Thursday, February 18, 2010

Carolyn, Melinda, and Dean's Excellent California Adventure!

As mentioned in our last post, we made a quick trip to Southern California over the weekend. When Carolyn visited a year ago and we took her to the Grand Canyon, she saw road signs that pointed out San Diego and Los Angeles to the west, and since she had never been to the Golden State, we made plans to take her. I had a painful knee thing going on (doctor diagnosed it as a hemarthrosis via e-mail), so on Saturday I mostly navigated from the back seat while Melinda drove and Carolyn followed along on the map.

We had an uneventful trip (uneventful is good!), and made it to our beach side lodgings in Pacific Beach, San Diego shortly before sunset. The weather was uncharacteristically beautiful - not a cloud in the sky for the entire time we were in California - rare indeed! We had talked up eating seafood at the Green Flash restaurant, where you could eat a few feet from the beach and watch the sunset, so we did - no solar green flash, though!

The next morning we rose to another tradition while in PB - breakfast at Kono's Surf Club Cafe. The line out front was about average - only halfway down the block, so we waited. Kono's is quite the place - not great food or decor, but is a character of a place. There is a small sign posted "1030 days since we last raised prices". The three of us got stuffed for breakfast including drinks for $22. The line moved pretty fast, so we only waited about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, there wasn't space on the patio overlooking the surf near Crystal Pier, so we had to settle for people -watching. We did spot a celebrity there, however - Jeff Garlin, perhaps most famous for playing Larry David's manager for HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, was eating there with his youngest son.

Another surprise waited for us as we walked along the shore afterwards. I only know 2 people in San Diego - Annie, a former Kitt Peak employee and volleyball teammate, and Roy Ang, who has been a semi-regular volunteer at the Grand Canyon Star Party. It wasn't 3 minutes of watching the surf before Roy comes strolling along, a couple cameras in tow! He was late to meet his folks for brunch, but turns out he is making a small living as a photographer in the San Diego area, besides his usual software gig. We were only able to visit for a few minutes before he had to continue on.

Not wanting to stress ourselves, or my knee too much, we only had a couple goals - a visit to see the seals at La Jolla, and a late lunch at the Coronado Hotel later in the afternoon. We had a great time strolling the beaches and watching the enormously high surf - just about as high as I've ever seen it. That plus the extreme new moon tides made shore walking interesting! We saw the seals (pics saved for a later post), and Coronado too. We didn't realize that it was a holiday weekend - of course, we knew it was Valentine's Day Sunday, but didn't realize that many people had Monday off too for President's Day... Anyway, a LOT of people on the road, on the beach, and looking for parking! We walked a lot, and my knee was pretty miserable by afternoon's end. The girls went for a beach walk while I rested, and we both watched an interesting sunset (again, another post).

The next day was the continuation up to Los Angeles, and the bulk of the afternoon was devoted to witnessing the Craig Ferguson taping. Fortunately Melinda found lodging at the Beverly Laurel in West Hollywood, within walking distance to the CBS studios - a funky sort of place - the living room was furnished with fabulous 40's furnishings, while the bathroom had "mod" fixtures.

The famous "Hollywood" sign was missing, though. From what I heard, the land atop the hill is for sale, and rather than see mansions built there, a group wanting the land purchased for a park covered the sign to demonstrate the change in appearance. We're sorry to miss the landmark, but understand their plight.

After the taping, we drove up to the "real" Hollywood, up to Hollywood/Vine, but unfortunately (or not), there was little parking to be found, so after a driving tour, found a nice deli near the hotel before crashing.

Tuesday was our return to Tucson, but first wanted to visit an optics and astronomy friend Dick Buchroeder living not far from Pasadena. Melinda had never met him and it had been over a year or more since he's visited Tucson, so we paid a short visit since he was less than a mile from the I-10 freeway. He seemed great - got to meet girlfriend Nancy, catch up on them both as well as see his telescope projects.

We didn't dawdle, however, as we wanted Carolyn to see as much scenery on our return as possible before sunset. Continuing east we were impressed with the snow-capped San Bernadino Mountains, and the windmill farms as you come into Palm Springs is always impressive to a newcomer. We made it to the Salton Sea before sunset, and explored a little of the wildlife refuge there in anticipation of future trips. Still a long way home, though - we walked in the door in Tucson just a few minutes after Midnight, which had been my goal for the day. Melinda did all the driving too, an excellent job!

We can likely milk all the pics we took into a few more posts, so keep an eye out!

1 comment:

David A. Harvey said...

Sounds like a Great trip! Nice pics - particularly the fisheye shots. Can't wait to see more . . .