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May 28, 2017

Touristing with younger brother - San Diego fun

As Memorial Day is approaching, my older brother is again participating in Run For The Wall, I took my younger brother, Marty, to the National Veterans Memorial on Mt Soledad. 
(pictures from Marty)

Afterwards we did one of the things I enjoy, taking a ferry to Coronado and biking around the island.  The Hotel Del, the OZ House, main beach and the great architecture continue to impress every time.  I have blogged this ride before HERE.

Each Tuesday Balboa Park has  a selection of museums free for residents.  Although Marty still has to pay, we do not, so it’s half-price day as we take in some culture.  This is the forth Tuesday and offers Air and Space, Automotive and Hall of Champions – all nice offerings.  And for culture the Timken Museum of Art is always free and I’m buying lunch at the Prado.

The San Diego Hall of Champions was closed for a private event, I have not been to the Air and Space before making it an ideal place to start.  It is no surprise that Lindbergh has a prime spot, the Spirit of St. Louis was built here.
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Amelia Earhart is well displayed in a separate building.
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The luxury of flying Pan Am, they were flying jets the one time I flew with them.
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The Apollo IX module is on prominent display.  The moon rock was actually returned by Apollo XVII
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Also on display is Wally Schirra’s Mercury spacecraft Sigma 7.
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Pacific Southwest Airlines was the defacto standard airline for California.  I was offered a job there in the early 70s, but declined.  I still remember standing in line to donate blood after PSA182 crashed in North Park in 1978.   The donation went to other purposes, there were no survivors.  PSA was eventually taken over by what is now US Airways.
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I did not take many pictures of the military aircraft on display.  Certainly San Diego is a military town, and nearly half the floor space is taken over by military exhibits.

Adjacent is the Automotive Museum.  It’s pretty small, I’m sure many personal collections may have more exhibits.  But it does have the original Louie Matter’s 1947 Cadillac that holds the endurance record.  That alone is totally worth the price of admission.  The Cadillac was driven on a 7,484 mile "good will tour," from Alaska to Mexico City, without stopping.  It contained a small fridge, cooktop, oven, shower all the makings of a small RV.  Fuel could be pumped from the support trailer without stopping.  The oil changed itself and even a flat tire could be changed without stopping.
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Marty is a retired postal worker.
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Evel Knievel’s Stratocycle will remain on display until June 30.
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Another famous bike is Fonzie’s 1949 Triumph, this is one of 3 bikes used in filming Happy Days.  You can watch the Fonz jump the bike on YouTube HERE.
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This is a travel day for Marty, although 7 years my junior he is past the age where he should have purchased his National Parks ‘Geezer’ Pass.  Note the pass will go up from $10 to $80 soon, per this article in Time

The Cabrillo National Monument is on the way to the airport and we have time.
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We had sufficient time to check out the trails along the tide pools, but at mid-tide the fun lower levels are not yet exposed.
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The pelicans fly so effortlessly on the air currents.  The gooseneck barnacles are a common sight.
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Lots of marine life in the sandstone, like these Chitons and Limpets.  The rock is interesting in that it has the high-tide life, which spends half its life out of water, on top; mid-tide at the water level and low tide grasses still in the water.
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To get the most out of a visit to the tide pools try to arrive near low tide, University of California San Diego (UCSD) provides tide charts for 2017, 2018, 2019.

There is a lot diversity of life in the tidepools, downloading a cheat sheet will help identify the flora and fauna.

After nearly 3 weeks of guests, I’m surprised we miss them already!

May 24, 2017

Over the Line - OTL 101

With our three weeks of guests it’s always fun to take in a variety of SoCal experiences, and keep it interesting and fresh for us too.  My kid brother had not been to an Over the Line (OTL) tournament before.  Time to change that.  OTL began in San Diego and remains a SoCal tradition.

The spot finds its roots on the sand of South Mission Beach where lifeguard Ron “Fox” LaPolice first devised the game in 1953.  He has the most famous (and consistent) stride in the game, 20 LaPolice steps marked the line and 22 steps the width of the court.  Later the courts were marked with ropes and narrowed to a 20 LaPolice steps, but still remain infinite in length.

LaPolice was also a co-founder of the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC), which still holds various local tournaments including the OTL World Championships each July on Fiesta Island.  OTL has grown from 6 friends with a bat and ball to a limit of 1200 international teams at the World Championships.  Nephew Joey will be playing again this year.

Pitching is an art, just a soft toss to the batter on your own team.  The batter must hit the ball ‘over the line’ to be a fair ball.  A ball that lands in the sand past the line is a hit.  A ball that lands short of the line inside the ‘pie’ is an out.  A ball that lands outside the field of play is foul, two foul balls is an out.  Three hits scores 1 run.  A ball that lands past the last defense person is a home run and clears the bases.  A ball caught by the defense is an out.  A swing-and-a-miss is an out – there are no strikes.
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Yes gals can play too.  The pitcher shows the batter where to expect the ball and then a gentle toss to that location.  The batter uses a golf swing to place the ball over the line, out of reach of the defense.
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The scorekeeper must keep track of not only runs and outs, but also hits (home run is a hit) as hits might be counted if a tie-breaker is needed.
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And the gals can wear gloves, but the guys must play defense without them.
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There are official balls and bats that are used in the OMBAC tournaments, but a softball and wooden bat is all that’s needed for fun or practice.
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The main scoreboard will show teams on the court and the up-next team.  The ladder shows the winner of the last game and when the next game will be scheduled.
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The World Championships are the 2 weekends following July 4th.  If you are in San Diego either the weekend of July 8th or July 15th 2017, it is indeed a unique stop (rated PG18).  This is a free public event, beverages and souvenirs are available.  Just remember the “B” rules, as they are strictly enforced:
The No “B”s: No Bottles, No Bicycles, No Bowzers (dogs), No Babies, No Boas, No Bad Attitudes, No Battles (fighting)

Enjoy the game!

I’ll put up a collage of some things we did with the guests next, maybe you’ll find something fun for your next visit.  But, for now it is time that we really get into finalizing this year’s road trip as it is just a couple weeks away.

May 22, 2017

Tijuana Airport - HowTo: Cross Border Express (CBX)

I need to pick up my kid brother at the Tijuana Airport as his Snowbird season has come to an end.  Marty is a retired postal worker living in Tacoma, but has a home in Mazatlan as  his winter residence.  It’s much less expensive to fly in/out of the Tijuana and using the Cross Border Express (CBX) footbridge that connects Otay Mesa to the TJ airport.  

From home it’s easy to hop on I-5 south to exit 3, CA-905 East.
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Follow CA-905 East 6 miles to Britannia Blvd.

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The route is well marked with directional arrows on the light poles.
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The CBX is not a free service - it is a toll bridge!, at this time it is $16 US one way!   Be sure to have enough US Dollars to cover that expense.  Or purchase your ticket, up to a year in advance online HERE.  To use the CBX bridge you must have a CBX ticket AND an airline boarding pass for a flight either departing Tijuana Airport within 24 hours, or having arrived within 2 hours.

There is ample parking, but the main lot is $18 per day!  Ouch!!! that’s out of line for a pick up, and there is no cell phone lot, as is available at Lindbergh Field.   The left lane is for long term parking $18 per day.  The right is for pick up and drop off.
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However, there is a short term lot $5 for up to 2 hours , but better still street parking is readily available.  The best bet is to park on the street and wait for a text/call from the person you’ll be picking up and then circle the pickup area.
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Once you’ve done this once it’s so very easy, much easier than the TJ or Otay pedestrian pick up.  I hope a reader might find this HowTo useful.  

A Google map showing the CBX can be found HERE.
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