Saturday, February 03, 2007

Well one never knows from one week to the next where one might be... in my case I had an excursion south that began at 4:30am last Monday morning.....

It started with snow capped peaks... then brown dry valleys ....
Then ended with the city of San Diego,Ca ... from there a short ride in the car lead us to the Pacific Terrace Hotel ...
... after a short wait for a room ... since we arrived shortly after we left (3 hour time change) ... we were greeted with rooms that had a view! Well some had more of a view than others... and Terry (a colleague from GM in Michigan) had a room on the second floor that had a rather nice view!
Terry wanted a picture to send home.... just in case his wife did not believe we were roughing it out here!!
The hotel from the outside.... ours is the smaller building with just three floors and most rooms having at least the opportunity to see the ocean.... although in my particular room there was a need to stand up and look out the window to see over the garden! Guess that might be why they said I had a garden view room!!!
Now just down the beach a short distance was a long wooden pier... and on the pier were little cottages that you could rent... it was a motel really... with a rather respectable nightly rate... in the neighbourhood of 250 per night.... off season!! From under the pier one could see the beams, bolts and other structural components that began to flex when the tide came in and especially the surf began to pound.
With each wave a little shudder went through the pier .... obviously the wooden structure has been there a while.... and serves as a testament for the tensile strength of home grown wood products.
The waves on the last day in San Diego were much larger and the surfers were flocking to the coast to ride. On Thursday afternoon my cousin Rossie came to visit from Topanga, Ca and while we were out on the pier watching the waves we saw a dolphin join the line of surfers and actually ride one of the waves! We could see the creature rise to the crest and then ride the curl of the wave.... it was an awesome sight!! And it was over in a flash ..... so no pictures were captured! Shortly after that a lone sea lion made an appearance off the end of the pier.

With the wave pounding in it was easy to simply spend time listening to and watching the ocean in its relentless attack on the shoreline!
As you can see .... the wave hitting the pier are quite substantial!! It would have been fun to play in them however... time and the fact that no wet suit was packed .... slowed my enthusiasm for actually getting into the ocean!
Of course the trip was not all pleasure ... we were up and on the bus headed to Tijuana, Mx Tuesday and Wednesday by 7 am. Our driver did a great job of keeping the coach moving and preventing a few accidents during our travels.

With very little rain ... it is possible to carve property out of the hills... you will notice a fence line right on the edge of the hill.... for some reason (lack of rain) this works in the area.... heaven help them if they start to get more than 3-6 inches of rain a year!!
Crossing the border was another story.... 60 million people cross this border each year!! That would be 225 thousand people each and every day!!! The line ups supported the statement! With enough gates to make Sarnia and Sault Ste. Marie look like little border crossings the line up to get into the gates seemed endless. Morning, noon, or night the line is waiting to cross into the US. Of course going the other way is much easier .... but don't let the ease fool you.... they are still watching!
When you have family in the area it is always great to work in a visit! It has been a while since I have had a chance to sit and chat with my cousin Rossie! She has lived and worked in California for 18 years and loves California. With many changes happening in her life we were fortunate to be able to spend a good bit of time together catching up on life from each other's perspective.

On our second night in San Diego we were treated to a dinner cruise around the bay. We went past the naval base, saw the ships in port and were just returning to the docks when a fireworks display began on the fantail of the retire aircraft carrier Midway. Now my fireworks shots are not as good as Heidi's .... but then I was on a moving boat !!!

As I was leaving San Diego on Friday I was able to see the city and the coast. The air was pretty clear ... and you will note the low number of navy ships at the docks in the city. Apparently we just missed the nuclear power carrier Ronald Regan. It was in town for up fitting and left the Saturday before we arrived.

The final picture in the set was captured on the return trip as the sun was setting and I was loosing some of the 3 hours gained on our journey west!! The band of sun right on the horizon was spectacular... and although the picture does not capture the sound of the jet engine.... it does give some indication of the colours and intensity !!

Well it was back to reality on Saturday with mini blizzards for the day and change in temperature from 63F degrees warm to -13C cold today!!