A week in San Diego

Trip Start Sep 06, 2012
Trip End Mar 06, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We've had a fantastic week in San Diego. The weather has been perfect with cloudless days, little wind, and 25C temperatures.

Our first full day here was Friday. After lunch we went on a 25 km bike ride that is part of the Bayshore Bikeway. It used to be called the Bay Route Bikeway but this name fell out of favor because of it sounds like Beirut Bikeway. The trail took us from the campground, along the coastline, through an industrial area, and then along the naval yard. With just minor hills it was an easy ride and with the bay beside us and the city skyline ahead of us it was very scenic but most of it was alongside a major auto route so it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as the Santa Monica bike route. We stopped to take photos at a couple of the naval yard gates and discovered that the finely manicured lawn area was artificial grass! Our campground is fronted by a city park complete with a sandy beach and a fishing pier. So at the end of our bike ride we went into the park and watched a couple kite surfers in the bay, going at a good clip. Then while we talked to a young man that was fishing on the pier, a seal was swimming around, probably putting an end to successful fishing for awhile.

On Saturday we decided to go to Little Italy in downtown San Diego. This neighbourhood has lots of bakeries and restaurants but we were there for the market. A main street was closed to traffic and booths were lined up on both sides of the street for several blocks. They were selling fruits, vegetables, and ready-made food. There really wasn’t anything in the way of Italian food and we didn’t hear any Italian being spoken so that was a bit of a surprise. We bought some vegetables and then some samosas for lunch.

We went down to the waterfront tourist center to get some information about San Diego. A Holland America cruise ship was in port and the area was very busy. We did see a few tall ships: Star of India, HMS Surprise (starred in the film 'Master and Commander’ along with Russell Crowe), and the Californian. We also saw B-39, a Russian submarine.

Then we went to Old Town, considered to be the birthplace of California. It’s a collection of businesses, homes, municipal buildings, and a town plaza that were built between 1821 and 1872, from Mexican to American inhabitation. The ‘townspeople’ are dressed in period attire and we were fortunate to join a walking tour lead by Bert, a volunteer who obviously loves leading tours. He entertained us for more than an hour and a half with his humour and historical stories. Walking around in the heat made us thirsty so Greg and I bought root beer floats, the first ice cream float I’ve had in a long time and it was delicious.

On Sunday we decided to stay away from downtown so we went to a huge flea market in our area located in an old drive-in movie lot. We saw the usual: lots of children’s clothing and toys, lots of household ‘junk’, lots of Christmas decorations, lots of videos and CD’s. But we also saw a long row of fabrics and needlework accessories, beautiful fabrics for 50 cents a yard. This would be the place to go for anyone decorating their home.

In the middle of the flea market there was a mid sized enclosure so Greg and I went inside. There were booths set up and tables and chairs. We thought it was a food court and it was, however, they were only serving fruit! No French fries, no burgers, just cups of fresh fruit. After a couple hours of shopping in the 30C heat we decided to go to a Wal-Mart to get a few groceries and other things we needed. We were there only a few moments when we realized that the muzac was playing Christmas carols: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Oh dear. We also noticed that all the signage was in English and Spanish. Too be expected I guess but still a surprise.

After lunch we went biking, completing the Bayshore Bikeway that we had started a couple days ago. This portion of the trail was much more enjoyable, it was a paved double lane bike only trail that followed along the bay and along the beach. We rode 12.5 km, until the entrance to the beach. The beach is miles and miles long and there were several people kite surfing. I waded into the water and it was quite cold but still felt good on my hot feet. Then Greg and I biked the 12.5 km back to the campground and just relaxed the rest of the day.

On Monday we went into town and toured the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum. The museum is actually the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that was part of the US navy from the end of World War II until is was decommissioned in 1992. We were able to tour most of the ship, seeing the flight deck, the bridge, the crew quarters, the hangar deck, mess, sick bays, and the brig. The ship is absolutely huge, when it was built it was the largest ship in the world, the first ship that was too large for the Panama Canal. It had a crew of 4500 men and its fuel economy was 20 feet/gallon. Now it sits at the dock and is manned by volunteers (some of whom actually served on the ship) who explain about the processes on board. It was a very interesting outing even though much of the flight deck was taken up by a temporary basketball court and spectator seating.

We spent Tuesday at the San Diego Zoo, home to over 4,000 animals, and I think we saw most of them. We started with a guided bus tour that took us through about 75% of the park. Next we travelled on the Skyfari Aerial Tram to the far side of the park and then we worked our way toward the front of the park. After six hours of walking we saw insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals from all the continents. Our favorites were the orangutans, polar bears, giraffes, and panda bears. This zoo has a world wide reputation and we could see why. All the enclosures were very clean and big, with vegetation and recreation for the animals.

We returned to our campground in time for an election day get-together, complete with music, drinks, and appetizers. We really enjoyed talking with some of our neighbours and hearing their insight regarding the election results.

Wednesday was our last full day in San Diego. We decided to go to Sea World, about 30 minutes north of our campground. Sea World is part aquarium and part theme park. Greg and I went on a couple of the rides and saw all the shows. Our favorite displays were the beluga whales and the penguins. After seeing the zoo yesterday Sea World was a bit of a disappointment. After spending most of the day there, we shopped at Costco. It was interesting seeing their stock and prices compared to Bayers Lake: Rotisserie chicken for $4.99, a big liquor section, incredible fresh fruit and vegetables, very reasonable meat prices. However, the line ups at the cashiers were the same
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Barb Samson on

Another week of enjoyment and site seeing, what a way to live, I am so happy for you, enjoy more and more. lol

Margie on

I have been meaning to ask this question for some time... Karen do you do any of the driving?

Janet and Gerard on

Sounds and looks like lots of fun. Enjoying following your blog, Take care

Darlene Kitson on

Hi guys looks like you are having a blast, your photos are lovely. The weather looks great- but I guess if it's not you can keep on driving. lol . So happy for you both - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you guys. Will keep checking in on you two. Take care and be safe. Darlene & Gord xoxo

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