I am in my favorite place--San Diego. I woke up just before 0600 in the morning Sunday after a lovely day of reacquainting myself with my old haunts the day before. I decided to go back into Coronado hoping it would be less busy than my trip Saturday had been. I was right. I drove through town and went over to the little park that faces San Diego and took some pictures in the early morning haze. It was beautiful!
San Diego as viewed from Coronado IslandThen, I drove down the Silver Strand a little ways to a park next to the Rec Center there. The pool at the Rec Center reminded me of the one from all my o'dark thirty mornings in boot camp when we aircrew and SEAL hopefuls met at the pool for swimming workouts and PT. I walked along the sea wall and down on the little beach there just enjoying the quiet of the morning. Little crabs ran across the rocks exposed by the low tide. Older men and women walked along the wall, boaters and kayakers headed out to fish or just tool around the bay, and tons of bike riders were already speeding along the bike path that runs the entire length of the Strand. It was an excellent start to my day!
Crabs at low tide - Coronado MarinaI headed back to the hotel and messaged my friend, Chris, to see if he still wanted to head east to Julian with me. He did. I got my stuff packed up again, grabbed us some coffee and met him in Pacific Beach where he lives and he took my on a walking tour of some of his favorite places. I had a blast and the sea air in the cool morning was luscious as we walked along a pier that was loaded with little rental cottages. We saw a guy pull in a flounder and another a sting ray. Oh, how I love the ocean! The sound of the rolling waves, the allure of the blue sea meeting the gray sky, the white caps as the power and motion of the water surge toward shore...magical!
Crystal Pier - Pacific Beach, San DiegoAfter our walk through PB, we got in the car and headed east for our adventure. As we were in no hurry, we stopped at a few places along the way. I had taken Pepe to Julian back before we got married in the early 90s and have always wanted to return. They are known for their apples--cider, pies, dumplings, butter, jelly, etc--and it's a neat, old western town.
Chris @ Anza Borrego Park
Lake Cuyamaca - gorgeous!
Desert View Park
Julian Hotel B&B
Little Shops lining Main Street in Julian
After lunch at the Smokehouse, we headed back to PB. When we got there, Chris asked me if I wanted to check out the beach at La Jolla. Well, yeah! And I am SO glad we did. It was beautiful. We walked up and down the stretch of beach and took tons of pics. We waded into the warm coves and checked out the cliffs turned caves. I got splashed in one of the caves straight up my backside. At one point, Chris turned to me and said this was the best day since he'd moved to San Diego (which occurred before my last trip in 2008) and that his cheeks already hurt from smiling all day. It was that kind of perfect day!
To finish our adventure, Chris suggested we head up the coast along the 101. I have driven there a number of times, but it has been at least 15+ years. We drove up through Solana Beach, Del Mar, Encinitas, Leucinda, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and then into Carlsbad. After we hit the end of Carlsbad we turned around and went back to Encinitas where I saw some fun places to go have a burger and a beer. By this time, I was feeling my sunburned face and chest. These two Irish-skinned kids without sunscreen had gotten their fill of sun for the day!
We ate dinner on the open-air patio of Beachside Bar & Grill--which as Chris pointed out was not beachside! It was still just right. The wind was soft and cooling. I got to slip on my Old Navy zip-up hoodie and enjoy a burger and beer with an old friend. We drove home into the setting sun. I dropped him off, hugged for our last time and set off to get ready for the business-end of my trip.
Being here again has reminded me why I fell in love with San Diego. Why I hated to leave. Why I always wanted to come back. It makes me smile. I am happy here. I am at peace. There is so much to do. I want for nothing more than to live here again. As I shared with Chris, this makes the #1 spot on my bucket list...moving back to San Diego once my kids are grown. Only nine more years until Gabby graduates. I plan on getting her excited about SDSU or UCSD. Since she's going to be a doctor, there are tons of great programs and fellowships to be had out here!