3rd Aug, 2011

San Diego, California – July 2 – 15, 2011 – Part One

Total distance driven (includes in-city driving): 21, 930.7 kms (13, 627.1 miles)
Average gas consumption: 17.8 L per 100 KM

We started the San Diego leg of our SoCal (Southern California) adventure in El Cajon, CA – which is about 19 miles from San Diego – at a place where highway traffic was the main sound. So after chilling out for July 4th long weekend, we moved a few miles up the Californian hills to the much nicer and quieter Lake Jennings County Campground in Lakeside, CA.

For $32.50 a night we had full hook ups and just a short walk to the showers. Beautiful!

We learned that Lake Jennings is actually a reservoir providing drinking water to SoCal residents. Unfortunately that means – no swimming – if fact no swimming in any lakes in the entire SoCal region because they’re all drinking water reservoirs! Fishing is generally ok but swimming is a definite no-no.

Since we couldn’t swim so we decided to go to Sea World. Being splashed by a whale is a great way to cool off!

The dolphin show was pretty cool too…

The seals were pretty amazing too!

The Pacific Ocean is another great way to cool off – the breezes are so refreshing.

Some people recommended the Children’s Beach Pool beach near La Jolla Cove to see the Harbor Seals. However there were so many people that they scared off the Harbor Seals further into the water and out onto the rocks. It was still beautiful and thankfully these coves are all along the coast…

…and there were plenty of Harbor Seal sightings as we walked the coastline.

La Jolla Cove was perfect…a snorkelling paradise!

Coronado Island was another great place to cool off.  The beach is public and stretches for miles.

The sand, surf and cliffs make this island a very beautiful place.

In this pic Jason holds one of the kelp floats (called pneumatocysts). They give the kelp buoyancy so they can float up and soak up the sun’s rays.

It was also neat to see Seagulls foraging for their natural food instead of just eating garbage…

This guy managed to dig out a reasonable sized clam.

While strolling along beautiful Coronado beach it was a surprise to see a missile cruiser just off the coast. Then we found out that half of Coronado Island is home to Naval Base San Diego which is the home port of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

And it wasn’t really a surprise to see a helicopter flying by every few minutes. After all, the Naval Air Station is also close by. Or could it be flying by because there was a murder in a millionaire’s home just by the Coronado Island shore? We saw the police investigations units were being set up when we walked by. We’ll never know…

Of course no trip to Coronado Island is complete without dropping by the famous Hotel Del Coronado – known to locals simply as “The Del”. It’s a beautiful beachside hotel.

With sculpted gardens and a beautiful Oceanside backdrop it’s obvious why this place served as the setting for a few movies…anyone remember American Wedding (American Pie spin off)?

We also spent a day touring downtown San Diego. Very cool!

Along the Embarcadero (the San Diego water front) we saw the HMS Surprise – a replica but still one of our favourites.

The USS Midway aircraft carrier was also cool!

And the line ups to see the Esmeralda were incredible. It was only in town for five days as part of a six month, twelve city tour.

Since we were right by the ocean we decided to try out some fresh fish and chips. Our Frommer’s guide recommended Anthony’s Fishette. It was delicious. From the outdoor balcony we had a great view of the Esmeralda and the San Diego Bay harbor.

Lots of pedestrian walkways lined with palm trees and water features like this one makes San Diego a very nice place to stroll around.

This building is a good example. Interesting architecture. And a great way to hide a parking lot (see the area on the right with the pink flowers overhanging, that’s the parking lot).

We finished up our tour of San Deigo’s downtown by checking out the convention center…

…and the Embarcadero Marina Park.

It has a really nice waterfront shopping village…

…and it’s a great place to see the fishing fleet – once the largest tuna fishing fleet in the world!

Next up…San Diego, Part 2.


Hey Jason, I’m following your trip from the beginning, it’s been very interesting.

I was at San Diego exactly at the same time as you. not sure how far north you are right now, but I spent some very good time around Santa Barbara and also at Napa Valley. If you’re planning to go there don’t miss the Opus One winery, amazing wine and very interesting guided tour.



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