Baja Down & Back, 2006 travel blog

Mission Bay Marsh

Sunset on Mission Bay RV Park

View from our livingroom

View from the backyard

Pacific Beach pier towards La Jolla - note sign

Pacific Beach and rental cottages on the pier

Typical La Jolla seaside residences

Sign on birthing beach

Mom's & pups

Same view, different angle

Musuem of Contemporary Art in La Jolla

Art in the sky

Cave store entrance

The Cave, going down

At the bottom

Looking out at the sea

Kayakers looking in

More La Jolla coastline

Even more coastline

Nandy chatting to Tamara

Parasail surfer getting ready to fly

Parasails in the air

It's spring break week

Fantastic architecture on Mission Beach


Hermann, Steve and Nandy spent ten days together in San Diego following the Baja trip. Hermann had fallen near Mulege at the entrance of a cave with Native American artwork on its ceiling. He was taking an overhead picture with his telephoto lens when he lost his balance and fell backward on some rocks. Following his fall, driving was very uncomfortable. (He drives a 29 foot 5th wheel behind his diesel 4 passenger pickup truck. This is a big rig, particularly when you're not feeling well.) Upon entering the USA, he decided he wanted to slow down, rest and recover before making the long drive from San Diego to his home outside of Portland.

Since we did not have any immediate obligations, we decided to stay with him at the RV park in Mission Bay at the northern edge of San Diego. It is a quiet spot on the water's edge, abundant with herons, egrets, coots, pelicans and seagulls. It has proved to be a good location for exploring the San Diego area. Hermann had spent several days in the area prior to the Good Sam Caraventure. He liked the area and became our unofficial tour guide.

Hermann is a devoted photographer. He took it up as a hobby when he was 12, and now at 81 years he has an amazing amount of experience. Steve is reentering the world of photography after more than three decades of limited shooting. To Nandy, it was interesting to see the two men approach the same subject from different angles and vantage points using the same light, colors and shapes to capture images. At the end of many shoots, the two men would compare, critique and compliment each other's shots. It was a learning experience for all of them.

The biking environment was not enticing to us on the Baja. We managed to get in a few short rides, but the roads were either very narrow, like Route 1, or were too rocky, sandy or hilly for our liking. San Diego, on the other hand, is one of the top rated metropolitan bike riding areas in the USA. On the 14th we took off at 9:00 AM and did not return to the RV site until 4:30 PM.; during that time we covered over 40 miles. Not on skinny-tired road racing bikes, but fat-tired mountain bikes.

We rode along the coast on a series of bike paths and low traffic side streets designated for bicycles and pedestrians. Generally the bike routes parallel major roads. Mission Bay, where we are camped, has a series of parks along its shore. Between each park are densely settled areas of residential housing, condos and apartments. Like most suburban areas, each town blends into the next without much delineation between the borders; Mission Beach runs into Pacific Beach. The housing facing the beach is solid rentals while the block or so between the beach and the bay appears more residential. This is spring break for college kids and most of them were on Pacific Beach.

La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya) is the next town north of Pacific Beach. It is an upscale community of beautiful Spanish haciendas mixed was modern architecture like you find in Architectural Digest all built on cliffs overlooking the ocean.

We stopped at a protected beach where harbor seals birth their young, and the mothers were basking on the sand with their pups. There are six naturally hewn caves along the cliffs of La Jolla, and we went to the Cave Store to enter the largest one. Imagine a store that sells you the opportunity to walk down 145 steps that are over 100 years old to arrive at an ocean carved cave 100 feet below the shop. The downward sloping tunnel was dug through the rock by hand between the years of 1902 and 1903 so people could enter the cave at any time of day regardless of the tides. It was worth every bit of the $4.00 per person fee.

We also stopped at a beach where about a dozens para-surfers where flying huge colorful stunt kites (parasails) and had their feet strapped into small surfboards. At times the parasail lifted them off the crest of the waves, and they would do flips in the air before their surfboard hit the water again. This sport made wind surfing seem tame.



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