San Diego-Tijuana-Palm Springs
Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
43Trip End Apr 01, 2003
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We were not yet done with California. We pulled into the San Diego RV Resort and this was my favorite RV campsite so far this whole trip. For one thing, every site was a pull thru which meant that we did not have to back up our house into a spot. What really made it so great was its amenities. The campground manager had a wealth of information of all the things to do around town and he had discount passes for places. They had a separate room where we could hook up to the internet and not have to worry about anyone looking over our shoulder. In that same room was a large 48 inch television and two pool tables. One of the things that got us both very excited was a gym on premises complete with tread mills, a nautilus machine, and dumbbells. On Saturday, this place really shined in our eyes, but you will have to read on to find out what happened.
Friday - San Diego has a place called Balboa Park where science museums, art museums, and historical places have converged within walking distance of each other. The first place we walked to was the Botanical Building. We stopped at the huge fish pond in front of the building along with a crowd of school children. Many of them pointed at the fish and yelled out loud, "There she blows!" Our faces must have worn a confused expression because their teacher turned to us and explained that they saw Moby Dick yesterday. Oh yeah, we said as we remembered how silly we used to be when we were little. Yeah right... used to be?
We walked inside and read the name tags at the base of the plant and trees. Every time I see an orchid it reminds me of our wedding at the American Orchid Society. They had a section where they wanted us to touch and smell the plants. There were plants that smelled like lemon, mint, and even one that smelled just like mint chocolate. It almost felt like the Jelly Belly factory again with all of the flavors.
We headed to the Fleet Science Museum just in time for the IMAX movie. The current film was about this woman who was assigned to study the behavior of wild chimpanzees. Afterwards we played around the science museum's interactive exhibits including an exciting simulator ride
We left Balboa Park and headed to the pier for a scenic picnic lunch. We could see an aircraft carrier across the bay as well as an old three-mast sailing vessel that sat in front of us. We walked along the water and checked out the boats and cruise ships in the ports. The sky was grey, but it did not rain on us. A couple of guys on bikes with a carriage attached tried to get us to buy a ride from them, but we were happy to stroll by ourselves.
Saturday - We spent the day running errands, but later we went to the campsite's recreation room for a pot luck holiday dinner hosted by the manager. Many RV'ers came with delicious side dishes to compliment the manager's large baked ham. After dinner, everyone participated in a white elephant gift exchange. I ended up selecting a bottle of champagne from under the Christmas tree and no one after me wanted to take it. On Jenn's turn, her selection turned out to be a large jar of bubblegum. One of the kids who went after her liked it and decided to take it rather than pick one of the wrapped gifts still sitting under the tree. So now it was Jenn's turn again to either pick someone else's gift or take her chances with the wrapped gifts under the tree. She walked up to this guy and took his bottle of Pinot Gregio
So far, we were walking away with a bottle of champagne and a bottle of white wine. We were happy with our gifts, but the night's luck continued. The gift exchange was followed by a raffle. Jenn's number was picked from a hat and she won us two free tickets to the San Diego Zoo. It was a perfect prize because we planned on going there Monday. Later that night, my number was picked and I won a 3lb. summer sausage which happens to go very well with wine or champagne. I hope we are this lucky when get to Vegas.
Sunday - Drove north to La Jolla to see the harbor seals. We watched them lying on the beach while ocean waves crashed over the wall beside them. Further in the distance we could see surfers, kayakers, and jet skiers trying to catch waves.
We next went to the Sunny Jim Cave located right on the beach. I thought it was a rip off to pay $3 to get to walk down a flight of stairs so we could watch waves crash against the mouth of the cave. We were on the inside looking out to the ocean and the shape of the mouth of the cave resembled the head of an Indian. We took a picture or two and left without buying anything in the gift shop.
We ended the day back at Balboa Park. This time we went to the Museum of Photographic Arts. This was money well spent. I enjoy photograph museums more than any other art form. Although we enjoyed looking at photographic art, the theme of this exhibit was human misery and suffering from civil wars. Let's wage peace and not wage war by ourselves.
Monday - The San Diego Zoo was huge and it had some of the most interesting animals. When we arrived, we toured the zoo from the second floor of a double-decker bus with out a roof. Our driver/guide had a good sense of humor and we got to plan our way around the park as she drove us around. We watched Polar Bears play in their pool, Tigers (Dave's favorite) ran around their trees, and Hippos (Jenn's favorite) walked along poolside.
Wednesday - I picked up my friend Erik from the airport and the three of us jumped on a trolley to the USA/Mexico border. We stepped off and walked our way into the town of Tijuana. People everywhere wanted to sell us something and they politely walked away when we told them we were not interested. We walked up and down Revolucion Avenue as we checked out everyone's bargains.
We ate lunch at a reputable looking restaurant complete with beer, daiquiris, and tequila shots. It's great when you can haggle for happy hour promotions when it was not happy hour. We continued shopping for bargains and each of us found what we were looking for at a good deal.
On our way out of the city we gave in to the deals a restaurant offered and walked inside for some cheap drinks. The two for one drinks were refreshing, but then the bartender came over with a bottle of Cuervo Gold tequila and asked us to tilt our heads back (except for Jenn) and open our mouths. Mmmmm. Good stuff and it was now time to go before things got out of hand.
It took longer to enter the US than it did to enter Mexico, and I'm glad it is this way. We did not encounter any trouble crossing the border; however, I was not aware that Erik's box of Cuban cigars was inside my backpack. Back at the campsite, we continued partying at the clubhouse over long games of billiards.
Thursday - Erik got to watch how we break down and get ready for moving our house. We said good bye to San Diego and jumped on the highways towards Palm Springs where another friend of mine, Steve, awaited our arrival. On the way there it began to snow on us and we were in the desert! This was the first time we drove our rig in the snow, we were nervous, but we were also happy it was a light snow that melted when it touched the ground.
We parked our house in front of Steve's house and went inside to make plans for our one night sleep over. Jenn and I momentarily went back out to our house to get something. On our way back we stopped and stood in front of his front door, turned around to look at the neighborhood houses, and pretended just for a moment that this is where we live and this is our house and these are our neighbors. It freaked us out and we quickly abandoned the thought as we ran inside to see what Erik and Steve came up with. We thought, how do you live in a house without wheels?
As the sun went down, we went up as we rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Not only did it bring us 5,900 feet up to the top of the mountain, but it also rotated as it ascended. It only took ten minutes to get to the top and it was much colder than it looked. We enjoyed the view and could not resist throwing snowballs at each other. By now, we were hungry and took the next tram down.
Downtown Palm Springs was having a festival and it reminded us of Clematis by Night in West Palm Beach. We stopped by a little pizza parlor to satisfy our hunger. The night was filled with music as we walked the streets talking, laughing, and having an old fashioned good time.
The next morning we sadly said goodbye to Steve and returned to the open road. Our next destination was Las Vegas, Nevada. Neither Jenn nor I have ever been there and we were excited about the prospects of maybe winning a lot of money. Erik stayed with us into Vegas and got to watch us pull in and set up at a new campsite. As we drove through Barstow, Jenn sat in the back and read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. Anything, anything could happen in Vegas.
Traveling with friend,
Love Dave & Jenn