Trains and Boats and Planes goes the first line of Burt Bacharach’s 1965 song. Well, Trains were ticked via the Coaster ride on Sunday, since which there have been various sightings of the local light railway train, the Sprinter. This serves the communities between Oceanside and Escondido (along a route of about 25 miles) and whose station for the Cal State San Marcos university campus is right at the bottom of the hill. Boats and planes? Cal Guy Snr proclaimed his day out on Monday the best ever – and certainly the day included a lot of both. First stop was Point Loma, a headland that guards the northern entrance to San Diego’s magnificent natural harbour. It stands about 400 feet above sea level, is home to the National Cabrillo Monument which commemorates the first European landings in California and also has a lighthouse, the light keeper’s cottage and outbuildings now serving as a museum.
There is an excellent viewpoint right outside the Cabrillo Visitor Centre. Cal Guy Snr unpacked his telescope and mounted it on his tripod. There was much to see. From the North Island air base opposite naval helicopter (V22 Ospreys) and F18s were on operations or doing training circuits. Periodically commercial aircraft were taking off or landing at the international airport on the city side of the harbour. Down below there were boats of all types. Sailing boats (US: sail boats), Coastguard cutters of two different sizes, a huge barge being towed out to sea, a tanker entering the port, a naval cruiser USS Antietam leaving. There followed a stroll up to the seaward side of the Point for views over the Ocean. Cal Guy Snr enthusiastically explored the lighthouse, climbing as far up the tight spiral staircase as possible.
Next stop: Balboa Park over in the city for the Air & Space Museum. The Satnav lady (“Keep the American voice, it reminds me I am in America and to drive on the right!”) did a splendid job of guiding us back down to sea level, across the waterfront and inland to the park. Several little city cars outside the museum were on battery charge. Inside it was hard to know what to look at first – the Spirit of St Louis flown across the Atlantic by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 – or the Apollo IX space capsule! There was moon rock and a tribute to the RAF in World War 2. Cal Guy Snr headed for every simulator possible and consequently “flew” a helicopter, the Wright Brothers Flyer and an F35. After lunch and inspection of the fish and turtles in the reflective pools in front of the Botanical Building was time to head north for family swimming lessons at Carlsbad, pausing to inspect the sand dredging operation. (How the beach had grown in the last four days!)
On Tuesday Cal Guy Jnr had a date at the Civic Center with his ABC class: letter names, letter sounds, trace the shapes, play with toys, sing a song about “our letter D, sounds duh,duh,duh.” Next came a whizz round the library, Cal Guy Snr choosing 6 books, all about aircraft and space, then on to the park…swing, swing, swing, race from tree to tree, feed the ducks, have a picnic lunch..
Wednesday afternoon is fast approaching. Cal Gal, who has gone to school in her pyjamas (US: PJs) with soft toy and blanket (last day before Thanksgiving), will be picked up at lunch-time and there’ll be a bowling expedition. “Kids against the grown ups,” Cal Gal has declared. Results will be duly posted…
Cal Son has put out a press release: BRITISH GRANDMOTHER ENJOYS FIRST BEEFBURGER EVER! (This is to record his amazement a) that Boatwif chose a beefburger and, b) that she obviously enjoyed it …)
Heard on the radio (cheerfully): “Temperatures in the 80s, but the highways are in a mess…”
Photo opportunities Boatwif missed:
A guy and two boys, all in wetsuits, each one carrying a surfboard, strolling across a pedestrian crossing from apartments directly to the beach. (Carlsbad)
A notice in the Civic Center multi-storey car park: “Violators will be cited” (parking fines for over staying? San Marcos)
Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of yellow school buses on a parking lot beside the 163 Freeway (San Diego)