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August 23, 2020

A Return to Palomar Mountain

Although past its peak the Persied Meteor Shower still makes a nightly appearance in the mid-August night.  Knowing there would be a moonless night sky we made our plans for a few nights of camping.

The east grade road is the easiest approach for the RV although that route adds almost 20 miles to the trip.

The viewpoint offers a nice break overlooking Lake Henshaw and the surrounding valley and distant hills.


As with our previous trips we again reserved site #40 at Observatory Campground.  The site is reasonably level, has its own telescope pad and long enough the kids could join us for a quick overnight.

After setting up camp we took some time to walk around the campground.  Aj found a fun little log swing we all took a turn on.

Across the foot bridge are two walk in campsites.

a cut oak trunk looks to be a perfect axe throwing target.  Kg took a picture of the rings, so we could get an idea of the age of this old oak.

There are several of these majestic oak trees in the campground, perhaps a few more will have to be removed as they are suffering with our continued drought.


We had a couple daily visitors that made for a little fun.  One standing guard

while the other enjoyed lunch.

The kids had to leave early to return home.  School is starting for the girls.

When I camped here last November it was 24F, this time Fran noticed it’s predicted to be 106F.  HOT!

In the shade of our awning it easily passed 106, topping out just below 110F.  The old Coleman roof air struggled at keeping us comfy below 88 inside.

Our final morning we wandered up the Observatory Trail a bit over a half mile to the overlook.  This is the closest place with a cell signal, and we wanted to check in with the kids. 

The observatory, visitor center and gift shop remain covid-closed, but I was able to visit last November - those pictures are HERE. 

None of my night pictures turned out, just blackness.  But we did enjoy some special views of Jupiter and Saturn.  I saw a few meteors, but the Milky Way didn't develop as crisp as I hoped.  There was some high haze in the air.  California is having a nasty fire season with 560 separate fires active as I type this, a few of which contributed to the haze.

All of the BayfieldBunch has reported issues with the the new Blogger interface.  ARG!  For this post I composed the text in OLW, but I had to use Blogger's 'insert image' -> 'upload from computer' options to place the images directly into the blog.  I then cut'n'pasted the HTML source code back into OLW to size the images to fit within the margins of the blog and then reposted.  Awkward, slow and must be online the entire compose/edit session.  Pretty Lame!

I certainly miss Open Live Writer, when the entire post could be composed offline and then uploaded with images!  Ah those were the days ...

Continue to Stay Safe! 

August 04, 2020

Brigantine Portside Pier - is now open

It’s been years in the coming, but the Brigantine Portside Pier opened near the end of July.

The July-Fry heat wave was still going strong when it opened, which definitely made the opportunity to enjoy a new restaurant on the waterfront a big draw.

Being Covid Cautious we waited a bit and picked a weekday in early Fog-ust when it was cooler to ride our bikes down to the waterfront and check it out.  

We unloaded the bikes at Liberty Station and picked up the Bayshore Bikeway.  We rode the complete bikeway's 24 mile loop couple years ago, that blog is HERE.  A virtual ride of the bikeway can be found on YouTube HERE.

However, today we rode over the pedestrian bridge and caught the bikeway at Spanish Landing.  Following the Spanish Landing Trail from there it is an easy level ride to the waterfront.

The Brigantine family of restaurants includes Miguel’s Cocina and Ketch Brewing in addition to The Brigantine, all with multiple locations within the San Diego area.  All are present at Portside Pier in the one location.

The complex occupies the old Anthony’s Fish Grotto location just south of the Star of India.

We immediately notice there is no longer any bicycle racks, and lock ours to the new fencing, along with several others.

Public access to the upper deck is via stairs at either side of the complex or an elevator.  The folks in the background are dining on The Brigantine's deck.

 We entered the main lobby at The Brigantine to check things out.  The dining room is not as large as the old Anthony's dining area.  But it does have a large Oyster Bar that Anthony's did not, and shares the main floor with Miguel's Cocina.

The upper deck, The Top Sail, is open to the public with no obligation nor expectation of making a purchase.  It would be a good place on a clear day to enjoy views of the harbor.

USS Theodore Roosevelt 
San Diego Maritime Museum Exhibits
Waterfront Park

There's ample room on the Top Sail deck to sit or be social distant, enjoy a drink from the bar or a flight from Ketch Brewing.


Back on the main level is Miguel's with it's deck seating on the opposite side of the complex from Brigantine's deck.

Fran and I each had a delicious grilled Mahi-Mahi taco on the lower deck before we began our ride back.

Our take on the Brigantine Portside Pier?  This is just our initial take way ... It appears to be more for the younger upward mobile Millennial and tourists, than the local geriatric crowd (us).  We will want to return and check it out again when San Diego is finally Covid free.

The ride back to Liberty Station would not be worth mentioning except for three young kids jumping off the Nimitz bridge.  

The food court at Liberty Station is located within Liberty Station Market.  It's been closed then open a couple times during the Covid era.  It's been open now for awhile and we decided to walk through.

Hand washing stations are placed at all entrances and within the market.

It was nice to see a number of vendors open.  Social distancing is difficult to maintain in the maze and we paused to look at the various offerings.  But everybody was masked and all dining is at outdoor tables appropriately distanced.

It was nice to be out without the crowds normally found along the waterfront.  I'm sure it'll be a lot different as San Diego continues to open up.

My BLM NewsBytes (issue 912) contained a link to the alternatives under consideration for the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area - HERE.  The proposals all have camping and use limits, but no final decisions.