Monday, December 10, 2018

Thanksgiving in California: 36 Hours in San Diego

Here's our first day in California--at the beach!

My father-in-law is a Navy vet and thanks to him, we were able to stay on the naval base in San Diego for one night. Here's what the beach looks like outside the Navy Lodge:







Here's what my husband looks like after coming upon me lying flat on my back in the sand, camera in hand so I can photograph the helicopters that keep flying directly overhead:


And here's one of the helicopters:


If you blow up the photo enough, you can see that there is totally someone sticking their helmeted head out the door and looking down at me. They're thinking, "Why is that crazy lady lying in the sand taking photos? Must be a spy!"


That's probably not the last time somebody thought that we were spies, either. I photographed EVERYTHING. Who knows when I'll get to sightsee on a military base again!


After we finally managed to drag the kids out of the water, my father-in-law took us on a driving tour so that I could photograph everything else. There were aircraft carriers (we were back at this particular aircraft carrier later in the evening for "Taps," but I had a giant Starbucks coffee in my hands instead of my camera, darn it)--



Yes, I'm going to show you all sides of every aircraft carrier I saw. I'm also humming the "Top Gun" theme at you, just so you know:




--and submarines--
Yes, I'm photographing a submarine THROUGH A FENCE. I'm totally a spy.


--and the most expensive, ugliest destroyer ever built:


The kids had already been to Cabrillo National Monument before with their grandparents (and earned their Junior Ranger badge, because of COURSE), but Matt and I have never been, so we stopped by for a quick look.

Look, another destroyer!


There's a handy spotting guide at the overlook:


I didn't photograph the commissary, either, but we did get road trip snacks and the best bar of soap EVER while we were there. I did not buy a massive toy model aircraft carrier (darn it). Will super wanted a Navy sweatshirt, but we did not buy that, either. Our luggage was already worryingly overweight.

Instead, here's an installation of Bob Hope doing USO tours:



It's really beautiful. Next to it, though, is a giant recreation of Unconditional Surrender, which was really gross because every single person was photographing themselves pretending to look up the nurse's skirt.

Nice way to casually degrade women, Tourists!

The next day, we really needed to leave San Diego and end up at Joshua Tree National Park, but first, we had to make two stops at the kids' top requests.

First, doughnuts for Sydney!


The night before, we'd stayed at a hotel across from Balboa Park with valet service. As the valet handed Matt the keys to the car that morning, he asked where we were headed, and I told him we were going to Donut Bar.

"You really need to try Devil's Dozen," he replied.

So we did both. I mean, of course. And you know what?

We all liked Devil's Dozen better. So thank you, anonymous valet!

This butterbeer doughnut is from Donut Bar:






While Matt and Will were in San Diego by themselves, they'd checked out a dog-friendly beach that was right by their hotel. Will LOVED it and longed to go back, so before we left San Diego entirely, we did just that. It turned out to be so awesome, indeed, that we accidentally spent the entire morning there:




The kids really loved random doggies coming up to make friends. And a dog only peed on Will's sand castle once, and that was after she was finished working on it, anyway.




I didn't get any photos of us actually swimming in the water, but we totally did. It was cold, yeah, but not after the first couple of seconds. Practically nothing to us ice-in-the-bones frozen Midwesterners:



Well, we WERE pretty cold when we finally finished swimming...

No matter, though, because all we did was hop back in the rental car and hit the road. We were on our way to chollo cacti and Joshua trees!

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