A Travellerspoint blog

San Diego Sun

Bring your sunscreen

sunny 23 °C
View San Diego, California, USA on wsm78's travel map.

Ocean fog blanketed San Diego and made for a serene, cool start to our first full day in the city. I took advantage of the time by spending it on our hotel lanai, drinking coffee and photographing the ships coming and going in the bay.

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Chris isn't an early riser, so I was able to enjoy the breeze and watch the city slowly come to life. The fog began to lift, and after dressing for the day, we both walked over to the the main resort building where we enjoyed an excellent breakfast. The sun sparkled over the marina while Chris and I discussed what to do, deciding to drive over to Balboa Park first. The park is enormous and very beautiful, and unlike anything I was expecting.

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There were gorgeous flowers in bloom, and a lot of interesting, baroque architecture. We took our time strolling the grounds and admiring the landscapes, along with many other visitors on that beautiful day.

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As the sun continued its climb into a cloudless sky, we opted to visit one of the city's beaches. We drove west to Ocean Beach, a hip neighborhood on the Pacific coast.

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One of my reasons for wanting to visit O.B., besides wanting to spend time at the beach, is that it also features a 601 meter long concrete pier! The pier was constructed in the 1960s and features a small restaurant and gift shop.

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Views from the pier are terrific, and many people were out and about that day. Some of them were sightseers, like us, while others were fishing off the end of the pier. Seagulls kept their eyes on all of us, waiting for an opportunity to grab food, while dolphins could be seen in the waters nearby.

You might think we'd be tired from running around so much (and after having driven across half the country the previous two days), but we weren't yet, so we headed south to Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument. After paying a small fee to enter the monument, we parked the car and started exploring the many paved walking trails on the southern end of the point. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse stood guard in the wind, while many people could be seen surrounding the statue erected to Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, commemorating his landing at San Diego Bay in 1542, and the city rising beyond it.

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We spent a lot of time watching ships enter and exit the bay and got a closer look at Cabrillo's monument.

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Only then were we finally ready for a rest and a late lunch, so we headed back to the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. From there, we could enjoy the pleasant weather and watch everyone on the water beneath us.

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Once we were sufficiently rested, we decided to drive around dowtown and cross the Coronado Bridge. Coronado Beach beckoned, so we spent time walking on its cool sand and watching people splash about in the cold Pacific water. Waves were rougher than I expected, but it didn't seem to stop anyone from having fun.

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We took in the sea air and then explored some of Coronado Island (which is technically not an island!), admiring the stately homes and shaded avenues, before crossing the bridge back to San Diego. By then, it was time for dinner, and as we had spent most of the day out and about, we opted to enjoy it in the hotel's fine dining restaurant, Harbor's Edge. We were seated near large windows facing the marina and were able to watch the sun set as we enjoyed a wine flight. This is probably my favorite way to end a day!

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After dinner, we retreated to our suite and admired the city lights, capping off the end of a great day in San Diego.

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Posted by wsm78 06:57 Archived in USA Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains beaches bridges buildings skylines people boats Comments (0)

Have You Been to San Diego?

Let's drive all the way there!

sunny 26 °C
View San Diego, California, USA on wsm78's travel map.

I love planning vacations and spending time with Chris, my partner, seeing new things and experiencing new places. When I found out he'd never been to San Diego (much less California), I knew we'd have to make a trip there, and what better way to go than by taking a road-trip! As we live in Oklahoma City, it would only amount to spending one night on the road, and I thought it would also be a great way to show Chris the desert southwest.

We left Oklahoma City shortly after sunrise and headed west on Interstate 40. Our first rest stop of the day was at Gray County Rest Area just west of the town of McLean, Texas, and near the McClellan Creek National Grassland.

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The scenery is like much of the rest of this area of the country: mostly flat or undulating grassland with few trees. It can be pretty, in its own way, though I have an uncle from heavily wooded east Texas who vehemently disagrees.

After resting for a period, we drove through Amarillo, Texas, and the remainder of the Texas panhandle, stopping for lunch in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Lunch was no fancy affair: simply a Denny's in a truck stop. No need to be fancy on a road-trip! We can be fancy when we get where we're going, right?

We continued driving west across New Mexico, a dry land marked by mountains and mesas.

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And if the photos look a tad blurry, well, they are. I guess we can't all be professional travel photographers.

We arrived in Gallup, New Mexico, where we checked into our hotel for the night, the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Gallup.

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The view from our room included mostly parking lots, but the room itself was very nice and clean and proved to be restful. We ate dinner at a nearby restaurant, a Sizzler (not fancy), and then went shopping at a nearby Walmart (also not fancy). We needed to do a little shopping because one of us didn't pack enough shorts for the trip (not me). With dinner and shopping out of the way, we retired to the hotel and reflected upon our first day on the road (meaning we watched TV until we fell asleep).

The next morning, we awoke and had a wonderful breakfast in the hotel lobby. We then packed up the car again and continued heading west on Interstate 40, crossing into Arizona. After passing the Petrified Forest National Park, we exited the interstate for roads less traveled and continued through Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. I did not realize that Arizona had mountains and forests as beautiful as those found further north; it was an eye-opening experience. We stopped for a rest at the Mogollon Rim Visitor Center and enjoyed the cool breeze and wonderful views.

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Leaving the mountains behind meant a drop in elevation and a rise in the outside temperature. We skirted Tonto National Forest and emerged from the mountains to see Phoenix ahead of us. The landscape had changed dramatically and now included Saguaro cactus.

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It should be noted that somewhere along this trip through the desert, my wonderful DSLR acquired some dirt on its sensor, resulting in an expensive "wet cleaning" after our trip. That's why you may see some small dust marks on these photos. If you don't know it already, be extra careful about changing your lenses in the desert; there's a lot of fine dirt in the air. Lesson learned.

We joined Interstate 10 in Phoenix and continued west through that sprawling metropolis, stopping for lunch at a Denny's (surprise!) in Buckeye, a far western suburb. (I promise Denny's is not my favorite restaurant, and really, I think I only eat at them on the road because you know what to expect and you know what you'll get.) After a quick lunch, we headed south and got onto Interstate 8, which would take us all the way to San Diego in California. Much of this stretch of travel was through hot desert and dry, mountainous regions. We stopped for a short rest at the Mohawk Rest Area in Arizona, where the temperature was well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). The mountains made for interesting scenery, though.

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Crossing into California shortly afterward, we were ready to be at our destination (and out of the car!). After hours of mountainous terrain and endless desert, Interstate 8 finally delivered us to San Diego. We easily found our way to our hotel, the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, and were pleasantly surprised with an excellent upgraded suite.

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The view from our private lanai was fantastic and included the entire northern bay of San Diego. After enjoying the cool sea breezes and marveling at our good fortune, we unpacked and made our way to the main resort building to enjoy a light dinner.

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We dined in the Sheraton Club on the top floor of the resort and enjoyed views of the setting sun over the marina, quite frankly a wonderful end to the day. We then walked back to our suite in the smaller hotel building and admired the twinkling lights of downtown San Diego.

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More adventures await!

Posted by wsm78 12:07 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Overeager Hotel Showers

Always an adventure!

overcast 23 °C
View Kansas City, Missouri, and Tulsa, Oklahoma on wsm78's travel map.

I used to stay at the Four Points by Sheraton - Kansas City Sports Complex quite often. (It has since changed brands and is now a Best Western.) Staying so often meant I got quite familiar with the property; I would ask for a lower floor because I learned the bathtubs on the higher floors drained slowly, and I hate standing in water while I'm taking a shower. Well, on one particular trip I learned an important lesson about the showers on the lower floors: the water pressure is higher, presumably to pump water to the top floors. And when I say the water pressure is higher, I mean pressure-wash higher. Zap-O-Matic Carwash higher. I thought that shower head was going to fly off, and don't let me get started about how I tried to adjust the spray and wound up with the massage feature! I felt like I'd been exfoliated with sandpaper and would need to find the little complimentary tailoring kit to sew everything back on.

Sometimes travelling exposes you to more than beautiful locations; it can also make you appreciate what you have at home.

Posted by wsm78 10:10 Archived in USA Tagged buildings Comments (2)

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