Chula Vista & The Night of Neverending Tacos

When discussing whether or not to visit Southern California, we had already taken LA off the table due to traffic navigation concerns (no picnic when towing!). Mike really wanted to hit the San Diego area, and timing wise this was going to be our Thanksgiving stay, which meant many campgrounds were already full weeks in advance. Ultimately, we lucked out and found an open spot in an RV park in Chula Vista, just south of San Diego, and adjacent to a marina. Any proximity to water is always a bonus, and there was a charming little pier and community park with a walkway along the water and a view of San Diego proper…especially beautiful at sunset. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, there are always trade offs, so along with a fantastic location and the ability to get a mail drop (thanks Tony!), the lots were tight – severely limiting privacy.

Some of the more destination style RV parks have event calendars, and this one had a Light Up The Harbor night while we were there. Usually I take a pass at that social stuff unless it’s really intriguing. We’d already spent a good portion of the day navigating the touristy, crowded (yeah yeah, beautiful too) La Jolla area, so I was really feeling the need to restore my energy a bit. In the end, Mike talked me into accompanying him for a little while and I’m glad I did…he’s occasionally right about that kind of thing! We met a really nice, fun couple from Canada (you’ll see a trend here as our posts continue) and enjoyed chatting with them for a couple of hours. We parted ways when the group grew larger to the point that the vibe changed a bit.

Suddenly ravenous after our socializing, we discussed getting takeout for dinner. Mike was feeling wings, but I’d seen reviews for Tacos El Gordo that stated it was delicious and about as legit a street taco experience as you can get on this side of the border. After some cajoling, he graciously gave in and offered to go get them. Had we read a just little further into the reviews, we’d have known that the establishment had separate lines for each type of meat, making it the perfect place to hit with a few friends: divide/conquer/share. Not so awesome for a solo takeout experience, given one of us stayed behind with the pup.

Returning (much) later with two bags of food, sense of humor intact, Mike starts handing me taco after taco after taco after taco. I look at him questioningly, as it was much more than the 5 items we’d planned to order. He shrugs: “I don’t know what we got, but we’ve got a lot of tacos.” As it turns out, there was some kind of mixup in ordering and we netted about 22+ tacos. We ate dinner and it was really delicious – those great reviews were well earned! We kicked around handing out the extras to those who might need it, but ultimately decided it was too late in the evening and we weren’t quite familiar enough with the area outside the marina to pull that off safely. Instead, we used the leftovers for breakfast (huevos & adobada are muy bueno!) and dinner (reconstituted with extra fresh ingredients)…for days. We also couldn’t resist taunting my brother in law, Nate, with the occasional pic of our street taco turned ____ creations.

That Thanksgiving, in addition to feeling grateful for our friends and family, this overall travel experience, and our health, we added the following to our list:

  • Helpful young men who could easily have steered Mike to the lengua (tongue) or sesos (brain) line, but instead directed him to the delicious adobada and pastor.
  • Inexpensive street tacos (we paid for them all, and our budget for takeout is limited!)

Having an entire week in one place enabled us to relax a little more than the average stopover allows, visit with an old friend who had recently relocated to SD, check out a couple of area sites (La Jolla and Cabrillo), and handle some ops items and planning for the stretch of road that came next. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also say that being back in CA felt oddly regressive, which is silly since one of the goals of this trip is to see what we haven’t yet seen of this country. Even still, I couldn’t shake that feeling of having taken a step backward – and was itching to get back on the road and out of CA traffic as the week wound down. Onward & East-ish!


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