We just returned from a Fun Filled vacation to San Diego. Scott has a Timeshare and had some points to use up. Last fall he asked us, “Where do you want to go”. So we picked San Diego, no real reason, just because. So he booked it for this past week. We wanted to take the train, but scheduling wasn’t going to work.
We left Harlingen on the plane, transferred in Houston and arrived in San Diego just before midnight. The approach to San Diego was beautiful. You could see all the beautiful lights of a city along the ocean front and some of the ships.
As we got closer to the city, the building lights were closer and closer. Suddenly we were between the downtown buildings of San Diego. It was a moment of beauty that was so unexpected. The skyscrapers were on either side of us with all their beautiful lights rising above the height of the plane. They kept flying past us as we kept falling. An amazing moment. Then all of a sudden we were out of the buildings and our wheels hit the runway. Just like that it was over…….What about a Rewind???…..Wow….so fast….
It turns out the San Diego has only 1 runway. It is right next to the Bay. It is the busiest Metropolitan Airport in the US that is not a airline hub or secondary hub. It is well know for its close proximity to the skyscrapers and can be difficult for pilots due to its short usable runway and the steep descent over the crest of Bankers Hill. Their are also shifting wind currents just before touch down. The tower is a very busy place, as they are timing the arrivals and departures on the same runway. If you look in the distance at nite you will see 2 and 3 lights of airplanes approaching to land almost all the time. We also found out that the airport has a noise curfew. No planes can depart between 11:30 pm and 6 am. We made it to our hotel around midnite.
In the morning, we were to meet up with my girlfriend from High School. We had graduated in 1968. I seen Linda that late summer and never again. She moved that December and eventually ended in Oregon, Washington areas. She raised her family and has retired recently to Palm Springs Cal. Thanks to FB, Linda and I have been in contact for a number of years. This was the perfect opportunity to see her. Linda and Len drove the 3 hours to see us that morning. We were up early and found a restaurant across the street. Jimmy Carters Mexican Restaurant…..lol…..After a wonderful breakfast, we left to go across the street to 7-11….We were going to get snacks and head back to our room to wait for them. A car pulled out from 7-11 into the street right in front of us, and their they were……Linda and Len…..Wow…..Such a surprise.
They still needed breakfast so back to Jimmy Carters. We went to our rooms and spent some really fun time reminiscing and catching up from the past. No way can you pack 51 years into an afternoon. It was so much fun. The guys hit it off well to, but finally they wanted to head back because of rush hour. Your talking 8 lanes each way….lol…I can sure understand why. We went up to the rooftop lounge to view the city. It was such a beautiful view looking out to San Diego Bay in the distance.
The weather was perfect, around 88 or 90, and the sky was blue. We vowed to get together again and not wait 51 years. Ahhhh bet we won’t be here. lol.… We have 2 more classmates that also live fairly close. It would be nice if we could all 4 get together. Finally Linda and Len had to leave. It was sad to see it was over so fast. It was so Awesome that they drove 3 hours each way in awful traffic just to come a visit. ….Thanks Linda and Len….
We visited our Concierge and made plans for the next 2 days.
We decided to do the 10 stop Trolley Tour the next day. It ran continuously every 20 minutes. It was narrated and you could get off and on at your convenience. We could walk to the nearest Trolley stop to start the Tour. So we decided to walk. The nearest one was in Balboa Park near the zoo. Our hotel was right a cross the street from Balboa Park. We could see some of the 15 museums through the trees. It didn’t look that far…….It was about 6 blocks to the street that led into the zoo. Didn’t seem far…..Ohhhh Myyyy….I was wrong. But it was a beautiful walk. All the buildings, the landscapes, and we walked along the edge of Balboa Park which we were told is bigger than Central Park in New York City, were so pretty. We turned the road and walked down to the bridge. It is a historical bridge that crosses over Interstate 5.
When you looked overhead, every 2 minutes or less, a plane was coming in for landing. Such a beautiful site with the buildings of down town in the distance. We walked on down the street past some of the very old beautiful architected museums.
Such beauty and so many. The area was filled with walkways and porticos. So many different gardens through out the park.
Most of the trees of San Diego have been imported from all over the world. Their are so many different trees. Many I’ve never seen or heard of. We finally made it to the Trolley Stop. We were doing pretty good so far. Finally we boarded the trolley with the first stop being Old Town. It is a unique shopping area full of restaurants, gift shops and a few museums. We stopped here for a while and continued on. We circled back down to the bay area. Driving along the street the driver told us about the Maritime Museum containing 7 different boats including a German captured submarine all the way to a Tall Sailing Ship. Along the way we passed other areas that we did not get out to visit. Gaslight Area, Little Italy, The Convention Center to name a few. We headed for the Coronado Bridge. It is a very high bridge with a curve in it. The tour guide said it is one of the longest bridges, and not only the longest, it was made to be over 2 miles long so they would qualify for federal money.
On the way over to Coronado, the Tour Guide pointed to the South side of the bay. It is the home of Naval Base San Diego. We could see many ships in the distance. It was built tall and wide enough for all Navy ships to go under except for the large air craft carriers. It is the second largest Surface Ship Base in the U.S. Navy. It is also the Principal Base of the Pacific Fleet, consisting of 50 ships and 190 tenant commands. The total on base population is over 24,000 military personal and 10,000 civilians. Also along the waterfront is the location of General Dynamics NASCCO. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast. It specializes in design and construction of ships for the U.S. Navy and also oil tankers and cargo ships for the commercial market. We finally crossed the bridge and entered into the island of Coronado. This island is actually also home of the Navy Air Station. The North part of the island contains the Naval Airport with a large concentration of military planes of many types that service and maintain the Pacific Fleet. They probably use about 2/3rds of the island but it is on the north side which is not seen as you cross the bridge. As you cross the bridge, you enter into the residential area. It is a very high value Real Estate area. Our Guide told us an average 2 story home cost 1.5 million…….Wow…..
This island is the home to the largest concentration of Retired ADMIRALS...….Yes they have money……We got out at this stop and ate lunch at one of the cafes. Then we walked up the street to see the Biggest Attraction…..”Hotel Del Coronado”. This beautiful, Historical, Victorian Beachfront Resort was opened in 1888.
It is the second largest wooden structure in the U.S. It was designated a California Historical Landmark in 1970, and in 1977, it became a National Historical Landmark. It has hosted many presidents, royalty and famous celebrity’s. It has also been featured in many movies and books. The most famous movie that I know is “Some Like it Hot”, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemon, and Tony Curtis. We walked up to the beautiful portico entrance and into the lobby. It is so rich with beautiful woods. Their is so much to say about this hotel, that I will save it for another blog.
We walked around back to the beautiful pool area and down to the beach. They had apparently just finished a special event on the beach. They were cleaning up the tables and chairs set with white linen tablecloths and decorations. All the umbrellas on the beach were in the red color of the Hotel towers and roofs. It was just so breath taking to try to take in this whole view. Before us was the opening to the Bay of San Diego. In the distance was Point Loma that curved around on the other side of the North Bay. The sky was beautiful blue with a light haze in the distance. The wind was gently blowing and you could smell the ocean and hear the voices of all the people and the kids playing and enjoying the huge beautiful beach before you. We sat down for a while to take this all in, and also to rest……..Our feet were starting to wear down. Rich’s knees were starting to hurt. Finally we headed back to the Trolley stop. We were walking slower and slower. We passed so many beautiful trees that had been imported from other country’s and some beautiful flowers.
This plant really impressed and surprised me. It is a succulent and I used to have one. It’s common name is a Pencil Plant. At least that’s what I called it. This plant was over 6ft. tall. Mine sat on a window ledge. When you break off a leaf that is round like a pencil, it has white milky substance in it. I believe I heard it was poisonous to animals.
Here is a HUGE Black Bird of Paradise. It was at the Hotel. I bet it was 20 ft tall. Their were many of them around the area. All the trees and foliage were many, many years old. The property was full of beautiful mature tropical plants.
Finally we hopped back on the Trolley ready to head back home. We knew the Trolley would cross the street where we would be near our hotel. I asked the nice driver if he could leave us off their…...He kindly said…..”NO”.….He couldn’t do that because of insurance purposes. So we finally arrived back at Balboa Park and slowly, slowly walked back through the park back to 6th street, and headed down about another 6 streets to our hotel…….WE WERE DEAD.….I soon discovered I had blisters on both feet. Oh boy…..We had another day to go....So I sent Rich to 7-11 for a box of bandaids…..Yes….That will do the trick for tomorrow. So I checked my phone…..almost 15,000 steps which logged as around 5 miles…… no wonder I had blisters…..
So what’s on the agenda for tomorrow???……..
Land and Sea Duck ride on the Bay…….
Scenic 2 hour boat ride of North and South Bay.