Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coronado (#37)

September 28, 2010 - Today the location of choice is Coronado.  My wife accompanied me for what turned out to be a 4 mile loop.

We parked at the beach with a great view of Pt. Loma off in the distance.

We began our brisk walk by heading to the Hotel Del Coronado and turning left onto the city's main street, Orange Ave.

We quickly passed one of our favorite Mexican Cuisine establishments, Miguel's Cocina. I order the same thing there every time... Calamari Relleno. Yummy!

Lamb's Players Theatre across the street is a great venue for some fantastic plays.

Bay Books is a favorite of my Mother and Father-in-law. Fortunate for Bay Books because they buy lots of books!

Moo Town Creamery is another favorite of many. There is often a long line streaming out of the door. Elvis apparently locked himself inside the store with the cow.

The friendly, wide and well kept sidewalks of Coronado.

Spreckel's Park, across from the city Library, is a quaint, feel-good place to enjoy the awesome Southern California weather.

The Coronado Brewing House makes some "righteous" garlic fries to go with the beer!

Before we knew it we were at the end of Orange Ave. in view of San Diego Bay and Downtown.

The original Coronado Ferry ticket booth, still standing obviously, was in use from 1886 to 1969.

Nearby the North Island  Naval Base provides port to the U.S.S. Ronald Regan among other  aircraft carriers and ships.

How cool is that!?

Seems wherever I go, there it is. Thank goodness for the Coronado Bridge because NO ferry could handle the traffic that crosses here day-in and day-out.

Instead of turning around and doubling back we turned east and cruised along the sidewalk until...

...we made it to Tidelands Park...

...and discovered a small skateboard park.

This was a first for us. Though we've floated under it several times, we've never "walked" under the bridge before.

The high fence served as great protection from wayward golf balls.

 Must have been a woman's golf tournament today since all we saw were ladies.

And we walked...

...and walked...

...spying the Coronado Shores Condominiums...

...and passing the Coronado Yacht Club...

...finally making our way back to the Hotel Del Coronado...

...and to the beach...

...from where we started.

Another fun walk (and great exercise too!)


J Street Marina/South "BAY" (#36)

September 27, 2010 - "J" Street Marina, in Chula Vista, has a quaint little park with great views of the bay. While it's a nice enough place for a picnic, there's not enough area to make for much of a "walk."

Being that it is a marina, after all, we decided to "paddle" rather than walk. Wilson sat this one out as he is not much of a seafarer. Instead I recruited my highly trained kayaker of a spouse!

J Street Marina, locationally speaking, is at the southern end of the San Diego Bay. It's not surprising, then, that the surrounding cities, such as Chula Vista and Imperial Beach, are in the region known as "South Bay."

For decades people in South Bay have come here to eat drink and be merry at what was once known as Jake's, a fantastic Restaurant along the marina. It is now the South Bay Fish and Grill and I think it is still a good place to dine.

On this fine morning there happened to be a substantial number of fish jumping out of the water. After a bit we spied a guy fishing off of the rocks catching a fish. When we got close enough I asked what kind of a fish he caught to which he replied, "a Yumping Fish." Not sure if I heard him correctly I asked again and he replied the same. I said, "Well they sure are jumping a lot." He shouted in a voice with a frustrated, "well duh" tone to it, "That's why they call them Yumping Fish!"

Truth be told, one of the reasons we came to this spot is that we heard that some large green sea turtles have been spotted out here by the 60 year old South Bay Power Plant. It's sad to see the encroachment into the wetland habitats.

We didn't find any sea turtles but we did get a good view of the power plant.

I'm not sure but I think that the Chula Vista Bayfront Development Plan recently approved by Chula Vista and the Port Commision, still needing the approval of the California Coastal Commision, would put this antique hunk of metal out to pasture. The plan includes three hotels, a resort, condominiums, shops and restaurants. Fortunately 230 acres of open space and parks are also part of the plan.

As we paddled around we could see Imperial Beach in the near distance next to the landmark, circularly fenced, radar station.

Looking west we could see the luxurious Coronado Cays.

Kayaking further south we saw the nearly 40' high mountains of salt harvested by Salt Works off to the east. In operation since the 1870's, Salt Works, according to Voice of San Diego, is the second longest running business in San Diego right behind the San Diego Union Tribune which started in 1868.

Once again, as in many of my postings, there stands the Coronado Bridge. Always good to know it is still standing!

Wow, we managed to bet some distance between us and the marina. Time to head back.

I really should know the name of that mountain peak. I'll figure it out and let you know.

Lots of nice boats. We didn't see any empty slips so I guess the mariner lifestyle is still afloat!

Back to the boat ramp. Good. FINALLY I'll catch up with my speed demon of a wife!

Another fun adventure!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Border Field State Park (#35)

September 26, 2010 - After at least a decade since I last visited this spot I was excited to take you with me on a little visit to "Frienship Park" here at Border Field State Park. To tell you the truth there were very few signs of friendliness here anymore.

By my recollections you could drive right up to the park on a bluff by the bullring and lighthouse overlooking the ocean. I guess the good thing about the road being closed was that it ensured that I actually got a decent amount of walking in on this trip.

I was initially delighted when I stepped out of my car to a chorus of birds tweeting me. The "chirp meter" was at an all time high.

I was less enthused, though, when I became aware of the other winged greeting committee. Seriously, there were more mosquitoes there than there are dollars in the U.S. budget deficit! Refusing to freak out or be detoured I just swatted while stepping up the "speed" of my walk; at least when my feet were touching the ground. Part of the time I think those flying blood-suckers were actually carrying me. Glad West Nile Virus is not and issue around these parts!

Other than the several Border Patrol I ran into, one of whom stopped to see what king of an idiot was walking out in these parts in short sleeves and shorts flailing around with a Bolivian walking stick and a camera as he tried to outrun a swarm hungry munchers while slapping himself all over (as if THAT was doing any good), I was literally all alone.

I have to admit, and I know this is silly, that being all alone as I approached the border fence, in light of some of the bad stuff that's been going down in Mexico, was a little creepy. And I NEVER used to feel that way. Like what's going to happen? A cartel member is going to shoot me through the fence? Creepy nonetheless. At least I had Wilson along to protect me!

Visiting Mexico used to be a regular part of our lifestyles. Surfing, shopping, sports bets, dining, sitting on donkey-zebras for photos, magaritas, mariachis!  Not anymore. It all started going downhill for us after 9/11 when security made the trips unbearable. Then the drug wars, kidnappings, murders and all that over-emphasized stuff in the news basically clinched it. No more Mexico, for now anyway.  SAD!  :(

On that nice note let's get back to the quest for "Friendship" Park.

Did I mention the Tijuana River that flows out through these parts is hopelessly polluted? Well it is! And every time it rains all that unhealthy, diseased and poisoned crap flows right out into our beautiful Pacific Ocean! At least the mosquitoes aren't spawning out there. Wait a minute! Awe, skip it....

Let's get back to the topic of "Friendship."

Hey, look there!
Nice fence, huh?

Do we really need a fence? I mean with all those mosquitoes and that stinky polluted river separating us you'd think that would be enough.

I was happy to see what appeared to be some park renovations in progress. This area used to be very well maintained and quite appealing.

Looks like you could just surf a wave right around that fence, maybe buy a bottle of inexpensive Kahlua, and surf right back. Probably a good idea to bring a passport with you just in case though.

And upon return you can sit around this nice picnic table, throw some burgers or carne asada on that barely visible grill and have a "friendly" time with your friends here at "Friendship" Park.

You've probably had enough of the park, along with my cynicism, so let's walk down to the beach.

Now THAT's inviting!

Bye, bye fence!

Heading north! Wilson and I could have walked all the way back to Imperial Beach but the Tide was high and we didn't feel like swimming the river.

A look back at the bullring and lighthouse. Don't reckon we'll have much reason to go back there for awhile. 

Turning east onto Beach Trail used often by equestrians.

Now THIS made me happy. I love seeing environmentalist efforts in action! Kudos to ""

This is pretty much the most southern reach of the Tijuana River Estuary. Glad to know we are protecting the wildlife and habitats the whole way.

I finally ran into some other people! I thought I was finally going to encounter some semblence of "friendship" but they just whizzed by me mumbling something about the smelly water and mosquitos.

Another Interesting Hike!