Jimmy and I kicked off the labor day weekend on Saturday by heading downtown to spend time along the Embarcadero in San Diego, and while there, we saw tall ships and world class sand sculptures. Happily both of those events were on my, Exploring San Diego Bucket List (#SBLC), under the description, All Things Downtown.
Because we live in north county–and labor day weekend usually means lots of traffic in Southern California–we decided it would be the perfect excuse to take the coastal scenic highway route to the city. It had been years since we had taken the time to meander through all the charming beach towns from Carlsbad south, and much to our delight, it didn’t disappoint.
Saturday was one of those spectacular days that San Diego is famous for, cloudless, warm, and a rolling surf that would definitely keep this ocean-phobic woman beached. Every mile that we drove south found people out enjoying themselves, truly that was just one of the many awesome things about the day.
As we headed toward La Jolla we decided to make a pitstop at the, Torrey Pines Gliderport, and because we did? I have now added paragliding to the fast-growing category on the #SDBLC called, things I am afraid of but want to do. What struck us both was how quiet those magnificent human kites were. And as the pilots whooshed past I couldn’t help but imagine the sense of freedom they must feel while gliding hundreds of feet above the sea.
From there we continued our way south into La Jolla and as we rounded the corner into the cove one whiff of the air told us the seals were out in full force. Minutes later, as if not to be outdone by anyone, we spied surfers too many to count, it looked as if each of them were enjoying the waves and would remember it as having been an epic day.
From there we drove through Pacific Beach. If ever there was a town that would make me want to travel through time and go back to college–Pacific Beach is it. I am certain my 18 year old self would have loved every last thing about it. As we drove past Belmont Park and The Giant Dipper’s shadow was cast over us, we reminisced about bringing our two youngest kids, Kodiak and Chandler, there. We had been on a mission to hit all the tourist spots with Flat Stanley for a friend’s daughter–it was an unforgettable day. Much like our hearts felt suspended all those years earlier as we watched the ancient roller coaster make it’s way up the track with our kids, the idea that Kodiak would be headed off to his first year of college in a matter of weeks, hung in the warm summer air.
Finally we arrived in San Diego, parked, then walked west on Broadway to check out the US World Class Sand Sculpture 3D Competition. World class is an understatement, the sculptures we saw were incredible, our favorite of which was of a marooned boat filled with people caught in the jaws of a great white shark. Of course no event is complete without food trucks in San Diego, Jimmy and I each enjoyed street tacos which brought to mind days when we traveled to Puerto Nuevo–a town famous for its lobster, music and fun. Sadly the days of carefree border crossings for a day, or weekend, feel more dream like than real.
We decided not to go inside the, Tall Ships, exhibit. Instead, from the near empty north end of the boardwalk, we watched them in all their majesty slip through the waters of San Diego Bay. After we’d had our fill of the enormous ships we walked north and crossed over Pacific Highway to check out the newly developed Embarcadero Park.
The park was amazing! All the fountains were filled with young and old alike, all of whom played, laughed and splashed the heat away. The entire park was a beehive of activity, music from a band filled the air, some people picnicked, while others strolled, and the playground looked as if every climbing structure was filled, needless to say it was a far cry from the city parking lots Jimmy and I remembered walking past a few years earlier.
As the sun dipped lower toward the horizon I thought about Labor Day, a day set aside to honor the American worker. There we stood in an incredible new park built by workers–men and women who labored to make all that we had experienced at the park possible. Where once idle cars sat, people will thrive.
Our city finally had the courage to not pave over paradise to put up a parking lot–“America’s Finest City” has her front doors wide open–a sight that anyone arriving in San Diego would love to see.