beluga

beluga

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Coronado

We always enjoy this campground.   Its practically in the middle of the city, close to everything that San Diego and its surroundings have to offer yet we can enjoy the serenity of Mission Bay when we're "home".    We're able to take Lewis on long walks along the Bay right from our site, and we always loved seeing the little mobile homes lining the walkways.   For the most part they were well kept, some even beautifully landscaped.   We could see why their owners loved living here.   This year, however, the city has closed the mobile home park down and is dismantling it piece by piece.   We understand it will be turned back into park land.    We can't enter it anymore, but we do walk past the decaying buildings and starving landscaping on our Bay walks, its very sad.

However, Dave is doing his part to appreciate the previous owner's landscaping artistry.   The Rose Robber, the Posy Picker, the Bud Bandit is finding much to do here.


Oh Dave.....


He brings me a tiny surviving flower almost every day.   Sometimes it's a rose bud, sometimes a hibiscus.   He's so happy to see a little life on an almost dead plant and we both enjoy giving them purpose again!  He says they grow stronger when he "prunes" them......

I have my own little Rose Parade!
It smells divine...




Here comes the Hijacker of Huge Hibiscuses and his associate......

Today we took fellow blogger/rv friend Lisa's advice  (metamorphosisroad.blogspot.com) and had lunch at the lovely Il Fornaio on Coronado Island.   It was a beautiful and sunny day so the drive was pleasant and the restaurant made us feel like we were in New York City again.   Years ago we used to go into the "city" during the holidays for a show, a few good dinners and a bit of window shopping.  Il Fornaio had the feel of one of our favorites along Central Park.     The big difference here is that the view from the tall windows was San Diego Bay and the city's beautiful skyline shining in the sun.



 See the incoming Southwest airliner below the building tops?
It's always exciting to fly into San Diego!


The restaurant was sophisticated, white table cloths, sparkling wine glasses and  pots of poinsettias.   The menu was Italian as was the professional wait staff.


The most important part, however was the food.   It was excellent, as was the wine.    We left Il Fornaio full and very happy.    We walked along the waterfront afterward, enjoying the views and the boats and ships moving through the port.

We saw a group of black shirted men and women doing odd things, like scrambling over the rocks into the wet, mucky sand to bring handfuls up to the sidewalk.   They were inserting feathers, rocks etc. into the plops of sand and then photographing it.....trying to mold a sea creature we assumed.     As we walked by we noticed the name on their shirts.


They were from the maker's of the dog food we feed Lewis.   It is a high quality, grain free, single protein kibble that Lewis is quite excited about.      They overheard our comment about Lewis and they were all over us.   Evidently they were in San Diego for a convention and were on a scavenger hunt (thus the "sea creature" made of mud).     Caught up in the excitement of their competition they became our new best friends.


We did a quick video with them, extolling the virtues of Canidae dog food and left with promises of coupons to come!    What a hoot they were!

On our way home we stopped at Cesar Chavez Park at the foot of the Coronado Bridge.    Dave is always driving and desperately wants to get a better look at some of the huge Navy Ships everywhere in San Diego.    We hoped that this little park would give us a better view.   The park itself was a little creepy, all by itself in the midst of commercial wharf's and dry docks, but we walked to the end of its pier for a look.

Coronado Bridge

USS San Diego almost blends into the San Diego skyline 


we weren't quite alone on the pier....

are you tired of fantastic sunsets yet?

Friday, December 9, 2016

exploration

Before I forget, I want to show you a picture of our friend, Dianna,  and her Standard Poodle guide dog, Gibson.   She and her husband live in Canada with Gibson and their three English Cocker Spaniels.   I told you about Gibson the other day, he's the guide dog that has some "distraction" problems.....isn't he a doll?

Dianna and Gibson

Its looking a lot like Christmas here lately.   Lights and greenery and inflatable Santas everywhere you look.  


Tuesday we went to the Pacific Beach Farmer's market and found some delicious produce and a small bakery vendor.    They had our most favorite holiday treat!  Kouign Amann!     We hardly ever find them so when we do we get fairly giggly...and drooly.   I may have pushed in line a bit to get them, I don't remember anything except walking away with a paper sack in my hand.

two Kouign Amann

And chocolate covered Marzipan!   I can't show you what it looked like, it has disappeared.     As I said, its getting to look a lot like Christmas.   UPS dropped off a special delivery package the other day.    JUDI SENT COOKIES!

Oh Dave....
 
We're not doing much hiking here, just long walks along the bay and the beach, and around Costco.

here he comes!


palm fronds make him very silly

mom, mom!   Are you coming?  Hurry mom!

What we are doing is eating lots of goodies.    We even found a store selling Julian Pies!   Yes, we brought one home.   burp.


Yesterday we drove over the beautiful Coronado Bridge, through the cute village of Coronado, past the famous Del Coronado Hotel and south along the Silver Strand toward Imperial Beach.

the "Dell"

Silver Strand beach scene

We drove until the road ended at the Tijuana Slough Wetland Preserve where we parked and did a bit of bird watching.




We hiked over a sand dune to walk along the ocean but were met with a sign warning of dangerous and polluted water south toward Mexico.     We decided to continue on our way back through Imperial Beach in search of a great birding place, Dairy Maid pond.


We walked through a welcome arch, under a colorful art installation that looked like a line of surfboards waiting for their turn,  and out onto the long fishing pier.


I marveled at the way the sun shown through the acrylic material, the way their color changed with the sky.


Dave, Mr. Plastics, analyzed the material and how they were made.....


 The wind was blowing and it was a little chilly.    I only went halfway out on the pier because the space between the decking boards was freaking me out!   Seeing the waves crashing and surging far below my feet with each step made me dizzy.  Such a wimp.

We drove south from Imperial Beach, down Monument Road and over the Tijuana River, little more than a sluggish, trash filled stream at that point.   It was obviously the source of pollution that caused the nearby beach to fly the "danger" flag.


Mexico to the left!

The area was bleak, there were a few horse properties but they looked like ones we had seen in Mexico.   Fences holding the animals were made of whatever was available.   Metal roofing, bed springs, cut scrub trees, etc.  We saw signs telling us that we were driving through the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park and some sand parking lots with multi use paths trailing off into the scrub, but not much else.    The whole place appears to be in the process of restoration, we saw some newly planted pine trees and a few shrubs here and there but mostly the invasive salt cedars and prolific castor beans along the water.


Charlie Brown Christmas tree?

We continued on Monument Road to its end and discovered Border Field State Park, on the United States most southwestern border.     Again, it wasn't a place we wanted to spend any time.   Its entrance was a muddy, rutted parking lot beside a water treatment plant with random odd decorations on its chain link fence.


 There was a map board giving us us the hiking routes (one for the Wet season and one for the Dry season) to the top of Monument Mesa for views of Tijuana and San Diego and access to the ocean beach (the polluted ocean beach) and picnic area.     The actual survey Monument is behind border fencing and, therefore, not accessible.

Once again, we turned around and followed Monument Road back towards Dairy Mart Rd. and the elusive pond.    We were amazed at how many flack jacketed border patrol people we saw roaring along the back roads on tricked out ATVs.
We pulled over more than once to let them by, they didn't appear to have a sense of humor and seemed to be in an awful hurry.  

To make an already long story a bit shorter, we came upon the pond we had been looking for and parked in the lot.


A short path took us to a bench behind a bird blind.




Dairy Mart Pond isn't a very big body of water but it was teeming with waterfowl.    We stayed at the blind for quite awhile before continuing along the path for another perspective.


We saw American Wigeons, Coots, noisy Mallards, Buffleheads, beautiful beautiful Northern Shovelers (in summer and winter plumages) herons, egrets,
Black Phoebe's, Pintails, etc., etc.     We were in heaven!




zzzzz





  Beluga welcomed us home with another wonderful sunset over the bay.

   

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Point Loma


Here is another interesting duck that drifts by us in large teams.    They are either Lesser Scaups or Greater Scaups.    If I had to bet, I'd guess this is a Lesser but I'm not a betting woman.

Friday we got a terrific take out lunch from Ocean Beach's Hungry Lu's tiny bakery and sandwich shop and took it to the Ocean Beach Dog Park.    Its one of our favorite places to go and just sit.    We did not take Lewis this time, we wanted to see just how busy the area was, how close the quarters were, and what kind of dogs (and owner's) frequented it.


We had a ball!   I didn't take many pictures, I have a problem photographing people I don't know (actually I have a problem photographing any people) so we just enjoyed watching all the dogs enjoying their freedom.

There was a little black French Bulldog that was laser focused on his neon green tennis ball.    Ounce for ounce, I don't think I've ever seen a dog run as fast as this guy.    Back and forth, back and forth.    Sometimes another dog would intercept his ball and he didn't argue or give up.   He simply stopped and waited until the other dog lost interest, then he'd scoop it up and fly back to his owner.
We were at the beach for at least an hour and a half and he was running the entire time.

Milo moves a lot of sand

Little Milo spent his time digging to China when he wasn't performing his self proclaimed duties as official greeter.    By greeter I mean he raced up to each new comer, barked once or twice directly in their face, thoroughly sniffed their "parts", then went back to his excavations.


We watched a beautiful and energetic Portugese Water Dog run after his ball, a huge spotted white dog happily pester every other dog as they passed by, an owner wandering around screaming "come" at the top of his lungs while his big yellow lab studiously ignored him and romped gaily with his friends halfway across the beach.    We watched a young woman walk along a narrow section of the San Diego River with her svelte boxer and his frisbie.    She'd toss the toy into the crazy strong current and the dog dove in (not beautiful water entries, but they got him out into the water) and carefully positioned himself downstream of the frisbie, almost treading water until it actually came to him!    Then he'd turn and swim across the current to the shore ready to do it all over again!    I bet he slept well that night!

Later we went out to Point Loma to view the views.    There is only one road out to Cabrillo National Monument and the cliffs at the end of the point.   It passes through the serene and moving Ft. Rosencrans National Cemetery and we're always drawn to it.    Rows and rows of perfectly placed white headstones march to the Pacific Ocean on one side and to San Diego Bay on the other.    The grounds are simple and immaculate.    They give us pause.





Without checking the day's tide charts, I'd hoped we'd timed our visit to the Tide Pools correctly.    Nope, we were 3 hours early, and the water was too high, the areas still under water.      We hiked around a bit, enjoyed what we could see and vowed to make a more concerted effort to return an hour before a low tide.    The tricky thing here is that the area closes at 4 p.m. so timing is everything!

the tide pools were still under water

Pelicans rest on a nearby cliff

Coast Guard Pt. Loma Light Station 
the famous Del Coronado Hotel in
the foreground

The point was overflown by lots of military helicopters and planes.   The entrance to the Bay was busy with military ships, commercial fishing charters and private crafts.   Binoculars were Dave's constant companion.


the old Pt. Loma lighthouse


USS New Orleans moves through the shadows and past Naval Air Station Halsey Field

hungry gulls follow a fishing boat back to its slip