Monday, January 30, 2017

Torrey Pines State Park and Cabrillo National Monument

We have been spending time with Bernie, Dodo, Paul and Trudy going out to dinner but not doing any exploring because of the rainy weather. We did take in a movie, Pittsburgh filmed Fences, and thought it was very powerful and emotional in many ways. Finally after days of rain the weather improved so we could do some exploring.
We had been told by several people that a visit and hike in Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve was a must. The preserve is a 2,000 acre natural wonderland within the city of San Diego. The lodge was built in the style of Hopi Indian houses to blend into the environment. Today it is the visitors center. 
Do you see it? We also saw two peregrine falcons going after a red tailed hawk, all very cool.
Looking northeast over the city to the snow covered mountains. There has been so much rain and snow over the last week they are actually saying the years long drought may be over.
Looking northwest to the Pacific Ocean beach below. As you can see, the wetlands have a lot of water from all the rain.
Nanc, Jim, Bernie and Dodo. We hiked to a couple of ocean overlooks and then down to the water.
Spring is in the air and the cacti are staring to bloom. Sure hope this means our winter is over and the beautiful weather continues. 
The erosion of the sandstone cliffs has created very unique patterns.
Nanc, Dodo and Bernie looking for shells and beach glass. The recent big storm driven waves have uncovered a lot of nice finds. At high tide the water goes all the way to the cliffs so you need to be aware of the tides if you want to walk on the beach here.
The wind blown Torrey Pines are only found in this area. Finding such a well preserved natural area within the city is always very neat. We are very thankful that people had the foresight to save this land from developers so future generations can see what ancient California was like.
Another beautiful day and we headed south to Cabrillo National Monument. The park is on a large spit of land that protects San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean. This is the area where Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to map the bay.  
One of the neatest places here is the inter-tidal zone where at low tide you can see a big variety of sea life from crabs, to fish and other unique aquatic life. These look like old shells but there were little crabs in them that were moving through the water in search of food. NO SHELL COLLECTION IS ALLOWED IN THE TIDAL POOL.
We watched this shell for a while but never did see what was inside.
These anemones are very unique critters. They are predatory animals that attach themselves to the rocks and capture prey that swim up to them. The top one is open awaiting prey and the bottom one is closed. All the animals and plants in the tidal pool have adapted to the twice a day high and low tides. 
Dodo and Bernie's daughter and grandchildren came to San Diego for the weekend to escape the Minnesota winter. We got to meet Brittany and Damion at the tidal pool. They had a fun weekend and enjoyed the great California weather.
High on the hill at Point Loma is the lighthouse that was built in 1855 to guide ships along the coast and in San Diego Bay.
Unfortunately, the old lighthouse was so high that it was often obscured by clouds and fog. In 1891 a new lighthouse station was built at the bottom of the hill so it was below the clouds. This new light is on the property of the Coast Guard so it is not open to the public. 
Point Loma is a great place to see migrating whales. Gray whales travel south each winter to the Baja where their young are born and then return each summer to the feeding grounds of the Arctic waters. At this time of the year they are still heading south. We did see the distant spout of one whale while we were there. We plan to take a whale cruise next week.
The view of San Diego from Cabrillo is one of the greatest city views in the country. In the foreground is the Naval Air Station with the downtown and mountains in the distance. There were many small boats going in and out of the harbor. 
The statue of Carbrillo over looking the harbor.
A Coast Guard cutter coming out of the harbor. Look closely and you can see the famous Coronado Hotel on the beach. We plan to visit there next week also. 
In addition to the national monument, coast guard and naval facilities on Point Loma, the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is also located along the drive. The cemetery overlooks both the bay and ocean. The cemetery has over 100,000 graves. All space for casketed remains has been used but a columbaria has been built for more remains. After all space has been filled the cemetery will be turned over to the park service.

The weather continues to improve and we are looking forward to Mike and Sherri coming in this week for a week of exploring and FUN.

Monday, January 23, 2017

On to San Diego and the Women's March

We left Yuma and headed to Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego for a month long stay. In addition to doing some exploring, we knew some friends were also going to be there so we were looking forward to a fun time. The weather the first week has been less than ideal with temps being a bit cooler than normal and as I write, the third of three big rain and wind events is starting. We did take advantage of the sunny days taking walks around Mission Bay and a nice bike ride out to the ocean. We arrived in time to cheer the Steelers on to victory only to be disappointed a week later.
The drive on I-8 first takes you through the Imperial Valley, the major agricultural are in Southern California. The highway goes down to several feet below sea level around El Centro.  
It then climbs to over 4000 feet above sea level through an area with some of the worst winds in the country. Fortunately, the windmills were turning very slowly the day we were here. The final decent into Dan Diego is a long 13 mile 6% grade. Sure love the engine brake on these kind of days.
We knew Dodo and Bernie were going to be at Mission Bay RV Resort and were happy to find them only a couple sites away. We have been enjoying happy hours together.
Mt. Soledad is a great place to get a wonderful view of the whole San Diego metropolitan area from the ocean, to the city, to the mountains. 
Atop the mountain is the National Veterans Memorial. Plaques honoring veterans from all the services are placed around the memorial. It was very windy the day we were there so it was only a photo op and then we moved on. 
Looking north along the Pacific coast toward La Jolla.
Looking south to downtown San Diego. Hopefully the weather will be clearer on our next visit. We were told you can see the snow capped mountains near Los Angeles on a clear day.
Our first West Coast sunset in quite a while. Not sure what you call this type of hang glider, but they just stepped off the cliff above the ocean and soared back and forth along the coast like a bird, no motor. It looks like a lot of fun.
Paul and Trudy, who we met at the Elks in the Keys and cruised with last spring, are in the campground right next us. We got together for lunch and they showed us around the area. We are looking forward to seeing more of all our friends while here. 
There is a walking/biking trail right by the park that connects with the Pacific Beach boardwalk. It is a great ride along the water and through some beautiful neighborhoods along the bay.
Must be a California thing, "sax" on the beach.
On Friday Dodo and Bernie had us over for a great dinner of salmon that Bernie caught this fall in Oregon. After a day of watching the Inaugural activities we all needed a couple toddies. We decided it would be great to attend the San Diego Women's March on Saturday to register our concerns about the new administration. 
We were up early Saturday and after a yummy Mexican breakfast at El Indio we headed for downtown. We were lucky to snag a parking spot near the Civic Center, but there were so many people we could not see the speakers but we could hear the speeches. The march started after that, but with so many people it took over a half an hour before we moved.  
The crowd was estimated to be over 30,000 and included young babies, teens, young adults and  many old farts like me. While the signs showed that people had many different issues, they were united by there dislike of the new president's plans. 
Even with all these people it was very orderly and polite. One group was passing out drums to marchers to liven up the scene.
The signs sum up peoples concerns much better than I can.

I can say you will never hear me say he is not my president, that is not the way the system works. That said, the Constitution also not only allows but encourages the people to express their grievances. These marches all over the country and the world is a way to express our concerns with the new administration. 
I think this sums up how I feel even more the day after the march than on Saturday. In the last 24 hours I have heard the new president use his bully pulpit talking about crowd size while his people deny the photographic proof and tell us they have "alternative facts". This denial of FACTS to me is scarier than any policy changes they might put in place.  We will never give up HOPE.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fun Time in Yuma

While many snowbirds come to Yuma each year I know a few people who will scratch their heads when they read the title of this post. While Yuma is well known for its sunny skies, over 300 a year, there is really not that much to do here as far as good restaurants or interesting adventures. What we found out on this visit is, a great way to have a fun time in Yuma is to get together with some of the many friends we have made while visiting Betty's in Louisiana.
After the work on Opus (still the next post) was done a day early, we were settled in at Mesa Verde RV Park and returned the favor and had Barb and Rick over for dinner. It was the usual fun time swapping stories and having a couple toddies. 
We had received a message that Dan and Peggy were in Yuma, so we met up for a beer at the Prison Hill Brewery. We were not very impressed with the brewery so we went next door to Da Boys for lunch where they had a better selection of beer than the brewery.
After lunch we all got together for happy hour. Here are Dan and Merlene, who had just arrived at Mesa Verde that day, Rick, Barb, Nanc, Peggy, Dan and me with the beer bottle.
It has been a bit cloudier than normal in Yuma this winter. This has resulted in some great sunsets.
Every time we come to Yuma we make sure we get together with Joan and Dick Morgan. Nanc worked with Dick many years ago. They have both had some health issues, so we were happy to be able to get together for lunch. Seeing old friends on the road is always great and they go way, way back.
We learned that even more of Betty's RVers were in Yuma so we had a Betty's happy hour west. As you can see by the Betty's billboard, we are ALL caught in her web.
Here's the whole crew; Jim, Merlene, Dan, Nanc, Tom, Ann, Clay, Christy, Dan, Rick, Barb and Peggy kneeling. It was a fun evening with fun people.
Barb even gave Clay a haircut.
What is a Betty's happy hour without Betty. Rick brought out the bluetooth and we all got to talk to her in Abbeville. Here are Nanc, Rick, Christy and Barb.
We even had a tequila tasting so Dan and Merlene could show off the San Diego Chargers tequila holder and glasses they bought in Mexico. I'm not sure if their purchase caused it or not but the Chargers announced the next day that they were moving to Los Angeles. We don't know if it is now a valuable collectors item or a worthless relic.
It was a fun time for all the people who have met at Betty's. Some of us were meeting for the first time and others have been friends for a long time, but we all had the Betty's connection in common.
When in Yuma we always make a trip to Algadones, Mexico to do a bit of shopping. As most people do, we parked on the US side of the border and walked into Mexico. This little town has over 300 dentist offices, many optometrists, several liquor stores and vendors selling all kinds of made in Mexico stuff. We did contribute a few pesos to the Mexican economy so they should be able to pay for that wall.
We had lunch that always includes a free margarita along with great, authentic Mexican food. Algadones attracts so many snowbirds we were in line for an hour and half to get through customs heading back to Yuma. 
The farewell dinner with those who stayed at Mesa Verde. We had a fun time together in Yuma and are now heading our separate ways. Rick and Barb are hanging out in the Southwest until spring before going to Alaska this summer. Dan and Merlene are slowly heading east to Betty's before heading to places unknown when it warms up. Nanc and I are going to San Diego then back to Tucson in February and then traveling to the Northwest.  We know we will all meet again somewhere down the road.   What a fun life we all have!

We will be in San Diego for a month-long visit. We are looking forward to seeing RV friends there and having a visit from Sherri when Mike is in South Dakota:)