Tag Archives: san diego

USA 2016 – 20 Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego (2016-07-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 12 MAY 2018

One of the best views of San Diego’s harbour and skyline can be found at the Cabrillo National Monument – in fact, a clear day will actually give you a good view over a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Tijuana, and even Mexico’s Coronado Islands!

Situated at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California, the Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542 – the first time a European expedition had ever set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States.

The first thing that greets you as you drive up into the national park is the fantastic Cabrillo Visitor Center, which in addition to its useful outdoor signage, viewing deck spots and smorgasbord of visitor information on hand, also sports a fantastically well done museum section, containing a fascinating array of carefully preserved items, information and interactive exhibits.

Then of course there is the unmissable limestone heroic statue of Cabrillo himself, a present to the USA from the Portuguese government. The original statue which was handed over by the Portuguese ambassador in 1938 was executed by sculptor Alvaro de Bree, with it weighing in at 6,400 kg and measuring 4.3 m in height.

However, weathering as a result of its exposed position dictated that the original sandstone model needed to eventually be replaced, and so in 1988 the (still striking) limestone replica that you see on site today made its appearance.

Interesting fact: During World War II the original Cabrillo Monument site was completely off-limits to the public thanks to the Point Loma Peninsula’s reservation for military purposes (San Diego is strategically incredibly important to the United States Navy), but this worked out well in the end – following the war, the national monument’s area was significantly enlarged thanks to work by both presidents Eisenhower and Ford.

Standing at around 57 hectares in size, the Cabrillo National Monument is also home to a number of other fascinating points of interest, like the Old Point Loma Lighthouse – one of the oldest lighthouses to ever operate on the West Coast of the United States of America.

And while this particular lighthouse now operates as a walk-in museum attraction only, just down the hill is the still very much in operation New Point Loma Lighthouse as well. There there are also the old gun batteries and retired radio station that houses an interesting the military history of the area exhibition.

In terms of nature activities, there are a number of short trails throughout the Cabrillo National Monument, including the popular two-mile long Bayside Trail that takes you through one one of the last remaining remnants of coastal sage scrub habitat in the world. It also in the process gives you spectacular views of Sand Diego Bay and the city beyond, Ballast Point (where Cabrillo landed), sandstone cliffs, and if the season is right, even some snow on the tops of the mountains!

The Coastal Tidepool Trail on the other hand takes you along its winding path down to the rocky intertidal area of the monument – which is incidentally one one of the best-protected and most easily accessible of rocky intertidal areas in southern California. Given the incredibly diverse and thriving animal communities to be found in the tidal pool area, this section also then happens to be one  of the more interesting spots of the park to pay a visit to.

Oh, and as if all this wasn’t yet enough, given its high elevation, the Cabrillo National Monument is also a brilliant whale watching spot – the perfect place in fact to watch migrating Gray Whales pass by from December through February!

So pretty hard not to include this as one of the many tourist things to do here in San Diego then!

Related Link: Cabrillo National Monument | Wikipedia | San Diego | #USA2016

USA 2016 – 19 Walking the Dog on the Beach in Del Mar (2016-07-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 27 MAR 2018

Following our little walkabout the Torrey Pines Gliderport, Johann and I continued the theme of taking his dog out for a walk by heading down to Del Mar, a small, prosperous, and nearby beach city that forms part of San Diego county.

The first surfing location mentioned in the 1963 Beach Boys’ song Surfin’ U.S.A., Del Mar (meaning “of the sea” in Spanish) is known for its boutique shops, fine dining, good surfing, and great beaches. (It is also now home to Tom DeLonge, former guitarist and founding member of Blink-182, now full time UFO researcher)

There is also the famous Del Mar racetrack (horse racing), it borders the Torrey Pines State Beach, and the city hosts both the San Diego County Fair and the tri-annual Del Mar Antique Show.

As for our trip, we stepped out on Main Beach, which was absolutely perfect for walking the dog, watching people pull out fish, glancing at a beachcomber hobo, and spectating an absolutely perfect sunset.

Plus, the water is nice and warm.

Interesting fact (just in case you spotted the South African flag fluttering in one of the photos) – there are actually quite a large number of South African expats that call the San Diego region home, and after seeing the place for myself, well it is easy to see just why that is.

Related Link: Del Mar | #USA2016

USA 2016 – 18 The Torrey Pines Gliderport at La Jolla, San Diego (2016-07-17) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 MAR 2018

One of the very first bits of sightseeing that I did after reaching San Diego was a drive about the beautiful La Jolla area with Johann, the ride ending with a walkabout on the cliffs flanking the historic Torrey Pines Gliderport site.

Given its 100 years of flying history, the Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of North America’s most historic aviation sites, having played a pivotal role in the aviation industry of both Southern California and the United States as a whole.

For example, aviation legends like Charles Lindbergh, Woody Brown, Hawley Bowlus, John Robinson, and Bob Fronius all have history with the Torrey Pines Gliderport, whilst technologies like the Robinson Variometer, the Air Brakes on the Zanoonia, the original Parachute Recovery System, early radio controlled model airplanes, the first hang gliders, and even paragliding all were either refined, created or tested at this very launch site!

These days the Torrey Pines Gliderport positions itself as Southern California’s premiere location for paragliding, hang gliding, remote control models and sailplanes, providing a world class flying site, flight lessons, certifications, tandem flights, equipment sales, and even repair services in the process.

The cliffs themselves make for a wonderful viewing platform of the area, and if you feel energetic and adventurous enough, a steep path down the face of the cliffs will reward you with an amazing strip of beach down below.

Well worth a visit if you enjoy watching people effortlessly float about in the sky.

Next up, a walk along a beach in Del Mar!

Related Link: Torrey Pines Gliderport | Wikipedia | La Jolla | San Diego | #USA2016

USA 2016 – 17 Staying in Sabre Springs, San Diego (2016-07-17) Photo Gallery 25 MAR 2018

So, I kind of need to return to pushing out all the posts regarding my business/tourist visit to the USA in 2016. So far I’ve only managed to get to the first 16, and to be honest, there are in fact 14 photo galleries still left to post!

Admittedly, this is not one of the “Cool place that I visited” entries on the list, but instead serves as more of a gentle reminder to myself of the latter part of the trip – You know, because I primarily use this blog as a memory box for myself.

Anyway, so after the successful expo and all the sightseeing around the Anaheim/Los Angeles area, Johann and I bid farewell to Carl and drove out to San Diego, more specifically heading over to Johann’s house in the beautiful Sabre Springs neighbourhood, where I would be staying for the next couple of days while I packed the last bit of being a tourist in.

A healthy amount of driving about and San Diego sightseeing aside (Torre Pines, Del Mar, Cabrillo Monument, USS Midway, Embarcadero, Old Town, Hotel Del Coronado, Balboa Park and of course San Diego Zoo), I rather enjoyed taking in some suburban experiencesas well – like taking the dog on walks, trying out cream cheese on bagels for the first time, sampling a lot of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavours, seeing way too much politics (Trump was everywhere!) on the near constant news cycle, cringing at the amount of non-stop medicine-hawking adverts across radio and TV, and of course nipping out burgers, pizza and beer whenever the opportunity arose.

I probably enjoyed that part the most.

(For reference, we paid a visit to Oggi’s and Bruski whilst in the area – both were good, but with not enough photos taken, they are relegated to appearing here as footnotes of my trip memories).

Oh, and yes, I did take full advantage of the pool as well. Definitely one thing that I miss having access to back at my own home here in SA.

Related Link: Sabre Springs | San Diego | #USA2016

USA 2016: An Expo under the Hot Californian Sun My Life 22 NOV 2016

I lucked out a bit this year. Touchwork does a lot of its business in the United States in the University realm, and as such, tends to be quite visible on the relevant expo circuits. Occasionally the boss sends a team member up to join our American team for at least one of these expo appearances a year – basically whenever we get the funding from the DTI to do so.

Now normally this perk falls to our COO and customer liaison Rory Florence, but this year  (much to his chagrin) he couldn’t go – which then meant that as the next longest standing member of current Touchwork SA team, I got asked if I wanted to go.

Hell yes, USA here I come! :)

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So this all happened in July this year. I left for the USA on the 11th and arrived back in South Africa on the 22nd of July, making for a whirlwind trip of around 10 days.

Of course, technically this was a business trip, but in essence it was only business for about 2 of the days (and even those two days were peppered with touristy things) – the rest were all proper sightseeing days, made all the more enjoyable thanks to my brilliant Touchwork USA hosts Johann Leitner and Carl Mostert, who literally went out of their way to show off their part of the magnificent piece of paradise that is California to this USA (and travel for that matter) newbie!

The expo that we were exhibiting at was NACUFS Idea ’16, the 2016 national conference for NACUFS (National Association of College & University Food Services), held at the the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

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Anaheim, other than being the base of the Mighty Ducks, is of course most famous for being the home of Disneyland, Disney’s landmark first ever theme park that opened way back in 1955! Following that, I would then travel with Johann to his home base of San Diego (home of Comic Con and of the world famous San Diego Zoo!), for a couple of tourist days there, before heading back out the same way I came in – i.e. via Emirates through the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, Los Angeles!

So, not a bad destination for only my second ever trip overseas eh? (The first being of course that amazing trip to Japan that my brother Ryan and I embarked on in 2014. At this rate, Chantelle is just about ready to murder me with jealousy! :P)

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Right. I’ve got an amazing 23 or so photo galleries to sort through, post and write about, so plenty of USA 2016 content coming up in the pages of An Exploring South African over the next little while then!

Things to See in USA: The USS Midway Museum in San Diego Travel Attractions 28 JUN 2016

If you are down in California, paying a visit to San Diego, and perhaps have just the slightest of interest in all things military, then it would be particularly foolish to skip out on making a trip down to the USS Midway Museum!

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The massive decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Midway, previously America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier (1945-1992) is now a dedicated museum ship, housing an extensive collection of naval aircraft and over 60 ship exhibits brought to life by a self-guided audio tour.

Exhibits range from the crew’s sleeping quarters to a massive galley, engine room, the ship’s jail, officer’s country, post office, machine shops, and pilots’ ready rooms, as well as primary flight control and the bridge high in the island over the flight deck.

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Included in the ships restored aircraft inventory is a cornucopia of naval fighters stretching from World War II to Operation Desert Storm. Expect to view planes like the SBD Dauntless dive bomber, the TBM Avenger, F9F Panther, F-4 Phantom, A-6 Intruder and F/A-18 Hornet just to name but a few!

The museum is berthed at Navy Pier which has more than 300 parking spaces. It also is within walking distance of public transportation and other downtown San Diego waterfront attractions.

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Opened on 7 June 2004,d by 2012 the USS Midway Museum’s annual visitation exceeded 1 million visitors. As of 2015, Midway now also boasts the tag of being the most popular naval warship museum in the United States!

In other words, a massively popular attraction.

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Related Link: USS Midway Museum | Wikipedia