountains, just as you are about the go down the backside into Lake Elsinore, there’s a Cafe (The Lookout Roadhouse, 32107 Ortega Highway, 92530 – 951-678-9010 – 33-39-15N, 117-23-41W) that overlooks the view there and we stopped in for a cup of Java. The lady that owns and runs the place made me a fresh pot of coffee and came and talked to us for a bit. Said she’s been there for 40 years and loves it. Another fun and funky place.

We drove back across the mountains and cut back up to Irvine. Both Dan and Ann were working and the kids were at Ann’s parents place so were were ‘home alone’ . Kind of fun. We were going to go to the restaurant where Dan was working (I’ve been there and the food’s great) but we decided to go out locally for Mexican Food so we went over to the local Super Mex place and tried Colette out on some authentic Mexican Food. Nice. I think she liked it!

Home and some reading and the day was one.

Another nice one.

One Response to “Irvine, California – day 2”

  1. Kathy says:

    Loving these posts Dennis and hearing more about your life. It’s got to be fun to show someone new around and take them down memory lane with you! Keep the posts coming as we are all reading them back here at home!