Day one started at 1 a.m. (that’s one O’Dark in the morning). It was dark. Very dark. Not much to see, except for this lovely moon.
Now what you can’t see is what this moon did to the snow on the mountains as we drove through. There is a line in “Twas the Night Before Christmas” that came to mind. “The Moon on the breast of the new fallen snow/Gave the lust of midday to the objects below”. This really was true. The glow was lovely. What I saw of it. I mainly slept while Keith drove.
We drove through to Mesquite before we had to fill up. Keith kept driving until we were past Vegas, then we switched. I took over. Just outside of Vegas, we got off I-15 and took “Bob’s Road” (Twister reference for those who don’t speak Movie) to head to Joshua Tree National Monument. People, this road was a blast to drive. Didn’t really get pictures because I was driving (and driving and picture taking means death, so don’t do it!) and Keith was trying to sleep. The trying to sleep soon ended because this road…oh my! It was curving. It was hilly. Not so much bumpy as hilly. Like, you zoom up one small hill, down the other side really fast then zoom up the other side even faster. Roller coaster in road form. It was 2.5 hours of pure fun! I was laughing and giggling and had the butterflies you get from swinging on a swing and then laying back (you know what I mean!) all the way. (see the smile below).
On a side note, according to Keith, I single-handedly keep the Wheat Thin company in business.
What is a Joshua Tree, you ask? It’s this.
There were millions of them. Our first stop, though, was at the Mara Oasis. Not much of a oasis anymore, as no natural ground water has come up in recent memory, so they add water artificially. But here’s a picture of where the water should be.
You can’t see it, but there is water there. There was a lovely nature walk we took around the oasis. And one very loud bird. He sat and yelled for a while, but the moment I tried to take his picture, he moved. So much for his 15 minutes of fame!
We then got in the car and drove to San Diego. Since we came in about 1:30 and we couldn’t check in the hotel until 4 p.m. (egads, that’s late!), we decided to go over to San Diego Old Town Park. Great place. I didn’t really get any pictures. I’m sorry, people, I’m a bad picture taker. But, honestly, I’d rather live in the moment then behind a camera. Keri, I did get your treat here. And I’m not telling what it is until Tuesday!
We left there and went to check into our hotel. Small Google snafu, we were led to the wrong hotel. For which I’m grateful. The first one, no in a nice place. Lots of strip clubs, nude clubs and divorce lawyers (I’m not kidding!). They helped direct us to the correct place, which is the Days Inn in Hotel Circle. Lovely place. We showered (oh, that felt good!) and got all gussied up and went out to eat at the Oceanic Coastal Kitchen. If you follow that link, the table in the back corner there? That’s where we sat. I had the Scallops, which was heavenly! And I’m not kidding. It was an, um, (insert inappropriate adult word here) experience! Keith had the Duck. Oh, I also had a lovely mojito. Here we are, all gussied up, out on the pier.
Bad picture, but it’s what you get.
Next morning, we were up by 6:30 am. Yes, I slept till 6:30 am, which is 7:30 am Utah time. I was tired! Today! Whale Watching! I was so, so excited. First we went to eat at the Waffle Spot. Excellent food. If you have a chance, eat breakfast there. They’re only open till 2pm.
Once breakfast was done, it was time to get down to the harbor to catch our boat. We went out with Hornblower Cruises. (On a side note, why was the theme to Gillian’s Island going through my head?) Again, excellent. One thing, though, when they tell you to not get sick in the bathroom and use the bags they provide, please pay attention. It’s not for your comfort, but for all of ours. Once someone’s been sick in the bathroom, it’s hard to get that smell out!
No fears about being seasick for me. It felt like a fun roller coaster. Things we saw? Sea lions, dolphins, a fin whale and a grey whale. Pictures below. Met a few really great people. Had a blast. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
What you can’t see is the grey whale breaching. No picture, but the sight was everything I had always hoped for. That’s the Vincent, a USS Carrier up there. We don’t know the name of the stealth ship (kind of the point, right?), but it took a while to figure out what it was. So, stealth works! I couldn’t believe the little boats people were going out in. Keith was fascinated by the submarine dry dock. That structure actually submerges, the sub floats in, then it resurfaces to put the boat into dry dock.
That lasted until 1pm. We then walked over to the USS Midway Museum. What an incredible ship. We watched a short about the Battle of Midway, which the USS Midway was named for but did not participate in. I didn’t take a picture, but we got to meet and shake the hand of a WWII Veteran Pilot. The tour was tight, cramped and up and down many things that I guess were ladders, but to me were torture devices. Oi, my knees! Below is the hanger deck. That’s the only picture I took. Again, I was too wrapped up in the moment, reading everything, looking everywhere.
Next, we walked down to the Maritime Museum (do you see a theme of walking here?) There were many ships there to investigate, but we really wanted to get onto the Star of India and the Dophin. the Russian sub was closed for refitting. Dang! The Dophin is the deepest diving sub ever. Still holds the record. Problem is, the depth of that dive is classified, so no one knows what the record is! I couldn’t believe how cramped that was or that Keith spent 3 months at a time underwater in one of these things! He looks at home, though, doesn’t he?
The sun was setting and I caught a few really pretty photos through the rigging of the tall ships.