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July 28, 2018

Why July?–it’s San Diego’s best month

It’s been 5 years since we spent a July at home.  We’ve been travelers (since-we-can), but if you can only spend one month in the Paradise of San Diego July is a good time to plan it.  And here are a few reasons why.

After the May-Gray and the June-Gloom, July can be a welcome month.  May and June are the months with the lowest percentages of sunny days at 58% and 59% (respectively).

We have had ‘No-Sky-July’, even ‘Fogust’, but this was a perfect year with blue skies on July 1st.  The ocean water jumped to a near 70F, if this is not Paradise it’s close enough for me!

A beautiful postcard day July 2018.
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Leopard Sharks
Each year thousands of Leopard Sharks have been gathering at La Jolla Shores starting early May.  However the numbers will continue to increase into September as they mate.  With the nice jump in the water temperature July is a good time to enjoy a swim ... with the sharks!  Yes the leopard shark is harmless and pretty much ignores the slow moving swimmers

On July (and August) weekends Scripps Aquarium offers naturalist-led Snorkel with the Leopard Sharks opportunities.  The sharks can be found as far north as Kellogg Park, but the greatest numbers are from the Marine Room south to the La Jolla Caves.

Earlier this year Scuba Diver Girls put a great 'HowTo' on their blog, follow the link and enjoy.
It’s also popular to kayak, SUP, or boogie board as a means to commune with the sharks.

Del Mar Fair
The San Diego County Fair is held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the two weeks before July 4th.  We go every couple years, or so. It’s a fair – not that much different than any county fair, but it is the biggest (most crowded) county fair in America. 

We last went after my retirement in 2015 which can be found on the blog HERE.  Although the exhibits always seem similar, there is usually a unique food item to sample.

Del Mar Races
Take a plane , take a train, take a car …” to where the Surf Meets the Turf.  Opening Day of the Del Mar Racing Season is July 18th, that’s two weeks after the fair has closed.  We’ve been a few times – not opening day (Fran doesn’t have a hat nor I a tux!), even tho we have been invited.  Our tastes lean more toward the infield, which is fun mid-season, it’s relaxing and no one is in a hurry but the horses.

Co-owner Bing Crosby was a regular at the track, even greeted each guest personally when the track opened in 1937.  Bing and other celebrities would fly down to the adjacent Del Mar Airport.

Yes - there was a Del Mar Airport … back-in-the-day – which I mentioned as part of the Crest Canyon hike.

Independence Day Celebrations
San Diego is a military town as are the surrounding cites.  Each have their own celebrations, but this year we chose to take the ferry over to watch the Coronado Parade.  It seems all the small towns have their own parade and activities.  Patch.com puts out what seems to be a fairly complete list of this year’s activities

Fireworks are part of most 4th of July celebrations. 
“The Rockets Red Glare,
The Bombs Bursting in Air …”  sorta thing
The Big Bay Boom fireworks show consists of four barges placed around San Diego Bay each setting off the same display synchronized to music from a local radio station.
July 4th as the last day of the San Diego County Fair has its own display, followed by a dance party.

Sand Castles
The weekend after July 4th we were able to make it to Imperial Beach’s annual Sun and Sea Festival.  Teams from around the area compete building sand sculptures. 
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Over The Line
We attended the OTL World Championships last weekend.  The courts are still set up this weekend for the Junior Championships … a bit more family themed. 
There is an OTL event nearly every weekend during the summer.  High school requires 3 Physical Education credits prior to graduation.  OTL is offered as one of those credits - not when I was in school!

Our daughter is PAID to attend Comic-con.  She’s in the business and always looking for the ‘Next Big Thing’ to turn into a game.  I’m certainly supportive, but after attending a couple times it’s not really my thing.  But I did get to meet Kevin Bacon!  That’s 0-degrees of separation, not 6-degrees of separation from the game.  But if you are into Super Heros, fantasy, games, comics, etc., this is the place! and it sells out every year.

Surf with the Dogs
Del Mar and Ocean Beach have dog surfing competitions.  However Del Mar has pay parking and we missed the event in OB.  So today my plan was to go back to Imperial Beach and watch the Imperial Beach Surf Dog competition.

Kinda sorry I missed it as it is fun to see. 

But I have some chores at home to do in the cool of the morning.  I finished repairs on the fence on the north and west sides.  I even picked up the materials this morning at Home Depot (I call HD ‘3rd Base’ – since I can’t come home without stopping there) to begin the south side, but decided to blog instead Smile.
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There’s No Bad Days in July, but it does mark the start of a couple less desirable events:
1.  Fire Season – We cannot expect any rain until October
2.  Tourist Season – If they are ‘in season’ why can’t I shoot them?  I just take a deep breath and try to realize they spend a lot of money to be here for a week or so, and just want to enjoy what we do.

The link for August events from Patch.com can be found HERE.

In August Fran will be in Ohio, while I'll check out the meteor shower from the Eastern Sierra.
There'll be No Bad Days in August!

July 22, 2018

OTL World Championships - Fiesta Island

The Over The Line World Championships are held annually after Independence Day on Mission Bay’s Fiesta Island.  I did an introduction to Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) and their invention of OTL last year HERE.  If you are not sure what the game entails take a brief review, the rules are simple – hit the ball over the line!
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This is the 65th annual OTL World Championships.  Both Fox Sports West and ESPN have approached OMBAC for permission to televise the event, but OMBAC has turned them down -  this is an adult themed event and may not be suitable for TV.  But I will do what I can for a ‘G rating’ on the blog!

The first 1200 teams to register will compete for this years title.  The 48 courts will cover the interior surface of Fiesta Island.  Much of the perimeter of the island will become a parking lot.
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We’ll ride our bikes over, but there are also free shuttle buses that run from parking lots around Mission Bay.  Fiesta Island may be closed to traffic about the time the games start.  An early arrival can get a parking spot.  For the hard core the city will allow RV parking, for $300 – that gets you Friday/Saturday night for both weekends.  Or there is prepaid parking at the ‘Dog Park” location.
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Boy/Girl Scouts of America will benefit from the recycle program of the event.  It’s a long hot day of collection and sorting, they deserve what they ‘can’ collect!
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Although there is a bit of a ‘Mardi Gras’ atmosphere, that is not how Fran earned her beads, nor did we enjoy any shooters!  It’s all who ya know …
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There are lots of vendors here, no need to go hungry nor thirsty.  A good friend, Barny, worked the Big Al’s grill for some time.  He baked peanut butter cookies for special customers … including us!
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For sure Big Al’s is a fun place
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And also offers a refuge from the hectic pace of the main events
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Ice is available as is the leftover from yesterday.  All ice is non-GMO and gluten free!  Who knew there could be gluten in ice?
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But we’re here for the games.  The pitch is from a teammate, typically just a gentle toss for the batter to hit with a golf swing.  The pitcher presents the ball from a squatting position facing the batter.
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Or from a sidewise position or occasionally high enough to allow the batter to use a conventional baseball swing.
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The idea is to hit the ball over the line without a defender catching it.  If it does not go over the line, that's an out.  If the ball is caught by a defender, that's an out.  If the ball does not land in the playing field, that's a foul ball.  Two foul balls and that's an out.

Our nephew Joey is around the corner on Court 42.  The first week they were undefeated 4-0, let's see how they do this week.  Here’s ‘the Joe’ demonstrating the golf swing and a bit of the baseball swing.  He’s also the team pitcher, a natural lefty as a pitcher?  Seems to work!
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Defense is hard to describe.  Kevin is defending ‘The Line’ just a couple feet in front of him, Joey is mid-field to catch what Kevin cannot or what Kevin can deflect.  Dan is deep – no home runs!  A hit just over the line is hard to defend, if Kevin cannot catch the ball he might be able to slap it up and allowing Joey to catch it.
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Joey works at and plays for Rocky’s Crown Pub, which gives us access to their palapa and clean porta-potty.  A nice shot of Fran giving the boys some advice, or are they helping her understand the game?
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I promised to keep this ‘G Rated’ but team ‘Leave it to Cleavage’ is next up.  On the second photo I have no idea of her team, and have no intention of finding out!
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Another fun day at the beach, until next week No Bad Days!

July 15, 2018

Sun and Sea Festival - Imperial Beach

Each year Imperial Beach hosts the Sun and Sea Festival with the main attraction being the sandcastles.  These are indeed world-class, award-winning sandcastle builders.  What makes the IB festival unique is there is only a 6 hour window to create an award winning sand sculpture.
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Although the contestants are allowed to stage their equipment and shelters before hand, build of the sandcastles begins promptly at 10 AM with final judging after the tools are set down at 2 PM.  Not much time for the detail some of the design will hold.

Lots of water is used to liquify the sand as it is placed in the forms.  More water will be used to smooth the shapes.
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The water is staged in the big blue 30 gallon tubs provided or hauled up from the ocean as needed.
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Better yet this team has a clever idea that is working for them.  Under the rear wheel of the bike is a water pump and a hose that stretches to the ocean.  The rider says he can pump about 5 gallons a minute.  Much faster and easier than lugging water up by the bucket.
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The Marvel Comics Superheroes are very evident as the theme of this years competition.
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But not all heroes are found in the pages of a comic book
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Or as unassuming as Make a Wish. 
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Besides the sun and the sand there are activities, food music and mermaids! even a few mermen!
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There were two stages, this was a very good group playing Cuban music.  Guess that takes an electric harp!  Haven’t seen one of those before!  But it sure kept this gal dancing.
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No surprise there are a lot of food trucks to pick from.  Most unique was an old fire truck sporting a wood fired pizza oven built into its water tank..  Gotta like the dog wearing his favorite sun shades and sharing a shaved ice with his human.
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Imperial Beach hosts a variety of fun family events.  This last picture is so SoCal and fitting of a morning visit to IB.  There’s dad on his skateboard taking the 5 kids down to do some surfing.
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The 65th OTL World Championship also began this weekend.  Strictly limited to 1200 teams from around the word.  Nephew, Joey, moves on as one of the 150 undefeated teams into next week.  So that may be the blog for next week.

Until then No Bad Days!