Sunday, 24 April 2016

San Diego Part II

The second half of our stay at Santee Lakes was initially better weather, then it became cool the last week - back into the high teens [60’s] in the day, but down to 3C [38F] one night. However, the sun was warm enough for short sleeves.The flowers and trees are blooming in riotous colour.

Beautiful Pink blooms
We have watched the trees on our site go from leafless to bright green leaves and beautiful deep pink flowers.

Warm weather, but many bare trees

The last day, leaves and flowers

We have continued to go to a local LA Fitness several times a week,

Our Fitness Club of choice
but usually we stopped off at Yogurtland after we finished. This is an amazing self-serve concept. You choose the kind of yogurt and the amount you want. Then you load on the toppings- including fresh fruit, chocolate bits, white, dark and light. The chocolate is even no sugar. Because we often worked out late morning, sometimes we had tacos or burritos next door before yogurt.

Our favourites...
We met a friend from U of T days, in Oceanside.

Driving along beside the ocean
This is another beautiful community on the ocean just south of Camp Pendleton. We walked out along the pier.

The Pier

A unique view from the road down the pier

The story...
Walking out...

There are a group of brown pelicans, but you can't get too close, they bite! 

The surf was medium, and surfers were hanging out in the water

Waiting for the perfect wave
waiting for the perfect wave.

Looking back to the shore...
We had lunch just under the end of the pier, then walked along the beach.
You walk right along the beach, 

or maybe rent a condo here,

or here,
or perhaps a bungalow on the beach.

One company rents these neat beach shelters. You can relax, out of the wind with your feet up and still enjoy the beach.

They are folded up, 

until you relax in one- a locked cabinet at the bottom, and foot rests.

On the way home along the Coast Highway, we found a cafe in Carlsbad, which made delicious cappuccinos.

Relaxing in the sun...
The drive back down the Coast highway provides spectacular views of the coast and beaches.

The highway runs along the coast...
We got so caught up looking at the scenery, we missed the turn to take us back to I-5 and back to Santee. This meant that we just had to drive back through La Jolla - what a hardship!

We did drive back to La Jolla and have lunch at the restaurant we had found last year - wonderful burgers and cold-drip coffee!

A wonderful lunch...
We walked along the beach

The beach was crowded on a beautiful day...
and around the residential streets. Homes are beautiful and unique.

Looking into a cute backyard garden 

We loved the pergola on the front,

the flowers around the door,

the interesting levels and roof.

The flowers and gardens were incredible. [This may be the recurring theme in this blog!] 

Our last visit to Balboa Park, on a Monday, we took the tram to the Plaza.

The free tram takes you from the parking lot to Balboa, making several stops
We wanted to have lunch at Casa 1915 first. However, we discovered that Monday is not a particularly good day- the Casa 1915 was closed, as were some of the buildings. We decided to eat lunch at the Oasis Cafe and then walked past the reflecting pool,

Reflecting Pool with Botanical Gardens 
down the road,

As we walked through the Plaza, we saw this little girl
giving the dragon a drink from her water bottle.
The bridge and stairs lead down to the Palm Walk

and through the Pan American Plaza

United Nation Building, the only one open

One building for each country, but none were open...

and past The Balboa Park Club

The history

to the Automotive Museum.

The exhibit was the British Invasion. It was designed to highlight the British influence on American culture, including films- James Bond

Aston Martin DB9

in particular and Downtown Abbey-, fashion, -Twiggy-, music- The Beatles, The rolling Stones, David Bowie, Adele-, the automobile from the Austin

Austin A35

and the 1999 TANGO, tiny just for the Brits country roads...
to the Jaguar XKE, and of course the Harry Potter books. British auto manufacturing began in the 1890’s and by the 1950’s was the 2nd largest manufacturer in the world. Traditional autos like the Bentley, MG, Mini Cooper and the Jaguar are featured. Included as well are some of the more unusual cars, like the TVR Vixen

TVR Vixen 2500

 and the Jowett Jupiter. 

There is an interesting segment on the building of the Plank Road from El Centro to Yuma. The story of the Plank Road began with the era of the automobile and the growing rivalry between Los Angeles and San Diego. San Diego had lost the bid to become the terminus for the Transcontinental Railroad, but was determined to become the hub for the Southern California road network. A challenge in 1912, between a San Diego businessman and a Los Angeles newspaper to see who could get to Phoenix, Arizona faster, was won by the San Diego businessman, Ed Fletcher. He chose a route through the Imperial Sand Hills. The road built in 1915 consisted of two parallel plank tracks each 25” wide, spiked to wooden cross pieces underneath.

The Plank Road
This one lane road caused some interesting situations, for example a car travelling one way met a caravan of cars coming the other way. Since the single driver refused to back up to the turn-out a mile or so back, the men in the caravan lifted the truck, placed it on the sand, while the women advanced the caravan. Then the men put the car back on the road. It wasn’t until 1926 that a 2 lane highway 20’ wide was completed.

There was also Louie Mattar's car, which was driven non-stop from Anchorage Alaska to  Mexico City. It even had a rolling plat from which could be attached alongside so a tire could be changed without stopping.

There is a complete "kitchen" in the back- and an iron and ironing board!

We chose midweek to drive up to Carson, just south of LA to see my sister and take her to lunch. It was good to see her and her new home. It was a beautiful day and despite her street being torn up, being widened.

Another beautiful day we drove up to Carlsbad to meet a friend from U of T days for lunch at Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

Restaurant and Brewery
We were a little early for lunch so we stopped to see the Field of Flowers.

A beautiful sight 

There is a hill with acres of bands of brightly coloured flowers, with flowering bushes at the top.

The bushes were just starting to bloom

After lunch, we decided to look at an RV Park in Oceanview. Guajome Park is a San Diego County Park.

The entrance...

Driving in...

Many of the sites are small, but there are several in the lower loop which would work for us. It is on a lake but quite a distance off the main highways.

On our way back to I-5, we saw the sign for the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, Spanish for St. Louis the King of France who ruled in the 18th century.

Sign in front of Mission

This beautiful white adobe building is the 18th California Mission, and the largest. It began as a simple chapel of made of poles and tule. The present church constructed in 1811, is made of adobe bricks, fired clay tiles and wooden timbers, and is only one of two mission churches built in the shape of a cross.

 Mission Saint Luis Rey de Francia

From the centre door

The side Chapel

covered walk to Retreat

In the yard to the west is the oldest Pepper tree in California, grown from seed brought by a sailor from Peru.

The story...

The Pepper Tree, in the Retreat Garden

To the east end of the church is the graveyard, a green oasis.

The Mission graveyard

On the way home, we drove down the I-5, and decided to have a latte. We came into Carlsbad by a different route and found a charming downtown,

Downtown Carlsbad

and a Farmers’ Market.

Farmers Market, larger than Santee's, with wonderful fresh vegetables.

Unfortunately, this year, our visit to Santee coincided with Easter and Spring Break in the area. Now we love children, and enjoy them. However, this year, there were kids of all ages on scooters, electric scooters,

sometimes alone, usually in groups

hover-boards, bicycles,

bikes ran around our loop all day

and driving off- road and glorified golf carts

There were a variety of these carts all week.
all over the park, from morning to night. They were also in the pool, often without parents, and in the hot tub with water wings and goggles. It made it difficult to fully enjoy our oasis, or the pool!

Our visit to San Diego would not have been complete without a visit to the Embarcadero on the San Diego waterfront, and a visit to Coronado. We wandered along the Embarcadero,

We stopped to watch an aircraft carrier leave, 

and listen to Bob Hope.

first to the Fish Market by the Midway to get our clam chowder.

Our excellent lunch

and after lunch, a cappuccino from a new shop,

Excellent cappuccinos...

 As we walked toward Seaport Village, we saw beautiful large bubbles floating across the water. We traced them to a fellow using two strings dipped in his bubble solution, then waved in the air.

The "Bubble Master"

It was wonderful to watch the children chase them.

The kids loved the huge bubbles

There were beautiful trees in bloom in Seaport Village.

Beautiful blooms

and kites being flown
Before we left, we made one trip back to the Fish Market for their fresh ceviche. [Note to selves: make sure container stays upright on the trolley ride home!]

Near the end of our stay we drove to Coronado,

The Bridge to Coronado

The harbour from the bridge

The view back to downtown and the moored boats, as we arrive on Coronado

parked and walked. First we had to have a burger. Then we walked around the streets.

These are two of the smaller houses, still over a million dollars...

Interesting trees lined some streets

one of the larger homes...

A beautiful front porch
We saw these driving on many of the streets 

Homes were getting ready for the judges who were due later in the week to judge gardens. The blooms are magnificent.

A beautiful front yard 

Another front yard

One home had a whole garden of multi-coloured roses.

Incredible garden - they have apparently won for the last few years.

Each rose was gorgeous

Same garden from the other end...

We walked along the beach front

The public beach

the entrance to the beach in front of "The Del"

to the Hotel Del Coronado,

Approaching "The Del" 

These rooms look on to the beach

Choose a room with a view...

before going back to the truck and driving back across the bridge

The naval yard 

and 'home'. 

After being in Santee for three years, we discovered just before we left, Kaffee Meister which made the best lattes and cappuccinos.

It was 5 minutes away, and we just found this great coffee shop.

Alas, our month was up, and it was time to leave the San Diego area. We headed north to visit our friends in Barstow.

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