Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure
Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares
The Bill and Kit 2010 Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #10
January 28 to February 5, 2010
San Diego, California
Wednesday, February 3, 2010: Today we visited with Kit’s brother John and met his very nice girl friend, Lu:
Kit’s Corner: Well, another great day with John! This time, he brought his girlfriend, Lu whom he has been going with for 6 years. She’s a very nice gal, from Mexico and has 4 children, 3 daughters and 1 son. The girls are in their late teens and early 20’s so, on their own more or less. Carlos, her son is 13 and in the throes of puberty. John, never having raised a son, is a bit perplexed on how to handle him. The comical part is he spent many years working as a Probation Officer for the SD Police Dept. About all I can say is, they are all different. Not much help for him, though. Actually I’m sure Carlos will be just fine, he sounds quite normal to us. We had a great time getting to know Lu and of course visiting with John again.
Thursday, February 4, 2010: Yep….we are still in San Diego, Finding it hard to leave. There are so many memories and so many new things to experience.
Kit’s Corner: We decided to stay in SD one more day than we originally planned so I could spend the day with Marie and Bill could go off and do whatever he does. What a delightful day we had! After 20 years of the new trolley system in San Diego, I was finally able to ride it! We were able to catch it right near Marie’s apartment in Mission Valley; the station is only a 5 minute walk. We rode all the way out to Santee which was maybe 45 minutes or so. We got off, did a little shopping and had lunch at Daphne’s. Then, we rode back to Old Town, which is beyond Mission Valley. From there, we switched lines and rode to the downtown area. We spent maybe an hour walking around. Then, back to the Grossmont area, east of SD, switched lines and back to Mission Valley. All this for a $5.00 Day Pass! What a bargain! We then went to Nordstrom’s Rack to shop for a few things, then out for coffee and dessert. What a great day we had! We hope to see both Scott & Marie next time we come to SD. And, I definitely want to ride the trolley again; it’s a wonderful way to get around the city and surrounding areas.
Since Kit was off enjoying time with Marie and since Scott was at work (actually he was at sea on his newest project) I took off toward Balboa Park to poke around and take in some of the sights. After walking around a bit I decided to visit the San Diego Automobile Museum. This fairly small but very nice museum had some interesting displays.
Of particular interest was one of only 47 of the original 51 Tucker Torpedo automobiles that still exist. This very rare post World War II car was way ahead of its time featuring a rear engine, innovative safety equipment and a center light that turned with the front wheels. Bob Bahre upta Paris Hill, Maine has another of the originals but his is in a private collection only open to the public at select times of the year. And, thanks to our friends Jeff and Cathy we were able to see the complete Bob Bahre collection last year when they took us on a foliage tour in their original 1940 Ford Woody.
Two other interesting vehicles were the Husquavarna motorcycle owned by Steve McQueen and ridden in many of his motocross races. Steve and this same bike was featured in the Bruce Brown documentary “On Any Sunday” which was playing in the background.
The fascinating car below was built and driven by Louie Matter of San Diego.
It is a specially equipped 1947 Cadillac that broke many non-stop endurance records back in 1952. It went 6,320 miles round trip crossing the US without stopping! The car towed a trailer with 230 gallons of gas, 15 gallons of oil and 30 gallons of water in addition to tools and spare tires. It cost Louie $75,000 dollars and took 7 years to build the car. The three man team was able to do all maintenance while on the move including oil changes, engine tune up’s and changing of tires. The latter by the use of hydraulically lowered jack wheels at each corner of the automobile. The interior of the car contained sleeping platforms, sanitation receptacles, refrigerator, stove, tape player, TV, a Turkish Water Pipe and a mini bar…..the guy thought of everything! Want to read more? Click on the following link:
I remember seeing this incredible car at various auto shows and dealer promotion events back in the late 1950’s. At the time you could crawl all over the thing and meet Louie himself. Now it’s a museum piece.
Speaking of cars there are a whole lot of them in San Diego…..I think every man, woman and child has at least three! The traffic is heavy…..twelve lanes side by side, bumper to bumper. However as a credit to the local California Highway Department folks it all moves along just fine…..at 70 MPH. Kit’s father, Frank was a Civil Engineer for CalTrans and he used to say when San Diego was planning their highway system they learned from the mistakes of Los Angeles. As a result the traffic flows better here. If you have every driven in LA traffic you know what he meant. The closest to LA traffic on the east coast is the mess in downtown Boston.
Back in the 1950’s traffic was lighter and the roads narrower. One particular road I remember was the main artery from our neighborhood up on the mesa to Mission Valley. This rough and steep two lane road was called Mission Village Drive. Well the road ended at the bottom of the canyon at a cross street called Friars Road. Both roads still exist today though they are wider, smoother and not as steep as I remember. One of our pastimes was to race our coaster brake bicycles down Mission Village Drive. The trick was to see who would get to the bottom the fastest and stopped at Friars Road without flying off into the San Diego River. Fortunately there was never much traffic on Friars Road back then except for the occasional tractor or other farm vehicle. On one particular occasion this “Race to the Death” was occurring as usual and I was bumping along down the hill pedaling for all I was worth when suddenly my chain came off. Now remember these were coaster brake bike’s…..no chain…..no brake. Realizing I was going to either get wet or end up in a passing manure trailer I steered my bike to the right and bailed. San Diego uses a lot of “Pickle Weed”, better known as ice-plant, on the excavated hillsides to control erosion. Anyway I tumbled many times through the Pickle Weed before coming to rest. My bike made it further than I did by about 50 feet. If you have never seen pickle weed here is a close up, and yea, it is as soft and cushioning as it looks. Thank goodness.
Tomorrow we pull up stakes for parts unknown. We had a great eight days in San Diego and we are already looking forward to coming back next year.
Friday, February 5, 2010: Left Admiral Baker Field mid day and headed north under overcast skies and temperatures in the 60’s. As it turned out we only went 55 miles when we decided to check out San Onofre Beach Campground on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. Even though it was the weekend we were able to score an ocean side site…..probably due to the predicted rain. Yes it does rain in Southern California!
I was really intrigued by the sign behind our site. WOW, I thought to my self, this must be the best beach ever for people watching! They put up a sign and everything!!
Then Kit informed me that the sign had nothing at all to do with bikini watching…..Drat!
One of the reasons we decided to stay here for a few days is because Kit reconnected with yet another old friend on Classmates.com who lives in Oceanside. We met Leilani at a nice restaurant in Oceanside Harbor called Monterey Bay Canners.
Kit’s Corner: It’s hard to believe, Leilani and I met when we were in 7th grade, going to Montgomery Jr. High School. We both went to the same elementary school, Will Angier but were in different classes. It was great to reunite with her! We had lots of things to talk about, however, I must admit, her memory of those days is far better than mine! She has had quite an exciting life. She was born in Hawaii and lived many places while her dad was in the Navy and also while going to college and later working. Also, she has had many very different jobs and currently works with autistic children in Oceanside. We are hoping to get together again next year when we come to San Diego and continue getting to know one another better.
Back at the beach the rain did indeed come. With the sound of the surf and the wind gently rocking the trailer it felt just like being at sea. After 22 years in the Navy followed by another 21 years working on Navy ships I have become quite accustomed to that sound and motion. And as usual it put me right to sleep.
Saturday, February 6, 2010: Woke to sunny but windy skies. Took a walk on the beach and enjoyed the exercise and the smell of fresh salt air.
There was a young fellow on the beach flying a Performance Kite. That thing was incredible! It was large, powerful and highly maneuverable. When he landed the kite for a rest I walked over and began quizzing him on this hobby. Turns out he was a Marine from Twenty Nine Palms and offered to give me a quick lesson and let me fly his kite. After a few crash landings I began to get the hang of it and was hooked!
Now to convince Kit that I need another hobby to spend time and money on. When I mentioned it to her later she looked at me in that way I know oh too well and said: “Go fly a kite!” I was surprised and elated…..now to do some research on the internet.
No she said……you already have a kite…..go play with the toys you have!
Sigh…..the other guys was so much bigger and nicer. The story of my life bottled up in a kite metaphor. So sad.
Well since the prediction for today is 60% chance of rain, we headed to the Camp Pendleton Exchange to re-supply.
Returning later that afternoon we took another walk down the beach and settled in for the night. Not sure why…..it would have been so much more comfortable in our trailer. Guess the smell of salt air and the sound of crashing waves caused us to want to relive our childhood. I used to occasionally sleep on the beach back then. Easier than going home just to turn around the next morning to head back to the beach….a major undertaking when your method of transportation is hitchhiking.
Well tomorrow we are off. Not sure where to next…..probably north for a while then east than……….?
Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit
You two are just having so much fun! Isn’t retirement great? Went to a dance tonight…second one in two weeks and Sterlin has discovered after 45 years of dancing one dance a year ( not counting square dancing) that he likes it and we are on the floor more than off! There’s life in the old boy yet!
Hey Kit and Bill,
All that beach sand made my toes wiggle – we’re still months away from enjoying the beach in Maine!
It’s great that each trip you make you find another thread of your life – a renewed contact with friends, new vistas to see and keeping close to family. Retirement is definitely the best place in life (outside of being grandparents!!!).
Always looking forward to each journal entry – almost feel like we are standing behind you seeing what you see in pictures and words. Love traveling with you.
Safe travels ahead!
Kris and Walt
Thanks for the nice comment…..we are really having a blast, glad it comes through on the journals.
Take care, hope to see you guys in the spring sometime.
Love your pictures!