Saturday, September 10, 2005

Days 5-6 - San Diego (Beauty by the Bay)

Greetings on Days 5-6 from San Diego, California, one of America’s truly beautiful places to visit or live, where gas is frozen, it seems, at $2.99 a gallon. But enough on that; we aren’t worried about a fill-up until Monday.
This is a wonderful city – clean, gorgeous visually, perfect weather-wise. It passes the vacationers test. If you can answer the following question affirmatively, “Do you need a week to see most of the city’s attractions?” then it is a city worthy of visiting.
Two weeks is probably a more accurate response for San Diego. Aside from the well-known attractions like the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld (the original is still the best) and Six Flags, the incredible golf courses (Torrey Pines, LaCosta), the beaches, the resorts and the world famous hotels (Hotel del Coronado), there are hidden treasures to be found. Legoland might be the nation’s most unusual amusement park where real life structures are recreated in 1/20th size with Lego pieces. A great national park – Cabrillo National Monument – has a lighthouse you can climb into and a spectacular view of San Diego Bay and the hundreds upon hundreds of sailboats and ships scurrying about. If you’re lucky, you can hear and see seals darting about.
And museums by the score. I’ve never seen so many diverse museums in one city - from antique gas and steam engines to making music to photography to surfing to model railroads to real railroads. The USS Midway now serves as an aircraft carrier museum and two tall ships (the Star of India being one of them) anchors the Maritime Museum along the lovely Harbor Drive.
Not to mention places like the Gaslamp Quarter Historic District, Old Town San Diego, Balboa Park … oops, Tijuana is just a couple of miles down the road.
See what I mean? A few days just doesn’t justice to such an area. Tomorrow is a trip to the zoo to see pandas, primates, polar bears and sea lions.
* * *
The San Diego traffic has been quite manageable. Of course, traffic is traffic and it all depends on your perspective.
I speculate that the volume of traffic in Los Angeles directly correlates to the overwhelming number of freeway miles. There are SO many numbers to remember it is mind-boggling. Take 10 to the 710 to the 101 to the 405 and miss the 215. The lotto drawing doesn’t have that many numbers.
I was warned about the thickness and slowness of the Los Angeles commute, but we made it from LAX to San Diego (at 5 p.m. on a Friday) in two hours - even with an unexpected detour through the beautiful little community of Oceanside, which serves Camp Pendleton’s Marines and Miramar’s top gun navy fliers (you remember “Top Gun” right?).
What has been most bizarre (to me) is the use of the carpool lane, also known in other lands as the high occupancy vehicle lane (HOV). Not only has its principle been violated far more often than obeyed (despite a visible $341 fine to be assessed) but every individual motorcyclist uses its narrow paths (it seems) at a higher rate of speed than the rest of us. I’d like some Californian to explain how a motorcycle qualifies when the laws requires two or more occupants in a vehicle to use that faster lane.
I am sure that traffic will become an issue on the way back to Los Angeles, but weather was to have been an issue and a cold front has kept it very, very mild. The highs this week in SoCal will only reach the low 70s and the lows will be in the low 60s. Who could ask for anything more after sweating the oldies in Arizona and having to live in the heat and humidity of North Texas?


Matthew said...

Hope you got to visit Petco Park in San Diego. That's quite a ballpark.

Chuck B. said...

Padres are in LA. Drove past it; sweet looking stadium.