San Diego Dreaming

We’re on day 35 of sheltering in place. Our yard isn’t sure what’s going on. Used to neglect because of our travels, future boysenberries are taking shape.

Boysenberry blooms

The lemon and lime bushes received much-needed grooming and now look more like trees. Well, the one on the right anyway.

Lemon and lime miniatures

Tomato, pepper, and zucchini plants seem to grow inches a day in the raised beds filled with new soil.

Tomatoes, zucchini, and pepper plants nestled in new soil

And the roses are in their blooming glory.

Imagine the fresh scent of roses filling the air

We’re not sure how long the virus will curtail our travels, but it looks like we’ll be around until harvest.

In the meantime, we are San Diego dreaming as we look back at past adventures. In November 2014, we stayed in San Diego so Jon could help our son Kevin and his girlfriend Bailey renovate their kitchen. We took a break after several days of work and hiked the Razor and Yucca Point trails in Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Cliffs at Torrey Pines State Reserve
Cliffs crumble into sand
Kevin and Jon

After our hike, we stopped in at South Beach Bar and Grill for lunch and refreshments while looking out the window at the beach and pier.

South Beach Bar and Grill is offering delivery or curbside pick up during lockdown

Then we headed to Ocean Beach and Dog Beach for recreation, relaxation, and the sunset. I spent most of my time photographing the scene.

Ocean beach in November 2014
Catching a bit of frisbee action
We found a spot on the hill to watch the action
Practicing boogie board moves
Quick, take my pic
Watch out for the jetty
Great beach for dogs and humans
How about a swim with dogs? Uh, no thank you.
Yikes! A runaway.
“Come on. Follow me.”
Where’s my board?
You lookin’ at me?
Aren’t I pretty?
Last few moments of sun
Still time for more frisbee
Seaplane landing
Walk on the beach
Day is done
Silhouettes and reflections

As of the publication date of this post, all San Diego parks and beaches are closed until further notice. I’m sure I’m not the only one who longs for a day at the beach or a hike along the cliffs. Here’s to the day when we can again enjoy the warm sand under our feet, sea spray on our faces, and a salty breeze in our hair.

But for now, stay safe.

San Diego, California—the perfect place to escape a heat wave

The weather forecast predicted a week of heat-wave temperatures for California and Arizona on April 9, 2018. Since the best places to hang out when it’s scorching hot are a forest at high altitudes or along the coast, we headed for the San Diego Resort-Sunland in La Mesa, California. Although in the 80s, it was better than panting in temperatures that approached 100 degrees.

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Urban wildlife

The goal of our recent San Diego visits is to explore places we have never been before. We checked off Mt. Helix, Cabrillo National Park, and Lake Murray on this trip.

Mt. Helix

The children of Mary Carpenter Yawkey built the 12-acre Mt. Helix private, non-profit park as a tribute to their mother in 1925. Open year-round, the park attracts residents and visitors to explore the trail that circles the crown of the mountain; engage in a fitness work out by using the amphitheater steps, seats, and retaining walls; and to marvel at the 360° views. After tackling the steps five or six times, I surprised myself and managed the seats as well.

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Mt. Helix Amphitheatre
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Smile for the photo op
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Contemplating life
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Cross at the top of Mt. Helix
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One of the 360° views from Mt. Helix
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Not a clear day in San Diego

Cabrillo National Monument

We visited Cabrillo National Monument a few years back, but that was before I had my National Park Passport. So off to Point Loma to add another stamp in my book.

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Gettin’ a bit shaggy there JT

Lucky for us low tide coincided with our arrival. We wandered around the rocky intertidal zone for about an hour, peering into the pools to watch the sea anemones and snails going about their business. Witnessing sea life under the water takes a little patience A quick glance won’t do if the aim is to watch the animals move around. Other creatures clung to the cliffs for a bit of sunbathing while waiting for the onslaught of waves at high tide.

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Tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument
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Gooseneck barnacles
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Sea anemone and snails in a small pool
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Staghorn kelp, perhaps?
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Couples share a moment as the waves roll in
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Oh, how I adore your limpet eyes
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Pink barnacle clinging to a rock
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A ranger leads students and chaperones through the tide pools
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Pelican Air Force on duty

We stopped off at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, cooled off while watching the movie at the visitor center, and gazed out at the views of San Diego’s skyline and watercraft in the bay.

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Old Point Loma Lighthouse
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Exhibits inside depict life as a lighthouse keeper

The monument recognizes the arrival of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in September of 1542. Cabrillo was the first European to explore the west coast of the United States. He described the bay as “a closed and very good port,” and named it San Miguel. Another explorer, Sebastian Vizcaino, changed the name to San Diego 60 years later.

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Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo monument statue
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Black Phoebe flycatcher, perhaps?

Military uses of the point include a military reserve beginning in 1852, the installation of gun batteries in 1899, and a harbor defense system during World War I and II between 1918 and 1943. Visitors can see remnants of the batteries and an old radio station where an exhibit of “They Stood the Watch,” depicts the military history of Point Loma.

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Battlement near the lighthouse

From the ocean to the San Diego skyline, the views are spectacular from the monument.

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Ocean views
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San Diego skyline
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Rosecrans National Cemetery

Lake Murray Reservoir

Less than two miles from our base camp, Lake Murray Reservoir is a convenient park to visit, enjoy a lakeside walk and a bit of nature, or grab a picnic table and eat lunch. A 3.2-mile paved service road outlining the lake’s perimeter and ending at the dam is popular with walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. Fishing is also available. Or, rent a paddleboat or a kayak on a first-come-first-served basis from the concessionaire. We chose a 6-mile walk around the lake, turning around just short of the dam.

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Lake Murray Reservoir
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Here fishy, fishy, fish
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Paved trail around Lake Murray
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Rent a paddle boat or kayak
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Osprey nest

It’s a Wrap

That pretty much concludes our 2018 Winter Tour. We left San Diego on April 15, 2018, took a detour through Lake Havasu to take care of some business and arrived home on April 20.  This was our longest tour yet, a total of 81 days, almost 12 weeks.

More stats:

  • 8,200 miles on the truck
  • 5,153 miles on the 5th wheel
  • 23 RV parks
  • 6 5th wheel repairs (entry steps, sewer connection, room slider, front jacks bolt, spare tire carrier, propane door)
  • 3 presidential library and museums
  • 8 national parks, monuments, or trails
  • 1 amusement park
  • and a whole lot of other sites

As much as we love being on the road, we were both glad to make it home safe and sound. Time to dust ourselves off and catch up with family and friends.  Oh yeah, Jon has a long list of RV preventative maintenance projects to complete before our next tour.

Before we packed up the rig and hit the pavement again, we needed a little vacation. A roundtrip Alaskan cruise from San Francisco seemed the ideal adventure for these two road-weary travelers.

Safe Travels

George H. W. Bush Library and Museum in Bryan, Texas

We left Fort Stockton on Sunday, February 18, 2018, under sunny skies and 70-degree weather. As we made our way east on Interstate 10, the skies darkened, temperatures dropped to 60 degrees, and mist mingled with the burning of methane gas from the oil rigs. The smell was overpowering and a headache soon developed. Hopefully, eating a bite of lunch will ease the pain.

The colorful paint on El Chatos Mexican Restaurant in Ozona enticed us to sample their menu. The parking lot full of vehicles (there were plenty more than the two in the photo) signaled that it was a popular local draw.

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The inside was painted as bright as the outside and, sure enough, it seemed everyone who walked in the door knew someone sitting at a table.

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Diners expressed greetings to their neighbors as a wave across the dining room or through the exchange of a few words while walking to and from the buffet. A hot cup of tea and a delicious plate of food soothed my aching head.

We found Junction North Llano River RV park a perfect place to stop for the night. The Llano River flowed a few feet from our site as roosters crowed, doves cooed, and other birds chattered high up in the pecan trees.

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Clouds with occasional drops of rain and high humidity followed us to the Galloping Snail in Bryan, Texas, our stop for two nights. The next day we headed out to the George H. W. Bush Library & Museum near the Texas A & M University campus in Bryan, Texas. Clouds threatened to let loose buckets of rain.

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George Herbert Walker Bush (Bush 41) served one term as president from January 20, 1989, to January 20, 1993, after serving as vice president from 1981 to 1989.

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Interesting how George Earned his Name

Some of the key events that occurred during George Bush’s presidency include the bailout of troubled savings and loans banks, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the fall of the Berlin wall, and the capture and conviction of Manuel Antonio Noriega on drug trafficking charges.

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1989 Lincoln Towncar Presidential Limousine

Exhibits include photos, narratives, and artifacts that detail the president’s life and career.

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Bush’s Military Career
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Photos and Equipment Similar to What George Might Have Used

This exhibit detailed the lives of George and Barbara and their family’s lives.

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Type of Car Owned by the Bush’s Early During Their Marriage
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Exhibit on Bush’s Time as Congressman

This president’s library displays a replica of the oval office while he was in office, which is available for taking personal photos behind the desk.

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Take a Selfie Behind the President’s Oval Office Desk

I liked this story about Barbara and her mismatched tennis shoes. One day she mentioned that she preferred the old-fashioned Ked tennis shoes. George contacted the company president who sent George 24 pairs of Keds in different colors and patterns. George then gave the shoes to Barbara for her birthday. To tease her husband, she divided the shoes into three piles, one pile to use while at the White House, one pile to use at Camp David, and the third pile to use at Kennebunkport. None of the piles contained two shoes that matched.

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The Keds Story Shows the Family’s Humor
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Sit Down, Relax, and View a Video About the Bush’s
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Camp David Office

The replica of the White House Situation Room gives visitors an idea of the setting where the president receives intelligence briefings by the U.S. National Security Adviser and members of the National Security Council.

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White House Situation Room

The Persian Gulf War conducted under the code name Operation Desert Storm was one of the defining moments of George’s presidency. Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, and on January 17, 1991, the war began with air strikes. Ground troops deployed on February 24, 1991, liberating Kuwait with little resistance from Iraqi troops. President Bush called off the ground offensive since the war’s objectives had been met, sparking criticism for not taking out Saddam Hussein.

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Exhibit on Desert Storm
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Millie Greets Children in Each Exhibit. Inside the Cupboard is a Lesson.

I liked looking at all the gifts that are presented to the president while in office, including jewelry, vases, dishware, baskets, quilts, and various art pieces from around the world. The Gate of Kuwait is the most special piece in this collection. Kuwait’s leading citizens once used similar doors as the primary access to their walled homes. The gate, over 100 years old, represents the gratitude of the people of Kuwait. The plates framing the door bears the names of the 149 American servicemen and women who were killed during the Gulf War.

 

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Gate of Kuwait

 

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Various Gifts Given to the American People During Bush’s Presidency

 

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The Painted Rock was a Gift From Nicaragua

 

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JT Sits Down for a Chat with George

It is fitting that the statue below found a home at the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum. A sister casting, a gift of friendship from the American people to the people of Germany, was unveiled by President Bush on July 2, 1998, in Berlin on the 50th anniversary of the Berlin airlift.

 

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The Day the Wall Came Down by Veryl Goodnight

 

 

 

 

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Bronze Statue of Bush

Since visiting Lyndon Johnson’s library and museum and now George Bush’s, we have enjoyed reliving the history we lived through, learning a little more about the men and their families, and trying to understand the stress that each man must have gone through during their time in office. There’s one more presidential library and museum in Texas and we plan on visiting the two in California on our way back home.

Safe Travels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kicking it in San Diego, California – Part 2

Top on our list for choosing San Diego was, of course, our favorite resident. Our son Kevin moved there shortly after graduating from high school and has adopted it as his hometown.

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Kevin Catches Me Taking a Candid Photo While Jon Shows Bailey Something on His New Phone.

We understand his choice given all the beaches, hiking trails, and nightlife that is available. And don’t forget the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and Balboa Park. Who wouldn’t want to live in this subtropical zone with high temperatures that range between 66 and 77 degrees and lows that dip between 49 and 67?

Sunset Beach

After a day of hanging out at the trailer, we met up with Kevin and his girlfriend Bailey Bishop for a walk along the cliffs at Sunset Beach. The popular spot draws people out of their homes and apartments to enjoy the last hour or two of the day before the sun sinks into the Pacific Ocean. With clear skies and temperatures in the high 70s, we joined the fun.

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Swimmers Check Out Conditions
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Catching Dinner

When I stepped out of the car, moist ocean air reminded me of another reason I come to San Diego. The whiff of the ocean breeze and the moisture that settles on my skin provokes a sense of calm I rarely experience anywhere else.

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Boulders Piled Up On Beach Prevent Cliff Erosion

I hadn’t realized I missed the beach so much. We would have stayed at Campland on the Bay Resort as usual if they had not raised their rates to $96.00 a night. La Mesa RV will have to do for future stays as long as I remember to visit the beach more often.

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Beautiful Day at the Beach
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Nice of This Pair to Pose for a Photo

Ocean Beach Brewery

Ocean Beach Brewery’s rooftop restaurant was another great place to watch the sunset from our bistro chairs and table we were fortunate to snag. The place was hopping when we arrived with barely any standing room near the bar.

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Ocean Beach Brewery Rooftop. How Many Cell Phones do You Count?

Jon said the El Diablo double burger with a red onion spicy aioli on a brioche bun was the best he had ever eaten. I enjoyed the Mona Lisa, a marinated grilled chicken breast, roasted red pepper, fontina cheese, with a spread of spring mix basil pesto on a ciabatta roll. Crispy French fries and a glass of Hidden Gem Dunkelweizen on tap accompanied our dinner selections.

The Gulls

Kevin surprised us with tickets to the Gulls, an American Hockey League team affiliated with the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks. None of us knew anything about hockey, but with tickets around $20, it seemed like an inexpensive way to spend a few hours.

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The San Diego Gulls on Ice

We watched with excitement as The Gulls managed a goal on the Tucson Roadrunners, then the Roadrunners scored, and back and forth, the players skated from one side of the rink to the other. With mere minutes left on the clock, the Gulls took advantage when the Roadrunners replaced their goalie with another player leaving their net vulnerable to attack. The Gulls pulled ahead and won the game when they easily shot the puck over the undefended Roadrunners goal line, not once, but twice. After this game, I might adopt hockey as a sport to follow in the future.

The Big Game

The Super Bowl is the one and only football game I watch each year, often hosting a party for friends and family. Our fifth wheel with it’s 32” television hardly has space for a party. Fortunately, Bailey’s parents invited us to join them for the big game.

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Jon Watches the Game with Ray and Cherrie Bishop
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Oops! Bailey Catches Me in the Act.

We were treated to a spread that included chips and queso, guacamole, and salsa; pulled pork sliders with a tangy slightly hot barbecue sauce and coleslaw to cool it down; and a variety of hot wings. These cute little football deviled eggs were delicious.

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Cutest Little Deviled Eggs

Even after all that food, none of us could resist the Knock-You-Naked Brownies. They were gone before I had time to take a picture.

The Super Bowl for me isn’t at all about the game. It’s about the food, great company, halftime, and the commercials. The food and company was a hit, the halftime show entertaining, and a few commercials made me smile while I shook my head at others.

Although I’m not into football, I did find the game entertaining this year and managed to cheer along with everyone else when the Philadelphia Eagles won. Who could not wish a close game win for the underdogs? Maybe the gamblers who bet on the Patriots were peeved, but we were ecstatic.

Our San Diego stop had come to a close and it was time to say good-bye. The next day we hit the road headed east for who knows how long.

Safe Travels