Mexican Vacation – Drive down the Coast

Recap: We finally arrived in San Felipe late on Tuesday. After a long and exhausting day, Wednesday was a “chill” day, with a simple drive around the El Dorado Ranch development, and a quick, light lunch by the Cabana. Then we swung by the championship golf course, and met one of the Crawford’s friends, El Vira.

A lazy afternoon (some windows were being delivered and installed for the enclosed patio), and a delightful dinner of gulf shrimp and brisket for impromptu surf ‘n turf.

Thursday, we were far more adventurous. The goal was to see the sights, to take in lunch at a little fishing enclave, Papa Fernandez.

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Mexican Vacation – The Trip Down

We have had a long open invitation to visit one of my wife’s friends who retired to San Felipe, Baja California, but the timing never worked out, so we begged off. But with recent life changes, we had no excuse remaining, so last week we visited the Crawford’s in San Felipe.

The trip down was uneventful. We split the drive into two days, stopping in Palm Desert as a good stopping point. The second day, we needed to knock around until our hosts picked us up in El Centro, so we went down by the Salton Sea. I had never been there (or if I had, I was too young to remember) but had flown over it about a million times.

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The Joy of Travel

For the last week, I have been pretty much offline, enjoying the sun, surf, and unlimited outdoor enjoyment offered by San Felipe, Mexico. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and we are back over the border, and headed for home.

Instead of our usual slog through the LA Basin, we grabbed 215 to 15 to 395 to 58 and came in to Bakersfield via Victor Valley and the Tehachapi Pass. A much more pleasant drive, albeit longer.

Our plan was to crash for the night at the truck area at the junction of I5 and 58. A known distance from home, it makes for an easy 3 hour drive back home.

There are several hotels there (well, now I think there are only 2) and we really didn’t care for extravagant, just cheap and clean.

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San Diego trip – Coda

It was a wonderful weekend in San Diego, and apart from some serious rain Sunday morning, the weather was exemplary. About what you expect from the historical experience.

We trekked down to visit my folks for my dad’s 83rd birthday celebration. My sister and myself were the family, as alas, our brother was tied up and unable to make the journey from Seattle.

Tom Ham's LighthouseAs I documented, Saturday was jam packed with excitement, and capped off with a fabulous meal at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse restaurant, with probably the best view of the San Diego Skyline.

Their menu was also exquisite, with my pan seared yellowtail being absolutely delightful.

Sunday we awoke to some rain. Not torrential, but enough to make us think of indoor activities for the day.

We started with an unusual breakfast. My sister recommended this small 24 hour Mexican restaurant. It was clearly housed in an old Taco Bell establishment, and my Machaca breakfast burrito was quite good (and way over-filling).

Since Trader Joe’s opened at 8:00 AM, we took a quick trip there to pick up munchies for the return trip on Monday. It was the one time I had no trouble finding parking at a TJ’s store. Sunday at 8:00 AM.

Our plans were to meet at the folks at 10:00 AM, and our likely destination was the Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla.

When we got to the aquarium, we were met with the not unexpected crowds. The main parking lot was overflowing, so we drove down the hill to an overflow lot, and hiked the 1/2 mile or so to the aquarium entrance.

The aquarium wasn’t huge, like the fabulous one in Monterey Bay, but it was interesting. It is laid out in two main exhibits, one a traditional tank environment, and one that is more kid friendly, with activities, and interactive displays.

loggerhead sea turtleThe highlights were the kelp bed tank, a huge display of the ecosystem around the floating kelp, the loggerhead sea turtle that they rescued from a power station intake in New Jersey, who was too damaged to release back into the wild, and was approaching the age when its gender would become evident (apparently, around the age of 35 years, the length of the tail increases for male loggerheads).

There were other notable sights to see, including the view from the back patio where the touching ponds were, and a fascinating display of sea horses and sea dragons.

After the aquarium, we needed a lunch place, so Siri directed us to a nearby sandwich shop where we found parking (I was stunned that we easily grabbed two spots in the small parking lot), and were treated to a quite delicious sandwich.

From there, we returned to our hotel to rest, with the plan to meet up again around 5 for a quiet evening watching a classic movie, and scarfing on Pizza.

The Pizza came from Oggi’s Sports and Brewhouse, and was more than adequate. We then settled down to watch “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

I have seen the movie many times, and while it is at a deep level a very (very) disturbing story, it also is quite enjoyable, and was even spoofed by American Dad in an episode. One time, I need to count how much alcohol is consumed during the film. My liver hurts everytime just watching this movie.

Around 10:00 PM, the evening wrapped up, and we said our goodbyes, knowing that we had a long drive home the following day.

On Monday, we departed at 7:30, and as we approached Temecula, we caught some heavy rain. Fortunately, the traffic wasn’t too bad, and we made it through without incident.

Finally, we got home at 4:30PM, picked up Garrett from the sitter, and the pack is complete again.

San Diego Diary – day 1

Marina behind the Bay Club

After a sluggish start, we decided that we would go to Torrey Pines Preserve. Alas, when we got there, the parking situation was, uh, abysmal, so we regrouped and headed to the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

The Flower Fields were touted in a blog on Sandiego.org, so we asked Siri to get us there. Fortunately, it was only 20 minutes from Del Mar when we passed the Torrey Pines crowds.

Karen had been there before, but not for a long time. In the interim, it had become quite well developed, with a lot of support structure, and sprouted an Outlet mall next door. It is hard to fault the description from the Blog post so I will quote it here:

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