February 2020 update
Hello. I didn't want to let a month get away from me without a quick update, so here you go.
Last year at this time, I mentioned learning the importance of getting away from the constant pour of Oregon coast winter, for a few days of sun. This year, I went down to San Diego. First time there, and first time taking a proper vacation by myself. I had a really good time. The only items on my official agenda:
The U.S.S. Midway, the aircraft carrier permanently docked on the San Diego waterfront and turned into a museum: I am not one to seek out military-themed things, but this ship is an engineering marvel. A floating city and air base, and an important part of the history of the United States. It's also super-affordable. I think my pass (as part of a vacation package) was like fifteen dollars, and I also got a free pass at my hotel.
The San Diego Zoo: Everybody knows the San Diego Zoo. It seems like Saint Louis, Omaha, and San Diego are the big three zoos in the United States. I grew up new Saint Louis, and measure all others against it. Omaha is a damn good zoo, on par with Saint Louis but in different ways. I hate to say it, but I was a little underwhelmed by San Diego. Maybe I went at the wrong time of day, or the wrong time of year, but the zoo proper just seemed big, if not extraordinary. The koalas were neat; I remember when I was a kid we had one in Saint Louis temporarily, and I got a glimpse of it through the crowd. So I liked being able to see more of them, closer up.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park: On the other hand, I loved the safari park. I spent a full afternoon there; I could honestly have spent a day. My favorite parts were the botanical parts (especially the succulent garden), the tram through "Africa," and the kangaroos actually hopping around like kangaroos do! Worth the extra overall cost of the trip to rent a car to drive up there.
Speaking of a car, I wasn't originally going to rent one until I realized there wasn't any great way to get to the safari park otherwise. I'm glad I did. I didn't have anything scheduled on my last full day, so I started by driving up to La Jolla, since I hadn't actually gotten to the ocean yet. Same Pacific Ocean I visit almost every week in the northwest, but oh so different. So clear and blue and warm. I saw seal pups washing into shore with their moms, to bask in the sun. After that, I spent a good chunk of my afternoon at Coronado Beach, where the sand glistens like gold when wet.
That said, I mostly walked. I stayed in a downtown hotel, and in addition to the zoo and safari park, and to and from the aircraft carrier, and along the beaches, I hoofed it. I walked to the Gaslamp Quarter for lunch one day, to Little Italy for dinner one night (and one other, but the place was packed so I retreated to a place closer to the hotel), and around Old Town while killing time before my last dinner out before heading home. My Fitbit says I walked 33 miles in three days! So I didn't feel too guilty about taking the week off from half marathon training. Or eating like a pig. Or sampling beers from Stone Brewing, Bolt Brewery, and Karl Strauss.
So, yeah. Good trip.
Railsconf 2020 will be back in Portland, and I'll be there. I don't think I've got my D-list celebrity status in that community anymore, but that's ok. Hard to pass it up when it's relatively close to home. Feel free to say hi, if you see me there.. Questions or comments? Let me know what you think.