SoCal Adventure: Day Two, San Diego

On the second day of our grand adventure (sans Pooh, of course) we liberated my Dad’s car and drove down to San Diego, my old stomping ground. En route we stopped at a ridiculously popular bagel shop called the Bagel Shack and got breakfast that consisted of a sun dried tomato bagel with butter (mine, quite good) and two bagels with bright pink strawberry cream cheese (for the little ones, not a huge hit. Turns out it’s hard to make tasty but not overly sweet strawberry cream cheese. Go figure). A pit stop in Carlsbad for a veggie juice and a walk along a quite cute, rather hidden beach community. Still, 75-steps down to the beach proved an insurmountable obstacle to my fellow travelers, so we got back in the car and continued south.

After an easy drive, we arrived early at our hotel for the next two nights, the rather amazing Hawaiian-themed Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island, tucked neatly to the north of the main San Diego harbor. The hotel had kindly upgraded us to a suite and quite honestly, we’ve decided we could just live here permanently, with its small, fully appointed kitchen, high ceilings, massive flatscreen TV and cheery tropical design.

Better yet, the pool area is amazing. We swam late into the evening, as this photo attests:


Before the swimming began, however, we decided we’d go on a harbor cruise and drove down to San Diego proper, just to find that there’s a huge amount of construction and most of the regular parking lots down by the waterfront were closed or full. Nightmare. Instead of getting there early and being able to walk around, we suffered through gridlock and finally found a downtown lot where for a mere $13 we had the privilege of leaving our car and walking at a fast pace to the embarkation point for the cruise.

By that point, the little one was already feeling a bit quesy, having made the poor judgment call to get a sandwich at the local Subway rather than join the rest of us for a delicious meal at the Harbor Town Pub. I had an Ahi sandwich with absolutely delicious fries, A- had a salad (as usual) and G- had fish tacos. Never knew he was so obsessed with fish tacos, but that’s his favorite way to eat fish, as far as I can tell, so it’s a big win.

We got on the Flagship ship Spirit of San Diego for a two-hour harbor tour and K-, my 9yo, was already feeling so poorly that the little gal just curled up on a deck chair and tried to sleep, bless her little soul. Offers of bubbly water, ice water, etc, weren’t helpful, but the little trooper didn’t want to ruin our fun, so the rest of us peered over the sides, listened to the quite interesting narration and enjoyed a busy, active ocean harbor on a perfect day.

Pulling away from the dock, our first sighting is one of the mainstays of the San Diego waterfront, the Star of India:


And yes, I have fiddled a bit with the photo to desaturate it. Just looks more cool that way to me, more “old fashioned”. Does the Star of India ever leave its mooring? I have no idea, but every time I can remember being on the harbor front here in San Diego, it’s been tied up. Hmm….

Being a mainstay of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet, San Diego harbor features enough military to star in a Michael Bay movie. Oh, I think it already has. In any case, a few of the interesting features we spotted from the cruise…

First off, a nuclear submarine behind a floating fence:


On the other side of the harbor, helicopters at Coronado Naval Air Station:


And cruising through on what is undoubtedly a milk run compared to its original mission of trawling the California coast trying to catch scofflaws (taxes, ya know, the basis of a surprising amount of trouble in our history):


It was gorgeous on deck, albeit a bit breezy, as this portait attests:


The two hour Flagship cruise actually stops at the dock halfway because it’s split into a North Harbor and a South Harbor portion, so really, we had tickets to two different cruises. At this point we checked in with little K-, who was still mostly non-functional and decided that we’d just stop with the south harbor unexplored. They were very kind in giving us vouchers for the unused second tour, which we’ll definitely use at some point or the other — I’ve never been under the Coronado Bridge, after all — but not today.

By the time we got back to the hotel, K- was feeling a tiny bit better, having thrown up in the parking lot by the cruise. Sorry whomever got to our spot after us. Ewww. But no handy hose, no bucket of water, no real way to clean things up. Yech. Sometimes parenting is messy, no question.

When we returned to the Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn, K- fell asleep on the bed and had a nice long nap while the rest of us explored a bit and flipped on the TV to see what was available. The evening was characterized by more of the same, though A- and I did walk over to a local sushi place — Umi Sushi — for some takeaway sushi (delicious) and miso soup.

Afterwards we were at the pool for some evening swimming and relaxation and were surprised to find none other than Bill Maher performing at their outdoor stage not 200′ away. Wasn’t worth paying for tickets, and he’s definitely not child-friendly in his content (to put it mildly), but I did manage to sneak a photo of him on stage from the edge of the pool area before a security person came over and told me “they don’t like people taking photographs from backstage”.


I also stood and listened to some of his routine and was amazed at how old and tired it was. I mean, really, potshots at Sarah Palin? Isn’t that material from your 2008 routine, Bill? Glad I didn’t pay for tickets, though the audience was clearly enjoying his predictable liberal shtick.

Bedtime was a breeze and I even had a chance to relax and read some more of my Swagger book before I too slipped away into sleep.

Today it’s Legoland. And we’re rarin’ to go!

Disclaimer: Flagship cruise tickets were comp’d and the Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn upgraded our room from a standard to one of the deluxe suites. And sweet it is.

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