Tuesday, January 27, 2015

3 Days in San Diego

San Diego, California is my favorite city.  I don't like cities in general but I do love San Diego.  The weather is always great and there are lots of things to do there.  I love it as a tourist, not as a resident. I am sure it would be a nice place to live, if you like to live in a city.

Doug and I visit San Diego every year during our winter road trip.  If we don't stop there on the way to where we are going, we are sure to visit on our way home.  It is one of the only places we have visited every year for the past 7 years of trailer travel.  We always stay at the San Diego KOA in Chula Vista.  It is my favorite campground on our trail.  I believe this campground deserves it's own post.

There are several major attractions in San Diego and each year we visit one of them.  We have been to the San Diego Zoo, the Maritime Museum, Sea World, Old Town, Gaslamp, the Convention Center, and etc.  This year we were in San Diego for 3 days and rather than go to a major attraction, we decided to explore beaches and parks.

The first day was spent on one of our favorites, Coronado beach.  There is a great 'dog beach' at the end of the Coronado beach, where Cessna loves to frolic in the waves.  When we get close to this beach she whines and jumps around in anticipation of the fun she will have at one of her favorite spots.  There are lots of things for people to do on Coronado too.  You can enjoy a meal at a good restaurant, shopping, sitting in the sun, touring The Coronado Beach Hotel, and or course, running on the beach.  We had a nice run down the beach toward the Silver Strand.
The second day, we decided to go to Mission Bay and play.  We started our day on Fiesta Island, a place Cessna could swim and play on the beach.  After she had her fill of fun, we parked in a Mission Bay Parking lot and started our day of fun in the sun.  The first thing we did was pull out the Eagle Kayak and inflate it.  We spent an hour or so kayaking around the bay.  We had a little picnic and then rode our bikes along the bike path.  There is a long, well maintained bike path around Mission Bay.  We ended our day with a short, slow run along the path.  It was truly an active day.  Mission Bay park is well utilized.  There were lots and lots of people there, picnicking, boating, exercising, riding bikes, walking, running, skateboarding.

On day 3 we drove up to Mission Trails Regional Park.  This park a short drive East of San Diego.  This was our first visit to this park.  There is a road to the dam, which is the main attraction of the park.  It was built a long time ago by the native people who lived in the area.  There are lots of well marked spur trails along the main road.  There are interpretive signs at points along the trails as well. This is a dog-friendly park.  Cessna enjoyed a little swim in the dam.

A person can spend a lot of money visiting the many wonderful attractions in San Diego and we usually do find one to enjoy each time we visit.  This year, however, we had a very enjoyable 3 days in San Diego and spent very little money.  All of the parks and beaches we visited were free of charge and gas was about $2.25 a gallon.  We had a very active, interesting and fun time in San Diego this year.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Monterey, California

Moss Landing is located halfway between Salinas to the North and Monterey Bay to the South.  This is John Steinbeck's country.  Steinbeck is from Salinas, and he used his home and the people in it as the setting and characters for many of his stories. My high school English teacher was from this area and he loved Steinbeck so we read most of his stories in high school.  After visiting the area, I want to read them again. I only have a vague memory of Mack and his caper into the hills to get frogs to pay for the party for his friend Doc, in Cannery Row; or the age old story of brothers competing for their mother's love in East of Eden.

A long time ago, when I was a young girl, there was a huge influx of young people into Petersburg. They came in a brightly painted truck or bus.  They stayed at Sandy Beach.  I remember my grandpa calling them 'Damn Oakies.'  I didn't understand the connotation until I read Grapes of Wrath.  My grandpa had lived in the Bay Area during the great Depression.  His family had immigrated to California from Sweden after his father had made a sizable fortune in Alaska's Gold Rush.  My grandpa's father died the day the stock market crashed.  His family was left with nothing but 2 houses and everyone had to go to work so they didn't starve.  Anders, my grandpa's oldest brother died of TB, caught working in a meat packing plant.  People from the Oklahoma were fleeing to California to escape the Dust Bowl and taking jobs for lower wages, which caused anger and frustration on the part of hungry California families.
Downtown Salinas
The buildings are fun to look at.  It is a quiet little town.  Most of the shopping activity is just South of town in the huge mall.  There you find all of the large stores, Ross, Joann, McDonalds, Costco, you know the rest....

Monterey was a major port and during the time the Mexican government owned this area, and they collected taxes on all goods entering the area.  This customs house was built in 1821 by the Mexican Government.  It is the oldest government building in California.  
The Wharf, in Monterey

 We enjoyed a little wild Alaska seafood in this restaurant.

The view from our restaurant window.  The little sea lion climbing up on the railing had been on the railing sleeping and she'd just fallen off.  She was on her way back up to her sleeping perch.
The bull surveyed his harem.  
 After a delicious lunch of Alaskan seafood at the Wharf, we strolled over to Cannery Row.  

There were plump little harbor seals perched on rocks along the route. 
It looked like the building was built around this giant eucalyptus tree.  If trees could talk.

 If you like to shop, Cannery Row is the place for you.  You can find good restaurants and quaint little shops here.  If history is your thing, you will probably be disappointed.  It's all pretty commercialized now.  The closest you get to the flavor of the fish and canneries of the old days is by the signs on the poles and the can label in the cement by the aquarium.  But the weather was great.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Moss Landing, California

Moss Landing, California is a little town on the North end of Monterey Bay.  There are about 200 people living here.  Moss Landing is the home of two research institutes.  One is the Marine Research Lab for all of the California State Universities.  The other is the research institute for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  If you look to the West, you see fishing boats and large buildings that house scientists.  

If you look to the East, you see miles and miles of fields, some green, some brown.  This fruit stand had an interesting name.  The little bags that contained the food were labeled 'Farm Fresh Produce' though;)  Moss Landing is located just down the street from Castorville, which claims to be the artichoke center of the world.  Can you believe the prices on these fruits and veggies!!

 If only these little guys lived on artichokes.
 We paid 15.00 for this food.  The fig bars were 6.00.  The fruits and veggies are pretty affordable.
We stayed in a KOA Express RV Park.  There were only about 30 sites and none of the bells and whistles of a full service KOA but it was clean, quiet and safe.  
The two stacks are located at the Moss Landing Power Plant, a natural gas powered electricity plant. 
The town of Moss Landing a street that's about 2 blocks long, with antique shops on either side and 1 restaurant.  There is also a US Post Office in the middle of town.

 Most of the antique shops are closed are no longer in business.

Moss Landing is a great place to stay if you want to explore Monterey Bay and the surrounding area.