The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #29
Friday, March 27 to Friday April 3, 2009 (Part #2):
Continuing our adventures in San Diego, Kit and I moseyed along the coast from La Jolla to Mission Beach to see how some of our old handouts had changed over the years. Of course there is a lot more shoreline development and touristy type stuff but most everything seemed familiar. Apparently the San Diego beaches are quite the Spring Break destination for students on the left coast…..kind of like Florida is the destination of choice on our side of the US. Below are some pictures from our trip along the San Diego Coastline.
I found a spot we used to really enjoy. It used to be at the foot of a steep canyon and required a walk of about 1/4 mile carrying a 35 pound surfboard. Today it is a designated Surfing Park with a road and large parking lot. Still has a very nice break however.
Another spot was what we used to call The Sea Wall. And the surfers that hung out there were known as the Wall Crew. Well some time back the latest generation of wall rats actually affixed a sign to honor the spot. The story goes that the sign is unofficial and has been in place for years. Either the authorities have ignored it or they have never noticed it.
At the same location is the Surfer Motel. Back before showers and restrooms were put near the beach we used to get cleaned off by running into the motel courtyard and jumping into the pool.The motel management would yell at us so we would get out of the pool and saunter back to the beach. This practice played out a least every day throughout the summer. It actually became a game of sorts. The motel management thought we were just trying to slip in for a swim but our real goal was to get all the dried salt and sand off us before heading home. Now, 45 years later, in order to partially make amends Kit and I had lunch in the Surfer Motel’s oceanfront restaurant. They may have recognized us as the management kept a wary eye on us the whole time.
Stopped by PB Surf Shop which used to be located next to the sea wall. They have since moved onto the main drag because the property owner of their original spot wanted to expand his beachside condos. At the old location they used to rent surfboard storage…..basically a cinder block roofless structure with metal pipes embedded into the walls with chains for locking your board up. As I recalled it was $10.00 per month, pretty steep for a bunch of unemployed kids. So a friend knew of an available garage about a block away that was for rent. The old women who owned the apartment didn’t use the garage and wanted to rent it out for someone needing extra storage space. We pooled our meager resources together and came up with the $25.00 per month rental fee, bought a combination lock and we were in business. As I recall there were about 9 or 10 guys keeping their boards in the garage and occasionally we would crash there as well. That lasted all summer of 1963 and on into the fall. I tried to find the apartment block that had the garages facing an alley but apparently they have all been torn down to make room for “progress”. By summer of 1964 enough guys had cars with homemade roof racks and we would get to the beach that way. During the school year there were about two dozen cars on the school parking lot with surfboards stacked on top. If the surf was up, it was off to the beach after school…..and occasionally instead of school.
Further down the coast at Mission Beach they have a Wave Pool. Kind of weird seeing an artificial wave within 25 yards of the real thing. However the kids were having a blast showing off their moves to a blasting rock beat. And the waves were always perfectly formed and controllable by the operator. Kinda fun to watch.
Venturing further inland we poked around the old neighborhood. Both our houses looked fundamentally the same but a lot smaller than remembered. The wooden gate that my father made out of redwood back in 1957 is still hanging and you can still just barely make out the letter T that he painted on it.
The area used to be called Cabrillo Heights but has since been changed to Sierra Mesa. Also one of the area schools has had its name changed from Albert Einstein Elementary to Ray Kroc (founder of McDonalds and a San Diego native) Elementary. Yep, we’re in California!?
All in all, a great trip back to our original hometown and a lot of fun, poking around the old haunts and visiting relatives and friends.
Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit