We drove down the highway until we found a campground in Oak Creek. Nothing special about the site, but it was clean and we were able to have a good sleep. We have found that arriving after 5pm at the campgrounds/RV resorts this time of year, they close early. Many leave packages at the door to explain the sites that are available, the cost, and wifi passwords, codes to enter laundry and bathrooms. This one had nothing! But we parked anyways and would worry about it later. We woke up to the sun shining bright, it was going to be another great day.
After registering and paying the next morning we were given the codes for showers, laundry, wifi etc. we had showers and packed up to head the few hours to San Diego, finding a terrific park at Mission Bay. It was early, so decided for a short jaunt around the sea wall/park, about 4km. Going around the point we were very curious about all the old, decrepit homes in the trailer park. Hundreds of homes with million dollar views. It was like ghost town right on the shores of San Diego. This property is bordered by mission bay. Some of the homes, were at some time, absolutely gorgeous, with evidence still visible of well manicured and beautifully landscaped yards. However, there are some that are in total disrepair. I finally asked a woman we met walking, and she happened to be a local and she explained, the city and the owners were in a battle. A judge ruled they should receive relocation fees equal to 4 years rent. The city, which started to evict the residents in 1979, argued they don’t deserve relocation fees because they don’t own the property. Needless to say, some have moved their trailers, while others have been left for demolition at some point. Sad really that so many people were displaced, and moved from their homes and yards that obviously they so lovingly cared for. Regardless of the ongoing battle, I did do some research and discovered, thankfully that this property will be used for a park, and other recreational venues as it was given to the city from the State for that purpose.
The next day we went to Old San Diego. I have to admit, a bit of a tourist trap, but it was a nice day to wonder through the stores and museums on the property. We did go into the Famous Whaley House, which according to America’s Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures is one of the most haunted houses in California,neither of which I’ve seen.
The house was built where several people had been hung, and where a graveyard once was. It was home to many businesses over its time including the Whaley’s general store, San Diego’s second county courthouse, and was also the first commercial theater in San Diego. Its a house that has witnessed more history in San Diego than any other house. The stories of the Whaley’s ghosts wondering through the house are pretty incredible. Not saying I believe or not, just that they are good stories. In any case, nothing made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, and not one apparition appeared in any of my photos, DARN! Unfortunately the school house was closed down, but would loved to have gone inside there as well.
Arriving back at our camper we were able to catch the setting sun as we finally took out our chairs and enjoyed a cool brewski.
Our plan for the next morning was an all day excursion to the USS Midway battleship/museum. We were there when the doors opened, and basically “hurried” through the last hour to see everything before closing at 5pm. We did discover as we were leaving that we could have had our tickets stamped and returned the next day for no extra cost, but we had plans, and I think we saw most everything on the ship. But if you have more time, I suggest checking into that so you aren’t rushed, and look around the grounds there too. It is a self guided tour on the ship, with narrations from former Midway sailors/pilots delivered via a small receiver box that you place close to the signs you are interested in, it beeps and you put it to your ear and listen! There are approximately 60 different narrations. Many funny stories are told, and then some that are not so funny, but it was all life on the ship for thousands during war and peace times. We went from the very top, where the captain and crew stood to navigate the boat, down into the bowels of the ship to see the engines, boilers, and sleeping quarters. Of course the higher ranked you were the higher on the vessel you slept! It truly was a small city at sea carrying approximately 4500 on board. The ship was in operation for 47 years, seeing action in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm. If ever in the area this is a must see. You can check out some incredible numbers regarding the ship here.
Being married to a man of aviation (helicopter pilot when we met) I literally have hundreds of photos of the jets and helicopters in the hanger, and on the deck, although I don’t think I need to include them all in the blog for you to realize the size of the ship, nor the importance of the ship. However, if you are interested message me and I can send them all along to you! As usual, it is set up so well to move people. Best way to see it is go there yourself! Of course it is likely busier later in the season, but we found it quiet enjoyable wandering around viewing all aspects of the ship. We were entertained by paratroopers landing on the deck that afternoon at 1. It seems like a large ship, but I expect when you jump out of a plane, the target is pretty small, but of course they all came in, zooming right over the crowd to land gracefully, some with flags attached to one of their legs.
Unfortunately it was around 5:30 pm when we got back to the truck and camper, so we decided to head up the highway before it got too dark so we did not get a closer look at the statue other than from the ship. It stands 25 feet tall and is made of Bronze. The couple’s well known embrace can be recognized from a photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt and was used on the cover of Life Magazine in 1945. It was the end of WWII and the Victory over Japan. The story took place in Times Square was that of a young soldier grabbing a completely random nurse in the street, and kissing her.
Once back in the truck we moseyed up the coast to the Paradise By the Sea RV resort. It really is only a 2 minute walk to the Pacific. It was getting to be dinner time, so we walked up the street a several blocks and found a Pizza joint, The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, which just simply was the best pizza I’ve eaten in years! Of course the beer was ice cold too which didn’t hurt the atmosphere on the outdoor patio.
After dinner we stood in the wine bar next door and listened to the end of a comedians show…it was hilarious. Who knew that was occurring in the middle of the week. We would have been gone in there when we first arrived and caught the whole show, but didn’t realize the two places were combined. Next time! Back to our house on our back, we had a few more cocktails, played a few games of cards and headed to bed relatively early. Many Km of walking in the sun, up and down stairs, ladders and gangplanks, we were just a little exhausted after spending all day on the USS Midway.
In the morning I asked at the desk if we could have a late check out so we could at least walk down the beach for distance. As I said, the parks are not that busy this time of year, so they didn’t have a problem with it. We strolled up the beach until we couldn’t any more, and then up onto the road, which led us back to a beach drive …which took us right to the Oceanside Pier, a wooden pier extending 1,954 feet out into the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful walk out to the end watching people fishing, and just strolling along. Surfers trying to catch that perfect wave, and kids playing in the shallow waves on the beach. Pelicans were everywhere…and me without a hat! Rubies Diner is at the end of the Pier, and as we don’t rise and shine too early on holidays, it was almost lunch time when we arrived, so we went in and had a wonderful meal with a spectacular view. By the time we strolled back to the camper we had clocked over 7 miles, so I suppose it was more than a stroll, but with the waves, and the sand, was glad I wore my flip flops and shorts. Unlike someone else I know.