Posts tagged San Diego
Our San Diego trip was nearing its conclusion.
On our last morning in town we met some friends for brunch at a restaurant near the convention center, which is located downtown, next to the shoreline..
After brunch we said good-bye to our friends and drove to the airport. We returned our rental car, checked in and got the good news that we had been upgraded to First Class for the flight to DFW, then went to the Admirals Club to relax.
We boarded the flight; as always I enjoyed being in First Class. An hour after take-off dinner was served. I had baked ravioli with shrimp cocktail and a salad.
Our flight to DFW was the kind I like — totally uneventful. We landed at DFW and changed terminals for our flight to Austin.
One of the people on our flight was Earl Campbell, winner of the 1977 Heisman Trophy after his senior year at the University of Texas, NFL Rookie of the Year, NFL Most Valuable Player, and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Earl is not doing well these days, having a variety of health issues. In fact, he was taken aboard the plane in a wheel chair. That was sad for me to see, I will always remember Earl as one of the most dominant running backs that I have ever seen; I have not seen anyone who could equal his combination of speed and bruising power. This video shows the Earl Campbell I will remember.
We had a smooth flight back to Austin; our friend picked us up at the airport and were home by 10 p.m. It had been a fun trip but as always, it was good to be back home.
It was our last full day in San Diego; my wife and I had with nothing planned for the afternoon, but wanted to get out and see some of the local sights. We looked at a tourist map and saw that the Cabrillo National Monument looked like a short drive from where we were staying in the Point Loma section of San Diego. So, we decided to visit.
I found the monument on my GPS and left the hotel for what appeared to be short drive but wasn’t. On a straight line, the monument was not that far from where we were; unfortunately, there were no roads that followed that straight line, so we had to drive a little bit farther than expected, but it was worth it.
As you approach the monument you have to drive through a small US Navy base. Google Maps identifies it as US Space & Naval Warfare Systems. After that you drive through the beautiful Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, where thousands of service members are at eternal rest on a hillside, looking out upon San Diego Harbor.
After you pass through the cemetery you arrive at the entrance to the Cabrillo National Monument. The area is a national park, you will have to pay $5 per car to enter.
The park celebrates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who, in 1542, stepped into history as the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. It’s located at the end of a piece of land pointing out to sea, some 600 feet above sea level, with magnificent views of San Diego, its harbor, and the Pacific.
A monument to Cabrillo dominates the site.
At one time there was a working lighthouse in the park, but it was replaced in the late 1800s. While it seemed a good idea to put a lighthouse in the park they soon found there was a problem: it was too high above sea level. It worked great on a clear night, but if it was foggy it would be lost in the fog, too high to be seen by ships in the area. So, it was eventually replaced by another lighthouse that was closer to sea level.
Being from Texas we expected warm weather during our time in San Diego, but the temperature never rose past the low 70s. At Cabrillo Point we were several hundred feet up, surrounded by the ocean, with very high winds. We found it to be so cold that we bought hot chocolate to warm up. At that point we realized it was time to leave.
We got in the car and drove to the area known as Old Town. The website gives a great description of the area: “Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization.”
Old Town has some small museums, gift shops, and several Mexican restaurants.
Old Town actually has two areas: the older historical area, and an area of restaurants lining both sides of the street nearby. We walked through the restaurant area and quickly realized we were tired and hungry. We chose the Café Coyote: our meal was very good but we actually enjoyed getting off our feet even more.
After the meal we returned to our hotel and called it a night. We’d return to Texas the next day.
My wife and I had arrived in San Diego for a family event. When we planned the trip, we made sure to allow enough time to visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
It was a beautiful morning as we set off for the zoo. The zoo was on the list of local sites on my GPS so we had no problem getting there. We took the freeway across town and got off at the appropriate exit. I must admit I was surprised to see that we had to drive through a residential neighborhood to get the zoo; I thought there would be a main road that would take us straight there.
We got to the zoo, parked, and bought our tickets. A one-day pass for an adult is $40 and is the best deal; you not only get access to the entire park, you also have unlimited use of the Guided Bus Tour, Express Bus, and Skyfari Aerial Tram. By the end of the day you will really appreciate the bus! Wear your walking shoes when you go to the zoo and be ready to do a lot of walking. Be aware that most of the walking will be on inclines or uphill/downhill; there is very little flat terrain at the zoo.
Which way do you go once you enter the zoo? My suggestion is to take the double-deck tour bus for a 30 minute trip around the zoo. This will give you an idea of what the exhibits are, where they are located, and how large the zoo is. (Hint: while it might seem appealing to sit in the upper deck of the bus, you actually get a better view from the lower deck. Passengers in the lower deck can see animals on both sides of the bus, while those upstairs will not be able to see them on the opposite side.) Once you’ve done that you can decide where you want to go next. You can walk to the next exhibit, or you can take the express bus to a stop nearby.
We decided to save the bus for later and just start walking. Since it was San Diego, the weather was gorgeous, as always.
I hope you enjoy the photos and videos.
The chimps were not very active, but one of them did come close to catching a bug.
One of the more popular areas features the Koalas. Koalas aren’t very active, they usually just sit on a branch, pausing only to eat. An urban legend says they move so slowly because they are stoned from eating the local fauna. A sign at the zoo said the reality is that they are tired from digesting the leaves and branches from the eucalyptus tree. I think I prefer the urban legend.
We saw some ducks at a nearby pond; everyone wanted to get a good look at their baby ducklings.
If it’s possible for a camel to have a mullet or look like it should be in a doo-wop band, this is the one!
It’s easy to spend a full day at the zoo. We were there for seven hours and were totally exhausted by the end of the day. We took the express bus to the park entrance, then got in the car and drove back to our hotel, stopping for dinner on the way.
I can’t recall the last time we had done this much walking in one day, but you know what? It was worth it, and I am glad we did it! We had a great time at the San Diego Zoo; hopefully you will to when you visit!
My wife and I recently completed a trip to San Diego. We went there to see our grandson graduate from Marine Corps basic training, but we also wanted to make a mini-vacation of the trip.
Our flights to DFW and then San Diego were uneventful. I requested an upgrade to First Class for the DFW-San Diego, but we did not get it. So, we were in coach and did not get the meal that they got in First. We were hungry so we bought the snack pack: crackers, cheese, and raisins. It helped take the edge off our hunger.
Both flights departed and arrived on time. Our landing in San Diego was, as always, interesting.
Most airports have two or more runways. San Diego has only one and is, in fact, the busiest one-runway airport in the United States. A few years the people of San Diego voted against expanding the airport and adding a runway. In the meantime, traffic continues to grow. The day we arrived British Airways began non-stop service between San Diego and London Heathrow.
The thing that makes landing in San Diego so interesting is that planes landing on runway 27 must fly very close to the tall office buildings in downtown. Here is a photo of the first British Airways flight, a 777 making its approach. There aren’t many airports where large commercial aircraft come that close to a developed commercial area.
So, given that, here is my video of our MD-80 landing at San Diego Lindbergh Field. As you can see we encountered some turbulence on the way.
Once we landed and got our luggage, picked up our rental car, and drove to our hotel, where we ate dinner and called it a day. Our plan for the next day was to visit the world-famous San Diego zoo. I’ll have that story in my next post.