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