Feb 15, 2011
THE DRIVE TO SAN DIEGO
The drive southwest from Palm Springs to San Diego is about 250 miles through the unique, fascinating, and, in its own way, beautiful desert. In the midst of the desert there is a unique body of water, the Salton Sea. As its name implies, it is salty water. It is also the largest lake in California, larger than Lake Tahoe. However, unlike Lake Tahoe, it is definitely not a tourist area. In fact, one town on the lake’s edge was dilapidated and appeared to be deserted as we drove by.
THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO
For us, San Diego is one of the prettiest and most livable cities in the U.S. It has a beautiful harbor with hotels, restaurants, shop, artwork, and a long waterfront walking path. The downtown area and historic Gaslamp District is adjacent to the waterfront. Balboa Park with the San Diego Zoo and many museums is only three miles from downtown. Sea World is five miles from downtown. Across the bridge is the iconic, historic Del Coronado Hotel and the quaint town of Coronado. Farther south is the quirky town of Imperial Beach. San Diego has many theatres and other entertainment venues. The moderate year round climate is, of course, one of its most attractive features.
If we had to live someplace in the U.S. other than our beloved Washington D.C. metropolitan area, San Diego would be our city of choice.
VIEW FROM OUR ROOM
There are several waterfront hotels to choose from. Embassy Suites and the Hyatt are the most centrally located on the bay. The Marriott is about ½ mile further south and the new Hilton is the farthest south by about a mile. We chose the Embassy Suites as it is a Hilton. Our suite was a corner suite on the top floor and gave us magnificent views to both the bay and the city. On a future trip we would choose the Marriott as it is right on the bay with excellent views.
One evening we were treated with a “front row seat” for fireworks.
WALK ALONG THE BAY
Seaport Village was right across the street from our hotel. It’s a lovely place with shops and restaurants which we took advantage of several times during our stay.
From Seaport Village you can take a mile walk south and a mile walk north along the bay. Heading south you see the bridge to Coronado island, the Convention Center, the Marriott and the Hilton.
North from Seaport Village are sculptures, memorials, and the USS Midway Ship Museum.
DOWNTOWN AND THE HISTORIC GASLAMP DISTRICT
The downtown area of San Diego is about five blocks wide by ten blocks long. Within that are the few streets of the Historic Gaslamp District, so named as it still has gas lamps.
Balboa Park is mostly known outside San Diego for its zoo. However, one of the best parts of the park is the museum and theatre area. The museums are not only interesting for their contents, but for their architectural beauty and uniqueness as well.
The famous Old Globe Theatre is located in the museum area. We could not arrange to see a show there on this trip, but will definitely buy tickets ahead of time on our next trip.
The botanical garden is exquisite all year around.
NAVAL AVIATION’S 100th YEAR CELEBRATION
On the day we took a walk along the bay, we saw people gathering along the shore. When we asked what was happening, we were told that there was going to be an air show to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Navy Aviation. There is a very large Navy base on Coronado Island just across the bay. We really didn’t relish the idea of standing around in a large crowd for a couple of hours, so we continued with our plan to take a boat cruise of the bay.
When we boarded, we noticed there were not that many passengers, especially compared to the number of people on the dock where we departed.
We had a wonderful view of the San Diego skyline from our ship, saw a couple of unique water “crafts”, and were escorted by the Coast Guard.
Photos 59 to 63
Then we discovered that we had a “front and center” view of the air show, right out in the middle of the bay with the helicopters, airplanes, and jets flying right over our heads! Not only that, one of the crewman had the itinerary for the show, so gave us a full description of what we were seeing.
We were told the grand finale of a flyover of about 75 jets in formation was going to take place about 3:15 PM. A full ½ hour after we were supposed to return from our one hour cruise. Whether by design or fate, just as our boat was pulling into the dock, the grand finale took place and 75+ jets flew over our head. We were lucky enough to get a picture!
CELEBRATING VALENTINES DAY
As we were in San Diego on February 14th, we decided to find a place to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We chose Roy’s, a restaurant affiliated and in front of the Marriott Hotel right on the bay.
The Manager, Josh MacDonald, took excellent care of us.
HOTEL DEL CORONADO
The Hotel Del Coronado is such an historic and famous hotel, it is known as “The Del”. It is a lovely place to visit, have lunch, and tour the chic town of Coronado for an afternoon. You can actually see it from the San Diego side and is just across the bay by the bridge. You will either need a car or a take a taxi to get there and back.
IMPERIAL BEACH AND THE SOUTHWESTERN MOST POINT IN THE CONTINENTAL U.S.
For those of you who have been reading our travel blogs, you know that we have been on a quest for the last four years for Harman to “touch the land and water” of the four corners of the continental U.S.
By “googling” the information we located the exact locations and prior to this trip had accomplished the goal in three of the four places.
• The southeasternmost point in Key West, Florida
• The northeasternmost point in Lubec, Maine
• The northwesternmost point at Cape Flattery, Washington
The fourth and final goal was the southwesternmost point located just south of Imperial Beach, California just across the border from Mexico.
We stopped along the way for a tour of the quirky town of Imperial Beach.
As we started our long walk on the beach to get to our destination we took a picture of the southwesternmost house in the continental U.S.
It was about a two mile walk to and back from our destination, but it was well worth it.
Harman's Mission Accomplished!