Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Out and About in San Diego County

We're making the most of our extended stay in San Diego. Along with helping out our parents we are visiting with old friends, hiking favorite trails and exploring new ones.

On one postcard perfect spring day we had brunch with former neighbors Graham and Carol, attended Earth Fair in lovely Balboa Park and walked on Coronado beach...a quintessential spring day in San Diego!

Fabulous brunch feast with Graham and Carol before heading to Earth Fair.

Earth Fair is held in Balboa Park every year for Earth Day and has grown over the years to cover most of this enormous park. There are displays devoted to every possible aspect of environmental awareness, plus the usual food and junk booths we see at every fair. I'll spare you photos of the variety of booths but will say that the people watching was fantastic, there were plenty of useful freebies and we enjoyed seeing the latest in environmentally progressive living, plus Balboa Park is always a nice place for a stroll.

Succulent Peace.

Hans under attack by the giant cactus monster!

Balboa Park's rose garden was at its peak.

Acres of stunning blooms!

Seen at the World Beat Center...
Drumming and hooping at World Beat Center.
The perfect end to a gorgeous spring day in San Diego: a walk on Coronado Beach.

We've had a few unseasonably hot days this spring, with temps hitting 90 degrees in the inland valleys, so one lovely week day we headed to the Laguna Mountains with Martin, Estella and Chelsea to hike the Sunset Trail.

With minimal elevation gain, a combination of shady forest and wide open views, granite boulders and a couple of ponds, the Sunset Trail and Big Laguna Trails are just an hour from San Diego and offer a nice escape from the city heat (it's 20 degrees cooler in the local mountains).

This pond is about one third full but we were happy to see any water in it due to the long drought.

Big views of Laguna Meadow.

Goofing around on the rocks with Big Laguna "Lake" in the distance.

Big Laguna "Lake".

In a city full of craft breweries it stands to reason that just about everyone must know a brewer, right? Our friends Martin and Estella happen to be neighbors with one of the newest brewers in town, Mike Maass of Burning Beard Brewing. We checked out their tasting room in El Cajon one evening and really enjoyed the robust Holy the Voyd Coffee Stout on nitro and Rye the Lightning Pale Ale.

Chris the brewer, Mike the co-founder, Martin, Estella and Hans.

One of the local weekly magazines, the San Diego Reader, features a hiking story each week. After living in San Diego for many years I am always surprised to discover a new place to hike. Crestridge Ecological Preserve is just such a place brought to our attention by The Reader.

We hiked a few of its 15 miles of trails which took us through rolling chaparral covered hills alongside avocado groves (both alive and dead), through oak groves shading morteros in granite indicating how lush this must have been at one time with a creek flowing and native people living here.

Local sculptor and architect James Hubbell built this straw bale visitor shelter.

James Hubbell mosaic sculpture.

This wide road/trail took us alongside avocado groves at times and provided expansive views
across the chaparral covered hills.

Our extended stay in San Diego allowed Hans' band, The Sand Devils, to play another gig. This one was a private party at Sand Devils guitarist Ran's new house in celebration of his new home tiki bar: The Reverb Cavern. Thanks Ran and Dale for hosting a fantastic party!

Lots of fun details cover every inch of this fantastic tiki room.

Mixologist Ran behind his new tiki bar.

The Sand Devils playing poolside.

Another excellent surf band, The Insect Surfers, played as well.

As you can see, it's no hardship to spend spring in San Diego!


  1. I've always heard San Diego is a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of the area!

  2. Oh how fun!! You are definitely making the most of your extended stay in San Diego. There's something special about returning "home" after being on the road -- reconnecting with friends, revisiting favorite places, and even having time to play a gig or two. I can relate to the joy of it all. Hope all is well with your families….

  3. Looks like you two are doing just fine. It is a very nice place to be and spend time with friends and family.

  4. Clearly you aren't suffering except for the 90 degree temps. I had no idea San Diego got that hot that early. Nice to have a place to escape and hike. Looks like a very yummy brunch. Couldn't believe the iguana?? on that guy's shoulders. That sure would take you back a bit. Any place with a straw bale VC must be great. Sounds like the family is doing better since you've had the time to have so much fun. Carry on!

  5. Great blog post. Can't wait to see you again.

  6. Any butterflies in Laguna? The Monarchs have a layover there, but not sure when. Great that you are able to get out and enjoy so much of the offerings, must mean the family obligations are all coming along satisfactorily. Have yet to take the RV up to the Laguna/Cuyamaca ... getting old and lazy I guess. Thanks for reminding of reasons we should!

    1. We saw very few butterflies and none of them were monarchs. It was so pretty and green up there right now, greenest we've seen in a long time.

  7. Yes, I must say if there is one place you must "get stuck," San Diego sure isn't too bad at all:) Glad to see you are out and about having a fun time. How nice for Hans to get in another gig. Looks like a great private party:) Cool that you found a new hiking place with lots of trails.

  8. San Diego has perfect weather all the time...a wonderful cIty to live in. So glad you and Hans are catching up with old friends, exploring new trails...I made notes!...and The Sand Devils are performing. Hope your mom is doing much better.

  9. Hmm, i wonder if your extended stay will morphed into something permanent one day. By this time staying put in a place longer than usual may have brought some interesting thoughts in your head.
    Hope to catch up with you this winter in SD.

    1. Hah! San Diego is so darn big...I'd prefer not to live here again full time unless I absolutely have to!

  10. You covered all the reasons I miss living in San Diego. I will have to go to Crestridge Preserve, that's new to me, although I am well aware of the wonderful James Hubbell sculptures and homes. Beautiful spring in San Diego and it looks like you are making the most of it.

  11. sweet you are finding some new hikes for us to explore this winter...

  12. We're thinking we'll stay in SD when we return to SoCal next spring, rather than farther north, it just has so much to see and do! Love the giant green spaghetti monster!!! That visitor center is awesome as is the giant lizard (both of them). Fun in the rocks and pool side - good times :-)))

  13. Good to see you two are not suffering too badly. ;-) LOVE that Reverb Cavern tavern! What fun! Hope things are going okay there with your Mom...think of you often.

  14. OMG so jealous to be in sunny San Diego living the good life!!! Love it that Sand Devils had a recent gig - Remember South Dakota is the other SD!! Gonna make the eastcoast move "home" in 2018 though - kinda crazed - new life again - we shall see gotta be by mom you know. Might have Tiny House so you two must visit!! Love Abena

    1. Ooooh, that'll be a BIG change! But we do understand why it makes sense for you. If we make it to the East we would love to visit!

  15. Beautiful photos, and the brunch looks delicious! :)

  16. Well that brunch just made my mouth water. I’m going to have to get some lunch as soon as I finish this comment but it won’t be as delicious looking as that. Really glad to hear that at least some localities actually celebrate Earth Day. Seems only fair for a planet that provides everything. Love the gorgeous roses and that Iguana (I assume) on the guy’s shoulder is something else. Looks like a really nice hike and a great way to get away from the heat which seems to be blazing everywhere already. Hate to think about August. What fun to hear of new trails all the time. Wish every town would do that. Great visitor’s center. Love seeing Hans behind the guitar. Who thinks up these band names – Sand Devils and Insect Surfers? Too funny!