Friday, August 4, 2017

9 Things I did around San Diego

USS Midway.
I'm just back from a few days in San Diego. My partner was attending a conference, so I took advantage of a Delta Airlines two-for-one coupon, and a "free" hotel room.

I explored parts of San Diego, and also went down the coast to the Mexican border and up the coast towards Los Angeles as far as San Clemente.

I like to wander freely, enjoying the journey, but here's eleven specific things I enjoyed.
1. Cycled Coronado

We flew to San Diego a couple days ahead of the conference, giving us time to do some exploring together. Number 1 for us was to take a ferry across the bay from Downtown to Coronado and rent bicycles.
Coronado Ferry Landing.
We cycled most of the length of the Coronado peninsula.

2. Explored an aircraft carrier

The USS Midway aircraft carrier was the one museum we explored in San Diego. Commissioned in 1945, just weeks after World War II, it saw service in Desert Storm before being decommissioned in 1992.

The carrier is huge, but it was the smaller details I found most interesting.
Surgical suite, USS Midway.
3. Stood at the Mexican border

I love the idea of riding a light rail train to the end of the line, especially when the end of the line is the border with Mexico.
San Diego Trolley.
A short path took me to a full-height turnstile, a one-way entrance to Mexico. Tijuana is not high up my list, so I turned around, and walked back against the opposing flow of people heading for Mexico.
I've visited Tijuana once, back when I was young and innocent, . I was doing business in Irvine, California. Two colleagues and I drove to Tijuana where we ended up in a dark bar. Every now and then a woman would walk up a flight of stairs, accompanied by a customer. Eventually one of the women came to our table. My colleagues told her they were married, but I would be interested. She planted herself on my lap, and kept blowing into my ear, while I continued chatting with my colleagues. Eventually she figured out I would never be a source of revenue. 
4. Rode Amtrak twice

The train line between San Diego and Los Angeles has a good passenger service. Sections of the line run beside the Pacific, sometimes separated from the ocean by little more than a beach.
I road the rails from San Diego to Oceanside, and from San Clemente back to San Diego.

5. Rode a scheduled bus through a huge marine corps base

The sign warning passengers to carry proper ID was enough to make me want to ride bus 395 from Oceanside to San Clemente.

Most of the route goes through a marine base, Camp Pendleton. At the entrance, two soldiers boarded the bus. One stood at the door, holding an automatic weapon, while the other checked our IDs. There was a minor altercation with one passenger who looked like he'd had a difficult life. Eventually we were all cleared, and the bus was waved through the checkpoint. It took about an hour to cross this huge base.

In San Clemente I checked into a hotel for the night.
6. Walked beside the Pacific

I walked beside the Pacific several times. This San Clemente view is one of my favorites.
The path, the train line, and the pier converge on a small Amtrak station.

7. Walked to the ends of two piers

I walked along two beautiful old piers: one in Oceanside, and the other in San Clemente.
Oceanside Pier.
As I walked on the San Clemente pier, I stopped and looked back.
San Clemente Pier.
The view of land, cluttered with buildings, contrasted with the open ocean ahead of me.
Fishing at the end of San Clemente pier.
8. Wandered around Old Town State Historic Park

On the way back from San Clemente, I hopped off the Amtrak train when it made a brief stop at Old Town Station. 

Old Town State Historic Park has a collection of  buildings from the time this was Spanish territory.
Adobe oven.
This place is a reminder that Anglos are just one thread in the fabric of the United States.

9. Walked through Balboa Park

I took a bus from Downtown San Diego, past the Naval Medical Center where my partner was born, and through Balboa Park.

The park has several cultural institutions, including the San Diego Zoo, museums, and the Old Globe Theatre. The Globe is modeled on the original Globe where Shakespeare's plays were first performed.

A group of happy kids shouted "All Aboard" in unison as they departed on a miniature train. Had my nephews (8 and 10) been with me, I would have insisted on riding that train.
As I walked back to Downtown, I watched the planes taxiing at the close-in airport. Later that day we would take a city bus to the airport ($1.25 senior fares) and a flight back to Minneapolis.
Watching our plane being provisioned.

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