Up at 6am, and arrived at Newport Beach by 645 for Trevors second surf lesson- this time from a 30 year surfing veteran that came recommended by several locals. One of his school rules is that no one can stay with the student or watch the lesson. Not even the Dad. Trevor excelled today, and the instructor described Trevors surfing ability as remarkably well suited for surfing with lots of natural talent…  Trevor was up on  his board very quickly and rode several waves all the way in from the outside. (Ask Trevor to decode that description). We’re heading back for the final lesson tomorrow at 7am. Ethan is chomping at the bit to get in the water, and we hope tomorrow he’ll have a chance to surf with his big brother. Once we had Trevors lesson out of the way, we made our way back to our section of the beach with the other kids to frolic in the wash and sand. For a while I had Simon to myself, and we enjoyed a little home school on the beach as we scraped words into the sand, and he sounded them out. It digressed into pictures, but was fun one on one time with Si, while Lauren and Meila dug gaping holes into the shore that they could climb into and wait for the next big wave to cover them up- and Ethan got rolled over and over and over by the waves crashing into our private section of the beach. It was nice to be there on a weekday with such sparse crowds. At one point, while the kids were shuffling around playing I caught out of the corner of my eye a lifeguard running fast, rescue weenie and flippers in hand- headed right for us! Adrenaline shot to the end of my fingers and toes as I took a quick count and accounted for all of our kids- but the young Japanese couple next to us looked like they were struggling in the water- like they had looked for the last 15 minutes. They only spoke Japanese, and the girl waving her hands above her head must have been fun, but the lifeguard interpreted it as a struggling swimmer…. As soon as the guard showed up at the shoreline, she stood up and they walked in. He tried to discuss it to no avail, so the young couple went back to their group amid giggles and chiding from their friends and the lifeguard made his way back to the second story of the guard tower. On a related beach/swimming/lifeguard note: The 2 missing swimmers from 2 days ago still haven’t shown up….

We spent some time at the new parking spot, which so far has been good for one night’s stay, grilling hamburgers for tonights dinner with a table set up with chairs in the park and the kids playing and feeding the super-fat squirrels peanuts, and we probably were a little too visible, because at about 745pm, the local gendarme showed up in his black and white. Now, here was an excellent example of police work: Neighbors complain about an RV with a generator running. Dispatch sends an patrol officer and parking control officer. Officer shows up first and (I assume) after realizing we weren’t homeless and draining our sewer on the street (like Venice Beach, CA incident last week), he could handle it, so he canceled the parking control officer….. We had a pleasant discussion about the area, my public service with the ambulance and FD, about the plan for our family trip, about homeschooling, about local crime and ocean currents, about the church we attended in his city yesterday- and then the parking control officer showed up. I had heard the PC guys would give a police officer a ticket as he sat for his oral interview when he got the job many years ago (but I’m not mentioning any names)… So I was ready for the bad news when he joined our conversation on the sidewalk outside the bus. Turns out, he traveled the country driving a big rig and warned me about trying to navigate the East Coast in a bus our size. The 2 officers conferred briefly about my plan to return to Edison Park- where we’d stayed a few nights already, and they thought we wouldn’t have any trouble. “The trouble, you see”, they said, “was when the neighbors complain about noise, or parking complaints and expect the police to address the illegal activity that they might normally overlook’. So here we were in a situation we could have avoided by keeping it low key and maybe not running the genny after dinner time. Lesson learned.

We happily moved back to Edison Park for our last night in Huntington Beach- since the bus goes in for 2 nights at the bus shop tomorrow after surf lessons, and we check into a hotel until it’s ready to begin our trip Northward (should be Thursday).

This police officer set a real example of great police work. He efficiently satisfied the locals complaint and moved us along, but the WAY he handled it with us made us more affectionate about the community and wasn’t an offensive turn off as if we had been thrown out of the city- which could have been the way he chose to handle it. Police have such discretion in the way they do their jobs, that it’s easy to tell what kind of person they are by the way they handle routine calls. This man cast a sense of self confidence and objectivity while serving his city perfectly. Another great example by HB city employees.

This little powerhouse cooker will do all the meat for our family of 9 at one time, and it always turns out just right.

I love our grill, the Weber Q. It has such even heat and the temp is always just right, that even I can’t mess up the food (so far). The only drawback has been the drip tray getting gross and with being in a moving vehicle, has a tendency to want to slop out of the foil tray when being moved or driving when it was 100+ degree heat. I think I have the solution: don’t use the provided disposable foil tray. Instead take a square of foil and mold it into the tray holder, that slides easily out from under the grill- and each time you use it, the foil can be discarded by wadding it up once cool. I think we might replace our grill with this one when we return home…

Cheapskate (I prefer "Thrifty") collection trays.