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February 26, 2017

Kumeyaay Lake - Urban Camping San Diego

Kumeyaay Lake Campground is located within Mission Trails Regional Park offering dry camping on weekends.
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The campground is about 2.5 miles east of the Mission Trails Visitor Center on Father Junipero Serra Trail.

Although the campground is only available to guests on weekends, the day use parking is always available and it is just a short walk to the lake.  The entire Mission Trails Park is part of the former Camp Elliott for munitions training during WWII.
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The last munitions found here were in the early 80’s, with sweeps every 5 years since that have not found any additional ordinance.  Still it is wise to know the history and be aware to the possibility of additional finds. 

The trails are wide, safe and well marked.  Views of the lake and waterfowl are common from the campground.
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Although we saw numerous birds, the lone Jackalope is the only land creature we saw despite the perfect habitat.
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Not sure what this sign meant so a bit of investigation was required.
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I’m going with idea the trail is closed ‘ahead’.  Still this trail to the amphitheater offers some of the best views of the lake.

Although our neighbors look a bit like modern Gypsies they were all very nice as they make their way as full time travelers in a converted school bus.  They do not document their stays and suggested they might want to consider doing so.
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There are 5 named peaks within Mission Trails.  Bag all 5 and the park will provide a certificate.  I’ll have to start over since I have not done any selfies at each summit to prove the accomplishment.  Well starting over from 1 is not that big of a deal Smile
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The reason for selecting this destination was the monthly Star Party.  The San Diego Astronomical Association had 3 telescopes and 2 sets of Celstron celestial binoculars available for use.  Uranus was visible as a blue smudge but did not turn out in my lame camera nor did Andromeda.  Here’s a picture of Mars (a bit blurred) and a decent shot of the Orion Nebula, both taken with my little point-n-shoot Canon G16.
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Orion without the benefit of magnification.
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The Grand-girls came down Saturday for a bit of exploring.  Kg is our documentarian, and is as at home behind the camera as anybody.  I did not see what Kg was looking at as I was impressed with the reflections in the water
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A lone dead coastal oak marks the entrance to the trails on the north side of the lake and the grasslands I’ve hiked before.  Seeing so much green is beautiful, but I cannot help but think of the tinder for the next fire season.
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We intend to hike into Oak Canyon and follow it to the Old Mission Dam.  This is my 4th time into the canyon, but there was not a drop of water the last two times.  It’s indeed flowing big time this trip.
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The Mission Dam has been rebuilt several times.  The original brick tiles can be seen in this photo, overlayed with concrete and then rocks and more concrete.  The dam was built in the early 1800s to offer a reliable water supply the the growing San Diego Mission.
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After a 3+ mile loop we’re back at the campsite playing a card game called Hike.  And ready for an early dinner of carnitas tacos – YUM! and a challenge of Trivial Pursuit National Parks.
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A few of the wildflowers seen along the way.
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Single use plastic bags are no longer provided and reusable bags are required.  Daughter, Kami made several from the rainfly of their old tent.  Clever, strong and unique.  She knows what I want for Christmas!
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February 16, 2017

Avenida Revolución - Urban Hiking Tijuana

Living in San Diego we use the various services available in Tijuana (TJ), including dental, when it makes sense.  I’ve blogged about the process of obtaining a Mexican Visa and the process of getting to the border crossing last Sept here

We’ll need to renew our ‘visas’ next month.  Again I’ll fill out the forms and pay online at their website Nacional de Migration.  When we cross into TJ the forms will need to be presented and stamped by immigration to be valid.

Tijuana, with nearly 2 million citizens, is the largest city in Baja and with over 300,000 crossing the border daily it is the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, or also reported as the busiest land border crossing in the world.  I’d much rather be going to a medical tourist destination like Los Algodones, but we live in San Diego not Yuma.   It’s an easy trolley ride from home to the border and Washington Dental pays for the taxi to/from the border.   And very good dental health care can be had at a fraction of the US price.

This week I’ll share my experiences as I walk along the historic Avenida Revolución while waiting for Fran to finish up.
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This was the heart of the tourist district back in the day.  Altho the ‘Red Light’ district remains legal in TJ, it is no longer prevalent nor are the tourist trinket shops.  However, the bar and disco scene remain popular attractions.

On the same corner of our dental office, Show Girls share the corner with a nice coffee shop and the Waldo’s dollar store.
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Tijuana Tilly’s has been at the same location since 1947.  The fish tacos tasted like they were in the warmer at least that long, but the Margarita was really good.
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A few tourist traps and attractions remain.  The TJ Arch is near the pedestrian crossing to return to the US.  The shops do not compare to the vibrant attractions found elsewhere.
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The passageways were once full of tourist shops, but the few that remain no longer cater to the gringos.  This upscale alley houses artworks, sculptures and another dental office.
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My Spanglish is not sufficient to ask a lot of questions, but the library walls are covered with historic photos. 
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Fruit, drink and taco carts are still popular on the side streets, although more taco trucks are seen than carts.
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A nice park setting for kids play time is not just well maintained, but well used during my visit.
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And then there is Hotel Caesars!  Still a very well kept hotel/restaurant noted for the creation of the Caesar Salad.  We’ll celebrate Fran’s last dental visit here next month … with a Caesar Salad!
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