San Diego Labor Day 2013

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This is the sunset I drove into on Friday night for a Labor Day weekend with friends in San Diego.  (Photo taken through my windshield as I was driving.)  Left after work Friday (and after the AC people had just replaced my AC/furnace combo for muchos dólares – leak in freon caused the AC to seize up + water leak from condensate pipe, which should have been capped, rusted the furnace and about 10” of the water sat in lower duct work that had to be sucked out with my neighbor’s shop vac, etc, etc.)  Google maps said it would take 5 hours 44 minutes, and it was about that.

I had been reminded to bring my hiking boots, so Saturday morning we three took an hour’s hike on the Rim trail in Mission Trails Regional Park, just behind their housing development, the desert drier than Tucson, as they’ve had less than 3 inches of rain this year (while Tucson had 2 inches more) – just brush – no trees, even mesquite, could make it there.

Then put together a rice salad for the evening’s BBQ.

After that L and I went to see Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen’s latest movie, and a possible Oscar for Cate Blanchett, but real depressing.  Jasmine’s husband, played by Alec Baldwin, is a Bernie Madoff type.  You know how, in one of Woody’s recent movies there’d be Woody’s voice coming out of someone else’s mouth?   No longer – only one line (the dentist commenting on his tie) that sounded like Woody’s voice.  Serious film, even if it does say it’s a comedy.  Review said it as loosely based on Streetcar Named Desire, but I didn’t catch that.  Maybe it’s been too long since I’ve seen the play.

In the evening a BBQ at a friend’s house, outside.  So hot they had three fans going on the deck.  But good food and pleasant chats.

san diego 029Sunday P was doing a 70-mile bicycle ride with buddies in preparation for a 300-mile ride they’ll be doing later in the month from Monterey to Santa Barbara, then by train back to San Diego.  So L and I went to see the Tall Ships in the Festival of Sail (obviously in the harbor).  Think this photo is of the Star of India.  Check out this website for all of the ships there:

She just recently retired as an attorney for a boat insurance company, so she knows tons and asks intelligent questions.  One of the questions I asked was what were the furry things on the lines that looked like a clutch of tribbles (fictional animals in the Star Trek universe1).  Apparently they get a lot of those questions and had a placard made for the Baggywrinks (fuzzy things).  You’ll have to click on it to enlarge and read it.

san diego 015san diego 016I san diego 025enjoyed talking to one of the guys in “old timey” costumes on what had been the “HMS” Rose.  (To star in the film Master and Commander her name was changed to Surprise which was the fictional command of Captain Jack Aubrey, of Patrick O’Brian’s books.)

The guy in the English redcoat was wearing a leather band around his neck for military bearing – chin up all of the time, can’t even look down to get his bayonet off his belt to attach to his rifle  (which he demonstrated).

san diego 026Lots of details on how the rigging ropes were wound.  This is a reverse lay with a wormed finer cord.  OK, I’m never going to need this information, but learning new things keeps one’s brain from calcifying.

There’s standing rigging v. running rigging.

On a sailing boat, standing rigging generally refers to line which are more or less fixed in position while the boat is under sail. This term is used in contrast to running rigging, which represents elements of rigging which move and change fairly often while under sail. Standing rigging is placed under tension to keep the various spars (mast, bowsprit) securely in position and adequately braced to handle loads induced by sails.

The standing rigging used to be coated with tar to make them stiffer, so they’re black.

san diego 007There were volunteers with the maritime museum who were qualified to climb up the rigging.  This is way up in the air!

san diego 030Two of the ships unfurled their sails and sailed out (with paid passengers) into the bay for a “cannon battle” – lots of noise and smoke from blanks from four deck guns but kinda funny with pleasure boats and jet skis all around.  Here’s my photo of one of them.

SAN DIEGO — Sun, Sand and Sails.
… When the guns boomed, car alarms went off.
It would have been another chamber of commerce day except for a fourth and unwelcome element: Steam, as in the oppressively muggy weather of the last few days.

This net of ropes at the front of the boat used for the crew “toilet”.  (No, that’s different from the “poop deck”.)

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I liked the figureheads mounted under the bowsprit.  Unusual that two are not bare-breasted woman who could calm an angry sea.

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And the decorative storing of lines.

san diego 017san diego 028It was hot as the dickens (you’d think the globe was warming up…) even with judiciously placed fans on the ships.  L and I had on our camelbaks for ice water.

On to the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Exposition – this time not on the beach, but on the Embarcadero, with sand brought in from a quarry in East County.

“Beach sand does not necessarily have the compacting qualities that the sculptors like. It takes a tremendous amount of water to saturate it. This sand has a little more clay in it; it’s a little more dense.” 2

san diego 045san diego 047These from the professionals.  (Imagine doing sandcastles for a profession.)  Twelve international master-class sculptors from the Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and various states in the US.  The first is a mechanical (notice the screws) bug with beautiful wings and pincers at the top.  The second amazing for the holes in it (and I liked the San Diego skyline).  The professionals had started sculpting on Thursday and were already judged.

san diego 036san diego 041The amateur two-person teams had just started Saturday morning and would be judged on Monday.  Love this Picasso.  The next one, Dr Seuss, has a cat in a hat.

san diego 055san diego 052The others that had started Saturday morning were the six-person teams.  I asked one sculptor why she was doing it and the answer was We’re getting paid.  That brought people in to the booths selling jewelry, tchotchkes (Yiddish for knickknacks) in between.  These sea creatures were pretty nifty.   There was also an area for children (and their parents) to build in the sand.

san diego 056Did like one booth, Eyeball Photography, with blown-up photos which looked like black-and-white shots of California, mostly beaches, that had been hand-tinted.3

Walked to Seaport Village for lunch.  On the way passed the 25-foot statue, Unconditional Surrender, by Seward Johnson, known for his trompe l’oeil painted bronze statues.  (I’ve seen his The Awakening in DC among others.)

san diego 058san diego 059Next passed street per- formers.  Statues until you put a tip in their hat, then on came the music and moves like san diego 060wind-up dolls.

The first guy, painted gun metal gray, was great with Michael Jackson’s jerky moves.  The second, painted bronze was a baseball player.  I caught him in action so you can barely make out his bat.  The third I photographed had a costume with two heads on his back, then he bent over, shoes on his hands as well as his feet, and the two midgets danced with each other.  He attracted the largest crowd.

Sunday evening they were having friends in for dinner and bridge, so I went to see Tucson friend N who has rented a small place near the water for two months.  (Her husband drives back and forth – still keeps up with his golf buddies in Tucson and his bass tournaments in the White Mountains.)

She’s a block from Dog Beach, so we three spent some time there with her pooch, walking in the sand, a very happy place full of dogs all getting along, chasing balls and each other.  I didn’t take my camera, but here’s a nice photo that is copyrighted (so I can’t drop it into my blog, but I can refer to it):

For those of you who have never gone to San Diego, or do not have a dog, this beach is separated from the “good” (hence for people) beaches by the San Diego River to the north.  It’s totally devoted to dogs and their people and has a stand with poop bags for pickup and trash cans for the refuse, so the sand is clean.  But, not sure what’s been expelled into the water, I only saw one human in past her knees.  Some people have canopies up for a full day and BBQ.

One woman had a long leash which was attached to a pit-lab mix swimming against the current as the ocean flowed into the river (which isn’t much of a river, as it turns into a golf course on the other side of I5); she said it had been swimming for three hours!  Obsessive/ compulsive dog.

Then dinner at a bistro where dogs are welcome on the patio – six already there when we arrived.  The whole neighborhood seems an extension of Dog Beach.

silver strandThe San Diego friends had asked me to bring my bike, so Monday morning L and I took an “easy” ride with her husband, 20 miles on flat ground – down and back up the isthmus south of Coronado Island (which is not really an island), called the Silver Strand.  (Starting in 1941, bay dredging for naval purposes dumped millions of tons of sand onto the beaches on both sides of I75, creating an extensive “new” beach.)  Training for Navy SEALs on the ocean side, lovely bike path and a park (looked like Sunday in the Park with George, except for more contemporary dress) on the bay side of the highway.

Then lunch and a visit to their son so that I could meet the new grandchild, and a six-hour drive home.  Rained in the mountains as I exited the coast, then smoke from some fire.  Because my tiny car was straining to get up those steep grades, and I didn’t turn the AC off ‘cause it was too hot, only got 24.5 mpg, when the Nissan Versa brags about 30 mpg.  Can only get 30 with no AC, going downhill, with the wind behind you.  Slept well when I finally got home.

Home to overcast grumbly days with distant thunder and light rain in the afternoons.  Then back to high winds breaking large sections off my coleus and purple “Moses in the Boat”, over-100° temps, and something which I cannot find eating my tomato plants.  All the leaves cut off the first, half off the second.  Bother!

Tuesday is my eight-hour workday, Wednesday six-hours (which includes my exercise class), so I’m tardy with this, but will get back to my Italy blog.


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2 Responses to “San Diego Labor Day 2013”

  1. Price Says:

    That looks like a fun trip. Please come back and invite more “Zoners” along – they spend money and typically drive more sanely than the locals.

  2. N Says:

    100’s of surfers, boogie boarders, swimmers are in the water at Dog Beach daily, and a number were there when we visited.

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