San Diego

San Diego will keep you busy.  We found a great place to stay at the Elks Lodge in Chula Vista.  Full hookup site at a good price close to many touristy things to do.  You just don’t want to venture into the traffic during rush hours.  Southern California is famous for its traffic and we got a good dose of it.  There are certainly lots of freeways (no tolls) but no HOV lanes and the freeways on and off ramps tend to backup even when the freeways are moving.  And of course, the drivers are aggressive, frenetic city folk….

Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego

Electric Trolley

Electric Trolley

Having said all that, we do like San Diego.  The beaches are everywhere and accessible.  There are quaint beach towns up and down the coast.  The town of Coronado with its iconic Hotel del Coronado is a beautiful walkers paradise.  The Del is the largest all wood construction hotel left in the US.  Spectacular architecture!  Old Town San Diego is a State Historic Site preserving the oldest town in California.  Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma overlooks the city  and its harbor and commemorates the first European landing in California in 1542.  Did you know the name California was taken from a then popular Spanish book of fiction and the original settlers were called Californios?  Another great venue in San Diego is Balboa Park.  It is a huge park with over a dozen major museums including the largest model railroad museum in the United States.  The architecture and gardens are wonderful to see having been first built for the California-Panama Exposition in 1915 celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal.

Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

Balboa Park

Balboa Park

California coast

California coast

San Diego is also a fascinating botanical place.  We saw many plants we are familiar with from Florida.  Palms, hibiscus, bougainvillea and oleander are common but we also saw gigantic jade plants (which we are used to in dish gardens),  dracaena draco, bird of paradise and citrus which seems to thrive everywhere.  Especially lemons.  The trees were loaded.   The aforementioned freeways even have lush landscaping.  Irrigation is the key to most of it since this is a semi-arid Mediterranean climate.  Average rainfall is 12 inches.  Southern Cal is a thirsty place sucking billions of gallons daily from the Colorado River as well as Northern California.

While staying in San Diego we took advantage of the great Amtrak service to Los Angeles via the Pacific Surfliner.  We went for the day.  It was a great smooth quiet ride with no traffic headaches.  We used the beautiful LA subway to reach Hollywood and ride the hop on hop off bus tour.  Walking around Hollywood we found a huge farmers market.  The day was goofy and fun  and we saw many famous sites before racing to the train back to San Diego.  We have to say that Southern Cal has terrific mass transit.  Trains, trolleys, commuter rail, subways keep at least some cars off the freeways.  Between San Diego and LA there is an official population of around 18 million and some say there may be an additional 2-3 million undocumented residents.  So it is a very busy place.

View from Amtrak Surfliner

View from Amtrak Surfliner

Crazy Busy Hollywood

Crazy Busy Hollywood

Stars on Sunset Blvd

Stars on Sunset Blvd

After 10 days, we had enough.  We said good-bye to the ocean and headed back to the desert.  To the peace and quiet and dark nights and nature.

Point Loma sunset

Point Loma sunset

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4 Responses to San Diego

  1. fotograffer says:

    Looks like you had a fun dose of big city life. I sense you like San Diego over Los Angles. Great photos.

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  2. randy says:

    Yes, we liked San Diego more if only because its no where near as large and intimidating. We’ve since slipped into LA from the North side and experienced Mailbu, Santa Monica, Mulholland Drive and the Santa Monica Mountains. Thats nice too. But LA is just too big. Look for more blogs to come on the great California adventure.

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  3. Bob & BJ Skribiski says:

    Ah, yes. Fond memories of SoCal when we lived in Orange County in the 80’s & early 90’s. I always loved the weather, even if there were no clouds in the summer. We lived within 7 miles of the beach and it never got over 85F, except maybe when a severe Santa Ana blew in for a day or two. Always a lot of outdoor stuff to do. Continue to enjoy it.
    Bob & BJ
    Saint James City

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    • Kings On the Road says:

      We are having a blast. Currently in Ventura County. We got a taste of Santa Ana in the desert. Fillmore and Western train today, Ojai Sunday, then Channel Islands Monday. More blogs coming soon. Hope you’re having fun in SJC.

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