San Diego Day Trip
42° / 58° Rainy
TODAY’S RV PARK: Cherry Valley RV Park
OUR RATING: 4 Stars because it was convenient off the highway, super cell signals, full hookups, nice friendly staff, and great county park within a 5 minute drive
PRICE: $13/day with RPI membership
TRIP MILES DRIVEN: 20,057
There’s something very refreshing about being in one’s own home state. Ever since we crossed the California border, I’ve been trying to figure it out. I’ve felt an immense sense of calm and peace since we arrived. It’s been a very long time since I could just sit and relax. Usually, I have a sense of anxiety where I feel I have to solve World Hunger every moment of every day. Always bustling about – never stopping. Always in a worry or slight panic over everything.
Maybe it’s the air.
the past 31 years I’ve lived in hot humid climates. Here, it’s cool, crisp with a breeze that always seems to carry some sort of fragrance from the nearby vegetation. A good whiff of the fresh air could bring a scent of gardenia or Sycamore. Or in yesterday’s case – dog poop.
Maybe it’s the tall trees here.
Trees that get to grow tall without any threat of strong winds to stunt their growth. The Sycamores are everywhere and seem to grow 5 stories tall! They are so beautiful, they look like Christmas trees that come with their own pine cone decorations. In many places, they line the freeways.
Maybe it’s the ice plant.
The ice plant covers the hills on the sides of the freeways. A thick carpet of green, finger-thick vegetation with pink flowers. Just crawling everywhere. I’ve always thought it to be very beautiful. The boys growing up thought the finger-thick shoots made for good bullets – as we were always being pelted with them growing up. I’ve really never seen the ice plant in such quantity anywhere else in the US – it’s always been a sign I’m home in SoCal.
Maybe it’s the mountains.
Living in “The South”, it’s a very flat place and can be hard to tell which direction you are going. I’ve always missed the gravitational pull of the mountains – to give me a due north. Mountains on the right – Ocean on the left – and go from there. It’s reassuring to be able to look up an see your mountain to know just where you are.
Perhaps it was the combination of all those tings that made Sunday a perfect day for a road trip to San Diego.
The skies were blue and crisp as we drove down the freeway lined with the beautiful ice plant, tall Sycamore trees lined the freeways. Weaving in and out of mountains and canyons, we found our way south to San Diego.
As we came in, I started to recognize the street names of my childhood on those big green exit signs. I quietly remarked to my husband “I think I used to live on that street”. He took the next exit, and to my surprise we found my first elementary school and the street that I had lived on. The house was no longer there. But my babysitter’s house was, with her ice plant still carpeting the side of her house. That supply of bullets was still there!
We made our way down the back canyon roads – totally ignoring Google maps – ad following the routes I was sure my parents used to drive. Thrilled to see the old windy road that seemed untouched by time. Yet the shopping center it emptied out on looked modern and unrecognizable, save the name.
We got back on a nearby freeway and made our way through the Mission area where baseball fields were still filled with ballplayers. Passed by downtown San Diego – with it’s airport landing strip adjacent to the freeway – back splashed by the navy ship yard and towering navy vessels. So close, you feel like you are going to drive right up to one around the next bend.
Just minutes later, we found ourselves at Imperial Beach. The closest you can get to Tijuana without leaving the USA.
A friendly couple snapped a photo of us, and then we strolled the small seaside town. The town revealed other California memories for me. Beach parks filled with basketball players with a natural audience, healthy bodies testing their limits on the workout equipment, rollerbladers weaving in and out of the slow strollers (like us). And just to put a cherry on top – a red lifeguard truck cruising up and down the sandy beach.
From that park, we sat for a short while, digging our feet in the sand. To our left was a pier full of poles hanging over the ends. In front of us, way out in the water – were 3 cruise ships and a cargo container awaiting their turn into the shipping lanes. Next to us, on the beach, was a closed lifeguard station with a doggy tied up under it yapping at the running kids – he too wanted to play. Off to our right, beyond the active beach volleyball net was the famous blue Coronado bridge and downtown San Diego. It was definitely a sight to take in, and certainly warranted a few leisurely minutes (if not hours) to take it all in. If for not other reason, but to count the 5 more ships way way way off on the horizon.