San Diego


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Arrived in San Diego on Saturday 24th March and checked in to Rancho Los Conches RV Park. It is an interesting place laid out in tiers down a valley side with lots of trees and nice shaded sites. We had a back-in site on the lowest tier in the valley and behind us ran a little stream.

Our site, awning out as it got quite hot!!
General view of our tier.

On the Sunday we had arranged to meet up with a friend of Anne’s, Zeina Guoin, from when Anne did her degree at Aberystwyth University. We drove to  Del Mar, north of San Diego to meet her there in a restaurant and after a meal we had our first proper walk along the Pacific Ocean.

Zeina , Anne and myself.
Pacific Ocean.

We had booked a longer stay in San Diego, firstly to get the first oil service for the RV, but also because our first fault had developed. Just after we left Monahan Sands State Park the RV developed a steering squeak, which turned out to one of the main bushes on the steering arm had basically disintegrated!!

Ooops that isn’t supposed to look like that.

So on Monday I rang a few dealers to find someone to fix it. The local Winnebago dealer could do the oil service but was booked until August for other service requirements. They suggested another dealer and when we went there they said they didn’t do heavy Ford chassis repairs and suggested Precision Tune Auto Care in El Cajon. I spoke to them and they agreed to order the part and could also do the oil change. I got some pictures of the steering arm bush to make sure we had ordered the right part, and good to their word they got the part in for the next day. So we agreed to take the RV in on the Wednesday.

Then on the Tuesday we took a trolley bus tour of San Diego and realised there was a lot to see!!

USS Midway. Better pictures later.
The Maritime Museum
The bridge to Coronado. Someone doesn’t like heights 🙂
One of the older houses on the Tour.
Little Italy district.

The Wednesday arrived and we took the RV to Precision Tune Auto Care and the new steering arm was fitted. You cannot just change a bush, they come as part of huge 2ft long piece of metal that connects the steering cam to the nearside wheel and weighs about 30lbs. Basically an RV is a static caravan on a truck chassis so all the parts are truck size!!. Well after about 3hrs the new arm was in place and had been inflated with grease and the oil and filter had been changed, and the RV was “good to go” for another 5,000 miles. Thank you Manny at Precision Tune Auto Care you did a great job at short notice.

So Thursday dawned and first on the list was USS Midway CV-41 that was launched in late 1945 and commissioned just after the Japanese surrender. She was in service for 47 years and until 1955 was the largest ship in the world. Saw service in Vietnam, Korea, and finally in Desert Storm before being decommissioned in 1992.

If you are going to visit this ship give yourself a day as there is an awful lot to see, from the engine room, through the carrier decks to the flight deck and the operations island, where the captain and flight operations was based. It is also HUGE so make sure you have good walking shoes, and some of the steps between decks, especially in the island, are steep and narrow. But don’t let me put you off as it is well worth the visit.

View down the side of USS Midway.
Hanger deck
Phantom F4 on main flight deck + 1 crew member!!
View from Flight Control in the Island.
Flight Commanders chair and his deputy.
Your ready to LAUNCH!!
Main Island which houses Flight Commander and Captain etc., but it shows the width of the flight deck with TWO runways.
Guess who!!

Next we met Zeina again at Balboa Park. This is very large park in San Diego that was gradually built and extended from 1868, but really came into being as part of the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition when most of the current buildings were built. We visited the Museum of Man and then walked around a small part of the park before having lunch at Prada.

Museum of Man
One of the many pedestrian streets.
Ponds by the Botanical Gardens
California Tower and dome

We decided we needed to come back again as there was so much to see. Zeina also kindly invited us to Dinner on Sunday 1st, my birthday!!

On my birthday we had a long Skype conversation with ALL the family who had assembled in Burnham-on-Sea.

Everyone in BOS including Tim and Emily from Vancouver.

And then we had a lovely evening at Zeina ‘s where we met her ex-husband, Terry and their son Dale. After a lovely meal I had a birthday cake!!

More than enough candles!!
Lovely cake, thank you Zeina .

On the Tuesday we decided to look around Balboa Park again, including the Botanical Garden which had been shut on our previous visit as it was a public holiday. It had some absolutely stunning examples of my favourite flower, orchids.

Never seen this type before.
So many colours!!

All housed in this building, a wooden version of the Kew glass houses.

But what are they all looking at I hear you ask!!
This and …

No amount of pictures are going to do it justice so I suggest if you are ever in San Diego visit Balboa Park.

Pretty flowers !!?
Rose Gardens

After a nice lunch in the Prada restaurant Anne wanted to visit the San Diego Museum of Art and I wasn’t so keen so I visited the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

Interesting place and they even had a World War II exhibit that featured the RAF.

Biggin Hill with a Spitfire in the background right.
Get the old kite ready there’s a good chap!!

But we can’t leave Balboa Park without showing you the Medusa cactus!!

Looks like a load of writhing snakes!!

Then on the Wednesday we visited San Diego Old Town State Historic Park the original area which was settled and dates back to the 1820s and includes many original buildings. At the end of a long day we also visited the Mormon Battalion Museum which commemorates the march of over 2,000 miles of 500+ Mormon soldiers to fight in the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848, but by the time they got there it was all over. They also created, as part of the journey, a southern wagon route to California, that allowed more settlers to follow them to open up California.

Map of the site which is quite extensive.
A replica Butterfield / Wells Fargo stagecoach
The main square.
Mormon Battalion
A Mormon Battalion soldier and a new recruit who thought she had walked 2,000 miles that day!!

And on the Thursday we used our last day of our Trolley Bus ticket to take us to the Maritime Museum. They have some interesting ships here including the Star of India (the world’s oldest active sailing ship), HMS Surprise (used as the set for “Master and Commander” starring Russell Crowe), a couple of submarines, one of which a Russian B-39 submarine is definitely showing its age, plus other sailing boats and steam launches.

Star of India, still sailing.
Someone knows how to varnish – a beautiful finish.
Think this Russian sub has seen better days, Anne decided NOT to tour it!!
HMS Surprise.
The Californian.

In the afternoon we visited the beaches leading to the “island” of Coronado. I say “island” because that is what they call it although technically as it is joined to the Californian coast by a spit of sand it is a peninsular!! And then to make our tour of the San Diego area complete we visited Point Loma which has some lovely views of the San Diego bay and is also the home of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery which is a Federal Military Cemetery like Arlington in Washington DC. It is  a huge cemetery on both sides of the road for at least 2 miles.

This went on for miles!!
The Coronado Hotel that the original owners of Coronado built in the hope it would attract visitors!! Place was packed so I think they succeeded.
Coronado beach with 2 Brits in the foreground.
View back to San Diego from Point Loma.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery San Diego Bay side
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery Pacific Ocean side.

And as Friday had to be put aside for such mundane tasks as laundry and food shopping, that was the end of our stay in San Diego, a beautiful place to visit. My next post will be from Los Angeles.





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