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$9.2M Vacation Rental

As I live and breathe...


We're but just a few short days outside of our recent family trip to Carlsbad, CA, Our noses are still peeling, it's really damn hot outside, and all of us are still vacation-hungover. Talking with some friends this morning, they all say that we have:


I've never heard of it before... but, it sure as hell is real! lol! It was a long overdue trip and well worth the wait. Last week when I shared that we were having breakfast with the Dolphins. Afterwards, I had a handful of people reach out and ask about "where/what we stayed" So I figured following up here made a lot of sense. :) There's also nothing better than going down memory lane with a friend, so here we go. :)

I must preface this first:

This was our first trip to Carlsbad, CA, ever! This was our first VRBO rental, ever! *I also did not know the estimated real estate value of the property until days after being there. **all of which compounds the feeling of extreme gratitude that such a thing was even possible for our little family. From the street side, no one would ever guess the gem that lies 30' from the sand.

As we drove to the home while passing by all the other homes/rentals on the block, this home happened to be one of the only houses that had undeniable stress free parking! :) It's not until your perspective changes do you realize WTF?! Located at the far, far end of the block, on a relatively quiet corner sits this THREE unit rental.

The home is adjacent to a townhome rental complex just on the other side of the public walkway down to the beach.

We did not know that this was a THREE unit rental until a few days later. Our humble little space consisted of a two bedroom, one bath, a living room, kitchen w/dining room, and the private porch.

This trip is so burned into my head...

The Tahoe door closes behind me. In a rush, my lungs are filled with ocean air. My face is kissed by the warm California sun and just out of sight, I can hear the sound of the waves crashing against the shore below. It is a private and quiet moment, however there's a lot going on. Random conversations from passerbyers silence themselves as they walk down the public sidewalk. Meanwhile, behind me, others search for a worthwhile parking spot. There's an old weathered iron gate that welcomes me. Through the black metal bars, I can sense the "woosh" of the tide coming and going. Sliding back the main latch I compelled to push in, but instead I'm mechanically directed to pull. From there beach sand can be felt sprinkled around the old concrete pathway as my flip flops slide over the tiny grains below my feet. It was just 5.5 hours ago where the temps were north of 100. My body hasn't acclimated to the sudden 40 degree change. A cold breeze updrafts my shirt drawing attention to the fact that I am not in Arizona anymore. My senses are overwhelmed... Having been minutes away from stopping our vacation search, we stumbled upon this... I cannot believe we're even here.

As I said previously, the rental/listing pictures show exactly how the house presented itself.

During our stay, the other units were not occupied. That meant for the duration of the trip, not only did we have the use of our particular space, we also got ALL of this backyard to ourselves!

It was like our own private beach park!

Unlike our Arizona neighborhoods, each of these homes have their own unique design and personality.

After getting our bearings of the area, we felt we had the best location of all the houses.

Although we used all of our space, especially the porch area! Chas and I pretty much occupied this little landing spot just as you entered the dining room area.

The visual range from this particular spot was incredible!

The neat thing about the property is that not only were we on a pseudo corner lot, the travel of the coast line put us more forward, allowing us to see very far away. Here to our South, the Oceanside Pier can be seen 3.5 Miles away. *only in the early mornings would there be enough walking space along the shoreline to get to the pier. The tide would come up so much during the day that the waves would smash into the manmade boulder walls just before the property lines, blocking any way of a nice long walk.

I would guess that from where we stood in relation to the shoreline below, we had to be every bit of 25' - 30' higher.

​This gave us such a unique perspective we could see damn near anything. Here me and the boys are playing football as the sunsets.

We all agreed that no one would come up to this landing with sandy feet. Just outside the door in the dining area is where we all just happened to park our yip'yops!

We would start and end our days standing right here... competing for the best picture! lol! The morning sunrise, sunset, even a moonset would be captured very well from this little spot.

You'd think that being so close to the ocean you'd hear seagulls flying overhead all the time...nope! surprisingly quiet from them. But I tell you what though! You do not know how LOUD the ocean is until you spend every minute beside it... there were times it was kind of annoying! hahah. Like dude, turn it down! Just sitting on the porch area one could hardly hear someone sitting at the table while having a conversation. Here I video record the evening sun being swallowed by the Pacific.

Every now and then there would be a lull in the waves... a small moment of time where the waves would suddenly stop. It was an odd kind of quiet.. like the music stopped! Way off in the background though, sometimes too far to see, you could hear a hum of airplanes or helicopters. I was zooming into the sailboat as it lined up in front of the setting sun. It wasn't until I looked back did I see there were also two helicopters flying around!

Out here in Surprise, we're very close to Luke AFB. Much of our aerial entertainment is either an F35 Raptor or F16. Being no more than 40 min or so from the Naval base, we got to see "non emergency" helicopters for the first time!

There would always be boats in the distance, however on two occasions, these guys were REALLY close!

Again... we Arizona natives don't much get to see dem boats in there water... so, this silly shit is kinda important! As the days would carry on we would balance doing nothing, with doing nothing at the same time. On the second day though, we would spend hours at the beach. While playing football with Avin, I mustered the courage to inch my way further out into the ocean (cause it was kinda cold). I wanted to help Tristan learn how to boogie-board effectively. Chas caught these awesome action pictures :)

At the end of the evening though, homeboy was smoked! :)

It should be no surprise that Chas and I like our food. :) We're also pretty nerdy about taking pictures - good pictures! :) Nothing is better framed than the ocean as the backdrop! :)

Here I captured on video the sound of the sizzle and ocean in the background!

Earlier that morning Chas and I found a local German butcher and store. We had homemade burgers with special German seasoning, even on a German brioche bun! All paired with grilled zucchini!


Shit was delish!

And of course, my breakfast with the Dolphins!

Spending so much time on this little porch, you are unprovokingly invited into people's lives simply by proxy. Here I am taking a picture of my bomb ass breakfast, however, I'm distracted by the reality of life, the moment happening just out of frame...

A Father and Daughter moment.

Compelled by the human moment, I stopped taking pictures of my food and focused on the family below. While being there, Chas also saw the cute moment happening in front of us.

After taking a few more pictures, Chas suggested that I run down and share the pictures with the man. I paused for a few minutes, then realized if I wasn't going to do it now, I never would. So! I popped off my yip'yops and ran down to the shoreline and approached the stranger. I explained where we were staying and how they just happened to be in the frame of the shot. I asked if he would like me to share these with him. He asked if I could email them to him, rather than text. He specifically said I would like them not compressed! lol!

A man after my heart! lol!

Making my way back up to the house I had a smile ear to ear. It felt really cool being able to gift that moment to him. :) About an hour or so later, the next wave of Dolphins came up. Chas was outside and saw their tailfin pop up. At the very moment, off to our right, two young girls were coming down the stairs heading towards the beach. They spotted the Dolphins at the same time as Chas! The girls rushed their way down to the water and quickly got in. Each time progressively getting closer. Under the same spell I was, Chas found herself taking pics of the Dolphins and the girls.

Just as the Dolphins got out of frame and were deeper out of sight, I looked at Chas and said... "Well! It's your turn now!"... She kicked off her shoes and ran down to the chain link fence to ask to share the pictures with them. They too were super excited and happy someone did that for them! :) It's in the early mornings that you see people just be there in the moment with just themselves, staring out into the horizon. It's a cool moment to witness. I suppose it must be similar to how people watch birds.. in our case, it happens to be people. :)

Later in the day a couple people were preparing a space for what looked like a wedding site. They brought a rake, smoothed out the ground, removed small rocks, they even dug little holes to bury their decorative wooden posts. It was cool! But then, because it's a public beach, "that guy" showed up and photobombed the whole get up! LOL! It was funny watching the photographer try and take pictures, trying to posture from different angles, but homeboy was not moving! He was deep in thought without a care in the world!

hahah!! It was sooo obvious that even Tristan stepped up and made an ass out of himself too! lol!

I believe the photobomber was there longer than planned. Ultimately, the wedding set up moved locations to a better spot so they could do their vows. That was a cute ceremony to see happen. :)

Our little porch saw it all man! It was great! Each morning we were welcomed by Dolphins :)

While chilling, this dope ass red bird landed right above me, cherp, chirping away! I popped my camera up and as soon as I saw how red he was and how the camera created a hyper blue ora around him.. I was like! hell yes!


I kept missing the early sunrises and told Chas that regardless of being on vacation, I wanted to beat the sunrise. I almost set my alarm but just willed it to me to get up. Sur'nuff I did. AND MAN!

I was so happy I did!!

Minding my own business that morning, a local walked down the steps and caught my attention. In the super early mornings, very few people are at the beach. Where our little porch was located, it wasn't hard to make eye contact with someone coming up or down the stairs. *only if you're standing though. So I watched this guy suddenly stop, pull out his phone, then seemingly zoomed in. I could tell something was up due to his abrupt pause. There's no missing someone pinching their screen giving away the appearance of a "zoom". I totally felt like a little kid! I was like, hey, hey! I wanna see, I wanna see!! I checked his angle then looked at myself.... nothing! Maybe I'll wander down some and change my angle. and BAM!! There it was, man! I saw what he was seeing too!

Through the glass of the neighboring home's pool barrier I saw a real life Sea Lion! I was like hell yes! So like a frazzled morning haired weirdo I bolted through the gate and walked closer to the Sea Lion.

It was really strange at first. The body language and the apprehension it had in wanting to get back into the water was alarming. It danced and bent backwards like a snake doing a slithering dance. I stayed there and watched longer. A couple other early morning runners stopped too. This made me feel less like a dork having ran down there to catch the shot! I stayed there for a good 5-8 minutes or so and soaked it up. I had no expectation of seeing anything beyond pooping seagulls. So Dolphins and now this?! Hell yes! I got back to the house and made breakfast. Everyone was still asleep for another hour or so. I was hella jacked to surprise-tell Chas "you know what I saw this morning?!" :) As it is with any trip! Ultimately there has to be a last day... Considering the landmark we turned that small spot on the porch to, it only made sense that the last family pic/selfie pics be taken right there. :) So we did :)

I feel like I'm still there.... well, only makes sense right now I guess.... Going through all these damn ass pictures! LOL! Chas found a way to take 1,019 pics in the week we were there. AND! I happened to take 506 pictures too! I'd swear that I have sand in my flip flops right now! Earlier in the day a family made a sandcastle. It was simple, nothing special, but you could see the effort. As the sun went down and filled the ocean, the ocean overfilled like a cup with too much ice in it; the tide came in. One of the first big waves came in and wilted the castle. From where Chas and I were sitting, I couldn't stop taking pictures of the waves getting closer. The nerd in me was so mesmerized by the casting of the sunlight when it's away from the sunsetting I danced and hemd-n-hawed trying to get the right angles.

But then you know it when you see it! BLIZAM! there it is! It's such a damn good picture, I'd swear I found it online, not in my phone taken by me. This is the picture of the week! :)

The takeaway from the week's vacation is that we will do our damndest to get out there again before 5 years slips by. Although I miss the ocean and our trip, I am really happy to be home. There's a lot to get after! The break certainly helped. Have a grateful weekend friend! Be safe! Happy Birthday America!! :)

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1 Comment

Vicki Scurlock Newton
Vicki Scurlock Newton
Jul 02, 2023

Great pictures sounds like a fun vacation. Thanks for sharing.

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