Thursday, March 18, 2010

San Diego

It’s been many years since either of us has been to San Diego. Don spent about half of his 26 years in the Navy stationed here, so we visited some of his old haunts, including Point Loma. This peninsula marks the opening for ships to enter San Diego Bay, with the Pacific Ocean to the west. It’s a beautiful military base, next to a very upscale neighborhood. Even the casual eating facilities on base are pretty nice, on a bluff overlooking San Diego Bay.

Pt Loma

We spent the weekend at Fiddler’s Cove on the Silver Strand of Coronado Island, just south of the Naval Amphibious Base. Coronado is actually a peninsula, and is connected to North Island by what used to be a shallow channel, filled in by the Navy prior to WWII. Access is via SR-75 along the Silver Strand, or over a 200-ft high bridge, tall enough for Navy ships to pass underneath. Don had the privilege of driving the motorhome over the bridge; I closed my eyes. When we left it was my turn to drive, and I went south to fill with diesel, thereby avoiding the bridge! Our motorhome was parked only a few feet from the water’s edge of the bay.

Fiddler Cove

Sailing classes are given in this cove on weekends, so we had a ring-side seat to watch the beginners learn to sail.


We visited the famous Hotel Del Coronado (locals call it “The Del”) and wandered around the grounds…

The Del 3 The Del 20 The Del 10

…and parts of the inside.

The Del 11 The Del Chandelier The Del main staircase and elevator

The hotel was built in 1887 and is one of the nation’s largest wooden buildings. Elisha Babcock and Hampton Story built it, but later sold out to sugar magnate John Spreckels. It’s said to be home for at least one ghost, but she didn’t show herself to us. If you’re interested in learning more about the hotel, Google Hotel Del Coronado and explore the several sites on it.

Our dinner at Brigantine Seafood, across the street from The Del, was delicious. We had our favorites: scallops for me and clams for Don. Next time, I think I’ll try the fish tacos.


San Diego is a beautiful city, but even more so after the heavy rains of the past few months. I’m always amazed at how beautiful iceplant is when it blooms. This photo doesn’t quite do justice to the brilliance of this plant, which has several varieties and grows fast, with the freeways and many gardens in the area lined with it.


Our visit to Old Town wouldn’t have been complete without a Mexican lunch at El Fandango. The restaurant is known for its seafood and authentic recipes dating back to the period 1846-1856.

El Fandango

Here are a few more photos of colorful Old Town.

Old Town 1Old Town 2 Old Town 3 Old Town 4

Among all the antiquities in this State Historic Park, we found a clever mount for a very modern device, a satellite dish on a windmill.

Old Town sat dish

For the first time in months, we finally got the kayaks wet! Here are some pics from our paddling session in Mission Bay.

Kayak Mission Bay 1

The cormorants and pelicans were afraid we would disturb their sunny rock perch. We didn’t.Cormorants pelicans

We admired this really serious kayaker going very fast in deep waters. He didn’t even wave hello.


These sleeping seals didn’t seem to mind us getting up close and personal…


…until a cormorant flew over and disturbed them. The big guy on the right jumped in the water and dove under my kayak. For a while I thought he was chasing me, and Don got a good laugh out of it!

Seal 2

At the end of the paddle, Don had the task of putting the boats back on the car racks.

Kayak end

And we were off to have some local tacos near the beach.

Kayak car

Our enjoyment as tourists had to pause for a little housekeeping, including shining the wheels of the motorhome (and the rest of it, as well). Dennis, please don’t compare this to yours, but ours are shinier than any others here!

Shiny wheel

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gypsy Journal Rally, Yuma, AZ

This blog is very overdue. My apologies for not writing about the Gypsy Journal Rally sooner. It was held in Yuma this time, instead of Casa Grande where it was previously, due to problems the organizers had with the fairgrounds’ management in CG.

Nick and Terry Russell, publishers of the Gypsy Journal newspaper written by full-time RVers, about RVing and touring, are the organizers of the rally. They do an excellent job of putting on a rally, and wanted to provide a better venue this year, avoiding the mud and/or dust and scheduling conflicts, to mention a few of the problems in CG.

The Yuma fairgrounds provide a great location, with plenty of space, but it’s directly across from the Marine Corps Air Station. The activity of planes, including Harriers, Ospreys and various other aircraft that make lots of noise, was a little disconcerting. Several times during almost every conversation or seminar, the speaker would have to pause for a few seconds to wait for the nose level to drop enough so he/she could be heard. Otherwise, we had a lot of fun, learned some new things, saw lots of long-time friends and made some new ones, and managed to spend a fair amount of money on things we couldn’t live without, from the various vendors onsite.

For a day-by-day report on the rally, go to Nick's blog and start with March 10. There you’ll find a photo (a version reproduced here) of me with Nick and Don assisting, showing a few of the ‘lapghans’ (lap-sized afghans) I knitted and crocheted for Soldiers' Angels, a not-for-profit group that provides various support for wounded soldiers. I’ve joined the Craft Team and have made 5 lapghans so far. If you know anyone who knits, crochets, quilts, etc. please urge them to consider donating to this worthy cause.

Lapghans at Gypsy rally

One of the funniest moments of the rally happened right at the end, when 3 very tall guys (Ken Pace, Ed Allard and Sid Dembowski) went up on the stage to discuss with Nick the idea of adding an event “Dwarf Tossing” to the next rally. Nick’s the guy in the middle, with shorter stature than most folks, and the other 3 are obviously taller than most folks.

Discuss dwarf tossing

One afternoon our Escapees Boomers group got together for happy hour and a potluck dinner. This photo shows that quite a few of us showed up. Don can be seen in the rear, left, and I’m in the second row, right, behind a woman in a red T-shirt. Ken Pace, one of the tall guys above, is behind me.


I didn’t take many photos, but you can see lots of good ones at Dennis & Carol Hill's blog. Dennis is a great photographer (he took the one with the lapghans above), and a man of few words, many of which are misspelled (but he knows that, and I still love him). Check out the awesome photos of planes he took with his “whale” zoom lens. He also has a knack of catching people in interesting situations. Start at March 10 for his blog, also.

There’s an eastern version of this rally scheduled for September in Elkhart, IN. Don and I plan to attend it, and he’s already volunteered for donut duty! He’s done that job at three Gypsy rallies now, and doesn’t seem to mind getting up early to make the daily trip to WalMart. And I’ll again help out with registration.