Thursday, Feb 6
We had a bit of a rough start to this trip. It was raining in Asheville and the gate we flew from did not have a jet way, so we had to schlep through the moderate rain from the terminal, up some stairs, and onto a soggy plane. My leggings were wet enough when I got on the plane to make for a chilly start to the flight. The nasty weather continued throughout the flight, so it was pretty bumpy for the entire 35 minutes we were in the air to Atlanta. We had a short connection, but easily made it to our next flight. After boarding, the weather turned even nastier. We sat and we sat, inching toward the runway, but often just sitting in pouring rain with the wind gusting enough to rock the plane while it was standing still. We were nearly at the 3 hour limit for sitting on a plane not going anywhere when the weather cleared up enough for planes to start taking off again. We were about 15 planes back in the queue, but it was heartening to see planes taking off to our right as we inched forward. So, what would have been about 4.5 hours on the plane from Atlanta to San Diego was actually more like 7.5 hours. A big shout-out of thanks to Mom and Ginger for helping me pass the time by texting with me. Thankfully, the sun was shining brightly when we touched down in San Diego.
I had a window seat for once, because Delta had not saved our seat choices, so Rob was sat in the dreaded front row, (where you have to put all your hand luggage up in the overhead bin), while I was back in row 5. For the last hour or so of the flight, I enjoyed watching the desert scenery below. I think we flew over Lake Mead, but I couldn’t see Hoover Dam, and over Las Vegas (I think). Slowly the land changed from desert sand and brown mountains to some cultivated fields, and greener forests with lusher vegetation as we neared the coast.
We discovered one final annoyance with the morning’s rainy weather when we retrieved our suitcase in San Diego. It was pretty damp on the outside. A quick inspection of the contents as we put the suitcase in our rental car revealed that about 60% of the stuff was wet, not just damp, but actually wet. Ugh!
We couldn’t check into our Airbnb until 4:00 and it was about 1:00. So, we headed over to Balboa Park to check out the San Diego Model Railroad Museum and wander around a bit. Balboa Park was originally set aside as a reserve in 1835, making it one of the oldest dedicated public parks in the US. It held the Panama-California Exposition in 1915-16 and another exposition in 1935-36, leaving some interesting buildings within the park that today house several museums and performance spaces. Surrounding the buildings are various green spaces. We only walked through about half of the park. The first thing we encountered after parking was a really cool tree with these great roots that crawled over the rocky ground like so many giant’s fingers. If anyone knows what kind of tree this is, let me know. (See photos)
On our way from visiting the tree we passed a sign telling about the nudist colony that used to live and perform in the little ravine where the tree was. During the 1935-36 Exposition, there was a nudist colony located here. According to the sign, “several times a day, the mostly female troupe conducted rituals to the Sun God.” And “To enter, visitors were charged 25 cents, later raised to 75 cents, for unlimited observation time.” And “Conveniently placed knotholes in a wooden fence surrounding the upper rim of the garden provided a free peek inside.” I would imagine this garden was quite a scandal in the 1930s!
Next, we stopped in the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. Neither of us are great big model railroad fans, but it was interesting to look around. My favorite parts were the little vignettes of car accidents. They just seemed like such a strange thing to include in what one would expect to be an ideal scene.
After the museum, we wandered toward the Spanish Village Art Center. It is a collection of little buildings that are now used as artists’ studios and sales spaces. The paving stones are painted in colorful tones, adding to the artfulness of the space. There were potters, jewelry makers, enamel workers, painters, glass blowers, etc.
The time had finally reached nearly 4:00 so we could head for our Airbnb and get our wet things hung up to dry. We’re staying in a house that is about a block from the ocean, in an area called Mission. After getting our stuff hung up, we walked a bit along the boardwalk toward the local grocery store and got our first feel for the San Diego Mission beach. There were a few surfers out bobbing in the sea, waiting for that perfect wave, although the waves weren’t very big. Lots of people were enjoying Happy Hour on the outdoor terraces of the few bars that dotted the section we walked. At the grocery store, we grabbed some dinner, then headed home. With the time difference and long day on planes, we were in bed by 8:00.