I took my time leaving Tucson on Tuesday morning. Partially because I was enjoying myself so much and partially because I was waiting for this:
My very own! (I wish it came with natural skills built in.)
Driving from the desert to the ocean is pretty fun. There's a small chunk of mountains separating the two. But these were kind of the weirdest mountains I'd ever seen. They were all rock. Like someone just stood there for a million years and threw stones in a pile.
Once I made it to San Diego, Justin took me to my hotel and I checked in. I got a sweet deal on Price Line, which is becoming my new favorite thing. It's like gambling, but you always win. Well, so far at least. I guess you do always have the possibility of getting stuck somewhere awful. Anyway, I stayed at The Dana on Mission Bay so it was right in the middle of a bunch of water and I had a view of the boats in the harbor from my window.
I didn't stick around but for a second, and then I went over to the Beach Lane studio to see Allyn and Andrea! For S&Sers, you know them. For others, they are two ladies I used to work with. Anyway, I've been hearing about this perfect little oasis they call their office and now I was finally going to see it. It's a good thing I already have an apartment in Richmond. Otherwise I would have stayed on their couch until they just accepted my residency. It's a great little spot, to say the least. And to hang out with them for an evening was wonderful. There was even a twinge of missing it all by the evenings end.
The next day and a half were spent at the desk in my hotel room, working. Literally, I only went outside twice, once in the morning to go to the grocery store and get a few supplies , and secondly, to stretch my legs and at least look at the ocean not through glass. I wanted to finish my assignment before my mom got in town so that's what I did!
I picked Mom up at the airport on Thursday. Again, another atypical road trip addition. I was reading one book before I left, and it gave the do's and don'ts of a road trip. The number one don't: Never bring your mom.
Ha! (I'm happy to report, it's been a couple days and it's going just fine, thank you very much.)
We went to Coronado and had some lunch then explored the old Hotel del Coronado. It was a bit of an off-and-on rainy day so we kept ducking into stores and tried not to get too wet. Apparently, the weather was really weird and everyone kept apologizing to us the next day since we were out-of-towners.
We checked in to our next hotel (another Price Line win) and walked around that neighborhood, the Gaslamp Quarter. It was a little embarrassing having these hotel dudes see my car and all the stuff in it. Everything is in different, small bags so I can't just bring in a suitcase and be done with it. No, I had a suitcase, my back pack, my purse bag, my toiletries in another purse bag, a small ice chest, and another pair of shoes in my hands. I felt pretty silly. It's basically shops, restaurants, and homeless people. But it was good and we found a delicious pizzeria for dinner. I'm a little embarrassed to say that we went to bed at 8:30 that night. In our defense, we had both been up since about 4 am, her traveling and me working.
The next day was sunny and just how it was supposed to be in Southern California. We went to Balboa Park and spent a good portion of the day walking around and exploring all the different things on the grounds. Museums, botanical gardens, cactus garden, rose garden, a penny machine (!), and the Spanish Village. That's where local artists have studios and sell their work. It was really cool and like a museum in itself.
Later on, we drove through the city a bit and made our way to La Jolla for some beach time. It ended up being zigzag walking through fancy neighborhoods until we found a view of the ocean. There's not really beach access because it's all cliffs down to the water. So we sat on a bench up high and watched some surfers.
The next day we moved hotels again! It sounds kind of like a pain in the butt, but it was actually pretty fun getting to see and stay in different parts of the city. This time we found a sleeping spot in La Jolla right on the beach. And not cliff beach, but sandy beach. (We had scoped it out the day before.)
We started the special* day off with breakfast at La Valencia, the pink hotel in La Jolla. (There's waterfront balcony seating and it was beautiful.) I'm going to go ahead and say that it has become a tradition to start *my birthday off with pancakes. They make me quite happy.
After stuffing ourselves, we walked around. Now those are some vistas!
We said hi to the harbor seals. They are so funny to watch even though they just lay there with the occasional tail raise when the water comes up. So cute I wanted to squeal.
We found the Cave Store and walked down the dark, wet staircase to Sunny Jim's Cave.
Then we walked along the cliffs some more.
It was definitely nice to have my mom there. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed myself quite as much if I had been alone.
For the rest of the day, we were in the hotel area. Lunch at this wonderfully Halloween decorated place called Barbarella. Afterward, we stopped at a dive and kayak shop. :)
Reading/napping on the beach.
Bananagrams with brewskies by the pool.
Dinner at The Shores.
yay for being born!
Our waiter, it turns out, used to live in Brooklyn. Not just in Brooklyn, but on Butler!!! Crazy! I thought he was just yanking my chain, but then he was talking about the Met foods, the cinema at the top of the block, and Bagel Delight.
Sunday morning, our last morning in the San Diego area, I went diving! (That smiley face was supposed to indicate something good resulted from walking into that shop. This is it, the good that resulted!) I was nervous about the cold water, but after getting bundled up in my 7 mm suit, hat, gloves, and booties, I was okay. It had been a year exactly since I had last been in the water so I probably would have put up with almost any condition if it meant diving. The highlight was when the instructor handed me a kelp leaf with a baby octopus on it. The octopus scrambled away, and when it did, it inked at me! I felt like I was in Finding Nemo.
pre-dive fuel up!
We ended our visit/started our journey with a stop at Mister Frostie (I wish it was spelled with a "y") for a milkshake.
And that's it! Except, more pictures here.