Originally published 2 January, 2015
Downtown San Diego
We're at our final stop and got to spend an entire day there. We've found San Diego to be just a little...................FANTASTIC! Man, what a great city! And what a great day we had in San Diego!
We're staying at the Shearaton by the marina. It's not right downtown, but it was a really nice hotel at a pretty cheap price for a major city. And it's good that we're near the airport for our flight out tomorrow. The hotel is great, but we haven't spent much time at the hotel. We've been wandering this great city!
We started out at a restaurant called "Brian's 24", a fantastic 24 hour restaurant in the Gaslamp district. We parked half a block from the restaurant and never moved the car. Southwestern food is very common here....but you have to remember, Mexico isn't but a few miles. I had a burrito with home made tortillas and Laurie had huevos rancheros.
Homeless guy Skyping outside of Padres Stadium. Only in California.
We leave the restaurant and begin to wander. San Diego has a very vital and active downtown. Little Italy, Gaslamp district, old town, lots to see and lots to do. We wander the Gaslamp district, checking out the stores and the restaurants. We wind up walking right into the stadium where the Padres play! It's open and you can walk right through. You can't go down on the field, but you can get pretty close!
The San Diego Public Library
Eighth floor reading room
The library was such an amazing building. I've built buildings all my life.....and the only one that I found truly impressive was the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. After visiting the library, now there are two. I've never been to a library where they gave tours of the building. We wandered it on our own to find an open air elevator with an expanded metal shaft (sort of like screen), unusual functional plumbing fixtures, an art gallery, and open air reading areas on the 9th floor with a view of the city. Laurie thinks this would be a fantastic place to live based solely on the library.
Looking from the Library into town
Rooftop reading area and coffee shop
The library had a huge children's wing, an area for adaptive learning, with large print books and magazines, computers with extra large screens and keyboards with yellow keys and huge letters and numbers on them. There were computer desks with lowered keyboards for people in wheel chairs. They thought of everything. The had study areas on the 8th floor with glass walls looking out on the city. Simply an amazing building.
Interior, San Diego Convention Center
We leave the library and are wandering, checking out the ball park where the Padres play, and it doesn't look like a ball park at all! It's a mix of stone and steel, and it looks like it belongs in this part of the country. While walking around, we notice a line to get into the convention center. We wondered what it was, and in this age of smart phones, we found out quickly. It is the San Diego International Auto show......one of the biggest auto shows in the country. I'm a car guy, so you can guess what happened next.
Electric VW bug
Dodge concept "surfer" truck
Laurie checking out new cars!
We buy our tickets and start through the show. They have the current cars, they have concept cars that haven't made it to the market (and may never), they have the 2016 (not a typo) cars....stuff not yet at the dealers...and some stuff that never will be. It was so cool having all these cars to look at, and to climb in and out of (you can sit in them and some can even be test driven). We saw several cars that may be future cars for us and it was cool to be able to check them out in this environment. They also had classic cars, exotics, restorations, all matters of automotive rolling stock.
One of the coolest things we experienced was a company that had adaptive lifts and customized vehicles for people with physical impairments. We're WAY beyond hand controls here. They had a Z71 Chevy Pickup with a driver chair lift built into it. They also had a Jeep Wrangler set up for desert four wheeling that was rather dusty and dirty, and it also had a few dings in it. Turns out it belongs to a girl that lives in the area and she had it fitted with a wheel chair lift so she could go run around in the desert like everyone else. The advances made in adaptive systems are simply amazing.
They had an indoor driving track for jeeps, and if you didn't mind waiting in line, they'll take you four wheeling, right in the convention center. In the Ford area, there was a little town set up with electric Mustangs that the kids drove around. Porsche hybrids, Saleen Mustangs with carbon fiber bodies, restored T birds and street rods. In all my years being involved with racing, covering NASCAR for ten years as part of the media, and being involved with cars in general, I had never been to one of the major auto shows. I thought this was really cool. And even though she grudgingly admitted it....so did Laurie.
We had been walking most of the day at this point, so we decided to take a break. We wound up in a cigar bar and we both had a cigar and Laurie had a beer. It was a nice break, and we just sat and talked about our trip. I love traveling with Laurie and when we get moments like that where we just sit for a while and reflect and talk, it's really nice.
Downtown San Diego office buildings
We have sushi for dinner and walk a bit more. After this, we do a drive through of Little Italy and head back to the hotel. San Diego has captivated us. We would like to return at some point and spend more time in this wonderful city.
The Gaslamp district after dark
Tomorrow we fly home. Give me a day or so and like all the other blogs I will wrap things up with my comments on the entire trip. It's been grand, and so was my traveling companion.
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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