Sightseeing in Our Own Backyard

While San Diego is not known for its art scene, or its culinary delights, or its job market, or its vineyards or its liberal and tolerant culture, it is known for its awesome climate, historical sites, and military history. As part of my new mission to sight see in my own backyard, Ian and I rode our bikes to Point Loma Lighthouse.

Since the weather rarely varies from its cloudless/ low 80's pattern, it is unnecessary to point out the perfect cycling weather.

We rode from our Shoebox by the Sea out along Sunset Cliffs Blvd in Ocean Beach, then up over the appropriately named Hill Street, and then south on the 209, through Fort Rosecrans, to Cabrillo National Monument. Here's a map of our bike route.

We rode through Fort Rosecrans, which is still an active military site, past the famous and scenic Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, and past some really huge scale models of battleships and aircraft carriers. They were 6'-14' long, and choc full o' details, like little satellite dishes and stairwells and little poles that stick up with wires coming off of them and little portholes and little turrets and little cannons and all that.

For what are these amazing models used? Do new recruits go out and learn their way around an aircraft carrier by moving a to-scale GI Joe action figure around the model of the ship? Is this a Barbie Kitchen for military dudes?

Ian and I are looking into getting this aircraft carrier model and using it as our patio table. I think the bridge would make a great cup holder.

While I failed in my online search to find what these models are and who uses them, I did find this link which is really neat. Check it out.

As it turns out, the most scenic and lovely spots have also been, typically, the most strategic spots to sport a military base (Fort Point in SF, the Presidio in SF, the Presidio in SD, Fort Steilacoom, Fort Moultrie, and Tripler, to name a few) (disregard Ft. Hood). Point Loma is no exception. It is a gorgeous, elevated point that looks out over San Diego Bay, Coronado, and out to the Pacific. Even the "Deliveries Only" door has a great view.

At the visitor's center, I posed with a statue of Cabrillo the Conquistador, and then we watched a short movie in the visitor's center about the biology of the tide pools. As a biologist, Ian was appalled at the inaccurate information and poor/flat-out-wrong explanation of evolution. I took it with a grain of salt and appreciated the effort to educate the vacationing retired folks from Arizona about conservation and stewardship of delicate ecological areas.

After sighing through our noses during the well intended but, ultimately, underwhelming ecology lesson, we got back on our trusty steeds and bombed down a huge hill from the point down to the coast. It was very fast, and very fun!

At the bottom, we were sad to realize our visit corresponded exactly with high tide, so no tide pools for us. We did, however, meet 2 old dudes who were working on a photo project. Our chat about filters and shutter speed and digital vs. actual film was lively and fun. You gotta love two old guys who dork out over cameras and flirt with a married lady half their age.

The huge hill that was a thrill going down was a bitter mistress on the way up. I made it about half way up on my bike before thinking I was going to liberate the sandwich I ate. My handlebars don't need that kind of shower. The rest of the hill was conquered on foot. Slowly. Sans vomiting.

I think we can count the outing as a success.

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