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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default Stay-Cation 2015 Has Begun!

    Once again, my husband and I are going to be staying home for the spring and summer this year, rather than taking a long trip. We are expecting a couple of batches of family visitors during June and July, and will be taking a quick road trip in early July. So today, the end of my spring break, I started to visit areas of San Diego County that I haven't been to in awhile.

    The trip today was to Sea World-San Diego. As a Southern California educator, I was eligible to get a free Fun Card for 2015. Since my daughter's family already had a Fun Card, she and I took the baby and went to Sea World for the day. The last time I was at Sea World was almost 6 years ago, and it was then owned by Anheuser-Busch. They no longer own it, which may be a bit of a good thing.

    We were there by 10:00 am. Parking costs $16 unless your pass covers it (and hers did), and getting in early got us a decent parking place. Once up at the park entrance, I had to trade my voucher for the Fun Card.

    Sea World April 2015 003 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Sea World has a full section set up for kids to stretch their legs, play, yell, and holler either before, during, or after seeing the many shows and exhibits. My grandson enjoyed the kiddie rides, the bounce mat, and the climbing net before getting back into his stroller to go see some of the aquariums and the Penguin Encounter.

    Once past the kiddie section, we headed for the arctic area which contains Wild Arctic and the Penguin Encounter. Outside of the Penguin Encounter were some Magellan penguins, who can tolerate the warmer temperatures that coastal San Diego can give.

    Sea World April 2015 034 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Inside the Penguin Encounter, one can view the Antarctic penguins, and the puffins (which are sort of a penguin that lives in the Arctic). It's hard to photograph these when the inside of the plexiglass windows are all steamed up!

    Sea World April 2015 050 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Sea World April 2015 061 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    From there, we walked over to do the Wild Arctic. Due to my grandson, we couldn't do the simulation ride, but I've done it before and it's not all that great. But the polar bears and beluga whales were out and in the mood to be photographed by all those people at the windows!

    Sea World April 2015 076 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Sea World April 2015 085 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    One beluga whale was also in the mood to play!
    Sea World April 2015 088 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default Continuing the day at Sea World....

    We had lunch at the Caribbean Reef area. Food at Sea World is rather pricey. We had two pieces of BBQ chicken (a thigh-leg combo and a breast-wing combo), a load of French fries and a roll for $12.99, each. We shared with my grandson, and we each had our own water bottles with us because drinks are sky-high.

    Next stop was at Turtle Reef. This was new to me, though my daughter had been inside it.
    This was a huge sea turtle.
    Sea World April 2015 095 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    This was a much smaller turtle.
    Sea World April 2015 109 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    My mom taught me to appreciate flamingos. There were two different areas for them. One was on the west side near to the Manta roller coaster ride (what's THAT doing at Sea World!), and the other was on the east side near the old Clydesdale barn. The western area is evidently where they keep the nesting flamingos in the spring.

    Sea World April 2015 117 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    We stopped at the Dolphin pool for the longest time. My daughter has always loved dolphins, and she wanted to see if she could pet one. Besides, Baby Boy had finally dropped into a nap.

    Sea World April 2015 127 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    I'm pretty proud of this picture:
    Sea World April 2015 131 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Eventually we made it back to the other area of the park, and saw the eastern flamingos. These were the more social birds. There were two sets of them that had some sort of disagreement that made us all laugh.

    Sea World April 2015 158 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Instead of the Clydesdales on parade, which used to happen every afternoon when Anheuser-Busch owned the place, now the Flamingos from the east side go on parade.

    Sea World April 2015 159 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Alas, after 5 hours in the place, it was time to head home. We didn't want to fight rush hour traffic and we'd have been right in the middle of it if we waited another hour. We'd had a good time, the only money we spent was on our lunch, and I got a lot of sun and good walking. BTW, I wear a pedometer. I walked for 3+ miles inside Sea World.



    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default

    Looks like you had a fantastic day Donna. Pity about the high food and drink price's. Ill remember to take my water if i get back over to your beautiful country. Love the pictures.

    Keith

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default That would be a good idea

    Keith, great idea to bring your own water... they're in an unbelievable drought in CA. Just have to be able to get it through security.

    :-p

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Keith, great idea to bring your own water... they're in an unbelievable drought in CA. Just have to be able to get it through security.

    :-p

    Lifey
    I guess ill have to force myself to drink soft drink. :) Yes, terrible that. I did read that there are nice green golf course's out in the middle of no where in California. Hopefully thats not true.

    Keith :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Drinks at Sea World - if you just ordered a regular sized drink with lunch, it would cost about $3.60. They also offer a "souvenir cup", about 24 oz., for $14! Of course, the day you buy it, you can get that cup refilled as many times as you want, for free. Then, you can get it refilled for 99c on subsequent visits during that season only. Daughter did that with her souvenir cup, before we left. There are drinking fountains all over the place, for refilling water bottles. They don't keep you from bringing in your own food or drinks, but woe to you if some of the thieving sea gulls snitch your sandwich.

    As far as green golf courses -- many of the golf courses have let their courses get a little brown these days. Others have a way of recycling the water and are able to keep reusing the same. Sea World has water play areas for kids that use recycled water...my grandson does not like those because the water comes up unpredictably.


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Day 2 of Part I of Stay-Cation 2015:

    My husband and I are trying to get back into the habit of walking every day, but walking the neighborhoods gets old after awhile. I finally convinced him to give some of our urban dirt trails a try, so we headed for Poway's Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, and its trail system.

    IMG_1516 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    The trails range from old dirt roads (still usable by the ranger trucks, but not by the public) to regular single-wide dirt paths. We headed down and took a left when we saw the Creekside Trail. It was a quiet dirt path, just above a very-dry creek bed. Yes, we are in a severe drought. I doubt that this creek has seen water in several years. Evidence of the 2003 Cedar fire shown in tree bark, even 11+ years after-the-fact.

    IMG_1517 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    After walking along the Creekside trail, we continued up the dirt road and made a decision at the Fork in the Road. We could go right towards Lake Poway, or keep going straight toward Lake Ramona. We decided to go a little ways up the Lake Poway trail. Then we kept on going, and going, and going, making a right at one point to get ourselves up to the viewpoint where we could actually see Lake Poway.

    My husband looks back at the trail we just came up as I look ahead and see the earthen dam that creates Lake Poway:
    IMG_1518 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Just before that right turn was a very quiet picnic area. It used to be a tent-campers, walk-in campground, but after the Cedar fire, overnights were no longer allowed in the area.
    IMG_1520 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Halfway up to Lake Poway, I had to stop and take a breath. So I looked back and saw this awesome view. If you look carefully, you'll see the small earthen dam that holds back Lake Ramona.
    IMG_1521 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Alas! Lake Poway! We didn't venture in any further. Lake Poway will be another day trip sometime.
    IMG_1522 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    What went up, must come down, exercising another portion of the legs and giving the ole-heart a little rest too:
    IMG_1524 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    It was a gorgeous day for this 4.2 mile walk. Some of the yucca are starting to bloom, making it extra special as long as one takes some sort of camera along. (No phone service out there, but the phone can still be used as a camera.)
    IMG_1525 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    That ended our beautiful morning in the Blue Sky Reserve.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default

    My grandson loves those play areas. He seems to be able to predict when water is going to blow but but i cant and he thinks its funny when i get soaked. As for seagulls, was having some crumbed sausages and chips at the beach with grandson and they were pinching his chips. He didnt want them to get his crumbed sausage so he held it above his head haha. Should have seen the look on his face when sausage flew away. :)
    I didnt think that would be right what i had read about the golf course's. Thanks for that.

    Keith

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Part I of Stay-Cation 2015, Day 3: We chose to spend this beautiful Easter Sunday out in God's beautiful nature, taking in the fresh air and strengthening our bodies. Our day trip was to Lake Poway. I had not been there in many years, so it was high time for a trip. It's a place for families to enjoy a picnic, barbecue (grills only, no open fires), play volleyball or softball, let the kids roll on the grassy hills and play on the playground, do some fishing either from the shore or a small motorized boat, or hike. Being a gorgeous day, we saw a lot of families doing all of that, some still setting up. (If they got there much later, parking was going to be by shuttle bus only.) For locals, it's free, but non-residents pay $5 car to park for the day.

    IMG_1531 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    We set out to hike all the way around the Lake on the Lake Poway Trail, 2.7 miles. Some of it, perhaps 0.3 miles, was going to be a repeat (downhill) of part of the trail we did the day before. The rest was going to be somewhat new, especially to my husband. (About 20 years ago, I remember hiking around the Lake with a troop of 5th grade Girl Scouts.)

    We had to repeat that downhill section, then slog up the mountain on the other side of the earthen dam that holds back Lake Poway. But the views were really beautiful!

    IMG_1537 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    The adage we speak of about national and state parks holds true at Lake Poway: There can be a LOT of people at the main road, but the farther you get away from the main road, the less people you run into. Our only complaint (yesterday and today both) were the ones that insist on having a loud conversation when you are trying to enjoy the sounds of birds singing.

    IMG_1540 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    At one point, we let some of those noisier groups go by us. Here's a photo of my husband looking up at a different trail. Yes, we've gained walking sticks since yesterday!

    IMG_1541 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    The far end of this photo, off in the distance, shows the earthen dam. By this time, the trail had pretty well leveled off, and there were more people on it, too. Too bad, but we had to remember that it IS Sunday!

    IMG_1544 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    And we were back!
    IMG_1546 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    By this time, all the lots were jammed, and folks were driving around in hopes that someone (like us) would leave a parking place for them. My recommendation for any city park on a weekend in the spring, summer or fall: go early in the morning (by 9 am). It's the same attitude we hold toward national parks and monuments, too.

    It was time to head home and let all the picnickers enjoy themselves with a day at the Park.


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default Goodan Ranch-Sycamore Canyon Preserve

    San Diego County is full of "Open Space Preserves", to try to keep urban sprawl from going everywhere and saving some of nature for recreation and renewal. Blue Sky Reserve is one of them, the Goodan Ranch-Sycamore Canyon Preserve is another one. We set out to explore this one today. There are two approaches to the Preserve. One is off of CA-67 (known to the locals as just "the 67"), the other is the back road in from Poway, a lesser-known and used approach. That's the one we used. It's also the only one open 7 days a week. The staging area off the 67 is open only on Saturdays and Sundays.

    IMG_1563 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Our feet sported pairs of new hiking shoes today. We'd been hiking in our everyday walking shoes, which really aren't made for trails. I grabbed my 30-yo hiking boots only to have the rubber sole disintegrate on me, so it was time for new ones. We also bought a second pair of hiking poles. Considering the type of trail today, we appreciated having two each (instead of 1).

    By accident, we headed downhill on the Sycamore Canyon truck trail, but we knew we were going to do a loop anyway and probably really didn't matter which way we went. It was somewhat disappointing to be walking on a little-used road, but no matter. About 0.7 of a mile, we turned down another road, and were only on that for another 0.3 before turning off on an actual trail: the Martha's Grove Trail.

    IMG_1549 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    This was another area that had been hard-hit by the 2003 Cedar fire. I was relieved to see the growth, but you could always see remnants of the damage that the fire did.

    IMG_1550 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    We followed the very-dry stream bed for a long while, listening to the birds chatter.

    Martha's Grove was the destination for this hike. It's a really pretty grove of live-oak trees, named after a ranger who had cared for the area years back. There's a marker explaining her life and how much the area had meant to her. She died in 1988, at age 31, of malignant melanoma, which made me very sad. The county has replaced the bench that was here before the fire, and added a picnic table. (That must have been quite a slog to bring that picnic table up/down the trail, even in pieces!)

    IMG_1554 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    IMG_1555 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    In far wetter years, this particular grove is full of poison oak, ticks and other issues.

    IMG_1556 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    On the way uphill between the Grove and the trailhead, we came across 3 separate mountain bikers. Pedestrians are supposed to have right away, but we used common trail courtesy and just moved over for the downhill bikers. While waiting, I saw this new growth among the burned old growth:

    IMG_1558 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Alas, we found the trailhead, and decided to do two things: take ourselves to lunch at In-and-Out, and then go to Kohl's and find some decent socks for our new hiking shoes.

    Tomorrow? We haven't decided, but it will be some yet-undiscovered (to us) part of San Diego County!


    Donna

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