San Diego and singing (swearing) in the rain

San Diego 2/23 -2/25
I had a 2-day gig working at the San Diego convention center at a vendor booth for a physical therapy conference. The drive was a good 2 1/2 hours, taking HWY 86 down to HWY 8 and over the Laguna Mountains to San Diego. As with much of the country, Southern California got slammed with snow for the first time in decades, and driving through the pass was a little nerve wracking. I drove through rain, sleet, and snow before descending the 4000 ft. pass. Once on level ground and near the city, I was pleasantly surprised to see poppies blooming on the sides of the hills and berms along the road. Yellow and orange flowers were bursting and changing the road with a colorful explosion! Too bad I can’t drive and take pictures at the same time.

Even after some research on free overnight parking in the area, finding a place to stealth camp was challenging. There was street parking available in some areas but it was crowded and I couldn’t find a place to park the van. I decided to park in the open lot behind the convention center on the marina in San Diego Bay. Whenever I stealth camp, I get a little nervous about the infamous knock on the door in the middle of the night. Good news was that there were no knocks at all the whole 3 days I parked there, and the location couldn’t have been better! Right on the marina, near Seaport Village with a mile long boardwalk and high end hotels. I felt safe the entire time. The Coronado bridge was just down the street and The Gaslamp Quarter was on the opposite side of the convention center. The symphony center was also in the park and I had a lovely time walking around after work. Even in the rain, this is a great city to visit. Staying at the marina was amazing!

I had a great time working at the convention and the owner liked me so much that he invited me to participate again next year. Going to Boston in February did not appeal to me, and I politely declined, but I will definitely keep in touch. There was a lot of activity in the parking lot and s a security guard was there on Friday and I asked what the event was. Apparently, there was a concert that started at 6 pm ending at 10 pm and that the city is very strict about enforcing the end time. Another guard explained that it was a RAVE concert and to look for some interesting costumes. I went back to the van and had some dinner then walked down the boardwalk toward Seaport Village and enjoyed browsing the shops. Later, out of curiosity I walked around to check out the concert. Security was heavy, but the guards were friendly and one shouted down to me that I had the best seat (on the boardwalk). I asked another guard on the boardwalk what a RAVE was and he was nice enough to explain that it was just very loud dance music. OK. I stayed for at least an hour watching everyone and it looked like a great time. The concert ended right at 10 pm and the crowds went back to their cars. It got quiet around 11 pm and I was glad to get some sleep.

The rain was relentless, and I had a ticket for the San Diego Zoo, but didn’t want to waste it in the rain. On Saturday morning, I drove across the Coronado Bridge in the rain and then to the Hotel Del Coronado, but didn’t stop . Only the valets were there I didn’t feel like looking for a parking space just to go inside. Instead, I found a little bistro, The Henry, in town and had breakfast. It was pricey, but the waiter was awesome and helped me with directions going back to Thermal. Another server came over with directions and I gave mine a big tip for his help. The weather really made me nervous!

Balboa Park is the cultural center of the city. There are 12 museums, gardens and it houses the world famous San Diego Zoo. The Spanish influenced architecture was amazing, and even in the rain it was a great experience. (I decided to wait until Sunday to go to the Zoo so I could enjoy it in better weather.) The first stop was the San Diego Natural History Museum. There was a half price coupon available and with my senior discount, the fee was only $9.00. What a deal! The most fascinating thing to me was watching the pendulum swinging and knocking down the little “dudes”. Apparently, this happens with the earth moving, as the pendulum never changes its lo cation. I got back just in time to see one get knocked over. What fun! Yes, it doesn’t take much to amuse me… The museum is smaller than Chicago’s Museum of Natural History, but had some great exhibits and cool artifacts. The Museum of Photographic Arts had a Sony 2022 exhibition with wall displays and a digital collection. It was very inspiring! Other interesting exhibits were displayed and I really enjoyed this museum. They just asked for donations, too, which is always good for my budget. I walked around the park for a while then found a ranger to ask about overnight parking. He pointed me to the residential area and I was on my way. In North Park, I grabbed a bite to eat and after chasing a few spots, found on a hill and parked for the night. I was really surprised as to how easy it was to find parking and how quiet it was to sleep.

The weather let up on Sunday and the San Diego Zoo was a blast! It turned out to be a beautiful day. I’m not sure, but I think it’s the largest zoo in the world.. And very expensive to get in, like $70. Talk about blowing my budget! But, since I’m a zoo freak, I just wanted to see the animals I’ve never seen, like Koala bears. OMG are they cute! Unfortunately, the panda bears went back home to China. There was A LOT OF WALKING and I didn’t see the entire park, but was OK with it, because I was sore and tired. This is a place where buying a 2-day pass would be a better choice because it’s hard to see the whole zoo in just one day. Plus there are a boatload of tours and a tram that you can ride on.

I left a little early to get a start on the drive back. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out the directions that the server gave, but was able to avoid HWY 8. I drove through Julian and there was snow everywhere. Cars were lined along the road and people and their kids were sledding, building snowmen, and throwing snowballs at each other. They were having a great time! Alas, it slowed me down, but I was not in that big of a hurry. I arrived around 5:30 pm and was glad to be back for a few more days.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.